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Salvator Tegu Care Guide

One of the most exotic types of lizards you can buy as a pet is the Salvator Tegu. What is the Salvator Tegu, you ask? Well, let's find out!

What is a Salvator Tegu? Salvator is a genus of lizards & Tegu is a species name for several lizards in the Salvator genus. Together Salvator Tegu is a term that is used to describe three different species of Tegu lizards: Salvator duseni (The yellow tegu), Salvator rufescens (The red tegu) & Salvator merianae (giant tegu).

To fully appreciate you need to know the full facts about this intersting Lizard. In this article I will break down all the facts about the Tegu, the different species and how you can care for one should you wish to.  

What is the Salvator Tegu's scientific name? And what other names do they have?

As you may or may not know, scientific names are the names that are given to all living things by scientists that classify those living things by their genus and species.

For instance, your scientific name, as well as mine, is Homo sapiens. Homo is the term for our genus, and sapiens is our species.

The scientific name for the Salvator Tegu, however, is a little bit confusing because Salvator Tegu is in itself made up of scientific terms. Salvator is a genus of lizards that was later renamed as Tupinambis.

However, in 2012, several lizards of the Tupinambis genus were renamed yet again back to their original name, Salvator. Tegu is a species name for several lizards in the Salvator genus.

And yes, I'm aware that all of that is a bit hard to wrap your mind around, but just know, in short, 'Salvator Tegu' is a term that is used to describe three different species of Tegu lizards. Those three species are as follows, with their scientific names first, followed by their more common names:

  • Salvator duseni - The yellow tegu, also called Duseni's tegu
  • Salvator rufescens - The red tegu
  • Salvator merianae - Known as the giant tegu, the black and white tegu, the chacoan tegu, or the blue tegu

There are other types of tegu lizards, as well. These are the tegus that retained the genus name Tupinambis. Just for fun, I will list those as well. They are as follows:

  • Tupinambis teguixin - The Colombian black and white tegu or the gold tegu
  • Tupinambis longilineus - The Rhondonia tegu
  • Tupinambis palustris - The swamp tegu
  • Tupinambis quadrilineatus - The four-lined tegu

Where is their natural habitat?

All the different species of Salvator tegu lizards can be found roaming all over South America. Specifically, they can be readily found in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

More recently, they have become what is known as an "introduced species" to the Fernando de Noronha Island and, in part due to irresponsible pet owners who let their pets go, the United States, specifically in Florida.

By species, the yellow tegu (S. duseni) is found naturally in Paraguay and Brazil. The black and white tegu (S. merianae) is found naturally in the south of Brazil, eastern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia.

The red tegu (S. rufescens) is native to Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Parana, which is an area in Brazil. The red tegu and the black and white tegu are the ones that can be found in the United States, as the yellow tegu is illegal to own as a pet, and therefore, has not been introduced to the US.

How big are tegus? How much do they weigh?  

On average, Salavtor Tegus grow to between three and five feet long; however, the males of the species have been known to grow even larger. They tend to weigh approximately eight to twenty pounds, though, again, males can become a few pounds heavier.

Males are also visibly stockier than the females of the species. They develop large, prominent jowl muscles.

What is the lifespan of a tegu?

Like many lizards, tegus can live quite a long time, so deciding to buy one as a pet is not a quick, just-for-a-couple-months investment. This is often where a younger lizard owner makes a mistake.

He buys a lizard such as a tegu or an iguana thinking it is a super cool pet to have and that it makes a really neat topic of conversation, but he does not consider that one day, he will grow up, move out, and create a new family of his own.

When he does finally grow up and move on, his pet lizard still needs a place to stay, but often, this newly adult pet-owner no longer wants the responsibility of taking care of something he bought on a whim as a teenager.

This leads to him releasing the lizard into the wild, into an ecosystem that was never meant to house him, which can have seriously damaging effects on both the lizard and the environment.

I said all of that to say this: if you are planning on buying a tegu as a pet, you need to realize up front that he is going to be with you for a long time. Wild tegus can live between fifteen and twenty years in the wild.

In captivity, they can sometimes live even longer if they are well kept, which means that owning a tegu is a decade long commitment at the very least.

Do not buy one a whim; unless you have sat down and really considered the commitment you are making to this animal, you should not purchase one.

What does the ideal housing look like for a tegu?

The first thing you need to know about tegus is that they grow, and they grow fast. This means that the relatively small aquarium you bought for your baby tegu is not going to hold him long.

When your tegu is a baby, a small tank works fine. Generally three feet by two and a half feet gives the little guy plenty of room to run around, dig, and explore.

In the wild, unlike iguanas and other lizards that enjoy living in the canopies of trees, tegus spend most of their time on or near ground level, and they love to dig!

This is an important thing to remember because it means that the tank does not necessarily need to be tall, but it does need to be very long and wide enough to give your tegu plenty of room to explore and dig.

Your tegu will quickly outgrow his baby tank, however. Check out this video below and keep your eyes peeled for the two minute mark, which shows a side-by-side comparison of a tegu at a month old and at ten months old. 

The difference is extraordinary, especially for such a short period of time. There is no way that the ten month old tegu in this video could fit into its baby enclosure.

At three years, your tegu will be fully grown. As has already been discussed, a full grown tegu can reach lengths of up to five feet and can weigh up to twenty pounds.

At this size, a much larger enclosure will be needed. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your enclosure is at least one and a half times longer than the length of your tegu, including his tail.

This means that for most tegus, the enclosure should be, at minimum, seven to eight feet in length and at least three feet wide. These dimensions are only the bare minimum, however.

If you have the room to house a larger enclosure, you definitely should. Tegus love lots of space, and the more room your tegu has to dig, the happier he is going to be.

Also, remember that tegus are not climbers, so if the walls of your enclosure are high enough (three to four feet), it does not necessarily need a top. This is great for people who want to create DIY tegu enclosures in their home.

It allows them to build what basically amounts to a fence on the floor, which is much easier to build than a four-walled enclosure.

Will tegus benefit from a hide box?

YES! In their natural habitat, tegus spend approximately eighty percent of their time in damp, underground burrows; these burrows aid them in shedding their skins.

It is imperative that your pet tegu have something that simulates these burrows.

Tegus need damp, moist hide boxes where they can keep themselves damp and moisturized. Tegus require a high level of humidity, and hide boxes filled with damp substrate are the perfect option.

The hide box needs to be large enough for your fully grown tegu to fit into, but it should also be snug, so that when your tegu hides in its hide box, it is surrounded by the dampness and the moisture.

This ensures that your tegu keeps a healthy level of moisture in its skin, which is tremendously important to your tegu's health, especially when it comes to the shedding process.

What is the ideal substrate for tegus?

There are really four different substrate options that are the best:

  1. Coconut Husk - This is readily sold in pet stores that sell lizards and lizard products. It is often marketed under the name Reptichip. This is basically just coconut shell that has been mulched. It holds humidity very well and is less dusty than many other substrate options.

  2. Eucalyptus Mulch - This is another great option for keeping in humidity; however, it should not be used in correlation with live plants.

  3. Cypress Mulch - This is yet another substrate option that is great at holding in the humidity that your tegu requires. It works especially well if you pour it on top of a soil mixture.

    However, if you do plan on using cypress mulch, make sure it is pure cypress mulch, not a mixture of cypress and other things, as sometimes, these things can harm your pet.

  4. Orchid Bark - Another popular substrate is orchid bark. Personally, I won't use it because most orchid bark mixtures are made of kiln-dried redwood.

    I don't like to use it because redwood is toxic to tegus; however, from all the information I've read, the process of kiln-drying the redwood supposedly removes the harmful toxins, making it safe to use. Again, I have not tried it myself, but it is a popular option that I often see mentioned.

While these are four of the most popular options for substrate, many people choose to make their own do-it-yourself substrate. The most popular 'recipe' for homemade substrate includes organic topsoil, sphagnum moss, play sand, peat moss, and shredded, damp leaves. I use this method myself, and it has always worked well.

Finally, the last note on substrate concerns keeping it clean. Visibly nasty or soiled substrate should be removed from your pet's home immediately. Otherwise, be sure to change the substrate out at least twice a month to keep it fresh and as clean as possible.

What lighting and heat needs do tegus have?

Tegus are tropical lizards, so they need a warm, humid home that mirrors their natural habitat. Ambient temps within the enclosure during the day should stay between eighty and ninety degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperatures should not drop more than five to ten degrees during nighttime hours. Tegus are most active during the daytime, so there should also be a basking spot available during the day whose temperature is between ninety five and a hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

There are several ways of heating tegu enclosures. The most common ways are through the uses of under-the-tank heating pads, ceramic heat emitters, and both regular and nighttime heat bulbs.

The nighttime heat bulbs are red in color, and thus do not provide the bright, daytime light that would throw off your tegu's day and night cycle. Heating lamps can be used, but they are not recommended as they can make the enclosure too hot and can also be dangerous. Heating rocks are never a good idea.

Like most other pet lizards, tegus also need a source of UV light available to them; getting at least twelve to fourteen hours of UV light a day is essential to their health.

Not all UV bulbs are created equal, so you should always buy UV bulbs from reputable companies who know about the needs of lizards.

Finally, do not be afraid to take your tegu friend outside! The best UV light comes directly from unfiltered sunlight, so taking your tegu out for a walk every now and then is not only okay, it is recommended!

Most pet stores, both online and in physical stores, sell harness and leash combos for larger lizards. Pick one up and take your friend for a stroll. You will definitely turn heads in the neighborhood.

What are the water requirements of tegus?

Water is an important part of any tegu's daily routine. Tegus do drink water, but the main use of water for tegus is to keep their habitat humid and to keep their bodies damp.

Because they are tropical animals, they are used to living in seventy to eighty percent humidity. Obtaining this level of humidity inside the house can be difficult, but it can definitely be done.

The first thing you need to do water-wise is to make sure whatever substrate you decide to use is mixed with enough water to make the whole mixture nice and moist. It should not be soggy or soaking, but it does need to be uniformly cool and damp.

You should also mist both the enclosure and your tegu multiple times a day. You can buy a cheap mister practically anywhere; fill it up and spray the habitat and your pet whenever you have the chance.

Finally, ensure that your pet's habitat is large enough to include a large, shallow pool of water. The pool should be long enough so that your pet can fit his entire body - tail included - in it.

The pool does not need to be deep, though. Making the water any deeper than your pet's shoulder is inadvisable. Keep the water fresh and cool; change it daily.

What do tegus eat?

If you are serious about becoming a tegu owner, then I suggest you visit this page and bookmark it; it is that helpful. I think it lists literally every food that is safe for your tegu to eat. I will hit the high points of the list here, though.

Tegus are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and plants. One important thing to remember is that meat that has been ground often loses many of its nutrients, so feeding your pet whole prey is best.

Also, never feed your tegu live food. Tegus in the wild certainly catch and eat live prey, but it is safer for your tegu if whatever it eats doesn't fight back. Remember: Fresh or frozen only!

Although your tegu will need a good mix of both meat and plants, younger tegus will need more meat than veggies while they are still growing; they need the protein. As tegus age, they eat less meat and more veggies.

Also, some sites I have run across recommend feeding your tegu dog or cat food. I highly disagree with this. Tegus are not cats or dogs; therefore, they should not be fed like cats and dogs. I'm not even going to go into the million reasons not to do this; I'm just going to tell you, don't do it.

Some great foods to feed your tegus are soft boiled eggs, whole fish, mice, baby chickens, turkey, venison, mango, papaya, most berries, kiwi, green beans, okra, collard or mustard greens, and squash.

Certain insects are great for baby tegus, as well. Again, visit the complete food list on Tegus From Around the World; you won't be sorry.

How often should you clean your tegu's habitat?

You should always check your tegu's home for feces or other messes and remove them immediately. We humans do not like to sit around in our own messes, and your pet doesn't either.

Other than cleaning messes daily, you should clean your pet's home once a week to keep it as clean and sanitary as possible.

However, tegus aren't incredibly messy animals, so if you miss a week every once in a while, that is okay. Never wait longer than two weeks to clean the tank, however, and try to keep the weeks you miss a cleaning to a minimum.

Substrate should be changed every two weeks at minimum. 

Are there any known health issues associated with tegus?

The most common health problems associated with tegus are dehydration, metabolic bone disease (MBD), scale rot, obesity, and respiratory infections.

While these do sound severe - and can be in certain cases - they are all mostly preventable by feeding your tegu a balanced diet, ensuring the temperatures in his home are at the perfect levels, keeping the humidity in the enclosure spot-on, and keeping fresh, damp substrate for him.

Signs of illness to watch for include sudden weight loss, drastic changes in appetite, changes in excrement, lethargy or listlessness, limping, swollen limbs, and coughing or wheezing.

If you notice any of these, take your tegu to see a vet immediately. Make sure you find out where the nearest exotic vet is to you when you first get a tegu. You never want to get blindsided by an illness and have no idea where or how to find a vet near you.

Related Questions

Are tegus dangerous? Like any animal, tegus can be dangerous, but only if they are mistreated or not trained properly. Despite their large mouths, strong jaws, and sharp teeth, tegus are unlikely to bite.

Other than the Columbian tegu, tegus are mild animals who do not mind human interaction. The biggest safety concern with tegus is that they can come to associate their owners with food.

When you handfeed your tegu, he can often start to see your hand as food, and he might accidentally bite you thinking you are food. Putting food into a separate cage and afterwards placing your tegu into the cage can help prevent this problem. You can also feed your pet with tongs instead of your hands.

According to Clint from Clint's Reptiles, tegus are one of the absolute best pet lizards. If you've ever watched Clint's videos, you know he is very open and honest about whether or not a particular reptile makes a good pet, so for him to put tegus at the top of the list is a good sign that these are safe, easy-going animals.

Which tegu is the smallest, and how big does it get? The smallest species of tegu is the gold tegu (Tupinambis teguixin), which grows to between two and three feet in length and weighs between seven and nine pounds. That doesn't sound very small at all, but as far as tegus go, it is actually the smallest of the bunch.

How many eggs do tegus lay? Female tegus usually lay anywhere between twelve and thirty eggs during their reproduction cycle. The eggs are leathery, not hard like the eggs of a bird.

All tegus lay their eggs in nests, although some tegus choose to lay their eggs in the nests of termites rather than building their own nests. The eggs generally take two and half to three months to hatch.

How big do red tegus get? While not the largest species of tegu - that honor goes to the Argentine black and white tegu - the red tegu (Tupinambis rufescens) grows to be quite large.

They can grow almost as large as their black and white relatives, with lengths reaching up to four and a half feet and weights reaching twenty pounds. They are large and powerful lizards but surprisingly docile.

Tegus can be excellent pets to have; they are mostly mellow and quickly grow accustomed to human interaction, especially if you get them while they are young and spend lots of time with them.

If you are thinking of getting a pet lizard, I highly suggest you consider the tegu. Just remember, they are long-lived, so choosing to become a tegu parent is a long-term commitment that shouldn't be entered into lightly.

I hope this post has helped you learn a few things you didn't know before visiting. Please don't feel embarrassed or frustrated if you still don't feel like you know everything you need to about tegus.

Tegus are rare and beautiful animals, but they do take some work. However, if you are willing to invest the time and attention into them, they will give you decades of love and companionship.

Are Monitor Lizards dangerous? (Full Facts Plus Black-Throated Specie Care Guide)

I personally find the Monitor lizard quite interesting, with such an array of different types, in particular the massive Komodo Dragon and popular Black-Throated Monitor. But before you head out to find one you need to understand the risks associated with them and the facts.  

Are Monitor Lizards Dangerous? In general, Monitor Lizards are dangerous. They are not the safest pets when forced to live with humans in captivity, and can be dangerous to own. Perspective buyers need to understand the commitment needed if they truly want to keep them as pets.

Obviously, this is a broad statement for a whole family of lizards, so I want to focus in on one particular specie, the throated Monitor and give you more facts on this topic, please read on.

In your quest to find an interesting, unique pet, you may have stumbled upon Monitor-lizards. Maybe you saw them in a pet shop, online, or at a friend’s house.

Maybe you saw videos of Komodo Dragon fighting on Animal Planet. No matter where you saw them, these animals give off an intimidating and intriguing impression. These characteristics can be quite attractive to many pet owners.

So, if you’ve found yourself interested in becoming the owner of a monitor lizard, what do you need to know? If you’ve never owned a large reptile, you probably have a lot to learn.

If you have before, there’s still a lot to know about owning and taking care of monitor-lizards specifically.

Why Are monitor lizards dangerous?

Monitor lizards are similar to many other reptilian pets. Unlike dogs and cats, these pets have not been domesticated for thousands of years. This means that their typical behavior is more similar to their natural, wild state. To be safe pets, monitor lizards require proper pet safety and education on the animal.

Monitor Lizards are therefore not always the safest pets when forced to live with humans in captivity, and can be dangerous to own. While typical pet lizards are kept in tabletop aquariums and fed crickets, monitor lizards grow much to large for such enclosures.

Depending on the subspecies of monitor, they can grow up to 7 feet and length and be aggressive creatures. Furthermore, some subspecies are considered even more aggressive than others, leading many reptilian pet experts to say they are impossible to safely keep as pets.

The exceptions to these considerations are the Savannah Monitor and the Ackies Monitor. Due to their small size, affordability, and comparably calm disposition, these subspecies of monitors are less dangerous than their supersized relatives.

But even the aggressive subspecies of monitors can be safely kept as pets, as long as the owner knows what they are doing. Proper diet, handling, and living conditions will keep your monitor lizard happy. A happy lizard is not usually a dangerous lizard, though accidents can happen

Are they safe to keep as pets?

Monitor lizards are quickly becoming popular for people seeking an exotic pet species. However, due to their naturally dangerous tendencies, large size, and acute intelligence, many species of these animals are not safe to keep as pets for most people. Monitors are especially unsafe for pet owners with little experience owning dangerous reptiles.

If you are just looking for a cool pet to show off to your friends, there are much safer alternatives. However, if you’re an experienced pet owner with the proper enclosure for such a large creature, you may be able to own a monitor lizard safely.

For the safety of the animal, monitor lizards require daily attention, proper diet, and, depending on the subspecies, a large enclosure.

If you’re willing to do the research, pay attention to the animal, and practice safe handling, monitor lizards can be safe to keep as pets. Otherwise, owning a monitor lizard can be dangerous for you and especially dangerous for the animal.

Is the Black-throat Monitor a popular pet?

The Black-throat Monitor is a fairly large subspecies of monitor lizard that is a native to Africa. The climate in this area maintains yearly temperatures at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Due to their relatively calm demeanor compared to similar sized relatives, the black-throat monitor is becoming an increasingly popular pet. While experienced and diligent pet owners can safely keep them, we do not recommend inexperienced reptile handlers to own these large animals.

Black-throat monitors can turn aggressive with humans, especially if they are not frequently handled. These lizards will slap their large tails, hiss, and puff up their body. Worst-case scenario, a Black-throated monitor will bite their owners or others. These behaviors are rare though, and they are usually calm pets, but it can happen.

How big is a Black-throat Monitor Lizard?

Black-throat monitor lizards, like other reptiles, are hatched from eggs. When young, they are quite small, which leads many pet owners to underestimate their adult weight. However, these lizards can grow to be some of the largest reptiles on Earth.

It is not unusual for a the Black-throat Monitor to grow to 7 feet in length from the tip of their tail to the tip of their nose. The largest of these animals can weigh up to 50 pounds, or the size of a golden retriever!

However, typical black-throat monitors will not grow to these huge sizes. Most animals will be around 3 feet and length, and weigh less than 15 pounds. Still, these animals will need large enclosures that give them enough room to roam around.

What is the best type of enclosure for a Black-throat Monitor Lizard?

If you decide that you can handle taking care of a black-throat monitor lizard, the next step will be to create an appropriate enclosure for the animal.

While young lizards can be housed in typical glass enclosures, the black-throat monitor lizard will quickly outgrow this undersized home.

We recommend that owners build their lizard’s adult housing, out of plexiglass or wood. Doing this yourself will allow you to curtail the size of the cage to your specific lizard.

The cage must be large enough for the lizard to roam around, stretch, and comfortably turn. If the lizard does not have enough room there are numerous negative consequences that will affect its health and demeanor.

First of all, it is cruel to house a large animal in a small enclosure. These animals deserve to be treated respectfully and kindly. Second, animals kept in uncomfortable living conditions can become more aggressive and dangerous.

Lastly, black-throat monitors kept in inadequate enclosures will be unhealthy and have a lower life expectancy.

If you are unable to provide a black-throat monitor lizard with housing of this size and specifications, then you should not purchase one as a pet. The small, young lizards will eventually become much, much larger.

What is the Black-throat Monitor Lizard's Scientific Name?

The black-throat monitor lizard’s belongs to the class reptilian, order squamat, family varanidae, and genus varanus. Its scientific name is Varanus albigularis microstictus.

This name describes its white throat, as well as its sometimes aggressive nature. Varanus is a word with Arabic origins that loosely translates into “warn” or “warning,” as in “warning, do not own this pet if you don’t know what you’re getting into.”

What other names do monitor lizards have?

Monitor lizards have numerous different subspecies with their own unique names. As previously mentioned, there are the Savannah Monitor and the Ackies Monitor, as well as the popular Black-throat Monitor.

One of the most well known species of monitor lizards, which should under no circumstances be owned as a pet, is the Komodo Dragon. These super massive lizards are ferocious predators that can grow to ten feet in length and weigh over 1000 pounds.

Komodo Dragons are apex predators found on islands in Indonesia. They are known to prey upon deer, pigs, and even cattle, utilizing their toxic saliva and super strong jaws.

Obviously, we highly recommend that you do not purchase a komodo dragon as a pet. It could eat you.

Where are monitor lizards found in the wild?

Species of monitor lizards are found all over the world. They are found in areas of Africa, all over India, in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, and beyond. 

Recently, as failed pet owners have began releasing captive monitors into the wild, natural sustaining populations of these lizards have been found in South Florida and Singapore.

The Savannah monitor, one of the most common species kept as pets, is found in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. This area includes Senegal and Sudan, and reaches to the Congo River.

In these areas, the lizard lives on the ground, and also sometimes bushes and trees. When threatened, Savannah monitors will shelter in burrows.

The Ackies monitor, another popular species for pet owners, is found in the northwest region of Australia. Also known as the spiny-tailed monitor, this smaller species of monitor lives in an arid area.

It spends most of its time living between rocks and boulders, but also ventures into outcrops.

The Komodo Dragon, which we think is the coolest species though it is completely unsuitable for pet ownership, is found mostly on the island of Komodo and surrounding islands in Indonesia.

This area is prone to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and wildfires. It is a harsh environment, even compared to this ferocious animal.

What is a monitor lizard’s typical lifespan?

Another aspect of monitor-lizards to consider before purchasing one as a pet is their lifespan. Whereas most pet dogs will live around 10 years, monitor-lizards have lifespans commonly exceeding 20 years.

This creates problems for pet owners at times, especially when their living conditions changes. If you decide to purchase a monitor lizard as a pet, you need to realize that it is a long term commitment that you are held to no matter your living situation. Do not purchase one of these animals as a pet if you are constantly moving homes.

Do monitor lizards need a hide box?

Many pet reptiles such as boas and ball pythons require hide boxes in their enclosures to be comfortable. This is because these animals feel more comfortable when they have somewhere dark and cozy to retreat to.

Monitor lizards, however, do not require a hide box. Their enclosure’s focus needs to be on providing enough room for the lizard, and maintaining a proper temperature.

What is the ideal substrate for them?

After building an adequate enclosure for your monitor lizard, you will need to decide the appropriate substrate for its cage.

Maintain the proper humidity and temperature are imperative for the quality of life and health of these animals. One of the most important factors affecting the enclosure’s temperature and humidity is the substrate.

Many species of monitor-lizards, including the popular savannah monitor, require a thick layer of substrate. For adult animals, the best substrate to use is soil.

This is because monitor lizards enjoy digging complex systems of burrows that can be quite long and deep. Sand is unsuitable for this activity, as it will collapse, even when moistened.

The soil in the cage can be potting soil, clay, or whatever dirt you have in your backyard as long as it is deep and can be tightly packed. In general, the substrate needs to be about 1.5-2 feet deep. It will require daily watering at appropriate amounts, avoiding pools.

Young lizards do not require soil of this depth, and can even live on smooth gravel, mulch, or moistened paper towels.

These young lizards often also enjoy plants and sticks that allow them to practice climbing.

What Lighting and Heating do they need?

Monitor lizards, like most reptiles, are cold blooded. This means that they require outside sources of heat to regulate their internal temperature. For monitor lizards, this means they need to spend about half of every day exposed to UVB lighting to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

While natural sunlight is undoubtedly the healthiest source of heat for your lizard, it is often times unrealistic as a consistent method of lighting and heat.

Sunlight can warm your monitor lizard on occasional walks around your neighbourhood, provided the outside temperature is appropriate and your lizard can be safely walked. Walking a 5-foot lizard down the street is sure to turn some heads!

When natural sunlight is not available, artificial lighting is the best alternative to keep your lizard warm. Sunlight coming through a windowpane is not appropriate or adequate.

Fluorescent light bulbs can give your animal the UVB lighting they require. The bulbs need to light the entire cage so that the entire animal is exposed. Be aware of how hot the cage is, and maintain a high enough temperature while avoiding burning the lizard with the hot bulbs.

Sometimes, artificial lighting sources will not be enough. In the wild, monitor lizards also receive a significant amount of heat from the Earth itself. You can imitate this in your enclosure by placing heating pads underneath the cage to warm the substrate.

Basking bulbs are another method of providing heat, and many species of monitor lizards enjoy them. Again, it is important that these lights are close enough to the animal to provide heat, but not too close so that they can burn their skin.

Within the cage, you want to have a warm side of the cage, the basking side, and a cooler side. The warm side needs to be around 100 degrees F and the cooler side needs to be around 75 F. This will allow the lizard to maintain the exact temperature it desires by going to the other side of the enclosure when it is too hot or too cold.

How much water do they need?

The amount of water your monitor lizard will require depends on the subspecies of monitor due to the variability of their natural habitats. Some subspecies will require wading pools or even swimming pools. 

Others will just need a water bowl to provide drinking water. If your lizard does require water to swim or bask in, you still need to be sure to have a separate source of drinking water.

The source of drinking water needs to be heavy enough to not be tipped over and spilled, or attached in a way that will prevent the large lizard from knocking it over.

How often do their cages need to be cleaned?

As we previously mentioned, monitor lizards are not easy pets to keep. One of the most difficult parts of maintaining these animals is keeping their enclosure clean.

Food and water bowls require cleaning every day with soap and water. Depending on whether or not your lizard uses them as a bathroom, wading and swimming pools may also need daily cleanings.

The substrate of the enclosure is likely where the lizard will defecate. You will be able to obviously notice your lizard’s bowel movements, and they need to be promptly removed to avoid disease and illness.

The entire substrate needs to replaced on a monthly basis at least to avoid mold, mildew, and indescribably bad smells.

All other material in the cage, such as rocks, sticks, or anything else need to be removed and cleaned on a regular basis. If you see any waste on these surfaces, remove them and clean them promptly.

What possible health issues should you be aware of?

Monitor lizards are tough as nails, and if properly cared for, they will likely live long, happy lives in captivity. Just like all other animals, though, these lizards can have natural health issues and can be seriously threatened by accidents, poor nutrition, and improper handling.

One common health issue for monitor lizards comes from improper heating and lighting. This often times can result in burns on the lizard’s body that are uncomfortable and can lead to dangerous infection. 

If your lizard is burned by its lighting, treat the burns with ointment and soapy water, then adjust the lighting to keep them out of reach from the lizard.

Another common health issue for monitor lizards comes from inadequate or improper diets. If fed the wrong diet, or excessively supplemented, monitor lizards commonly develop Calcium deficiencies and over supplementations, as well as Vitamin D3 deficiencies.

High stress in your lizard’s life can cause it to develop serious infections. This possibility is increased by unclean living conditions, and can result in loss of appetite and swelling. Both of these symptoms can seriously affect your lizard’s quality of life, and life span.

An important health indicator to monitor is how often your lizard passes waste. Though monitor’s bowel movements are tied to the temperature of its enclosure, these animals need to pass waste regularly to avoid digestion problems. If your lizard becomes constipated, it can result in an impaction or blockage, which can pose a serious threat to its health.

Broken tails are common with monitors, as they aggressively whip it when excited or threatened. Severely broken tails may require amputation, as monitor’s tails are not meant to naturally fall off like other lizards.

Broken claws can also result from natural activity or improper handling. Since their claws can be quite long and sharp, it is safer for you and your pet to keep them at a shorter length.

The last major thing to watch out for is cuts and scrapes. These can result from your monitor’s natural behavior, or improper handling. Small cuts and scrapes can be treated at home with ointment, soap, and water, but large cuts and scrapes may need veterinarian attention.

Are they a good pet for beginners?

Most species of monitor lizards are not appropriate for beginner pet owners. Inexperienced reptile handling can pose threats to the health of the lizard, and can result in injury to the owner himself or herself. 

This fact is especially true of monitor lizards, as they are large and powerful creatures that can become aggressive towards humans.

Monitor lizards also require diligent care to maintain a healthy diet and living conditions. This is a difficult habit to develop without previous experience.

Inexperienced individuals can manageably own some of the smaller species of monitor lizards, but it is imperative that you choose the right species, and research that animal’s living requirements.

Can you potty train a Monitor Lizard?

Monitor lizards are incredibly intelligent animals. As such, if you have the desire to potty train your monitor, it will likely have the mental capacity to do so.

Monitor lizards require proper heating and lighting, but as long as they know where to go to warm up, they can be allowed to walk around your house much like a dog or a cat (though, you may not want your monitor to be walking around if you have dogs or cats).

Some subspecies of monitors have a natural tendency to bury their waste. You can take advantage of this tendency by creating spaces in your home or its enclosure that allow it to dig. The lizard will likely find these places and choose to pass waste there instead of on your floor.

Can you own a Monitor Lizard in California?

California has some strangely strict laws determining the legality of possessing certain animals as pets. For example, hedgehogs and ferrets, which are commonly owned across the world, are illegal in the state.

Surprisingly though, these laws are not as strict when it comes to reptiles. Therefore, except for alligators and crocodiles, most non-venomous reptiles are legal to own in California, including monitors.

Can you own a Monitor Lizard in Canada?

Canada, opposed to California, has noticeably relaxed laws pertaining to exotic pets, and most of them are in place to prevent invasive species from infiltrating natural environments. It is therefore legal to own a monitor lizard in Canada, provide that it is not an endangered species.

How fast can a Monitor Lizard run?

Answer: With so many species of monitor lizard, the top speed they can run has a large degree of variability. Some of the smaller subspecies are relatively slow, and reach top speeds of less than 10 miles per hour.

Larger species, such as the komodo dragon, are a different story. They are known to be able to run down deer, and can easily outrun a human. Their top speeds can be over 20 miles per hour. Seeing such a large lizard run at such high speeds is a sight to see.

Final Thoughts

Monitor lizards are complex animals with very specific needs. Their enclosure must be the right size, have the correct substances and surfaces, and be properly heated and lit. Their diets are vastly important to their health, and neglecting this area can lead to serious health issues. They must always have clean drinking water.

But, if you’re up for the challenge, monitor lizards can be fun and interesting pets. So, if you’ve done your research and know you can handle them, a monitor lizard may be your next companion. Just don’t let it get too close to the cat!

There you have it. Did you enjoy reading and learning more about monitor lizards? If so, tell us what you thought in the comments below, and share the article with your friends and family (especially the ones thinking about getting a monitor lizard as a pet!).

How to Breed Leopard Geckos (Complete Guide with Videos)

Interested in breeding Leopard Geckos? Then you are in the right place, I will lay out how you get started with breeding. It will take some experience to perfect this, but with time and the correct knowledge you can master it. 

How do you breed Leopard Geckos? House and Pre-feed the Geckos mealworms and gut-loaded crickets, then Introduce the male to your female during breeding season, between January & September. This can sometimes lead to fights, especially if the female is young or not ready to be mated yet. It's best to take this slowly and to stay close so you can prevent injuries to your pets.

Obviously this is quite a high level view of how this should be done. To get the detail, such as the best substrate for their eggs and understand more about this, please read on.

What Are Leopard Geckos?

Leopard geckos, also called Leos, make excellent pets for beginner and expert reptile keepers alike. Easy to handle due to their docile nature and with simple maintenance requirements, leopard geckos are an undemanding and colorful addition to any reptile-loving household.

These sweet-natured and playful lizards are even calm enough to be handled by supervised children. Because of all their positive traits, many Leo owners quickly become interested in breeding them.

It's no secret that successfully breeding reptiles can be a challenge, but this simply isn't true for leopard geckos. Sometimes, if conditions are just right, they may even surprise you with fertile eggs without your help!

Even though it's easy to breed them, it's best to be fully prepared so your hatchlings have the best possible start and the parents remain healthy and vibrant throughout the process. Below, we'll discuss everything you need to know to start your new adventure as a responsible leopard gecko breeder.

Why would you want to breed a Leopard Gecko?

Leopard geckos are popular pets for all types of people because of their simple needs and unique, human-like characteristics. Unlike most lizards, they can blink their eyelids and they seem to truly enjoy the company of people. 

Often called a "starter reptile" they are arguably the easiest lizard to keep. Leos even come in a wide array of beautiful colors and patterns to match almost any taste.

And frankly, who can resist those adorable smiles? Families are especially fond of leopard geckos because of their long lifespans. Nobody wants to tell a child their beloved pet has passed away, so choosing one that can live as long as twenty years is a huge bonus.

Being low-maintenance pets means that their breeding needs are much easier to meet than other reptiles, and your costs will be minimal in comparison. 

Most importantly, with looser requirements, you have a higher chance of healthy hatchlings. That means happy clients, more profits, and a great reputation for you.

Of course, who says you have to sell your baby geckos? There are plenty of people who breed and raise them as a hobby or as a science lesson for their kids. If you have enough space, plenty of food for your geckos, and the time to care for them all, it could be fun to have a whole room full of them.

What is the ideal time of year to breed them?

You can attempt to artificially initiate breeding behaviors in your Leos if you have the time and are dedicated to it. However, you may increase your chances of a successful hatch—and reduce your efforts and intervention—if you follow their natural breeding timeline and habits.

Thankfully, leopard geckos have a lengthy breeding season, which gives you plenty of time and many chances to see babies. 

In the northern hemisphere, adults are usually ready to breed starting around January and going through September. However, some females may begin ovulating much later.

Ovulation depends on many factors, but the time of year they hatched has a big impact. Early hatchers may ovulate sooner and later hatchers can ovulate later in the season.

The natural start of the leopard gecko breeding season is easy to spot. When it's time, you may notice some new behaviors and changes in eating habits. If your adult male gecko suddenly refuses to eat or exhibits other odd feeding habits, it's likely due to entering the breeding season.

Some even refuse to eat through the entire process, but this is completely normal. Females will often demand more food and seem ravenous at feeding times—this is also normal. 

What is the ideal housing for their breeding?

While leopard geckos are simple to breed and may decide to do it without your help, you can increase the odds of success by providing an ideal breeding environment.

Home breeders often set up breeding enclosures that are still visually appealing to humans. Professional breeders, however, may choose a more utilitarian method like the one in this video. 

The most important aspect of a successful breeding environment is access to a moist hide box filled with damp bedding. Any clear plastic container works as long as it's at least 12 inches tall and has an access hole cut into the top or side.

Some breeders prefer peat or sphagnum moss inside the hide box, while others swear by vermiculite. Avoid sand, though, as this can cause a life-threatening impaction. 

Leopard geckos aren't picky, so choose something appealing within your budget. The main consideration for the hide box substrate is that it is damp but not wet enough that water can be squeezed out.

The damp substrate and enclosed space will keep the eggs moist until you can move them to an incubation box.

The final consideration for breeding housing is space. If you have multiple females living in the same enclosure, be sure to have several large hide boxes to prevent overcrowding and aggression.

What is the ideal size to consider breeding?

We know it's exciting to think about breeding your leopard geckos right away, but for their safety, it's imperative to be sure they are the right age and weight before you begin.

This is especially important for the females; breeding a young female can be hazardous to her health. 

Females generally reach sexual maturity around nine or ten months of age and a weight of 45 grams. That doesn't mean you should jump into breeding as soon as they meet those markers.

Egg production is taxing on the female's body; leopard gecko eggs are large and can be difficult for very young females to lay. Some experts suggest waiting until your females are at least two years old and in perfect health.

What food should you feed them?

It may be tempting to give your Leos fruits or vegetables to add variety to their diets, but they won't eat them. They are strict insectivores; their diet includes live insects such as mealworms and gut-loaded crickets.

Mature Leos don't need to eat every day. A hearty meal four or five times a week will keep them happy and healthy. They do enjoy the occasional treat of waxworms and superworms, but limit those to once a week.

For maximum health, dust their food with vitamin and mineral powder. You can also leave a small dish of calcium and vitamin D3 powder in the enclosure to let them choose how much to consume.

Water is vital to your geckos' health. Always leave a shallow dish of clean water in their enclosures. To keep live crickets from drowning in the water and creating a bacterial mess, place a large rock in the center of the dish.

Size matters! Be sure you feed the right size of insects to prevent injuries. Insects should be no longer than half the width of your Leo's head.

Just before the breeding season begins, pay close attention to your female leopard gecko's diet. She is going to need some extra help from you to be sure she's getting enough nutrients during this demanding time.

Breeding season is not the time to worry about females gaining too much weight. They'll need extra food, increased calcium, and extra vitamin D3 to stay in top shape throughout the breeding season.

Leaving a small tray of live mealworms dusted with vitamin powder in her enclosure will help ensure she's getting enough food and proper nutrients to lay viable eggs.

How do you introduce the male?

If you've decided to keep your male Leo in a separate enclosure most of the year, you'll need to introduce him to your female during breeding season.

This can sometimes lead to fights, especially if the female is young or not ready to be mated yet. It's best to take this slowly and to stay close so you can prevent injuries to your pets. 

Some breeders with larger populations prefer to move a single male between groups of three or four females. Others prefer to put one to four females into the male's enclosure.

It's up to you how you'd like to handle this, so consider the temperaments of each of your Geckos and stay close to observe their behaviors.

It's important to note that leopard gecko mating behavior can appear violent. There will be nipping, biting, and perhaps some tail whipping. Don't worry; these are normal behaviors.

It's still a good idea to watch for overly-aggressive reactions. Females are likely to be more receptive to meeting a new male if they are already ovulating.

In this video you can see a single female being introduced to a male in his enclosure. About halfway through you can hear the male begin to vibrate his tail inside the hide box, which is a great sign for breeding.

What is the "Harem" breeding method?

Harem breeding is a term that means one male Leo is matched to multiple females. As we mentioned above, some breeders will house many female leopard geckos together in one enclosure, then introduce the male. You can also let a male and multiple female Leos live together year-round if they get along well. 

While you can certainly pair off one male and one female successfully if they have the right temperaments, Leos are naturally harem breeders. As a pair, the female can quickly become worn out and overbred, while the male can become frustrated and aggressive. In either case, health can suffer and that will trickle down to their offspring.

Even in a more natural harem breeding situation, there can be complications. Females can live together with few issues for most of the year, but during breeding season they may become competitive.

In some harems, you may notice one or two females quickly losing weight or becoming less active due to competition from the other females.

How long does it usually take to see some eggs?

It can be hard to wait for your first clutch of leopard gecko eggs, but patience is a must. After a successful mating, it can take anywhere from sixteen to twenty-two days for a female to lay her eggs.

The process itself can take a week or more. If you plan to breed your leopard geckos, you must be willing to set aside time every day to look for the eggs. 

There are a few clear signs your females are about to lay eggs, so keep a close eye on them. Signs to look for include:

  • Excessive digging
  • Back leg tensing
  • Restlessness
  • Increased calcium consumption

This video shows more possible signs to look for. 

Since the breeding season is so long, you can expect each female to lay multiple clutches of eggs over the entire season. They may lay a single egg the first season, but will often lay two in each clutch thereafter.

How can you find the eggs?

Assuming you have provided a suitable moist hide box with the right substrate, your females will likely choose that location for their eggs. In a harem situation, all the females will probably choose the same spot to lay their eggs as well. Sometimes females may choose an unlikely place to lay her eggs, especially if this is her first clutch.

Regardless of where your females deposit their eggs, they are usually easy to find. First, look for areas of disturbed or scattered substrate.

The eggs should be half-buried, so one side may be clearly visible. Females may begin digging in one spot, then decide to move to a new one, so the presence of empty holes is a good sign that eggs will be coming soon or might be hiding elsewhere.

How do you safely remove the eggs?

Gecko eggs are not hard like chicken eggs. They will be slightly pliable but firm to the touch. They are almost leathery, so gentle handling is required to avoid damaging the delicate embryo inside.

If they feel wet or squishy, they're probably not fertile. However, don't throw them out yet. Give them a chance to develop; some are just a little slow to start. 

Wash your hands before handling the eggs to prevent the spread of bacteria. It's best to mark the top surface of each egg to be sure you don't accidentally change its orientation.

Embryos will adhere to the inner wall of the egg after a few short hours of being buried. Any change in orientation can kill them. Use a marker or soft pencil, being careful not to puncture the shell.

How do you prepare for the eggs hatching?

Leos don't require a lot of care as babies or adults, and their eggs are just as low-maintenance. The eggs need to be kept moist and warm, but many beginners take this too far, assuming they need to be hyper-vigilant.

The two biggest mistakes beginners make are keeping the eggs too wet and allowing the temperature to get too high.

The shells should never be wet. A properly setup hatching box should be like the hide box: a plastic container with damp substrate that water can't be squeezed from.

The perfect temperature is between 77 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Letting the temperature fluctuate is fine.

After all, leopard geckos have been laying and hatching eggs in the wild for thousands of years, and it's never a constant temperature outside.

Incubation can take two months or more. The exact time will depend on several factors, but the temperature is the most important. You may be waiting anywhere from thirty-five days to eighty-nine. Once again, patience is a must.

Aside from keeping the eggs in a properly warmed box and making sure they are not too wet or too dry, you only need to open the box once a week to allow proper oxygen exchange.

Don't move the eggs or allow other Leos to push them around or dig them up. It might be tempting to handle the eggs but try to keep your hands off. The only time you should touch them is if you plan to candle them to check for growth.

Where should you store the hatchlings?

Hatchlings may look tiny and delicate when they first emerge, but they are quite resilient. Obviously, you don't want to handle them roughly, but they're not like human babies where special care is needed.

You can keep your hatchlings in enclosures similar to those of adolescent and adult Leos. You can also house them in plastic shoeboxes or large Rubbermaid tubs.

As long as you maintain proper temperature and provide a moist hide box for skin shedding, any secure box, tank, or cage will do.

Don't feed your hatchlings right away. Like birds, baby leopard geckos absorb their yolk sac before hatching, which gives them all the nutrients they need for a few days.

After about four days, they'll shed their first skin. That's the signal for you to give your hatchlings their first baby crickets. In just a few weeks, your hatchlings will be fat, strong, and active.

Related Questions:

Are leopard geckos asexual? Asexuality is the ability for females to produce offspring without having to mate with a male. Some reptiles have evolved the ability to do this out of necessity—low male populations, for example—while others can reproduce asexually by choice.

The whiptail lizard of Mexico and the Southwest United States is one example of an asexual reptile. 

It's an interesting scientific phenomenon, but it's spurred a lot of misinformation around the internet. Because some species of lizards have evolved asexual behaviors, some people believe all lizards have. This is simply not true.

It is true that some geckos are asexual, but leopard geckos are not. Your female Leos will need a male to produce fertile eggs.

Do leopard geckos eat their eggs? Yes, they can eat their own eggs. They also eat their own skin after it's been shed. Both of these behaviors may be a bit unsettling to humans, but for reptiles, it's completely natural. Your Leos may display these behaviors for a variety of reasons.

Leopard geckos may eat their eggs if they're infertile. Since there are no babies inside infertile eggs, females are simply making use of important nutrients available in their environment. Some breeders argue whether Leos will eat fertilized eggs or not.

Those who believe they could eat their own fertilized eggs think it's due to feeling threatened or even a lack of calcium or essential nutrients in their diet. 

Keeping a clean enclosure and providing plenty of high-quality food are good ways to avoid egg-eating behaviors.

How many babies do leopard geckos have? Since leopard geckos can lay a new clutch of one to two eggs every fifteen to twenty-two days, each female could theoretically have eight to ten babies in a single breeding season.

It's easy to see how things could quickly get out of control in a harem breeding setup, so be prepared for egg incubating and hatchling care for a large number of Leos. 

This is not to say that every egg will be viable or that every female will always lay two eggs. Individual animals will have their own cycles and patterns. Keeping a log of ovulation, mating activity, egg laying, and how many healthy hatchlings each female has in a season will help you plan future hatchings.

Can you keep a male and a female leopard gecko together? Leopard geckos are generally solitary reptiles, but it's possible to house male and female leopard geckos together. A lot of your success will depend on the temperament of your geckos, the size of their enclosure, and a few other factors.

Tips to maximize successful cohabitation:

  • Only keep one male leopard gecko in an enclosure at a time. Males will fight if they must share a space.
  • When a single male is housed with multiple females, you must have a larger enclosure. You should provide enough space for each Leo to get away from the others. You should also make sure there are plenty of moist hide boxes to prevent competition for favored hiding spots.
  • Provide adequate food, water, and supplements for each gecko sharing an enclosure to prevent competition and food aggression. This is especially important just before and during the breeding season.
  • Be ready to separate leopard geckos that don't seem to get along, and only house similar-sized geckos together.

Can leopard geckos lay eggs without mating? Yes, female leopard geckos may still lay eggs even if they haven't been bred to a male. Not all females will lay eggs, but they will all develop eggs during ovulation. 

Many female Leos absorb the unfertilized eggs back into their bodies. Some, however, will go through the motions as if they had been bred. As long as your female was not exposed to a male during ovulation, any eggs she lays will be infertile and will not hatch.

If you're uncertain whether your female was bred to a male, you can often tell if an egg is infertile just by looking at it. Infertile eggs will be softer. They can be almost squishy or floppy, like a deflated balloon. Some can even have a shriveled appearance.

How long does it take for leopard geckos to mate? It would be nice to have a solid answer to this question, but since Leos are living creatures, they have their own ideas about how things should work.

Generally speaking, leopard geckos will mate within a week of being introduced to one another, assuming it's mating season and the female is ovulating. The act itself only lasts a few minutes, so you may not even witness it.

If your leopard geckos haven't mated after a week, try not to worry. If they're getting along, it's okay to leave them together for longer. If, however, they're fighting a lot or you're afraid they may injure each other, separate them and try again in a week or so.

After multiple unsuccessful mating attempts, it's worth checking to be sure you've sexed them properly. Remember that males will fight one another, especially during the breeding season.

Since it can be difficult to properly sex a young leopard gecko, you should check again when they're older. 

Conclusion

By now you should have a good idea what to expect if you decide to breed your leopard geckos. It's a fun, exciting, and educational process that can earn a nice income or fill your home with adorable smiling gecko faces.

It's especially fun to try out new combinations of colors and patterns to see how the offspring turn out. Who knows? You may even create a whole new morph!

We'd love to hear from you in the comments. What was your favorite part of this article? Do you have experience breeding leopard geckos? What worked for you and what didn't?

If you enjoyed this article or you know someone who would appreciate it, feel free to share it.

How to Setup a Lizard Vivarium for a Crested Gecko

If you are interested in a Crested Gecko, or just become an owner, it's important to understand how to setup the best vivarium for them, as well as some other important care tips.

So, how do you setup a lizard vivarium for a Crested Gecko? You need 72-82 degrees of heat from UV lightbulbs and locate it in an area without excessive heat. In addition provide water, insects, crickets, mealworms, fruit, waxworms and good substrate. 

In order to setup the vivarium correctly you need to understand more about the Crested Geckos and exactly what is required in the vivarium, let me explain.

Crested Gecko Facts

Also known by its scientific name Correlophus ciliatus, You will find plenty crested geckos in warm climates, especially in South America and Florida. They are similar to iguanas and chameleons.

This is a reptile that is small in size but great in hunting. This lizard works well alone, and as long as their food is in place along with sunlight, they are happy for a long time. Crested geckos are a tan color that sometimes changes according to where they live.

They love to run and move about faster than what pet owners might expect.  They survive away from stressful things and try to limit their altercations with animals and other crested geckos.

A Crested Gecko is one of the most popular lizards in the world. These reptiles have wonderful qualities that gains the attention of those who want a pet. In fact, they are bite-sized lizards that are great in color and in survival.

With that in mind, crested geckos survive with only limited food supplies around them. To top that off, they learn to adapt to a stress-free environment. Crested geckos are easily noticed and have a unique way of keeping themselves alive. Whenever these reptiles are fully taken care of, their tails never drop. In actuality, a pet owner will be amazed at how they can be great company.

You will find these little reptiles to be cute and dependable on their owner. That will motivate anyone to do the right thing and provide all the necessities they need to have a great life. In turn, you will find that crested geckos will begin to respond better whenever they know that you are their owner. Crested geckos will be a great way for your children to learn responsibility. In the long run, the introduction to your reptile will be rewarding.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Crested Gecko?

The life expectancy of a crested gecko is around 15-20 years. Of course, you can't purchase them in the winter time because of their hibernation timings. I assume that you want your pet to live as long as possible.

With that being said, it is best to prepare for your little pet to expand on their life expectancy. The crested gecko will live past the 20 years if it is in a stress-free environment that provides great basking fundamentals, water, and food.

Crested geckos can easily maximize their life expectancy if the pet owner continues to pay attention to their needs.

How Much Do Crested Geckos Cost?

Of course, these little reptiles can cost quite a bit of money. However, they make wonderful pets for kids. On the average, crested geckos can cost anywhere from $20-$300. Ultimately, the price tag depends on the color, age, and size of the crested gecko.

On occasions, you can purchase a crested gecko for less than $20. It depends on where you choose to buy your pet. I would recommend choosing a tropical place to purchase my gecko, but you have to try to provide the same heating and environment that they are used to.

During the winter, it's harder to find crested geckos because of pet owners purchasing them in the spring and the summer months. It's almost impossible to purchase them in the winter because they are not used to extremely cold temperatures.

Basically, you have to wait until the right season to purchase these reptiles. If you ship them during the winter, they won't survive the cold temperatures. It's best to try when the spring is getting ready to be summer. You should be able to order them on the Internet and have them delivered within the first week of purchase. 

Are Crested Geckos Good Pets For Beginners?

These reptiles don't require a lot of food to survive, but they do require a lot of sunlight (Click here: reasons why lizards are good pets). As long as you take care of them properly, they stand a good chance of avoiding sickness and disease. 

Vivarium Setup

What is the difference between a Vivarium and a Terrarium? Terrariums are considered to be a plant house that is full of life. this aquarium can be looked at as a miniature green house. Inside of a terrarium, plants need a lot of sun and water to survive.

Mostly, terrariums are great for creating a mist that is similar to a rainforest. This will keep all your plants alive and doing well. Whenever a lizard is placed inside of a terrariums, it changes to a vivarium.

The difference is the added items placed into a vivarium to keep the animal alive as well. In other terms, the difference between the two is the fact that a terrarium doesn't necessarily have to have an animal inside of it in order for it to be a great addition to your home. 

What Kind Of Substrate Do You Need?

Most of the time, crested geckos love substrate that is room temperature. You can start by adding sphagnum moss and mulch-type of sand. I would make sure that the sand is thin.

I wouldn't want the lizard to walk on clumps of substrate. It needs to be comfortable for them and feel like the grounding in a forest. I would not change the substrate too often. 

What Heating Is Required?

Mainly, the heat comes from the lights. You have got to make a great guess with how much you need at one time.

For example, your lights will produce heat for the crested gecko and needs to be no greater than the mid 80s. If there is too much heat, they will hide. If you see your gecko doing this, you need to check the temperature of the bulbs.

I would advise you to buy lights that will shut off if they go above the temperature that is required.

How Often Should You Clean Out The Housing?

In actuality, you need to clean out theri housing daily. Similar to a dog, you are expected to clean dishes and bowls that are inside of the vivarium that may have leaked into other parts of it.

It's best to clean every day and pay attention to what is going on with your crested gecko. I would recommend that you deep clean the tank once per month.

The substrate should to be changed once per month. You don't want your lizard to walk around in harmful debris from their waste or from mold on food. Quite naturally, the lizard will hide when it is afraid of the vivarium's atmosphere. Try not to wait for it to get that bad.

What Is The Best Location For It?

I would suggest that you set up a terrarium or vivarium in a low heated area in your home. Due to the heat generated from the lights.

Natural sunlight is best for your crested gecko, but obviously it will be hard to guarantee this in captivity. That's why you have to have lighting in the first place.

What Lighting Will You Need?

As discussed earlier, it's best to have UV bulbs that reach a temperature of 72-82 degrees. This keeps them happy and stress-free.

Without those bulbs shining 10-12 hours per day, their tail begins to drop. If that happens, the crested gecko has reached its highest level of panic. 

What Food Do Crested Geckos Need?

Primarily, these small reptiles eat insects, crickets, mealworms, fruit, and waxworms.

Particularly, the crested gecko eat kiwi, strawberry, banana, and apricots before any other types of food. Crested geckos only eat 2-3 times per week. In turn, that will keep the cost of keeping them at an all time low. You can maintain their little homes by implementing food sources in the cage.

Also, they love to drink sips of water. There is never too much in a small sip. Therefore, you can spray the cage with distilled water two times per day. I would leave a cap full of water for them to drink two times per day as well. .

What Are Their Water Requirements?

As previously discussed, crested geckos only drink a cap full or two of water per day. Moreover, the gecko becomes comfortable with their surroundings and will not feel like they are overwhelmed with a lot of water around them.

Preferably, if you sit the cap full in front of them, you can watch them drink water immediately if they are thirsty. 

Are There Any Supplements For Them?

There are supplements for crested geckos. In fact, owners can keep an eye on these critters, especially when it comes to their appetites. The supplements would have to have calcium and a small multi-vitamin in them.

This will help them find food similar to what they have taken while enhancing their food's taste. Specifically, an owner can place the supplements in their food and water to prevent them from becoming ill or severely stressed.

A healthy crested gecko will relax even when you pick them up. 

What Is The Ideal Size Vivarium For Baby Crested Geckos?

A crested gecko will be comfortable in a 20 gallon vivarium, but the catch is the vivarium has to be tall. For those who are not the greatest with mathematics, you would have to go by height.

The biggest that I have seen is around a 180 gallon vivarium. Because crested geckos are small, there vivarium doesn't need to be too large. It may contribute to them being afraid of their environment.

In other words, I would make sure that it is small but has enough room for it to move around in. 

What Plants Will You Need In There?

The plants that are used to house crested geckos are dwarf umbrella trees, tropic Marianne, neorgelia zoe, fireballs, peperomia cubensis, croton, and white butterflies. 

What Is The Difference Between A Crested And Leopard Gecko?

Scientist believe that crested gecko and leopard geckos are similar. In detail, leopard geckos look like they have a happy appearance to them. In other words, they look as if they are smiling all the time.

Leopard geckos can easily be spotted because of all of their spots. On the contrary, they can hide from their predators because of those spots. The two share a body frame that looks the same, however, crested geckos are smaller than leopard geckos.

It helps them to blend in with their surroundings. They love to camouflage when they are afraid of being alone. Leopard geckos are not great climbers.

It is best to have substrate that is thin and comfortable to them. There is reptile carpet available for leopard gecko. Although other lizards cannot grow their tails back, leopard geckos make the exception.

Crested gecko are known for jumping. They are not too excited to be held which is the opposite of a leopard gecko. Crested geckos love calcium bowls in their vivarium. They require more water than a leopard gecko. Leopard geckos love to have control around water, but crested geckos like mists sprayed in their vivarium. Leopard geckos would rather drink water off of the leaves in their tanks than out of a bowl.

Crested geckos love to jump to see how high they can jump from leaf to leaf. Leopard geckos stay on the ground. Leopard geckos like to walk around more than crested geckos. .

You will understand why leopard geckos and crested geckos require different tanks. Both types of lizards are nocturnal. There is another fun fact about these lizards that I will share with you. Leopard geckos have eyelids and crested geckos do not have eyelids. Instantly, they can surprise you with a blink!

Conclusion

Crested geckos are perfect little reptiles that a pet lover will easily take care of. With their distinctive eyes and sandy scales, these reptiles are sure to bring curiosity and adventure into your home. 

What Does a Garden Lizard Eat?

A garden lizard is a reptile that you may see in trees, grass, and shrubbery. In warm climates, these reptiles multiple and stay quiet and observant. In this article we will discover what they eat and more.

What Does A Garden Lizard Eat? These outdoor survivors eat snails, insects, crickets, caterpillars, and small bugs. In fact, the best diet for them includes what has been mentioned along with leafy greens and fruits. Normally, garden lizards eat small portions throughout the week. 

Understanding what this lizard eats is just one part of the story, you need to know their lifespan, other weird names they have how to care for them and more. If that interests you read on.

How The Garden Lizards Diet Helps Us

Although they come in many different sizes and shapes, the garden lizard stands out with its thick and scaly body. To top that off, the garden lizard will keep the count of insects down that could cause harm to your house.

If the climate changes from warm to cold, these reptiles are already prepared. Garden lizards store food in the ground or in the mud. 

Ideally, if you leave fruit and lettuce on your patio, you will see a lot of garden lizards during the hottest months of the year.

What Is The Garden Lizard's Scientific Name?

Scientifically, garden lizards are called "Calotes Versicolor." The reason why this name was given to the garden lizard was to show how well they adapted to their environment and know how to survive with limited food sources.

There are many more types of lizards that are apart of the world of reptiles but the garden lizard is close in nature with the chameleon. There is no other lizard that learns from their environment like this particular group of reptiles.

These scales help to protect them in the grass and shrubbery from being attacked by other animals. 

What Other Names Do They Have?

These crawling reptiles have other names that science goes by. In detail, their alternate names aren't used as commonly as the name garden lizard, but in some places, these lizards are called changeable lizard, oriental garden lizard, eastern garden lizard, and agamid lizard. 

I have noticed that garden lizards have a color that blends with anything that you can grow in a garden. In other terms, they can blend with their surroundings if they are in a garden or are eating and can't watch out for a predator. 

What Is Their Natural Habitat?

As mentioned before, garden lizards live in trees or grass. Hypothetically, these reptiles love to warm up in the sun in China, Asia, and Mexico to cover up when the sun goes down.

Garden lizards love to have water near to make sure they don't dehydrate. If cold climates are around the garden lizard, they will hide underground or rocks where warmness is still present.

Because tropical places hold warmness in the ground, garden lizards don't appear during cold fronts. That's why they learn how to live in the ground as well as land. 

Primarily, garden lizards are important in a vegetable garden because they lessen the population of insects. This will keep a clean and healthy during the spring and summer.

There are many places in the world that offer window seals. Lizards love flowers that are on window seals. In most countries, you can watch a garden lizard climb to the window seal and have a few petals and insects for lunch. If you have lots of flowers in the spring, you should expect to see garden lizards.

How Big Is A Garden Lizard?

Typically, this reptile stays small in size but will not be any bigger than 8 inches long. Most garden lizards are 10cm and usually stay that size. That's close to 4 inches, but they have been noted to grow bigger than that.

Occasionally, the male garden lizards grow bigger when it is time to breed. Male garden lizards have a large spiky head to help maintain their territory. Lizards have tails that can grow up to 35 cm.

On www.sanctuaryasia.cim, You will see the garden lizard more across Asia that in any other place. Females have a change in their color during breeding season that is much lighter than the males. The male garden lizards are much bigger than the female garden lizards. In nature, the two are easy to spot and easy to decipher between the two of them.

How Long Is A Garden Lizard's Lifespan?

Garden lizards have a lifespan of 1-30 years. Typically, the average lifespan for them is around 10 years. They can live past those ten years if they learn their adaptation. Garden lizards enjoy the climates and learn to work together in order to live longer. Also, they can survive simply by drinking water and staying cool.

Specifically, the garden lizard can live for weeks without eating. In captivity, most garden lizards live for about 5 years. 

I would suspect that garden lizards who are captured are afraid of their new surroundings. For those pet lovers that have trapped a garden lizard, if you see the garden lizard not eating, I would free the lizard with lettuce and a few berries. That way, you would be saving the life of a reptile.

Are Garden Lizards Poisonous?

Particularly, garden lizards are not poisonous. They don't carry any poisonous blood or venom in them. However, garden lizards are connected to reptiles who are poisonous, but it doesn't affect their lives. Believe it or not, the garden lizard is harmless.

Garden lizards give off signals whenever they are trying to warn another animal or a human. 

Will They Benefit From A Hide Box?

A hide box is not beneficial for the garden lizards, because they need to be in the open and away from cats. If a person is interested in lizards, you have to have a garden or have your own pots of flowers in the backyard or front yard. That will definitely interest the garden lizard.

Do Garden Lizards Lay Eggs?

Garden lizards lay eggs to reproduce. They usually store their eggs underground and use grass as a supply of water and food. If all possible, they will love for their food near or in a home garden. Most lizards are out during the day to look for food, but they always cover their eggs up before they are out of their sight.

It is amazing to see how a lizard recalls where they live. In actuality, they are reptiles of instinct. Meaning, they will come back and check to see if all lizards are hatched from the eggs at the right time. If no food is available, garden lizards will bury their eggs near a tree or a bush.

Theoretically, this is their way of helping the newly born garden lizards to find food as quickly as possible. These reptiles will dig a hole at least 1-5 inches deep to bury their eggs inside of the whole. 

Do Garden Lizards Bite?

Surprisingly, garden lizards do bite, but because they are not poisonous, if a person is bitten, it won't interfere with their lives too much.

Specifically, if a person is bitten by a garden lizard, it may look like a scratch. It can be dressed and first aid can be used if needed. Garden lizards don't attack to bite, they have to feel like they are in danger in order to react that way.

For many reasons, garden lizards love to be outside. It's not a good idea to keep them as house pets, because they don't like the adjustment that has to take place.

If you try to capture a garden lizard, the chances are it will escape and hide in your home. To avoid that whole situation, you should make them a home outside of your home. That's what I would do. 

Overall, it may be a great or heartfelt suggestion, but if a garden lizard is kept in its natural habitat, its lifespan is much longer. Therefore, they wouldn't make great home pets. In some cases, garden lizards are kept in the zoo and aquariums for people to see them. 

What Is The Ideal Housing For A Garden Lizard?

The ideal housing for a garden lizard is a forest, shrubbery, trees, flowers, under rocks, and in mud near water. Most garden lizards have to be coaxed into trusting you if you want to keep them in the house.

At first, you can set up a hide box outside with food underneath it. It will allow a garden lizard to eat the food that you offer without any stress. After a while, the garden lizard will continue to grow and grow.

How Often Should You Clean Out Their Housing?

When in an aquarium, their homes have to be cleaned out twice per month. Fresh food has to be placed in the aquarium along with a small dish of water. If you choose to place them in an aquarium, I would suggest making this new home very comfortable. It's hard to be in the wild for a while, and then, you are in an aquarium.

I would pick and choose my battles carefully. In other words, you could make the aquarium larger to give the garden lizard a chance to move around and breathe.

If the surroundings aren't comfortable for the garden lizard in an aquarium, they will stop eating. If that occurs, I would go ahead and free them in the woods or near a plant. 

Can Garden Lizards Change Colors?

Previously mentioned, garden lizards are like chameleons. They do come in different shades of green, but they can't change color like a chameleon.

A garden lizard chooses to remain immobile to blend in with its surroundings. They can't be spotted very easily during this time.

Do Garden Lizards Have Teeth?

Garden lizards do have teeth, and I feel like anyone should be frightened by them. For that reason, it isn't best to aggravate the reptile. They use their teeth to find food and pinpoint their prey.

Basically, their teeth grip their prey until they are able to be captured. Their teeth aren't that long to the human eye, but in the eyes of their prey, they are vicious. Lizards are able to regrow teeth if they fall out.

What Are Their Water Requirements?

Garden lizards only have to drink small amounts of water. They can't be surrounded by water that could cause them to drown. Without a question, garden lizards are careful to not fall in puddles of water. Hence, if you choose to keep one as a pet, I would suggest that you keep an eye on the response that the garden lizard gives when it is surrounded by water in an aquarium. 

Are They Good Pets For Beginners?

I wouldn't recommend having a garden lizard as a first pet. Clearly, there is a lot of upkeep with them.

In general, I think pet lovers should start off with a pet that doesn't require a lot of upkeep. Eventually, a garden lizard could be a future pet, but I wouldn't rush into it.

If your child is wants a smaller pet, I wouldn't suggest  a garden lizard. An adult should be supervising over them. I wouldn't leave it up to the child to take care of a garden lizard. In some cases, they may forget to feed them.

Are There Any Known Health Issues They May Get?

Garden lizards can develop fungal infections, mouth rot, cold and respiratory infection. As well as the risk of mites and ticks, and worm diseases. Like most pets. they can become sick if they are not properly cared for. 

In addition to those infections, they may sneeze, cough, hack, wheeze, and nasal discharge. Fungal infections they can endure are usually on the surface of the skin.

If any of these infections occur, I would clean the entire aquarium out, and take the lizard to the veterinarian immediately. ​

I would recommend that you disinfect your lizard's tank at least once a year.

Remember this. a humid environment helps them feel more relaxed. If a humid atmosphere is not available for a reptile, it could lead to dehydration or worse.

If you ever come across one with symptoms of sickness, I would leave food where they are and be a good Samaritan and call your local veterinarian. When at that point, the veterinarian may suggest disinfectants that have to be sprayed in and around your home.

Specifically, the mist serves the purpose of a natural disinfectant for garden lizards. I would be an advocate for those who are wanting to keep a garden lizard if they build a misting system for them in their aquarium. Other than that, I would have flowers, bushes, and trees outside of my home like I mentioned before.

What Lighting And Heating Do They Need?

You can use UVB lights to help the lizard adapt to being in an aquarium. This method helps them feel like they are basking in the sun. Garden lizards also sit in the sun to digest their food. The lighting and heating depends on the seasons. If it is cold outside, the garden lizard likes warmer temperatures.

I would suggest making the aquarium comfortable to encourage garden lizards to grow. Garden Lizards love the sun so much that they will sit in it all day long. In reality, it helps the reptile produce vitamins.

The results of having a good amount of vitamins in their system is noticible when they shed their skin and have a new coat for all to see. If you can create a home for garden lizards, I would definitely study solar lights. 

The most awesome instinct that they have is the ability to adapt to temperatures around them. Unlike humans, garden lizards can warm up in the winter time without having to be covered. Garden lizards are even smart enough to gather leaves for their own dwellings. 

The Conclusion About Garden Lizards

It is evident through science and technology that garden lizards protect and keep flowers and crops from being completely ruined by insect invasion. And in turn are a great asset to us, whether that be as pets or in their natural habitat.

Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink: Care, Facts, Information (with videos)

 

 

 

 

 



 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How to Choose the Best Lizard For a Beginner (Includes Videos)

Lizards make amazing pets, but there are so many choices it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. Thats why I a going to make life easier and straight up tell you what I believe is the best, and why.

What is the best Lizard for a beginner? In my opinion, it's the Crested Gecko, closely followed by the Water dragon and Uromastyx

Obviously my choices are subjective, so let me explain, using a detailed comparison, why I have come to this conclusion, read on.

What Makes a Good Beginner Lizard?

The best lizard for beginners is one that is relatively easy to care for, relatively hardy to handle, and one that you will enjoy. With that in mind, it makes sense to learn the basics about a few different types of lizards so you can decide which one is right for you.

What things should you consider for your lizard?

Before purchasing a lizard there are several things you should consider. Your lizard will spend the vast majority of his day in his habitat, so it needs to be made for him. 

Some lizards, like Water Dragons, are relatively easy to care for, but they do require a larger tank than a small lizard. This means spending more money for the tank and materials initially, and it also means spending more to clean and replace the substrate when cleaning.

It also means the tank will take up more room. You need to be sure you have a proper area to keep the size tank you are considering.

Another consideration when getting a lizard is its dietary needs. Many lizards require live food, such as crickets or mealworms, as part of their diet.

If this is not something you want to deal with, get a lizard whose diet does not require these. Trying to keep an omnivore healthy and happy solely on a commercial diet is difficult and not fair to the lizard. Fortunately, there are many varieties of lizards that do well on a vegetable-only diet.

If you want to really interact and handle your lizard, you will want one that is normally active during the day. You can enjoy nocturnal lizards, they typically get active around dusk, but if you want something to interact with throughout the day, it makes sense to select a lizard that operates on the same schedule as you.

On the other hand, if you are a night owl, you may enjoy a lizard who is just starting his day around the time you are winding down.

Once you have decided what lizard you want, but before you purchase it, it is important to set up its habitat. It can be tempting to try to do this all at once, but that will stress both you and your new pet.

Instead, get the materials needed to set up the habitat, arrange it how you like, and make sure it fits where you have it planned in your home. Once you have the lighting in place, check the temperature several times during the daytime and nigh time hours to be sure you have everything adjusted correctly. Only then are you ready to bring your lizard home.

My Top 3 Choices

My three popular choices for beginners are:

  • The Water Dragon
  • The Crested Gecko
  • Uromastyx.

Each of these lizards makes delightful pets and you really cannot go wrong with any of them.

Some things to think about are how much interaction you want with your lizard, how comfortable you are feeding a live diet, and how much room you have for a habitat.

This may seem like a lot to consider before heading out to purchase your lizard, but these are things worth thinking about.

Lizards can live 10 or more years, so it is important to take the time to select the species that will fit in best with your needs and abilities. Lizards are fun pets, and you will get a lot of enjoyment from seeing it thrive in its new home.

Why Did I Select These Choices?

There are benefits and drawbacks to each, but by learning a bit about each one you can make the best choice for your situation.

Water Dragons

Are diurnal, or more active during the day, they make a good choice as a pet, as it is easy to enjoy them. Water dragons are social and large enough to handle easily, without being so large they require a hard to manage habitat.

Water dragons have been kept as pets for a good while, and are readily available. Because they are relatively common pets we understand how best to feed and care for them.

This makes it easier for a beginner just starting out. Some less common reptile species come with a variety of conflicting opinions on feeding and habitat, which can be stressful for the new pet owner.

The fact that Water Dragons are relatively common also means that you have your choice of places to make your purchase and will have no trouble finding one once you get your habitat set up.

Crested Geckos 

This lizard makes a good choice for beginners for several reasons. They are small, staying under five inches long at maturity, gentle natured, and easy to feed. They are timid, and their small size and propensity for shedding their tail means they should be closely supervised when being handled by children.

Crested Geckos were once thought to be extinct, but through careful breeding, they have flourished. More experienced caretakers that are involved in breeding have bred for various characteristics, such as different colors and patterns.

Crested Geckos are easy to feed and flourish in typical household conditions. For someone intimidated by the thought of setting up a specialized habitat with a tightly controlled temperature gradiant and specialized basking spot, the Crested Gecko is the perfect choice.

The Uromastyx 

is also active during the day. They do well on a diet of vegetables and commercial supplementation, so make a good choice for individuals who want to avoid live feedings.

They have a docile and friendly nature, which makes them a good choice for someone new to reptiles. They are also large enough that they can tolerate inexperienced handling.

They do require a larger habitat than other beginner-friendly reptiles. They can also be difficult to source, which may be drawbacks to the beginner reptile owner.

They are only beginning to gain popularity as pets, so they are not as widely available as many other types of reptiles. There can also be a bit of conflicting information on their care, as they have not been kept as pets for as long as many other reptile species.

Water Dragon Facts

The scientific name for the Water Dragon is Physignathus cocincinus. It is also known as the Chinese Water Dragon, Asian Water Dragon, and Thai Water Dragon.

Where is the Water Dragon from (natural habitat)?

Water Dragons are native to the forested areas of China and India. In their natural habitat, they enjoy a semi-aquatic life and are found along the banks of freshwater bodies of water. In the wild, they typically spend their days relaxing in trees and plants close to the water.

There they can sunbathe and catch prey. If they sense danger, they drop from their sunning spot into the water. Once in the water, they may swim away or dive under the surface. They can remain underwater for up to 25 minutes.

How big is a water dragon?

Water Dragons can grow up to three feet long from nose to tail. Females are smaller than males and mature to about two feet. The tail of the dragon is about 70 percent of his length. Because the tail makes up so much of the Water Dragon's total length, they are not that heavy for their relative size.

What is their behavior like?

Water dragons are one of the friendliest lizards, which is one reason it makes a good choice for beginners. They are social and enjoy being handled. They thrive on attention, which means they are not necessarily the best choice if your schedule doesn’t permit regular interaction. You can get around this problem by getting more than one Water Dragon, so they can keep each other company.

If they feel threatened, the Water Dragon may attack. They do this by whipping their tail back and forth or biting at you. However, they are generally gentle creatures who like to avoid conflict.

Water Dragons are what are known as arboreal lizards. This means they love to climb. Their environment should have rocks and plants for them to climb on.

They are also excellent swimmers and benefit from an environment that allows this. It is unlikely that you will be able to create the perfect environment of a slow mooving stream beside trees for your Water Dragon, but even a large dish of fresh water will be appreciated.

Once you get to know each other better and he is comfortable being handled, you may find he enjoys visits to the bath for swimming sessions.

One thing to consider is that Water Dragons are community animals, and do best when kept with at least one other companion. It is important to note however, that two male Water Dragons should not be housed together.

Setting up a home that resembles the Water Dragon's natural habitat allows him to hold on to many of his instinctive behaviors. His tank should be at least 40 gallons to provide him with the room he needs to move around.

Arrange branches and rocks in a way that he has several hiding spots and basking areas available. His tank should be maintained at between 60 and 80 percent humidity at all times. You can keep the humidity level high by misting the inside of the tank with water daily.

Like most reptiles, the Water Dragon requires a range of temperatures in his enclosure to stay comfortable. The cool end should be around 70 degrees and the warm end should be 100 degrees.

A ceramic heater or incandescent bulb make an adequate heating source. Water Dragons require 10 to 12 hours of UVB rays from a full spectrum light daily.

Why is the Water Dragon good for beginners?

The Water Dragon makes a good pet for a beginner for a variety of reasons. It is a social creature and enjoys being handled. This is rewarding and, as long as you are gentle, it doesn’t require any special skill.

It is not aggressive, so you don’t have to be overly concerned that it will bite or strike with its tail when you are handling it. It is also active during the day, which makes it easier to enjoy than nocturnal reptiles.

Water dragons do need to climb, so your tank will need to at least five feet tall. It should be at least four feet long as well. Given what you know about their climbing and swimming instincts, it is easy to see how setting up the habitat for the Water Dragon requires a good deal of preparation.

The large tank size and needed materials can make set up more expensive than what some beginners have in mind.

Water Dragons are relatively common lizards, which makes them easy to find at pet stores and online. This makes them affordable. The major expense most beginners will encounter will be in setting up the habitat.

They do have specific requirements for materials in their tank as well as lighting. For someone who has never had reptiles before, it can be intimidating to set up the habitat required for a Water Dragon.

Crested Gecko Facts

The scientific name for the Crested Gecko is Rhacodactylus ciliates. It is also known as the new Caldonian Crested Gecko, the eyelash gecko, and Guichenot’s giant gecko. Crested Geckos are available in a wide range of colors and patterns.

Where is the Crested Gecko from (natural habitat)?

Crested geckos are originally from a group of islands between Fiji and Australia known as New Caledonia. In the wild, they spend most of their life in trees.

Crested Geckos are nocturnal and will spend most of their day hiding. They move from branch to branch by leaping, and can leap as well as frogs, something to remember when handling them.

They need a plastic or glass tank with a well-fitted cover. Because they love to leap and climb, it is more important to have a tall enclosure rather than a long one. Include plenty of branches for climbing and hiding.

They like a humid environment, which you can create by misting the tank daily. Unlike many reptiles, they are comfortable in the same housing conditions as most humans.

They will be content with daytime temperatures between 75 and 82 degrees, and nighttime temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees. If housing more than one Crested Gecko, make sure only one male is in the group.

What is their behavior like?

Young Crested Geckos can be nervous and hard to handle. It is best to let them settle into their new environment for a few weeks before you begin handling them.

Once they have settled in and are eating good, you can begin acclimating them to your touch. They are typically gentle but may nip if frightened. Their bites don’t amount to much, however.

Why is the Crested Gecko good for beginners?

The Crested Gecko makes an excellent choice for beginners. They are probably the easiest and least expensive reptile to keep as a pet. They don’t require a sophisticated heating and lighting system, and, in fact, do better in temperatures below 80 degrees.

They eat a simple diet, available as a powder you simply mix with water, so there is no need to keep live insects or feed a varied diet. They quickly become accustomed to being handled and tolerate it well as long as you are gentle. Because they are small, they are happy in a 20-gallon tank. Their simple diet requirements and small tank needs make the Crested Gecko a very affordable choice.

Overall, the Crested Gecko is probably the least expensive lizard for beginners. They do well in a small habitat and some climbing areas, either natural or artificial.

They will probably be fine without added heat just from the ambient temperature of your home, and their diet is not expensive.

They are relatively common and easy to find at pet stores and online, which keeps their cost down. The one drawback pricewise is that they do enjoy companionship, so you may find yourself adding to your collection.

Uromastyx Facts

Uromastyx sp. is the genus name for a group of reptiles that include 18 species. They come from the same family that includes frilled and bearded dragons, clown agamas and many of the more familiar lizards.

They are also called uros, spiny-tailed gamids, spinytails, mastiguires, or dabb lizards. The spinytail name comes from the rings of spiked scales that cover the top of the uro’s tail.

Where is the Uromastyx from (natural habitat)?

Uro lizards can be found in a sprawling area from India, through south-central Asia, parts of the Middle East, and North Africa. Their range is north of the Equator and spreads over 5,000 miles. They thrive in areas at sea level up to an elevation of 3,000 feet.

How big is a Uromastyx?

The majority of Uromastyx mature to between 10 and 18 inches. There are exceptions, and the Egyptian Uromastyx can reach 30 inches in length.

What is their behavior like?

Uromastyx are generally docile and it is extremely unlikely they will bite a human. They may use their tails as a defense if startled or cornered. As long as they know you are there, however, it is unlikely they will attack. They generally enjoy being handled once they get to know you.

One thing that helps is having an enclosure that opens on the side, rather than the top.

If your tank opens from the top, make sure your uro knows you are there before you reach down. Being grabbed suddenly from above is startling, and he may mistake you for a predator.

Why is the Uromastyx Lizard good for beginners?

The Uromastyx is active during the day, which makes it a rewarding pet. It is incredibly docile and enjoys human companionship, which makes it a rewarding pet for a beginner. The Uromastyx does require special lighting in order to stay healthy, so keep that in mind when making your selection.

The easiest and most effective way to do this is by setting up a long tank, with one main lighting source that runs the length of the tank and another incandescent bulb at one end of the tank for a basking zone.

Most homes will be warm enough to allow all lights to be turned off overnight, but daytime temperatures must reach 120 degrees in the basking zone for your Uromastyx to thrive.

Cost-wise, the uro probably won't be the least expensive choice. While they don't require as extensive of an environment as the Water Dragon, they are highly dependent on strong lighting as heat sources. These bulbs will need to be replaced on a regular basis, at least every six months.

Since he doesn't require live food (click here to 3 lizards that don't need live food), his diet will not be overly expensive. The initial cost of the uro will probably be higher than either the Water Dragon or the Crested Gecko, simply because they are less common. On the other hand, Uromastyx do quite well on their own, so you won't feel compelled to acquire more than one.

Which one is best (Water Dragon, Crested Gecko or Uromastyx)?

As I stated at the beginning, the Crested Gecko is the best in my opinion. However, the best lizard for you depends on your lifestyle, budget, and preference.

The Water Dragon, Crested Gecko, and Uromastyx can all be good choices, and there are also drawbacks to each one. The Water Dragon requires a larger enclosure for its size than some other lizards and needs access to both climbing materials and a swimming area to be happy.

The Crested Gecko has easy to meet habitat needs, but its small size means it is more fragile to handling than larger lizards. The Uromastyx is very docile and easy to feed but will be extremely reliant on you to be sure the temperature in his habitat is warm enough to allow for digestion and other basic functions.

Related Questions:

Where can I buy these lizards? There are many choices available when you are ready to buy your lizard. Large pet stores are certainly one option, but they aren’t the only one.

You may be able to find a small, locally owned reptile store within a reasonable distance to your home. The employees at these stores are likely to have better training and be more informed about the reptiles in their care than at larger pet stores.

You can also order reptiles online. The disadvantage here is that you will not see and interact with the lizard before you own it, but as long as you purchase from a reputable online store that should not be a problem. Purchasing online allows you to find lizards that may not be available locally.

You can also purchase everything you need for your lizard's habitat either online or locally, or a combination of each. If you are having trouble finding what you need locally, don't hesitate to get online. There are many resources available to set up the perfect habitat to keep your lizard safe and healthy, there is no reason to compromise.

Does It matter Where I get it from? One thing that you want to know about your lizard, regardless of where you buy it, is where it came from. Your first choice should be for a reptile that was born and raised in captivity. There are several reasons for that. The first is that the reptile that has been born into domestication doesn't know anything else, and will acclimate better than a wild one to his new environment.

Moving to a new habitat is stressful for any reptile, even if he is going from one domesticated habitat to another. Going from being caught in the wild, to a holding facility, on to his final home is much more stressful. He will take much longer to recover and the stress may make him ill.

The other reason that domestically born reptiles are preferred to wild caught ones is that the wild reptiles are much more likely to have parasites that will eventually make them sick than domestic lizards.

Buying a reptile that is sourced domestically allows you to have a lizard that is familiar with humans, that you know how old it is, and is healthy and should transition well in his new home.

I hope you found this article enjoyable and informative. Lizards make interesting and fun pets. Taking the time to select the right one for you and your family allows you to enjoy him more fully, without the worry that you aren’t or cannot provide proper care, for example I wouldn't recommend a Garden Lizard.

I would love to hear what you thought of this article. I hope it answered any questions you had, and I would welcome any feedback. If you found this article beneficial, I hope you will share it with others.