It’s becoming more and more common for people to have lizards or geckos as house pets, and there’s good reason for that. They can be amazing companions to have and you can develop a unique relationship with these animals!
But some people might be unaware that a lizard and a gecko are two different things – so what exactly is the difference between the two?
Well, while geckos are technically lizards, they have their own characteristics like laying eggs in pairs and having sticky toes.
Of course, there’s a lot more to know about these two than just this, so we’ve written this handy guide that explains everything you need to know about lizards and geckos.
So, if you’re ready to learn more – then read on for all the answers!
Lizards And Geckos
Lizard can be an umbrella term for a highly diverse species which can be found in a whole array of places. In fact, they can live everywhere on the planet apart from Antartica.
One of their most fascinating characteristics is the ability to detach their tail when they are threatened or being attacked by a predator, which allows them to escape.
Once their tail detaches, it wriggles around on the floor which attracts the predator to it.
Following their escape, it takes around two weeks for their tail to regenerate, so while this is a natural occurrence, it’s important to know for any lizard owners.
Indeed, it is always advisable to avoid touching their tail or picking them up by their tail.
Lizards and geckos are both four legged creatures which are scaled and both have external ears. Specifically, lizards are cold blooded vertebrates classified as reptilia and have various suborders.
Geckos are categorized under the suborder lacertilia. So yes, geckos are lizards – but both of these groups have their own individualities and characteristics.
Is A Gecko A Lizard?
Yes, geckos are lizards. However, as we mentioned earlier – geckos have their own unique characteristics which differentiates them from lizards. Most notably, geckos lay eggs in pairs whereas lizards lay eggs in large clusters.
Second, geckos often make noises like barking or chirping which other lizards do not as they are largely non-vocal. Geckos also have sticky toes and lack eyelids, both of which are different from other lizards.
In fact, their sticky toes prove to be a very handy tool in the gecko’s arsenal as it allows them to climb things they would otherwise not be able to. This allows them to avoid predators and to access more sun, food and water sources.
There are around six thousand species of lizards and about 1,500 of these are geckos. Yes, their numbers are large and growing – which makes them ideal for a home pet, as long as you know how to care for them.
Caring For A Lizard Or Gecko
Whether you choose to have a pet lizard or a pet gecko, it’s important that you know the best way to care for them. Unlike your more traditional pets like cats and dogs, lizards and geckos require a little more preparation and thought to look after.
For example, both lizards and geckos live primarily from bugs, especially wild bugs – so owners need to be prepared to have a source of these bugs, which luckily you can purchase from some pet stores.
They also require bedding and this needs to be changed once every two to three months because lizards regularly shed their skin, and changing their bedding will keep them at their healthiest.
However, not all lizards and geckos are the same, so it’s critical to know which type of lizard or gecko you have so that you know the best plan to look after them.
As we said, the first thing you need to do is conduct some research on your chosen pet. Again, a pet store should be able to provide you with more tailored information to your chosen species, but it’s always handy to know much more.
Lizards and geckos need the following things to survive at their healthiest:
- A heat source so they can best regulate their own body temperature.
- A temperature gradient so they have somewhere to cool down or warm up.
- UVA or UVB lighting so they have healthy scales and bones.
- Mimic decorations of their natural habitat.
Primarily, both lizards and geckos are omnivorous so they will have a diet consisting of crickets, mealworms, fruit and vegetables. It may also be necessary to give your gecko or lizard some calcium and vitamin B3 supplements.
It’s imperative that you remember to wash your hands before and after handling your lizard or gecko. When you first get your reptile, they can be nervous and they may react aggressively or nervously.
Therefore, most experts think it’s a good idea to avoid touching them for about five days from when you get them. They may even try to run away from you during the early weeks.
Do not hold them too tightly and try to let them move over your hands in a gentle, soft and slow manner. However, you should always be over a soft but stable surface in case they fall off you.
Once your lizard has bonded with you over a number of weeks and months, you will find that they become more confident with you touching them, and their aggressive nature may subside.
However, if you have any concerns about your lizard in terms of their behavior or eating habits, contact a veterinarian as soon as you can.
The Bottom Line
There are differences between lizards and geckos, but geckos are part of the lizard family. Whichever you choose, be sure that you know the best way to care for them!