Ranking The Best Lizards For Handling Top Picks

Ranking The Best Lizards For Handling: Top Picks

When it comes to choosing a lizard that is easy to handle, there are several options available. This article will discuss the best lizards for handling, taking into consideration their size, temperament, and suitability for beginner to intermediate reptile keepers.

The top handleable lizards include:

  • Leopard geckos: naturally docile and ready for handling.
  • Bearded dragons: larger in size but have spikes on their bodies that are not harmful.
  • Blue tongue skinks and Ackie monitors: small enough to carry yet hardy enough for beginners.

Other handleable reptiles such as Argentine Black and White Tegus, Chinese Water Dragons, African Fat-Tailed Geckos, and Green Iguanas will also be discussed.

It is important to note that different reptiles have specific husbandry requirements such as UVB light exposure or varied diets. By considering these factors alongside their handleability, individuals can make an informed decision when selecting a lizard that best suits their preferences and level of experience.

Overall, handleable lizards provide a rewarding and interactive pet ownership experience suitable for both adults and children alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Argentine Black and White Tegu, Bearded Dragons, Blue Tongue Skink, and Ackie Monitor are the best lizards for handling.
  • Argentine Black and White Tegu is large and heavy, but friendly and docile with frequent handling.
  • Bearded Dragons have a good size for handling, laid-back and docile temperament, and enjoy being handled.
  • Blue Tongue Skink is heavy for its size, needs careful support, but is docile and enjoys handling if socialized.

Top Handleable Lizards

The selection of top handleable lizards, including Argentine Black and White Tegus, Bearded Dragons, Blue Tongue Skinks, and Ackie Monitors, offer reptile enthusiasts a range of options that combine docility and ease of handling with unique characteristics that make them engaging companions.

For beginner reptile owners, it is important to learn proper handling techniques to ensure the safety and well-being of both the lizard and the owner. There are common misconceptions about handling lizards, such as assuming that all lizards enjoy being handled or that they are aggressive by nature.

Regular handling has several benefits for pet lizards, including mental stimulation, socialization, and bonding with their owners. To bond with a handleable lizard, it is essential to provide a calm and secure environment while using gentle handling techniques.

For skittish lizards, introducing handling gradually by starting with short sessions and gradually increasing the duration can help them become more comfortable with being handled.

Argentine Black and White Tegu

Black and White Tegu - Tupinambis meriana
Credit: John Tomsett

Argentine Black and White Tegus, known for their large size and friendly temperament, make them an appealing choice for reptile enthusiasts looking to interact with a docile and sociable lizard.

When handling Argentine Black and White Tegus, it is important to use proper techniques to ensure both the handler’s safety and the tegu’s comfort. These lizards require a firm but gentle grip, supporting their body weight properly. It is crucial to approach handling sessions with patience as tegus may need time to adjust to being handled.

In terms of diet, Argentine Black and White Tegus are omnivorous, consuming a variety of insects, small mammals, fruits, and vegetables.

Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons, known for their relatively larger size compared to other handleable lizards, exhibit a laid-back and docile temperament that makes them popular among reptile enthusiasts looking for an interactive and low-maintenance pet.

When it comes to handling techniques, it is important to approach them gently and support their body properly. Bearded dragons enjoy being held and can be safely carried on the shoulder or perched on the hand.

In terms of diet and nutrition, these lizards are omnivorous, requiring a balanced diet of insects, vegetables, and fruits.

Their habitat setup should include a spacious enclosure with appropriate lighting, heating elements, hiding spots, and substrate suitable for burrowing.

Common health issues in bearded dragons include metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and parasites.

Breeding and reproduction in bearded dragons require specific temperature conditions and proper pairing of males and females.

Overall, bearded dragons are beloved pets due to their friendly nature and easy-care requirements.

Blue Tongue Skink

So that's why it's called a blue-tongued skink
Credit: Pat Charles

Blue Tongue Skinks, known for their unique appearance and heavy body size compared to other handleable lizards, require careful support when being handled due to their weight. These lizards have specific care requirements that owners should be aware of.

Blue tongue skinks primarily consume a diet consisting of plant matter, such as fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. It is important to provide them with a varied and balanced diet to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

In terms of enclosure requirements, blue tongue skinks need a spacious tank with appropriate heating and lighting. They also require hiding spots and a substrate that retains moisture well.

When it comes to handling blue tongue skinks, it is crucial to support their body properly due to their weight. They should be held close to the body with both hands underneath for stability. It is important not to squeeze or put pressure on them as this can cause harm.

Additionally, regular health check-ups by an experienced reptile veterinarian are recommended for these lizards as they can suffer from common health issues like respiratory infections or parasites.

Breeding blue tongue skinks requires careful planning and knowledge about their reproductive behaviors. Mating usually occurs during the cooler months after a period of brumation (similar to hibernation). Females give birth to live young after a gestation period of several months.

Blue tongue skinks make interesting pets but require proper care and handling techniques due to their weight. By providing them with a suitable diet, enclosure, and regular veterinary care, owners can ensure the well-being of these fascinating lizards in captivity.

Ackie Monitor

The Ackie Monitor, measuring around 27 inches in length, offers reptile enthusiasts a captivating handling experience with its smaller size compared to other monitor lizard species.

Here are some important care tips for keeping and handling Ackie monitors:

  1. Socializing ackie monitors: It is crucial to handle them frequently from a young age to ensure they become comfortable with human interaction. This helps them become more docile and allows for a better handling experience.
  2. Handling skittish ackie monitors: When first introduced to handling, Ackie monitors may be skittish and prone to running away or biting. Patience and gentle persistence are key in helping them overcome their initial fear.
  3. Benefits of handling ackie monitors: Regular handling helps keep these lizards mentally stimulated and physically healthy. It also strengthens the bond between the owner and the reptile.

Common mistakes when handling ackie monitors include mishandling or dropping them due to their quick movements, not providing proper support when picking them up, or getting bitten by not being cautious enough during the initial stages of socialization.

While Ackie monitors require specific care techniques and patience during socialization, they can provide an engaging handling experience for reptile enthusiasts who are willing to put in the effort required for their proper care and training.

Hose Lizards

Credit: Elli Kalei

Hose lizards, also known as glass lizards, offer an intriguing reptile handling experience due to their unique physical characteristics and behavior. Common misconceptions about hose lizards include the belief that they are snakes or legless lizards. However, they are actually a species of lizard with long, slender bodies and reduced limbs.

Care and feeding for hose lizards is relatively straightforward, as they require a habitat with ample space to roam and hide, along with a diet consisting primarily of insects and small vertebrates.

When it comes to handling techniques for hose lizards, it’s important to approach them calmly and confidently, as they can be skittish. Gently supporting their body from underneath is crucial due to their fragile nature. It’s also essential to avoid grabbing or pulling on their tail, as this can cause them stress or result in tail loss.

Choosing the right species of hose lizard is important for successful handling. Eastern glass lizards (Ophisaurus ventralis) are commonly kept as pets due to their docile nature and adaptability to captivity. They are generally more tolerant of handling than other species.

Fun facts and interesting behaviors about hose lizards include their ability to shed their tails when threatened by predators. Unlike some other lizard species, however, they do not regenerate lost tails.

Hose lizards provide an exciting opportunity for reptile enthusiasts seeking unique handling experiences. By understanding common misconceptions about these creatures, providing proper care and feeding, using appropriate handling techniques such as gentle support and avoiding tail grabbing/pulling), choosing the right species like Eastern glass lizards (Ophisaurus ventralis), and appreciating fun facts like tail shedding behaviors can enhance interactions with these fascinating reptiles.

Chinese Water Dragons

Chinese Water Dragons are known for their vibrant green coloration and can grow to be two to three feet in length. They require specific care to thrive as pets. Chinese water dragon care involves providing a spacious enclosure with a temperature gradient, UVB lighting, and high humidity levels.

Their habitat should include climbing branches, plants, and a large water source for swimming. A balanced diet is essential for Chinese water dragons, consisting of insects, vegetables, and occasional fruits.

In terms of behavior, these lizards are generally shy and skittish but can become more social with regular handling. The lifespan of Chinese water dragons is around 10 to 15 years when properly cared for.

Chinese Water Dragons
Care LevelIntermediate
Size2-3 feet
Lifespan10-15 years

Table: Key Characteristics of Chinese Water Dragons

Overall, Chinese Water Dragons make fascinating pets with their striking appearance and unique behaviors. However, potential owners must be prepared to provide the necessary care and attention they require to ensure their well-being.

African Fat-Tailed Geckos

African Fat Tail Gecko
Credit: ecoterrarium

African Fat-Tailed Geckos, known for their docile nature and manageable size, are a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts. These geckos have specific care requirements that need to be met in order to keep them healthy and happy.

When it comes to handling techniques, African Fat-Tailed Geckos generally take well to being handled and can become quite tame with regular interaction.

The feeding habits of these geckos consist mainly of insects such as crickets and mealworms, supplemented with occasional fruit or baby food.

In terms of habitat setup, they require a warm and humid environment with hiding spots and a shallow water dish for drinking and soaking.

Common health issues that may arise in African Fat-Tailed Geckos include metabolic bone disease, shedding problems, and respiratory infections. It is important for owners to provide proper husbandry and seek veterinary care if necessary to ensure the well-being of these fascinating lizards.

  • Care requirements: Warm and humid environment, hiding spots, shallow water dish
  • Handling techniques: Generally docile and easy to handle when properly socialized
  • Feeding habits: Mainly insects such as crickets and mealworms, supplemented with fruit or baby food
  • Habitat setup: Requires a warm and humid environment with appropriate hiding spots
  • Common health issues: Metabolic bone disease, shedding problems, respiratory infections

Green Iguanas

Green iguanas, known for their potentially large size and unique personalities, require proper socialization from a young age in order to be comfortably handled by their owners. These lizards can grow up to six feet in length, making it essential for owners to establish trust and familiarity through consistent handling.

When it comes to caring for green iguanas, there are several important factors to consider. In terms of diet and nutrition, these reptiles require a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as calcium and vitamin supplements.

Common health issues that may arise include metabolic bone disease and respiratory infections, so regular veterinary check-ups are crucial. The habitat setup should mimic their natural environment with appropriate heat lamps, UVB lighting, and a spacious enclosure with branches for climbing.

Socialization is key in preventing aggressive behavior, as green iguanas have distinct personalities that vary from individual to individual.

Care TipsHandling Techniques
Proper socializationConsistent handling
Balanced dietEstablishing trust
Regular veterinary check-upsGentle approach
Appropriate habitat setupSlow movements
Preventing aggressive behaviorRespect personal space

Green iguanas require proper care and handling techniques to ensure their well-being and comfort. By providing them with the right diet, a suitable habitat environment, regular veterinary care, and socializing them from an early age, owners can enjoy the companionship of these fascinating reptiles while minimizing any potential behavioral issues.

Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos, known for their loving and curious nature, make great reptile pets that are suitable for handling. When it comes to handling techniques for leopard geckos, there are a few important factors to consider.

Firstly, it’s crucial to create a comfortable handling environment by providing a warm and quiet space where the gecko feels safe.

Secondly, it’s essential to handle them gently and avoid grabbing or squeezing their delicate bodies.

Additionally, it’s important to debunk common misconceptions about handling leopard geckos such as the belief that they will drop their tails if handled. In reality, with proper care and handling, leopard geckos rarely drop their tails.

Lastly, bonding with your leopard gecko through regular and gentle handling sessions can help establish trust and strengthen your relationship with them. For children who want to handle leopard geckos, adult supervision is necessary along with teaching them proper handling techniques such as supporting the gecko’s body correctly and avoiding sudden movements.