Getting your hands on a captive bred lizard is tough, but if you can do so, it's a highly rewarding experience and highly recommended. Much like most other reptiles, lizards that are bred in captivity are less stressed and healthier pets, as compared to their wild counterparts. However, it's important to know how to care for a lizard before you take the plunge and buy one.
What you'll need
What to look for
Unfortunately, many pet shops clerks and owners will be uninformative and will try to lie their way through a sale. Pet shops also tend to be overcrowded and infested with diseases that spread quickly. Here are a few things to look for when you shop for your first lizard.
Buy, Buy, Buy!
* The pet shop only has a handful of lizards in their terranium.
* The pet shop only carries one species.
* The animals appear to be aware of their surroundings and their eyes are open.
* The pet shop provides the scientific names.
* The pet shop provides care sheets.
* Animals are provided heat pads and/or lamps.
* Animals are given a shelter to go to if they're over stressed.
* Owners have their own lizards, which indicates that they can tell you what you're getting yourself into.
Run, Run, Run!
* When asked about caring for lizards, the pet shop owner or clerk says "the same way you would an iguana."
* Lizards are squeezed into tight quarters.
* Dead or sick lizards are still in the cages with live lizards.
* The clerk or owner lies to you. (Do research on a breed you know is captured in the wild. If you see it in a store, ask, and if the owner tells you it's captive bred, you've caught him red handed).
* The pet shop carries multiple breeds.
* The pet shop provides no heat pads/lamps.
* Lizards are mislabeled.
Making your lizard feel at home
When your new lizard comes home for the first time, be ready. You should prepare a terrarium with the proper temperatures, as well as making it escape proof (reptiles like to wander). Before you take it out of the terrarium to show your friends, let it get accustomed to its new home for a couple weeks. If you so happen to buy a wild lizard, be patient with it. It may take your pet a week or two before it decides that it's hungry. On the other hand, captive bred lizards take to their new situations fairly well, and most owners say they're eating within a day or two.
Handling your lizard
Lizards are not the types of animals that want their owners to pet them, or be handled much at all. If you can tell that it doesn't want to be picked up, don't bother. The only thing you'll do is stress your poor lizard out. Do not pick them up by their tails, either, as they are prone to breaking off. Instead, place your hand into the tank and let the inquisitive nature of the lizard guide it towards you. Let the lizard move freely, unless you're peeling off dead skin, because lizards hate to be restrained. When you do this, your pet will be interesting and fun.