A lizard habitat, displaying plants, rocks, moss and branches, can be a beautiful addition to any room in your home. A 20 gallon aquarium can serve as a suitable lizard habitat, although larger lizards may require more room. You will need a secure, escape-proof cover no matter what the size of the enclosure.


Most lizards require some form of full-spectrum lighting for 10 to 12 hours a day in order to satisfy their vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium needs. A full-spectrum incandescent light bulb can also serve as a basking lamp while a full-spectrum fluorescent bulb can replace sunlight in some cases. But natural sunlight is best, of course!

Temperature Control

lizardLizards, like other reptiles, depend on an outside source of heat to survive. If the temperature in a lizard’s surroundings is too low, it can’t move or even digest it’s food. Temperatures too high or too low can cause pneumonia. Lizards have a temperature sense (sometimes referred to as a “third eye”) located in a gland under a scale on the top of their heads. A lizard will thermoregulate by moving from one spot to another until it finds the perfect place.

Therefore, your lizard habitat should have a temperature gradient; it should be cooler at one end and warmer at the other. The temperature can be slightly lower at night. On the warm end, mount a basking lamp above and a heating pad underneath the aquarium. Use 2 thermometers, one at each end to monitor temperature changes.


Your lizard will need fresh water daily. A shallow dish will usually suffice, but some varieties get their water from the surfaces of leaves. For this type of lizard, you will need to mist the plants and one or two of the walls in your lizard habitat. Another possibility is a drip bottle placed at the top of the enclosure.

The Floor

Moss, cypress bark, loam, potting soil, or small gravel can be used to line the floor of your lizard habitat. Non-aromatic mulch is somewhat absorbent and allows for burrowing. Crushed nuts and coconut husks are also considered options. Consult with an expert before deciding what flooring is best for your lizard.

Places to Hide

Your lizard habitat needs to have a place for each lizard to hide from other lizards and from you! Driftwood, vegetation, rocks and even small plastic boxes made for this purpose all provide places for your lizard or lizards to retreat and feel safe.

Other Additions

Objects on which to climb, such as branches, allow your lizard to explore and exercise. Make sure that the width of any branch placed in your lizard habitat is at least one and one half times your lizard’s girth and that it is securely wedged in the aquarium. Other good additions include climbing plant vines, rocks and small logs. But remember, anything you put in your lizard’s home will need to be cleaned and disinfected.