When people think of pets, they usually think of dogs and cats. But these aren’t the only animals that are desperately in need of good homes. As surprising as it may sound at first, you just might want to choose a new friend with scales instead of fur and adopt lizards, because they really do make awesome pets.
Why Adopt Lizards?
Most people don’t realize what awesome pets lizards can be. For some reason, reptiles get the reputation for not having much personality. But in reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Lizards are just like any other animal and they each have their own individual quirks. Some also have very expressive faces.
Another misconception about lizards is that they are aloof and don’t interact with their owners. Once again, this is a gross misconception. Lizards are very attentive as to what is going on around them and they do enjoy a good snuggle.
Lizards are also fairly easy pets to care for. Different types of lizards have varying temperature and diet needs that are surprisingly easy to meet. Unlike having a pet dog, there is no need for daily walks, etc. The biggest hurdle is getting the proper setup for your new reptilian friend, which must include a basking light or other heat source to provide warmth and a thermometer to make sure the temperature range is right.
Best Lizards As Pets
Now that you have decided to adopt lizards, which ones make the best pets? Which are the best for you?
Iguanas are arguably the most popular type of lizards kept as pets today. Green iguanas may grow to weigh as much as 20 pounds and can be as long as six to seven feet in length when fully grown. Iguanas have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. These are things to keep in mind when you look at that cute little baby iguana that fits in the palm of your hand. He will grow and as he does, he will need lots of space.
You have to make sure that you keep your iguana warm. They can’t tolerate temperatures under 80 degrees and need to have a “hotspot” of at least 120 degrees under a UVA and UVB light to adequately synthesize vitamin D.
Unlike some other lizards, iguanas are vegetarians, and live on a diet of fresh vegetables such as collard greens, turnip greens, dandelions, yellow squash, whole green beans, etc. Iguanas do enjoy fresh fruit, but this should only be given as an occasional treat because it can cause diarrhea. They should have access to fresh water at all times and should be misted daily. Once a week you should give them a good soak.
There are several types of geckos, but leopard geckos seem to be the most popular type to be kept as pets. These little guys only grow to be about seven to ten inches long and live an average of six to ten years but some males have lived for more than 20 years.
Leopard geckos ideally need temperatures ranging from 88 to 90 degrees and they need to be kept above at least 73 degrees. With geckos, this can best be achieved with a heater that is placed under the tank and heats only one end so they can choose how warm they want to be at any given time.
Leopard geckos do not eat plants. They live on mainly mealworms and crickets, with waxworms or Superworms (pretty easy to get anywhere in the country as places like Josh’s Frogs and Amazon if you don’t have a local pet store) serving as the occasional treat. They require access to a shallow dish of fresh water at all times.
The inland bearded dragon is an all-time favorite when it comes to the best lizards as pets. Bearded dragons can be up to two feet long when fully grown and live between six to ten years, on average.
Bearded dragons should be kept at around 80 degrees with a basking light that can go up to 100 degrees. At night, bearded dragons can do okay in temperatures as low as 65 degrees.
These fun little lizards are omnivorous, meaning they can eat both bugs and plants. You can offer your bearded dragon a shallow dish of water, but they also need to be misted every day.
Where Can I Adopt Lizards?
Like other animals, it is best to adopt rather than shop, but where do you find lizards for adoption? There are many reptile rescues across the country. Running an internet search can help you adopt a lizard at one local to you, or you can check with the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. In addition, Petfinder.com is an infinitely useful tool for adopting any type of animal in need of a loving home, even reptiles like lizards.
Featured image: CC0 Public Domain via PX Here.