If you are looking to buy a lizard as a pet for your child, you may be better off picking a species that only lives for a few years. These lizards tend to be smaller and easier to manage than their longer-lived cousins, making them ideal starter pets. But if you are looking for a lizard that will survive and grow for many years, you should consider purchasing one of these five popular species known for their long and robust lifespans.
Iguanas are widely available, but they are often abandoned in the wild after they grow too large and dangerous for their owners. Only buy an iguana if you are ready to commit a large space in your home to its habitat and learn to handle it safely. For those who are prepared for them, however, iguanas can be a rewarding and even affectionate pet, displaying remarkable intelligence for reptiles. In captivity, iguanas live to be about 20 years old.
Geckos are a quirky type of lizard renowned for their sticky feet, long tongues and chirping vocalizations. Leopard geckos are especially popular pets due to their docility, vibrant patterns and low maintenance. These lizards are nocturnal, meaning they don't need special lighting, and they can go without food for days at a time comfortably. And, with males in particular often achieving lifespans of 20 years or more, they can be an easy-going companion for decades. Crested geckos are another popular species of similar longevity. Their climbing abilities, prehensile tails and spiky frills make crested geckos very popular for display enthusiasts.
Black and White Tegus
Argentine Black and White Tegus are a large lizard, and you may want to wait until you have some experience and plenty of space to buy one. They are voracious predators that can grow to be 4 feet long, meaning they will need to eat prey like mice to remain happy and healthy. Once their bellies are full, however, tegus are relatively easy to handle. Tegus are another species of lizard that can live to reach 20 years old.
Skinks are a popular pet even for children, thanks to their relaxed temperaments and amusing blue tongues. They reach a maximum length of 24 inches, making them easy for respectful kids to handle, and their placid tempers mean they can be picked up without much danger of bites. It is possible for skinks to live longer than 20 years with the right care, and they are durable, hardy little lizards requiring only basic maintenance.
If you are not quite ready to invest a couple of decades of your life in a lizard, you may want to consider bearded dragons as a slightly shorter-lived alternative. Bearded dragons rarely live past 10 years old but can still reach 24 inches in length. They tend to be more finicky eaters than some of the other lizards on this list, and they require a warm, dry habitat to remain healthy, but they are usually easy to handle and fascinating to observe.
Whenever you are looking at lizards for sale, consider carefully the commitment you will be able to make to that animal. Only choose a lizard with a longer lifespan if you are certain that you will still want to care for it when it has reached its adult size and temperament.