How Safe Is It to Have Lizards as Pets?

Ever thought of owning a lizard? A lot of people do raise them as pets. Some might say they are easier to have than other pets like cats and dogs. They are quieter and have no odors. However, their quietness is a double-edged weapon since you never know when they’re in need. Besides, being easy to raise doesn’t mean they’re low-maintenance. They need a specific temperature, level of humidity, and lighting. Additionally, they need food and regular exercise. If you’re willing to make that effort, you must be wondering: are lizards safe as pets? Let’s find out.

Why They’re Good As Pets

They Are Docile

There are a lot of lizards’ breeds. Some of them have a temper, and you would need to handle them with care. However, a lot of other breeds, especially the ones you will find at a shop, are docile and friendly. They won’t bite or scratch you unless you provoke them. They can even have an emotional bond with you and start loving you. Here are the most docile kinds:

Leopard Geckos

Getting setup for your pet lizard will cost you a lot, probably much more than the price of buying the lizard itself. That’s because they need specific temperatures, humidity, and lighting. The good news is, you can make accommodations for the little breed much cheaper than other types. That makes them similar to corn snakes. Any owner knows that these lizards only require a heat lamp to lay under, and they’re good to go. If you want to buy a snake, you will be able to find guides on which breeds are the best for beginners.

Red Ackies

Red Ackies, similar to leopard geckos, are very easy to care for, if not as docile. The difference in their maintenance is that they require full-spectrum lighting, not just a heat lamp. But other than that, they are very easy as they eat lots of types of food. And you will have to feed them every other day. While leopard geckos are small and only require a 20-gallon containment, red ackies can be much larger, requiring about 55 gallons.

Bearded Dragons

Now to the ones with the cool names, the beard dragons. They are another famous for being very docile. They will start recognizing you after a while, and may even sleep on your lap. Cute, right? While they’re not the easiest to care for, their requirements are very straight-forward. They want to be under full-spectrum UV lighting all the time. They need to be fed a diet that has both insect prey and some types of fruits and vegetables. They like moisture, so it helps to have a water bottle to spray on them every now and then.

Why They Might Be Bad As Pets

Health Concerns

Some diseases and bacterias can be spread from reptiles generally, to humans. The most common disease is salmonella. The good news is that you can prevent it by washing your hands every time you come in contact with a reptile or lizard. The bad news is, well, you will have to wash your hands every time you touch your lizard. Salmonella can also get transmitted if you come in contact with the feces of a lizard that has contracted salmonella. If you have a reptile, always be on the watch for salmonella’s symptoms. They include diarrhea, fever, headache, and stomach ache.


Another disease that can be transmitted is campylobacteriosis. It has similar symptoms to salmonella, like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. The symptoms happen within 2-5 days of swallowing the bacteria through contaminated food or drinks. One more disease worth mentioning is leptospirosis. Patients get the disease by getting exposed to the urine of an infected animal. It can come in contact with a human through cuts or scratches. If it gets in water or soil, it can survive up to months. If you have a cat or a dog, you should be concerned about leptospirosis as well. People who get infected usually go through flu-like symptoms.


Welcoming a new pet to your home is always a good idea. Lizards aren’t an expectation. There are a few rules you need to follow, though. The first thing is to read well about the breed you get before buying it. Pick one that is docile and easy to maintain. And remember to be nice to your pet, because when they’re frightened, they may lash out and bite, scratch, or claw you. Create the best environment for your pet to ensure it lives for long. If you manage to take good care of it, lizards can live up to 20 years. So you will have got yourself a lifetime companion.