How Long Do Lizards Live And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 30th, 2023

When you think about pet longevity, cats and dogs usually come to mind. But have you ever wondered about the lifespan of lizards? From household varieties like the bearded dragon to wild species like the iguana, lizards can have surprisingly long lifespans ranging from 12 to 20 years. But what factors contribute to their longevity, and how can you ensure that your pet lizard enjoys a full, healthy life? Let’s explore these fascinating questions.

Lizards in Captivity: A Different Kind of Pet

Lizards, while not your everyday pets like dogs or cats, make for interesting companions. Each species comes with its own unique lifespan. For instance, a bearded dragon might live up to 10 years, while a crested gecko could last up to 17 years. Proper care, including a balanced diet and appropriate housing, can have a significant impact on how long a pet lizard will live.

blue and brown lizard on brown sand during daytime

Fun Fact: A study reported that bearded dragons can sometimes live up to 20 years with proper care.

Tips for a Happy, Healthy Lizard

  • Proper Housing: Your lizard’s home should mimic its natural habitat as much as possible. This includes temperature control and adequate space.
  • Balanced Diet: The food you offer your pet lizard should be rich in nutrients. A diet comprising both plants and insects is often recommended.
  • Safety: Make sure to keep your pet safe from sharp objects or hazardous materials in their environment. Trust is essential for long-term companionship.

What About Common House Lizards?

Common household lizards like bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and crested geckos have lifespans that vary, typically ranging between 5 and 20 years. These creatures are not only low-maintenance but also play a role in keeping your home free from pesky insects. No need to be frightened—they’re completely harmless!

Surviving without Food: A Lizard’s Superpower

One common concern for lizard owners is how long their pets can survive without food. The answer varies between species, but generally speaking, a healthy adult lizard can live for two weeks or more without nourishment. Some, like leopard geckos, can even go for a month without eating thanks to the fat reserves in their tails.

Lifespan Variation Across Different Lizard Species

SpeciesAverage Lifespan in Captivity
Ackie Monitor17 years
African Fat-Tailed Gecko20 years
Argentine Black and White Tegu17 years
Asian Water Monitor16 years
Bearded Dragon10 years
Blue Tongued Skink17 years
Chinese Water Dragon15 years
Crested Gecko17 years
Leopard Gecko17 years
Green Iguana10 years
Northern Alligator Lizard5-8 years
Average Lifespan in Captivity13.6 years

Why Do Lizards Live So Long?

Several factors contribute to the long lifespan of lizards. Advances in veterinary science have helped us understand optimal conditions for their survival. Unlike their wild counterparts who are more susceptible to predators, lizards in captivity benefit from consistent food and shelter. This controlled environment significantly contributes to their longevity, which can range from 12 to 20 years.

How to Prolong Your Lizard’s Life

Invest in Suitable Housing

Each lizard species requires a unique environment. However, a general rule of thumb is to provide a heat source. Lizards are cold-blooded and rely on external temperatures for their metabolic processes.

Maintain a Balanced Diet

While the specifics may vary, most lizards thrive on a diet that includes vegetables, fruits, and insects. Make sure you are not overfeeding or underfeeding your pet.

Provide Clean Water

Hydration is crucial for any pet. Always ensure that clean water is available and check it regularly to prevent dehydration.


Understanding the lifespan of lizards and the factors that contribute to their longevity can help you make informed decisions about your pet’s care. With proper attention to their habitat, diet, and overall well-being, you can look forward to many years of companionship with these fascinating creatures.


Editorial Staff

Our writers, editors, content managers, and SEO specialist. We all take part in crafting amazing articles. We spend hours ensuring that each article is based on facts, researched, and thorough. You'll never want to click the back button to look for more answers other than here!