Many of today’s reptile keepers are very well informed consumers who have done their research online about the pet lizard they are about to acquire. There are also a number of popular shows that focus on reptiles and amphibians from around the world that help broaden the average person’s understanding of these rare and exotic animals. Unfortunately there are still a few myths and misconceptions about lizards and we hope to dispel some of the more obvious ones in this article.
One of the most common misconceptions that seems to be held by most newbie reptile enthusiasts is that all large lizards are Komodo Dragons. Komodos seem to be the King Kong of the Monitor Lizards with their impressive size and their infamous name. The fact is that only zoos can house, display and breed Komodo Dragons and every single one is the property of the Indonesian Government which strictly prohibits the access to these rare creatures. They are found on five Islands in Indonesia where they are a huge draw for tourists and bring in a large portion of the local peoples income. Although a close relative of the Komodo Lizard that gets very large in size is the Indonesian Water Monitor, those animals can be sold and are not protected so they are normally the source of the misconception.
Another misconception about lizards for sale in captivity is based on the Caiman Lizards of Central America. These brightly colored cousins of the Tegu Lizard have a broad plated body that is very close in appearance to their namesake the South American Caiman. They grow to a manageable adult size of four feet in length and are normally found on or near tree branches over hanging rivers in Paraguay, Peru and Colombia. Although they have very sharp teeth that they use to capture and crush their prey consisting of snails, fish and invertebrates, Caiman Lizards in captivity are calm and easy to handle. They can also be kept on a diet consisting of canned food, frozen snails and ground turkey or monitor and tegu diet.
Another misconception is that all lizards have the ability to regenerate their tails when in reality this is a rather confusing ability for some lizards and geckos while an impossibility for others. The amazing ability of regenerating a body part exists in most geckos, most iguanas and tegus while their close relatives completely lack that ability. Although the regenerated tail will never look the same as the original the replacement is functional and a whole lot better than a stump. It is even possible for some of these animals to grow a forked or branched tail if the damaged are is minor and not a complete break.
While many questions regarding Lizards and their habits and habitats have been answered by the hard work of researchers and breeders around the world there are still many interesting facts that will come to light in the future. As always do your due diligence and find out about the individual pet lizard’s needs when it comes to diet, lighting, habitat size and longevity before making a purchase.