Reptile Care: Keeping a Pet Lizard

When most people think of pets, they envision a fluffy kitten or a rambunctious pup. However, these are not the only animals that can bring joy to a person’s life. Reptiles like lizards have been gaining popularity in recent years and the reason is simple. These exotic pets are interesting, friendly, and relatively easy to care for.  Lizards also tend to display somewhat of a “personality” which makes them a fun pet to own. If you are considering getting a lizard, you’ll want to make sure that you choose the right species and create a habitat that caters to the unique needs of a reptile.

What Species of Lizards are Best for Pets?

There are an estimated 4,675 species of lizards. However, not all are appropriate as pets. The most common lizards purchased as pets include the bearded dragon and leopard gecko. However, these are not the only options. The gold-dust day gecko is a great choice, as well as the leopard gecko, crested gecko, and blue-tongue shink. If you are new to reptiles, there are certain lizards you will want to avoid as a beginner. This includes the water dragon, chameleon, and green anole.

How to Care for a Pet Lizard

You’ll want to start by finding the perfect enclosure for your pet lizard. The most common option is an aquarium with a screen on top that allows for ample ventilation. You’ll want to make sure that the enclosure you choose will be large enough for your growing lizard. For example, a bearded dragon should be housed in a 55-gallon aquarium. As reptiles are cold-blooded, you will also need to provide a heat source. Heat lamps are often used to help maintain a warm temperature in the tank. Most lizards require the temperature to be between 90 and 100 degrees. However, there should also be a cooler area of tank that maintains a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees.

Most lizards will also require a light source, usually an UVA or UVB light. This light should be kept on about 12 hours a day. Provide a space inside the tank for your lizard to bask but do not put the light source close enough that the lizard can touch it and get burned. Also provide your lizard with a place to hide in the cooler section of the cage. Branches allow some species of lizards to climb. At the bottom of the cage, avoid gravel or other types of bedding. Instead, line the cage with butcher paper or another ink-free option. As some lizards like to burrow, you can also add aspen shavings or reptile sand.

Where Can I Purchase a Healthy Lizard?

Wondering where you can buy a healthy lizard to keep as a pet? You can find many common species of lizards at your local pet shop, as well as from local breeders who breed and raise lizards. No matter where you choose to buy your new pet, you’ll want to make sure you perform ample research on the species and learn all you can before completing the purchase.

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