Can Turtles And Lizards Live Together? (No – Here’s Why?)

Image of a turtle swimming in water

Turtles and lizards belong to the reptile family. These fascinating creatures make exciting pets as they are not as demanding as other pets. Since turtles and lizards belong to the same class, and both are commonly kept as pets, you may wonder if they will make good companions. Can turtles and lizards live together?

No, turtles and lizards cannot live together. Turtles need water and thrive in a wet and moist environment. Very few lizards need to be near water. Also, turtles tend to attack lizards. They can become aggressive and display predatorial behavior. So, it’s not recommended to keep them together.

Let’s now try to understand the individual needs of turtles and lizards to know why these animals shouldn’t be kept in the same space.

Turtles As Pets

Turtles can be terrestrial or aquatic. While aquatic turtles spend the greater part of the day in the water, terrestrial turtles live in damp, muddy spaces. Nevertheless, both types of turtles need access to water to survive. Even land-dwelling turtles will not fare well on extremely dry terrains.

Turtles also need access to clean water and dwelling spaces. They need filtered water for drinking and swimming. Dirty water can make them sick and cause infection.

All turtles also need access to dry land for basking in the sun. So, their enclosure or tank should have a dry patch where they can climb on and sunbathe.

Since turtles are vulnerable to low temperatures, you should use an external heater to maintain the temperature of their habitat. Both the dry area and the water should be heated in winter to keep them comfortable. If there is no direct access to sunlight, you should also invest in a UV lamp to supply UVA and UVB light for them to synthesize Vitamin D.

Coming to the feeding needs of these animals, turtles are omnivores. They eat both plants and animals. They feed on the meat of snails, slugs, fish, worms, and other small creatures.

Turtles always appear to be hungry, and they devour anything that fits their mouth. However, they have a very slow metabolism and do not need much food. Overeating can be detrimental to their health.

Store-bought turtle food is a balanced source of nutrition for pet turtles. It will help them grow and thrive. Additionally, you can also treat your pets to live food like brine shrimp and vinegar eels to satisfy their protein needs.

Turtles aren’t social animals by nature. Even when they are kept with other turtles of the same species, they tend to attack each other. Although there are exceptions, you can never predict when a turtle will fight its tank mate. They are also territorial creatures. Turtles get aggressive when threatened and fight to ascertain themselves.

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Lizards As Pets

Lizards are easy to handle, and they adapt easily to new environments. Nevertheless, do your research before choosing a lizard as a pet. Each type of lizard has its own unique needs. So, it is important to find one that will fit into your lifestyle.

While some lizards remain small throughout their life, others can grow very big as they age. Such animals will need an enclosure at least twice as big as the size it will finally grow to be.

Despite their rough look, lizards are easily startled. They run for cover at the slightest sound or movement. They also have the tendency to drop their tail when threatened.

Prevent your lizard from escaping their enclosure and getting lost with a secure screen cover for their habitat.

Like turtles, these reptiles also need a temperature-regulated environment. Most lizards need warm temperatures throughout the year. Some varieties, like rainforest lizards, will also need humidity to thrive. Basking lights that supply UVA and UVB radiation will help with Vitamin D synthesis.

The feeding needs will depend on the type of lizard. They can be insectivorous, herbivorous, or omnivorous. You should supply the right type of food for your lizard to help them meet their nutritional needs.

So, Why Can’t Lizards Live With Turtles?

By now, you must have realized that the needs of turtles and lizards are not too diverse. Both creatures need temperature-regulated environments. And both animals have the same UVA and UVB light requirements for Vitamin D synthesis.

Nevertheless, it isn’t a good idea to put the two animals together.

Firstly, most reptiles do not get along with other types of reptiles. There are, of course, exceptions like bearded dragons and tortoises. But the vast majority are loners and do not even appreciate the company of their own species.

Another reason is that turtles tend to be aggressive. They even fight with other turtles. So, they will most likely attack other inmates in their enclosure.

When you place a turtle with a lizard, the turtle will mostly attack and injure the lizard. Additionally, turtles are gregarious, omnivorous creatures that will eat anything that they can. So, if your pet lizard is tiny, the turtle will most likely try to eat it. Even if it is unable to eat the lizard, it can fatally injure the smaller animal.

When a lizard feels threatened, it tends to drop its tail. Although lizards can later regrow their tails, why would you want to subject your pet to such a stressful situation in the first place?

In rare circumstances, a lizard and turtle may get along, like when the two creatures share a large cage. However, there should be plenty of hiding places for the lizard. An enclosure with branches, twigs, and perches will allow it to climb and escape from the turtle.

You should also make sure that the two animals do not share the same feeding space. To make this possible, the food and water for your lizard should be well out of the turtle’s reach. Place it on an elevated surface where the lizard can climb and access it without worrying about being attacked by the turtle.

However, despite your best efforts, you can never rule out an accident. The risk of your turtle finding and catching the lizard is inevitable. So, it is recommended that you separate both animals right from the beginning.

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To Wrap It Up…

If you are a reptile-lover, you may want to find a companion for your pet. Nonetheless, most reptiles despise the company, even if it is their own species.

While you may be able to keep more than one creature of the same species together, mixing turtles and lizards is a bad idea. In most cases, the lizards will be under constant stress when it is housed in the same space as a turtle. Turtles, being aggressive, hungry creatures will most likely attack, inflict injury, kill, and even eat lizards.

Don’t force a lizard and turtle to be friends by putting them together. Your efforts will be in vain. Instead, provide each animal its own space, and these fascinating creatures will thrive and delight you with their company for much longer.