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Lizard Care Buying Guide

So you've opted for something a bit more unique--forget the pet puppy , you want a mean, green pet lizard.  Having one of these scaly guys can be tons of fun, if you know what you're getting yourself into.  Most lizards may be a cheap buy, but the equipment ,food  and accessories  needed to care for them can start to add up.  And don't forget, like most babies, young lizards won't stay tiny forever.  Some species can grow to be 1.5 to 2 metres long!  So do your research before you go running out to buy your new cold-blooded pal.

Beginners' Lizards

Some species are easier to care for than others, especially if you've never owned a lizard before.  These species are generally smaller, easy to handle and don't require huge aquariums  or other complicated set-ups.  Some of the most popular include:

  • Geckos--like the fat-tailed or leopard varieties.
  • Bearded Dragons.
  • Green Anoles.
  • Blue Tongued Skinks.

And remember, while general care procedures may be similar, each species has some special requirements.  So browse the web or ask your local pet store for tips.

Housing

  • When setting up your lizard's aquarium or terrarium , keep its natural habitat in mind. If you have a species that is mostly arboreal in the wild, having branches to climb is a must. Burrowing lizards must have a place to dig, desert lizards must have access to shade, etc.
  • For smaller lizards, the tank substrate can be natural, made up of things like dead leaves. Larger species are more easily kept clean in newspaper or hoseable bare floors.
  • Temperatures must vary throughout the enclosure to allow for thermoregulation, which aids in digestion, egg laying and other natural processes. You need heat lamps  to create hot spots during the day, while at night, a temperature drop is acceptable.
  • The right amount of humidity within the enclosure helps maintain an optimum level of health as well, so consider purchasing a hygrometer  to monitor it accurately.
  • For adequate calcium production to prevent metabolic bone disease, nearly all lizards require UVB light.
  • In addition to your pet's permanent home, try buying a wire cage to bring your pet outdoors into natural sunlight.
  • The day/night cycle you maintain should mimic your lizard's natural habitat.

Nutrition

  • The majority of lizards require five to seven feedings per week, but adult rodent eaters only need one or two.
  • Insectivorous species can eat everything from crickets to mealworms and roaches.
  • As for the herbivores, it's important to provide calcium-rich produce such as bok choy, green beans, dandelion, carrots, turnips and blackberries.
  • Some lizard enjoy a combination of insects and plants, or have one or two preferred foods (some species will only eat ants as far as insects are concerned etc.)

Related Guides

Reptile Amphibian and Invertebrate Care

Toad Care

Newt Care

Turtle Care