Having domestic lizards as pets is relatively easy and is a long-term hobby. They are extremely smart. Just remember that they are not the cuddly lick-your-face type. Lizards can learn your voice and your face. They are full of personality. They will rest well onto your hand or arm.
Since you are feeding them, they will come to you when they want food, or they learn to come to you when you call them. Pet lizards only want to eat, sleep, and play. They do not need a lot of attention, activities nor do you need to train them.
In turn, they give you hours of fun. When they are active, many species like to climb and exhibit great personalities. Also as pets, they talk, squeak, bark chirp, and/or whistle.
Food, Temperature, Substrate
Keeping lizards as pets requires the basics for keeping reptiles. One of the more important requirements is to have the right temperature for their bodies because they are naturally cold-blooded. Depending on the species, provide food that generally consists of insects/bugs, fruits (only 10%), and vegetables.
Remember, do your homework to find out what your species of lizard can and cannot eat. For example, Chuckwallas do not eat bugs. In the wild, their diet includes what is available in nature. This includes small animals (rats and mice) insects (spiders, flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, ticks), tree fruits, and probably your garden veggies.
Since their metabolism is naturally low, they do not require large amounts of food. Also, keep them well hydrated with clean water. Water is very important to reptiles because of their sensitive kidney system. The body waste of a lizard can be converted into harmful acid. So, water is needed by them to flush these harmful acids and toxins from their bodies.
Some wild and domestic lizards who have scales or thick skin need water to sweat and to remain hydrated. Therefore, just like humans, water helps to regulate their body temperature. To provide the right living environment for your pet lizard will depend on what species you are caring for. Different types of lizards enjoy different living environments.
To supply a good enclosure, the right size and type are important. There are specialized cages that are designed specifically for lizards with heating controls, lighting, and more. A large (10 to 20-gallon) tank or terrarium is good for pet lizards. The layering substrate material for most lizards can include shredded or rolled-up paper towels or plain newspaper.
You can also purchase natural-looking substrates that are made from coconut fibers or cypress mulch. Keeping them as pets is simple because they like moving around in their enclosures. They do not have any interest in coming out of their comfortable enclosure.
How Long Do They Live?
How long do lizards (Lacertilia) live? A lizard’s lifespan is based on its species. Herpetologists state that small lizards, in the wild have a short life, around 3 years. But when cared for by pet owners, their lives are more enriched thus expanding their lives.
The larger exotic lizards. i.e. iguanas, monitors, chameleons, etc. have been known to live from 50-70 years. Especially when they are cared for by humans as in a zoo. Lizards that are kept as pets can experience a long life span.
As a pet, they are given veterinary care and there are no predators to cause stress and they do not need to search for and try to catch their own food. Lizards can change the temperature of their body due to their environment which means they should have both a warm and a cool environment.
Some pet lizard species will live for up to ten years. Other species have shorter lifespans. And other species can live from 15 to 20 years. For the most part, their lifespan will depend on you as their pet owner.
The better care that you provide a pet lizard, or any animal goes a long way in their longevity. Providing the proper environment, the right foods, time, love, and quality general care will keep them living as long as is noted for their species in captivity.
Types of Lizard Pets
Just to name a few of the more common lizard pets include the following. As pets, they have even temperaments and they do not mind being handled by adults and children:
Beardies are between 12 to 24 inches and can live up to 15 years. Bearded dragons are omnivores. This species is highly favored as a pet. Beardies form a close bond with their owners which is why children love them.
Blue belly lizards:
Yes, these lizards have a blue belly. These cute small lizards grow to around 7 to 8 inches long with a life span of up to 5 years. Blue bellies are insectivorous. They make great pets whose maintenance is minimal.
Yes, their tongue is a beautiful blue to help frighten away predators. They are about 18 to 24 inches long and can live up to 20 years. Skinks are omnivores. They are friendly and calm.
They are around 8 inches long and live to about 20 years. Geckos are omnivores. Crested geckos make great friendly pets. Remember that they are most active at night.
They can grow to around 7 to 10 inches long with a life span of about 20 years. Leopard geckos are insectivorous. They are curious about you and seem to watch whatever you do. They are calm and gentle in nature.
The average adult is around 30 inches, with a lifespan of 20 years. Chuckwallas lizards are herbivores. Even though they look ferocious. Chuckwallas have a friendly temperament, which means they do not mind being handled.
As a particular type of reptile, lizards can be found all over the world. Thus their feeding habits will differ. In the wild and as pets, their nutrients come from what they ingest. As you can see, pet lizards have varying appetites or food options.
Pet lizards need the same type of nutrients from their diet as they do in the wild. Whether they eat lettuce, mice, or insects their little bodies need the right nutrients. Food for pet lizards will not always contain the right amount of nutrients they need.
As such, vitamins and supplements should also be provided. This will include calcium, vitamin A and other nutrients. Vitamin D will be provided through exposure to the type of lighting in their enclosures (UV lighting) that their species require. These nutrients like in humans, help their teeth and bones grow strong.
How Long Can a Lizard Live Without Eating?
Like other pets, lizards can suddenly stop eating due to illnesses. They are subject to parasites or infections within their bodies, as well as externally. They also will go into a molting season. Molting makes lizards go into hiding and stop eating. Molting happens once a year sometimes twice a year depending on your species.
For example, leopard geckos shed their skin because they are growing. Also, the breeding season for the males halts their desire to eat. Other circumstances that can cause your lizard to stop eating include stress or its habitat is not properly heated. When lizards go into their dormant process, it is their nature to conserve energy.
During brumation, reptiles do not eat or drink for several weeks. It must be stated, however, that pet lizards do not need to brumate. But if you see them trying to hide or bury themselves without eating or drinking, don’t be alarmed. They do this because it is in their nature.
Their natural instinct tells them that hibernating for a short period of time is the natural thing to do. Also, your pet lizard will very likely continue to eat, poop, and drink but less than it normally would. Whatever the cause please watch them closely and take them to a vet when you see noticeable changes.
When they refuse to eat the question then becomes how long can a lizard live without food?
The answer depends on the type of species you have as a pet. Mainly, the length of time a lizard can live without food depends on whether your lizard eats to store their food or is it only for nourishment for the moment. For example, adult leopard geckos can go without food for a month.
On the other hand, adult bearded dragons will only live for around three weeks if they do not eat. Also, garden lizards can live for several days without food but if they have access to water and a cool environment they can live a lot longer without food. Fat from their food source, as well as water, is stored in a lizard’s tail.
Lizards must eat regularly because they are growing and they need lots of energy. In simple terms, adult lizards can live longer without food than a neonate. In short, a lizard can live without food depending on its age, size, and species. The basic life span without food for a lizard is anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months.