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Monthly Archives: October 2019

How Often Do Chameleons Shed? (Stuck/Problems/Tips)

If you are a Chameleon owner, you may be wondering how long often they should shed as well as ways to help them along (click here to see my best humidifiers for Chameleons to help them shed). Let me explain…

How often will a chameleon shed its skin? Chameleons will shed their skin approx. every 3 to 4 weeks when they are younger than 18 months. As adults, this is expected to reduce to more like every 4-8 weeks.

Now that you know how often they shred let me explain: how long the shred usually takes, what happens if the shed has problems, how you can proactively help the shed go easier and much more…

Why do chameleons shed their skin?

why do chameleons shed

why do chameleons shed

This is to accommodate the growth of their bodies. As I discussed earlier in the previous paragraph Adolescent (younger) chameleons grow rapidly. Therefore, their bodies effectively outgrow their skin.

To continue with this growth their skin naturally has to replenish itself. This is where shedding comes in. As for adults, this rapid growth is irrelevant.

However, just like us humans, they may not necessarily grow in length but, they can gain weight. This weight gain will trigger their body to shed its older skin

How long does the shed process usually take?

You may be wondering how long the actual shedding should take. As you can imagine this can vary significantly. But, in this section, I’m going to explain…

The length of time for shedding varies depending on the species and age. However, to give you a range it could be a few hours or even as long as days.

Later on, in this article, I will explain some of the issues that can happen during a shed which can make this take much longer or even worse, an incomplete shed.

How much do they shed in one go?

So far we have talked about how often and the expected duration of a shed. But, you might be wondering how much of their skin do they shed in one go. Is this likely to be all in one piece or is it typically piece-by-piece? In this section, I’m going to explain…

In reality, the amount of skin that sheds may vary a lot. Some chameleons will lose their entire skin in one whole piece, which looks quite interesting by the way. However, some chameleons will have it peel off bit-by-bit.

One of the contributing factors to this is how well you have cared for your chameleon. In particular, the humidity in their enclosure but, more on this later.

Things that can go wrong during shedding.

Earlier I briefly mentioned that there can be things that delay the shedding process. Sometimes the shed can just take long naturally. But, other times this can be problems that could have been prevented by you.

For that reason, in this section, I’m going to explain one of the common issues that prevent Chameleons from shedding quickly or even worse, an incomplete shed.

One of the biggest issues with shedding is the lack of humidity in the enclosure. The humidity plays a big factor in allowing them to shed easily and quickly. It is important as a chameleon keeper to regulate the humidity in the enclosure.

What can you do to make shedding easier for your chameleon?

So far, I explained that there can be some issues that you may come across during shedding. But there are ways that you can proactively stop this happening.

In this section, I’m going to explain some simple ways that you can help your chameleon achieve a simple and pain-free shedding process.

As discussed earlier, humidity is a big issue. Therefore, you can do simple things like making sure that the humidity is correct. Also making sure that you mist the enclosure correctly.

If you are having issues with humidity because you rely on manually misting the enclosure, you can automate this process to increase the consistency.

Also, there are humidity detection devices that you can use to make sure that the humidity in your enclosure is at the correct level.

What happens if your chameleon is not shedding properly?

If you notice that your chameleon is not shedding properly you may be scratching your head and thinking of ways that you can get around this. For that reason, in this section, I’m going to give you some ways around this.

Firstly, I want to make it clear before we go any further, you should not ever be tempted to pull any excess skin off your chameleon. You may be wondering why you shouldn’t be doing this, right?

The reason is simple. This will cause stress to your chameleon and it’s not a natural way of shedding.
Instead of trying to pull the skin off you should increase the humidity in the tank (higher than normal). Alternatively, you can attempt to spray your chameleon with luke-warm water.

The combination of these two methods will help you ease off that stubborn excess skin. Another thing that you can do provide objects inside the enclosure, such as branches, etc.

The idea is, it can use these to scrape the skin off by brushing against it. However, it’s important to not have any sharp objects there to avoid them harming themselves.

How do chameleons act while they are actually shedding?

During the shedding process, you may notice some weird behavior from your chameleon. To help you understand what is expected and what is abnormal I’m going to describe some expected behavior.

Change of appetite & white spots

shedding white spot

shedding white spot

Firstly, during the shedding process, you may notice that your chameleon is not eating as regular as normal. In addition to this, you may notice little white spots appearing on its body. These white spots can cause some people some anxiety because they are unsure of what it is. And, some may feel that it is some kind of disease.

By the way, if there is any doubt, always consult your vet to be 100 percent sure. However, I can inform you that this is expected behavior during the shedding process.

If you look closely at these white spots you will see that it’s simply the old skin starting to raise.

Drier skin & weird rubbing behaviors

Other observations during this shedding process is the skin becoming drier, as you can imagine. Obviously this will be the outer skin that is on the way out.

You may also notice weird behaviors such as your chameleon rubbing and scratching itself against branches in the enclosure.

I mentioned earlier that it is important not to have sharp objects in the enclosure. This is the reason why. Because your chameleon may need to use these branches to rid itself of any excess skin.

Therefore, it is important to have smooth branches that will not cause any issues.

Does shedding hurt chameleons?

So far we’ve discussed the process of shedding, how long it will take and how often they should do this. However, you may be wondering if your chameleon is in any sort of pain during this process.
To be perfectly honest, as human beings we can never know 100-percent exactly how a chameleon is feeling.

However, through numerous observations recorded from lizard keepers, it is clear that the process is almost like an itching irritation and a compelling urge to remove the itch.

This is why you will typically see your chameleon scratching and rubbing itself to rid itself of this irritation.

If you think about this logically though, some urgency to remove it is necessary or the shedding process would just never happen.

The special qualities of a chameleon’s top layer of skin.

The top layer of a chameleon skin is quite special. It is partly responsible for the color changes that happen.

As the Chameleon grows this outer layer of skin doesn’t grow, it sheds. And, gets replenished. If
you were to look really closely. When I say close I mean microscopic, you will see that it is a transparent layer that removes itself during the shedding process.

Can Leopard Geckos See Color? (Night Vision/Red Light)

If you are the proud owner of a Leo (Click here for my best 5 substrates for Leopard Gecko eggs), or just curious about them, you may have wondered how their eyes work. Can they see the same way we do and what about colours? Let me explain…

Can leopard geckos see colour? Yes, they can see the color. In fact, their eyesight is also great in dim light because they have a special ability to use the reflection of the moonlight to see colours even in the dark.

Now that you understand that Leos can see color, let me also explain: If they also have night vision, why their eyes are so special, compare their eyes to ours and much more. Keep reading…

Do leopard geckos have good night vision?

leopard gecko night vision

leopard gecko night vision

Yes, as discussed earlier their vision is actually excellent in low light, especially when compared to us humans. This is due to the fact that they are nocturnal and their eyes have evolved to adapt to this. Have you ever tried to see the colour of a car on a dark night before? If yes, then you will understand how difficult this skill is.

Why are gecko’s eyes so special?

You may be wondering what is so special about a Gecko’s eyes. You may have heard people discuss how excellent they are in low light, but what is the true reasons for this? For that reason, I’m going to discuss it in this section.

The biological makeup of the leopard geckos eye is very different to us humans. Our eyes rely on rods that support our vision. Whereas a leopard gecko has three cones, these codes are used to pick up colours in the dim light, which was discussed earlier.

The Human eye vs a Leopard Gecko’s

In the previous section, we talked about how strong the leopard geckos vision is in dim light. However, how is this in comparison to our human eyes? Let’s discuss this in this section.

According to this site, the sensitivity of a Geckos eyes is far superior to us humans, in particular, they state that one type of Gecko, the Helmet Gecko, has eyes that are 350 times more sensitive than a human eye.

This is largely due to their impressive eye cones that I discussed earlier. This allows them to see images and colour in dim light. One of their unique skills is being able to dilate their pupils wide to take in substantially more dim light.

Can leopard geckos see blue light?

Yes, they can see blue light. As you collect light fixtures for your enclosure you may be wondering what colours they are sensitive to and what they can actually detect. They are sensitive to blue and green light which makes logical sense based on their original habitat.

Are geckos blind on a moonless night?

Earlier we discussed that geckos use moonlight to reflect against their eyes to allow them to have the unique capability of being able to see colours well in low light.

However, you may be wondering what happens in the cases where there is no moonlight (or very little) moonlight? You, know, there are some nights when it seems almost impossible to see the moon. Let’s discuss this…

The short answer is no…

The short answer is no, they are not blind on moonless nights. They can still see colors well when the moon is nowhere to be seen. This is because there are other sources of light in the absence of the moon. For example, starlight. Also, other light sources that can reflect off objects will allow them to pick up colors in dim light.

If you think about it logically, around your local area, if the moon is not visible on that particular night it does not mean that there is no moon.

It may just seem that way because of its position in relation to the sun. But, it’s still there. You have heard of a solar eclipse before, right? Same concept. Therefore, there’s always going to be some light available (one will assume).

Do geckos have good eyesight (In general)?

No, they do not have great eyesight. I understand that this may seem confusing, but, even though they can see colours in dim light, it does not mean that they have excellent eyesight, let’s discuss this…

Leopard geckos do have the unique ability to see excellent in dim light but they do not necessarily have great vision. Like most creatures, they are gifted with some features, but may lack in other departments, same as us humans, right?

They may be able to pick up a particular color in dim light with amazing accuracies, such as a blue or green image, but they will not necessarily see a very sharp view of that object, are you with me?

Their site is enough for them to see if the oncoming object presents a danger, or if their prey is in grabbing distance, which is enough for their survival, but overall the clarity of these objects is not great.  This is largely due to the biological setup of their eyes. In particular, they have a short focal length.

Related questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Leopard Geckos, their vision and colors. If you have any other questions in your head that need to be answered, please drop a reply below.

Q: Can leopard geckos see infrared light?

You may be wondering if they have the ability to see infrared light because I have exposed some of their amazing vision capabilities. The short answer is no, they cannot see infrared light.

However, they can see some colours that the infrared beam will omit, but it will not be the actual infrared light itself.

Q: Can leopard geckos eat dead insects?

No, they will not want to eat this. If you are on a budget, you may be thinking of ways to potentially reduce your costs. In the process you may be wondering if leopard geckos will entertain dead insects, right?

I understand the interest in this because in an ideal world. if they are able to consume dead insects then it is easy to store them and get them in bulk. The main factor, that makes Leos desire insects, is the way they move and wriggle.

This is the incentive for them to eat it. In fact, you could almost put any insect in front of them, which moves, and it will give it a go (not saying it will end up eating it, mind you, but it will show an interest).

Anyway, it is not advisable to even attempt to give them dead insects. Why? because this goes against their natural Instincts and arguably immoral.

Q: Do leopard geckos pee on you?

No, they excrete Urates (more on this in a second). If you are new to keeping lizards or planning to get a leopard gecko, you may have some interest or concerns on their behaviours. I understand that this may be an attempt to see how they will behave before you make that purchase.

As mentioned earlier, Leos will not pee on you, because they do not urinate as we do. Instead, they have excrete Urates.

What are urates?

They are chunks of white looking cubes. When crushed up give off a powdery texture. This is their way of excreting unwanted bodily fluids.

If you are interested, a healthy leopard gecko should pass white urates. However, if it is yellow looking, it could indicate that he is a little bit dehydrated. Meaning, you need to focus on giving him more water

Q: Do you need white lights for a leopard gecko?

No, white lights are not required. The reason for this is, in their natural habitat they rarely bask in direct sunlight.

This is not because they do not like the heat (Click here to learn how to lower the humidity in your Leopard Gecko tank), it is because they are nocturnal. So white light is not natural for them.

However, blue or red lights is advised. They typically like having a blue light. Additional benefits of having this light will allow them to get additional heat from this blue light.

Q: Are reptile UV lights safe for humans?

Not all of them. There are different concentrations of UV lights. Similar to humans, certain levels of direct sunlight (or UV) can cause issues with our skin and can cause skin damage.

Therefore, certain concentrations of UV light, over a sustained period can cause issues with a reptile’s skin. Therefore, it is important to check the lights before purchase.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Onions? (Is it safe?)

If you are a Bearded dragon lover and careful about what you feed him (Click here for the to keep him housed & feed well), you may be wondering what foods he can consume, safely. In this article, I will confirm if onions are a viable consideration.

 Can bearded dragons eat onions? No bearded dragons should not be eating onions. This is because they are highly acidic, have high phosphorus to Calcium ratio, toxic and are potentially dangerous for their digestive system.

Now that you understand the risk that onions pose I will now explain what the ideal calcium to phosphorus level should be for them if onions are an issue for other pets if they respond in the same manner as we do to onions (will they cry) and much more. Keep reading to learn more.

 What is an onion?

An onion, according to Wikipedia is also known as Allium cepa L (Its scientific name). It is also part of the Allium family. It is also closely related to the following vegetables: chives, shallots, and leeks. They are also commonly referred to as the bulb onions or the common onion.

 Will onions make a Bearded dragon cry?

do onions make bearded dragons cry

do onions make bearded dragons cry

 If you are familiar with onions then you have probably heard the rumors that they make humans cry, right?

I can confirm this from personal experience. Anytime onions are involved in my cooking, I quickly find my eyes literally streaming with eye water as I cut into the layers of their flesh.

Interesting fact: there is a clever way to cut an onion to avoid this happening by the way. But, that is a different story.

But, back to Bearded dragons, this is not the same for them. You will not make them cry in the same way as us humans. However, their reactions to onions is a lot more severe.

 Yes, they won’t cry from onions but they stand the chance of causing some serious health issues instead. In fact, a member of this forum claims that they had near-fatal issues mixing onions with their bearded dragon.

What about red onions (are they safe)?

You may be thinking to yourself, you now understand that onions are not a good idea for your bearded dragon. But, you may also be wondering what about other variations of onions, such as red onions? To satisfy your curiosity, I’m going to clarify this for you.

 The short answer is no, red onions are not good for your Beardie. Red onions, along with the common onion we discussed earlier, are to be avoided at all costs.

To be honest, from a nutritional standpoint, red onion is really not much different as the common onion. In fact, the only real difference is their appearance and taste.

Red Onion Appearance

The red onion has white flesh, similar to the common onion, with the addition of red outer skin. In addition to this, they have a sweet taste, in my opinion. And (serving suggestion) are quite good when served up with foods such as barbecued burgers.

 ….But, back to my point, they are not ideal for bearded dragons.

 Why are red onions bad for your Beardie?

 Similar to common onions, red onions have high phosphorus to calcium ratio. Ideally, for a bearded dragon, you want a ratio of 2 to 1 calcium to phosphorous ratio.

However, these onions have a higher ratio of phosphorus. Meaning more phosphorus than calcium, which is not ideal. Therefore, they should be avoided.

The reality is there are many different foods that can be given, so there is no real need to even consider giving onions to them.

 Are onions toxic to other pets as well?

 You may be thinking to yourself, you understand that onions are toxic to your lizard, but do they affect other pets or is it just lizards? For that reason, I’m going to explore this thought with you now.

 In fact, onions are generally not good for most pets. In particular cats, dogs, and lizards. For cats and dogs, onions can cause some serious problems.

This is because the compounds in the onion can negatively affect their red blood cells circulation. Therefore, onions need to be avoided at all costs, not just for your lizard.

Are there other vegetables that your bearded dragon should avoid? 

Yes. There are other vegetables to avoid. Your beardie should not be eating iceberg (or romaine) lettuce. Or, even spinach for that matter.

 The reason for this is the high water content in these vegetables. Even though they are not necessarily dangerous to your bearded dragon they offer no nutritional benefit.

 In addition to this, they can cause elimination issues such as loose stools. And, can potentially lead to diarrhea issues. Which, can then lead to other nutritional problems down the line.

 Can Bearded dragons also eat meat?

 Yes, bearded dragons can eat meat in the form of insects. For example, Dubai roaches, crickets, etc. They can also eat mealworms and super worms. However, with super worms and mealworms, you need to be a little bit careful.

 The reason being, mealworms have tough skin. Meaning they should only be considered for Adult Bearded dragons. The same goes for Super worms. Which are even bigger than the mealworms, which can cause even more challenges for smaller bearded dragons.

Related Questions:

In this section, I will be answering some questions that are related to Bearded dragons, food & onions. If you have other questions you need answering, please drop a comment below.

Q: Should you pick up a bearded dragon?

 If you are an owner of a bearded dragon you may be wondering if it is really a good idea to continuously pick him up. For this reason, in this section, I’m going to explain if this is a good idea or not (Click here to see if Bearded dragons like to be handled).

 The short answer is Yes; you can handle bearded dragons. But, it is not natural for them to trust humans in this way. Fortunately, they are well natured and won’t give you much hassle. They can easily be trained to be handled, but it will take some time for them to get used to you.

 Q: Can bearded dragons be fed bananas?

Yes. they can be fed bananas (click here to see if Bearded dragons eat bananas and the risks involved) but you need to be careful with the number of bananas you give them. The reason for this is, bananas have high phosphorus to calcium ratio.

In the previous section, when we discussed onions, I explained that the ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for a bearded dragon is 2 to 1, remember?

Bananas have a high phosphorus level, which is beyond this ratio. For that reason, it is not a good idea to give them bananas as their daily staple.

This doesn’t mean that you should necessarily avoid them completely but it is not ideal. Think of bananas as a treat rather than part of this staple diet.

Q: Can bearded dragons be fed purple kale?

You may be wondering about other vegetables such as purple kale. Are they a good idea for your bearded dragon or should they be avoided as well? For that reason, I’m going to give you an answer in this section.

Purple kale is an interesting looking vegetable and stands above the other kale variations, in my opinion. But is it a good idea for your bearded dragon?

Unfortunately, it also has high phosphorus to calcium ratio. In addition to this, it also contains a high water content. For all those reasons above it is not the ideal food for your bearded dragon and should be avoided.

Q: Can you feed your Bearded Dragon Wild Insects?

In the attempt to reduce costs some lizard keepers consider farming wild insects to feed their lizard’s insatiable hunger. But is this the right thing to do? Let me explain…

The short answer is no, wild insects is not a good idea. But you may be thinking, why? Well, it comes down to traceability.

What do I mean? Well, with wild insects you have no idea where they have come from, right? Meaning they have no traceability. This introduces a risk to your Beardie.

The risks include potential parasites and diseases which are often not visible to the naked eye. So, the best option is to keep them away from your lizard.

How Often Do Blue Tongue Skinks Shed? (Facts + Pics)

If you are a proud owner of a Blue-Tongued Skink or just curious, you may be wondering how regular they shed. Maybe so you can gauge what is normal or maybe abnormal. Let me explain…

how often do blue tongue skinks shed? Shedding time depends on how quickly the blue tongue skink is growing. However, as a general rule, you can expect a baby skink to shed every few weeks. However, an adult may shed every 1 to 3 months.

With regards to the duration of time, it takes to actually shed, this varies quite a lot as well. You can expect some to shed really quickly (within 24-hours), whereas others may take a few days.

Let me now continue with more information such as the areas of their body that cause the most issues, some weird natural oils that contribute to their shedding process. Also, I will explain if shedding is even necessary when you can tell they are starting to shed and more. Keep reading…

What areas of the body caused the most “headache” with shedding?

cause the most headache

cause the most headache

During the shedding process things do not always go as planned. Therefore in this section, I’m going to explain some known problem areas that you may notice with your skink during the shedding process.

The Toes

The toes on the blue tongue skink have known issues for shedding. The reason for this is their toes are quite delicate therefore they are prone to be the last pieces of skin to be removed.

Their Head

Also, the head is another problem area. The head is an interesting one. Why? because the head is not as active as their legs or other parts of their bodies. Therefore, they do not have the ability to shrug off the old shredded skin as well.

Later on, in the article, I will give you some suggestions about how to help this.

Natural oils for shedding.

You may be wondering how does a lizard shed its skin? Does it just happen instinctvly? and what is the actual process? In this section, I’m going to briefly cover the key driver in this process.

With the blue tongue skink, and other lizards, in general, they have an oily substance that comes out during shedding.

This oily substance will prevent the old skin from sticking to their body and causing problems with the shedding process.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go to plan and this is why sometimes you have some issues with the old skin sticking, to their head in particular.

One thing you can do is to gently rub the head to see if it will dislodge the old shedding. However, I wouldn’t persist with this too much. If it does not come off easily, forget it. The obvious reason for this is because you do not want to harm your bluey.

Is shedding necessary?

Yes. Shedding is definitely necessary. You may be wondering why this is. And, for that reason, I will explain in more detail in this section of the article.

Shedding is key to the growth of your lizard. In fact, this is not just for lizards or blue tongue skinks for that matter. Even us humans shed. The only difference is we do it very discreetly.

Us humans shed our skin very slowly, stage by stage. Meaning we may have very little flakes of skin that break off over a long period of time. This makes it almost impossible to notice it happening.

However, for your blue tongue skink, or any reptile for that matter, you will notice their shed very clearly. Because they shed their skin in one big go and there is an obvious piece of old skin left behind.

How can you tell when your Bluey is about to shed?

You may be wondering to yourself how can you actually lookout for this proactively? How can you tell when their skin is about to shed? In this section, I’m going to point out some subtle signs you can look out for. So that you can be prepared for this shedding process.

The color of their skin

When your skink is about to shed there are some subtle and some not so subtle signs. The most obvious one is their coloration. The older skin gets a bit darker and should be quite obvious to you, especially if you are quite close to their skin.

Also you may notice a difference in color on the underside of their belly.

Other more subtle observations include their eating habits. You may find that they are off their food slightly during this process. However, this is quite subtle and not always the case for every lizard.

Their old shedded skin

One thing that is obvious, and I’m sure you will agree with me when you see this. Obviously, when they have completed their shed you will see the old shed its skin, but there is something else. More interestingly is the new shiny glowing looking skin after they have shed their skin.

Why do some lizards use water to shed?

One thing that you may notice in the wild is some larger lizards use water to help them shed. These lizards will submerge themselves into lakes or rivers so the shedding process is done easier.

This can be emulated in captivity by providing a soaking dish. It can also double up as a reservoir of water for them to consume and keep themselves hydrated.

However, you want to make sure that this water bowl is not too deep. For obvious reasons you do not want your lizard to get caught in the water and cause themselves any injuries.

Should you pull off the excess skin during shedding?

During this shedding process, you may notice that there are bits of excess skin left behind, as discussed earlier. In this section I’m going to explain some of the reasons why do not want to remove this.

Do not be tempted to remove the skin during a shedding process. This is a big “no-no”!

Why?

Because she is a natural process and will happen in its own sweet time. It may happen in one day, if you’re lucky, if not it could drag on for a few days.

One exception though, you may notice some dead skin hanging around their ears, known as “earplugs”, which may be easily removed. But, in general you should not be removing any of their skin. Especially not using tools like tweezers and things like this.

Related Questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Blue-tongued skins and shedding of skin. If you feel that you have some unanswered questions in your mind, please feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Can blue tongue skinks eat dry dog food?

No, they should not eat dry dog food. Dry dog food is not easily digested by blue tongued skinks and they will struggle to eat it. In fact, I’d be very surprised if they are even tempted to try it.

However, some lizard owners swear by giving their lizard dog food and say that they love it. But this is wet dog food, not dry. Also, you need to avoid dog food with artificial colors, flavorings or bad ingredients

According to this site, One serving suggestion is to use wet dog food but also mix it up with vegetables to improve the nutritional value of the meal.

Q: How many eggs does the blue tongue skink lay at a time?

You may be wondering if blue tongue skinks lay eggs or give birth to live young. For that reason, I’m going to clarify this one floor.

These skinks do not lay any eggs because they actually birth live young. This is quite rare because most lizards typically lay eggs, therefore, it is a reasonable assumption to make.

Q: What is the biggest blue tongue skink?

You may be curious about the size of skinks (Click here to see if a Blue Tongue Skink can Live in a 40 Gallon Tank?) well in this section I will reveal which one is the biggest.

According to Wikipedia, The Northern blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua Scincoides Intermedia) is the largest. They grow to a whopping 22 inches in length and definitely more of an advanced choice of lizard.

Why Does the Armadillo Girdled Lizard Bite its Tail?

If you have stumbled across the Armadillo girdled lizard before, you have probably heard people talking about it biting its own tail, while they scratch their head with confusion. But why does this happen?

Why does the Armadillo girdled lizard bite its own tail? It bites its own tail as a clever defensive technique. It rolls itself into a tight ball, grabs its tail in its mouth and in the process creates a very effective defensive shield.

The great thing is, any predators that are considering attacking the Armadillo Lizard at this point will probably think twice. The reality is when they are wrapped up in this way, they are very hard to attack and most Predators will give up a move onto easier prey. Keep reading, because I will reveal what other tricks they have and more…

What is the Armadillo girdled lizard?

lizard that bites its tail

You may be wondering what exactly is the Armadillo girdled lizard. For that reason, in this section, I’m going to explain exactly what they are,  other nicknames that they have and more…

You may notice by the picture it looks similar to the Armadillo, with its protective shell and skin. Hence the reason why it is named this.

According to Wikipedia, It is also known as:

  • Ouroborus cataphractus (Scientific name)
  • Armadillo Lizard
  • Golden-armadillo lizard
  • or armadillo spiny-tailed lizard

Formerly it was part of the Cordylidae genus. However since 2011, it has been moved to its own genus.

What do these lizards look like & how big are they?

Now that you know a little bit more about them you may be wondering what they look like, how big they are, etc. For that reason, in this section, I will give you a brief description of what they look like.

Coloration and Size

They are typically a brownish color that helps them in their natural habitat. As for size, they usually are anything from 3.5 inches ranging up to 5 inches in length.

At a glance, they look like little dragons or a spitting image of an armadillo.

Do people keep them at Pets?

Yes, they are kept as pets. However, they are illegal in certain countries such as South Africa. This is mainly due to the fact that back in 1996 they were endangered and classed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN.  Since then they have recovered slightly and then now moved to a “Least Concern” status.

The endangered status back in 1996 was rumored to be due to illegal trafficking, which still happens to this day.

They are attractive to lizard keepers because they are relatively easy to look after. And, getting food for them is not usually a problem.

Also, they are easily captured in the wild because they roam around in large groups and are very slow-moving lizards.

Another reason for their demand is cosmetically speaking they look quite attractive and some people compare them to little Dragons.

Other rumors blame their food source (termites) being linked to their reduction in population. Due to environmental issues that impacted the termite numbers.

What other defensive tricks does the Armadillo Griddled Lizard have?

Earlier we talked about them biting their own tail and rolling up into a ball as a clever technique to protect themselves. However, I’m now going to reveal another trick that they have up their sleeves which also helps them to get away from their ensuing predators.

One Of their tricks is dropping their tail. This is common across a number of different lizard species (How Many Times Can A Lizard Regrow Its Tail? Click here to see) and a great trick which they have in their Arsenal as well.

Their Tail dropping trick

If they feel that they are under attack their tail will drop. During this time the tail will continue to wiggle aggressively which helps them in two ways.

Firstly, it draws attention to the wriggling tail, which will hopefully give them enough time to escape from the pursuing predator. Also, this wriggling tale is now a potential meal for the Predator to keep them satisfied.

Alpha male tactics!

Like a lot of lizards, the male species of the Armadillo girdled lizard is particularly aggressive and territorial.

You may also notice, especially during mating season, they are likely to increase their aggressiveness. This is mandatory for them to win and mate successfully during this time.

Weird living conditions.

You may be wondering where these lizards actually live and what is their preferred living environment. This is one of the things I love about this particular lizard species. They are known to be social lizards.

If you have studied lizards in any capacity you will agree with me that this is quite a weird, or shall I say rare commodity.

These griddled Armadillo lizards typically roam around in large groups of up to 60 lizards. They move around quite slowly and shared their living space, which is typically crevices in rocks in their natural habitat.

Rival Groups

You may also be assuming that this group is segregated and may even cause arguments or fighting with other passing rival groups…

However, in reality, this is not the case. You will find that group members interchangeably move from one group to another without any hassle or fighting. In fact, it is quite the norm.

Are these lizards dangerous?

No. These lizards are not dangerous. In fact, they are quite slow-moving and would typically prefer to run away rather than confronting potential predators or even a passing animal.

Do they lay eggs?

You may be wondering about their breeding habits, and in particular, if they lay eggs or not. For this reason, in this section, I’m going to explain their breeding behaviors.

The Armadillo girdled lizard is quite a rare lizard. I mean in the fact that she actually births live young. It doesn’t lay eggs.

The expected number of offspring

For each clutch, you can expect to see anywhere from 2 to 4 live lizards born at a time. If you have studied lizards before you will probably expect the lizard to give birth to these babies and walk away and leave them to fend for themselves, right?

Wrong!…

The Armadillo girdled lizard is different in this department as well. In fact, females are often seen feeding their young similar to a human mother. Which is quite unusual but refreshing to see.

Related questions:

In this section I will answer some questions related to the Armidilo Gridled Lizard, if you have additional questions please feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Why do lizards bite each other’s tails?

This is usually a show of dominance. Earlier I talked about the griddled lizard having a unique defensive style by rolling up into a ball and biting it’s tail, right?

However, other lizards have weird behavior such as biting each other’s tails. This is usually due to the fact that the male lizards are quite territorial. And, will always want to claim dominance in an enclosure.

This is even more prevalent in the domesticated market because they are restricted to a very small enclosure. This intensifies their need to prove who is the dominant one. Especially if they are females in the enclosure as well.

Q: Do lizards eat their tails?

Earlier I discussed how lizards have a defensive technique where they drop their tails. This is also connected to this question. Why?

Because in the event that they drop their tail and a Predator decides not to eat it. The lizard will return back to the spot and rather than trying to keep the tail it will actually devour it.

This may seem weird to you but this is expected behavior in the lizard’s world.

Q: How is a Lizard’s tail so special?

The Lizard’s tail is special because it has two key things that it does for it. Firstly it improves their mobility and stability as they move around.

And by now you probably understand the importance of their tail as a defensive mechanism for them. Especially with lizards like the Armadillo girdled lizard who will happily drop their tail and run for the hills if needed.

Or, failing that roll up into a tight ball and use their tail as a protective shield.

Are Calci Worms Good for Bearded Dragons? (w/ Pics)

If you have a Bearded Dragon and looking for an ideal meal for them (Click here to see what Beardies should be eating and much more), then no doubt you have heard of Calci worms. But, are they a good option for you or not? Let me explain…

Are Calci worms good for bearded dragons? Yes, they are good for them. They have great nutritional benefits. Such as ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio and Lauric Acid. In fact, 53% of their body fat is this nutritional lauric acid.

Now that you know that they are a great option for your beardy, let me go on to explain the benefits of these worms, exactly what they are, how long they will last, whether or not it is a good idea to refrigerate them and more.

What is a Calci worm?

black soldier fly

You may be wondering what exactly is a Calci worm, right?  For that reason, I’m going to explain, in this section, exactly what it is. The Calci worm is the larvae (maggot) of the black soldier fly.

It is often called a number of different names, which can cause confusion. It is known as:

  • Phoenix worm.
  • Repti worm.
  • Calci Worm.

Even though they have very different sounding names they are all one of the same thing. One of the reasons why these Calci worms are so sought-after is the simple fact that they store a lot of fat and calcium in the pupation stage of their life cycle.

What does this mean for your lizard? It means that they are a great nutritional meal for your bearded dragon. And, they find them delicious as well.

Benefits of Calci worms

You may be thinking, what is so great about these Calci worms to even make you consider buying them, right? In this section, I’m going to explain some of the benefits of these worms for your benefit.

Easy to maintain

Firstly, one of the benefits is you really do not have to do much work to keep these worms happy. You can keep them at room temperature without having to refrigerate them, which is a great benefit on its own.

In addition to this, you do not necessarily have to feed them, they can literally be kept in the same pot that you purchased them in and they can last a few weeks until your lizard is ready to consume them.

These are some of the reasons why lizard keepers think they are a good option.

Should these Calci worms be their staple diet?

You may be wondering with all this talk about high calcium and great nutritional facts. Should they not just be the staple diet for your Bearded Dragon?

Should you just focus solely on these worms and not beat around the bush? These are all good questions and what I plan to cover within this section.

Firstly yes we did discuss that the calcium has great nutritional benefits and the great fat they have. But as far as treating it as the staple diet for your bearded dragon goes, especially about thinking of it as potentially the only food for your bearded dragon (click here to see what the Bearded Dragon’s throat pouch is for?) , I wouldn’t advise this. But, let me explain…

Too much fat

The fact that they have a high-fat content makes me suggest that you need to be careful with this. Not that they are dangerous in any way mind you, but you want to avoid your beardy becoming overweight/obese, are you with me?

Therefore, you will better off offering them as treats and combining them with other insects. The variety is good too.

To be perfectly honest with you, beardies like variation anyway. They will easily get bored with the same thing day in day out.

Do Calci worms turn into flies?

There are many people that forget that these worms are just flies in the making. To cut a long story short, yes calci worms will eventually turn into flies.

However, the fact that you have purchased these for feeding your bearded dragon, the chances of you seeing them turning into a flight is quite low.

However, it is definitely possible. Especially if, for some reason, your bearded dragon stopped eating. Or maybe you’ve bought too many of them.

In the event that they do you turn into flies. They only really live for a few days before reproducing and the cycle continues. Obviously you don’t want a whole load of black soldier flies in your house, so this is not best practice.

The reality is they are quite harmless flies because they do not regurgitate and cause issues that normal other flies do (more on this later).

How do you store Calci worms?

You may be wondering after you purchase these Calci worms how are you going to store them in your house, right?

If you’re new to this, it may be a concern or cause some slight anxiety for you. Therefore, I will explain exactly how you go about this in this section.

The reality is, Calci worms need very little thought when it comes to storage. Do not worry about filling up your refrigerator with these worms. It is really not required, in fact, you can keep them in the same pot that you purchase them in and keep them at room temperature.

The reality is they can tolerate high temperatures. That does not mean that you should keep them at sky-high temperatures though.

In the event that it is a hot summer day, you should keep them in the vicinity of an AC unit so that they are not too overly exposed.

Conversely, on a ridiculously cold day, they have been known to survive small stints in the freezing cold conditions, but this is not necessarily the ideal situation for them.

You may be wondering what is the ideal temperature for them? In this case, you need to aim for 50 to 60 degrees to keep them at their optimal temperature.

Related question:

In this section, I’m going to answer some questions related to Calci worms and Bearded dragons. If you have any additional questions that you feel have not been covered here please leave a comment below.

Q: How long do Calci worms live?

In reality, Calci worms are pretty good. They can last a few weeks left at room temperature. I mentioned this earlier as one of their main benefits in fact.

Beyond these few weeks, they are likely to pupate and turn into flies so you want you do not want to go further than this.

However, in my opinion, this is ample time for your beardy to consume these worms. Unless you have over-purchased.

Q: Can Calci worms climb?

Yes, they can. You may be wondering if you keep them in a pot what are the chances of them escaping and trying to climb out of it.

The reality is, they do climb. But, if you are concerned about this, there is a simple way to avoid this happening.

If you apply water to the dish then this will give them the ability to climb out. Therefore, it is advisable to have a dry dish with the worms altogether. This will actually reduce the chances of them coming out.

Q: Do Calci worms like to wriggle?

Yes. They do like to wriggle. This is one of the reasons why they are ideal for bearded dragons. Because their movement actually excites them and makes them inclined to eat them.

Q: Do you need to dust Phoenix (Calci) worms?

Yes, but, not with calcium. In fact, if you attempt to dust them with calcium it will actually be dangerous because they already have high calcium content already. Instead, you should consider dusting them with a vitamin supplement to optimize their nutritional benefits.

Are soldier flies dangerous? No. In fact, they are one of the good ones. Why? Because they do not have mouthparts and they do not fly around all day hoovering up waste, then regurgitating it, as most flies do. Also, they do not bite and are not known for passing on diseases. All in all, a great fly.

Do Blue Tongue Skinks Have Teeth? (Will it Bite?)

If you have some concerns, or just curious, you may be wondering if Blue tongued skinks have teeth and if they pose a real threat. Well, I am going to give you the facts you need right now.

Do blue tongue skinks have teeth? Yes, blue tongue skinks do have teeth. However, their teeth are nothing really to be worried about. They are quite small and non-threatening. They do not offer any real threat. Also, they are not poisonous so that is not a concern either.

Now that you know that they do have teeth, and they are not much of a threat. By the way, in the unlikely event that they do bite you, the chances of them drawing blood is very minimal.

Let me go on now to explain if they are generally aggressive if they make good pets. Also, I will reveal one particular species that you may want to avoid. Keep reading…

What is the blue tongue skink?

what is a blue tongued skink

The blue tongue skink has a number of different names. It is known as:

  • Eastern blue-tongued skink.
  • Blue Tongued lizard
  • or even nicknamed “Bluey”

It is a member of the Scincidae family and part of the Tiliqua genus. In fact, the Blue-tongued skink is one of the largest members of the skink family.

They are most commonly known for their very vividly bright blue tongue. They are natives to the desert and rainforests of Australia and New guinea.

Do blue tongue skinks bite?

Earlier we discussed if blue tongue skinks have teeth. We established that they do. But, you may be wondering what happens if they do bite you? Is it anything to be worried about? And, what is the likelihood of this ever happening? Let me attempt to tackle these questions.

The reality is they are very unlikely to bite you. The blue tongue skink uses biting as a very much last resort. Are you with me?

The Tongue Flicker!

It prefers to call the bluff of his preditors by flicking its elegant blue tongue. This tongue usually scares off most predators and allows them to get away unscathed (most of the time).

In the unlikely event that the predator is not scared by their blue-tongue. Then, if they are backed into a corner, and that is the only option, only then will they consider biting.

And with that being said, the bite really is not that effective. So, the chances are it won’t be enough to get rid of a persistent predator.

Are the blue tongue skinks aggressive?

As we have been talking about the blue tongue skinks ability to bite or if they have teeth. You may be wondering if they’re general temperament is aggressive or not. For that reason in this section I’m going to discuss their temperament and if they pose much of a risk.

Generally speaking, the blue tongue skink is not really aggressive. They are quite docile and good pets.

However, I have to warn you that there is a particular type of blue-tongue skin known as the Tanimbar Island Blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera) which is aggressive.

This blue tongue skink sub-species is not advisable for families, and therefore you should not consider this as a potential pet.

Why do blue tongue lizards hiss?

If you have ever been around blue tongue lizards you will notice that hissing is one of their best choices when it comes to self-defence. You may be wondering why they do this?

For that reason, in the section, I’m going to explain some of the reasons for this and explain the psychology of this behaviour.

Limited Defensive Tricks

Look at it from their perspective, he has really short legs and not really much to defend himself with. With his short legs and lack of climbing ability means if he is chased, he is going to struggle. So, in summary, he doesn’t really have many options to play with.

Therefore he is likely to hiss to try and frighten off any potential predators. Think of it as their bluff, hoping that the predator will get scared.

So if you ever notice that your sink is hissing at you this is a clear indication that he sees you as a threat and you need to give him some space.

Are they easy to take care of?

So far we have learned that they are generally well behaved and not much of a real threat. But are they easy to look after, as a pet? Well, let me explain.

Generally speaking, yes these skins are easy to take care of. I say “generally speaking” because, if you remember, I mentioned earlier there is a specific sub-species of called the Tanimbar. And, if you remember, he is quite aggressive and definitely not an easy pet to take care of.

And following on from what I said earlier, this is a particular species that you want to stay clear off as a domesticated pet.

How do they communicate?

You may be wondering how do these lizards communicate with other lizards or animals, right? In general, their mode of communication is body language, like most lizards to be fair.

Simple things like flashing their tongue, how they look at other lizards, running away, etc. These are all subtle parts of body language that they use to communicate. Are you with me? In a way, this similar to human nature as well.

Are they affectionate?

In general yes they are affectionate and good pets to have. However, they do not mix well with other lizards.

Issues with deciding their Sex

Another complication with these lizards is it’s difficult to tell which sex they are. You may be wondering why this is an issue or why it’s relevant.

The problem with this is, if you mix two males together it is a big recipe for disaster. Why? Because they are likely to fight like cats and dogs, are you with me?

Also, with this confusion about their sex you could also run into problems with unexpected breeding. This can happen if you accidentally have a male and a female grouped together.

For these reasons, it is always recommended to house them alone to save yourself the headache.

Do they keep snakes away?

You may be wondering if blue tongue skinks could be helpful and scare snakes away.  This may be because you have a snake problem or just general curiosity. For this reason, I’m going to address this question.

Firstly it is possible for a blue tongue lizard to eat or attack a snake. However, it is also known for snakes to attack and even kill them as well. This all comes down to size. Effectively, whoever is the biggest and strongest wins.

Related questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Blue-tongued skinks (Click here to see if Blue Tongue Skink can Live in a 40 Gallon Tank. If you have some questions that you feel have not been answered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Can blue tongue skinks eat dog food? Yes, they can be dog food, according to this site. Also, many keepers feed them dog food. In addition to this, they swear by mixing dog food with vegetables to make a nutritious meal.

However, if you consider doing this, make sure that you choose can dog food instead of dried kibble. Also, make sure that you look for dog food which does not have artificial colors, sweeteners or anything that will cause issues with your lizard.

I’m not saying that this is the ideal diet by the way. But, based on the fact that other people have done this successfully, it is possible.

Do blue tongues lay eggs? No. This is quite an interesting question because most people would assume that they do. Why? Because most lizards do. And, it is usually a safe assumption to make.

However, this lizard is an exception. After mating successfully, the female skink will give live birth to two or three babies.

How often do blue tongues shed? The adults will typically shed every month or two. But, this depends on the weather and other environmental factors, such as, have you hydrated him correctly? As for the babies, they are likely to shed more frequently than this. So, be prepared for that.

How Long do Feeder Mice Live? (Maximise their life)

If you are keen on feeding your lizard with live feeder mice (Click here to see the price on Amazon), you may be keen to understand exactly how long they can last, so you can plan on how much you will need at a time, etc. Keep reading and let me explain.

how long do feeder mice live? They can live up to three years if treated as a pet but typically consumed within weeks or months. Because, they are purchased for the sole purpose to feed to lizards (or other retiles, e.g. Snakes.)

Now that you know how long feeder mice can live for. Let me explain more. More specifically, what exactly they are (the difference between, wild, or fancy mice), which lizards eat them, different types, pros, and cons of having them. Keep reading.

What are feeder mice?

You may be wondering what the difference is between a normal pet mouse (fancy mouse, more on this later), a wild mouse and an actual feeder mouse. Well, in this section I will explain just that now.

The reality is, there is no real difference. They are the same mouse but just treated differently. Feeder mice a bred specifically for food. Meaning, they are not cared for as well as a pet mouse. And, there is no real effort put into extending their life.

With that being said, although they have the same capabilities at birth, to your conventional pet mouse, their lifespan is likely to be much shorter. Either through being eaten (by lizards, snakes, etc) or neglect by their breeders/owners.

What lizards eat feeder mice?

what lizards eat feeder mice

With all this talk about feeder mice, you may be keen to understand what type of lizard will actually consume them, right? Well, that’s good news! Why? Well, I will be sharing some information on this now in this section.

The following lizards are known to consume feeder mice:

  • Skinks.
  • Monitor Lizards.
  • Basilick Lizards.
  • Water Dragons.
  • Geckos.

Understand this, some of the lizards above are a part of a large group, with many sub-species, e.g. Geckos. Therefore, not all of them will consume feeder mice. But, I am saying there are at least some that are known to eat them, are you with me?

Also, just because they are known to eat them. This does not mean that feeder mice are their staple diet. This just means that they are an option, make sense?

What Types of Feeders are there?

Feeder mice come in a range of sizes. This is great because there is a wide range of lizards, of differing sizes as well. In this section, I will explain the different types of feeders and which type of lizards typically consume them.

Pinkie Mice

Pinkie mice are great for younger lizards, such as juvenile or hatchlings, depending on the species. Basically, they are small mice, typically less than 5 days old. They are so young in fact that they are completely hairless (no fur). They can be purchased live or even frozen.

Fuzzy Mice

These mice are bigger than pinkie mice, but not substantially. They are called “Fuzzy” because of the small layer of fur that they have grown by this time. You need to be careful that they are the correct sizing for your lizard. As a general rule, you shouldn’t feed them anything bigger than the distance between each of their eyes.

Adult Mice

As you can imagine. These are the largest type of feeder mice. They are usually separated into two or three smaller sub-groups (small, medium & Large). Which is good to help with your lizard’s ideal sizing.

Typically the small or medium feeders are less than 20 grams. Whereas, the large ones can be 20 – 50 grams.

What’s a “Fancy Mouse”?

Earlier you heard me mention the term “Fancy mouse”. You may be wondering what I was on about. Well, in this section I will explain exactly what they are and some more related facts.

A fancy mouse is basically a mouse that has been bred as a pet or even for an exhibition. They usually are directly caught from the wild or originated from a wild mouse somewhere in their previous generations. Since then, they have become domesticated and docile.

Availability

These fancy mice are freely available in many pet shops. According to this site,  they are not advocates of using feeder mice as pets. But the reality is a lot of the fancy mice sold in pet shops come from breeders that have large scale feeder setups.

Mice & Diseases

You may have heard many people look down on mice and label them as “dirty”. But are they though? This may seem like an obvious answer. But, in this section, I will explore this with you.

Parasites

According to this site, they say that mice are generally clean and healthy. However, they are still vulnerable to pick up parasites. These parasites include:

  • Mites.
  • Pinworms.

Mites are pretty bad. They cause some serious itchy and sore skin for the mice which leads to other issues. And pinworms, they are just as bad, causing serious bouts of diarrhea, etc.

Incisor Issues

Another problem that mice face is with their incisors. They grow at a fast rate and need to be managed. Basically they need to be gnawed down to stop them overgrowing.

If they are not gnawed down they stand the risk of overgrowing and causing knock-on problems such as weight loss, malnutrition, etc. Why? Because it affects their eating.

Benefits of Feeder Mice

You may be wondering what is so good about feeder mice. What are the main reasons why they are quite popular amongst reptile owners? Well, in this section I am going to explain exactly why this is the case.

In all honesty, the biggest benefit is their cost and availability. You can find them in many outlets. That is in person in a shop or even purchased online (frozen or live, but more on that later).

Also, they don’t require much maintenance because most owners understand they are literally purchased for food. Put it this way, would you treat your farm chicken the same way as your pet cat? (Similar concept).

The “Hassle” of Live Feeders

We have spoken a lot about feeder mice so far, but we have not discussed the fact that they can be purchased live as well as frozen. In this section, I will explain some of the issues with the live feeder mice.

Dangerous Fangs!

Many inexperienced lizard owners think of feeder mice as some docile, pushovers that just can’t wait to be eaten. However, in reality, this is really not the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

These feeders, in some cases, have dangerous fangs. They will use them to defend themselves (which is reasonable, in my opinion). When they are eventually sent into your lizard’s enclosure, don’t think they will be rolling over and waiting for their attack. No! They will fight for their lives.

You may be thinking, so what’s that got to do with my lizard? Well, think about it. These fangs are sharp as hell. Your lizard can sustain some injuries from this. So its an issue I have to highlight with these live feeders.

Re-stocking Issues

Another issue with these live feeders is the fact that you can’t buy them in bulk. Because they are live food, you need to keep just enough in stock, until your lizard is close to finishing the stock. The downfall of this is, it becomes expensive this way.

Benefits of Frozen Feeder Mice

Earlier we talked about the issues with live feeder mice. These problems are quite the opposite of frozen feeders. So in this section, I will explain their benefits.

So, the first clear benefit is the fact that you buy these mice in bulk, and store them ahead of time. No more need to wait until you are just about to run out. This helps to keep the cost down for you. And also, the suppliers are able to reduce their costs too.

Also, this saves a lot of your time, because you do not have to go back and forth from the shops getting live food as much.