How Long Do Lizards Live?

caiman lizard

Lizards are reptiles that are mostly found all over the world, some live in trees, rocks, deserts, and others as pets, they are of different shapes and sizes. There are different species of lizards with different modes of feeding such as carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores and they depend on the temperature of their environment to survive as they regulate their body temperature with the temperature of their habitat.

Despite their mode of feeding, a large number of them function well as pets under great conditions and care while others are venomous but how long will you be able to keep them?

How Long Do Lizards Live?

The species, habitat, and available space affect a lizard’s longevity. A lizard can live from 3 to 50 years. The normal lifespan in the wild is only about 3 to 5 years, whereas, in captivity, they can live for anywhere between 20 and 50 years.

According to their species, chameleons have the shortest life expectancy, ranging from 1 to 3 years. Mexican Beaded Lizards have the longest life expectancy at 3 years, northern alligator lizards live 5 to 8 years and leopard geckos have the longest, up to a maximum of 20 years. 

African fat-tailed geckos have a lifespan of 12 to 20 years while Bearded dragons have a 15-year lifespan. Crested geckos have a lifespan ranging from 15 to 20 years. Blue-tongued skink and green iguanas can live up to  20 years. 

How Long Do Lizards in Captivity Live?

It has been earlier said that lizards that live in captivity live from 20 years to 50 years. However, not all lizards can be kept as pets; some are better left in the wild.

We will be discussing each of them that can be kept as pets, how their life span varies, and their suitable habitats and care as they need to be replicated in captivity as this will bring about the extension of their life span.

– Bearded Dragon

The inland bearded dragon is a native of central Australia. When given the correct care, it can live a happy life of 15 years and grow to be between 12 and 24 inches long.

The appropriate environment and diet are part of this care. Crickets, mealworms, super worms, and roaches should make up the majority of their diet, but they should still receive a variety of vegetables on a weekly basis. This mixture should contain a variety of chopped vegetables, such as carrots, peas, collard greens, dandelion greens, and beans. 

They should also be soaked  in lukewarm water and UVB light once a week; otherwise, they risk developing a metabolic bone disease, which can cause deformities and death.

– Leopard Geckos

A leopard gecko prefers to live alone and they can live up to 20 years but relatively live up to 15 years and have a length ranging from 15 to 25 centimeter.

Provide a natural environment for them by making available hiding places such as thick tree branches and rock thereby replicating their habitat in the wild. The temperature in the environment should not be beyond 28 to 30 degrees centigrade during the day and 24 to 26 degree centigrade during the night.

The humidity should not also fall below 30 and 40 % and vitamin D should also be provided by making available 2 to 5 % Ultraviolet bulbs. Leopard geckos love to feed on waxworms, crickets, small locusts as well as vegetables with a lot of water to keep them hydrated.

Blue Tongue Skink

All varieties of blue tongue skink have an attractive blue tongue color but still has a long life span ranging from 15 to  20 years. Their room temperature should not be below 70 degrees, and 40 -60 % humidity.

The tank type should be a 20-gallon glass terrarium not minding their small body shape and also feed on fruits, vegetables, and insects such as crickets, snails, and waxworms but in the correct proportion of 5% meat ( small rodents not bigger than their head),30% fruits and 65% insects to help maintain their life span.

– African Fat Tailed Gecko

This specie has a long life span of 12 to 20 years and up to 6 inches. It is widely accepted as a pet because of its quiet friendly nature and easy maintenance as it only needs a 10-gallon terrarium for its housing and because of its non-allergic nature as it feeds on any kind of worms not bigger than its head, leftover food, kitchen wastes, vegetables, or fruits.

During the cold season, it requires a temperature of 90 to 95 degrees and during the hot season, it requires a temperature, not below 80 degrees.

What Impacts The Lifespan of Lizards

In the wild and in captivity, there are several factors that impact the life of a lizard but we will be discussing the most common ones. 

Factor 1: Predators

Few predators are threats to the life of lizards in the wild as most lizards in captivity are always covered. Few lizards predators are coyotes, eagles, hawk

foxes, wolves, snakes, and owls.

Factor 2: Habitat Loss

Most lizards lose their habitat based on human activities or other animal invasions and in the process of looking around for other habitats they are being preyed upon or their breeding places get destroyed.

Can The LifeSpan of Your Lizard Be Extended?

Yes, their life span can be extended but you need to adhere to a few conditions that can help extend their lives.

– Housing

You cannot use the same approach for a lizard’s housing as they do not have the same environment requirement and this is one of the biggest ways to maintain their life span.

Your lizard needs a lot of space to help maintain its life span, so you need to provide a big tank, the bigger the tank, the longer the life span.

Make sure the room is heated up as they need heat to keep their bodies moving and to be able to digest food and the temperature needs to be regulated daily for them to be able to function appropriately.

– Proper Diet

When it comes to diet, lizards cannot be given general food as they feed based on their species and mode of feeding general food will not extend their lifespan but will just help to sustain them.

Based on their specie and mode of feeding we have omnivores, herbivores, and carnivores. When giving them food, you need to feed them based on their diet in the wild. Omnivore lizards are to be fed the mix of herbivores and carnivores’ food.

Herbivores are to be fed romaine, cactus fruit, watercress, dandelions, green beans, bok choy, shredded carrot, papaya, and berries while carnivores lizards are to be fed live crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.

– Clean Water 

Most pet keepers think lizards can drink any kind of water, and that is true but their lifespan cannot be extended with dirty water as the water can contain parasites that might be toxic to their body system.

Give your lizard clean water regularly in a shallow dish or with a bubbler bowl.

– Make Them Happy

Pet keepers often neglect this,when your pet is not happy,it will not be able to fight diseases or live long  as a merry heart is a medicine to the bones. 

When you make your lizard’s habitat home away from home, it will always be happy because it still has access to everything in the wild while in captivity and this will cause its bones to be stronger and maintain a stable long life span.


Lizards are great pets that have a long lifespan but can only be maintained through proper care. However, there is no appropriate answer to how long these creatures can live but from this article, we have been able to see that lizards in captivity have a longer lifespan than one in the wild based on their species, environment and space.

Written by Sarah Rivera

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