Giant lizards can be intimidating, especially if you've never had a cold-blooded animal. Still, considering how many people buy them, you may be wondering if these reptiles make good pets or not. Well, you've come to the right place because we're here to clear everything up.
Giant pet lizards need more special care than smaller lizards. As such, they may not be the best alternative for people without any experience with reptiles. Yet, depending on the species and how you look after them, they could be with you for a long time, even if you're a rookie.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg! Join us as we dive into giant lizards' behavior, diet, and everything you need to know to have one as a pet.
If you don't have any experience with lizards, it may not be the best idea to start with larger species. Armadillo and Green Anole lizards, for example, could be better choices for you.
But why is that? First, although they rarely "attack" people, some giant lizards can be aggressive. So, handling them, which is already tricky enough, can end up in them biting you.
They only do this as a self-defense mechanism, but, of course, a giant lizard's bite is more painful.
These reptiles also need the usual care for lizards, but times 100. Want to know what you would need to provide to have a giant lizard as a pet? Keep on reading!
As you can expect, you'll need more than a 20-gallon tank to keep a giant lizard.
Depending on the species, you'll have to buy a large cage or give your lizard an individual room. Yes, some of them can even live in a walk-in closet.
Regardless of the enclosure’s size, you need to provide certain things to make the lizard feel at home. Temperature is one of these things, and it will help keep your pet alive and healthy. Yet, all lizards need different temperatures in their habitat, according to the species.
For example, Monitor lizards need an enclosure without extreme heat or cold. The ideal temperature for them would be around 85ºF, which you can get combining UVB lights and heat sources. You'll still need to measure the temperature every once in a while.
Decorating may be the last thing you think of when you're getting a new pet, but it can make a big difference.
Giant lizards also need branches to climb and an area to bask. Some of them also enjoy swimming, so you may even have to buy a small pool AND clean it every day.
Also, the bottom of a lizard's tank must have this to allow it to move around. You can either place a layer of sand in it or get substrate at your pet store, which we recommend. If you give your pet a room, you'd still need to fill it with a substrate.
Iguanas, which are the most common giant pet lizards, are almost only herbivorous. They eat flowers, leaves, weeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Other giant lizards prefer live insects such as crickets or worms. Some can even eat mice, fish, and other small animals.
The frequency of the feeding will depend on the lizard species too. If you get an Iguana, you'll need to put food on its plate every day. Other lizards like the Argentine black and white Tegu can thrive while eating 2 or 4 times a week.
Try to feed them different things now and then for a balanced diet. Oh, and add calcium and vitamin supplements to their food.
There should be a water dish next to the food to help the lizards stay hydrated. You should change the water every day as well.
As you can see, keeping a giant lizard is more work and money than a smaller one, but is it worth it? Let's go through the pros and cons!
If you’ve gotten to this point and you still want to have a giant pet lizard, it’s time to pick the right one for you. Here’s a list of the species that make the best house pets.
The Argentine Black and White Tegu can get to 4 feet (1.21 meters) as an adult. Although they are not as popular as iguanas, they are way more docile and friendly. In fact, with some patience and time, you can train them and walk them with a leash.
One of the many advantages of having a Tegu is that they are omnivorous. Thus, they will eat most things you give them. To make sure their diet is good, alternate between fruits, live insects, and meat. When they're adults, you'll only have to feed them every three days.
The best part? They can live up to 20 years in captivity!
Out of all the different types of monitor lizards, the Asian Water Monitor is the easiest to keep as a pet. They are friendly enough to let you train them and are very active.
Like Tegus lizards, these species only need to eat every three days or even less. You can feed them live insects, rodents, or fish, so there are many options! But remember to include calcium and vitamin supplements in their food.
Another similarity is that they can live by your side for even 20 years if the conditions are ideal.
The main difference is that the Asian Water Monitor lizards are larger. To give you an idea: An adult male can even get to 8 feet (over 2 meters). As a result, they need bigger enclosures.
Likewise, as their name suggests, Asian Water Monitors need a lot of humidity to live. They also must have some pool that they can soak in.
In hurts to say this, but no, lizards don't get along with other common house pets.
Most cold-blooded species aren't big fans of dogs and cats, and the feeling is mutual. Your other pets may try to scare the giant lizards away, and the reptiles will fight back. So, we would suggest you keep these very different species apart from each other.
Giant lizard species are not looking to attack humans per see. Yes, they can be more temperamental, but they are not known to hurt people on purpose.
If one large lizard attacks you, it's out of stress or thinking there’s a threat to their well-being.
We do have to warn you: Their bites or scratches can be very painful.
If a giant lizard does attack you, you must go to a doctor as soon as possible. Or, at least, call the nearest hospital.
Species like Monitor lizards produce venom that is not fatal to humans. But, you still need to seek medical attention to prevent bacterial infections.