Over the last decade, reptiles of all varieties have become ever more popular for pet owners, with the number of pet reptiles reported in the UK exceeding nine million in 2011. While the class of reptiles includes turtles, snakes, crocodilians, amphisbaenians (legless lizards) and tuatara, the humble lizard can make the ideal pet for the first-time exotic pet owner. But which do you choose? Here are four low maintenance lizards that are ideal for beginners…
Crested gecko (correlophus ciliatus)
The crested gecko ranks among the most popular reptiles for beginner owners, being friendly little creature that is quite happy to be handled when taken out of its vivarium – although, as with all lizards and reptiles, handling should be kept to a minimum.
Crested geckos don’t normally grow more than eight inches in length and are easy to look after, as far as pet care goes, since they don’t require live food in their diet (although they do still appreciate the occasional live insect).
Leopard gecko (eublepharis macularius)
Like the crested gecko, the leopard gecko is another popular lizard for the newcomer. They are small and non-aggressive, and easy to handle when taking them out of their cage for cleaning.
Leopard geckos subsist on live crickets, with an adult getting through 10 to 15 of the insects every day. Feeding your leopard gecko is pretty easy for the new reptile owner, as they do not overfeed, simply rejecting their food once they are full.
Green iguana (iguana iguana)
By far the most popular breed of pet iguanas, the green iguana is one of the larger domestic reptiles, so will require a suitably sized vivarium to live in. They are tolerant towards being handled and, being totally herbivorous, only eat fruit, flowers, roots and leaves, rather than the live insect diet of many pet lizards. Both these traits make them ideal pets for a beginner.
Bearded dragon (pogona)
There are eight species of bearded dragon, and all make great pets for beginners. They are easy to handle, enjoy the affection they receive from their owners and behave with affection in return. Not only that, bearded dragons are easily controlled and are happy to explore outside of their tanks.