How Long Do Lizards Live?


When you choose a lizard for a pet, you’re in it for the long haul, which is why it’s important to be aware of how long lizards live. Many live a long time, but their life span depends largely on how well you care for their individual needs.

It’s so worth it

It might come as a surprise, but lizards can be very interactive with humans. “Lizards are full of personality and really connect with their owner,” says Ryan McVeigh, founder of the Madison Area Herpetological Society and marketing brand manager for Zilla. “They learn the faces and voices of their owners and will often come to the front of the terrarium when they want food or to get out and hang with their owner. And like a dog or cat, lizards can learn their name and come on command.”

Due diligence

Once you start diving into the question of how long do lizards live, it may seem a bit intimidating. Your new family member won’t live a long life by simply placing him in a glass tank with a decorative landscape or a diet of crickets. “While lizards are amazing pets, they do require more investment in their initial setup and a good understanding of their care needs,” says McVeigh. “You need to know your lizard’s native habitat since you need to recreate it at home.”

Long live the lizard!

How long do lizards live? Lizards in captivity enjoy a longer life span than those in the wild because they enjoy access to veterinary care and improved nutrition and don’t have to fight off predators. But make no mistake about it, proper care is the key to longevity. Lizards depend on their pet parents to provide optimal housing, i.e. a terrarium, to keep their cold-blooded bodies in tip-top shape. “They change the temperature of their body based on their environment, so creating a warm and cold side to the terrarium is imperative,” says McVeigh. UV lighting is also critical; without it, lizards can’t metabolize the calcium in their diet, and they can get sick and die. Supplementation and vitamins are crucial for their health and longevity too.

Lizards for beginners

With so many exciting and cool looking different lizards to choose from, how can you possibly pick? McVeigh suggests the crested gecko, blue tongue skink, bearded dragon, and leopard gecko for beginners. “They are easy to care for, eat food that is easily accessible, aren’t too large, and are fun to interact with.” Even though these lizards are easy to care for, it’s essential to prepare their housing before you bring them home. “The heating, lighting, nutrition, and humidity must be correct in the terrarium before you put your new pet in it,” notes McVeigh. Buying a lizard on impulse without the correct environment already set up will jeopardize its health.

Crested geckos

The gecko leopard is smiling funny
DWI YULIANTO/Shutterstock

These little cuties come in a wide variety of colors and are about 7 to 10 inches long, with a long life of about 20 years. They’re super chill and easy to handle. Zilla says you can improve your leopard gecko’s health by adding a UVA/UVB light which helps improve their immune system. And to ensure a healthy diet, you should spray your lizard’s insect meals with a calcium-boosting spray. It’s crazy, but these animals live to be 100 years old or more!

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