Selecting the Perfect Lizard

There are over 4,000 species of lizards in the world. Only a handful of them are common enough and have the right temperament to make a good pet.

With so many lizards to choose from, how does someone choose the perfect lizard? First, it must be determined at what level of experience the pet owner has?

The lizards will be broken down by the best for beginners, intermediate and advance lizard owners. Also, some lizards that do not make good pet's period.

The first lizard should be easy to take care of, housing and food requirements manageable and most important the temperament of the lizard. Different areas of the country will have different species of lizards available. The lizards suggested as pets are common throughout the country. There are others that would fit in one of the categories. Here are perfect lizards for the novice:

Beginners

Leopard Gecko

This colorful lizard is active at night and grows to about 10 inches. The Leopard Gecko may even eat insects from your fingers. This is the easiest lizard to breed in captivity. Be careful with the skin and tail, since it is fragile.

Blue Tongue Skink

This 2 foot Australian lizard is name after its distinctive tongue. It eats vegetable and insects. It is a ground dweller and easy to handle.

Sudan Plated Lizard

This is one of the calmest lizards even though they tend to be shy. Plated Lizards have a diet of fruit and insects and can be hand fed. They are a cricket eating machine. They grow to about 1 ½ to 2 feet. They are ordinary looking, but make a great first lizard. They are a poor man's Blue Tongue Skink.

Collared Lizards

This is a colorful lizard found in the United States. It grows to about 10-15 inches long. Its diet includes insects and some fruit and vegetables. They should be kept alone or they will eat the smaller lizards.

Curly Tail Lizards

This is an inexpensive lizard with plenty of personality. This small lizard only grows to 6 or 7 inches long. It loves to chase crickets all over its cage. The wild ones in the Bahamas are much larger.

Intermediate Lizards

Bearded Dragons

Many lizard owners would consider them as a beginning lizard. There may not be a finer lizard as an adult. Bearded Dragons are the perfect lizard to sit on the pet owner's shoulder. They grow to about 2 feet long.

Mountain Horned Dragons 

This cool looking lizard grows to about a foot long. Mountain Horned Dragons eat insects. It is comparable to a mini version of the Chinese Water Dragon. It has a wonderful temperament.

Alligator Lizard

This fearless lizard grows to about 8 inches and is a cricket's worst nightmare. Some of them will take crickets from your hand while standing on their hind legs. It is a plain looking lizard that has plenty of personality.

Advanced Lizards

Chameleons

This is a cool lizard to watch especially the eyes and the tongue grabbing an insect. However, they are expensive and get stressed easily.

Green Iguanas

This is a common in the pet store, but a full grown 6 foot adult can be a handful to deal with. They are among the most intelligent of lizards and can hand fed. The housing and the time involved with them are the biggest issues. The juveniles eat insects while adults eat primarily vegetables and fruits.

Chinese Water Dragon

They can grow up to 3 feet long. The largest issue with them is needed a huge habitat. It must have a huge water environment. It eats a combination of insects, fruits and vegetables.

Solomon Island Skinks

This is an unusual expensive lizard. They have live born, but are not friendly to humans.

Lizards to Avoid

Swifts

There are many different varieties. They are inexpensive, but tend to die quickly. Some of them are picky eaters also.

Horned Toads

This is a cool looking lizard that is almost impossible to keep alive in captivity. They need high temperatures, but their diet is impossible. They eat ants and termites. To make matters worst, some of them a particular species of ant.

Knight Anoles

These lizards are just plain mean. They will attempt to bite anything that moves in their path. They grow to be about a foot, so the bite is painful.

There are plenty of other lizards that would fall into each category. Most of these lizards are from personal experience or knowing someone else who has dealt with them.