North Texas Daily

These handsome lizards might make you rethink reptile ownership

These handsome lizards might make you rethink reptile ownership

These handsome lizards might make you rethink reptile ownership
October 16
09:54 2018

We share this planet with a diverse population of organisms, and our reptilian friends are some of the most unique and interesting species among them. Their noble brow is raised above piercing, knowing eyes.

I wondered which three lizard species deserve the most praise and renown. With rigorous testing and ample research, I have formed the following subjective opinions:

1. Argentine Tegu

Informally known as “chubby cheeks,” this is a favorite of many hobbyists. This is the largest lizard in the tegu family and this species is no stranger to human interaction. With proper care and practiced exposure to human affection, this species of lizard can easily become a couch buddy or a scaly snuggle bear. This tegu is the cutest due to its plump cheeks, which give it a unique appearance in the “lizarding” community.

2. Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos are tiny little guys whose faces are always lit with optimism. This scaly baby can live a long time and is a good starter lizard for hobbyists due to their sturdy nature. A nocturnal species, the leopard gecko does not require some special lighting that other lizards do. Additionally, this species readily adapts to the human hand and can be handled more regularly than other lizard species.

Another adorable aspect about the leopard gecko is that when several live together, they often pile on top of each other. Some might argue that this is a show of dominance by the lizard on top, but I like to think this is to satisfy the need for snuggles and warmth.

3. Bearded Dragon

This is one of my favorites. The bearded dragon appears to just be having a good time — its facial features are always contorted in a way that demonstrates a relaxed demeanor and genuine happiness. If you have any doubts about the cuteness of the bearded dragon, you need to watch a video of one trying to run across a hardwood floor ASAP. “Beardies” are omnivorous and desire an eclectic menu including a daily side of vegetation.

According to the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of households in the U.S. keep pets, but only 4 percent of them are reptiles. I think one of the reasons for this is that some species of reptiles have requirements that new hobbyists are unable to meet either due to biological requirements of the lizard or the financial requirements of the hobby itself.

Like being the proud parent of any pet, raising a reptile requires you to educate yourself on your scaly baby’s needs and wants. For example, many species of young lizards are carnivores and need to eat insects daily, but upon reaching adulthood, their dietary schedule shifts to every other day. Other lizards such as chameleons require lighting and moisture levels which can be expensive to implement but are required to craft the ideal habitat.

One drawback to owning a reptile is that most species don’t like to be handled too much by their caretakers. These species are delicate and are easily stressed out by excess physical contact. For some, this is the kicker — many want to cuddle and interact with a lizard as if they were a puppy, but I assure you they are simply not interested in your affection.

If you are interested in becoming a reptile hobbyist, be sure to verse yourself in the needs of your ideal lizard. Not learning enough about your new friend’s expectations could endanger their quality of life.

Featured Illustration: Allison Shuckman

About Author

Sean Rainey

Sean Rainey

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