Gecko Vs Chameleon – Ultimate Comparison Of Two Popular Pet Lizards

Have you ever wanted to own a pet lizard? Make sure you choose the right one. We let a professional veterinarian compare the similarities and differences of a gecko and a chameleon to make it easier for you to make the right choice.

Geckos and chameleons are both lizards, but they have many differences. Both lizards belong to different genera. Geckos belong to the family Gekkonidae while chameleons belong to the family of Chamaeleonidae.

Both are lizards, but geckos are small lizards, and chameleons are large lizards. Geckos and chameleons are seen in a hot climate because they are cold-blooded reptiles. They need sunbath to maintain their internal body temperature. 

Geckos are famous for their unique vocalization of chirping sounds. Geckos have three subfamilies and eighty genera with 600 species. On the other hand, chameleons have only two genera with 50 species. Unlike geckos, chameleons don’t produce chirping sounds. People often keep geckos and chameleons as pet animals. If you want to know which one of the lizards is best for you to keep, sit back! And start your reptilian journey.

Is a Gecko a Chameleon?

Geckos and chameleons have many differences that can influence your choice of keeping a non-conventional pet. Geckos and chameleons are both lizards and the most popular reptilian pet throughout the world. In addition, there are many species of geckos and chameleons that you can choose to have. If you decide to keep these lizards, you should familiarize yourself with different species to make a good decision.

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Physical differences

Geckos and chameleons both are family-friendly. Geckos can live for 11-20 years, having a longer lifespan. At the same time, chameleons can live for 3-10 years. Geckos are small, about three to five inches and chameleons are large, about 27 inches. Both can’t live with other pets; they are not other pet friendly.

General Traits of a Gecko

The common house gecko finds its roots back in the warm regions of southeast Asia. Like all lizards, they need a warm climate to survive because they are cold-blooded animals. They have a very high breeding rate, and therefore they can rapidly inhabit the area wherever they go.

There are a variety of colours of common household geckos. Most common among them are pale grey-white and yellowish tan with black spots; uniquely, all geckos appear lighter at night. 


Most of the gecko species tend to express similar personality traits. Geckos are, in general, docile and pleasant animals, but they don’t like being held. Handling them may stress them a lot. They are nocturnal animals, and you can observe them doing their business at night.

To your knowledge, geckos are the only lizard who possesses a voice box. However, they tend to be silent most of the time; they produce vocalization like chirping, barking, etc. They usually produce sound when they want to mate or defend their territory.

General Traits of a Chameleon

Chameleons are famous for changing their colour; they have camouflage ability. In the past, people believed that chameleons change colour because of camouflage reasons. But recent studies proved that they change colours according to their emotions. If you want to keep a non-conventional pet like a chameleon, you should familiarize yourself with its various species so that you can easily make a decision.

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In general, chameleons are docile animals, but they tend to live alone. They have territorial traits, and they don’t want to share their place with others. They only share their territory when they mate. Otherwise, they are incredibly territorial.

You can quickly determine the mood of your chameleon. These lizards change their colour according to their mood and emotions. Dark colours indicate stress and anxiety, while bright colours indicate happiness and excitement. They don’t like being handled, and therefore they like to spend most of their time in isolation.

Can You Put a Leopard Gecko with a Chameleon?

The simple answer is no. Most of the animals have the trait to live with each other. They make a healthy bond if they belong to a similar class or have some common traits. But still, it is not advisable to put different species together.

However, there are some domestic animals like dogs and sheep that somehow manage to live together. But that is not the case with these lizards.

Gecko and chameleon both are not friendly with other animals. Both of them like to live alone because they are territorial species. It means they don’t like the intervention of other animals in their territory.

Therefore, it is never recommended to put leopard gecko with a chameleon because they can’t manage to live with each other. However, if you have ample living space, both of them can have their personal space, then it may work to put them together.

Gecko or Chameleon for Pet?

If we talk about their housing, there is not much difference. Geckos and chameleons need a green environment with lots of leaves and woods to climb. It will give a realistic view as they have in the wild. Other necessities include water bowls, hiding places and different places to have a sunbath. You know that geckos and chameleons are cold-blooded animals, and they need sunlight to manage their internal temperature.

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You should maintain the temperature of the enclosure between 70-to-90-degree Fahrenheit along with the external sources of heat for sunbath. Chameleons need hydration from droplets of water dripping from leaves, and they also need UVA and UVB ray emitter to stay healthy. You see!

There is not much difference in their housing requirement, and in addition, they are both carnivores (they eat insects), family-friendly and docile animals. 

The decision of keeping a gecko or a chameleon is solely on your choice and interest. Both of them can be good pets, so chose whatever one you like.

People nowadays are interested in keeping non-conventional pets. This trend is increasing day by day. Lizards are ubiquitous among non-conventional pets, and among them are geckos and chameleons.

You should not confuse between a gecko and a chameleon because both of them are amazing. They have some of their unique characteristics, which can help you decide between two of them. Otherwise, they both are excellent pets, docile, family-friendly and beautiful.