I have trained and worked in animal care as well as in career advising. I live in Lancashire, in the UK.
So You Want a Pet Lizard?
You've decided you want a pet lizard, but your parents aren't keen, or you suspect that they won't be keen. Here are some tips which might help swing the balance in your favour and convince your parents to let you have a pet lizard.
The thing to bear in mind is that your parent's objections are generally rational and potentially valid, but if you can answer their questions honestly and in an adult way, you have a better chance of success of bringing them round to your plan to have a pet lizard.
It will help to settle on a particular species of lizard—there is a huge difference in size and care requirements between a green iguana and a leopard gecko, for example. Some parents might be quite reassured if you are keen to have a leopard gecko if the first thing that sprang to their mind was a huge iguana. Being specific about which lizard species you want also shows that you have put some thought into the idea.
Why Do you Want a Lizard?
Typical parent objection: What on earth do you want one of them for?
To be fair to your parents, you really should have a decent answer for this one which shows that having a lizard as a pet isn't a passing whim. So why do you want one?
Sensible answers are:
- "I've been helping John/Jessica look after their lizard, and it's really interesting."
- "We've been learning about lizards in biology, and I really want to get some practical experience of them."
- "I really want a pet and having done some research into lizards, I feel confident that I can care for one properly."
Typical parent objections: You/we don't know how to look after lizards. Who will care for it when we go on holiday? What will happen to it when you go off to university? You'll get bored of it, and we'll end up looking after it.
- Tactic one: Read up on everything you can about lizards. Pay particular attention to the species that you want to keep. Print out articles from the internet and keep them together in a file, borrow books from the library. You could even do a school project on lizards. By doing this, you will be able to talk knowledgeably about lizard care, and you will be better prepared for when you get your lizard. You could also join a local Herpetological society to meet up with and learn from other reptile enthusiasts.
- Tactic Two: Find out if any of your friends would be prepared to look after your lizard when you go away on holiday and then double-check with their parents that it would be ok too. Failing this you could ask at your local reptile shop whether they do holiday boarding or find out the rates of a reliable pet sitter.
You could also offer to care for your friend's pet lizard when they go away - this will help show your parents that you can look after one and if the vivarium is small enough to move into your house for the holiday they will start getting used to having a lizard around.
Here are the average lifespans for commonly-owned lizards.
- Iguana: 15+ years
- Leopard gecko: 10 years
- Bearded dragon: 8 years
- Tactic three: What will happen when you go to university or leave home is a legitimate concern. You could pick a short-lived species; female Jackson's chameleons live for around 4 years, or you could pick a popular species such as a leopard gecko, which is easy to sell on if your circumstances change. You could say that you would look for accommodation which will accept pets, but failing that would arrange to board it with someone during the term time.
- Tactic four: "You'll get bored of it." is a difficult one to refute if this has happened before with one of your enthusiasms. Time may be the only cure for this - either you will get bored of reading about lizards before your parents give in (which at least saves a lizard from becoming an unwanted pet) or your continued enthusiasm for all things lizardy will eventually persuade your parents that this is a serious interest.
Typical Parent Objection: Lizards are expensive to buy and look after. Once again, this is where your research will stand you in good stead. Find out the cost of everything associated with buying and keeping a lizard and make a list of prices. Vivariums and equipment are often offered second hand, so do check the classified ads and Craigslist. Then you can decide whether you want to save up the amount for the initial outlay or request it as a Christmas or birthday present.
If your pocket money or allowance won't run to the ongoing cost of keeping a lizard don't expect your parents to make up the difference—after all, it is you who wants this pet. Instead, aim to get a part-time job to cover costs. This will have the added bonus of showing how determined and committed you are to caring for your pet.
If your parents are very canny, they might want you to contribute to the cost of electricity for running the thermostatic heaters and lights that are necessary for lizards kept in most domestic situations. So in your calculations make sure you could cover this extra cost allowing 1–2 dollars/week for safety.
Typical Parent Objection: We haven't got room to keep a lizard.
This is a fair point, so you need to be prepared to keep the lizard in your room even if you think there is a perfectly good space for a lizard elsewhere in the house.
This is where all the research you've been doing will come in handy. If your room is small or you share it, you may only have a small space for a vivarium so select your species accordingly—a leopard gecko for example could be kept in a 24" x 12" x 12" vivarium. Then clear a space in your room, which is the appropriate size and show them that there is room for one.
Typical Parent Objection: We don't mind the lizards, but we're not going to have crickets running about the house.
If they're adamant about this, you could consider vegetarian species of lizard. Iguanas are the classic ones and can be fed on a combination of vegetables, a little fruit, and commercial iguana food. But they are a big reptile to commit to. They grow to around 6 feet (72"), and as a result, they frequently end up outgrowing their owner's affections and becoming unwanted. Uromastyx species are smaller than iguanas most are 10"-18" long and eat a diet of green vegetables with some commercial reptile food, seeds and flowers.
Alternatively, you could consider a more omnivorous species (because these are less picky eaters) and for the insect part of their diet offer mealworms, wax worms and a high protein reptile food instead of crickets. Bearded dragons could fit the bill here assuming that crickets are the only insects your parents don't want in the house.
Following these tips will increase your chance of convincing your parents to let you have a pet lizard. It could also start you on a fascinating hobby which you follow for life. At the very least it will make sure you are well versed in lizard facts and care so that when you leave home and have your own place you will be able to go out and buy a lizard and already know how to look after it.
Green Iguanas—Not Recommended as Your First Lizard
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have wanted a bearded dragon for a long time, but they are too expensive. My birthday is coming up, and I may get some birthday money. I know I would be able to look after it (I’m a massive animal lover, and find lizards very interesting) but how can I convince my family to let me put my money towards getting a bearded dragon?
Answer: If you've already shown that you are responsible when it comes to pet care, you could take that route. Let them know that you realize a bearded dragon is too expensive for one person to give to you as a gift, but if people didn't mind clubbing together, it is something that you really want. It could provide you with pleasure for years to come, as opposed to short-term gifts. Also, the fact that you would be able to tell each person what they had contributed to buying, e.g., the lights or vivarium, would help them feel reassured about their contribution, and they can feel as though they had 'bought' something of value to you.
© 2012 Nettlemere
Mekayla on September 01, 2020:
Hi, i REALLY want a bearded dragon!
My birthday is coming up in january and i don’t know how to convince my parents to get me one!
HELP! on August 24, 2020:
I kinda want a crested gecko, or a frog butt gecko. Ive done some reasarch on them, and i really think i want one, but im not totally sure. Also, the last time i wanted a pet my parents refused to the tenth degree cuz we already have a small farm, (chickens, goats, bunny, budgies, cats) and they also think im not responcible enough bc im a forgetfull person (i have diagnossed anxiety, and anxiety commonly triggerrs a person to be forgetfull), even though *i* take better care of my *sisters* pets then she does. How can i convince them (and myself) that im ready to take on the challenge of owning one, and that this isnt just a phase. I also kinda want a mouse, but thats a diffrent story (though i will take tips on that too)
Carrot on July 05, 2020:
so ive always been a big animal person, and i espcialy like reptiles. I REALLY want a bearded dragon but my mom HATES animals and I was so close to getting a tortoise but my dad said that its going to prevent me from opprotunities in life but thats just what HE wants. Now my mom is saying that bearded dragons are "scary, stinky, and expensive" but they are one of the gentelist reptiles, they dont stink, and i found a website that sells healthy bearded dragons for a lower price than usual. I cant do anything to convince her because she never listens. Please, PLEASE help me.
Shaya on June 24, 2020:
I already have a crested gecko (Yoshi), but I want a second one... My dad won't let just because he says that It will take time and space. The truth is, we already have a second terrarium that we can use and it will only add like 5-10 minutes of care time...
Davion Want a bearded dragon on June 23, 2020:
I want a bearded dragon
Marissa Fitch on June 17, 2020:
I already have a bearded dragon but I really want a crested gecko :(
Mila on June 10, 2020:
I own one leopard gecko and his name is Zeus. Im hoping to get a female albino leopard gecko. Thye are such amazing and cool creatures. But my mom says she doesn't wnat me getting an albino because they can't see well during the day and she doesn't want it dying. Is there a way you know to convince her to let me get an albino or no?
Hannah on June 09, 2020:
I had four Chinese water dragons when I was young. We had one for a few years than he died than we got another two than they died and we got another one (me and my siblings were all under 10 years old and we didn't take care of it because we were so young!) and he wasn't even mine he was my brothers, and now they won't let me get a single lizard that I swear to take care of for my fourteenth birthday!? they say I wouldn"t clean up after it and it's too expensive we already have a tank sitting in the garage and everything else for one all we need is the lizard and food!! wich won't cost very much! yet they still wont let me get one!!!
Darth on May 15, 2020:
I have studied everything i need to know about leopard geckos, I even started writing a care guide. My birthday is in a week and I really want a Leo, I am very responsible and care for my dog. My parents are divorced so they would care for it half the time. I keep asking and they keep saying that I would get bored of it and not take care of it, uggggg, it is so annoying. I have the room and money for a gecko but they say no.
Silverfeather on May 13, 2020:
This is what you do if only one of ur parents want a lizard:
Sneak out with that parent to buy one. Surely no parent is that mean to return it?
Anonymous on May 10, 2020:
I have been begging for a bearded dragon for months I have done all research needed and have always taken great care and responsibility for my guinea pigs and the family dog. The bearded dragon would come out of my own money saved up .But my parents refuse to let me get one what do I do?
Hannah Auel on May 05, 2020:
I want a bearded dragon but my parents won’t let me have one I’m still trying to convince them to let me have one and this page is very helpful
Brodie Clark on May 03, 2020:
I've wanted to Leopard Gecko for my first lizard and I've shown my Mum that I am responsible enough to care for the lizard but my Mum won't let me get one because she said we have enough pets already but we only have a cat and three goldfish. Does anyone have any advise to convince my parents to get a Leopard Gecko.
Anonymous on April 16, 2020:
I want a beardie and I have to save 432 more dollars(NZD) Plus I Only Have One Parent Convinced And I Don't Get Christmas OR Birthday Money. I Have Put In Hours And Hours Of My Day Researching. Only My Dad Wants One ( My Doesn't Want Anything) Can someone help or suggest anything?
Amelie Evans on April 15, 2020:
I want a smooth knob tailed gecko but it is a minimum of $680 ( Australian ) which is well past any birthday or Christmas money. My dad is concerned that I will get bored of it because he says I don't look after our dog (which I walk every day and feed and bath and brush regularly),I don't know ant good ways to save money, any suggestions?
olivia smith on April 02, 2020:
my parents wont let me get a leopard gecko because they don't want another pet what do i do
Someone on April 01, 2020:
My parents won't let me get one and they won't talk about it. How can I get one?
Bob on March 27, 2020:
I want to get a bearded dragon but my parents aren’t letting me because they say I don’t know how to look after a pet
Autumn on March 25, 2020:
I really want a leopard gecko but my mom thinks there ugly and she’s doesn’t like live prey either
Moost on March 05, 2020:
I've been offered a free baby iguana by one of my friends who's mother no longer wants it. I currently live in a country of which we might need to leave due to profession purposes, and my mum really doesn't want me to have a pet. I think the iguana would be great, but I'm a bit stuck. 1) How do I convince my mum to let me have the iguana? 2) How do I prevent the iguana from growing really big?
Jonathan on February 17, 2020:
I love reptiles and more specifically beardies, but my mom says that ”she cannot love a reptile” and refers to our dog who was a lot more difficult to look after for than we BOTH anticipated but now she keeps saying no when I ask if I can get a beardie (also I have done months worth of research and have everything sorted as for the enclosure setup, food supply and other needs)
Any advice is welcome.
ZRC on January 12, 2020:
I really love reptiles and I've loved them for years. My dream animal to have would probably be a ball python but as my mother hates snakes...
I am perfectly happy to keep a lizard and my favorites are Tegus but they are big and expensive so probably not. I have been thinking about getting a leopard or crested gecko for awhile now because they are small and easy to care for. I would even pay for it and have found some cost effective ways of doing so such as keeping it in a plastic tub instead of a terrarium. My parents do not like the idea of having lizard and will not give actual answers as to why. Such arguments include "Because" and " It's small and it can fit into small places and escape" and "Because it's my house". What should I do?
IronmanXIV on December 09, 2019:
I want a fire skink there not very common pets, but I think they're cute and very colorful. I've done a lot of research and currently have two different types of lizards in my possession. A western fence lizard and a longtail. Both are very healthy, and I already have an extra cage for a fire skink. Sadly my parents won't let me get one despite how much research I've done. I even have enough to pay for the supplies and the lizard. I find this super annoying any other persuasive tactics anyone can share?
Reese on December 08, 2019:
I have did 2 months of research my mom is sad no all the time
Skinks all the way! on November 22, 2019:
I have been asking for a Blue Tongued Skink for years and I just saved up for one. I did my research I know what they eat, the temperature for the enclosure, heating, and all the things for the enclosure. I picked a Skink because they only eat 30% protein and they don't need crickets in their diet. It's just that my dad doesn't think I will take care of it and he will have to. He is also concerned that he will have to care for it when I go to collage in 4 years, but they are very easy to care for and I'm going to a local collage to study HERPETOLOGY, the study of reptiles, and so how do I convince him:(
I want a gecko on November 06, 2019:
I just want a lil crested gecko but my mom thinks the cat will kill it but it’s in a enclosure pulse how would my get get to a shelf desk thing?!HELPPPP
GeckoGeckoGecko on May 20, 2019:
I really want any type of gecko but mostly a leopard gecko and i made my own gecko home out of a shoe box and asked my parents could I get one but my mam says no. I’m saving up money. How can I convince my mam the get one for me?
howerd on May 15, 2019:
i want one
Oof on May 12, 2019:
My mom already says we have enough animals there offering us a free cage and I’ve been researching so much she said if I keep asking she’ll take my stuff away (I’m 10 and I like sewing) I really want one I know so much but she still says no,help!!! (I want a leopard gecko)
Taryn on April 20, 2019:
My mom says we just don’t need one what should I do
Ashley Frist on March 07, 2019:
I asked my dad for a bearded dragon he said no because he's creeped out by them I told him he doesn't have to feed it i will but he still says no.
Love reptiles on February 26, 2019:
I know I already feel weird asking this (because I already have a leopard gecko at my dad's house) but I'm trying to persuade my mom to get a leopard gecko but she says she can't feed it when I'm at my dad's house but I heard when they are older you only have to feed them once a week and I'm only at my dad's house for a week but I can't find any pet sellers that sell older leopard geckos. Can you please help?
Want a Beardie on January 30, 2019:
I really really want a bearded dragon! My mum just says no! I need to show her that I can look after it! Any ideas how?
Alesa on January 30, 2019:
I’ve been wanting a crested gecko for 2 years now, and I know everything about them I calculated prices, I know what tank I need and where it will go, and I’m paying, but the problem is that we have 3 dogs! What should I do!?!?
Me on January 20, 2019:
I’ve been asking for a lizard for 11 years...
alexa420lol on December 16, 2018:
I really really really want a bearded dragon but my mom says no because she thinks our cat will kill it. I keep telling her that I can keep my door locked so the cat can't get in but she won't listen. What should I do?
ipocap on November 27, 2018:
Me and my Brother really want a lizard but my dad says he doesn't want one in the house. what should I do?
Meghan on November 24, 2018:
I really want a lizard badly but my mom won’t let me have one. WHAT DO I DO.....???
Percy jackson on November 16, 2018:
Lunar Doge on September 15, 2018:
I really want a Black and White female tegu. I don’t know if my parents will let me have a big lizard like that. I know the food requirements and care, I’ve been reading up too. We are experts on reptiles, but this one is so big... if anyone knows about these tegus, please tell me everything you know! Thank you!
Ava on August 10, 2018:
My mam says she doesnt mind and she will bring me in to get prices IF my dad says yes. He said no that there ugly and we are not a petting zoo and I dont a reptile in the house. Its gonna smell. Literally ever excuse possible. My ma says keep at him should I do that?
Jeffry on July 30, 2018:
I want a bearded dragon but my mum and dad don’t want one because they think it should be living out in the wild and I have shown plenty off interest in them I have even calculated how much it would cost they don’t mined about the food but I’ve got a dog and they say the don’t want to look after 2 pets what should I do?
malia on July 17, 2018:
I am trying to convince my parents. I believe that they don't think I am very responsible enough so how do I show responsibility to them.
sammycat on February 16, 2018:
Most bearded dragons enjoy lettuce daily and once a week 2 or 3 super worms.
Lizard girl on February 10, 2018:
Please answer me
Alex on February 09, 2018:
Please reply to Alex because I need an answer pls I really really wan5 one I’m desperate I really need an answer from you my mums fine but dads not he let a bird inside and it made so much mess and birds can be outside anyway I never wanted the bird inside I wanted it outside but I would really like my lizard inside I don’t have to many pets so help me
Lizard Girl on February 09, 2018:
I have been doing research for literally 5 years and my parents won’t let me get one what do I do
Alex on February 03, 2018:
I want a lizard except my Dad won’t let animals inside I don’t want my lizard outside what do I do
Lily on December 25, 2017:
I am really into skinks, doing research for 5 month a I know practically everything, but my parents seem to not care and wouldn't rather me just help my brother take care ignore his bearded dragon... I want a skink and I'm the long run it would be less cost affective so I just don't understands why
Cale on December 09, 2017:
I need help convincing my parents to let me have a bearded dragon.this is my very first lizard and I can't find any facts about them
Elizabeth on October 07, 2017:
I'm obsessed with crested geckos
paige on August 21, 2017:
i have a crested gecko and they are very good for beginners i want to get a blue tongue skinks
Abby on April 12, 2017:
A great beginner lizard is the Crested Gecko. They are quite easy to care for in my experience and I owned one for the first time when I was a freshman in high school.
Anonymous on April 11, 2017:
Thanks for the tips i will try using them :)
a person on March 21, 2017:
thx so much I can probably convince my parents now!
The Gecko Lover on March 16, 2017:
This is a great article. I am a child myself, I have been trying to lure my parents over to the reptile side for some time, and I have encountered many similar questions. This will get me very far on my expedition to get a crested gecko!
Metanoia on February 15, 2017:
Hello! I need a urgent help. I've BASICALLY convinced my parent to let me take care of my own anole lizard, but they still have some.. requests. If anyone here knows anything about anole lizards, please answer my question. First, what temperature does the heat lamp have to be on? And next, probably the most important, do the crickets chirp? I mean, the main food source is crickets, but my add can NOT stand the sound of crickets chirping, and he won't allow me have a pet anole if it's food is going to chirp all the time. Thanks for considering my question!
email@example.com on September 18, 2016:
it also works on husbands...
Isabella Taylor on March 27, 2016:
This is awesome advice because I'm a kid myself and my 2 betta fish just died :( So my parents don't want me having an anole lizard. But with this advice I can totally convince them!!!
I found out that petco is having the reptile rally in 3 month(all reptiles are half off!!!!! Thank You so much for this advice!!!!!!!!!!
Zehra Spillett on July 31, 2014:
I'm am oh so wanting a green anole but my parents aren't allowing me to get one, would you say a green anole is an ideal first pet reptile ?
Bearded dragon lover on July 29, 2014:
I have been wanting a bearded dragon for a long time this advice really helped thank you
Nettlemere (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on February 22, 2013:
Hi Dr Mark, apologies I missed this comment when you originally wrote it. Tegus sound interesting but seem to be available in the uk only occasionally. I've never had the chance to care for one.
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 24, 2012:
Are tegus not available in your country? They are a really good option since they can be very docile and do not need crickets or other special food. A good omlette keeps them happy, or if you are feeling lazy you can just toss a raw egg into the cage.
Nettlemere (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on December 23, 2012:
Thank you for reading and commenting Suzie - I'd love to see your Italian geckos, I get very excited when I see a wild lizard in the UK but have only seen a handful.
Vespawolf, it sounds as though your neighbours are doing a good job of looking after their iguana, he's very lucky to have landed such a good home. Thank you for visiting and sharing.
Marcy - I know this a belated thank you for commenting, but it's nice to know your children had a variety of pets when they were growing up - variety is the spice of life and a good opportunity for learning too!
Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on December 23, 2012:
What great info on lizards as pets. At our place in Italy we have geckos (small) running wild and it takes a bit of getting used to for anyway!! I am not a reptile fan particularly snakes but this hub is great at covering all the basis for anyone thinking of lizards as pets and what to expect. Great information, votes up, +++ shared!!
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 23, 2012:
These are valid points that should convince most parents. Our neighbors down the street own a green iguana. He's a vegetarian and has the run of the house, although he mostly stays in the front, sunny area. He was a tiny baby when they brought him home and now he's several feet long! He's a voracious eater of lettuce, green beans and pumpkin and his owners are very fond of him. An advantage of iguanas is their excrement doesn't smell like that of the omnivorous species. Great hub! Voted up and shared.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on September 26, 2012:
Lizards are supposed to be interesting and fun pets, from what I hear! We had pet rats and other interesting creatures when my kids were little, but no lizards. I think they would have loved having one, though.
Voted up and up!
Nettlemere (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on September 26, 2012:
Thanks aviannovice and allie, I wouldn't want to encourage anyone to get a lizard on a whim, but I am on the side of those conscientious and keen potential lizard owning kids since I was one once!
alliemacb from Scotland on September 26, 2012:
What a great hub. Kids everywhere will be glad to get this advice. Plus, parents will be able to see that owning a lizard isn't as difficult as they might imagine.
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on September 19, 2012:
This is a good plug for younger people who want a lizard.
Nettlemere (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on September 19, 2012:
Thanks Melovy, I can share your daughters enthusiasm for bearded dragons and wish her the best of luck in getting one!
Yvonne Spence from UK on September 19, 2012:
Okay, now if my elder daughter sees this, can I send you the bill? She only wants a bearded dragon. Seriously, she will love this hub! What a cool idea you had.
Nettlemere (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on September 19, 2012:
Hi Cheryl - I completely agree about iguanas - they are not for the novice and their size and care requirements mean they need a very committed owner, which you clearly are - your iguana is lucky to have you. Thank you for reading and voting.
Cheryl A Whitsett from Jacksonville, Fl on September 18, 2012:
I love my iguana but I wouldn't recommend this species for a child to have. They are expensive to keep. Mine is spoiled and has a huge cage but she still is expensive to feed and they need a reptile vet and boarding is expensive when we go on vacation. I love your article and voted up. Very good way to convince your parents to have a reptile. They make awesome pets.