The 5 Best Lizards for First Time Owners

Discover which are the five best lizards for first-time owners and how to care for them.

Jul 2, 2023By Tamara Bray
best lizards for first time owners

Reptiles make an excellent choice for pets as they do not need a lot of space, they’re less costly to feed, and they have unique personalities. Choosing the right lizard for your experience level is important, and luckily there are some lizards that are suited for first-time owners.

Read on to discover the five best types of lizards for first-time owners.

5. The Chameleon

panther chameleon.jpg
Panther Chameleon 

You don’t have to be an expert on reptiles to know what lizard this is. The Chameleon is popular thanks to their striking color-changing abilities, big eyes, and slow movements.

The reason why the Chameleon is at the bottom of our list is that they are the most difficult type of beginner lizard. While they’re not the easiest reptile to care for, Chameleons are still a great choice of lizard for first-time owners looking for a challenge and a full-time commitment.

These lizards are more suited to owners not looking to spend many hours handling their pets, as the Chameleon is naturally shy and does not like to be handled often. If you want a chameleon that is more receptive to handling and frequent interaction, then we suggest the Panther Chameleon. The Panther chameleon can live up to 7 years in captivity.

The Chameleon sometimes struggles to live in captivity, so making sure their enclosure is set up correctly from day one is essential.

4. The Bearded Dragon

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The Bearded Dragon

No lizard recommendation list is complete without the bearded dragon. What makes this spiky lizard such a popular choice for beginners is that they have a very docile nature. They are not aggressive by nature, and they can live between 8 - 15 years with proper care.

Bearded dragons make for great companions, and they love to spend time perched on their owner's shoulder. Did you know you can even take your bearded dragon for a walk on a leash?

These lizards originate from warm and arid environments, so they do need to be housed in tanks with warmer temperatures, low humidity, and lots of room for them to climb. The bearded dragons grow to about 18-24 inches and can weigh up to 500 grams. They are easy to feed and consume a diet of fresh insects and plants.

Here are some insects that they enjoy eating:

  • Worms
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Cockroaches

Here are some plants they also enjoy:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Dandelion greens

Setting up your bearded dragon tank is part of the fun of owning one of these lizards.

3. Leopard Gecko

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Leopard Gecko on Rock

These cute-looking lizards with large tails are great pets for kids and beginners as they are very easy to feed and care for, and they are friendly once they get to know you.

If you’re looking for a long-term commitment, this lizard should be your first choice. Typically, they live up to 20 years if they are well cared for. To do this, you need to make sure their tank is set up correctly. Also, it is essential that you feed them a proper diet, and that you are handling them the right way. This means never picking them up by their tail!

With regular handling, these geckos can learn to be more active during the day rather than from dusk to dawn. These lizards are suited for kids as they are not aggressive and easy to tame.

2. Blue Tongue Skink

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Blue Tongued Skink with tongue out

From the outside, these lizards look normal until you spot their bright blue tongue. The Blue Tongue Skink is perhaps one of the most intelligent types of lizards, making it very easy to train.

Originating from Australia, these lizards are quite a bit larger than the others on this list, so they will need a larger enclosure. Adult skinks grow to about 60 cm, which is big for a lizard.

Caring for the blue tongue skink is like others on the list. They require both live insects and plants in their diet. In fact, between 50 - 60% of their diet is made up of greens, so you could say they’re healthy eaters. Some of their favorite foods include kale, collard greens, berries, and apples.

They enjoy spending quality time with their owners and do love a good head scratching!

1. Uromastyx

uromastyx close up
Close up of an Uromastyx

The number one lizard for first-time owners has to be the Uromastyx. This is because they are the friendliest, easiest to handle, and enjoy human interaction.

There are at least 16 different species of Uromastyx lizards to choose from. However, the Moroccan Uromastyx is the most popular because they are well-behaved and have a friendly personality.

Another reason why this is the best lizard for beginners is they are herbivores, so if you're squeamish about handling live insects, you'll certainly prefer this lizard! Their diet is made up of vegetables like dried peas and lentils, as well as leafy greens like cabbage and kale.

While friendly, the Uromastyx does have a spiky tail that is used to swing to ward off any threats, so make sure to keep your hands away if your Uromastyx is unhappy or having a bad day!

Tamara Bray
By Tamara Bray

Tamara is an animal lover from South Africa with years of experience researching and writing about reptiles of all sizes. She has three dogs, Lulu, Ciri, and Rafiki, all from a rescue organization. In her spare time, Tamara likes to go on trail walks and often has her nose buried in a book.