How Big do Pet Lizards Get?


Pet lizards have been getting more and more popular, with newer varieties being added as time passes. If you are looking for a pet lizard, one of the first questions that come to mind is how big they can get.

Pet lizards can range from 10 in to 72 inches in length. Geckos and Anoles stay short, at about 10 inches long. Fire Skinks and Uromastyx are a bit bigger at 15 in and 18 in respectively. Bearded Dragons can reach 20 in, while some Chameleons and Blue Tongued Skinks can reach up to 24 in. Tegus, Monitors and Iguanas can get a lot larger than 30 inches.

Small Sized Lizards (Up to 10 in)

Smaller lizards are cheaper to buy and more easily available. They also need a lot less space and eat very little, so are easier on your wallet.

Fat-tailed Gecko

Fat-tailed Geckos typically grow up to 8 in (20 cm) in total length. Their body structures are very similar in appearance to Leopard Geckos, except they have fatter tails.

Once your Fat-tailed Gecko starts trusting you, it will even allow you to pick it up and hold it.

They can be housed in terrariums or plastic tubs. One or two fully grown adults will need a minimum capacity of 15 gallons (57 litres). You could house 4 to 5 adults in a larger enclosure, provided there is only of male. If there are more than one male together, they will fight and can seriously injure each other.

Green Anole

Green Anoles reach a max size of about 8 in (20cm) for males. Females stay a bit shorter.

Although they are small enough to be handled, they aren’t a very hands-on pet. They have very delicate bodies and get spooked very easily. So you shouldn’t try to catch or hold them. Like many lizards, Green Anoles can also lose their tails if they get to scared. While the tail will grow back, you wouldn’t want a tailless Anole for a pet.

Green Anoles require some sturdy plants or logs on which they can climb. Their terrariums must be at least 15 gallons.

Leopard Gecko

Leopard Geckos can reach up to 10 in (25.5 cm) in length, while females stop growing at around 8 in (20 cm).

Tame Leopard Geckos don’t mind being held.

You can keep multiple Leopard Geckos in one terrarium / tub, but only one of those should be a male. For a single Leopard Gecko, an enclosure that is 15 gallons (57 litres) is generally enough.

Crested Gecko

Crested Geckos can grow up to 10 in (25.5 cm) in length, including the tail. However, they generally do not exceed 8 in (20 cm).

They are small enough to be handled. It will take a few days to get your new Crested Gecko used to you, but after that, they can be picked up every day for a few minutes.

Crested Geckos love to climb, so they need sturdy plants or decorations in their enclosures. Their enclosures also need to be tall, around 24 in (61 cm) in height. As they need more space, the enclosure should have at least 20 gallons (76 L) capacity.

Medium Sized Lizards (11 in to 24 in)

Medium sized lizards need bigger enclosures and eat a lot more than Geckos. So they are more expensive, but handling them is more fulfilling. If you want to handle your lizards, the larger ones (depending on the species) are more enticing.

Fire Skink

Fire Skinks can reach a max length of about 15 in (38 cm).

Fire Skinks are generally quite tame and will allow you to handle them. However, they can squirm a lot during handling. So you need to handle them in a room where they can get away.

You see, Fire Skinks can run a lot faster than you, and will run away if they aren’t comfortable with you touching them.

Their enclosures can be 60 Gallons (227 L) in size.

Spiny-tailed Lizard

Spiny-tailed lizards, more commonly called Uromastyx, can grow to be about 18 in (45 cm) long. The scales on their tails are pointed and much larger than on the rest of their bodies. They look like they’ve been living with Dinosaurs.

Spiny-tailed lizards are typically afraid of humans and will run into their hiding spots if you try to approach them. It is quite uncommon for them to allow being touched.

Uromastyx need enclosure with around 40 Gallons (151) of space. They need plenty of basking and open areas in their enclosures. As they are shy, they also need some covered spaces to hide in.

Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons are relatively larger among pet lizards. They can grow to a length of 20 in (50 cm).

Adult Bearded Dragons will allow owners to hold them. However, juveniles are not very trusting, and can bite if not used to being handled.

While younger Bearded Dragons can be kept in terrariums as small as 10 Gallons as long as they are small, a full grown Beardie will need at least 75 gallons (285 L) of space. Lime most lizards, these guys also like to climb, so their terrariums should have logs or rock for them to climb up on.

Blue Tongued Skink

Blue Tongued Skinks can reach a size of 24 in (61 cm). They are quite large, but since their bodies are stocky, they look even larger than they actually are.

Blue Tongue Skinks tend to be quite tame and will let you handle them. You just need to be slow and gentle with your movements, or they can get startled.

They live in Australia in the wild, so their enclosure needs to be kept warm. They also spend many hours every day basking under the heat lamp. Care needs to be taken not to let the temperature in the enclosure to drop below 26.5 °C (80 °F), even at night, when the lights are off. Ceramic heat emitting bulbs can be used to achieve this.

The enclosure should be at least 100 gallons in size, as Blue Tongued Skinks are quite active.

Chameleon

There are a few commonly available Chameleon species that are kept as pets. They are usually less than 24 in (61 cm) in length.

Chameleons are not very friendly creatures. They aren’t aggressive, but they skittish and are afraid of humans.

They need enclosures that are taller than they are long. This is because they need places to climb on. They spend most of their time perched atop a branch. Their terrariums should not be made of glass, as the chameleons will end up fighting with their own reflections.

Large Sized Lizards (24 in to 72 in)

These guys can get huge! They need their own corner of the room to form their territories and can get very expensive to feed (except Iguanas). You would be better off if you have prior lizard keeping experience, as you don’t want to make newbie mistakes that will make large lizards angry with you.

Large lizards can cause serious injuries.

Chinese Water Dragon

Chinese Water Dragons can reach over 36 in (92 cm) in length. Due to the slender shape of their bodies, they appear to be longer than they really are.

Chinese Water Dragons are among the friendliest of all reptiles. They appreciate daily handling. In fact, if they aren’t interacted with regularly, they can turn aggressive!

They require a high amount of humidity in their enclosures. They are very active and also need spaces to climb on. Due to these special requirements, they need very large enclosures. The minimum size for an enclosure would ideally be 10 feet long and 5 feet wide.

Blue Tegu

Blue Tegus can reach a length of up to 3.5 feet / 42 in (107 cm). Since their bodies are also stout, they appear to be much larger. Juveniles look very similar to Black and White Tegus. However, Blue Tegus have a brown mark on the tip of their mouths. Black and White Tegus’ mouth tips are white. Adult Blue Tegus have a light blue shade on their bodies.

Captive bred Blue Tegus will allow you to handle them. Blue Tegus will even occasionally observe you and their surroundings, something which most reptiles don’t do. They are among the most intelligent of all pet reptiles.

Blue Tegus are quite large, and their enclosures need to be big too. A minimum size should be about 8 feet long, 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep.

Savannah Monitor

Another large lizard species, Savannah Monitors can reach up to 4 feet / 48 in (122 cm) in length.

Captive-bred specimens are generally pretty docile and will allow you to handle them. Savannah Monitors are relatively tame compared to other Monitor Lizards. Most other ones are too aggressive to be kept as pets.

Due to their size, Savannah Monitors need huge enclosures. They should be at least 10 feet long, 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

Black and White Tegu

Adult male Black and White Tegus can reach 4.5 feet / 54 in (137 cm) in length. Females stay a bit smaller at 3 feet / 36 in (91 cm). They can be mistaken for juvenile Blue Tegus. The easy distinguishing feature is the tip of their mouths. Black and White Tegus have white tips, while Blue Tegus have brown tips.

There are 2 varieties available in the pet trade – Argentinian Black and White Tegus, which are larger and more docile; and the Columbian Black and White Tegus, which are a bit smaller and less docile. They are known to be generally tame, and will allow owners to handle them.

However, captive-bred specimens that have been regularly handled since a young age will be more likely to be tame.

Their enclosures should be at least 10 feet long, 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

Green Iguana

Green Iguanas are truly the giants of the pet lizard world. They grow as long as 72 in / 6 feet (183 cm) including the tail!

Although they may look intimidating to some, captive-bred Green Iguanas are actually quite docile. They rarely bite, and will allow you to handle them. But they dislike being touched for more than a few minutes at a time.

If you’re getting one, be sure to read up on Iguana body language first. If you don’t know whether your Iguana is angry, it can give you a very nasty bite!

Since they grow so large, terrariums will be too expensive, so you will need cages or some other partitions in the room the Iguana is kept in, to save costs. They also love to climb to high areas and sit there for extended periods of time.

Syed Baseeruddin Hyder

I’ve been keeping fish and invertebrates in aquariums for over 5 years. Over the years, I’ve kept more than 15 different species of fish and invertebrates. Through ParadiseInATank.com, I hope to guide new and experienced fish keepers alike with as detailed information as I can get.

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