Imagine your little one racing towards you with those irresistible, pleading eyes, asking you to bring home an exotic lizard. This can be quite a jarring request if you are unfamiliar with the world of lizard care. But fear not – with proper guidance and preparation, you can open your home to these fascinating, low-maintenance creatures.
A Beginner’s Guide to Caring for Exotic Lizards
Exotic lizards certainly live up to their name. They’re intriguing, colourful and come in an astounding variety of shapes and sizes. However, they also need the right conditions to thrive. One crucial factor to consider is growth. For instance, a green iguana, which is just six inches at birth, can grow up to five feet in five years! Hence, the keyword here for novice exotic lizard owners is—start simple.
Choosing the Right Exotic Lizard for You
Leopard Geckos are ideal for beginners. Their small size and indifference to being handled make them an easy choice. They also don’t require special UV lighting, which can drive up costs. If dragons captivate your imagination, a Bearded Dragon is your go-to option. They’re amenable to handling and grow quite large, which makes them even more appealing. However, keep in mind that they do require UV lighting.
Dietary Needs of Exotic Lizards
When it comes to feeding, exotic lizards have specific dietary habits. Their meals can be grouped into three distinct categories:
- Meat-eating (Carnivorous)
- Insect-feeding (Insectivorous)
- Plant-eating (Herbivorous)
Typical lizard meals include mealworms, locusts, and crickets, all of which are easy to find in pet stores. You could also consider cultivating your own cricket or mealworm farm.
Remember, a hungry lizard isn’t a picky eater. A backyard full of earthworms, slugs, or garden insects can be a fantastic source of food. Just ensure to steer clear of areas sprayed with pesticides. For your vegetarian lizards, a balanced arrangement of fruits and vegetables—with an occasional bug or two—should do the trick.
Supplementing Your Exotic Lizard’s Diet
Supplementing your pet’s food with vitamin and mineral supplements is highly recommended. Indeed, every exotic lizard has specific dietary needs. Here’s a brief rundown of the essentials:
- Calcium: Prevents Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
- Vitamins A: Enhances vision and immune system
- Vitamin B: Aids protein breakdown and boosts metabolism
- Vitamin C: Builds up natural defenses
- Vitamin D: Strengthens bones
- Vitamin E: Fosters muscle tissue development
You can deliver these supplements either by dusting the food or opting for a spray.It’s all about providing the diverse diet your pet would have in the wild.
Creating the Perfect Environment for Exotic Lizards
A 20-gallon tank makes a happy home for your first exotic lizard. Embellish it with rocks, branches, and logs for hiding and climbing. Stay mindful of the floor, which should be organic compost or bark chip for ground dwellers and burrowers. Desert dwellers will appreciate sand, while tree climbers need sturdy branches at higher levels.
Water plays a big role, too! Offer your pet larger dishes or trays filled with water. Better yet, set up a pump or air bubble system to encourage bathing and swimming. A drip or misting system could turn your pet’s habitat into a miniature rainforest, ideal for lizards native to such regions.
The world of exotic lizards is a fascinating realm to step into. Whether you’re a first-time owner or a seasoned reptile lover, the key is to equip yourself with knowledge and handle your pet lizard with care, ensuring it thrives in your home.