Lizards

Lizards

Non-furry pets are a hit for people who are allergic to fur. Reptiles in particular are hypoallergenic. Even if they’re not that cuddly and cute, they still satisfy people’s desire for companionship and continue to develop a keen sense of responsibility in its owner.

Lizards for beginners

For new owners, leopard geckos are the perfect choice.

They are usually white or yellow with black spots. As they are small creatures they do not need that much space for movement.

A leopard gecko requires proper housing, heat and the right type of diet to thrive. A leopard gecko, being a reptile, requires a bit more preparation than mammalian pets.

These low maintenance creatures are an excellent choice for little kids.

Bearded dragons are another favorite among lizard enthusiasts.

No, this doesn’t pertain to winged, fire-breathing ones we see on movies, but they’re wicked awesome creatures just the same.

This moderate-sized lizard has a calm disposition and is a naturally social creature. Taming it is relatively easy.

A bearded dragon is omnivorous meaning it eats both meat and vegetable.

It is important to keep its diet in check so as to make sure that their food intake consists of 80% meat and 20% plants.

The blue tongue skink lizard got its name from the bright blue tongue it actually has.

It has the same docile nature of the previously mentioned lizards, and is omnivorous like the bearded dragon. It’s diet consists of 60% plants and 40% meat.

The blue tongue skink finds it natural habitat in the dry or semi-desert areas of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. This will give you the idea to put a layer soil or sand material that will allow for burrowing.

Most people are amazed by the idea of lizards changing their color.

For interested pet owners, the green anole is the answer.

The green anoles are sometimes referred to as American chameleons although they are not part of the chameleon family.

But they do change color just like chameleons, although they only do this when they are stressed. These creatures can live for 4 to 8 years, and can grow up to 8 inches.

They usually prey on crickets.

Picking a healthy lizard

Getting a stressed and unhealthy lizard is going to be difficult on the owner’s part. To ensure yourself of a healthy reptile you must check its overall body condition. Don’t choose one that is too skinny or too bony. The skin is another deal breaker. If the reptile is paling it could mean that it is lacking water intake. Lastly, check the overall sanitary condition of the reptile. Make sure that there are no fecal remains on any part of its body, and that its eyes are free of slimy discharge.

Things to purchase

If you want to have lizards as pets, you need to buy required equipments like a cage, furniture and heating devices.

  • Cage – Look for a cage that best suits your lizard’s characteristics. Some lizards are climbers, while some are ground dwellers—the cage must be built to meet these preferences. Bearded dragons like to run and climb. They would require taller cages where a small branch can fit. Another attribute to consider is the lizard’s maximum size. Research on how long your type of lizard can grow, and find a cage that’s not too big or not too small for it.
  • Heaters – Reptiles cannot control their own body heat therefore they are very much dependent on outside elements to do the regulating for them. Heaters can help lizards regulate their body heat by changing the temperature of the environment.
  • Wood and other furniture – these are required to satisfy the leisure and relaxation needs.

The salmonella issue

According to December 2003’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been found out that reptiles are known to contract Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is caused by bacteria that disturbs ones digestive system. It results nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Kids who have weak immunity are more prone to attack. All kinds of pets can be potential carriers of Salmonella, but reptiles got it bad. 90% of reptiles are salmonella carriers. If you plan on having lizards as pets make sure you are medically ready for a possible salmonella infection.

Perks of being a lizard owner

Like most reptiles, lizards can fend for themselves. They don’t crave for a lot of attention from their owners. Although the first day of getting a lizard can be a bit costly (with the number of equipment needed to keep the creature), the next days are going to be easier.

Reptiles don’t eat on a day to day basis thus they do not poop on a day to day basis as well. This means less regularity in cleaning the cage or terrarium. And unlike mammals, reptiles do not leave hair or fur strands on surfaces.

Lizards are also non-allergenic which makes it a better pet for kids with a more sensitive immune system.

The disadvantages

If you want to be entertained by your pet, lizards as pets isn’t the right fit for you. You can’t easily play with them and they can get really boring at times. Unlike dogs and cats, lizards aren’t huggable creatures as they are spiky and bony.
As mentioned earlier, heating apparatuses regulate a lizard’s internal temperature. If a power failure occurs, lizards will find it difficult to regular body heat on their own.

In conclusion–4 things to remember

  1. Some lizards are herbivores while some are carnivores. Carnivorous lizards will require a live, moving animal for food. They will not raw meat. Their diet includes insects and even tiny rodents.
  2. Do not over feed your lizards! Note that they do not necessarily eat every day.
  3. Make sure their cages fit their lifestyle and will fit their sizes.
  4. Observe your pet’s behavior. If you’re familiar with what it usually does, you will be able to identify if it is manifesting any weird change in behavior. Such change may be caused by illness or discomfort.