The Pros and Cons of Keeping Lizards as Domestic Pets

31 January, 2020
Keeping lizards as domestic pets can be a really rewarding experience. But before you decide to adopt a lizard, you need to weigh up the various pros and cons.

More and more people are choosing to keep lizards as domestic pets. While it might seem strange at first, reptiles have been growing in popularity in recent years, and have even found fame on social media.

The term lizard refers to an enormous family of reptiles that share a similar appearance and lifestyle. One of the species most commonly found in pet stores is the iguana.

Iguanas first became popular in countries such as America and Asia. However, they aren’t necessarily the best option for beginners. These creatures can measure up to 5 ft 9″ in length, and adult iguanas have been known to act aggressively toward humans.

The advantages and disadvantages of keeping lizards as domestic pets

Cats and dogs still hold the top spots as the most popular pets of all time. However, those who are looking for a loyal animal companion don’t need to limit themselves to our feline and canine friends. There’s a huge array of more exotic pets out there that can fill your home with joy.

So, here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of keeping lizards as domestic pets:

1. Space and time

Lizards generally require much less space than a cat or a dog. Once you’ve got them a suitable vivarium with plenty of space, and enriched their home with things like trees and a swimming pool, they can live out their lives perfectly happily without needing any additional room.

As they’re generally independent animals, owners don’t need to spend huge amounts of time with their lizards. However, you must be careful not to neglect your pets, especially if you bought them for your children.

2. Keeping lizards as domestic pets: a relaxed temperament

Needless to say, a lizard won’t be quite as affectionate as a dog, and you may find that they’re even more independent than a cat. But, if you want them to be happy and healthy, you need to respect their personal space and freedom.

Despite that, they generally have a very laid-back temperament, and won’t become aggressive unless they feel threatened. This means they can generally adapt well in households with children and other animals. They’re also very quiet, and will never cause arguments with your neighbors!

3. Cleaning

Lizards are very clean animals and, like all reptiles, don’t have any fur. This has two main advantages. Firstly, it makes it much easier to keep their cage and your home clean. Secondly, they take responsibility for keeping themselves clean.

Plus, they make ideal pets for anyone who has pet allergies.

4. Keeping lizards as domestic pets: bug control

Lizards are great at hunting bugs, as their tongues are specifically designed for it. This means that your pet lizard will be your greatest ally in controlling the insect population in your home. In turn, this can help you avoid diseases, and means you won’t have to resort to using pesticides.

A lizard on a branch.

5. Species diversity and character

Iguanas are the most widely domesticated lizard in the world. However, there are many other species of lizard that can adapt well to family life.

For those who don’t have much space, or those who are new to the world of reptile-keeping, the best options are:

  • Leopard geckos: these little animals are an excellent option for first-time reptile owners. Their small size means that leopard geckos are easy to handle and, as they mainly live on a diet of insects, they’re really easy to feed.
  • Bearded dragons: though they’re not quite as small as leopard geckos, bearded dragons have a relaxed temperament and adapt well to life in captivity. Their diet is mainly made up of fruit, vegetables, and insects, making it even easier to give them a healthy, balanced diet.

Disadvantages of keeping lizards as domestic pets

The majority of the disadvantages of keeping lizards stem from the need to create the right environment for your pet. When a wild animal is taken out of its natural habitat, it needs a lot of care and attention to allow it to thrive in its new habitat. And, needless to say, recreating the perfect microclimate to allow your lizard to develop properly will also require a significant amount of financial expense.

Since most lizard species are native to warm or even desert climates, they usually need to be kept in a warm environment in captivity and will require constant exposure to sunlight. So, if you want to keep these animals as pets, you need to make sure to heat their vivarium to a suitable temperature and install UV lamps.

Another disadvantage is how difficult it can be to find specialist veterinary care for reptiles. It’s very unlikely that a small animal vet will be able to give you the expert advice and treatment required to make sure your lizard stays happy and healthy in the long run.

It’s also good to keep in mind that lizards aren’t animals that seek human interaction or attention. They like to have their own space, and are usually very calm. For people who lead an active lifestyle and enjoy more physical contact with their pets, these animals may seem a little boring.