Best Pet Lizards For Kids | 15 Amazing Lizards Your Kids Will Love!

Best pet lizards for kids

Lizards can be a great beginner pet for kids who are interested in reptiles, and several types of pet lizards are a good pick for a kid with novice reptile-keeping skills. All of these lizards are non-aggressive, easy to maintain, and interesting to watch. 

Below you’ll find a list of fifteen of the best pet lizards for kids. These scaly friends come in a wide variety of colors and behaviors to keep kids entertained, and they’re sturdy enough to deal with occasional gentle handling.

Keep reading to learn all about the most common beginner lizards kept as pets and a little bit more about what makes each species special. 

How To Pick The Right Pet Lizard For Kids

In just a minute I am going to make my case for the top 15 pet lizards for kids. But first I want to explain how and why these lizards make the list. In addition, though they are ranked, you need to do your research to see which species is best for your child. There are things to consider about your unique situation. 

Factors would include the age of your child and maturity level for helping take care of and handle a pet lizard. For example, you might assume that a smaller lizard will be better for a child because it is less harmful.

However, you must consider that it might be easier for a small child to lose or accidentally harm a smaller lizard. So individual considerations must be considered. You also simply want to ask yourself which lizard your child wants. 

Of course, I am not saying to go get an iguana that grows to 6 feet long and is known to be aggressive. But the species your child likes should be part of the consideration.

Characteristics Good Pet Lizards For Kids Include:

  • Ideal Size ( Not Too Big and Not Too Small ) 
  • Handleability
  • Temperament 
  • Lifespan
  • Hardiness
  • Availability

With that said, here is my list of the best pet lizards for kids!

#1 Leopard Gecko: Best Pet Lizard For Kids Over 5

Size: 7-10 inches

Lifespan: 6-20 years

Minimum Housing: 10-20 gallon screened terrarium

Heat Requirement: 88-90 degrees

Diet: Live mealworms and crickets

If you asked most pet store clerks what the most popular lizard pet is for kids, most of them would probably say the leopard gecko (and with good reason). These spotted lizards are especially docile and are relatively easy to care for compared to some other reptiles. 

Leopard geckos are named for the dark brown spots that cover their yellow bodies when they grow to their adult size. Kids who get a leopard gecko as a pet should handle them gently because they are small. Handling should be undertaken carefully because stress or fear can cause the gecko’s tail to become detached as it attempts to escape. 

That said, their size is both a good and bad option as a pet lizard for a child. Their smaller size is great because they are not going to be able to harm your child like a pet iguana can. On the other hand, very small children might accidentally squeeze or crush the leopard gecko due to their smaller size. 

They are still my number one pick for the best pet lizard for kids. But they are ideal for children that are at least over the age of 5 years old and can understand how to handle their pet lizard. 

#2 Bearded Dragon: Best Medium-Sized Lizard For Kids

Size: 24 inches

Lifespan: 6-10 years
Minimum Housing: 75-gallon aquarium or enclosure 

Heat Requirement: 100 degrees

Diet: Live insects, chopped vegetables 

Along with leopard geckos, bearded dragons are another one of the most popular pet lizards that are recommended for kids. This outstanding reputation is because of all the pet lizards available, bearded dragons are among the best when it comes to tolerating human handling without getting stressed out or aggressive.

Bearded dragons originate from Australia and are semi-arboreal, which means they can be found either on the ground or up in a tree. In the wild, bearded dragons are most often found basking in the shade to avoid the heat of the scorching outback sun. 

Just make sure that your child is ready to take care of and handle their bearded dragon often. If so the bearded dragon might be the best pet lizard for your child. 

#3 Painted Agama: Perfect Size Lizard For Kids 

Size: 12 inches

Lifespan: 25-28 years
Minimum Housing: 20-gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 71-77 degrees

Diet: Live insects, chopped vegetables, pinky mice

Painted agamas (also known as stellagama or painted dragons) are pet lizards that are similar in size and shape to bearded dragons. Luckily for pet owners, painted agamas also have a friendly temperament like bearded dragons, which makes them a good choice for kids to handle. 

These striped lizards come from the Middle East and can be found in countries such as Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. Painted agamas prefer to be misted with a water bottle each day, but be sure not to add too much moisture to the agama enclosure.

While a shallow water bowl can be offered, most of the water this lizard drinks is water that it licks up off decor in its enclosure. 

#4 Blue-Tongued Skink: Great Pet Lizard For Kids Who Want To Handle Frequently

Blue-tongued skink care

Size: 15-30 inches

Lifespan: 20 years
Minimum Housing: 120-gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 75-85 degrees (hot and cold areas of enclosure)

Diet: Live insects, chopped vegetables, fresh fruit

Even though the blue-tongued skink is the same size as many bearded dragons or painted agamas, these pet lizards require a significantly larger enclosure due to their high activity level.

This can make them a bit more challenging to keep for kids since they require a lot of room, but they’re well worth the trouble if you have the space. 

An advantage of keeping a blue-tongued skink for kids is that these lizards are sturdy and can tolerate a varied diet. They also deal well with being handled. 

When setting up an enclosure for a blue-tongued skink, keep in mind that these lizards are poor swimmers and will drown in a water dish they can’t easily climb out of.

Do not include water pools or other deep water in a blue-tongued skink’s enclosure. 

#5 Crested Gecko: Great For Kids But Can Be Fragile

Best Pet Gecko For Kids

Size: 5-8 inches

Lifespan: 15-20 years
Minimum Housing: 20-29 gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 72-78 degrees

Diet: commercial crested gecko food, live insects, baby food

The crested gecko is also known as an eyelash gecko, but the truth is that these geckos don’t have eyelashes. Instead, they have a crest of flesh over their eyes that is known as cilia. 

Up until 1994, crested geckos were thought to be completely extinct. But they are now very popular in the reptile trade. 

But several large populations of the lizards were found on the islands of New Caledonia, and from these populations, several large captive breeding operations were established. 

Crested geckos are docile lizards and can be easily tamed by kids with just 10-30 minutes a day of handling. Geckos are often considered to have a dog-like personality that is capable of bonding with humans. The crested gecko is truly one of the best pet lizards for kids. 

#6 African Fat-Tailed Gecko: Great For Kids But Are Most Active At Night 

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Care

Size: 7-9 inches

Lifespan: 25 years
Minimum Housing: 20-gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 80-95 degrees (hot and cold areas of enclosure)

Diet: Crickets and mealworms

Unlike many pet lizards, African fat-tailed geckos are nocturnal. This means that these lizards are most active at night.  These geckos prefer to spend a good amount of their time in darkness, so make sure that they have a few hides in the enclosure so that they can get out from underneath the terrarium lamp. 

Like other geckos, African fat-tailed geckos are easy to tame, and they aren’t difficult to maintain in captivity. This makes them the perfect starter lizard for a kid who is dipping their toes into the hobby of reptile keeping. 

African fat-tailed geckos aren’t as easy to find in pet stores as some more common pet lizards. However, these lizards are widely available on the Internet through gecko breeders. 

#7 Uromastyx: Great “Larger” Sized Pet Lizard For Kids

Size: 10-36 inches

Lifespan: 15 years
Minimum Housing: 5’x2’x2′ enclosure

Heat Requirement: 85-115 degrees (night-time/daytime temperatures)

Diet: Dark leafy vegetables, millet, veggies 

Uromastyx is also known as a spiny-tailed lizard, and even though they get significantly bigger than some other pet lizards, they’re still a popular choice for kids due to their slow growth rate and docile personalities. It can take a uromastyx five years to reach its full adult size.

Though compared to tegus, monitors, and iguanas they are not large, they are one the larger side of what would be great for kids. Many pet stores will happily sell green iguanas and monitors to parents looking for a pet for their kids. 

But this is very irresponsible if you ask me. These are not good pets for kids and can even be very dangerous. Large iguanas, tegus, and monitors should only be kept by mature and experienced reptile keepers. The uromastyx though is a great choice for a kid who wants a larger sized lizard than say a gecko or agama. 

Uromastyx differs from most pet lizards in that it prefers a diet that focuses on leafy vegetable matter and grains rather than insects. While juveniles of the species may eat insects and some varieties of uromastyx will accept them, dark leafy greens should form the basis of the lizard’s diet for good health. 

Another way that the care of uromastyx is different than other pet lizards is that it requires a large fluctuation between daytime and night-time temperatures to emulate its natural desert environment. This can be achieved by turning off heating devices in the tank overnight and turning them back on in the morning. 

#8 Gidgee Skink: Underrated Pet Lizard For Kids 

Size: 10-12 inches

Lifespan: 15-25 years
Minimum Housing: 40-gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 110-120 degrees

Diet: Live insects, chopped vegetables, fruit, canned dog food

Gidgee skinks are sometimes referred to as the mini blue-tongued skink since they have similar coloring and build. These basking lizards from air Australia love the heat, so make sure to keep their terrarium warm enough to ensure good health.

At the same time, it’s important to protect lizards from bare heat bulbs and hot rocks since they can cause life-threatening burns. 

Multiple gidgee skinks can be kept in a single enclosure, but it’s important to keep a close eye on them and make sure they get along. In the wild, these skinks actually live in close-knit family units and will become very territorial towards outside skinks.

Purchasing juvenile skinks that were hatched out together is the best opportunity kids have to get multiple skinks that get along.

#9 Gargoyle Gecko

Best Pet Lizards For Children

Size: 4-4.5 inches

Lifespan: 15-20 years
Minimum Housing: 10-gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 72-78 degrees

Diet: Brown crickets, fruit, leafy greens, chopped vegetables

Like crested geckos, gargoyle geckos are native to the islands of New Caledonia. A unique feature of these little reptiles is that they prefer temperate temperatures rather than the heat required by most captive reptiles. 

The gargoyle gecko’s ability to thrive at room temperature makes them a safe choice as a pet for kids since these geckos don’t need a super-heated lamp or complicated heating and lighting requirements to stay healthy.

However, these geckos are on the smaller side, so they should still be handled gently by children to avoid accidental injury. This allows them to stay in a smaller enclosure too. Gargoyle geckos should not usually be kept as unsexed juveniles together in the same enclosure since both males and females are highly territorial towards the same sex. 

#10 Australian Water Dragon: Larger Sized Lizard For Mature Kids 

Best large lizard for kids

Size: 24-39 inches

Lifespan: 20 years
Minimum Housing: 4’x2’x3′ enclosure

Heat Requirement: 85-95 degrees (hot and cool areas)

Diet: Live insects, earthworms, pinky mice, feeder goldfish

These long, vividly striped lizards are pretty much Australia’s answer to the iguana, and Australian water dragons have been a popular lizard in the pet trade for a long time. One of the things that makes water dragons a good pet for kids is that they don’t suffer from serious health issues like some other more delicate reptiles might. 

The biggest concerns a pet owner has to stay on top of with water dragons are humidity, lighting, and cleanliness. 

Australian water dragons can get respiratory issues as a result of lack of humidity, so their tanks should be misted daily. Care should also be taken to avoid the build-up of bacteria in the tank by deep-cleaning the dragon’s enclosure and sanitizing it at least once a month. 

Like most pet lizards, water dragons depend on full-spectrum UVB lighting. Without it, they can develop metabolic bone disease, a painful metabolic disorder caused by malnutrition that will cause the bones of the lizard to become brittle. Also, water dragons are highly territorial, so it’s always a good idea to keep one dragon in an enclosure by themselves. 

#11 Peter’s Banded Skink

Size: 5-7 inches

Lifespan: 15-20 years
Minimum Housing: 10-gallon aquarium

Heat Requirement: 85-100 degrees (hot and cool areas)

Diet: Live insects, earthworms, cooked chicken, tuna, boiled eggs

This small banded gecko isn’t as common to find in pet stores as some other lizards, but it’s still a popular choice as a first lizard for kids. Like many lizards, Peter’s banded skinks are technically omnivorous. However, they will always take and prefer high-protein foods such as meat or insects over vegetables and fruit. 

Sand substrate is the recommended substrate for banded skinks, and no other substrates should be used. Banded skinks need sand for digging and to emulate their natural habitat. Without it, these skinks can become stressed from a lack of environmental enrichment. 

Unlike other lizards, Peter’s banded skinks do not tend to use hides to isolate themselves. This is another advantage for them as a child’s pet since it makes them easy to view in their enclosure at any given time.

#12 Chahoua Gecko

Cool Looking Gecko For Kids

Size: 10 inches

Lifespan: 12-15 years
Minimum Housing: 40-gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 78-82 degrees (hot and cool areas)

Diet: Mostly chopped fruit mixes, some live insects may be offered

Chahoua geckos (known affectionately as “chewies”) are also known as mossy prehensile tailed geckos. These geckos are from the rainforest and have evolved to blend into their surroundings for safety. 

Unlike lizards which bask on the ground, these geckos are completely arboreal and spend all of their time in the trees. Lizard owners should keep this in mind when designing their enclosure, which should look more like a chameleon’s vertical setup than a traditional gecko cage. Chahoua geckos also need plenty of branches and other items in their enclosure to climb. 

Because they’re from a muggy rainforest environment, Chahoua geckos require their enclosures to be misted frequently to maintain high levels of humidity. Maintaining humidity between 60-75% will help keep these geckos healthy and happy.

#13 Pink Tongued Skink: Another Underrated Pet Lizard For Kids

Size: 17 inches

Lifespan: 15-20 years
Minimum Housing: 10-gallon

Heat Requirement: 78-88 degrees 

Diet: Worms, bananas, dog food, cat food, cooked meats

Pink-tongued skinks may not be as popular as some of the other pet lizards for pets on this list, but we think that they’re seriously underrated. These little lizards are among the most docile and gentle lizards you can purchase as a pet. While many pet lizards come from arid or jungle environments, pink-tongued skinks are woodland creatures. 

An advantage of choosing a pink-tongued skink for a kid is that these lizards are known for having expressive eyes and faces. This can give them an endearing, almost cartoonish look that kids find irresistible. 

Because pink-tongued skinks are from the woods, they do best in enclosures that provide plenty of leaf litter and substrate to hide in. The more confident these lizards are that they have someplace safe to escape to, the more likely they are to show themselves frequently in the enclosure. Pink tongued skinks are and excellent choice for children and first time reptile owners. 

#14 Fire Skink: Great Choice For Kids Who Mostly Want To Observe 

Size: 15 inches

Lifespan: 15-20 years
Minimum Housing: 20-gallon enclosure

Heat Requirement: 80-85/90-95 degrees (hot and cool areas)

Diet: Live insects, earthworms

African fire skinks are one of the most colorful pet lizards you can buy, with a golden stripe down their back and vivid red sides with black and white markings and dots scattered in.

While these lizards may be a little shyer than more common pet lizards such as bearded dragons or geckos, these skinks will come out more and more often as they become relaxed in their home. 

Fire skinks that are hand-tamed over time can become used to human interaction, but this species is better for observation than handling. It is extremely agile and can quickly get away from a child’s hands and get lost in the house if it becomes startled.

Like pink-tongued skinks, kids can get the most out of African fire skinks by providing plenty of litter and substrate for them to hide in. Once the skink feels more secure, you’ll find it coming out more and more into the open. Fire skinks truly are one of the best pet lizards for kids or beginners. 

#15 Chinese Water Dragon: Captive Bred Only 

chinese water dragon size

Size: 2-3 feet

Lifespan: 10-15 years 

Minimum Housing: 4-6 feet long X 4 feet wide X 5-6 feet tall 

The last lizard to make my list of best pet lizards for kids is the Chinese water dragon. The Chinese water dragon can be a great choice but it is also the largest lizard on this list. It is more suitable for kids that are a bit older. 

Because of their size, they will also need a large enclosure. That said, the real thing that worries me about the Chinese water dragon is that they are hard to find captive-bred. Most Chinese water dragons on the market are wild-caught or farmed. This is also why they are so cheap.

Unfortunately, since they are shipped across the ocean and often spend their time in the wild they are often sick and suffer short lifespans. That said, if you can find a good breeder then they might just be one of my favorite pet lizards to own. 

Best Pet Lizards For Kids

Pet lizards can be a good option as a pet for a child. That said, some lizards are much better options than others are. Some of the more popular species such as green iguanas are actually very poor choices for children ( and most adults as well).

So if you are going to buy a pet lizard for your kid then make sure to pick one that is better suited for kids.

That being said, parents should not buy lizards for their kids if they aren’t willing to make a good home for them. Pet lizards can easily live as long as a dog or longer, so be sure that you as the parent are prepared to take responsibility. 

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