Lizards and other reptiles are not exactly known for their ability to bond. And some exotic pets get prickly about being handled at all. When it comes down to it, lizards are not the kind of pet you get for cuddling and playing together. But if you or your child are truly interested in the characteristics that come naturally to reptiles, you do have options for lizards that come across as a bit more friendly and open to handling.
Bearded dragons are a popular beginner pet for a reason. They are more open to handling than perhaps any other reptile, and they seem to enjoy being fed from your hand, a completely safe activity to do with your bearded dragon. While they don’t technically count as domesticated in the way non-exotic pets are, they are tame and can be happy sitting on your shoulder while you relax in the evening.
Leopard geckos are also known for being friendly to handling and will eat from your hand with ease in most cases. And they are tolerable to being kept in pairs, which makes them easy to care for if you want more than one exotic pet. Of course, as a nocturnal animal they’ll be more open to coming out to play with you if you take them out later in the evening.
The bearded dragon and leopard gecko are relatively small pets that are easy and inexpensive to keep. The Savannah monitor, on the other hand, can grow to be large, up to five feet long. It’s important to be aware of this when you see a tiny baby Savannah monitor at the pet store. If you continue to provide gentle handling as the grow, they can become a docile large pet that you can keep by your side while you enjoy your hobbies in the evening.
Typically larger than a bearded dragon but still much smaller than the Savannah monitor, blue-tongue skinks are another lizard that takes well to handling and being outside its tank. As with all the lizards on this list, the secret to a blue-tongue skin that tolerates human handling is to take your pet out of its tank and interact with it regularly. And the good thing about this reptile is that it has both daytime and nighttime waking hours, making it especially easy to bond with.
At one time, green iguanas were an extremely popular exotic pet that ended up sold to homes that could not properly take care of them. But if you are willing to give an iguana the space it needs (it can grow over 6 feet long) and feed it a proper diet, you will find it to be quite friendly as far as lizards go. They enjoy being pet on the head and will let you know if they are uncomfortable or upset by whipping their tail.
Lizards maintain their primitive characteristics even after generations in domesticity. They don’t follow the same kind of domestication patterns that dogs and cats have. But they can show signs of enjoyment and curiosity for certain experiences. In the end, what matters is whether you feel a bond with your pet, regardless of what kind of emotion or attachment they are able to feel for you. Talk to us at The Tye-Dyed Iguana to find out which of these lizards would make the best pet for your home.