The Top Five Best Pet Lizards

Posted on November 23rd, 2015 in Pet Information, Snakes and Reptiles

Of the four main groups of reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles/tortoises, and crocodilians), lizards are by and far the most popular in the pet trade.

Lizards are found on every continent and span the globe when it comes to size, shape, environment, and attitude. Whether it’s a small green anole, a Leopard Gecko, or a six-foot iguana, lizards can make some fantastic pets. As with all reptiles, it’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting and what they require in advance of actually acquiring your new pet.

Before we talk about which lizard may be a good fit for your home, there are some things you’ll need to understand:

-Lizards are NOT domesticated animals like dogs and cats. While most lizards in the pet trade have been born in captivity, that does not mean they’re domesticated. They have evolved over thousands of years to eat, breed, and survive. It’s our job as their caregivers to understand this first and foremost. A Bearded Dragon can be tamed, and I’ve known owners who will sleep with them like a dog or cat, but that doesn’t mean they ARE a dog or a cat. They’re still cold-blooded animals with specific care requirements.

-Lizards are reptiles and reptiles are cold-blooded animals. They use thermoregulation to manage their body temperature. You’ll need a hot side and cool side for your tank or terrarium.

-Lizards and reptiles kept as pets will likely require veterinary care at some point in their lives. Before you add a reptile to your family, please ensure that you’ll have access to a veterinarian in your area that can care for reptiles.

Now that we have the prerequisites out of the way, let’s look at some great options for you or your child’s pet lizard. I’m going to list the top five lizards I’d recommend as a pet, five being the one I’d recommend least and one being the best.

  1. Monitor Lizards

Of all the lizards on our list, monitors and tegus are the most challenging to own as pets. They are typically terrestrial lizards, but some spend a good amount of time in trees or water. Monitor lizards are, for the most part, carnivorous. In the wild, they prey on smaller reptiles, fish, birds and small mammals.

They have well developed claws and use a forked tongue like a snake to “taste” the air. They have long, powerful tails, and a mouth full of teeth that they use for grabbing and tearing prey items. Monitor lizards don’t use venom, but they do have very potent, bacteria-laden saliva that they use to aid in digestion. Incurring a bite from a monitor lizard can be a painful experience. If not thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, the wound can quickly become infected.

Depending on the type of monitor, they typically thrive in temperatures ranging from 79 °F to 95 °F and must have appropriate sources of both UVB and UVA lighting.

The most commonly kept monitor in the pat trade is the savannah monitor because of its smaller size and decent temperament (with regular handling).

Savannah Monitor

By Bjoertvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Other monitor lizards kept in captivity include: black-throated monitors, timor monitors, Asian water monitors, Nile monitors, mangrove monitors, emerald tree monitors, black tree monitors, roughneck monitors, dumeril’s monitors, peach-throated monitors, crocodile monitors and Argus monitors

Monitors can be great pets, but typically require a good deal of space because of their size and require regular handling and interaction from their owners to maintain a pleasant disposition. Monitors are best kept by more experienced lizard enthusiasts.


  1. Green Iguana

Walk into any pet store and amble over to the reptile section and you’re very likely to see some baby green iguanas. They’re cute, inquisitive, and eat veggies. What’s not to love, right? Well those adorable babies get big, and sometimes, temperamental.

By Charlesjsharp (Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Charlesjsharp (Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Iguanas are arboreal lizards, which typically reach a length of five to six feet within three to four years. Their bodies may represent half of their total length, the tail representing the other half. At that size, an adult Iguana will need an enclosure that’s at least eight-feet-long and high enough that that the iguana will have plenty of space in which to climb.

During the first year of development, iguanas will need to be interacted with and handled daily. It’s important to let your iguana get used to regular handling to avoid a six-foot nightmare at two years of age, whipping his tail at you and biting.

Green iguanas thrive in temperatures of 79 °F to 95 °F and must have appropriate sources of UVB and UVA lighting. They also require branches or hammocks on which to climb.


  1. Blue Tongued Skink

The Blue-Tongued Skink is an Australian lizard that is common in the pet trade. They typically have docile dispositions and are relatively easy to care for. Growing to two-feet in length, the blue-tongued skink is the largest of the skinks and (according to many enthusiasts), the most personable.

Blue Tongued Skink

By JJ Harrison ( (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

An adult blue-tongued skink will need a terrarium of at least 36” long by 18” wide and should have a screen top to prevent escape. They are a terrestrial lizard and will prefer more time on the ground than in the branches like an Iguana. Healthy adults can live 15-20 years.

Because they hail from Australia, these lizards should be offered temperatures of 75 °F on the cool side of the tank to 90-100 °F on the warm side. These lizards will need basking spot, so appropriate sources of UVB and UVA lighting will be required.

Blue-tongued skinks are omnivores, so they should be fed a mixed diet of meat and protein-based products as well as fruit and greens.


  1. Bearded Dragon

Another Australian lizard, the bearded dragon, or “beardie” is a very popular lizard in the pet trade, and for good reason. These lizards are among the most sociable and friendly I’ve ever met. When handled as babies, they’ll get to know their owners and even come to enjoy their company. I’ve known many beardie owners who claim them to be the pest pet they’ve ever owned. Captive bred beardies come in a variety of colors.

Bearded Dragon

“Pogona vitticeps02” by Greg Hume – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Like blue-tongued skinks, beardies are omnivorous. As babies, their diet should consist of 70% insects and protein and about 30% veggies and greens. As adults, this ratio is typically flipped.

They are very good climbers and will need a cage that offers them the ability to do so. They will typically reach two-feet in length, so the adult enclosure should be similar to that of the blue-tongued skink – 36” x18” and 24” high.

Beardies will also need a basking spot of 90-100 °F and a cool side of 75 °F. These lizards will also need UVB and UVA lighting. Were it not for the caging and lighting requirements, the bearded dragon would have made #1 on my list.


  1. Leopard Gecko
Leopard Gecko

Photo Courtesy Jim Moorman

Leopard Geckos are, in my opinion, the best pet lizards, especially for beginners. They hail from the deserts of Pakistan and Afghanistan and will grow to an adult length of approx. 3-6 inches. They feed exclusively on insects, and are a nocturnal lizard, so they don’t require the expensive lighting that beardies and Iguanas require. Leo’s do require heat, but will be happy with an under the tank heat mat.

Leos are generally well tempered and can become extremely easy to handle once they’re adjusted to it. Mine loves to take car rides in the summer and will sit lazily on my shoulder for hours. When they’re young, though, and not used to being handled, be gentle and prepare for a very fast moving lizard.

In the wild, when threatened, Leos will drop their tails and regenerate a new one. This can be dangerous, especially for young lizards, because they store all of their fat in their tails.

Because of their relatively small size, their low requirement for lighting, and their general great disposition, the Leopard Gecko is a great first-time lizard, especially for kids.


Jim Moorman is an author, father, and reptile lover. You can meet him here: Jim has been keeping reptiles for over 20 years and has learned through hands-on experience, research, and as an active part of the reptile community, how to best care for and keep reptiles as pets.

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Purina “Meet the Real Me” Adoption & Shelter Pet Event Showcases Adoptables

Local Pet Shelters Team up with Purina to Change Perceptions of Shelter Pets

Company, area shelters work together to showcase personality of shelter pets and increase pet adoptions through “Meet the Real Me” Campaign

Get this…

As a result of common public misperceptions regarding the health, behavior and age of shelter pets, currently only 27 percent of household pets nationwide (and 40 percent locally) come from shelters.

PurinaTo address this issue, Nestlé Purina and local pet shelters recently worked together to make sure people in the St. Louis region got to know shelter pets as they really are – friendly, attractive and wonderful lifelong companions.

“All too often, the misperception about shelter pets can result in these pets not being adopted,” said Libby Davidson, marketing associate, Purina Pet Welfare Team. “The ‘Meet the Real Me’ campaign is designed to raise awareness of the happy and healthy pets that live in our local shelters and increase pet adoption in the St. Louis area.”

Earlier this Fall and through last week, Purina reprised its uber-successful “Meet the Real Me” campaign to challengMeet the Real Me Banner 1e the horrible misperceptions of shelter pets. Purina’s “Meet the Real Me” program included a multimedia advertising campaign – including billboards located around the St. Louis area – featuring a series of photos that showcase the beauty and personality of shelter pets. The featured animals are currently in – or were recently adopted from – local shelter organizations. New this year, Purina also partnered with several local pet shelters to host a single-day adoption event in mid-October. The event, which was a rousing success, showcased shelter organizations and adoptable pets in the St. Louis community.

In 2014, Purina provided its shelter partners with “Meet the Real Me” tools, including a set of photography guidelines and tips, downloadable posters and a computer monitor frame to help shelters and rescue organizations take photos that present their pets in a more positive way. These photography kits gave shelters the valuable tools they needed to showcase the true personalities of their shelter pets and increase chances for adoption. In fact, several of the photos featured in this year’s campaign were taken by shelter staff using Purina’s photography tools.

During last year’s “Meet the Real Me” digital advertising campaign, – an online pet adoption website – saw a 27-percent increase in web traffic in the St. Louis area!Meet the Real Me banner II

“After we began using the ‘Meet the Real Me’ photography tools, we saw an immediate increase in our pet pictures being shared,” said Steve Kaufman, executive director of the Animal Protective Association of Missouri. “We have maintained that higher level of shares consistently, and overall our adoptions are way up from last year.”
“A great photo of a shelter pet helps a person better understand a pet’s personality and beauty,” said Davidson. “These photos begin to tell a story that often concludes with these pets finding a new home.”

For the rest of the year, pet owners are encouraged to share photos they’re adopted pets on social media, using the hashtag #considerashelterpet.

For more information about the “Meet the Real Me” campaign or to find adoptable pets in your area, visit

*All opinions herein are of the Administrator, JL Smith. This post was written in conjunction with Nestle Purina Pet Care, and the Administrator received compensaton. never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

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Cat Myths Called Out: Truths to 12 Common Cat Myths

Cats are fascinating creatures, believed to have been domesticated since Ancient Egypt, when they were regarded as Gods, and they have been kept as pets ever since. Many myths about cats have been perpetuated since then and some are just as common today as they have ever been! Have you ever heard these cat myths?

  1. Myth – Cats have 9 lives

Truth – An old wives tale that has stood the test of time but is unfortunately untrue. Whilst we would love our kitties to be able to have a get out of jail free card (or 8!) in life, a cat only has one life.

  1. Myth – Cats always land on their feet

Truth – Cats are a tree climbing species and as such have extraordinary balance and a great ability to survive falls. Cats are therefore very good at landing on their feet when falling; however, it is by no means a sure thing! Cats can land awkwardly and sustain injuries from falls.

  1. Myth – Pregnant women should stay away from cats

Truth – It has been said that toxoplasmosis can be caught from our feline friends; however, whilst the infection is a danger for foetuses, it is very unlikely to be caught from petting a cat. The parasite can be found in the excrement of an infected cat however and so it is advised to clean the litter box daily and with gloves to avoid contact.

Cat Myth Truths

Image source:

  1. Myth – My cat is eating grass – they must be ill!

Truth – It has been suggested that cats may eat grass in order to regurgitate inedible food that cannot be digested. Although the reasons why cats munch on grass are not entirely clear, it is not something to be worried about. However if your cats grass eating becomes excessive, it is time for a visit to the vets.

  1. Myth – Cats only purr when they are happy

Truth – Everyone loves to hear a purring cat, as it is often a sign of happiness and contentment. However, this is not the only reason cats purr: purring can also be heard when a cat is giving birth or when in pain or distress. Purring is the emotional response of a cat and may well be a mechanism for rest or repair as well – just as a purr can be therapeutic for us to hear, so it can be for the cat.

  1. Myth – My cat is healthier on a vegetarian diet

Truth – Cats are obligate carnivores that require at least 20% of their diet to be protein. In addition, the ability of the gastrointestinal tract to digest and use plant-derived nutrients is severely diminished in cats. Felines also require increased levels of certain amino acids, which cannot be provided by a vegetarian diet.

  1. Myth – All cats hate water

Truth – Many cats do seem to be averse to getting wet during a bath or rainstorm, however this is not true for all cat breeds. In fact, the Turkish Van cat delights in getting wet! Although a lot of cats do not like being fully immersed in water, many find water fascinating and will play with a bowl of water or a tap.

  1. Cat Myths Demystified

    Image Source:

    Myth – Cats expose their belly because they want it rubbed

Truth – It is a familiar situation – you are petting your cat and getting on great when he rolls on his back asking for a belly rub. You proceed and get thanked by being bitten and clawed – why is this? For cats, exposing their belly is a sign of trust and although it seems like they want their belly to be rubbed, this is not necessarily the case. Being stroked on the belly may trigger a defence mechanism to protect their vital organs.

  1. Myth – Cats steal the breath of babies

Truth – Cats do not steal the breath of babies, however, it is well known that cats love warm places, the body heat of a baby may seem perfect to a cat which could accidentally suffocate a baby, who does not have the ability to move their head. Due to this, it is a good idea to keep cats away from babies when unaccompanied at naptimes.

  1. Myth – Cats can only see in black and white

Truth – Cats are actually capable of seeing colours and are capable of distinguishing between several different colours. However, the colour discrimination of cats is not as great as in humans and cats can struggle to distinguish between colours of longer wavelengths (i.e. reds).

  1. Myth – Cats are nocturnal

Truth – Cats are in fact crepuscular, which means that they are most active during periods of dawn and dusk. The eyes of cats allows them to see in a lot lower light levels than humans, which is perfect for hunting during these periods.

  1. Myth – Cats are unfriendly

Truth – Cats have gathered an unfair reputation due to their constant comparison with dogs -as more independent creatures, cats come off looking cold and unloving; however this is simply not the case. Cats can be extremely loving and loyal companions, hence why they have been such popular pets for such a long time!

This article was provided by helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company that offers a range of coverages including Pet Insurance & more. Visit them online at

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YOU Can Help Give Back to Pets and Their Vets (Veterans that is…)!

Online Trivia Questions Trigger Donations at

Purina Partners with Non-Profit Dogs on Deployment to Help Military Community Enjoy Lifelong Pet Ownership

What if you could answer a few fun trivia questions and then consider it a day’s work (in terms of donating to charity anyhow)?

Well you can! It’s so cool!

At, there is the most paw-some movement happening. I can’t just call it a campaign or a “thing” because it’s a movement. ..An attempt to bring military families closer to their pets… An effort to keep our furry friends safe while their Moms and Dads are deployed. It’s pretty darn special.

Dogs on Deployment Partners with Purina

The equally special folks at Purina® have partnered up with the noble non-profit Dogs on Deployment this Thanksgiving season to ensure troops and vets continue to receive needed assistance: now through Wednesday, November 18th, you can simply visit the site and answer fun trivia questions to trigger 25¢ donations for every correct answer. Purina will donate up to (up to) $40,000* to Dogs on Deployment when all is said and done!

Dogs on Deployment is unique, a foundation that’s dedicated, respected and wide-reaching. According to the group’s website, Dogs On Deployment is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit which provides an online network for service members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets during their owner’s service commitments. Dogs on Deployment promotes responsible, lifelong pet ownership by military pet owners by advocating for military pet owner rights, providing educational resources and granting financial assistance for military pet owners during times of emergency. Dogs on Deployment aids pets of all types that belong to active duty, reservists, guard, honorably discharged veterans and their families.

Purina Pure Love for Pets & Dogs on DeploymentThe Pure Love for Pets website from Purina is informative and purposeful about the perfect pairing. Accompanied by a heart-wrenchingly sweet reunion gallery section, the site also features a coupon section and a mass of information, including details on how to donate and more information on getting involved in the movement, for example by fostering or boarding with Dod, which has branches near all major military bases in the US.

And with fun and light-hearted trivia questions like, “It’s raining:  a. puppies and kittens b. cats and dogs c. cats and kittens d. puppies and dogs,” and,” What have you done if you let the cat out of the bag? a. revealed a secret b. bought a cat c. saved a cat d. set a cat free,” the trivia game is an inventive way to promote general animal welfare awareness and pet fun facts. Participants can answer five questions a day through this Wednesday, Nov. 18th to help raise the committed amount ($40,000) and help all those awesome military heroes and their precious pets!

So head over to and click on the Trivia link now! It’s a rewarding few minutes and I just bet you’ll find something interesting about Dogs on Deployment to read or watch and share with friends!

Check out Dogs on Deployment on Facebook; follow Purina on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more details.

*Ending at 3:00 p.m. EST on 11/18/15, or when the maximum aggregate donation of $40,000 is reached, whichever comes first, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (“Purina”) will donate $0.25 to Dogs on Deployment for every correct trivia question answer on Limit 5 questions per person/e-mail address, per day. Valid in the 50 U.S. and D.C. Must be 18+. Void where prohibited. 

**All opinions herein are of the Administrator, JL Smith. This post was written in conjunction with Nestle Purina Pet Care, and the Administrator received compensation. never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

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Avoid a Terrifying Halloween Searching for a Lost Pet

Help pets prepare for trick-or-treating, scary decorations and sounds

Halloween is a holiday that is meant to be spooky and cause a fright. People can quickly recover after their hearts fall out of their chests when a haunted house or startling decoration terrifies them. But, the same is not true for the family pet. During trick-or-treating, a costume as innocent as a fairy princess or super hero can cause a dog or cat to bolt from the house.

One in three pets will get lost at some point in their life according to a study by Intervet Inc. And, without proper ID, the same study found that 90% of lost pets never return home. Unfortunately, only 33% of pet owners report that their pets have a tag on all the times (Preventive Veterinary Medicine 101.3 (2011): 265-269).

As Halloween approaches it is important for pet owners to prepare dogs and cats for surprises. Just like house training or learning to come when called, pets need their owners to teach them how to properly react when startled. It is also important to take preventative steps to help pets from stressing and block potential runaways. These simple tips can help:

Put Décor on the Floor – Before you hang any skeletons or ghosts, put your Halloween decorations on the floor and let your pet smell them. Have your dog or cat in the room with you while you decorate, or on a leash outside, so your pet can watch what you are doing. If they see the decorations going up, they will be less likely to be startled by them in the days to come.

Muffle Spooky Noises – If you know that your dog or cat goes wild when someone knocks or the doorbell rings, get ahead of the situation. Disconnect your doorbell and put a sign on the door asking people not to knock. While home, stay outside to hand out your candy. If you are leaving to trick-or-treat leave a bowl of candy on a table outside the door.

Prepare Your Pet’s Lair – Before trick-or-treating begins or inviting friends over for a Halloween bash, put your pet’s bed in a room you can easily block off from the rest of the house. A special treat or new toy can work wonders at keeping your pet distracted from the chaos of the celebration as well.

Start the Celebration Early – Hold a dress rehearsal for Halloween and have your family put on their costumes, one at a time so your pet isn’t overwhelmed. Spend the night at home dressed up and doing normal activities so your pet becomes accustomed to seeing people in odd outfits wearing masks and other common costume gear.

Dress Up Your Pets – Your pet doesn’t need to have its own costume. But you can dress up collars and should make sure that all of the identification information on your pet’s tags is up-to-date. Use a LINKS-IT to securely attach tags to the collar and consider a skeleton head or jack-o-lantern Pawdentify tag to add some festive flair. Halloween and fall-themed Pawdentify tags with color coordinated LINKS-IT connectors can be found at

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