When it comes to lizards as pets, it’s often hard to make a decision. There are a lot of types of pet lizards and finding the best pet lizard for you can be a challenge. That’s where we come in!
This article is all about the best pet lizards, as well as some of the most popular pet lizards for people to own. This blog post does not only focus on the most popular and easiest lizards to keep as pets, but it also includes some of the most rewarding options.
By not just focusing on the ease of care (husbandry), we hope this list will help people who aren’t looking for their first pet lizard but already have some experience with reptile keeping. So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Lizards for the pets trade
This is just a quick note about purchasing a lizard. When you go to buy your lizard, make sure that you get a lizard for the pets trade, and not one that has been caught in the wild.
Apart from our own moral opinions about taking reptiles out of the wild for personal gain, there is also a much higher chance of these animals having parasites and illnesses, as well as behavioral issues.
Make sure to check your breeder before purchasing from them!
There’s couldn’t be an article about the best pet lizards without the bearded dragon being featured on it! Nothing beats a bearded dragon if you’re looking for a crazy lizard pet to keep you company.
Bearded dragons are medium sized pet lizards which are extremely popular and easy to care for. Their popularity is one of the reasons these dragons are so easy to care for since there’s a lot of information available about their care.
We have a great complete care guide about bearded dragon care, as well as many smaller posts focussing on more specific parts of their care.
These great pet lizards need a reasonably large cage compared to some of the other entries, but that’s due to their slightly larger size. Also, if you decide to get one as a juvenile, expect to feed them A LOT when they’re still growing.
Apart from a one-time lump sum, bearded dragons aren’t very expensive to keep as pets. You’ll notice this when it comes to lizards and reptiles in general.
A small monthly cost for both food and lighting are amongst the largest recurring costs for bearded dragon keepers.
These little munchkins are also very rewarding lizards to keep as pets, and they are easy to handle as well. Give them a large enough area to roam around in and handle them regularly and you’ll be able to enjoy natural behavior as well as them getting used to you handling them.
(northern) Blue tongue skink
Next on the list is the blue tongue skink, and it’s a pet lizard that’s extremely sought after. In this article, we’re focused on the northern blue tongue skink (learn more about the differences as well as caring for pet skinks in our blue tongue skink care guide).
That being said, the other blue tongue skink species also make great pets. They just have slightly different requirements.
Blue tongue skinks are usually extremely calm and manageable animals. They are one of the larger reptiles on this list and a great addition to the list of the best pet lizards.
These lizards are great when it comes to handling and with a little training, are very easy to handle. Their bites hurt a little more than your average beginner pet lizard, but it’s nothing dangerous and then biting doesn’t happen often.
They eat dog or cat food and need a relatively large enclosure. These reptiles will eat pretty much anything, and they aren’t difficult feeders or very difficult to care for.
When it comes to costs, these lizards aren’t all too expensive aside from the initial setup costs. They’re quite pricy compared to bearded dragons or leopard geckos, but aside from that and the setup costs, don’t cost too much to maintain.
Your main monthly expenses will consist of food and heating costs as with most pet lizards.
Blue tongue skinks make great pet reptiles and are suitable for beginners just like beardies.
Third on the list is the leopard gecko, and it’s a lizard that’s extremely popular among beginner reptile keepers.
It’s hard to tell weather leopard geckos or bearded dragons are the most popular pet lizards, but they both make wonderful additions to your home. Leopard geckos are beginner friendly and make for very rewarding pets.
Unlike bearded dragons and blue tongue skinks, leopard geckos don’t make as good pets when it comes to handling. They’re more of a display pet but can still be handled. The main difference is that beardies and blue tongues will respond better to handling and can be handled for longer periods of time.
Leopard geckos are relatively easy to care for and you can easily find resources about their care online. Check out our leopard gecko care guide for more information about their care!
When it comes to price, leopard geckos are both less-expensive to purchase as well as to maintain. They also require less space than both beardies and blue tongue skinks which makes them a little more accessible.
Leopard geckos are also a bit smaller than the previously mentioned two lizards. They make for fascinating display animals and certainly deserve their place on this list of the best pet lizards!
Crested geckos are another great lizard species to keep as pets. They demonstrate different behavior than the previous animals listed and are real climbers which makes them great animals to watch.
Fun fact: Did you know that a little over 30 years ago, these geckos were classed as extinct?! Just goes to show what captive breeding can do for an animal species. They’re now one of the most popular pet lizards around.
Crested geckos are actually nocturnal, which makes them less active during the day. This can be a turn off for some, but if you are away during the daytime, you’ll still have more than enough time to enjoy the animals in the evenings and at night. This prevents you from missing out on enjoying your pet lizard.
One benefit that comes with being nocturnal is that you don’t have to invest in lighting. This can save on your electricity bill and makes them a little less pricy than the other animals mentioned previously.
These lizards aren’t great when it comes to handling and are a little delicate. They’re very hardy and great beginner pets for adults, just not great for children as they’re skin is quite sensitive.
If you’re looking for a pet lizard that will demonstrate natural behavior and you can look at for hours, then this is the best pet lizard for you!
The Argentine tegu is one that stands out. To start with, it’s a lot bigger than anything mentioned on the list so far.
These animals are not suitable for children or as a first pet. If you’re a little more experienced or have done a lot of research, then it makes for a great pet.
These lizards are quite large, and their bite is very painful. They are easily trained however and are actually relatively calm when it comes to handling if properly accustomed to it.
They are cool lizards to own and are a very rewarding species if you’re experienced enough to take care of them. They’re quite a bit more expensive to buy though compared to the other reptiles on this list.
On top of this, their diet and heating will set you back a pretty penny compared to the previous lizards. This is a lot down to size, as well as the size of their enclosure. Speaking about enclosure…
Tegu’s need a large enclosure, probably larger than you can find in your local pet shop. A specially designed terrarium or something that you’ve made yourself is usually best. It’s not the best lizard if you’re short on space.
To sum this one up, it’s one of the best pet reptiles if you have the space and the knowledge to take proper care of them. They’re relatively hardy animals and can grow very accustomed to you if trained properly.
Chinese water dragon
The Chinese water dragon is a beautiful species of lizard and certainly one of the best pet lizards to have as a pet.
Their care is a little more challenging than some of the more-popular pet lizards on this list, however, it’s still manageable with enough research.
They’re very active pet lizards and display a wide range of natural behavior in captivity if supplied with the right kind of cage. They’re a medium-sized lizard, but due to being so active need a fair bit of room.
Humidity is going to be the biggest challenge, but if you can get that down, they’re a wonderful pet lizard to have. They usually have a manageable temperament and are good with handling in most cases.
They’re slightly more expensive to maintain than some of the beginner-friendly options on this list. They eat quite a bit and require a lot of heating and lighting to keep the temperature and humidity at a good level.
Even though they come with a lot of challenges, they make for wonderful pets and are certainly not one that we could have skipped in this list of the best pet lizards.
Last on this list is the ackie monitor. It sure isn’t one of the easiest pet lizards to keep, but it’s an extremely rewarding and active species.
Monitors, in general, make for great pets if it wasn’t for their large size. The ackie monitor is the best of both worlds though. It provides you with the activity and smarts of a monitor, without the unmanageable size.
Even though these monitors are small, they do need a relatively large enclosure for their size. They’re very active lizards and therefore display a wonderful range of natural and interesting behavior for you to enjoy.
If they bite you, it’s going to hurt so they’re not the best pet lizard for children or teens. However, if you’re a little older and have done your research, they’re a great option.
These monitors have a good feeding response and are reasonably hardy too which means you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of time to get their care right.
Large cage size, nasty bites, and their price are a few of the reasons why you might not go for this option. However, once trained these lizards make for great pets which are extremely interesting to interact with and watch.
All-in-all a great option if you’re looking for something a little more challenging and are certain you want to spend the time and resources.
In this article, we’ve listed some of the best pet lizards for you to choose from. Some are great for beginners while others are perfect for more experienced reptile keepers. Whichever group you fall under, we hope this list has made your choice a little easier.
If there’s anything you feel we’ve missed in this article on the best pet lizards, or you have any questions, please feel free to shoot us a message or leave a comment! We’re always looking to improve our resources and help aspiring reptile keepers with their hobby!