Lizards belong to the endemic family of squamate reptiles (includes lizards, snakes and related extinct forms), and the species number around 6,000 spreading over all the continents excluding Antarctica and the oceanic island chains. The family is the subordinate associate of the Lacertilia. All extant members are members of Lepidosauria (reptiles having scales that overlap). They appear as an evolutionary grade; they are not sphenodonts (Lizard like reptiles like Tuataraor Sphenodon punctatus) and nor are they snakes. Snakes are declining phylogenetically (common ancestral similarities) in the Toxicofera cloud (Including venomous snakes and lizards and related non-venomous species) from where they have evolved. The lizards and the snakes form part of the large monophyletic family, where the sphendonts are associates of the squamates.
Significantly the lizards possess external ears and feet, but the snakes do not possess both these. On the other hand, they exclude snakes, but as a group lizards do not possess distinct characteristics. Both the lizards and snakes possess a common quadrate bone, that differentiates them from the sphendonts, and they have hard and ancient diapsid skulls.
The process of autonomy assists most of the lizards to discard their tails in order to escape from their enemies. Most of the lizards have a well formed vision as well as color vision and communicate among themselves using either the bright colors on their body or their body language. Lizards are the most speciose (containing a multitude of species) contributing to nearly 60% of the living species.
The length of an adult that belongs to the species of the suborder extends from some centimeters for the chameleons like geckos and the Brookesia micra and up to 3m (9.8ft), like the Sphaerodactylus, which is the largest extant varanid lizard, the Komodo dragon. A few varanids that are now extinct reached enormous sizes. The giant monitor Megalania has probably reached a length of 7 m (23ft) and the extinct aquatic mosasaurs attained a length of 17m (56ft).
Types of Pet Lizards
3 Types of lizards that Make Good Pets
Beginners’ Pet Lizards
Reptiles make marvelous pets; nevertheless at times, beginners find themselves helpless when they become aware of the difficulty and expense in raising and caring for certain reptiles. Sadly, most of the owners do not obtain complete and correct information on accurate care for their reptiles from the pet stores and end up with unexpected surprises when they face the hassles of expense and time in caring their pets.
What Qualifies a Lizard as a Good Pet?
The quality of a lizard as an excellent pet depends on certain factors that relate to their personality, ability to handle, size, availability and the ease of caring. In case this is the first lizard you want to select as a pet, or even if is to add to your lizard family, you would do well to learn beforehand which is the right or wrong species for you.
Worldwide, we find an extensive variety of lizards and a good many have entered the pet trade. Even then, not many lizards are good pets. For a beginner some of them are particularly challenging. Here are some of the three best pet lizards that you can not only manage easily, but will also entertain a recreational lizard keeper.
The Bearded Dragon
Among the trendy type of lizard for those advanced keepers experienced in all levels, and from the amateur level to the professional, this lizard may work out as the ideal pet. This is justifiable. The Bearded lizard is an excellent pet that has a healthy and long life, provided you meet their basic requirements.
“Beardies” as as people call them, have a good temperament, making them suitable as a pet. This peculiar lizard inhabits many Australian regions. You can easily simulate its native environment by installing particular types of total spectrum lighting to satisfy the lizard’s UVB/ UVA needs, and additional light for providing a basking basking (for correct temperature).
As per the lizards standards, bearded lizards are tiny; this quality makes a difference which qualifies it as an excellent pet lizard suitable for a novice. It is easy for you to accommodate your bearded lizard in a plastic or glass aquarium in a corner of your medium sized bedroom.
As far as the diet of the bearded lizard is concerned, they are omnivorous and feed on insects as well as vegetables that now require you to work on getting both insects as well as vegetables for them.
The lizard Uromastyx refers to the Spiny Tailed Lizaedm where “Uros” signifies “short”. These too make good pets. Therefore, in case you are on the lookout for a pet lizard, try this appealing one.
From the care taking and maintenance point of view, in certain aspects, the Uromastyx care is akin to the Bearded Dragon’s. The” uro,” like the Bearded Deagon,hails from a dry and hot environment. – Specifically speaking, they come from a slightly, drier and hotter environment than that of the “beardie’.
Though the various types of Uromastyx hail from from India to North Africa, several inhabit dry and hot environments. Residents of North America will not find it difficult to simulate such an environment of captivity. As far as maintenance is concerned, you can more easily provide for your pet lizard, a dry and hot atmosphere than providing for a tropical and moist environment.
Besides, you can also see the Uromastyx in an array of colors. Within the genus you can find 16 different varieties of Uromastyx, with assorted appearance as well as from diverse geographical backgrounds.
The Uromastyx also like the Bearded Dragons, feed on insects, and plants/vegetables; they are omnivorous.
A petite lizard, Uromastyx exhibits a range of traits. But it demands exclusive care like providing an ideal basking spot of 1200, It is possible for a majority of the beginners in reptile keeping to nurture such a lizard as an ideal pet. They take a deserving place among three top lizards that a beginner can care for with ease. For beginners.
Blue Tongued Skink
The blue tongued skink justifies its name. It has a brilliant blue tongue contrasting with its mouth’s pink lining.. For many reasons blue tongued lizards are very good pets. By nature, they are a quiet, and you can easily pet them. They do very well with 40% meat and 60% vegetables as they are omnivores types of lizards They consume vegetables, insects, fruits and also turkey and chicken meat, and at times, pinky mice.
This skink hails from regions of New Guinea, Tasmania and Australia. They inhabit the semi arid and dry deserts. With little effort it is possible to simulate this environment in captivity. Your pet skink will appreciate a big cage with a substrate that allows it to burrow well. The basking spot temperature requires a 80 – 100°F gradient.
Some of the other lizards that qualify as good pets
are the following:
The Leopard Gecko
Eublepharis macularius, the leopard gecko, is perhaps the most common pet reptile seen today in captivity. We find them in several appealing models and colors. They are very quiet, hence, nurturing and taming them becomes easy.
Because of their nocturnal aptitudes, they do not require particular lighting, as with the other lizards. Leave the adults on their own for some time with no issues and feed them on alternate days, but feed the babies every day. These sturdy lizards that live for a long time are ideal reptile pets.
Their Lifespan: 15 to 20 years or more
Size: 6 – 9 inches
Cage sizes for adults: A tank of 20 gallons or more
Special Requirements for Care: regulated heating
Varanus acanthurus, generally called “ackie” is otherwise called the spiny-tailed or red-tailed lizard. The little monitor is but a dwarf and serves as a pet with with clear-cut caring needs. This is the apt pet lizard monitor that you are searching for!
These lizards appear like a tiny dragon with fantastic colors, they are very active and you enjoy caring and observing them. Handling them daily tames them well. Feed your ackies on alternate days, they take in any type of food that includes pinky mice and crickets.
Their Lifespan: 10 years or more
Size: 15 – 25 inches
Cage sizes for adults: 55 gallon
Special requirements for care: regulated temperature, UVB lighting
Rhacodactylus ciliatus, or the crested gecko is fast acquiring fame in the pet trade, for several reasons. These “cresties” have meager needs when you compare them to other lizards. In fact, they do not require any particular lighting or heating arrangements. Any temperature above 800F causes stress on them. Their diet consists of simple powders (fruit based), diluted with water, and packaged, which means no complicated diet like insects and the like.
You can find Crested geckos in all types of patterns and colors, from spots to stripes and a combination of both. They are convenient to handle, and at the same time, they are flimsy and tinier than the bigger lizards. They can accidentally lose their tails. This does them no harm, but their tales rarely re-grow.
Their Lifespan: 6– 15 years
Size: 6 – 8 inches
Cage sizes for adults: 20 gallon
Special requirements for care: imitation or real plants for hiding and climbing
Argentine Black and White Tegu
Argentine Black and White Tegu
Among the best pet lizards, Tupinambis merianae or the Argentine Black and White Tegu, tops the list. You must understand that the adult needs sufficient space when and if this is not a concern for you, a Tegu is the right choice for your pet lizard.
These tegus are quite smart among the reptiles; they easily learn little tricks and will respond to their names when called. Significantly, they are serene and respond well to socializing from a young age. Later you can handle them frequently and even lead them on a leash.
Remember that these tegus are of many varieties; Columbian Tegu is not good as a pet lizard because the white and black cousins frequently create hassles during caring, and are violent.
Their Lifespan: 14 years or more
Size: 2.50 – 4.5 feet
Cage size for adult: 5 – 6 ft x 2 ft width cage(The larger the better)
Special Requirements for Care: UVB lights and regulated heat, with burrowable substrate
Bad Starter Pet Lizards
Some of the most difficult lizards to rear: