Best Pet Lizards

By Snaketracks / September 17, 2019
Best Pet Lizards

Lizards are well-liked and make fun pets. Most are easy to handle and active. Lizards may not follow you wherever you go as dogs do, but they are always there when you need them. In this article, we have composed a list of the best pet lizards for beginners.

We have provided basic information on them as well as the reasons why they are amazing. Lizard species reviewed include the leopard gecko, the bearded dragon, the mourning gecko, the gargoyle gecko, the gold dust day gecko, and the crested gecko.

1. Leopard Gecko

Leopard-Gecko
Leopard Gecko

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Eublepharidae or Gekkonidae
  • Binomial Name: Eublepharis macularius
  • Common Names: Leopard Gecko, Leo
  • Popular Morphs: Albino, Blizzard, Giant, High yellow, Carrot Tail, Hypomelanistic, Stripe, Snow
  • Adult Size: 7 – 10 inches (178 -254 mm)
  • Lifespan: 22 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $100

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size:  15 – 20 gallons
  • Food: Live insects only
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed
  • Temperature Range: 95°H/75°L
  • Humidity Requirement: 10 – 30%

The ground-dwelling leo is one of the most popular lizards in the pet world and a good pet lizard for novices. Also, they are among the longest-living lizards in the world with a life expectancy of 22 years.

This beautiful gecko will serve as a loyal fun friend for many years. As with most popular reptiles, the leo comes in many wonderful colors and pattern but the normal morph is yellow with irregular dark spots.

A color pattern which resembles that of a leopard, thus their common name – leopard gecko. A dry substrate and normal room humidity are ideal. You also need to create a temperature gradient with a temperature range from 88 °F to 75 °F. They eat live insects such as crickets and mealworms.

The leo is docile, hardy and easy to handle; all characteristic of a wonderful pet. They also come in different colors & patterns and can live to 25 years. What more can you ask of a pet lizard?

For more check out the Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

2. Bearded Dragon

Bearded-Dragon-wearing-a-boa-1
Bearded Dragon

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Agamidae
  • Binomial Name: Pogona vitticeps
  • Common Names: Bearded Dragon, Beardie, Dragon
  • Popular Morphs: Normal, Hypomelanistic, Leatherback, Translucent, Silkback, German Giant, Dunner.
  • Adult Size: 13 – 24 inches (330 – 610 mm)
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $100

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size:  50 – 120 gallons (depending on size)
  • Food: Mix ofinsects and vegetables / Commercially produced bearded dragon food
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 100°H/80°L
  • Humidity Requirement: 35 – 40%

The bearded dragon is arguably the most laid back lizard you can have as a pet. This laidback nature makes them the best lizard for beginners. Because of their popularity, information and help on how to care for this reptile are easy to find.

The most important information you need to know is that they require a large 75-gallon enclosure with a basking spot of 100 F. Feeding beardies is easy as they will eat insects (such as mealworms, and crickets), slices of fruits & vegetables and commercially produced bearded dragon food such as Fluker Labs Bearded Dragon Medley Treat Food, and Zoo Med Gourmet Bearded Dragon Food.

What are some of the pros for keeping a beardie? Well, they are laid back, inexpensive to acquire, easy to care for and interesting looking, all of which are excellent qualities for the best pet lizards.

For more check out the Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

3. Mourning Gecko

Mourning Gecko
Mourning Gecko

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Binomial Name: Lepidodactylus lugubris
  • Common Names: Mourning Gecko
  • Popular Morphs: N/A
  • Adult Size: 3.5 – 4 inches (85-100 mm)
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 – $40

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size:  5 gallons
  • Food: Live insects and/or commercially produced crested gecko food
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed
  • Temperature Range: 82°H/72°L
  • Humidity Requirement: 60 – 80%

The mourning gecko species are all females. They don’t grow large and require little to no care. While they are not as popular as other lizards on the list, they are very easy to keep and make excellent display pets.

The tiny mourning gecko eats tiny insects such as tiny mealworms, tiny crickets, and tiny roaches. If you don’t wish to feed them live insects, they also accept commercially made crested gecko food which comes in powdered form. Mix it with some water and feed it to this gecko.

Easy to care for and unique, the mourning gecko is among the best pet lizards for beginners. However, because there are no males and offspring are simply clones of the mother, morphs don’t exist for this species. Regardless, they are good pet lizards and as such deserve a spot on any list of best lizards.

For more check out the Mourning Gecko Care Sheet

4. Gargoyle Gecko

Gargoyle-Geckos
Gargoyle Gecko

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Diplodactylidae
  • Binomial Name: Rhacodactylus auriculatus
  • Common Names: Gargoyle Gecko
  • Popular Morphs: Red Stripe, White, Yellow Stripe, Pink Base Orange Super Blotch. Source, Orange Stripe, Grey.
  • Adult Size: 7 – 9 inches (178 -229 mm) / 60 – 70 grams
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Average Price Range: $200 to $750

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size:  15 – 20 gallons
  • Food: Live insects and/or commercially produced crested gecko food
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed
  • Temperature Range: 82°H/70°L
  • Humidity Requirement: 60 – 80%

Gargoyle geckos are so-called because they indeed look like gargoyles. This gives them a unique appearance. Native to New Caledonia, they require a high humidity level to thrive. This can be achieved through nightly mistings. Strive for a humidity level of around 60%.

Feeding them is simple as they accept meal replacement powder diets such as Repashy Crested Gecko Meal Replacement Diet. They don’t mind being handled and can be tamed with no problem at all making them one of the best pet lizard breeds. They also come in several interesting morphs.

Easy to feed and easy to handle, the interesting looking gargoyle gecko is a favorite among beginners. This wonderful reptile is fun to keep and care for although they are not as popular as leopard geckos or crested geckos.

For more check out the Gargoyle Gecko Care Sheet

5. Gold Dust Day Gecko

Gold-Dust-Day-Gecko-on-a-flower

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Binomial Name: Phelsuma laticauda
  • Common Names: Gold Dust Day
  • Adult Size: 4.5 – 6 Inches (178 -229 mm) / 60 – 70 grams
  • Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $75

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size:  15 – 20 gallons
  • Food: Live insects and/or commercially produced crested gecko food
  • UVB Lighting: Needed
  • Temperature Range: 85°H/77°L
  • Humidity Requirement: 65 – 75%

The vibrant and gorgeous golden dust day gecko is a sight to behold. Native to the forests of Madagascar, this lizard requires a lush and green enclosure. They don’t like to be touched and are easily stressed if you try to handle them.

As with colorful tropical reptiles, the gold dust day gecko thrives in humid enclosures. They also require a tall large 20-gallon enclosure with plants they can climb on. Decorate the enclosure with plants such as Golden Pothos, Ficus benjamina, Wandering Jew, and many more. This helps keep the enclosure’s humidity levels optimal and creates a picturesque display.

They are easy to feed as they eat insects as well as commercially made crested gecko food and nectar pods. Additionally, they are brightly colored and a delight to view. They can’t be handled as their skin tears easily and they are nervous. When scared, their tail may drop.

For more check out the Gold Dust Day Gecko Care Sheet

6. Crested Gecko

Crested-Gecko
Crested Gecko

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Diplodactylidae
  • Binomial Name: Rhacodactylus ciliatus or Correlophus ciliatus
  • Common Names: Crested Gecko
  • Popular Morphs: Patternless, Tiger, Flame, Harlequin, Pinstripe, Dalmatian
  • Adult Size: 8 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $100

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size:  15 – 20 gallons
  • Food: Live insects and/or commercially produced crested gecko food
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed
  • Temperature Range: 82°H/72°L
  • Humidity Requirement: 65-85%

Once thought extinct, the crested gecko is now one of the most popular reptile species in the pet trade. The crested gecko is very similar to the leopard gecko. As such, both are commonly compared. I personally prefer the leo, but the crested gecko is just as wonderful. This arboreal gecko allows you to build a vertical enclosure filled with plants.

The terrarium can be a beautiful piece of art as well as the home for your trusty crested gecko. Although they eat live insects, most crested gecko keepers feed them crested gecko diet such as Repashy Crested Gecko Meal Replacement Diet. This comes in powdered form and is mixed with water to create a puree that is fed to the lizard.

The crested gecko is a lively and hardy gecko. Its vertical terrarium can be filled with plants to create a small fancy display. They are easy to feed as they will accept fruits, gecko diet, and even baby food.

On the flip side, the crested gecko’s enclosure needs to be sprayed/misted daily. While this can be a soothing routine, it is something you must do every day. If you are going to be away, you need to find a babysitter for this reptile.

Conclusion

Unless snakes, lizards generally have to be fed more often. However, many find lizards to be non-threatening which is a huge plus, especially for beginners. They are also generally easy to care for regardless of the species. There are many types of pet lizards available.

You can go for a display lizard such as the gold dust day gecko or you can go for the docile and handleable bearded dragon. The choice is up to you. As with any ‘best of’ list, there isn’t one single best of the best.

Your preferences will define what is best for you. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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