Many people walk into a pet store and arbitrarily decide to
adopt a pet lizard without first thinking about the care and
time involved in actually keeping a pet lizard in the home. They
may not know or may not think about the fact that they will
have to buy not only the lizard but a lot of equipment in
order to keep their pet lizard healthy and happy.
Here is a checklist for the new owner that breaks it down to
simple, easy to follow instructions on what to get and buy
a lizard for your pet.
First of all, most pet lizards live an average of ten years,
much like your average dog. If you can't see yourself in ten
years still taking care of your pet lizard, don't buy one.
If you are a first time owner, picking the gentlest and most
easily tamed type of lizard is best.
Never buy a difficult to handle lizard if you are a first
time owner. Lizards can be dangerous and can cause serious
hand lacerations or even make you sick if you choose a very
nervous or aggressive species of pet lizard. Ask your local
pet store owner or pet breeder for advice on the types of
lizards that meet your criteria.
Try to buy your pet lizard from a reputable breeder of the
type of lizard you have chosen. There are breeding lizard
farms much like puppy farms, and if you buy one of those
lizards from a pet store the lizards are generally sick and
inbred, even if they look healthy. (Reptiles often don't
show illness - until they are dead. In the wild they are
usually prey for something, and showing weakness leads to
their becoming lunch for some other animal.)
Take your new pet to a good reptile vet for a check up after
the first two weeks of owning and observing your lizard, to
get the lizard dewormed and check on its overall health.
Here is some of the equipment you will need to keep a
Two dry aquariums of the size that will provide the most
space for your lizard after it is full grown. (Some lizards
reach up to five feet in length. Research the full mature
growth of a lizard before you buy a terrarium for it.)
* Two Full Spectrum UV lights and fixtures for your two vivariums.
* Tight covers for the two aquariums.
* Two heating lamps for your two vivariums.
* Four temperature gauge (thermometer) strips
* Two under-tank heating pads
* Two un-tipable water dishes
* Two Reptile Basking Rocks
* Two cave-like structures that will shelter your lizard
when it reaches its full mature growth
* Two to four climbing sticks and/or stones (depending on
what the lizard species prefers.)
* Enough landscape material to fill the bottom of the two
tanks to an inch and a half. This can be pea gravel (like a
fish aquarium has), sand (But keep in mind that sand can
kill your lizard if it gets a gut impaction from swallowing
it, so if you use sand, don't use it in the feeding tank.)
or backyard turf. Try to match your vivarium surroundings to
the lizard's natural environment as much as possible. You
may also need to add live or artificial plants to provide
more hiding places for your pet.
* One misting spray water bottle
* At least one gallon of distilled water
* One sifting scoop
You may be wondering why you need two tanks. The reason is
that when you are cleaning one tank you can safely stow your
lizard in the other clean tank. This cuts down on the stress
for the lizard, which is important since stress is a major
killer of pet lizards.
Never handle a lizard a lot. Lizards are a species that
prefers to be looked at rather than touched. Research the
correct temperature range for your lizard species and set up
and test the vivariums before you add the lizard. One side
of the tank should be for resting and drinking, the other
side should be for basking. Remember to set both tanks up
the same way.
Research the type of foods your lizard will eat. Most eat
crickets or meal worms with mixed veggies three times a
week. The water in the water dish should be changed every
day. Mist the lizard's vivarium once a day for humidity. We
suggest that you use distilled water so that the inside of
the vivarium does not spot. Never spray a lizard directly
unless it is having difficulty shedding.
Good luck with your new pet lizard. Be sure to check out our
other articles on pet lizards, especially the ones about
your chosen new pet lizard species.