Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (2023)

You're probably thinking about getting a pet lizard - a new companion. Of course, a bearded dragon or an iguana are two of the options. But which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? In this post, we will see the points of bearded dragon vs iguana as a pet and the pros and cons of each.

Can iguanas and bearded dragons be kept together?

Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (1)

No, iguanas and bearded dragons cannot be kept together. An iguana is much larger than a bearded dragon and can easily injure it. Bearded dragons and iguanas also need different living conditions.

Iguanas need hot but humid conditions and bearded dragons need hot and dry conditions. In addition, both species of these lizards become territorial and cause stress to each other.

The only difference may be with desert iguanas, which require hot conditions. But desert iguanas need a very large cage. It's best not to even keep 2 or more bearded dragons together.

Never keep green iguanas together, even females or a female and a male. Of course you can keep different species of lizards in the same house, but make sure that iguanas cannot see or smell each other.

Bearded Dragon vs Iguana

Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (2)


Bearded dragons are much smaller than iguanas. Iguanas can grow to 4-6 feet in length while bearded dragons only reach around 15-24 inches.


Bearded dragons are omnivores — which means you need to feed them insects as well as vegetables. Most, if not all, of the insects fed should be live. Iguanas, on the other hand, are strict vegetarians, so you don't have to think about live insects.


Your bearded dragons don't need a huge terrarium - an adult can live well in 40-65 gallonsPanzer so. But iguanas are much larger, meaning an adult iguana will need an individual cage that's about 5 to 7 feet high, 7.5 to 9 feet long, and 5 to 6 feet wide.

Iguanas need large vertical cages because they climb branches and other structures and bask. Bearded dragons need wider tanks - they don't climb as much and they don't climb as high.


While everything depends on the quality of care, iguanas can live 10-15 and even 20 years. Most bearded dragons live 7-12 years.

(Video) DO NOT GET A BEARDED DRAGON! | 3 Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Are Not Good Pets For Beginners


Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (3)

Bearded dragons are small lizards that are easy to handle, but you should limit handling until your bearded dragon is a few months old. This is because they are easy to crush until they get bigger. Bearded dragons are cute and prickly. There are currently many different bearded dragon morphs (read more here).

Iguanas are large lizards that have a solid body for handling. With their green scales, spikes along their heads, backs and tails, a long tail and large cheeks, they really do resemble mini dragons. Some of the green iguana morphs are red, blue, axanthic, blizzard, hypo and more (read more here).


Both bearded dragons and iguanas recognize their owners and their voices. Both can also understand their name and respond to it. They will also exhibit different behaviors that will help understand them better.

Ability to live in groups

Bearded dragons prefer to live alone and become territorial. Males should never be kept together. house separately.

However, iguanas should be kept strictly alone from the age of 6 months. They become extremely territorial, even female pairs or a male and female pair. Iguanas should only be introduced for mating purposes.

docility and taming

Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (4)

Iguanas will take longer to tame and you will need to handle them for 15 to 20 minutes a day for about a month before you can tame them. Some iguanas take much longer - around 6 months, and some never become tame at all.

But if you can get a calm adult or baby to work with, your chances are much higher. Once tamed, iguanas make amazing, inquisitive pets.

Bearded Dragons are quicker to tame and become extremely relaxed with daily interactions. But there are also bearded dragons that cannot be tamed, but this is not common.

Iguanas require daily interaction and a lot of bonding effort in order for them to become more relaxed and less temperamental.


Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (5)
(Video) Bearded Dragon vs Leopard Gecko | What Is The Best Pet Lizard!?

This depends on where you live, but both bearded dragons and iguanas have similar heating and lighting needs (energy costs).

Bearded dragons need live insects and vegetables, while iguanas only need vegetables. Cage housing and other equipment cost the same, but an adult iguana will need a custom cage—but that's a one-time cost. Don't forget the vet bills.

Risk of bites and scratches

Iguanas can scratch or bite, causing fairly serious injuries that sometimes require stitches. You should not touch an iguana if it is showing any signs of aggression. Sometimes you have to wear thick gloves when taming your iguana.

Bearded dragons are very unlikely to bite, only if they mistake your fingers for food, for example.


Iguanas are very interesting pets - you don't need to pet them regularly once they are tamed. Iguanas are amazing because each iguana is a personality with its own character. Iguana males and females can be alpha (dominant, spirited) and beta (relaxed). Taming and bonding naturally help shape your iguana's character.

Bearded dragons tend to be gentle and enjoy human interaction. They can sit with you for a long time, they even like to look out the window for a long time.

Both iguanas and bearded dragons are diurnal. That means they are active during the day and sleep at night.

Easy daily care

Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (6)

Iguanas love routines - eating, pooping, sleeping and more at the same time of day. This can be both a good and a bad thing depending on your lifestyle.

You must allow your iguana to poop (take a bath or throw away dirty water after potty training) on ​​a daily basis. You will also need to cut fresh salads daily for your iguana.

In addition, it's important to spray your iguana twice a day and bathe it daily, or at least four times a week. Rinsing food and water bowls is a daily chore.

Bearded dragons must remove droppings and uneaten food from the cage daily, and wash the water and food bowls with soap daily. You will also need to bathe your bearded dragon 1-2 times a week.

(Video) You DO NOT Want A Bearded Dragon! 5 BETTER Bearded Dragon Alternatives!

In addition, you need to take care of the feeding insects of your bearded dragons. You need to buy them and charge them well for about 24 hours before feeding them to your bearded dragons.

Gut loading involves keeping bugs in the container with food and water (crystals or gel). Cage cleaning is a daily, weekly and monthly task (deep cleaning).


You can potty train your iguana, and most poop in the bathtub or in the water-filled plastic tub in the cage every day. Bearded dragons will poop all over the tank, and you'll need to pick it up daily.


Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (7)

Both iguanas and bearded dragons require high temperatures of around 100 degrees F (37.3 degrees Celsius). Bearded Dragons will also, in most cases, need a heating pad under the tank for heating in cold weather or at night. Iguanas only prefer ceiling heating.

lighting requirements

Both iguanas and bearded dragons need light and heat lamps as well as UVB lamps. Bearded dragons require 10.0 UVB lamps while iguanas require 5.0-10.0 UVB lamps.

humidity requirements

Bearded dragons originate from deserts and therefore need low humidity (25-40%). Green iguanas, on the other hand, come from tropical rainforests and therefore need high cage humidity (about 65-70%). A humidifier is often necessary.

Suitability for children or beginners

Iguanas are not suitable for beginners or children.This is because iguanas can be unpredictable, especially during the breeding season after they have reached sexual maturity (about 2-2.5 years old). Iguanas have sharp claws and teeth and need an experienced handler who understands their behavior.

Bearded dragons are one of the best pets for beginners.They are soft and unlikely to bite or scratch. Bearded dragons also make great companions and can chill with you while you watch TV. Children can also help with the care of a bearded dragon. This makes bearded dragons fantastic family pets.


Bearded dragons older than 1 year tend to hum for 2-3 months, often during the winter. Not all bearded dragons brumatize. Grumbling bearded dragons either take long naps but are somewhat active, or sleep and are not overly active.

Iguanas, on the other hand, do not brumate at all.


Both iguanas and bearded dragons are often sold for similar prices. Of course, there are various morphs that can cost additional hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

(Video) Bearded Dragons Pros & Cons As Pet Lizards

If you are particularly thinking of getting an iguana, please consider adopting one rather than buying one. Many iguanas are given away because their owners couldn't take care of them. There are many abandoned iguanas in sanctuaries.


Iguanas hate change and react badly to it. You love routine - even the time you spend in and out of the house. Iguanas hate changes in feeding, sleeping, pooping times, etc.

They might get annoyed by certain colors and you wearing a towel around your head. Bearded dragons are more adaptable - although they can also be stressed after some changes, they are more tolerant.

A bearded dragon will not take long to be tamed (if you do everything right) and will be gentle and tolerant to deal with.

Summary: Bearded Dragons vs. Iguana

Which is a better pet - bearded dragon or iguana? - Care guides for pet lizards (8)

In summary, bearded dragons make much better starting pets and are easier to care for. Iguanas need experienced carers who will spend time with them on a daily basis and be willing to understand their moods and aggression at specific times.

Bearded dragons also make good family pets and can enjoy both handling and alone time.

But if you're an experienced lizard keeper and want a larger lizard that resembles a mini kite, an iguana can make an amazing pet if you're willing to put in the work. Tame iguanas can spend time with you and actually bond with you.

Read this post to learn more about iguanas and how to get one.Or you can read this postLearn more facts about bearded dragons.

Related posts:

Which Pet Lizards Don't Eat Bugs or Live Food?Uromastyx or Bearded Dragons - Which Makes a Better Pet for You?Is my bearded dragon too skinny? causes and solutionsCan you keep two iguanas together?Iguana care - skinning, clipping claws, bathing, sneezing
(Video) Bearded Dragon, The Best Pet Reptile?


1. Green Iguanas 101: The Basic Green Iguana Care Guide (2017)
(ZA Reptiles)
2. PETSMART vs PETCO | Who has better REPTILE care?
(Pickles Pets)
3. Complete Bearded Dragon Care Guide | Everything You Need To Know in 2023
(Wickens Wicked Reptiles)
(Brian Barczyk)
5. Green Iguana, The Best Pet Lizard?
(Clint's Reptiles)
6. Leopard Gecko Vs Crested Gecko | Which is The Best Pet Lizard!?
(Wickens Wicked Reptiles)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Last Updated: 04/02/2023

Views: 5817

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Birthday: 1993-03-26

Address: 917 Hyun Views, Rogahnmouth, KY 91013-8827

Phone: +5938540192553

Job: Administration Developer

Hobby: Embroidery, Horseback riding, Juggling, Urban exploration, Skiing, Cycling, Handball

Introduction: My name is Fr. Dewey Fisher, I am a powerful, open, faithful, combative, spotless, faithful, fair person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.