How to choose a lizard

Water dragon007You’re set on getting a lizard, but now you have to decide what type of lizard to purchase. There are many, many types of lizards in the world, and a wide variety of them are available to the average hobbyist. How can you narrow down the choices and decide which lizard is the perfect one for you? By learning more about the differences between lizards and deciding what aspects are most appealing to you, your choice can be an easy one.

Size is one of the major factors to consider when determining what lizard is the right pet for you. Lizards vary greatly in size. Some will grow to be a maximum of several inches long, while others can grow to several feet in length. The lizard’s size will also determine the size of his housing, so think about how big of a house you can provide. For example, will you be able to provide a full-grown Green Iguana with a home that is at least 8 feet long, 8 feet high, and 8 feet wide? Consider the amount of space you have for housing a lizard and compare it to the amount of space that a full-grown, adult lizard of a particular species will require. To avoid problems, always assume that your lizard will grow to the maximum length documented for his species.

Slider_-ChameleonIs it important to you that you are able to handle your lizard? Certain species have a reputation for being friendlier than others. Bearded dragons, for example, are known for their friendly behavior and willingness to be handled. Chameleons, on the other hand, do not enjoy being touched, and it is recommended that they simply be observed from a distance, not handled. If you’re looking for some interaction between you and your pet, some lizards fit the bill more than others, but reptiles in general are not cozy, cuddly pets, so another type of animal may be a better option. Also, remember that every lizard is an individual, so even if that species generally enjoys being handled, your particular lizard may not. If you give him some space for a while, he may come around, but some lizards will never enjoy being handled.

Whatever lizard you choose, make sure you will be able to meet his care requirements, both now and in the future. By narrowing down your options ahead of time, and learning how the needs of different reptiles will fit (or not fit) with what you can provide, you are much more likely to end up with a pet that will bring you pleasure for many years to come.

Get a captive bred lizard from a reputable breeder, if possible. Wild caught lizards tend to be more stressed and prone to parasites and disease, and more difficult to tame.