Is Owning a Lizard the Right Pet for You?

Val MillsStarred Page By Val Mills, 21st Feb 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Reptiles

One small boy and his teacher discovered there was more to owning a lizard than simply loving it. This cautionary tale is the story of a lizard that was loved to death and the consequent research done by a class of children on how to care for lizards as pets.

A fascination with Lizards

Andy was a small boy with an unfortunate home background. Not getting much in his own dysfunctional family, he needed all the love he could get at school. One day he bought a soft toy lizard to school, saying an older brother had returned home and given it to him.
Everywhere Andy went that day, the toy lizard went too. As his teacher, I had never seen Andy happier.
Andy was often a topic of conversation with my husband at the end of the day and so the lizard came up over dinner that night. Imagine my surprise next day when I came home and my husband had found a small lizard in the park next door, setting it up in a box with plenty of air, grass from its habitat, a rock or two and a couple of dead beetles. For Andy, he said
I took it to school the next day, not thinking that the lizard needed more than the love and attention I was sure Andy would give it.
Love and attention were certainly thrust upon the poor unsuspecting lizard. Just as with the toy one, Andy lavished attention on his new friend and took his responsibilities seriously. So much so in fact, that by the end of the day Andy had simply loved his new pet to death.

Lizards are living creatures

As a class we learned many things from Andy's one day pet ownership of a lizard. The first and probably most important was that lizards are living creatures. As such they have needs specific to their breed.
All living creatures kept as pets require respect according to how they would lead their lives in their natural habitat. Being enclosed in a cardboard box, under the bright lights of the classroom and being handled by excited children would have been extremely stressful for Andy's lizard.

Do your research first

Owning a lizard or other reptile as a pet is becoming more common, but before making the decision to take on ownership of a lizard, do your research first. Unfortunately for Andy's lizard, we failed to do this until after the lizard had died.
Know facts specific to the breed of lizard you intend purchasing, as there are many different types of lizards that can be kept as pets, some more complex in their needs than others. Learn about feeding and housing needs before you purchase your new pet, not after as we did in the case of Andy's lizard.
There is plenty of information available online about lizards, most of it giving sensible advice for the basic needs of a pet lizard. Your local pet shop should also be able to advise you on the requirements of keeping a lizard as a pet.
The more you know before you start, the more successful you'll be in caring for your lizard.

Housing and Feeding

Before choosing your lizard and brnging it home, prepare its living environment. The children and I had planned on transferring Andy's lizard into an empty glass fish tank and had started getting it ready before the lizard's untimely death.
The housing arrangement for lizards will depend on the breed and the size to which the lizard will grow. When starting out, know how big the lizard will grow. A glass tank, sometimes called a terrarium when it houses reptiles, can provide an adequate home, as long as there is plenty of opportunity for the lizard to hide away out of sight, as they tend to do
Remembering that your lizard is a living creature, be aware that it has nutritional needs, just as you do. You would get bored eating the same food day in and day out, and so would a lizard. In the wild it would eat both plant food and other living creatures such as insects and bugs, so you need to be able to keep up a constant supply of these. The pet shop where you purchase the lizard will be able to advise you.

Owning a lizard can be rewarding

By being prepared before the lizard comes home, your lizard pet ownership will be more successful and more rewarding, for both the lizard and you.
Don't rush into making your lizard purchase, but eally consider whether you and your family are suited to lizard ownership.
Like all pets, owning a lizard has many benefits. They are inexpensive to keep and as they require regular care and attention family members can become really attached to them.
Remember though, the cautionary tale of Andy and his lizard. You do not want your lizard to be loved to death.


Caring For Lizards, Lizard, Lizard Ownership, Lizards, Looking After A Lizard, Reptiles As Pets

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author avatar Val Mills
Self-published writer, coffee drinker, enjoying life. Also found at and

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
21st Feb 2012 (#)

Oh yes stress can kill lizards, as can just not being warm enough - they need to be warm so they can digest their food. I have a pet Anole and a pet red-eyed-tree frog, neither are ever handled, they each have their own vivarium.

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author avatar Val Mills
21st Feb 2012 (#)

Thanks Mark, I'm sure the children and I learned many things that day, not only about lizards but in taking a creature from its natural habitat. Andy's one was a skink.

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author avatar Buzz
22nd Feb 2012 (#)

I share your view, Val. As much as possible, animals, good as pets, should be left well enough alone in their natural environment. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Jules Castillo
22nd Feb 2012 (#)

i wonder if it could be as friendly as a dog or cat

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author avatar Delicia Powers
22nd Feb 2012 (#)

Very good points Val, I am not one that would keep a lizard... but all pets need a place they feel right at hone in :0)...great article and thank you...

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author avatar Denise O
23rd Feb 2012 (#)

Other than the geckos we had living in our home while in Guam, I never have had to deal with a lizard as a pet for me or my kids. Val, I had written a article once where I explain the wrongs we did with our dog Max and his diabetes. I know how hard it is to tell folks because of your lack of knowledge made things worse. I am so sorry you had to go through this, both in the actual event and in putting yourself out there, just to help others. I like your style. Well done piece my friend. Who knows, maybe Bugg & Sweet Tee need a lizard friend. Well written as always and I love the photos. Lovely star page. As always, thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar rajaryanme
24th Feb 2012 (#)

No doubt you have pointed out a very nice topic. Well deserve a star.

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Feb 2012 (#)

A really interesting though sad Star page but filled with good advice Val.. This was a hard lesson learned..

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author avatar Sheila Newton
25th Feb 2012 (#)

Lovely star page. Exceptional reading. Loved it Val.

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author avatar rarity
28th Mar 2012 (#)

I have never considered a lizard for a pet but after reading your article, I thought, why not?

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