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January 8, 2018

3 Beginner Tips for Buying a Pet Lizard


Many people forget that there are pets beyond dogs and cats. In some households, lizards make some of the greatest pets you can get. If you’re interested in buying a pet lizard, there are plenty of factors to consider. The Atlanta lizard and snake pet sitters at Critter Sitters understand picking a pet can be a difficult decision, so we’ve got some tips for those first-time lizard owners out there to consider.

Things to Consider when Buying a Pet Reptile

Some of these tips may be obvious, but it’s important to really think about these kinds of things when selecting a pet. Sometimes the problem is deciding which type of lizard to choose, and sometimes the problem is deciding whether a reptile is right for you in the first place. Either way, here are some tips to follow when choosing a pet reptile:

1. Choose a Pet Lizard You’re Willing to Feed

Reptiles are mostly carnivorous, meaning they eat meat. For most lizards, they are “insectivores,” and eat a steady diet of bugs. Some larger reptiles may even need a more substantial meal, like mice.

If you’re squeamish about bugs or feeding your pet live insects, you may want to reconsider the decision of buying a pet lizard. Fortunately, lizards do not subsist on bugs alone, and many eat fruits and veggies as well. If you have a pet sitter who watches your lizard during the day, you may be able to get away with feeding your lizard fruits and veggies, and leave the dirty work of bugs and mice to your sitter.

Lizards like geckos primarily eat insects, but may be able to handle some fruits as a snack (or when they are young). Iguanas are mainly herbivores, so they are fine being fed fruits and veggies – no crickets or worms required. Take these dietary needs and habits into account when picking a scaly friend.

Pet Lizard Tips For First Time Owners

2. Temperature and Environment Are Important

Lizards, like all reptiles, are cold-blooded. This does not mean they are mean and murderous, but that they accept heat from the environment around them. Instead of generating heat in their own body like humans, dogs, and cats, lizards need their environment to keep them warm.

Most reptile habitats include a sun lamp or a warm spot near a window. Lizards love to hide out under warm rocks, bask in the warmth of a heat lamp, or position themselves in a well-lit area of their enclosure. Whether you have a tank, a cage, or another home for your lizard (some people let their iguanas roam free), it needs to be suitable for your lizard.

The size is also a vital factor for reptile enclosures. Some lizards grow much larger than you might think. Geckos often stay relatively small, but good health and a hearty diet may even grow small lizards to a surprising size. Iguanas are notoriously fast growers, and may need bigger, better cages or tanks after a short time. Choose a pet lizard that you have enough space for.

3. Understand Lizard Care Before Committing

Like being squeamish with feeding, many people underestimate the effort that goes into cleaning up and caring for your lizard. This often leads people to give up or abandon their pets after a short time.

Keeping tanks and enclosures clean is a must for proper lizard care. Lizards roam over large areas in the wild – giving them plenty of room to hunt, find food, and use the bathroom. When lizards have a smaller cage or enclosure in your home, they rely on you to keep that space clean. Rather than moving on to the next rock or pile of dirt, lizards often end up sleeping and eating in the same space they’ve been using as a bathroom.

If you don’t clean out your lizard’s tank or cage on a regular basis, they can become very sick. Pet lizards can get infections and illnesses, even from their own waste. When you have multiple lizards sharing a space, they have more opportunity to get each other sick, as well. Because of this, it is vital that you reserve another tank to give yourself time to clean out the main tank. You should also regularly change their water and bathe your lizards when appropriate.

Atlanta Reptile Sitting Services

At Critter Sitters, we care for your pets as much as you do. We want to see our clients have happy, healthy pets – and we always do our part to keep up with your pet’s care while you’re at work, on vacation, or running errands. We offer long-term, in-home pet sitting, which is especially helpful for pet lizards, since you don’t need to move their cage or have them leave their home tank to go to a pet boarding service. To set up a consultation with one of our sitters, or to start scheduling pet sitting services today, call the Atlanta pet sitters Critter Sitters at 404-973-2541.