Lizards make uncanny, unique, and fascinating pets for those with a love of exotic animals. Not all lizards require the same care, and many reptiles can be difficult to provide for. With some education and awareness, though, you can be an expert on lizard care, so that your unusual pet will thrive.
The team at Paws, Purrs, and Exotics Animal Hospital wants to explore some basics of good lizard care. Caring for your pet lizard can be challenging, but the rewards are many with the right guidance.
Your Lizard’s Dietary Needs
While some lizards are strict herbivores, most require an omnivorous diet. Each lizard species will thrive best when eating a good balance of plants and insects (or in some species, rodents). Look for live bait like crickets or roaches at your reptile pet supply store or other places where live bait are sold.
Most lizards enjoy a variety of leafy greens, such as bibb lettuce and spinach, and fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Since there are certain vegetables and fruits that can harm some species of lizards, consult your veterinarian on a suitable list of what you can feed your pet.
How much you feed and how often are also dependent on the size and species of your pet lizard, so these are other good questions to ask your veterinarian.
Caring for your lizard requires the proper husbandry, including their enclosure or habitat. There are some things to consider when choosing the right space for your lizard.
- Is it secure? The cage needs to be designed for your specific lizard. The cage should be secure enough to prohibit your pet from escaping, as well as any possible predators from getting into the enclosure.
- Is it temperature controlled? Reptiles are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and drafts. Make sure you have the correct setting and position of any heaters, heat lamps, and other heating elements, and that the enclosure is away from windows and other sources of drafts.
- Do they have enough light? Lizards are the original sun worshippers. They require direct sunlight for a good portion of the day. Since you can’t allow your pet to hang out in the yard safely, many owners rely on high spectrum sun lamps to replicate the sun your reptile needs to thrive.
- Is it roomy enough? Consider how big your adult lizard will be, unless they are already at full size. This is what you should aim to accommodate in your enclosure size, with ample room for them to roam and stretch, as well as to hold reptile cage items and enrichment materials.
Don’t forget to clean your enclosure regularly. You will need to have a secondary secure enclosure while you do a complete job cleaning the cage. Use only lizard safe cleaning products rather than toxic chemicals, since reptiles are sensitive to fumes and household cleaners.
You and Your Lizard Companion
Just because lizards aren’t as cuddly as the average puppy or kitten, they will bond with you if you spend time with them. Safe handling is particularly important for your pet to grow accustomed to you and being held. It’s important to wash your hands thoroughly after you pick up your pet or clean the cage, etc., as some lizards carry Salmonosis and other diseases.
Remember that each reptile species has specific ways they need to be picked up and handled. Consult your veterinarian on the proper handling technique. Over time, your pet will enjoy the special bond with your lizards and they will grow to accept handling and grooming needs.
Questions About Caring for Your Pet Lizard
If you are considering reptile ownership or have questions about lizards and other exotics, please contact us. We specialize in exceptional veterinary care for exotic animals, including lizards, and are happy to consult with you on caring for your pet pet.
Lizards are amazing pets, but do require specialized care. We are here for you and your pet!