Bearded dragons are hardy lizards that can be easily tamed and are safe for children to handle under adult supervision. But they require UVB lighting, a high-heat basking spot and can be somewhat high maintenance. Leopard geckos are also a good choice. They can be friendly if handled correctly and consistently. They require a temperature gradient in their enclosure, but no special light. Crested geckos are the other commonly suggested “beginner.” They require neither special heat nor light, and they can thrive without being fed bugs of any sort. However, they are not as easy to handle, being inclined to jump.
2. How big do Bearded Dragons get?
On average, 18”-20” but have been known to reach 2’ from nose to tail-tip.
3. Is there a difference in beardie sizes between male and female at maturity?
Females tend to be smaller than males.
4. Are beardies easy to handle?
If you handle them gently and consistently, yes.
5. What’s the difference between a Rankin’s Dragon and a Bearded Dragon?
Rankins are smaller, only reaching about 10” or so. They are also “softer” looking and have a smaller beard.
6. Are there any venomous lizards in the pet trade?
Yes, the gila monster and the beaded lizard can both be found in the pet trade. But as with any venomous reptile, they should not be purchased or kept except by trained handlers.
7. What type of lighting do I need?
It depends on the type of lizard. Nocturnal animals do not need special lighting. Diurnal animals, such as a day gecko, a beardie, or an iguana must have UVA/UVB lighting.
8. Do I need to mist or can I just provide a water bowl?
Again, it depends on what species of lizard. Leopard geckos will like a small dish of water, while beardies or cresteds might prefer to be misted.
9. What is a good “beginner” monitor?
Ackies are generally considered to be the best “beginner” monitor. They typically reach sizes of 16”-28” and all available in the pet trade are CBB.
10. How big do iguanas get?
Full grown iguanas are 4’-6’ in length, and have been known to grow as long as 7’!
11. What size housing does a mature iguana need?
A young iguana will outgrow a 55gal tank within its first year! The length enclosure should be at least twice the length of the iguana, and the width should equal at least half the length of the iguana. It should also be tall. At least 6’ tall. They are an arboreal species and are most comfortable up high.
12. Are iguanas a good “first-lizard?”
No. Contrary to common thought and an abundance of cute baby lizards in the pet stores, they make terrible first lizards. They grow far bigger and far faster than the typical pet-buyer expects. They can also be somewhat aggressive, and a big, aggressive iguana is a force to be reckoned with.
13. Why doesn’t anyone want my iguana that I have to get rid of?
Due to the huge number of babies available in pet stores, and the utter lack of education about what is required to keep one happy and healthy, there is a glut of unwanted (often sick and mean) iguanas. Rescue centers are filled with them, while potential adopters who have the means and wherewithall to care for such an animal are very rare..
14. How often should I clean the cage and change the water?
Typically, water should be changed every couple of days, and the bowl washed once a week. (Unless it’s soiled, then it must be changed and washed as soon as possible.) The cage should be spot-cleaned of urine and feces daily. And once a month, broken down and all the components sanitized.