Types Of Pet Lizards

If you have recently decided to commit to a pet lizard, you may be wondering which species is best for your lifestyle and budget. 

What you want in a pet lizard depends on a few factors. 

Are you a beginner reptile keeper or do you have some experience? 

How much space do you have in your home for a lizard enclosure? 

What do you feel comfortable giving a lizard as food? 

Do you want a lizard which will interact with you frequently, or would you prefer a hands-off pet? 

How much money and time do you want to spend on a pet?

Whatever your answers are to these questions, the right type of pet lizard is out there for you. 

We have compiled a list of common pet species, along with some of their care and husbandry needs, as well as information about their individual temperament. 

We have also included lifespan, adult size, and average cost of each lizard.

If you’re looking for the best pet lizards for beginners, check out the linked article for more information.

types of pet lizards

Some Important Reminders

The cost listed only applies to the initial cost of buying or adopting a lizard. 

You as owner will also have to factor in setup costs for their enclosure, heating and lighting bills, regular food costs, and vet visits.

When searching for a new reptile pet, we always recommend going to trustworthy sources. 

Look for highly-recommended reptile breeders or reptile-focused pet stores first. 

This will make it more likely you buy or adopt a healthy, captive and well-bred specimen. 

There are many reptile-focused pet rescue organizations throughout the United States, which may be another option for you. 

Rescue has the added benefit of giving an abandoned pet reptile a second chance at a better life.

We always recommend buying or adopting a captive-bred lizard instead of a wild-caught one. 

Captive-bred specimens are less likely to be stressed by living in an enclosure and with humans than wild-caught specimens. 

Buying from a captive breeding population also puts less pressure on wild lizard populations, which may be under threat.

Make sure to do complete research on what types of enclosures are best, proper lighting setup, and diet before committing to a specific species. 

Different species of lizard have different care and husbandry needs.

Ackies Monitor (AKA Spiny-Tailed Monitor)

ackies types of pet lizards

Scientific Name: Varanus acanthurus

The Ackies monitor, smaller than most monitor lizards, is native to Australia. 

Common morphs have distinctive honeycomb brown and beige patterning on their heads and down their backs. 

Red Ackies monitors have similar patterning, but in red.

Though they generally prefer higher basking temperatures, they have basic reptile humidity and temperature requirements otherwise. 

They also thermoregulate through burrowing, so make sure they have a place to dig in their homes. 

Due to their size, we recommend housing this lizard in its own room. 

They are carnivorous lizards, so stick to a diet of live, gut loaded insects and the occasional pinky mouse.

These lizards are extremely tame and friendly. 

This is why they are generally recommended to first-time monitor owners. 

If you choose an Ackies monitor, expect a high activity level when hunting. 

They are great lizard candidates for leash walking, as long as your outdoor temperatures are right. 

These lizards, like all monitor lizards, have a high level of intelligence and tend to be very curious.

  • Adult size: 24-30” inches (61-76 centimeters)
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Average Cost: 250-400 USD

African Fat-Tailed Gecko

african fat tailed gecko hemitheconyx caudicinctus

Scientific Name: Hemitheconyx caudicinctus

African fat-tailed geckos are native to arid and semiarid environments in Africa. 

They are similar to leopard geckos, and therefore have similar care requirements. 

Unlike leopard geckos, they have beige and dark brown stripes, not spots. 

Their fat tails, like those of leopard geckos, serve as extra fat storage.

Make sure to add a dark humid hide to their environments. 

This will aid in thermoregulation and in shedding. 

African fat-tailed geckos are insectivorous. 

Feed them a variety of gut-loaded feeder insects, adding a calcium supplement.

These geckos are very docile and friendly. 

They easily tolerate handling, making them a great choice for beginner lizard owners. 

Since they are so popular, they tend to have limited availability and be harder to find. 

Keep this in mind before searching for one.

  • Adult Size: Males 7-9” in (18-23 cm), females generally smaller
  • Lifespan: 10 to 25 years
  • Average Cost: 150-600 USD

African Fire Skink

fire skink, lepidothyris fernandi

Scientific Name: Lepidothyris fernandi

African fire skinks live in open woodlands at the edges of grasslands in Africa. 

They are beautiful lizards, with elaborate patterns in reds, yellows, blacks, and greys along their bodies.

Though these are smaller lizards, we still recommend a 40-50 gallon tank minimum. 

Since they are terrestrial lizards, these skinks prefer more horizontal floor space. 

However, they sometimes enjoy climbing, so branches are especially appreciated. 

The most important habitat requirement for them is a deep layer of safe substrate. 

In the wild, they dig and make burrows for thermoregulation and protection.

These hardy lizards have few common health problems. 

They are opportunistic eaters in the wild. In captivity, feed them almost exclusively live insects, adding in the occasional pinky mouse.

These lizards, while they have active and engaging personalities, tend to be very shy. 

Therefore, they may not be the best for frequent handling. 

However, owners have come to love these unique and active lizards.

One issue when searching for an African fire skink to adopt or buy is limited availability. 

Check reptile expos and major reptile websites if you are interested. 

Since these are newer on the pet reptile scene, one downside is there are not many tested captive breeders.

 For conservation reasons, we recommend against buying a wild-caught lizard. 

Captive bred specimens of any species also tend to survive better in captivity and have better temperaments.

  • Adult Size: 14-15” in (35.5-38 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Average Cost: 25-70 USD

Argentine Black And White Tegu

argentine black and white tegu

Scientific Name: Salvator merianae

These large lizards are native to South America but have recently been introduced to Florida. 

As is suggested by their name, they have black and white scale patterning all along their bodies in spots and in stripes. 

They can grow to weight over 20 pounds, so keep this in mind.

This is another lizard which may require its own room for housing. 

They thermoregulate by digging burrows, so make sure their substrate lets them dig and burrow.

These are omnivorous lizards and eat a varied diet of feeder insects, plants, and the occasional feeder rodent.

Tegus are extremely friendly and smart, and tolerate handling extremely well. 

These are great candidates for leash walking as well, and they tend to enjoy it. 

Beginners may be put off by their size, but if you have the space and want a larger lizard, a black and white tegu may be perfect for you.

  • Adult Size: up to 4’ feet (just over 1 meter) in length
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Average Cost: 140-400 USD

Asian Grass Lizard (AKA Long-Tailed Lizard)

asian grass lizard

Scientific Name: Takydromus sexlineatus

These unique lizards, while they only measure about 8” inches (20 centimeters) in length from their snouts to their vents, have long tails which take up about a third of their total body length.

In the wild, they use their long tails to “swim,” or balance on top of tall grasses. 

They are found in tall grass habitats and forests throughout Southeast Asia, China, and even up to Southern Russia.

These unique, skinny lizards have longitudinal brown and yellow stripes which stretch along their bodies.

Asian grass lizards need well-decorated tanks with lots of leaves, foliage, and climbing branches. 

They prefer moist habitats, so keep their substrates well-moisturized with filtered water. 

They will need a 20 gallon tank at minimum, mostly to fit their long tails.

These are insectivorous lizards. 

You will need to feed them live insects constantly.

Asian grass lizards are naturally gentle, easy-going, and docile. 

They will tolerate gentle handling, but be careful not to grab them by their tails. 

They can regrow a dropped tail, but it will take much longer than for other lizards. 

These are also fast-moving lizards with high energy levels, which is why more tank space is better for them.

While these are extremely popular, gentle, and inexpensive lizards, they do not live nearly as long as many of the other species on this list.

  • Adult Size: 10-12” in (25-30 cm) including tail
  • Lifespan: 5-6 years
  • Average Cost: 5-15 USD

Australian Water Dragon (AKA Eastern Water Dragon)

australian water dragon types of pet lizards

Scientific Name: Intellagama lesueurii

Australian water dragons are native to Eastern Australia and Southern New Guinea. 

They have striped black and gray patterning along their bodies, sometimes with a red or pink underside and belly.

These are semiaquatic lizards, meaning they will need a warm, frequently cleaned pool of water for swimming and soaking in their enclosures. 

They will need both floor space and climbing space in their enclosures, meaning their tanks or terrariums will need to be both wide and tall. 

Since they are larger, they will require more light, food, and water than most pet lizards. 

They need both UVA and UVB lighting in their enclosures to digest their food, and their heating requirements are higher to boost their metabolisms. 

They need to eat a lot of feeder insects and dark, leafy greens.

Though these lizards have more intermediate care requirements, they are very rewarding as pets. 

They are generally docile, gentle, and adapt well to handling. 

Most populations outside of Australia are captive bred, not wild caught. 

However, they may be difficult to find at reptile expos or online.

  • Adult Size: up to 3.5’ ft (just over 1 meter)
  • Lifespan: up to 20 years
  • Average Cost: 400-500 USD

Bearded Dragon (AKA Central or Inland Bearded Dragon)

bearded dragon types of pet lizards

Scientific Name: Pogona vitticeps

These extremely popular pet lizards are native to a variety of arid and semiarid environments in Australia. 

There are several captive-bred morphs with different colors, but all tend to have the same triangular heads and pouch of skin on their necks which will inflate into a “beard” when they are stressed or feeling aggressive.

These are diurnal lizards, meaning they are most active during the day. 

You should have their lights set on a timer to follow their natural circadian rhythms. 

While they have lower humidity requirements, being desert lizards, they have average to high temperature requirements. 

They really enjoy burrowing and digging, so consider a looser substrate which enables this behavior, or a dig box.

Bearded dragons are omnivorous. 

Feed them a variety of live feeder insects, vegetables, fruits, and the occasional flower.

Since bearded dragons are so popular, they are generally easy to find. 

Captive breeding populations are extremely widespread. 

These lizards are especially outgoing, active, docile, and even snuggly. 

They have captured so much attention in the reptile pet world for a reason.

  • Adult Size: 1-2 ft’ (0.3-0.6 m) in length
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Average Cost: 30-60 USD

Blue-Tongued Skink

blue tongued skink types of pet lizards

Scientific Name: Tiliqua scincoides

Blue-tongued skinks are native to Australia. 

Their distinguishing feature is their long, neon-blue tongue. 

While they do not grow to great lengths, they are heavy and bulky lizards with grey and black scale patterning along their bodies.

At minimum, these lizards will need a 20 gallon enclosure with lots of floor space. 

Wide is better than tall when it comes to a blue tongued skink tank.

These skinks are omnivores. 

Adults will mainly eat fruit and vegetables, with big worms and mice fulfilling their protein needs.

These generally docile and gentle lizards are popular because they tolerate handling. 

However, they do have a strong bite which they will use to defend themselves when threatened. 

Make sure to supervise any children if you let them handle a blue-tongued skink.

  • Adult Size: 20” in (50.8 cm)
  • Lifespan: up to 20 years
  • Average Cost: 150-250 USD, rarer morphs may cost thousands

Brown Anole (AKA Bahaman Anole)

brown anole types of pet lizards

Scientific Name: Anolis sagrei

These small, brown lizards with long tails are native to Cuba and the Bahamas. 

They are also an invasive species commonly found in Texas and Florida. 

Males have an orange-red dewlap under their chins which are striking in display.

Brown anoles are semi-arboreal, so they should have tall enclosures with plenty of climbing branches. 

Provide cork bark hides and full-spectrum lighting. 

In the wild, anoles bask on top of posts or short trees, meaning they will most likely adopt this position in an enclosure.

These lizards are insectivorous, meaning you should feed them a variety of live insects. 

These should be supplemented with a multivitamin and calcium supplement.

Brown anoles do not tolerate handling. 

If you are all right with a hands-off lizard, a brown anole makes a great choice.

  • Adult Size: 5-9” in (13-23 cm), females are smaller than males
  • Lifespan: 4-8 years
  • Average Cost: Less than 10 USD

Caiman Lizard

caiman lizard types of pet lizards

Scientific Name: Dracaena guianensis

This heavy-scaled, rainbow-patterned lizard is found in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and a region in South America called the Guyanas or Guianas. 

Many owners adopt and buy caiman lizards for their unique looks.

In the wild, the caiman lizard spends a lot of time in marshy areas, and forests overlooking streams and other bodies of water. 

Therefore, its enclosure will need a big pool of water for swimming. 

Its large size means more space and a strong enclosure to support its body and needs. 

This may be another lizard which needs an entire room to itself. 

It also has high humidity and temperature needs.

Caiman lizards are carnivorous. 

They eat a variety of insects, slugs, snails, crawfish, and clams.

These lizards are not necessarily great with handling, but they are very smart and naturally docile. 

  • Adult Size: 2-5’ ft (0.6-1.5 m)
  • Lifespan: up to 10 years
  • Average Cost: 350-900 USD

Chameleon

chameleon types of lizards

Scientific Name: various members of the Chameleonidae family

This group of lizards contans many recognizable members, including veiled chameleons, panther chameleons, and pygmy chameleons. 

All of them have telescopic eyes, color changing capabilities, unique hands and claws, and slow movements. 

Chameleons are native to African deserts and rainforests in the wild.

Since these are arboreal lizards generally, climbing branches and features are the most important part of their enclosures. 

They also have high humidity and temperature needs, so keep this in mind.

Chameleons should be fed a variety of feeder insects, along with some dark leafy greens.

Though chameleons are not aggressive, they tend to be shy. 

Though they may tolerate handling, you will need to build trust with them first. 

Handling may stress them out.

One disadvantage to pet chameleons is many of them are wild-caught. 

Wild populations in Africa are currently threatened by both deforestation and the pet trade. 

As a group, they will need time and space to adjust to captivity. 

Some subspecies do not live for very long in captivity, so keep this in mind.

  • Average Adult Size: 14-21” in (35.5-53 cm)
  • Lifespan: Depending on the subspecies, 2-10 years in captivity
  • Average Cost: 30-300 USD, variety of sizes and subspecies

Chinese Water Dragon

chinese water dragon

Scientific Name: Physignathus cocincinus

Chinese water dragons are native to the lowland and highland forests of South China and Southeast Asia. 

In the wild, they live alongside lakes and streams and are semiaquatic lizards. 

They are mostly green in color, with spines along their backs.

These lizards have more advanced care requirements than others, though they are very popular among beginner lizard keepers. 

They require very high humidity levels and a very large tank or enclosure with a pool for swimming. 

You will need to closely monitor both humidity and temperatures if you choose to keep a Chinese water dragon.

Chinese water dragons are mostly insectivorous, with the addition of some leafy vegetables in their captive diets. 

Their larger size means they will need more food overall.

While these lizards need some socialization time in order to enjoy handling, once they have been tamed, owners report they are extremely friendly, intelligent, and curious.

  • Adult Size: up to 3’ ft (0.9 m)
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Average Cost: 20-80 USD

Crested Gecko

crested gecko

Scientific Name: Correlophus ciliatus

These small geckos are native to the forests of New Caledonia, a group of tropical islands in the south Pacific Ocean. 

While captive morphs have given rise to a number of dazzling colors and patterns, crested geckos’ spikes, often referred to as eyelashes because of their location above the eye, are their most distinctive feature.

In captivity, crested geckos have high humidity and climbing requirements. 

A tall tank with plenty of climbing branches will be best. 

They are also nocturnal lizards, which may not mesh well with your daily and nightly routines. 

You should still give them 2-4 hours of light a day to replicate their natural circadian rhythms.

Crested geckos are omnivores, meaning they eat a variety of live insects and fruit. 

They like their fruits and veggies mashed up and soft. 

Many owners supplement with plant-based natural baby food.

These geckos tend to be very docile and unlikely to bite. 

If you want a lizard which appreciates frequent handling, a crested gecko may be a great option for you.

  • Adult Size: Up to 8” in (20 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 or more years
  • Average Cost: 30-300 USD

Frilled Dragon

frilled neck lizard

Scientific Name: Chlamydosaurus kingii

These distinctive reptiles are endemic to Northern Australia and Southern New Guinea. 

Lizards from Australia are usually bigger than those from New Guinea. 

While the two populations look similar, a frilled dragon’s appearance will be slightly different depending on where it comes from. 

These lizards have brightly-colored frills which are only expanded when they are feeling threatened, and they are generally patterned in muted browns.

Some captive-bred frilled dragons are kept in bonded pairs. 

Usually, they are housed alone. 

However, if you are prepared to take on an already bonded pair, they should be fine together as long as they have spent all of their lives together from hatching.

Since these lizards grow large, they will need an enclosure with lots of room to explore, climb, and bask. 

This especially applies if you have a bonded male-female pair. 

You will need a network of climbing branches to support these arboreal lizards. 

Frilled dragons have high temperature needs, with temps as high as 115° degrees Fahrenheit (46° C) on their basking sides. 

Humidity levels between 50 and 70 percent are best for these lizards.

Frilled dragons are omnivorous, getting most of their protein from insects. 

In captivity, you should be offering them a variety of live insects, supplementing these with light fruits and green vegetables.

In spite of their intimidating appearance, frilled dragons are actually very docile and friendly lizards. 

It may take some time for them to get adjusted to their surroundings, and you may see their frill more often in the early days of ownership.

Once you have built up their trust, however, these are easily tamed lizards.

  • Adult Size: 26” in (66 cm), Australian specimens will be larger than New Guinea specimens, males will be larger than females
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Average Cost: 150-300 USD

Gargoyle Gecko

gargoyle gecko

Scientific Name: Rhacodactylus auriculatus

Like the crested gecko, gargoyle geckos are native to the southern forests of New Caledonia. 

They also look very similar, though they do not have the signature long “eyelashes.”

Gargoyle geckos do well in similar enclosure setups as the crested gecko. 

They are arboreal lizards and will need climbing branches. 

They have higher humidity and temperature needs as well. 

Many owners have recommended wall-mounted eating ledges, which will provide more mental stimulation and make feeding easier.

Gargoyle geckos are omnivores. 

They eat a mix of plant matter and small feeder insects.

Though gargoyle and crested geckos are similar in appearance, they have differences in temperament. 

The gargoyle gecko does not appreciate handling as much as a crested gecko would. 

They tend to be more shy.

Gargoyle geckos in the wild are also threatened due to deforestation.

  • Adult Size: 8” in (20 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Average Cost: 50-100 USD

Gidgee Skink (AKA Stokes’s Skink)

gidgee skink

Scientific Name: Egernia stokesii

Gidgee skinks are native to arid and semiarid environments of Australia. 

They are sand-colored, sometimes with distinctive honeycombing patterns. 

Unlike other lizards on this list, they are social animals and cohabitate well with each other.

If you choose a gidgee skink, you may want to invest in more than one.

Since these are desert lizards, they will have high temperature needs. 

Humidity levels should be lower, however. 

Like all lizards, these will need a clean regular water source, and occasionally misting substrate should help the environment from getting too dry. 

These are shyer lizards, so provide them with plenty of ground cover to dig in and places to hide. 

They do also like basking. 

More of them in the tank will mean they will need more space, so a 40 gallon tank minimum with plenty of floor space is recommended.

Gidgee skinks are omnivorous eaters. 

Feed them a mix of insects and vegetables in captivity.

Since these skinks are fast-moving escape artists, it is unlikely they will tolerate handling as well as other lizards on this list. 

They are also among the most expensive options on this list, though a growth in the captive breeding population in the U.S. means the price will be going down in the next few years.

  • Adult Size: 7-10” in (18-25 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years or more
  • Average Cost: 550-2000 USD

Gold-Dust Day Gecko

gold dust day gecko

Scientific Name: Phelsuma laticauda

These absolutely beautiful lizards are native to Madagascar. 

They have been recently introduced to some Pacific islands, including Hawaii. 

They are mostly green, and get their name from the yellow speckling along their dorsal sides. 

They have blue details on their feet, atop their eyes, and red patterns in splotches on their backs.

These are arboreal lizards, meaning they like to climb and spend most of their time in the wild in trees. 

A tall tank with plenty of climbing branches is ideal.

Since they are native to tropical environments, they have specific temperature and humidity requirements. 

They are considered a suitable lizard for more intermediate reptile keepers.

Gold-dust day geckos eat very small feeder insects, pollen and nectar from safe flowers, and soft, sweet fruit. 

Their more specific dietary requirements add to their more advanced care needs.

Though they’re great to look at, these little lizards are very shy and easily stressed. 

Their skins are more delicate, tearing easily, and they do best with limited handling. 

A gold-dust day gecko does best in a home where the owners are more hands-off.

  • Adult Size: 5-6” in (13-15 cm)
  • Lifespan: about 10 years
  • Average Cost: 40-250 USD

Green Anole

green anole

Scientific Name: Anolis carolinensis

These smaller lizards are native to swamps and areas with high humidity in the Southeastern United States. 

Their wild habitat stretches from Georgia up to South Carolina. 

They are mostly green, with males having easily recognizable red or pink dewlaps under their chins.

These lizards require a 20 gallon minimum tank. 

Since they are arboreal, they will also need climbing branches, and a taller tank will more easily fulfill their climbing needs. 

They also require frequently-misted live plants in their enclosures. 

A green anole will lick dewdrops or moisture from plant matter in its enclosure.

Anoles eat live insects with the occasional treat of soft overripe fruits.

Green anoles do not generally like handling and may need to be socialized or tamed to tolerate it. 

They also do not live as long as other lizards on this list, which is something to keep in mind if you want to commit to owning one.

  • Adult Size: Males about 8” in (20 cm), females 5-6” in (13-15 cm)
  • Lifespan: 3-6 years
  • Average Cost: usually under 10 USD

Green Basilisk Lizard (AKA Plumed Basilisk)

green basilisk lizard

Scientific Name: Basiliscus plumifrons

These long but light lizards are native to rainforest habitats in Central America. 

They are often called “Jesus Christ Lizards” since they are capable of running over water. 

They are usually green, with a sail-like plume on their backs.

In captivity, they will need a large enclosure. 

Since they are semi-arboreal, climbing branches are a great addition. 

They will need high temperatures and humidity all day. 

They are also semi-aquatic, making a pool of water a source of mental stimulation and normalcy in their habitats.

Basilisk lizards are omnivorous, eating a mix of feeder mice, invertebrates, and the occasional fruit treat.

These lizards, while they are cool to look at, do not do well with handling and are easily stressed. 

They also have very sharp claws and powerful jaws, making handling them dangerous.

  • Adult Size: Up to 3’ ft (0.9 m)
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years
  • Average Cost: 25-65 USD

Green Iguana

green iguana

Scientific Name: Iguana iguana

These large, beautiful lizards are native to humid rainforest areas of Central and South America. 

Iguanas are well-recognized for their spines and dinosaur-like appearance.

Since many owners buy baby iguanas without the knowledge they will grow as long as a human being and weigh up to 20 pounds, adult iguanas are often abandoned or surrendered to rescue organizations. 

If you are sure you want an iguana, make sure to provide them plenty of space as they grow. 

This may be another lizard which eventually does best in its own room. 

Make sure to give them a pool big enough to soak in.

One iguana advantage for many reptile keepers is they are entirely herbivorous. 

They eat leaves, flowers, and fruits. 

These lizards are perfect for those not comfortable feeding live insects or feeder rodents.

Though iguanas may tolerate handling, they will need to adjust to you and their home first. 

Despite their size, they tend to be very shy. 

They also have sharp claws, so keep this in mind while handling.

Iguanas tend to cost more as they age. 

Other types of iguana, like blue iguanas or rhino iguanas, will cost more since they are more rare. 

However, since green iguanas are fairly common, they tend to be on the lower end cost-wise.

  • Adult Size: 5-6’ ft (1.5-1.8 m)
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Average Cost: 20-50 USD for baby or juvenile, adult will cost more

Leopard Gecko

leopard gecko

Scientific Name: Eublepharis macularius

These very popular pets live in arid and semiarid environments throughout the Middle East. 

As suggested by their name, they are yellow with black and brown spots. 

Captive breeders have produced a few color morphs, including albino. 

They have wide and round tails, which serve as extra fat storage.

Unlike other geckos, leopard geckos do not climb and do not need a tall tank. 

They will still grow to about a foot in length, so make sure to give them plenty of floor space. 

Also make sure to provide a dark humid hide for shedding, though you should keep the rest of their environment fairly dry. 

These are also mostly nocturnal lizards, and are very vocal.

These lizards are entirely insectivorous. 

Make sure to feed them a variety of live insects, gut loading the bugs first. 

Like all lizards, they will need a powdered calcium supplement and a proper UVA and UVB lighting setup. 

Leopard geckos are generally very docile and like handling. 

This makes them an often-recommended pet for beginning reptile keepers.

  • Adult Size: Up to a foot’ (0.3 m)
  • Lifespan: About 10 years
  • Average Cost: 20-40 USD for more common morphs, rarer morphs more expensive

If you like the leopard gecko we have a post on how intelligent leopard geckos are that’s a fun read.

Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink (AKA Spiny Skink)

red eyed crocodile skink

Scientific Name: Tribolonotus gracilis

These incredibly distinctive skinks are endemic to the hot, humid rainforests of New Guinea. 

They have hard and spiny black scales, with orange or red bands around their eyes. 

This is a terrestrial lizard, and very shy. 

An enclosure with lots of floor space and places to hide is ideal. 

A red-eyed crocodile skink may appreciate climbing branches, even though it will probably spend most of its time on the ground. 

A pool of water big enough for it to soak in is recommended.

These skinks are almost exclusively insectivorous and should be eating a variety of feeder insects, including fruit flies, mealworms, and small crickets.

While these are cool to look at, red-eyed crocodile skinks are not so tolerant of handling. 

These skinks were only rediscovered in the 1990s and are relatively new to the pet reptile scene.

Knowledge of them and their care is still developing.

  • Adult Size: 7-9” inches (18-23 cm) long
  • Lifespan: about 10 years
  • Average Cost: 130-280 USD

Savannah Monitor

savannah monitor (varanus exanthematicus)

Scientific Name: Varanus exanthematicus

This medium-sized monitor lizard, as suggested by its name, is native to the savannahs of Africa. 

It has spotted and striped patterns along its body in tans and browns. 

It is one of the smaller monitors, making it more recommended for beginning reptile keepers who want larger lizards.

A savannah monitor will need a large, well-built enclosure.

Savannah monitors tend to be escape artists, and are very intelligent lizards. 

They will also need a loose substrate which faciliates digging and burrowing, since this is their main method of thermoregulation.

Savannah monitors are carnivorous. 

They eat feeder mice, insects, and other invertebrates.

Though it has a less docile temperament than other monitors (Ackies monitors especially), the savannah monitor is still docile and easy to tame. 

Its size makes it another great candidate for outdoor leash walking.

  • Adult Size: 2.5-3’ ft (0.7-0.9 m)
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Average Cost: 30-40 USD

Uromastyx (AKA Spiny-Tailed Lizards)

north african mastigure (uromastyx acanthinura)

Scientific Name: various members of the genus Uromastyx

These short but bulky lizards are native to parts of Africa and Asia. 

They are most prevalent in the Middle East. 

They like hilly, rocky areas where they can easily dig burrows and access vegetation. 

Members of this genus have skin which changes color depending on temperature.

Their simple care requirements make them great for beginning lizard owners. 

They will need a burrowing substrate in their enclosure, since in the wild they make burrows for protection and thermoregulation.

Uromastyx lizards are largely herbivorous, but will eat a few sources of animal protein. 

In captivity, they eat dark, leafy greens, peas, lentils, and seeds for their plant matter. They are partially oviparous, meaning they will eat eggs. 

They occasionally eat insects and other small animals. 

They may be picky eaters in captivity.

Uromastyx make wonderful pets, since they have docile and friendly temperaments.

  • Adult Size: 14-16” in (35.5-40 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15-30 years
  • Average Cost: 75-300 USD depending on species and morph

I hope you liked this article and while you’re here check out our list of the best names for pet lizards.

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