How Long Do Lizards Live?

Are you curious about the lifespan of lizards?

Have you been thinking about getting a lizard as a pet and wondering how long you will keep it?

If you are in the market for a lizard or simply just curious about these reptiles, you may have the question:

How long do lizards live?

Lizards can live from 3 to 50 years, depending on the breed and if they are living in captivity or the wild.

Read on to learn about the different types of lizards and their lifespans.

how long do lizards live

How Long Can Lizards Live?

In the wild, lizards are low on the food chain and are vulnerable to predators. 

Typically, lizards will not live more than three years on their own. 

However, their lifespan increases drastically if the lizard is in captivity. 

Since there are over 6000 species of lizard, each with a different captive lifespan, we will touch on a handful that are common household companions.

Lizard NameLifespan on Average
African Fat-tailed Gecko12-20 years
Bearded Dragon8-12 years
Blue-tongued Skink12-20 years
Crested Gecko 12-20 years
Green Iguana12-20 years
Northern Alligator Lizard5-8 years

African Fat-Tailed Gecko

This reptile will live anywhere from 12 to 20 years in captivity and is one of the most common lizards to be taken in as pets. 

This is due mainly in part to their friendly nature and easy-care level. 

All you need is a standard 10-gallon terrarium, which will house up to 1 male and two females, a water bowl, and a heating pad at the bottom to provide warmth.

Bearded Dragon

Another common household lizard, the bearded dragon, has a captive lifespan between 8 to 12 years. 

Like the African fat-tailed gecko, the bearded dragon has an easy-care level and requires a small aquarium, a 30-50-watt spotlight, and rocks and branches. 

Ensure to feed your bearded dragon lots of insects and spray with water every day to watch them grow and live full lives.

Blue-Tongued Skink

The blue-tongued skink has a captive lifespan of 12 to 20 years and is the best suited among the skink family to live in captivity. 

Blue-tongued skins are very slow-moving and rarely even open their mouths, so you don’t have to worry about one biting you. 

These tiny critters are easy to care for, requiring a 20-gallon aquarium, a bowl of water, and an assortment of fruits and insects to munch.

Crested Gecko

A crested gecko will live in captivity for 12 to 20 years and has become a favorite among reptile enthusiasts. 

Although slow-moving like the blue-tongued skink, the crested gecko loves to climb and will provide owners with a show every night as they move from branch to branch. 

It’s essential to ensure the geckos have enough wood pieces in their habitat to climb around, along with a hollow section of wood, which they will use to hide during the day. 

Green Iguana

Although more advanced in care level than the previously mentioned lizards, the green iguana is one of the most popular reptile pets. 

This iguana will live from 12 to 20 years and requires a 55-gallon terrarium in captivity. 

Their rapid growth necessitates a large enclosure, with a male reaching 6′ feet (1.8m) and a female reaching 4′ feet (1.2m) in length. 

Ensuring the green iguana has enough room to move around in, an overhead light to provide heat, and an assortment of vegetables and fruits is vital.

Northern Alligator Lizard

Unlike its name would suggest, the northern alligator lizard will not grow to 15′ feet (4.6m) and pose a danger to yourself or your family pets. 

Reaching a maximum length of 6″ inches (15cm), this reptile has a captive lifespan of 5 to 8 years and is relatively easy to care for. 

While they munch on small insects and prefer to stay close to the ground, the northern alligator lizards are adept at climbing and swinging on nearby branches. 

It would be ideal for providing these reptiles with an array of deep mulch and climbing branches in their enclosure.

Read on to learn how to extend a lizard’s lifespan.

How To Extend A Lizard’s Lifespan

While each lizard has specific standards of living, which will ensure its survival, there are a few things you should do to increase the chances of your lizard reaching optimal growth.

Balance these tricks with knowing how long pet lizards live to maximize lifespan.

Provide The Proper Shelter

Each lizard species requires a different type of shelter, varying in size, temperature, and contents. 

As you have noticed from just the handful of lizards previously mentioned, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes time to set up this reptile. 

If you plan on housing a lizard, it is vital to research the specific species you are purchasing and plan accordingly. 

However, a general rule for all lizards is to ensure a heat source, such as an overhead light. 

This is because lizards are cold-blooded creatures, and while in nature, they can absorb heat from the sun, this is not possible in captivity.

Ensure There Is Adequate Food And Water

Again, the diets of lizards vary between species, so there is a need for research beforehand. 

However, most of these reptiles will be happy with vegetables, fruit, and small insects. 

It is vital to ensure you provide an adequate amount of food based on your reptile size and avoid over or under-feeding. 

In terms of water, regardless of the lizard species, there should always be an adequate water source present and checked daily.

Keep Your Lizard Happy

One of the most important aspects of caring for your lizard is ensuring they are not only healthy but happy and entertained. 

Each species has a different habit, with some lizards preferring to hide in mulch and soil and others who are avid climbers. 

It is vital to provide your lizards with the correct number of stimuli in their environments, as this will serve to extend their lifespans.

When it comes to how long small lizards live, happiness and safety are even more essential than larger ones.


Lizards are versatile creatures and a favorite among pet owners.

Although there is no one answer to how long lizards live, a captive lizard will live considerably longer than one in the wild.

If you are thinking about taking in a lizard as a pet, make sure to do your research, and rest easy knowing you will be providing a lucky reptile with a longer lifespan in the process.

If you enjoyed this article, check out why lizards do push-ups.

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