Are Red Headed Lizards Poisonous? (The Reality)

If you have seen a Read-Headed lizard before (also known as a Broad-headed skink), you may have been alarmed by its Red looking head (With a hint of Orange) and share size. The question is, will it poison you?

Are red-headed lizards poisonous? No, they are not poisonous or venomous for that reason. They have a redhead to help to scare away any potential predators that may believe they are dangerous. This is taking advantage of Natures natural warning color of red.

Now that you know these Lizards are not poisonous, even though they look scary. Wouldn’t you think twice about attacking this lizard if you were a bird, and you saw its scary red-head?

Well, let me explain if there are any real venous lizards, some background about this broad-headed skink, how they defend themselves and more. Keep reading…

Are There any real poisonous or Venomous Lizards?

In reality, there are only a few really venomous Lizards (Click here to see more details these Lizards). In summary, it comes down to the Gila Monster and the Mexican Beaded Lizard.

What about Komodo Dragons?

Many people debate if Komodo Dragons (Click here for more info on Komodo Dragon) are venomous or not. My understanding is, they are not. But they are still dangerous and can cause fatal injuries.

What is a Red-Headed lizard?

The Red-Headed Lizard is commonly known as the Broad-Headed Skink. And, its scientific name is Plestiodon Laticeps. They are easily spotted, with the males having the distinctive Red & Orange head.

Their natural habitat is in the South-Eastern region of the United States. Including, Kansas, Texas and the Gulf Coast.

Are They Dangerous to other House Pets (e.g. Cats)

Red headed lizard dangerous to cats

Redheaded lizard dangerous to cats

If you have other pets around the house, such as a cat, hamster, rabbit, etc. You may be concerned/anxious about mixing them. The reality is, you are correct to be concerned because you need to tread with caution.

Why?

Although they are not venomous, there have been reports of illness in pets that have attempted to eat these lizards. So, you will need to think twice about mixing one of these red-headed bad boys around your prized kitties.

How do these Red-Headed Lizards Defend themselves?

Now that you know that these Lizards are not a serious threat. You may wonder how they actually defend themselves. Good question…

Their Predators

Firstly, let’s understand what animals are considered their predators. This includes Birds, larger reptiles (Including bigger lizards).

Defensive Tricks

Like a few other lizards, they can detach their tail, if required (Click here to see how many times a lizard can regrow its tail). If this is the first you have heard of this, it sounds gruesome, but its not a major problem for lizards. Why? Because they can grow it back.

Wriggling Confusion

Once their tail is detached, it will wriggle like a snake to confuse and distract its predator. This is just enough distraction for them to get away (hopefully).

Other Defensive Methods

Apart from this, they can actually swim to get away. Failing that they can scramble up a tree, climbing to safety. Finally, if possible, they can hide under any available debris.

Clearly, the biggest defense is their bright red head color. It is quite amazing how this color deters any potential predators.

Where do they get their name from? (Call me Big Jowls!)

The Read-head lizard (Broad-headed skink) gets its name from its big swollen looking Jowls. It develops these as it gets older, turning to an Adult.

What are Jowls?

This is a term used to describe the sagging skin below the chin/Jawline of humans. Its the same concept for lizards.

How often do Read-headed lizards Breed?

Like any lizard species, breeding is a key part of their existence. They tend to breed once a year in the summer. In particular June or July.

The female is naturally attracted to the largest red-headed lizard with a lovely bright red/orange head. As you can imagine there is always competition to get a females attention.

Territorial Males (Man-marking)

In this world, its survival of the fittest. Therefore, you can expect the males to be very protective and territorial during this time. Once a male has won over his female, he will guard her (I call this man-marking) for at least a week after.

His objective is to block any other lizard from mating with her during this time. And, he will protect her by any means. Meaning, fighting and general displays of aggression is commonplace at this time.

The number of eggs laid

The typical amount of legs laid can be anything from 8 up to a dozen. Typically they are hidden in a nest made of leaves, branches and forest debris.

The interesting thing about skinks is how their hatchlings are treated. Once they hatch out, they are left to fend for themselves. No long, drawn-out parenting from their mother. They are left to deal with the big, wild world on their own.

What kind of Food do they eat (Canabolistic Tendencies)?

Skinks eat a wide variety of food. This includes Insects, mice, spiders, etc. They are also known to eat their own kind. Yes, I did say that. They have been known to eat young juvenile skinks.

As crazy as this sounds, the reality is they are not the only lizard to do this. It seems to be a very different mentality to us humans. I can only assume they do not have a conscious as we do.

 

Related Questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some related questions to red-headed lizards. If you have any specific questions in your head, that you feel has not been answered, drop me a comment below.

Can lizards harm humans? Yes, some can do. In fact, the Komodo Dragon is capable of inflicting fatal damage. However, the chances of you bumping into one of these is quite low.

The common house lizard (Click here to see where House Geckos hide), on the other hand, will not do any real harm. The only danger it presents is the pathogens it has, that can contaminate food if they mix with it. But they are not venomous.

Is a Skink a Lizard? Yes, as you have probably gathered from this article. Skinks are part of the Scincidae family of lizards. It is quite vast, with over fifteen hundred species.

Are Skinks Good to have around? Yes, they are actually quite good because they attack/prey on common house pests such as mice and cockroaches. If you have a problem with these pests, they can help.

However, although they can help, they won’t completely clean up an infestation. In reality, they can only consume so much, before they are full. Also, if you plan on keeping these skinks as a pet, then allowing them to eat random house pests is not ideal.

Why? Simple, it is not possible to know what potential diseases these pests may be carrying. Which, could harm your Skink.

Do Skinks like Water? Yes, most definitely. Like any animal, this is one of their most important requirements after oxygen. However, in captivity, you need to make sure you stay on top of their water needs.

They should have a fresh supply of water, in a bowl, on a regular basis. As they have a tenancy to get debris in their water, you should get a bowl that does not easily get knocked over. This will help to prevent it from getting this debris in it.

Do Skinks Sleep? Yes, they do. In fact, recent research has proven that they have sleep cycles like us humans do. However, the big difference is the actual sleeping pattern.

If they sleep through the night, they will have much faster sleep cycles. Meaning, they will dip in and out of REM sleep much faster than we do.

Can You Get Green Bearded Dragons? (Weird Morphs?)

If you have heard people talk about green bearded dragons you may wonder if this is a myth or they really do exist (Click here to see one of my best Bearded Dragon accessories, on Amazon). In this article, I’m going to explain if this is true and a bit more about them.

Can you get a green bearded dragon? Yes, you can but they are quite rare. Some people believe they are a rare Bearded Dragon Morphs. But, that is not the case. They are like albinos, they exist but, you won’t see them on a regular basis.

Now that you know that they do exist, let me explain how these bad boys even came into existence. Also, what a “Morph” is, and how that is relevant to the Green Beardies, other colored Beardies you may not have heard of and more. Keep reading.

Where did these Green Bearded Dragons come from?

You may be wondering, if they are so rare, where did they suddenly appear from? Good question.

They are either a freakish natural occurrence or the products of selective breeding (more about selective breeding later on).

Furthermore, It is also quite rare to even get a completely solid color bearded dragon. The standard colors for bearded dragons is usually a mix of green and yellow and hints of brown. A blended color, rather than solid, that’s my point.

Typically, if you see a solid colored bearded dragon, it’s likely to be because of selective breeding.

What is a bearded dragon morph? (and how is this even relevant)?

As briefly discussed in the last section, morphs are a type of bearded dragon which has a different appearance to its parents.

This is typically achieved by either a natural mutation, which results in the Beardie having a different look to its parents. Alternatively, they are selectively bred to make it happen (more on this later).

Morphs are more than just colors

For your info, a true morph does not only mean a specific color, but it can also have different behavioral traits, spikes on its body, or other vidual differences that make it different from the norm.

Many people are under the misconception that it describes the color of their skin. But, in reality, there are a number of things that could classify it as a morph.

Other features could include:

  • Scales.
  • Different Head shape.
  • etc.

The key factor is, they have distinctly different features to the standard Bearded Dragon.

How does selective breeding impact their color?

Selective breeding is an organized way to create a very specific type of bearded dragon. If nature is left to its own devices the color of the bearded dragon has a lot to do with its actual environment and habitat.

However, with selective breeding, a breeder will purposely get two specific types of bearded dragon together to form baby lizard with desired colors or features.

They purposely do this so that they can sell them. And, they can usually charge more for this, hence the reason why most of them do this.

These rare morphs I usually expensive. Why? Because of the classic economics of supply and demand. They are sought after due to the fact that there is a lack of supply.

For example, if a breeder wanted to get a red-bearded dragon (more about this morph later). He will get a male and a female that have distinctive red coloration. In an effort to selectively breed a deep red Beardie for re-sell.

What different types of colored bearded dragons are there?

Apart from Green Beardies, there are other color variations. Let’s look at these variations now…

The red-bearded dragon

As briefly discussed in the last section you can get red-bearded dragons. It’s obvious that they are red, that goes without saying. The process to get them here is based on combining two Beardies that have distinctive red coloration.

Going forward, the hope is, further generations of breeding can deepen their distinctive red color. This typically the key factor drive up their resale value.

Other variations of the red-bearded dragon include a “Ruby Red” or  “Blood Red”.

Yellow bearded dragons

Yellow bearded dragons, as you can imagine, are the products of combining two predominantly yellow bearded dragons.

However, when you mix a yellow bearded dragon with a red-bearded dragon you typically get a gold bearded dragon variation.

Other yellow-based bearded dragons include the:

  • Sandfire Gold
  • Lemon Fire
  • Citrus

White-bearded dragon

The white-bearded dragon is typically identified by either having a distinct white coloration or having an almost clear looking skin.

As you can imagine, they are bred by combining two lightly colored Beardedies. An example of two of these morphs is:

  • Albino.
  • Snow Bearded Dragon.

“Why has my Beardie turned green?”

With all this talk about green bearded dragons, there are certain instances where you may have a different colored bearded dragon but for some unknown reason, it starts to change color, in particular, to a green color.

This is different from a Green Bearded Dragon because it’s actually changing color. so, why could this be happening?

According to this forum, this is likely to do with skin shedding…

Usually, this is nothing to worry about and is a natural part of the process. However, if this is the case, you should look out for other known shedding related issues.

Like what? Known issues with skin shedding typically revolve around the shed not finishing completely. Meaning, your lizard is left with some old skin left behind.

This can lead to discomfort and potential infection. If there are any issues or concerns about this, it’s better to consult your vet.

Related questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Green Bearded Dragons. If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Why is my bearded dragon changing colors?

We briefly discussed issues with your bearded dragon changing green. However, recent studies mentioned here concluded that some color change, in particular, specific body parts of the bearded dragon, could be linked to temperature regulation and social signals.

For example, the change of coloration on the lizard’s neck is deemed as a social signal to other lizards. However, if there’s color change on their back, in particular, dark coloration and the temperature is pretty cool. This could be to reduce their required basking time in the sun.

Q: Do bearded dragons get more colorful?

You may be wondering if Beardies have the ability to change their color. The reality is, they can. They have the ability to change the pigment in their skin. This is typically triggered by their mood or reactions to their environment.

For example, in the wild, you may notice that a Beardies skin will change color at different times in the day. In particular, in the morning while they are basking, they are likely to have slightly darker coloration.

Why? Because this will help them to absorb more sunlight. Which, in turn, will help to reduce their basking time. Are you with me?

Q: Can bearded dragons feel love?

Yes. But, to be honest, this is a subjective answer. The reality is, nobody can really say yes 100%. However, there are some logical conclusions that can be drawn here, bare with me…

If you have a Beardie you will notice that they do show signs of affection. In addition, they also have a friendly and approachable demeanor. Especially around their owners. This, in my opinion, suggests they can understand love, in their own way.

Q: Do bearded dragons like being petted?

Yes. I would say so. Put it this way, it is commonplace to see a Bearded Dragon owner handling and cuddling their Beardie. This is one of the reasons they are so popular.

The reality is, we really do not know what goes on in their head, but the signs look positive, are you with me?

Can Crested Geckos Eat Strawberries?

If you are considering what you can feed your Crested Gecko (Click here to see why I love this Gecko feeder, on Amazon) you may have wondered about Strawberries. But, is a good idea or not? Let me explain…

Can crested geckos eat strawberries? Yes, crested geckos can definitely eat strawberries. They can be consumed on their own or you can mix them with other fruits. However, due to their lack of nutritional value, in particular, their Calcium to Phosphorus ratio, best to mix them with other fruits.

Now that you know that they can be consumed, let me go on to explain where strawberries come from, their calcium to phosphorus level, why this is something you should be looking out for and so much more. Keep reading.

Where do strawberries come from?

Before we delve into crested geckos consuming strawberries, let’s do a bit of background on strawberries themselves. According to Wikipedia, Strawberries were first introduced, in particular, the garden strawberries, in Brittany, France.

This was a long time ago way back in the 1750s. This was originally done by cross-pollination of two other variations (one from North America, the other from Chile).

Now strawberries are a well-known part of our day-to-day diet and consumed by us as well as lizards.

Do strawberries have a good Calcium to phosphorus ratio?

If you are familiar with the science of strawberries, I am going to explain their Calcium to phosphorus ratio. If not, don’t worry, I’m going to explain what this is in detail later in this article.

To cut a long story short, strawberries have an “OK” Calcium to phosphorus ratio. But, not great.

For your info, the ideal ratio is 2:1. 

However, strawberries have an even ratio (1:1). This is not really bad. But, to put this into perspective, let’s compare this to a tomato. This has an inverse ratio of 1:2. Meaning it has more phosphorus than calcium. Basically, in contrast, they are not ideal for a Crested Geckos.

Calcium, What now?

With all this talk of calcium and phosphorus, you may be wondering what is it and why is this even relevant to Cresties eating strawberries, right?

Don’t worry, in this section, I’m going to break down what it is so you know what to look out for. This is not only relevant for strawberries. But, also for other fruit that you may consider for your Crested Gecko.

The importance of Calcium & Phosphate

Phosphate is is a mineral which bonds with calcium. Together they are very important. Why? because, together, they are the lifeblood your bones and teeth. This is a key component to keeping them strong.

For this to be effective, you need the ideal balance. Meaning, there has to be a certain ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus. And, this is where this ratio comes from.

Hence the reason why it is important to look out for this ideal balance in the foods that you give to our Crestie. They consume this stuff through the food they eat.

What is the ideal Ratio for a Crested Gecko’s?

As discussed briefly earlier the ideal ratio is 2:1. And, the important things to consider here is, even if a fruit or vegetable has a low ratio, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not possible to be given to a Crested Gecko. It depends.

In some cases, you can still give him the fruit or vegetable. You will just have to mix it with other fruit to balance is more evenly, are you with me?

But, aren’t strawberries citrus?

There is often a misconception about strawberries being citric. The reality is, they are not citric. Even though they may have a weird acidic taste.

The dangers of Lizards and Citrus

For those that do not know, it is not a good idea to feed citrus-based fruit to your lizard (What fruits do lizards eat? Click here) Why? because they can upset their stomach and cause too much acidic balance.

Example of fruits to avoid includes:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Oranges

Because strawberries are not citrus you can safely give them to your crested gecko.

What other foods or fruits should you avoid?

In the last section, we already discussed the dangers of citrus fruit, such as lemon and lime. However, there are other foods to consider. Here are a few more:

  • Star fruit
  • Rhubarb
  • Grapefruit
  • Avacado

Avocado is a strange one. It contains “Persin”. According to Wikipedia it is a fungicidal toxin which is based inside the Avacado. It goes on to describe it as an oil-soluble compound which seeps into the body of the Avacado from the seeds.

What is the Crested Gecko food pyramid?

This food pyramid, according to CompleteCritter.com, is a guide for the required macronutrients for your Crested Gecko. This is based on experiences from crested gecko keepers and other relevant sources.

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some related question, related to Cresties and Strawberries. If there is a burning question in your mind that you need to be answered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: What is so different about strawberries?

You may be thinking about what is so great about Strawberries. They are just like any other fruit, right. Well, yes and no. There are some interesting facts about them. Hence the reason I will highlight a few facts about them now.

Strawberries have a lot of seeds.

Strawberries are quite unique. Why? because they have their seeds on the outside. You can expect to have approximately 200+ seeds within each strawberry. That’s a lot!

And this is one of the major reasons why you will get a mouthful of seeds every time you bite into these bad boys.

Are they True Berries?

Even though strawberries have the word, “berries” in their name, this doesn’t mean that they are technically a berry. As confusing as this is, I will help to explain…

Basically, to be considered as a true Berry, the seeds need to be on the inside of the fruit. Obviously, for strawberries, this is not the case. Therefore they are not technically berries.

Are part of the Rose family.

You may or may not know that strawberries are actually part of the Rose family. Maybe this is one of the reasons why they smell so sweet when they are growing naturally, right?

Q: Can you mix crested geckos?

If you are considering growing your family of Cresties, it’s important to understand how far you can go with it. Meaning, what they can and can’t mix with.

Can you mix Cresties? Yes, you can. But, you have to be very careful with it. The reality is they can be aggressive depending on what you’re mixing them with, are you with me?

Another point to add, to put things into perspective, they are known to eat their own young. So it just shows you the type of temperament you are dealing with.

Avoid mixing them with small fry!

If you have a Crested Gecko which is smaller than the other one, then do not consider mixing them. Why? Simple, because the bigger one will not hesitate to beat him up and serve him up for lunch.

If you have a slightly smaller crested gecko and you would like to pair them up. It is a good idea to wait until the smaller one gets bigger and stronger, so they are roughly equal.

Forget Mixing Male Cresties

Mixing two male crested geckos is not worth the hassle. Why? Because there is typically more aggression in males and they are quite territorial. Meaning, they will fight to establish who is the alpha male (sounds like a typical Friday night in a night club, right?).

If you have two females that you’re considering mixing together. Rather than throwing them together right away, it is better to have one in a separate cage and see how they respond when they are in close proximity first.

What Does It Mean When a Bearded Dragon Licks You?

If you have ever been licked by your Bearded Dragon, you may be confused (Click here for my favorite way to decode Bearded Dragons and see the Price, on Amazon). For that reason, I will explain the real reason why they are doing this.

What does it mean when a bearded dragon licks you? It typically means he is using his tongue to check you out. He uses his tongue to smell and get a feel for his surrounding environment. In reality, he is not really licking you, he is flicking his tongue to gather microscopic particles.

Now that you know why they are licking you, let me go on to explain the weird science of their tongues, other things they lick to lick, why some people misunderstand its true meaning and much more. Keep reading…

What do mean, he is not really licking you?

If you have been freaked out, wondering why your Beardie is licking you, don’t be, I have the reasons why he is doing this. The good news is, he is not planning on eating you. And, no, he doesn’t fancy you 😉

This is why, it’s Not really Licking

Firstly, it may seem like your Beardie is licking you like you are a strawberry lollypop, but in reality, it is not really licking. What? Let me explain.

The reality is, it’s more of a way for your Beardie to smell and get a feel for its surroundings. And, unfortunately, this includes your physical body.

Look at the “flick a da wris’!”

Ever heard of that rap song, “Look at da flick a da wris’!”, well, this is kinda similar, ha! Your Beardie is actually flicking its tongue to take in its surroundings.

The “Weird” Science of a Beadies Tongue

Maybe this fact of “not really licking” is a bit too much to digest, right? Well, good news. I am going to explain this in a more scientific way, to make you understand it more.

When your Beardie flicks his tongue, there are really small (micro size) particles that collect on its tongue. Its tongue is then pushed into an upper part of its mouth.

The Jacobson’s Organ

This upper part is actually connected to an important sensor, its called the Jacobson’s (or vomeronasal) Organ. This organ is critical because it decodes this information from its tongue into an understanding of its surroundings. All of this is done in milliseconds, so its way too fast to see in action.

The connection between their tongue & the environment

Maybe you are wondering why they are so curious about their environment. Or, wondering what is the desire to keep licking and understanding its environment. Let me help to explain.

Understand this, in captivity Bearded Dragons (Click here to see how smart a Bearded Dragon is) are far from their natural habitat. Which is typically deserts or even woodlands.

Therefore, they are always curious to see what’s around them. Wouldn’t you if you just arrived in a strange, unknown town?

Baby Beardies

You will notice this behavior of licking, is even more prominent in Baby Beardies. They will be licking and decoding their environment on a regular basis.

Other Reasons why they do this

Apart from their familiarity with their environment, they use their tongues to work out temperature. You know, how hot or cold is this item or place. You with me?

And, in addition to this, they will always be curious to understand the texture of an item. Their tongue will tell them how rough or smooth an item is for example.

What do Bearded Dragons like to lick?

Apart from licking on you. You may find that your Beardie will like to lick on other members of your family.

Items in their habitat

Apart from people, they also like to lick on items. Especially items in their habitat. This may be if you recently added some item such as a hideaway spot or a basking area, for instance.

Food Items

You may also notice that they lick food items. This is not really because they can’t wait to eat it. It is more of a pre-requisite to eating it. To get an idea of its smell, texture, etc. The human equivalent of this is smelling something before you eat it, have you ever done that?

Misconceptions of “Fear Licking”

There is a myth in circulation that Beardies lick in this manner due to fear. I am not sure where this rumor came from. But the reality is, its not correct.

As you have read here, they are licking for familiarization with their environment, understanding textures, etc. Not, due to fear.

The reason why his Tongue is sticking out

Have you ever noticed your Beardie just sitting there with its tongue hanging out? I am not talking about licking, just hanging out. If yes, you may be curious or concerned. Let me help to explain why this is happening.

Essentially there are 3 main reasons for this:

  • Overheating.
  • Aggression.
  • Stress.

Let me unpack each of these potential issues, for your understanding.

Overheating

If you see your Beardie with its tongue out, sitting in its enclosure. The chances are its hot. Especially if he is panting at the same time. If this is the case you need to check the temperature in the enclosure.

Especially in the basking area. This is a common area to overlook. If you see the temperature is over 110F, you definitely have an issue here.

Aggression & Stress

If its tongue is out and he is also making weird sounds. Especially if he is also puffing his beard. The chances are he is getting aggressive. He is likely trying to fend off a perceived predator. Or, feels stressed by something.

But, what could be stressing him? Good question, it could be as simple as new people, that he is not familiar with. Another animal (your pet cat maybe?).

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some related questions to Bearded Dragons. If you feel there are some questions that are not covered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Why is my beardie licking his lips?

If you have noticed that your Beardie is licking his lips and looking rampant. There is a good reason for this. The chances are, he is feeling thirsty.

This could be an indication that you are not providing enough water for him. However, providing water for your Beardie is not that straight forward. Why?

Simple, they will not just drink from a bowl of still water. They prefer water that simulates their natural habitat. Basically, flowing like rainwater.

The best way to simulate this is to use a dropper, for the short term. But on a longer-term basis, you should consider a water dispenser (Click here to see this great dispenser on Amazon).

Q: Why do bearded dragons flatten out?

If you have ever seen a Bearded Dragon flatten his stomach, you may be confused, and, wondering why this is happening. There are a few reasons for this.

Fear

Firstly, this could be a defensive mechanism. If he feels threatened, he will flatten his stomach. Why? Because he feels that, in this state, he feels bigger and more of a challenge to his predator.

The objective, in this instance, is to avoid confrontation. He is hoping that his enlarged physical appearance will make his predator think twice and leave him be.

Not Feeling Great

Another reason for this could be due to illness. Hopefully, it’s not because of this. But if he feels ill or lacks energy, he may do this. The best thing is to check in with your vet to check on him if you think this could be the case.

Keeping His Body Temperature Regulated

This behaviour of flattening its stomach can also be a ploy to regulate its body temperature. If you see your Beardie sprawled out on your basking rock, then the chances are this is the case.

Lizards are cold-blooded, so they have to switch between hot and cool climates to keep their temperature at the optimum level.

What Worms are Good For a Leopard Gecko? (w/ Pics)

If you want to keep your Leopard Gecko Happy, not only do you need the best housing (Click here for my best Leopard Gecko enclosure & see the price on Amazon). You also need the best food. And, for Leos, we know they love worms, so what’s the best choice in worms?

What worms are good to feed leopard geckos? The best worms are Mealworms, Waxworms, Silkworms, and Hornworms. However, you need to make sure that you gut load these worms to insure that you Leopard Gecko gets as much nutrition as possible.

Now that you know the best worms for Leos, let me explain the correct sizing of these worms, the pros, and cons of each worm, how much they typically eat and more.

What worms are good to feed leopard geckos?

If you have a leopard gecko obviously you want to give them the best food. For Leos that will come down to insects & worms as they are insectivores. With that being said, you need to choose the right ones.

The best food for leopard geckos is crickets or mealworms. However, there is a great selection of worms that you can also consider giving to your leopard gecko.

In this article, I’ll be giving you the pros and cons of each one of these. The other worms that you can consider are:

  • Waxworms
  • Superworms
  • Pheonix Worms
  • Silkworms
  • Hornworms
  • etc.

What size worms (or other food) should you give two leopard geckos?

Before you feed your Leo, it’s important you consider what size food that you should be feeding him. This is important to get right.

But, why is this so important?

It’s simple if you feed your Leo food which is too big, especially if he is young, this can lead to choking or other food-related problems.

A general rule

A general rule to follow, to make sure that this doesn’t happen, is to never ever give your Leo, or any lizard for that matter, any food item bigger than the distance between each of their eyes.

What about Crickets?

Regarding crickets, I’m going to give you some sizes that you can use as a guide. This depends on what age he is.

For baby leopard geckos, the ideal cricket size is 3/8 of an inch. However, if they are bigger than this, for example, juveniles, then you can increase the size to approximately a quarter of an inch.

For adult size leopard geckos, you can provide them with crickets which are small to adult size crickets and they should be fine.

How much do leopard geckos typically eat?

To understand how much leopard geckos eat, as a general rule, you can expect an adult gecko to consume as much food as they can consume within a 10 to 15-minute eating session.

Greedy Leos

However, from time to time, you may have an overweight or slightly more greedy leopard gecko. In this situation, it is a good idea to try and reduce the amount of food they are eating to make sure that they don’t overdo it.

Understand this, this is just a guideline. Therefore, your leopard gecko needs to be fed based on their activity and their body condition.

If you notice that your leopard gecko has a habit of overeating, it is advisable to limit the amount of food he eats and do not allow him to exceed that. Even if they seem that they are asking for more.

The reality is they won’t stop eating until you stop giving them the food. So, watch out for this, you do not want to encourage overeating and obesity.

The pros and cons of different worms for Leopard Geckos.

In this section, my objective is to share with with you a selection of worms that are good for leopard geckos. In addition to this, I will explain the pros and cons of each worm to help you make an educated choice.

Mealworm Pros

Mealworms are a classic worm for the leopard geckos. They are one of the more popular worm choices.

The pros of mealworms is there are cheap, easy to find, and they are quite easy to look after.  You can also keep them alive for a long time.

In addition to this, you’ll find that these mealworms have a good life span. It is also possible to extend their lifespan by using simple refrigeration. You can also consider growing your own colony of mealworms. Another great benefit is they do not smell very much.

Mealworm Cons

Although mealworms are cheap and easy to find. They do have some negatives. You will find that they have quite a high-fat content. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on how much you give to your Leo to make sure that they are not overeating and putting on excessive weight.

In addition to this, they’ve got quite a high calcium to phosphorus ratio, which is not ideal.  Another important factor is gut loading.  They have a small digestive tract which makes it quite difficult to gut load.

Further on in this article, I will explain the importance of gut loading when you are feeding your leopard gecko these worms.

Lastly, another issue, which may cause you problems with getting your leopard gecko to consume these worms is their lack of movement.

I don’t mean they do not move at all, they do not move. It’s just that they do not always move enough to stimulate your leopard gecko to eat them. And, as you may know, Leopard Geckos enjoy live food.

Superworm Pros

The Superworms are a great choice. They are a great source of protein, which is a must for your Leo. They are also easy to care for without having to worry about them smelling out the house.

They also last quite long, even without having to refrigerate them.  They are also quite easy to breed as well.

Superworm Cons

The Supreworms have a few negatives to consider. Firstly they are not ideal for smaller Geckos and have quite a high-fat content. This just means that you need to monitor how much your Leo is consuming.

They are also known for biting. So, you need to be cautious with them, they are little nippers! Also, similar to the Mealworms, they are not ideal for Gut loading.

Waxworm Pros

You will find that Waxworms will be devoured by your Leo. If you want to treat him, this is the one to buy, they love them. Another great thing is they are still quite cheap and quite easy to find them.

Waxworm Cons

Now onto the cons. If you think Superworms and Mealworms have high-fat content, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. These worms are really fatty!

In fact, you really need to reserve these as treats only. Even though your Leo will love them, you need to limit their consumption. They have quite a short lifespan as well, which is unfortunate. And, did I mention the smell? They are real stinkers!

Finally, they cannot be gut loaded, so you can rule that out. Which is a big issue for maintaining your Leo’s nutrition.

Pheonix Worms Pros

These worms are not as well known as mealworms. They are the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly. The great thing about these worms is the fat content. It is quite low, making them a more viable worm for your Leo to consume in quantity.

They can last quite a while as well. You can expect up to a few weeks for these bad boys. They also have a good amount of protein as well. One thing I like about them is their movement. Their move will motivate your Leo to lap them up, assuming he likes their taste (more on this later).

Pheonix Worms Cons

While they are low in fat and it sounds good on paper, you will find its hit and miss if your Leo will like these worms. They are quite messy as well. When it comes to gut loading, forget it. They can’t be gut loaded, unfortunately. Which, is quite a big negative.

How Much Do Pet Iguanas Cost?

If you are toying with the idea of buying an Iguana (Click here for my best Iguana guide & see the price on Amazon) its critical to get an idea of costings before you commit. Let me help you now.

how much do pet iguanas cost? You can expect to pay anything from as low as $15, right up to $600 for an Iguana (this is just for the lizard itself). But, understand there many different types. Also, you have to mindful that there are various other related costs, such as one-off costs for their housing, etc. And, ongoing maintenance costs.

Now you know the actual cost of an Iguana, let me break down the factors that affect their varying valuation and the related costs that you also need to consider.

Why do their costs vary so much?

If you are looking forward to picking up a Pet Iguana it is good to get a range of costs, to help you understand the cost. Therefore in this section, we will look at some costings.

Firstly, Iguanas have a big range of prices. Why? There are many different types. Also, beyond that factor, there is age, condition, etc.

However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay anything from $15 to $600+ (for the actual Iguana itself). I know, the range is massive. But, this is reality.

What Fixed Costs Do Iguanas Have?

The initial cost of owning an Iguana is one thing, but there are also other related fixed costs to factor in. As well as ongoing maintenance costs (more on these later). For this section, I will focus on the fixed costs that you will need to consider.

Here are some of the fixed costs you can expect:

  • The enclosure, to house your lizard.
  • License fees (Applicable in some states in the US).
  • Shipping costs (to get your lizard delivered to you).
  • Enclosure accessories (This varies).
  • Lighting Costs
  • Environmental control (e.g. Humidifiers).

This is an idea of each one. Be mindful, depending on how extravagant you wish to be, this list could be longer, are you with me?

Let me break down some of these costs now, to give you an idea…

The Enclosure Costs

(Click here for a range of costs and enclosures on Amazon)

The enclosure is critical, and one of those fixed costs that can’t be avoided. Initially, depending on which Iguana you have,  you can start with a smaller enclosure of approx 20 gallons.

License Fees

License fees may or may not be applicable in your location. But, if they are applicable you need to check with your local authorities to verify their latest license fee prices.

However, make sure you check with them and don’t think about going ahead without a license. Why? Because in some locations, for example, Hawaii, they can be very strict. In fact, you can receive substantial fines (in the hundreds of thousands) and prosecuted.

Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping is mainly linked to the housing/enclosure I mentioned earlier. This depends on what enclosure you select and materials, etc (Click here for a range of costs and enclosures on Amazon).

Enclosure Accessories

(Click here to see these enclosure accessories & prices on Amazon)

There is a range of accessories you can use for your Iguana. Such as a lizard lounger for your lizard to relax on, decor (Such as plants), Substrate, etc.

Again, this largely depends on your personal choice and budget. Prices for these change on a regular basis, hence the reason why it’s better to visit the link above and get the latest prices.

Lighting Costs

(Click here to see Iguana lighting & prices on Amazon)

Lighting can be broken down into fixed and maintenance. Why? Because the actual initial kit, such as light fixtures are one-off. However, there are ongoing costs, such as replacing the bulbs.

What Maintenace costs are associated with Iguanas?

In this section, I will break down the ongoing costs (Maintenance costs). To be honest, these are more costly in my opinion. They do not seem so on the surface. But, you know, $1 here, $5 there, it all adds up to a large long term cost…

So, in my opinion, it’s better to get these under control as much as possible. Let me break down some typical maintenance costs you can expect:

Food & Water

Fortunately for you, Iguanas are not too costly in this department. Why? Because they are herbivores. Meaning, they expect to eat fruit and veg on a daily basis.

Obviously, this is significantly cheaper than providing live insects or other small animals that other lizard, such as the Tegu lizards (Click here to see how often and what Tegu’ss eat).

Typical costs

To put their grocery costs into perspective, you could easily get away with as low as a couple of dollars a day, or up to say, forty dollars. Give or take a few dollars. For other countries, you can convert this into your local currency. But, either way, it is regarded as a low cost.

Heating Bulbs

As discussed earlier, the initial purchase of light fittings is a one-off. But there ongoing costs for the bulbs. For example, they need UVB bulbs. These need to be replaced at least every 6 months or so (Click here to see a range of UVB bulb costs on Amazon).

Entertainment

Iguanas are not great at mixing. So, you need to make sure that they have fun and keep stimulated on their own. Therefore, in my opinion, toys are critical.

The great thing is, they are not too picky, and these toys or activities do not need to be too much. They prefer toys that are soft, so have that in mind.

Medical Costings

Unfortunately, from time to time your lizard will need some assistance. Hopefully, this will not be a regular occurrence. But if or when it happens you could be looking at a cost in the region of $100 (give or take $20 or $30 dollars). And also, this is a rough guide, because the more serious it is, the greater the costs.

As a general rule, look out for obvious symptoms ahead of time, to help reduce the costs. What? Well, if you notice some blood in the enclosure, for example, don’t just clean it up and move on, it could be something serious brewing, you with me?

Personally, I would jump on the issue right away, even if its a precaution. Take your lizard in for a check as soon as possible. The reason is, if you can get it sorted before it develops, it will be cheaper and less painful for your lizard in the meantime.

Are there any potential “Hidden Costs”?

I would be lying if I said this is the entire list of possible costs. Treat this as a guide of the main things. However, there are some costs that you could never expect. Such as being told such as an increase in rent!

What?

Well, for example, Iguanas are not loved by everyone. Especially other homeowners. Therefore you may find that you could be charged more rent to keep the Iguana. Or, in some cases refused to stay in some places. Meaning, you will need to seek other, potentially more expensive accommodation.

This is just one example to consider.

Is it easy to rehouse an Iguana?

If you are the type of person that likes regular changes, such as moving home every 2-3 years, etc. Then, I need to explain why having an Iguana may not be ideal for you…

Earlier I explained that you encounter higher costs, due to the perceived inconvenience of having an Iguana in the house. Well, another thing to consider is the commitment you need to make.

Iguanas will get big and unfortunately, sometimes they get aggressive. On top of this, you will find that they are not easy to give away. Not even zoos will take them in some cases.

Therefore, if you are not committed and feel this is a short term fad, then this one is not for you.

3 Lizards That Don’t Eat Insects (or Live Food)

Lizards that don’t eat insects (Click here for my best guide on Green iguanas, who don’t eat insects, on Amazon) are interesting for people that hate messing with creepy crawlies. I get it, I remember waking up to finding a mouse in my bin once I was freaked out! So let me help you learn about some lizards you can consider.

Are there lizards that don’t eat Insects? Yes, Most lizards fall into one of three categories: carnivores, omnivores or insectivores. They mainly eat meat or a combination of meat and insects. However, there are herbivores. These lizards will mainly eat plants fruits and vegetables without live food or insects.

In this article, I’m going to list some of these lizards that don’t need insects, so that you can understand what lizards you consider. In addition to this, I will reveal some lizards that also do not need any live food. Keep reading…

01 The green iguana

The green iguana is regarded as a herbivore. To be precise it is actually referred to as folivore. This is just a posh word for saying they mainly eat leaves.  In the wild, it mainly snacks on leaves from various trees and vines.

Some of these leaves and plants that it feeds on in the wild are not commonly available in captivity. So it is not always possible to give it to your iguana. However, there are many other foods to choose from that are freely available (more on this in a moment).

These Iguanas are also known as “hindgut fermenters” meaning that they rely on special bacteria to break down the fiber that they consume.

The following is a list of some vegetables that they consume that are acceptable. These are also good because they can be easily found in captivity:

  • mustard greens
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • cabbage
  • Watercress

02. Desert Iguanas

Desert Iguanas are also herbivores. They especially like to eat the leaves of perennial and annual plants. One of their most favorite delights is the yellow flowers from the Creosote Bush.

What are Perennial or Annual plants? (I hear you ask)…

According to wonderpolis, they are differentiated by their life span. Let me explain. The Annual plants literally last for one year (or round about a year). After this, they die and new plants replace them.  Perennial plants, on the other hand, have a short life cycle of approx 2-3 weeks.

03. Chuckwallas

Chuckwallas are another type of herbivore. They originate from the US and Mexico. They specifically like lava flow or Rocky areas. They can find the yellow flowers from their beloved brittlebush there.

Similar to the desert iguana they also like to consume plants and buds that come from perennial and annual plants.

04. The Caiman lizard

This lizard is well known for its love of aquatic snails. However, it does eat other food and does not just completely rely on aquatic snails. It is also known in captivity to eat canned snails or tegu food. Also, it is also known to eat Superworms (Click here to see why and how you need to “Gut Load” Superworms) and crickets.

Are there other lizards that do not eat live food?

Yes, I am going to share a list of lizards that are not necessarily herbivores. But, they do not need live food to survive in captivity. This is useful for people that are squeamish and prefer not to deal with “creepy crawlies”…

  • Crested geckos
  • Gargoyle Gecko
  • Mossy Gecko
  • Prehensile-Tailed Gecko
  • or Lechianus gecko

Instead of eating live food such as pinky mice, crickets or other live insects. They can survive on having an “insect mix”.  This is a powdered version of live insects. Think of it as a meal replacement. You simply add water to this mix and place it in your lizard’s enclosure and they will consume it that way.

However, with these lizards, you will also need to provide other supplementation. This is usually found in a powdered form. Such as calcium and other vitamins and minerals.

Blue-tongued skinks

Blue-tongue skinks (click here to see if blue-tongue skinks can really live in a 40-gallon enclosure) are categorized as omnivores. Meaning they eat a combination of meat as well as fruit and veg. They can live comfortably on a selection of non-live food.

Here is a list of the type of foods they can consume:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Dog Food
  • Cat Food

Related questions:

Q: What foods do bearded dragons eat?

Bearded dragons eat a combination of insects as well as fruit and veg in the wild. Therefore, in captivity, you should also follow this.

Here is a list of some of the types of food they eat:

  • Crickets
  • Parsley
  • Mealworms
  • Kale.
  • Collard Greens
  • Kingworms
  • Mustard greens
  • Endive.

Q: Why do lizards need calcium supplementation?

Calcium supplementation is required because lizards, like human beings, need calcium to keep their bones healthy, strong and to maintain them.

If they are starved of calcium then this low blood calcium level could lead to one of two health conditions. Number one is referred to as hypocalcemia and the second is a disease known as Metabolic Bone Disease or is often referred/abbreviated to as MBD.

To avoid this happening, lizards need sunlight in the wild, or artificial UVB light in captivity, to help them process the calcium in their diet.

Even though they consume the calcium directly in their food their body cannot metabolize or process it without vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 is activated from the inactive vitamin D in their body from the natural sunlight that penetrates their skin. In captivity, the artificial UVB light does this.

Q: What do leopard geckos eat?

Leopard geckos (click here to see my article explaining if Leos can live off just mealworms) are insectivores, meaning they mainly survive on insects. They do not consume fruits and vegetables. The ideal diet for them is insects such as crickets and mealworms.

However, you can treat them once in a while, maybe once or twice a week, to super worms (click here to see why “Gut Loading” Superworms is important) as well which are also gladly appreciated.

However, you should avoid giving them pinky mice this is not ideal for them.

Q: What foods should you avoid giving to a bearded dragon?

Bearded dragons have quite a varied diet. They do consume fruits and vegetables, however, I’m going to outline a few that you should definitely avoid giving to them and explain why…

Lettuce

If you give your Beardie Lettuce they will attempt to eat it. And to be honest they will probably enjoy it. However, the problem is it has no nutritional value. And in addition to this, it can also give them digestive issues leading to diarrhea. So, it should be avoided because the body cannot really process it properly.

Fireflies

Fireflies should also be avoided at all costs. The simple reason is they are toxic to your bearded dragon. And they will cause them some serious health issues.

To be blunt with you, if you continue to feed them Fireflies there is a chance that they could eventually die from this. SO, its really important you do not do this.

Avocado

Avocado should also be avoided. However, the reasons for this is slightly different. It contains high amounts of oxalic acid. You may get away with it in small doses, but if you repeatedly feed this to your bearded dragon it can develop into a big problem. And can actually kill them. So, for that reason it should be avoided at all costs

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is also very toxic to beardies. And should be avoided at all costs. Regular amounts of this are dangerous. If you accidentally give this to them you should seek advice with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Spinach and Beet Tops

Spinach and beet tops should also be avoided. The reason for this is because it contains a very specific chemical. Which can actually block the processing of calcium in the lizard’s body.

The danger with this one is that your lizard can start to produce calcium deficiencies. And this can lead back to my earlier point about MBD. This is due to the lack of calcium being consumed in their body.

Gut Load Superworms (How and why bother?)

Gut-loading insects is a well-known trick in Lizard keeping to provide a nutritional meal to your pet. But how do you actually do this and are there any things to avoid? Let me explain…

How do you Gut Load Superworms? Simple place some food (more details of this below) into a separate container along with a source of water (such as a carrot or piece of juicy fruit) and place the Superworms in the container. Give them approx 48 hours to consume enough food.

Now you know how to do this at a high level, let’s delve deeper and understand what foods are ideal for them, what to avoid giving them, how many you can expect some lizards to consume and so much more. Keep reading…

What is a Superworm?

A Superworm is the larvae of a darkling beetle (Zophobas morio).  This larvae is approximately 50 to 60 mm in length. They are relatively small and resemble mealworms at a glance.

The larvae of these Beatles have a few names as follows:

  • Super Worms
  • King worms
  • Morio worms
  • and also referred to as Zophobas

Why do you need to gut load super works?

Gut loading is a well-known and recommended practice. Effectively, you are feeding the super worms with nutritional value. In particular vitamins and minerals in the hope is that these vitamins and minerals will pass onto your lizard.

It’s a similar concept to the saying “you are what you eat”. So if you feed the super worms well, your lizard will be fed well. And if you neglect to do that then it will affect their nutrition.

When it comes to crickets many pet stores will pre-feed or “gut load” them. This is because it has become quite mainstream and quite popular. Also, crickets are in high demand. Whenever they’re in stock in the pet shops, they sell out fast.

However, when it comes to super worms. There are a couple of things that you need to be careful of.

Pet Shops May Not Gut-load them

Firstly not all pet shops even bother to gut-load Superworms. So you can’t assume that they have been. Also, you can’t guarantee the food that has been fed to them contains high nutritional value.

May have Been Feed Low-quality Food

For example, you may find that some super worms have been feed potato feed. This really doesn’t have much nutritional value.

How to Gut Load Superworms

The actual process for gut loading is quite straightforward. First, you need the following items:

  • A separate container
  • Some food to give to them
  • A water source

Firstly you have a separate container which has their food (I will explain their ideal food later) source at the bottom of the container. You also want to make sure that you have a source of water.

They do not drink water directly (more on this later), So, you need to make sure that you have got some food which they extract the water from.

For example, you could have some carrots or even some orange slices. The later is a good choice because it has vitamin C as well. This will add to the vitamins that your pass on to your lizard.

Give them Time To Eat

Once you have the food and water source in the container. Simply load the container with the super worms. Give them approximately 48 hours to consume as much food as they can. They may or may not consume all of it, but this will be enough time to do the job.

If you have done this correctly you should notice that they start to snack on the food right away. After this time period, you can simply pass them onto your lizard. In turn, your lizard will consume them without delay.

What food can you give to Superworms?

There are a number of different food sources that you can provide to them. Let me explain…

Prepackaged foods

You can actually buy super worm premixed food. This can be purchased in pet shops or even online. It comes pre-packed with a nutritional and vitamin-rich mix. You can simply put it in there and leave them to eat for 48 hours.

Fruits and vegetables

You can provide almost any fruits or vegetables for Superworms. They are really not that picky. Another great benefit about fruits and vegetables is they provide additional vitamins and are very nutritional.

They also work very well as a water source. In fact, you should really be providing at least one form of fruit or veg even if you have opted for a pre-packed offering discussed in the last section, even if it’s just for the water source.

Dog food and cat food (dry)

If you have a dog or a cat as a pet already you can take advantage of this by offering them the same food.

However, you need to make sure that the food is dry and not the wet food that is also available, are you with me?

Fish food (pellets or flakes)

This food is ideal because it comes preloaded with a nutritional mix of vitamins and minerals and, in some cases, it has algae in it. This is beneficial for your Superworms.

Other things that you can consider

In fact, I will be honest, you will find that super worms are not very picky at all. You can get away with feeding them almost anything. Just be mindful, whilst they will eat anything, you do not want your lizard to be passed on just anything, are you with me?

Here are some suggestions that you can consider…

  • Baby food
  • Fruit juice (use a cotton bub and soak it, not direct)
  • Parsnips

Supplementation

You can also consider feeding them dusted supplementation such as Vitamin or calcium supplements. This will then indirectly be fed to your lizard.

What Foods should you avoid feeding Superworms?

As discussed earlier, Super worms are not very picky at all. Food wise you can pretty much give them anything. However, you should not give them water directly, for example, do not think about providing water directly into their feeder container. This will get you a negative effect.

Instead, you should be giving them juicy fruits that can provide moisture or alternatively vegetables. Such as carrots, tomatoes, etc..

Related questions:

Q: How many Superworms do lizards typically eat?

There are a number of different lizards that consume Superworms. For your benefit, I will list a few to give you an idea of the sort of consumption you can expect with some popular lizard species (click here for my list of popular beginner lizard choices).

Bearded dragons

Bearded dragons have quite a healthy appetite. Therefore you can expect him to consume anywhere from 3 to 5 super once a day. However, they will also eat other things such as fruits and vegetables to supplement their diet.

Chameleons

Chameleons will tend to consume anywhere from 5 to 6 Superworms in a week. So a bit less than the beardies. However, there were also mix their diet with other insects as well.

Q: How long does it take for Super worms to change into beetles?

Super worms take approximately 14 days to change to Beatles. During this period of time, you will expect them to curl up and pupate.

However, if you notice that some of them have gone straight and turned into a blackish color, then there is a good chance that they are dead. You probably need to discard these ones.

Once they pupate you need to monitor them until they actually turn to Beatles.

Q: Do super worms bite?

Yes, they do bite, unlike mealworms that do not do this. In addition to this, they also have a spike on their back. Similar to a scorpion. They also use this as a means of attack.

This is not really much of an issue for a human but if you are providing them to a smaller, say baby lizard, you need to take some caution.

Q: What is a “Herp”?

Herp is a shortening for herptile. This derives from the term “Herpetology”. This name is derived from a Greek word that means reptile or crawling animal, according to Wikipedia.

Are Leopard Gecko Kid Friendly? (Might Surprise You)

Depending on the age of your children, you have probably been bothered about getting a pet. But is a Leopard Gecko a good idea for your child, that is the question. Let me explain right now.

Are Leopard Gecko’s Kid-Friendly? No, not if they are unsupervised. They can be if they are well supervised. Children unsupervised are at the risk of consuming salmonella from the skin of the Leo and the Leo is at risk of being harmed from an overexcited child.

Now you know some of the potential issues with this. Let’s go deeper and see what other issues there are if it is a good idea for older children, how you can gradually involve your child if you want to pursue Leos as a pet and more.

What are some of the problems with Mixing children with Leopard Geckos?

No, really and truly leopard geckos are not 100% percent kid friendly, let Me Explain.

Tendency To Put Things in Their Mouth

Young children have a habit of putting things in their mouth and the problem with this is lizards are known, in some cases, to have salmonella. This can be transferred from their skin at the point of touch, then over to the mouth of your child.

Lack of Responsibility

Also, young children cannot handle the responsibility of looking after a pet lizard. For example, feeding them live insects such as crickets or other live insects can make them want to question why you doing this, are you with me?

They may not understand why we are giving them another living creature to eat.

However, you can consider giving them limited responsibilities. Such as checking or replenishing their water supply, anything basic like that.

With supervision, they will make a good pet for a child. But, they are more suited for older children. They are responsible and at the stage where they are not willing to put just about anything in their mouth.

Why you should consider getting an older leopard gecko

Children can get over excited by movement. A younger leopard gecko is likely to have high energy, be on the move all the time, darting around and exciting your child.

In addition to this, a younger leopard gecko hasn’t been conditioned to be handled by humans yet. Therefore, it is likely to object to being touched, especially if you have an aggressive Leopard Gecko (click for my article on how to deal with aggressive Leopard Geckos).

An older Leo, on the other hand, would have more experience. Especially if it’s been raised in captivity. It will be more susceptible to being held or touched by a human.

However, regardless if you have a supervised child, older or younger gecko you need to make sure that your child is not going to grab and hold them too aggressively. Because they are quite small and are easily damaged.

Is a Leopard Gecko temperament ideal for a family?

Yes, they are very docile well-behaved lizards in general. I know I spoke earlier of the older leopard geckos being favorable over a younger one, but in either case, their general temperament is very good.

This is the reason why they are such a popular choice when it comes to pet lizards.

Even still, with this in mind, you still need to treat them with some respect. This is because they are living things and are gentle. They can easily be harmed with heavy hands.

Considerations when living with other pets

If you are a pet owner and have other animals such as birds, cats or dogs. You need to seriously consider if a leopard gecko is a good idea to add to your family.

The reason for this is, no matter how tame or well behaved your pet is, there is a very good chance it will see the leopard gecko as it’s prey. Your Leo would be seen as an easy target for these animals. Therefore these pets are not an ideal mix.

Even if you have the leopard gecko in its own enclosure, which you must have any way in captivity, there will still be attempts to get into this enclosure. And there will always be an opportunity when your Leo is vulnerable and at risk of being attacked.

Starting them off slowly

If you are considering getting a leopard gecko for your family and you have children, as briefly discussed earlier, it is a good idea to gradually ease in some responsibility for them, let me explain:

If you have a young child that is adamant that they want to help out with some of the lizard caring duties, you may have simple daily tasks. Such as clearing up their enclosure or tidying things up.

In the beginning, offer them simple duties like getting the substrate packet so that you can then help you replenish it in the enclosure. Or letting them gather the water that you’re going to use to replenish in the enclosure.

The idea is to make sure that they are supervised but still feel that they’re involved in caring for the pet.

As They Get Older – Increase Their Responsibility

As they get older and prove themselves with responsibility, you can increase their duties.

Once they are old enough and they have proven themselves they can start to play a bigger role in the care for your Leo. Ultimately the end goal is for them to take sole responsibility. If not, take on the majority of the tasks that you need to look after them.

Considering the personality of your child with a leopard gecko

Before committing to owning a leopard gecko with a child you should first analyze your child’s personality. This is to understand if a Leo is a good match for the characteristics of a leopard gecko. Let me explain:

Not Ideal for this Type of Child

If you have a child that is very high energy. For example, likes the jump around, wrestle, fight with her sibling, run around, you know, kind of “the rough and tumble” type of child. Then the chances are a leopard gecko is not ideal for them.

Simply because leopard geckos do not do much apart from staying in their enclosure and walking around occasionally.  Also, from time to time allowing you an opportunity to hold them. These lizards cannot take this kind of rough play, are you with me?

If that is the temperament of your child, they are probably better to have a dog or maybe a cat in some cases.

They May Get Bored Because of this….

Also, you may find that your child will get bored of having a leopard gecko after the novelty wears off in the first week. Simply because they may desire more of an interactive pet. You know, wanting to stroke and play with it.

……If this is the case, again, a leopard gecko is not a good choice!

Hygiene considerations for leopard geckos

As briefly discussed earlier, Leopard Geckos, along with other lizards, can carry salmonella. For this reason, they may not be the ideal choice for a child that doesn’t understand the danger. Worse case, they will need to be supervised.

These lizards carry this on the surface of their skin, so all a child has to do is just come into contact with them. This harmful bacteria can then get transferred into their body by simply holding them and then putting their hands in their mouth.

As a father of two with young children, I understand that everything usually ends up in their mouth. Especially when they’re very young toddlers.

Therefore if that is the case then it is not a good idea. In the worst case, if you’re adamant that you want to proceed, you need to at least make sure they’re well supervised.

Best Chinese Water Dragon Vivarium Size (+ Vid)

If you are considering caring for a Chinese Water Dragon, you must have considered the best vivarium size for them, right? Well, you are in the right place, let me explain:

What’s the best Vivarium Size for a Chinese Water Dragon? The ideal size is 36 inches tall and 46 inches in length. Water Dragons can be as long as 1.5 feet and need a decent sized vivarium to make them feel comfortable.

Now that you have an idea of what they need, let’s also look at the type of vivarium, what decorations and accessories they need in the enclosure and so much more.

 

Why do they Need a Vivarium This Big?

As discussed briefly, the ideal size for a water dragon vivarium is at least 46 inches in length and 36 inches in height. The reason for this large size is the following:

  • They need appropriate space for their length
  • Need the height, so they can climb
  • Need contrasting temperature conditions

Need appropriate space for their length

Firstly, Water Dragons (Click here to see why I feel this is the best UVB light for them) are not small lizards. They can grow up to 1.5 feet in length. For this size lizard, you need to give them enough space to feel comfortable in the enclosure.

Height, so they can climb

Secondly, they do like to climb and spend a lot of their time off the ground. So, you need to give them enough height so that they can climb in the enclosure.

Contrast in temperatures

Lastly, the length of the enclosure is also important, the reason being you need to make sure that you have a contrast of temperatures within the enclosure, let me explain.

One side of the enclosure needs to have a very warm temperature. This will allow them to bask in the heat. On the opposite side of the enclosure, there needs to be a cooling area. This is where they can cool down when their body has had enough Heat.

Why You Should Only Consider a Wooden Enclosure!

Ideally, you should get the water dragon a large wooden vivarium. There are a couple of reasons why you should do this, let me explain:

  • Insulation
  • Do not expel heat like Glass enclosures

Firstly, wooden vivariums are very good at insulating the heat. As discussed earlier, you need to have a hot area and a cool area. To maintain this heat the most efficient way is to have wood because it will keep it well insulated.

However, you need to make sure that it is well ventilated so that you can control the humidity and keep it ventilated.

Using material such as glass is not ideal for some lizards. It definitely is good for some, that’s why they also are quite popular.

However, for Water Dragons, it is not ideal. Mainly because glass vivariums lose temperature. and not as insulated as the wooden counterpart.

What decorations are required within the vivarium?

Water dragons are partially Arboreal. This means they spend a good portion of their time in trees off the ground and climbing.

For that reason you need to make sure that you provide a good source of wood branches and equipment for them to climb on.

Trailing or artificial plants are all good things that you can use. Trailing plants are good because they can help disguise some of the electrical equipment in the enclosure as well and keeping it looking as natural as possible.

Are there any special requirements needed for the plants or Foilage in the enclosure?

To avoid any problems with parasites or any other small creepy crawlies that could be hidden in the plants or foliage, it is advisable to treat them with a rinse of 5 to 10% bleach.

If you are going to use real plants it’s a good idea after you have rinsed them to re-pot them. Then leave them sitting for at least a week before moving them into the vivarium.

This is simply to ensure that there are no parasites that have been collected within the plants that may transfer to the enclosure and cause health issues with your lizard.

Artificial plants are just as good as live ones. They can also be considered. You could also consider some of the following plants:

What Substrate do you need for a Water Dragon?

To maintain the required humidity it is important to go for a moist substrate. Many competent lizard keepers are often concerned by loose substrate. This is because of the chances of the lizard consuming the substrate and then leading to issues such as impaction.

However, successful lizard breeders who keep Water Dragons have had success with this substrate (Click for the price on Amazon) and this is something that you can consider. An added bonus with this substrate is it easy to maintain and keep clean.

What is the ideal humidity for a water dragon?

Ideally, you want the humidity to be 70 to 80% This can be achieved by doing a few different things, let me explain.

  • Spraying the enclosure
  • Using a Misting System

Firstly, you can consider spraying the enclosure which is also known as misting on a daily basis. When I say daily, ideally you should be doing this at least a couple of times a day.

Secondly, if you feel that manually spraying the enclosure is a commitment that you cannot stick to you can also consider getting a more automated misting system (Click here to see the price on Amazon).

They will cost you but at the same time, it will mean that you will have more of a reliable system to keep the humidity in the enclosure.

To make sure that the humidity level is correct it is a good idea to purchase a Humidity Gauge (Click to see the price on Amazon). This little device, whether it’s electric or the dialed version, will allow you to monitor the humidity levels to ensure that you are sticking within the boundaries for the water dragon.

Related questions:

Q: Can you Breed Water Dragons in captivity?

Yes, you can breed them in captivity. Let me explain…

Before you do this you need to make sure that you get the conditions in the enclosure correct and also the timing is very important as well.

Breeding Temperature Control

Assuming you have a male and some females in the enclosure for this to happen, just after the autumn. You need to reduce the temperature.

Ideally, you want to drop the temperature down to a maximum of 78 degrees Fahrenheit with the basking area up to 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

At night-time, you need to reduce this again down to approximately 74 degrees Fahrenheit. During this period you want to reduce the feeding down to a lower level. Potentially once a week is ideal. After winter you can return the levels the temperature levels back to normal and increase the eating schedule again.

Male Mating Signs

A week after this you should find that the male water dragon will show signs of wanting to mate these signs are as follows:

  • Head Bobbing
  • Chasing the female around the enclosure
  • and obviously attempting to copulate

Egg Laying

You can expect copulation to take anything from 10 to 20 minutes. After this time period, all being well,   2 months the female lizard should be ready to lay her eggs.

You can expect as much as 5 to 15 eggs per clutch clutch (means the collection of eggs). She lays these all at one time.

All being well you can expect her to lay another clutch of eggs in approximately 3 to 4 months after this.

It is important to have some moist soil substrate so that she can dig and hide her eggs. You need to make sure that it is at least 8 inches deep so that she can feel happy. She should lay and place them into the soil comfortably.

Following this, it is important to remove the eggs and place them into incubation. In the incubator, you can expect the temperatures to rise up to 88 degrees Fahrenheit and then you can follow the incubation procedure to make sure that you get some successful hatchlings

Q: Do water dragons need any supplementation?

Yes, to keep them healthy and happy in captivity you will need to provide some supplementation. Let me explain.

Firstly, they will need a calcium based supplementation as well as vitamins and minerals. The calcium base supplementation and the mineral and vitamins are usually in a powder form.

The calcium based supplementation should be provided on a daily basis. You can easily dust the powder calcium supplement onto their food. Right onto the insects that they consume.

For the vitamin based supplementation, you can provide this daily or every other day. Best to read the instructions on the supplements that you purchase to make sure you follow the requested dosage.

Also the insects that you provide them should be “gut loaded”.  This is to make sure that they have got the maximum nutritional value.

You can achieve this by buying insect food which is preloaded with vitamins and minerals. After this, the insects that you feed to your water dragons with will pass on this nutrition.