Caring for lizards can be a fun and rewarding experience especially if you like reptiles. If you plan on keeping them, you must pay attention to their daily needs. Even though the specific care depends on the type you choose, the following are a few general guidelines that may help.
1. Find the Right Cage
One of the most important things to have in mind when caring for a lizard is that different cages are appropriate for different lizards. Lizards should be kept within specific temperature ranges. If, for example, you live in an area with very hot temperatures, you need a tank that can keep your lizard cool. The size of your lizard determines the appropriate cage size. Ensure that the cage is secure and that it is high enough that the lizard cannot escape. Whatever cage you choose, it should allow you to control light, temperature, and humidity.
2. Clean Its Cage Often
After finding the right cage for your lizard, you must keep it clean. Consider cleaning the cage at least once every week. However, the team at Reptile.Guide suggests that you check it for poop, leftover food, and shed skin every day. Follow these steps to clean up your cage:
- Take your reptile out of the cage and place it in a different one.
- Take everything out and throw away beddings and liners
- Sterilize the food and water bowls
- Clean the cage with warm soapy water and disinfect it
- Replace the beddings, sand, and liners
3. Quarantine New Lizards
If you have new lizards, quarantine them for a minimum of one month. That way, you can limit the spread of diseases. Feed and water the new lizards separately and keep them in separate cages.
4. Proper Nutrition
There are different types of lizards and they all have different dietary needs. It is important to understand the needs of your lizards and feed them appropriately. However, they are generally omnivorous. Their diet should have a good balance of both plants and rodents or insects. Most lizards eat worms, roaches, and crickets to satisfy their carnivorous side. Bigger lizards may eat mice and other rodents. Lizards prefer to eat their meat foods alive. Some of the best plant options are fruits and leafy greens. Blueberries, collard greens, and lettuce have a high nutritional value. Note that some fruits and vegetables may be harmful to your lizard. It is, therefore, important to do your research before feeding them.
5. Proper Handling
Pay attention to how you handle your lizard. Most of them do not like being held and you must learn to handle them safely. When cleaning their enclosures, lift them out gently. Scoop the lizard into your palms with the head between your forefinger and thumb. You may need to use two hands when holding larger lizards. Hold their hind legs towards the tail for your safety. Holding them too tight could cause damage to the internal organs.
Lizards are fairly independent and you do not need to hold them unnecessarily. Being held causes them stress and tension. Unlike other pets, they are likely to feel threatened in your hands.
6. Security Zones
Lizards are territorial and they will always try to defend their space. Since you may be unable to provide them with as much space as they had in the wild, there are a few ways to make up for the limitations. Consider using vining plants or hide boxes. Your lizard can use them to hide or get away from perceived enemies. There should be at least one hide box per lizard.
There are plenty of accessories that could make caring for your lizard fun and easy. They enjoy exploring, hiding, and climbing on things. The right accessories could make your lizard’s cage even more attractive. Cages with mulch substrate or gravel give you more decoration options. They may be better options than those with only a newspaper substrate or paper towel. If you have a desert lizard, consider using rock sand cactus in its cage. For jungle or woodland lizards, some of the best cage accessories are dwarf sansevieria and climbing limbs.
Lizards need water to survive and it is just as important as food. Provide it to them in a shallow trough with a bubbler. Another option is to mist the walls and plants in their enclosure every day.
In conclusion, caring for your pet lizard does not need to be difficult. Some of the most important things to consider are the cage, access to food and water, and accessories.