The short answer is biting, camouflage, hissing, squirting blood from their eyes, bright colours and removing their tails. If you are looking for some more in-depth detail on this, and more answers to common follow up questions, keep reading.
Surrounded by their enemies, how do lizards keep their cool and find out ways to survive? These might be the first questions that pop into your head when talking about lizard predators.
Well, it is quite essential for most pet owners to know these different defense mechanisms as these lizards pet can use them against you if they deem you threatening.
For example, some lizards might be venomous which might be something you should know. Apart from that, it is necessary that you keep you lizards safe from any predators.
So, you might wonder how do lizards escape from their enemies. Well, to answer your most questions, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about lizards and their defense mechanisms.
When face to face with a dangerous predator, some lizards might resort to biting it to scare them away. Although all lizards can bite, only two of them are known for being venomous.
The Gila Monster and the Beaded Lizard have venomous bites which come in handy when fighting off predators. When in danger, they will bite the predator which will cause them to die so they can no longer pursue their prey.
Unlike snakes, most lizards chew the poison into their enemies instead of injecting it. In humans, the venom has the same effect as the pit viper venom, however, the symptoms are much less severe.
For humans, the venom is not fatal and only results in headaches, pain, swelling, swollen lymph nodes, weakness, sweating etcetera. The lizard is often hard to dislodge and you may have to resort to removing it with pliers. The tooth fragments must be removed as soon as possible.
Camouflage is the act of using materials, coloration or light to conceal yourself into a specific environment. Lizards mostly use color to camouflage and hide away from the predators.
Small lizards that are mostly brown and black can easily blend into the environment where they live, near trees. It makes them much harder to see and thus they remain safe from any potential predators.
Some lizards might also use it as a warning. Lizards such as the Gila Monster and the Beaded Lizard use camouflage as a form of warning to their predators that they are venomous.
However, many other non-venomous lizards have bright tails to make their predators think that they are dangerous.
Some lizards such as Chameleons change their color based on their environment to camouflage themselves into their surroundings. Most other lizards use their spiky texture to look like rocks.
You might already be familiar with hissing as a defense mechanism. Most animals hiss at their predators to scare them away or to warn them. Lizards are no exception to this rule.
This is actually a quite common method of scaring away their enemies. Their hiss serves as a warning to their enemies. However, other reptiles may use hissing with a wide variety of other techniques to appear much more dangerous to their enemies.
A great example is a frilled lizard which opens its frill and hisses at the same time to scare the predators away.
You might already know about this eccentric phenomenon. Commonly found in leopard geckos and even house lizards, they can easily shed their tail if they feel threatened.
This defense mechanism works well in case the predator has taken a hold of the lizard through their tails..
Breaking away the tail allows the lizard to escape from the clutched of the predator. Even when it is simply stressed by a moving enemy, it drops its tail off.
The result is that the predator might be confused and might focus on eating the tail while the lizard can make its getaway. It may even confound and shock the predator into not following the lizard anymore.
Some other species such as geckos leave around moving tails.
The predator might go for the moving tail instead of the lizard thus saving it. Most lizards can easily grow their tails back depending on the type of species.
Like most defense mechanisms, squirting blood from their eyes is another technique to scare away their predators. This mechanism is usually used by the southern desert horned lizard.
When in danger, the lizard fills its sinuses with blood and shoots it out of its eyes. They usually cut off the flow of blood to the heart and instead redirect it to ocular sinuses.
As a result, these sinuses expand in size. They then contract these muscles to increase pressure and then release the blood from their eyes.
The bloodstream is often shot up 4 feet from the eye socket. The blood tastes very bad so, a shot into the mouth of a predator might discourage it from eating the lizard.
It might even cause it to distract the predator so the lizard can make its getaway.
Like most animals, lizards puff their bodies up to make them look much larger than they are. Most lizards are found to puff their throat out to appear larger and thus discouraging the predator from eating them.
An example can be the bearded dragon. Some other lizards such as the horned toad lizard and horny devil puff up their entire bodies to appear more menacing and threatening and thus, warding off any potential attacks..
They appear like a spiky balloon and discourage others from eating them.
Whipping their tails is yet another defense mechanism used mostly by larger lizards to scare off any potential predators. Lizards such as the Green Iguana lash their tails out when confronted with an attack.
The actually use it to attack and harm other animals. It might even result in bleeding or seriously hurting their enemies.
Lizards such as the Blue-Tongues Skink have a blue ultra-violet tongue capable of reflecting such colors. When these lizards stick their tongue out, predators might be intimidated by the bright color and may not want to attack. It may even shock and daze their predators into not moving.
The tongue is broad from the base and narrow at the tip. They can even expand the tongue out to further intensify the bright colors. Studies have shown that the back of their tongues is much more UV intense than the front. The back is shown only in the most extreme cases where the predator might be UV sensitive.
So, one might wonder why do they not use this defense mechanism with the whole tongue in the first try. The main reason why their defense is so powerful is that it has an element of surprise to it.
If they start flicking their tongues very often, it might allow the predators to become used to it. It might also attract more attention to them. Thus, most blue-tongued skinks use the mechanism as a last minute resort.
Lizards are often a hot menu item for most other animals. There are a wide variety of predators that can prove to be dangerous to the lizard. Birds are a common predator that easily snatch these animals away since they love hanging out in the open Sun.
There are many mammals such as fox, wild cats, canines that consume lizards and their eggs. It depends mainly on the location of the lizard. Coyotes and snakes can be a huge enemy to the lizard.
Sometimes, other larger lizards can easily eat the smaller ones. Most larger lizards eat the young of others. Even lizards of the same species might indulge in cannibalism and eat the young of their own species. Lizards are not safe from parasites either.
Various insects and rodents are known to kill and eat a lizard or cause them to starve by attaching themselves to the lizard.
Humans are also considered a threat to lizards in a number of ways. Whereas most humans usually consider house lizards a pest and tend to destroy them.
In more primitive parts of the world such as Africa, tribes are known to hunt and eat lizards when food is scarce. This is probably why lizards have developed a wide number of defense mechanisms to wriggle out of such situations.
All in all, since lizards have a large number of predators, they use many tricks to ward them off. These could include biting them, hissing at them, squirting blood, showing off their blue tongues or using their bright colors. These serve as an essential source for the survival of the lizard and is essential in studying their behavior.
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The short answer is yes, lizards can hear. To fully understand why some people would question this, I have laid out a full article explaining this, and some common follow up questions and answers.
Perhaps one of the largest responsibilities that come with being a pet owner is knowing everything about your pet. You need to have a proper understanding of the animal you keep and how it works.
Otherwise, you could end up neglecting potentially dangerous circumstances. We often found ourselves pouring over books and the internet trying to find answers to trivial questions such as ‘Can lizards hear?’ or ‘Do Geckos Blink?’
Although the nature of such questions might seem trivial, they do end up being handy in the long run. When you have a good grasp on how your animal works, you can quickly discern if something is wrong with it.
So, to help you answer such trivia, we have compiled a list of commonly asked questions:
You might think that due to the absence of ears, present in many animals, lizards are deaf! However, the truth is far from it!
The main source of vibrations in lizards is the tympanic membrane which catches vibrations and passes them along to the bones in the middle ear cavity and finally to the cochlear duct to transmit the information to the auditory nerve.
So, it goes without saying that many lizards can still hear while, visibly, they appear to be earless, since the tympanic membrane may be mounted on the surface or the subsurface of the ear.
However, there are quite a few variations in auditory that can be found amongst these lizards. These morphological variations usually arise due to the difference in depth of the membrane from the surface, the size of the membrane as well as the thickness.
Some lizards have surface tympanic membranes while others have recessed ones, such as in humans. However, they do not have extensive external structures like ours. Instead, they have ear openings. Although some lizards do have angled openings or scales in front of opening that function quite like the human external ear.
The quick answer is no! You will not find any lizards with elaborate and complex ear structures found in many mammals.
They have small ear openings for catching sounds. Their tympanic membrane, or known more commonly as the eardrum, is located inside these openings.
However, some lizards do not even possess these ear openings. These lizards are mostly burrowing lizards that often need to dig deeper into the sad. The absence of ear opening, thus, prevents any sand from entering their ears and damaging their hearing.
Even the tympanic membrane is absent in these lizards. Instead, they hear using low-frequency vibrations from the ground since they are sub-terranian.
Most lizards can generally hear from 100-5000 Hz, however, the best level is in the range from 400 to 1500 Hz since they possess a tympanic membrane, cavity, and Eustachian tube. Most lizards have basilar papillae which serve as the auditory sensory organ.
These papillae are divided into two different regions, where one responds to frequencies below 1000 Hz while the other performs best with higher frequencies.
Most basilar papillae can hear sounds higher than 5dB.
Most reptiles have ears and can hear to some extent. Obviously there are differences in species, such as the Komodo dragon, is vastly different to a Gecko. However, the common structure is a tympanic membrane present on the surface and the subsurface which catches vibrations and transmits them to the stapes.
The stapes is a singular bone present in the middle ear cavity in reptiles. The stapes then transfer these vibrations to the inner ear fluid which then send the message to the auditory nerves. A Eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the mouth.
The inner ear, in reptiles, consists of a series of hollow parts which are in an ovoidal or spherical configuration. These tubes are suspended in a fluid and are filled with a different fluid.
Most crocodiles and lizards have properly developed hearing, while turtles and snakes are not as sensitive to airborne vibrations as low-frequency earth vibrations.
Most lizards are incredibly sensitive to sounds. As we mentioned before, most lizards can hear sounds in the frequency range of 100-5000 Hz. Iguanas can easily hear sounds in the 500-4000 Hz range and have the ideal sensitivity at 700 Hz.
Other highly sensitive lizards such as Alligator Lizards have a wide range of high sensitivity while many others such as the Madrean Tropical Night Lizards show high sensitivity at lower frequencies in a smaller range.
Vocal Geckos can easily hear above the 10000 Hz mark and show high sensitivity. Many earless lizards such as Hoolbrookia have sensitivity limited to lower earth-borne frequencies.
Since most lizards have a smaller head, they cannot use binaural time or intensity to determine the sound direction. Mammals with much larger heads can usually detect the arrival time differences between the two ears and can guess where the sound is coming from.
With smaller heads, such as in the reptiles, the differences are much more subtle.
However, lizards can use the two tympanic membranes and couple them acoustically to produce directionality. The tympanic membrane, when exposed to sounds in the range of 1800-2400 Hz around their best-heard frequency, results in a better sense of direction.
Since lizards do not have external ears, the size of their ears is pretty small. It only consists of one auditory bone in the middle ear cavity while the tympanic membrane makes up most of the outer ear. The inner ear is small as well, having ovoidal and spherical tubes to carry fluids.
Due to the small heads of lizards, they have no cavity to support larger ear organs. However, some lizards do have a primitive form of external ears. These are in the form of scales in front of the ear. These may help capture vibrations and direct them further into the ear.
Most lizards possess eyelids such as most mammals do. The main function of these eyelids is to protect the eyes and clean them. These eyelids help them to blink which keeps the eyes moist and prevents desiccation.
Mostly the lower lid is movable and moves upward to close the eyes. In some lizard species, the lower lid is transparent and allows them to see with their eyes closed.
In some other species, a third eyelid called a nictitating membrane is present as well. This is usually semitransparent. It easily closes across the eyes while the eyelids are open.
In some geckos and chameleons, these eyelids have fused to become a clear membrane that protects their eyes. However, these are immobile and require constant cleaning by the animal itself.
So, the short answer is yes all lizards have eyelids, however, not all of them are mobile or can perform the same functions.
While all lizards have eyelids, geckos have immobile ones. Their eyelids have fused to become an immobile transparent aperture called a spectacle. This membrane is clear and transparent and protects their eyes from dirt, dust, and sun. The pupil thus contracts and forms a series of pinholes through which the gecko sees.
The absence of an immobile eyelid makes it impossible for geckos to blink. Instead, they usually lick and clean their eyelids of any dust or debris that may have collected on it.
However, not all geckos are unable to blink! Leopard geckos are an exquisite exception to this rule. Leopard Geckos have eyelids quite like many other lizards and can easily blink. They do not have to rely upon their tongues to clean their eyelids.
Their eyelids are opaque and perform the same functions as in other animals.
It might come as a shock to you but lizards actually smell through their tongues! You might think that their nostrils would be used for smelling as in mammals. However, their nostrils serve no other purpose than to simply breathe regardless if you have a gecko, garden lizard, Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink, or any other specie.
Most lizards stick their tongue out and catch the scent particles. This tongue flicking is what brings these particles to the olfactory sensory organ called the Jacobson’s organ.
As soon as the lizards catch these particles through their tongues, they quickly touch their tongue to the roof of their mouth. They then proceed to flutter their throats to help the air movement along the Jacobson’s organ allowing the particles to be moved as well.
This then allows them to sense whether there is any food nearby or whether there are enemies. Lizards use their sense of smell to find a mating partner as well.
All in all, knowing your lizard well can ultimately help you in giving it the best care possible. We truly believe that if you showing interest in your pet is another form of showing love and care. It is crucial that you understand your pet through and through. It can help you discern any irregular behavior at a moment’s notice!
We hope you found this article interesting. Be sure to like and comment if it caught your interest and helped you in any way!
Lizards are a perplexing creature, with countless varieties throughout the world. Just by looking at one, you can see that they seem to have a look that they at least appreciate water – but do they live in water? Can a lizard swim, or can it breathe underwater?
As an enthusiast of all things reptilian and proud owner of several varieties of lizards over the years, I’m here to tell you that this question doesn’t really have an easy answer!
Whether you were brought here by curiosity, or by the desire to do best by your pet, or even for some other reason – buckle up, because asking if lizards can swim is like asking what kind of food humans enjoy. You’ll see that the answers are endless, interesting, and wildly variating when you look into specifics.
I’ve put together a few common questions regarding lizards and their abilities to swim (both in and out of water – check out the abilities of the Sandfish Lizard!), and answered them here! Some questions are from pet owners, others are from the curious-minded or those intrigued by lizards. Don’t forget the comment section below for more questions!
Lizards are exceptional creatures, especially because of the variety of them that exist – both in the wild, and as pets. If you are looking to find out if your specific pet can swim or not, it’s best to find out exactly what type of breed you have.
When starting out with your pet, remember this rule of thumb: don’t let the water go above the lizard’s shoulders, as the little guy should always be able to choose between walking or swimming.
Lizards have four legs, usually with five toes per foot.
There are also exceptions, including some lizards who do not like to swim. This can vary by breed in the wild, but also per the individual. For example, Bearded Dragons often like to swim; although, some Beardie owners will find that their little guy just doesn’t enjoy it.
With all pets, it’s important to not force play activities on them that they are ill-suited for, or do not enjoy.
Lizards that live most of their life in water can hold their breath much longer than those lizards that simply live near it. Some exceptional creatures such as the Marine Iguana and the Basilisk can hold their breath in the thirty minute range, allowing them to find food underwater, or escape from predators if needed.
Most lizards, especially those we keep as pets, have a much, much smaller span of time. Always remember, with your pet lizard, that they certainly cannot breathe under water! As mentioned, avoid having a lizard’s habitat set up in a way that the lizard is forced to swim underwater.
The sandfish lizard is certainly one of the most unique types of lizards that you could ever come across. Their small curl into an S-shape and, with a wriggling motion, actually swim through the sand!
This environmental advantage allows them to escape both the hot heat of the desert and stalking predators by burrowing down into the sand.
This question is often asked, and while the answer is a bit more complicated, the answer is technically no. The reason that I say that this answer is a resounding no is because lizards can technically drown, even though it does seem unlikely. There is no known species of reptile that is truly able to breathe underwater.
One great example of the confusion that many people find on this topic is the Marine Iguana, mentioned above.
When in the wild, Bearded Dragons are actually decent swimmers. Most folks believe that these critters come from the desert when, in fact, they originate from an area in Australia that is populated with soil rather than sand. The Bearded Dragons natural experience with water includes swimming holes throughout the soil areas, in which they can both swim in and drink from.
As pets, some of them do not enjoy the activity – it is very important not to force it upon a pet Bearded Dragon. Get to know your pet as well as you can, taking cues from him or her. There are many ways to learn what your Bearded Dragon needs for a happy life and a safe environment.
Chameleons are a common pet, one that is known for their swimming abilities. Their trick is to inflate themselves with air, in order to float on the surface, and then they move by doing what looks similar to a doggy paddle. Chameleons are also a unique creature in that they come from a very wide variety of habitats.
This includes anywhere from deserts to rain forests, and they are typically found inhabiting trees or bushes. While these animals typically live their life at a little bit of a higher altitude (they are climbers!), they have the ability to swim for natural reasons, such as seeking out food or to find a mate.
Lizards (Click here to see if Geckos can Swim) truly come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing that most of them have in common is their high body temperatures. In most lizards, the high body temperatures urge them to seek life on land; however, the majority of lizards tend to stay near some source of water, as they are dependent on it for both breedingand feeding.
Water is a very important habitat feature for all types of lizards. Many use it as an escape from danger, such as water dragons (click to see why they need such a big vivarium) and basilisks. Each of these tends to live on land, but will dive into a source of water to escape danger. The latter also do not need necessarily need a water source to obtain food; however, it can be helpful as their food sources are often drawn to bodies of water.
The answer to this question is yes: salamanders are always born in water; however, many don’t remain in it. This depends on the species or variation of the specific salamander lizard in question. Salamanders vary from terrestrial, to aquatic, to semi-aquatic. Aquatic salamanders, of course, live out their whole lives in the water.
Terrestrial salamanders have a less direct definition, as they spend their lives on land, but do return to water for mating and reproduction only. Semi-aquatic salamanders similarly return to water to reproduce, after spending part of their adolescent lives on land.
Water is almost always an important necessity for any type of lizard. For salamanders, water is crucial to their breeding and reproduction process. Even terrestrial salamanders choose their terrestrial homes based on how near it is to a body of water, and by the moistness that is necessary for keeping their skin hydrated.
Not at all surprisingly, even a cursory internet search on this topic will prove to be more confusing than when you started! The reason for this is, yet again, because of the wide varieties of lizards. In most cases, the question of whether or not the baby or adolescent can swim is answered by the adult’s ability to swim. Especially for lizards who are born in water, such as salamanders, the ability to swim is reflexive and is known since birth.
I hope you found the information that you needed in this article! If you’re a new lizard owner, or even an experienced one, there are some tricky things that your new pet will need.For example, playing with a lizard is much different than furry pets. It’s equally important to make sure that they are comfortable in the best environment you can provide for them – and different types of lizards require different types of cages and cage setups.
As a lizard enthusiast, I’ve loved the joy these pets have brought to myself and others over the years. Caring for these amazing creatures is such a blast, and it’s always rewarding to help others do the same.
It has been commonly observed that most lizards cannot breathe while they run.
You might ask why?
Well, this is because lizards run by twisting and flexing their bodies sideways. These muscles help lizards move forward. However, these muscles also control how the ribs expand, allowing the reptile to breathe.
Since lizards rely on these same muscles for respiratory and locomotory functions, they cannot do both at the same time.
The sideways flex compresses one lung and expands the other, resulting in the passing of the same stale air from one lung to the other. So, most lizards have to stop after running a while to catch their breath and recover the oxygen in their blood.
Some lizards such as the monitor lizards use a technique called a ‘gular pump’. With a gular pump, they use sacs in their throat to pump in the air while their torsal muscles are busy in running.
This allows the air to enter the lungs even when they run and the lungs cannot expand. This is why monitor lizards are much more aerobic and faster than common lizards.
Yes, most lizards can hold their breath for a long period of time. This is because they breathe by expanding their torso muscles.
These muscles are being used to run as well. Lizards cannot use both of these muscles at the same time. So, while running lizards need to hold their breath.
Furthermore, they can easily hold their breath underwater as well. Some monitor lizards, that many have wondered if this lizard can really swim, exhibit unidirectional breathing which allows them to store and trap air in their lungs until all the oxygen is extracted out.
This further enhances their ability to hold their breath as they can easily survive off of the excess oxygen in their lungs.
Lizards breathe through their lungs, just like us. However, they do not have a diaphragm and instead depend on their torso muscles to expand the ribs to inhale and exhale.
They flex these muscles to breathe. A study by researchers showed that most lizards exhibit unidirectional breathing.
This means that air enters through the trachea and into the lungs of these lizards. However, it is not exhaled back as in humans. Instead, it loops back into another airway from one bronchus to another.
Lizards have many bronchi in their lungs, up to a dozen in the count. There is one primary pathway with many another branching off of it. The airflow from one airway to the other improves oxygen extraction.
Most amphibians have the ability to breathe through their skin as well as lungs. However, in reptiles, only some breath through their skin and lungs, such as the salamander.
This results in a slimy texture of their skin because they can dry up easily. Most reptiles, such as lizards, only use their lungs to breathe. This is because there are scales on the body of the lizards.
These scales are responsible for protecting the lizards from UV rays and from the ground. When most reptiles scurry, their sensitive skin might be damaged and so these scales help them.
As discussed previously, lizards rely on their lungs to breathe. Their lungs contain about a dozen bronchi each of which extracts oxygen efficiently. The main pathway is branched off into various bronchi.
This provides the lungs with a greater surface area for the exchange of gases. However, not all lizards have several bronchi. In fact, most primitive lizards have only two bronchi which do not further divide at all.
Their lungs are hollow sacs with internal folds for a higher surface area.
The expansion is aided by the movement of the ribs. Some lizards even use the anaerobic mechanism of breathing during apnea.
The gaseous exchange takes part in the cranial part and the caudal part stores the lungs.
Most lizards can hold their breath for a very long time. When submerged in water, most lizards can hold their breath for 24 minutes!
Researchers have concluded that unidirectional breathing allows more oxygen to be extracted from the inhaled air. This means that one gulp of air is enough to last a long time, which is why it’s easier for lizards to hold their breaths for so long.
They can also survive in situations with lower oxygen levels since they can maximize the amount of oxygen they get.
You might often find that lizards go to sleep if they are turned upside down. Well, the truth is that they are knocked out since they cannot breathe while upside down.
This is because they do not have a diaphragm separating their lungs and lower abdomen. When they are upside down, their stomachs start pressing on their lungs, which makes it harder to inhale.
This makes it harder for them to breathe and results in suffocation. Also, their torso muscles hang around and are weighed down by the rest of the body. This makes it harder for lizards to push these muscles and breathe.
This usually causes a trance-like state which can eventually result in death.
When you put a lizard on its back, it seems like it goes to sleep. In fact, this state is not sleeping, it is a state of trance called as Tonic Immobility. This is referred to as a state of temporary immobility where the animal acts like it is dead. This is because of two reasons:
When they are put on their back, it presses a lot of weight on their lungs. They have no diaphragms, so their lungs tend to collapse and their torso muscles can no longer help expand the ribs to inhale air. This results in them suffocating. The lack of oxygen can lead to a trance-like state to ensure their metabolic processes are slowed down.
However, this is not the only reason. Another reason is that they might feel threatened or vulnerable. They enter into a state of stupor to discourage their predator.
The predator might think it is dead and leave it alone. And as soon as it does, the lizard pops back up and runs away.
As we have already discussed before, lizards and most reptiles do not have a diaphragm. A diaphragm is a thin layer of muscles inside the body that separates the heart and lungs from the stomach and everything beneath it. It is the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm that allows us to breathe.
Lizards, however, do not have a diaphragm, and instead, rely on their axial muscles to breathe. These muscles are responsible for expanding the ribcage. However, some lizards such as the Tegu Lizards possess a proto diaphragm that separates the lungs from the rest of the body parts.
However, this is its only purpose as it does not expand or collapse for breathing. It does allow for a larger inflation, but that’s it!
When some lizards are put on their back against their wishes, they might end up thinking they are being attacked. They are in a vulnerable situation where they might not be able to run from any potential predators.
So, when they are put on their back, they often feign to be dead to discourage their predator from eating them since most predators will not engage in eating dead prey. This is called Tonic Immobility.
This immobility condition ensures they do not respond and do not show any signs of movement. One reason could be that most predators prefer live prey while another reason could be that these predators rely on movement from the prey to detect them.
However, most lizards play dead on their back because their lungs collapse and their system enters a catatonic state. This results in a lower respiration rate. These lizards then enter a comatose state to preserve oxygen and slow down their metabolism.
Well, there you have it! Lizards do not have a diaphragm which results in many breathing problems. You may also be wondering, can lizards hear?
We encourage all our readers to do their own research on the topic and find out as much as they can. The more educated you are, the better you can care for your pet.
Like, share and comment any more questions you have about your lizard!
There are several thousand lizard species, and lizards can be found on every single continent except Antarctica. Most species are diurnal or active during the day.
While a majority of lizards prefer humid and tropical climates, some favor deserts or temperate climates. Lizards from the tropics or desert will need heat lamps, while lizards from cooler climates might not.
Bearded dragons and leopard geckos, which are among the most popular pet lizards, come from the desert. Green iguanas, anoles, and Chinese water dragons are examples of tropical lizards, while the various skinks hail from temperate climates. The skinks thus might not need heat lamps, but all of the others will.
All organisms require heat for essential biological processes like digestion, respiration, circulation, and reproduction. Animals are either warm-blooded (endotherms) or cold-blooded (ectotherms). The former can make their own heat, while the latter get it from the environment.
Reptiles, like lizards, and snakes, are ectotherms. They use various behavioural strategies to get the heat they need. For example, many reptiles will bask or lie in the sun to warm up their bodies.
Similarly, they may rest on hot rocks or other surfaces to get the heat they need. Reptiles are especially apt to bask first thing in the morning to raise their body temperature and speed up their metabolism.
When a reptile starts to feel overheated they will seek shade or burrow into the ground to cool off.
As stated earlier, lizards are ectotherms. As such, they can’t maintain a steady body temperature on their own but need help from their environment.
In the wild, lizards will bask in the sun or lie on hot rocks or ground to warm themselves up and boost their metabolism, so they can forage or hunt for food.
Pet lizards need their owners to provide the environment they need. The heat lamp will provide their basking site with the necessary warmth.
Heat lamps can use halogen or incandescent bulbs. While incandescent bulbs can produce a lot of heat and don’t cost much, halogen bulbs are less likely to dry out the air. People who keep lizards that need a lot of humidity generally prefer lamps with halogen bulbs.
There are many types of heat lamps. Some produce infrared light. They heat the terrarium without producing any visible light and can thus be left on at night without upsetting the lizard’s sleep-wake cycle. Infrared lamps also won’t dry out the air in the tank.
Nighttime incandescent basking bulbs are also designed to keep a lizard warm at night without interfering with their sleep-wake cycle. They produce plenty of heat but no light. Red heat lamps produce heat and a soft red light that lets you watch your lizard’s nighttime activities.
Daylight bulbs produce both heat and the UV rays that reptiles need to produce the Vitamin D their bodies require to make calcium. Spotlight basking bulbs concentrate light and heat into a specific place where the lizard can bask.
The ideal temperature range for a lizard will depend on its species. Most, however, need an area that’s between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that lizards will also need a place where they can cool off, and that area should usually be in the low to mid 70s.
Lizards from temperate climates will need cooler temperatures than will those from a desert or the tropics. Most owners put the heat lamp at one end of the lizard’s tank. The lizard can thus bask under the lamp when it needs warmth and then scuttle to the other end of the tank to cool off.
There are a variety of thermometers designed for use in a terrarium or tank. Adhesive thermometer strips are the most commonly used, and you put them on the outside of the tank.
Many people put an adhesive thermometer on either end of their tank, so they can measure the temperature of the coolest and warmest parts of the terrarium. They can then use those numbers to estimate the temperature of the middle part of the tank.
You can also use a digital thermometer with a probe; you just stick the probe in the tank’s substrate and check the monitor’s readout. Temperature guns let you check the temperature in specific places.
If you have a tropical lizard, you will need to check both the heat and humidity. In that case, you will need a dual thermometer and humidity gauge. Like the adhesive thermometer strips, many of these gauges can be stuck on the side of the tank.
Lizards also need light that provides UVA and UVB rays. Some heat lamps emit UVA rays, so you will need a light lamp that provides only UVB rays. Otherwise, you will need a light lamp that produces both UVA and UVB rays.
You should keep the light lamp on for around twelve hours a day. Turn it off at night so your lizard can sleep. Make sure the lizard can’t touch the light lamp, for it might burn itself.
Lizards also need hiding places like rocks or small logs. Make sure they’ve been sterilized first, so your lizard doesn’t pick up any diseases. Put at least one hiding place in the cool side of the tank. Some lizards, like chameleons, like to climb; give them branches so they can do so.
Many lizards are natives of humid and tropical environments. They thus need the humidity of such environments to stay healthy.
Misting the lizard replicates the humidity of their native environment. You should mist your lizard two or three times a day. Any spray bottle will do, so long as it is set to mist and not stream.
Not all lizards need to be misted, however. While lizards from tropical and some temperate environments need to be misted, lizards that come from deserts do not.
Thus, while iguanas need to be misted, and even seem to enjoy it, bearded dragons, which come from the Australian desert, do not.
Lizards can get diarrhoea just like humans. If the lizard is excreting runny feces for over two days, it’s time to take it to the vet. If the lizard is producing fewer droppings than normal, that may mean they are eating less than they should, and you need to check their appetite.
If the lizard suddenly loses weight, it may not be eating or drinking enough and should also be taken to the vet. Other signs that your lizard needs a trip to the vet include the following:
Yes, lizards do need water. While many lizards will drink out of a water dish, some won’t. Lizards like chameleons will need a drip water system. Some lizards enjoy swimming and will need a big enough pool to do so. Change the water every day, especially if the lizard drinks out of a small bowl.
Bowls come in different sizes; some are just big enough to accommodate the lizard’s head, while others can serve as a swimming pool. Regardless of size, you want to get a bowl that the lizard can’t tip over. If your lizard needs a lot of humidity, you can place the bowl partially over a heater to make some of the water evaporate.
Clean the water bowl every week to keep protozoa, bacteria and algae from growing in it. Use very diluted beach and soak the bowl in it for a few minutes. If the bowl has mineral deposits, which look like white sandpaper, soak the bowl in vinegar or salt water.
Lizards do need to be fed. Depending on their species, lizards can be carnivores, insectivores, omnivores, or herbivores; most lizards are insectivores.
Lizards should also be given a reptile food supplement. Carnivores and omnivores should be fed every two or three days, while the herbivorous iguanas should eat every day. Small and/or young lizards usually need to be fed more often than big or older lizards.
Your new lizard will need vet care, and you should take it to the vet shortly after getting it to make sure it is in good health. Like other animals, lizards should get a check-up once a year. Many lizards pick up intestinal parasites and will, therefore, need to be de-wormed.
As mentioned earlier, there are many types of lizards to choose from. If you are looking for one that does not need a heat lamp, then hopefully this article has added value.
Bare in mind, a pet lizard can be a few inches long, or it can be a six-foot long iguana. Some lizards like running, others are docile. Your lizard’s needs will therefore depend on its species.
Some lizards like to climb while others are sedentary. Some lizards like being handled, while others get stressed if their owner picks them up too often.
Before getting your lizard, you need to research the ones that spark your interest. You will then need to equip your tank to suit your pet’s needs before buying the lizard. If you have never had a lizard before, you should consider hardy, docile lizards that are comparatively easy to take care of.
Did you find this article helpful? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Lizards are reptiles and like most reptiles, they are ‘cold-blooded’ or ‘ectotherms’. Coldblooded animals are those animals that cannot maintain their own body temperatures.
They are the same temperature as the atmosphere and so have difficulties in staying warm. They need an external heat source to maintain their body temperature.
‘Warm blooded’ creatures like humans and other mammals generate their own heat through various metabolic processes. This heat allows them to maintain a constant body temperature, no matter the temperature of the air outside..
When the temperature gets too high, lizards need to keep themselves warm or else they would freeze to death. This is because of their temperature changes with the environmental temperatures.
If it gets cold, they can become inactive and that would allow them to be easily attacked by predators. It also allows prey to easily escape as well. These behavioral changes due to minus temperatures can cost them their lives.
Thus, to avoid freezing to death, most lizards go underground to hibernate during the winter so they can stay safe and warm.
Underground temperatures are much higher than above and hence, the lizards spend their entire winter sleeping. This is why we do not see any lizards in the winter.
Some lizards do have cooling physiologies, while others prefer to migrate, however, in freezing temperatures, hibernation is their best bet.
If you live in temperate regions where temperatures often fluctuate between too hot and too cold, you might often wonder, “Where are all the lizards gone all of a sudden?” We often do! During summers, it seems like you are being invaded by an army of lizards in your house and your garden.
However, during winters, you might not find any. Or, you might find a few frozen outside or hiding in the soil. So, where do they go in winters?
So, what’s actually happening is that they are hibernating! The popular cartoon shows only depict bears going into hibernation. However, that is far from the truth.
Many reptiles such as lizards, snakes, turtles go under hibernation during the winters. To help you educate yourself on the topic, we have compiled a list of frequently asked question about lizards and their hibernation patterns!
Lizards normally choose to burrow themselves into the ground as the temperatures are much higher below. However, we believe where they choose to do so mainly depends on the area they are living in. Most geckos are found in tropical regions, while a few can be found in temperate regions.
Most geckos, like other smaller reptiles, hide in logs or under rocks if the temperatures are not too cold. If the temperatures are too cold, they might bury themselves deeper in caves, rocks or burrows to avoid freezing, which is called hibernacula.
These cave hibernacula maintain their temperature well above freezing at 40 degrees F.
However, not all geckos prefer the ground. Some arboreal lizards like to hide inside the trees as they provide them with better insulation to the cold. They prefer hiding in older trees which might be hollow from places. They can even hide under the bark of the tree if the temperatures are not too severe.
Lizards living in the tropical region do not have to bear too harsh winters, so they can hide at shallow depths and under barks or logs. However, those living in the more temperate regions might need to burrow deeper.
Lizards can die due to extremely cold weather as their body is unable to sustain the temperature. Even in mildly cold weather, lizards tend to become inactive.
Their digestion slows down and their immune system stops functioning properly. This makes them more susceptible to infections and diseases. Lizards stop walking with their legs and lie on their bellies instead ().
They do not eat or drink and can become dehydrated easily. Their eyes and skin appear more wrinkly and can become dry and cracked. This is normally why you are required to place a basking lamp and regulate the temperature of your lizard’s tank so accurately. Otherwise, it could easily die if it gets too cold to function.
So, hibernating during the cold weather is not only essential, it is vital to these reptiles if they wish to survive.
In reality, lizards prefer to stay where they are, rather than migrating. But, true hibernation is really only seen in mammals, I will explain in more detail later.
This is because it is easier to brumate to help regulate their body temperatures.
Brumating allows them to soak the sun up in the morning, becoming active through the day while sleeping through the colder night.
However, some lizards do prefer to migrate to warmer climates. The lizards that live in mountainous regions move to the lower areas when temperatures start freezing. Others may migrate from land areas to coastal areas where the sun is always shining.
Lets dig deeper into brumation. Brumation is a period of dormancy similar to hibernation. During brumation, the reptile becomes lethargic to the point that they may not move at all during winter.
Pet lizards will sometimes brumate, even if their owner dutifully keeps their tank nice and warm. Some lizards simply have an instinct to brumate in winter. You can tell your lizard is preparing to brumate through the following signs:
Understand that some of these signs can also indicate a sick lizard. This is especially true if it stops eating or defecating. In the latter case, you can try soaking it in warm water and rubbing its stomach to stimulate a bowel movement.
When the lizard does eventually poop, have the vet check the stool sample for parasites. It’s a good idea to make sure your lizard defecates one last time before entering brumation, so it doesn’t develop an infection.
Both hibernation and brumation are long periods of dormancy characterized by reduced activity and body temperature. A hibernating animal will sleep straight through, while a brumating animal will occasionally wake up.
Furthermore, a hibernating animal doesn’t need to drink water, while a brumating animal needs to drink from time to time to avoid dehydration.
As discussed earlier, true hibernation, however, is seen only in mammals, while brumation is seen in cold-blooded animals like reptiles. While mammals prepare by eating more to build up fat reserves, reptiles eat more to build up reserves of fat and a sugar called glycogen.
Reptiles use the glycogen to fuel their muscles, while the fat reserves go towards mating and reproduction. Glycogen also helps reptiles better tolerate the low oxygen levels they might find in their hibernaculum, particularly if said hibernaculum is underwater or in the mud.
Lizards are ectotherms. As such, they can’t generate their own body heat and thus depend on the environment to provide it. During cold weather, the lizard doesn’t get enough body heat to function. It becomes lethargic and slow and is thus vulnerable to predators, and it is also less able to forage for food.
Brumation is, therefore, a survival mechanism that helps a lizard survive long periods of cold and inclement weather. During brumation, the reptile enters a state that is sometimes described as suspended animation. The lizard’s respiration and heart rates slow, and it doesn’t digest or excrete food.
Brumation also affects reproduction in reptiles. In most reptiles, cooler temperatures trigger sperm production in male lizards. It also causes physiological processes that prepare females for ovulation in the spring.
Generally speaking, lizards brumate when it becomes too cold for them keep up their energy. The length of time a lizard spends in brumation depends on a number of factors, such as the climate.
Lizards that live in the tropics often do not brumate at all, for example. Generally speaking, though, lizards enter brumation sometime in the late fall and emerge in the spring. In both cases, the lizard is responding to such stimuli as temperature, changes in barometric pressure, and length of days.
Tropical lizards, however, usually do not brumate. If you have a tropical lizard like an iguana that seems to be trying to brumate, you need to have it checked out by a vet, for it could be ill.
Some pet lizards will enter brumation on their own. No matter how nice and warm their tank is, many still retain the instinct to do so.
If your lizard does go into this state, you will have to make sure it doesn’t become dehydrated during its long sleep. You should also watch for signs of excessive weight loss; a healthy lizard shouldn’t lose more than a few grams during brumation. (One ounce equals a little more than 28 grams.)
You can also simulate conditions that encourage brumation by gradually reducing the heat and light in your lizard’s tank. At the same time, you should decrease the amount of food you give your lizard. You should not stimulate brumation in sick lizards or lizards that are under two years old.
Yes, lizards do sleep. Over the years, scientists have found that virtually all animals go through some form of sleep. In 2016, the journal “Science” published a study in which researchers determined that a species of bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) had sleep patterns surprisingly similar to that of humans.
The scientists placed electrodes on the lizards’ heads and recorded their brainwave patterns while they were sleeping. The results demonstrated that bearded dragons, like humans, go through REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep and slow-wave sleep. As humans dream during REM sleep, it’s possible that lizards also dream.
During previous studies, scientists had found that REM and slow-wave sleep occurred in birds and mammals, but not fish or amphibians and thus speculated that it was a comparatively recent evolutionary development. The study’s results suggest that slow-wave sleep and REM sleep may have developed earlier than previously believed.
Pet lizards will sometimes go into brumation. The lizard will need a hibernaculum or hide where it can sleep.
When the lizard starts showing signs that it might be about to go into brumation, take it the vet for a check-up. A lizard about to brumate should be at a healthy weight and in good shape; a sick lizard could die while brumating.
Keep the light and heat on for another two weeks after the lizard’s last meal to give it a chance to defecate one last time. Then remove the heat and light and keep the lizard in its tank at room temperature for another week. Then move it to the brumation room which should have temperatures between 50 and 68 degrees. Make sure there is fresh water available, so the lizard can have a drink when it wakes up.
Lizards cannot survive freezing temperatures as it would cause their bodily fluids to freeze and they would become completely inactive. Their internal organs need some amount of heat to function and their muscles might become atrophied as well.
For most lizards, temperatures below 50 degrees F become too cold and at temperatures below 40 degrees, they go into hibernation or ‘sleep’. This is because these temperatures are too cold and their muscles tend to go stiff. They slow down their metabolic activities and do not hunt any longer.
So, if you own a pet reptile, we recommend you never let the temperature go below 50 degrees and never below 30 degrees, otherwise they could freeze to death.
Reptiles need a certain temperature which is called the Reptile’s preferred body temperature. They generally require temperatures that are not too high or low. They cannot change their temperature through metabolic activities.
SO, they try to gain heat from external sources. Some lizards shiver to generate heat while others prefer to bask in the sun. The environmental temperature range varies for each species of lizard. However, most of them prefer temperatures ranging from 70-90 degrees F.
They can survive lower or higher temperatures as well, but this is the range in which they are found to be most active.
This is why if you own a lizard, you need to set up precise temperatures and basking devices in the terrarium. Research your particular species and find which temperatures are best for them to thrive.
Needless to say, lizards prefer hotter countries where temperatures are more tropical or sub-tropical. This ensures they can stay more active throughout the year and eliminates the need to hibernate completely.
However, lizards cannot survive in climates that are too hot for them. In deserts or dry, arid areas where temperatures during the day can easily exceed 50 degrees C, lizards often bury themselves in cool soil or under rocks where temperatures tend to be much colder.
The process of burying oneself in the soil to get away from accumulating excess heat is called aestivation. In such cases, the temperature of the lizard’s body may become too high which can cause dehydration.
All reptiles whether they are turtles or lizards are cold-blooded or ectothermic. As we already explained before, they rely on external heat to sustain their body’s temperature. If the temperature is too low, they become inactive and can even die.
Heat is important as it helps them regulate their temperature and perform many metabolic reactions. This is why you find many lizards often bask under the sun in the morning.
They do so to stabilize their body temperature and then go on to carry out their daytime activities. They spread their bodies in such a way that they receive maximum sunlight.
As the body temperature increases, their muscles become more loose and limber, allowing them better hunting skills.
You might think that being warm-blooded has more advantages than being cold blooded. However, this is far from the truth. Warm-blooded animals rely on their metabolic activities to generate heat inside the body.
This requires constant feeding as food serves as a fuel for these activities. This is why most mammals need to eat every day.
Cold Blooded animals like lizards do not need such metabolic activities to generate heat. They can easily survive by feeding once in 3-4 days. This is why you will find more reptiles in areas where there is scarcely any food or water such as deserts.
They can even slow down their metabolism during hibernation. A turtle can slow his heartbeat to about one heartbeat in a minute. This is a crucial element in survival and helps them survive longer.
So, all in all, lizards need to hibernate to avoid dying. It is an ultimate survival move that helps them thrive. Their slower metabolisms ensure they do not need as much food as the mammals.
Now, you know where all these beautiful geckos go to. You might wonder, why you should know. As a gecko owner, you need to know every crucial detail about your pet. You should know why it requires all those basking lamps and what exactly will happen if you do not regulate the temperature properly!
We hope you found it interesting. If so, like, share and comment! We’d love to hear from you!
Lizards are common inhabitants of the warmer areas around the world. They also make fun, fascinating pets.
The leopard gecko is the most common type of lizard kept as a pet, but many other species such as green anoles, red ackies, and bearded dragons also make fantastic pets. In addition to exhibiting many fascinating behaviors, lizards are famous for being able to “drop” their tails and then regrow the tail.
Lizards do this as a last-ditch defense mechanism against predators. When their life is being threatened, they initiate a process that “drops” the tail from a special fracture site.
The tail falls off and writhes around, distracting the predator while the lizard makes its escape. As a pet lizard owner, this can be distressing to observe (I can attest to this!), and before you get a pet lizard you need to understand this behavior and what to do in the event it happens to your lizard instead of just panicking, like I did when it happened to my lizard.
It’s not clear how many times a lizard can regrow its tail. Some people believe they can only “drop” and regrow it once, while others believe it can be “dropped” and regrown several times; the number of times may therefore depend on the species and how much of the tail was lost the first time.
Leopard geckos can clearly regrow their tails several times. Since the tail isn’t actually “pulled off”, it can only be “dropped” at special fracture points found in the original tail.
Regrown tails are composed of cartilage and have no fracture points, so the only way the re-grown tail can be “dropped” by the lizard is through fracture points in the remnant tail from the previous “drop”, indicating there are only a limited number of times a lizard can “drop” and regrow its tail before it runs out of fracture points. One group researched repeated tail drops and reported each successive tail regrowth took longer and longer to regrow.
When a lizard loses its tail, it is a voluntary process. The tail doesn’t break off or get yanked off, it is deliberately shed in a process properly referred to as tail autotomy.
There are special fracture points in the tail where the lizard can shut off blood flow and separate the tissues, basically “dropping” or "shedding" the tail in response to a signal from its central nervous system in combination with a sharp spike in stress hormones.
Depending on the species of lizard, the fracture points are either between the vertebrae or actually run through the middle of certain vertebrae. After the tail drops off, it writhes and moves for 4 minutes while the lizard makes its escape.
No, not all lizards can regrow their tails. For example, the crested gecko can easily shed its tail but it will not grow back. Owners of crested geckos are cautioned to be very careful when handling them, cage them separately instead of in pairs or groups, and try not to expose them to loud noises or any other forms of stress in order to avoid scaring them into “dropping” their tails, because if it happens, you will be left with a permanently tailless lizard.
Although we can never be sure what the lizard actually feels during the tail loss process, most people seem to think they don’t feel any actual pain.
However, losing a tail can subject a lizard to considerable stress because re-growing a tail consumes considerable amounts of energy, and many lizards store their fat in their tails. Most lizards don’t act normally during the regeneration process due to the stress of re-growth and the lack of balance due to the missing tail.
No, lizards cannot regrow lost limbs or even toes.
A lizard’s tail is an extension of its spine. The basic structure of the tail consists of a series of small bones called vertebrae that surround and protect the spinal cord. The tail can bend in many different ways because of the joints between each of the vertebrae.
The bulk of the tail is composed of muscles that act to move the tail in order to balance the lizard as it runs and climbs. Some lizards use their tails as defensive or offensive weapons, rather like a whip. Some species of lizards, such as leopard geckos, also store fairly large amounts of fat in their tails that acts as an energy reserve when food is scarce; a gecko with a good store of fat in its tail can survive for up to 100 days without eating.
Unfortunately, the new tail is often very different from the original tail. It may be shorter, thinner, and/or be a different color. However, the real differences can’t be seen because they are inside the tail. Unlike the original tail, which is composed of multiple bones, muscles, and skin, the new tail is made out of long tubes of cartilage instead of bone and abnormally long muscles stretching the length of the tail.
The re-growth process starts with a stub growing out of the lizard’s remaining tail and gradually elongates to form the new tail. Sometimes the change in color from the original can be startling. However, the new tail can be moved just like the original tail and functions like a normal tail. In some cases, the tail regeneration process does not work properly and strange things happen, like an abnormally shaped lump or multiple tails forming.
If your pet lizard “drops” its tail carefully observe the lizard for a few minutes. Usually there is no bleeding, but if there is bleeding, it is important to apply pressure on the stump with a folded paper towel until the bleeding stops.
The tail should be promptly discarded. The tail stump should not be cleaned, bandaged, or have antibiotic ointment applied to it.
However, until the tail starts to regrow it is important to keep the lizard’s habitat very clean and it might be wise to replace sand or bark bedding with paper towels until the tail starts to regrow to prevent any sand from sticking to the open wound.
During the regrowth process, it is important to maintain the lizard at its ideal temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions, and to provide good healthy food.
How long it takes for the tail to grow back depends on the species of lizard, the lizard’s size, and how much of the tail was dropped; obviously, a tail tip will grow back faster than the entire tail.
For example, both the green anole and the leopard gecko take about two months to regrow their tails, but an iguana may take three months to a year to regrow its tail, depending on how large the iguana is.
Most but not all lizards can drop their tails, and some species that can drop their tails do not regrow them, like the crested gecko. The various types of monitor lizards, which tend to be large, carnivorous, and use their tails as weapons, cannot drop their tails, and if their tail is accidentally severed it will not grow back.
Most, but not all, types of lizards have the ability to shed part or all of their tail as a defense mechanism, when they are trying to escape their enemies. Although this can be traumatic for the lizard’s owner to observe, as I can attest (I totally panicked when it happened to my lizard) it is a natural process and most lizards readily re-grow a tail, although it may look somewhat different than the original tail.
Lizard owners can usually prevent tail-shedding by reducing the stress to their lizard, by being careful to not scare it during handling, and by slowly and carefully taming the lizard so that handling is not upsetting to the lizard. In addition, lizards kept in pairs or groups may fight and end up shedding their tails, so if you observe any signs of conflict between your lizards it may be best to house them separately.
If your lizard does drop its tail, it is important to make sure the lizard has plenty of highly nutritious food and optimal housing conditions to speed the healing process and watch in fascination as the lizard regrows its tail. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and find the presented information very useful in caring for your lizard.
As unconventional as they might sound, lizards can be your best friends too. As a pet, they are easy to care for and do not require your attention 24/7. In fact, one of our first pets was a Bibron’s gecko lizard.
However, since these pets are extremely docile, we found taking care of them hard as there was not a lot of information about them available. So, we had to make do on our own!
However, if you wish to own one, you do not have to go through the same! Based on our experience with the exotic lizard, we have compiled a bunch of common questions that new time pet owners find themselves asking such as how long do Bibron’s gecko lizards live, what do they eat, where do they live etc.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Like all other animals, Bibron Gecko Lizards tend to live longer in captivity as compared to the wilderness. This is due to the lack of predators as well as a carefully structured diet and environment that they do not get in the wild.
The Bibron’s Gecko has an average lifespan of about 5-8 years. Although these lizards require little in terms of care, it is still a crucial element when it comes to longevity and lifespan.
If you do provide proper care, the lifespan can even exceed 10 years. So, if you want your reptile buddy to live longer, we recommend you take extra care of it.
Although the Bibron’s Gecko may not be the most beautiful of lizards, it still is a modestly attractive one. You will find the skin to have black, grey, or brown bumps.
The skin itself is brown in color and has a rough texture due to the bumps and scales on the back. The brown color is broken by black stripes. The belly is white or brown. Although the adult has broken black lines on the back, the new hatchlings are born with more solid bands.
Adults can reach 4 to 9 inches of total length. As in most animals, the females are much shorter in length. However, you can easily distinguish between males and females by the white spots found on the backs of males.
The head is broad and the eyes may be yellow, brown or grey. The gecko lacks eyelids and has vertical pupils. Its simple yet exotic beauty is sure to catch your attention!
The Bibron’s Gecko is a thick toed lizard species of South African descent and is usually found in Savannahs, Steppes etcetera. They love to hide among rocky crevasses, cliffs or other hiding places.
They can be defined as mostly arboreal as well as terrestrial since they climb trees and live on land as well. However, they are mostly found in trees. The lizards are found mostly near thatches of woods or thorns or near waterholes. The species is called a colonial species since it is found in groups as large as 20.
The Bibron’s Gecko is found often in captivity, however, most folks tend to avoid them due to their aggressive nature. These reptiles are not afraid to bite you if you handle them poorly.
They are fairly anti-social and do not like to be picked up often. This may be due to their sensitive skin. So, if you do decide to pick them up, ensure you use both of your hands and don’t forget to use gloves.
The species can be aggressive towards each other as well. It is best to keep the species alone or in pairs as males can often fight over dominance or another female. Females fight each other too, however, to a lesser extent.
The geckos are insectivores and will love to eat any type of bugs offered. In the wild, they often hunt on any type of bug they can easily overpower. However, their favorite insects are Crickets and mealworms.
So, we recommend you keep a healthy supply of these bugs at all times. However, you should also supply other bugs from time to time. You could offer canned insects as well, but, these lizards prefer to hunt and kill their own prey. You will seldom see them eating pre-killed insects.
The meal size should be 5 to 7 adult Crickets. We have noticed that they only need to eat every 3 to 4 days so, you do not have to worry about their meals quite often.
You can include other supplements as well. Calcium and Vitamin supplements are popular with most owners. However, these are not absolutely necessary. Rest assured, insect diet can suffice for almost all nutrients they would normally need.
For water, do not use a water bowl. Instead, use a spray or a misting device that spreads water droplets on the surface of the rocks. The gecko normally hydrates itself by licking water off the rocks.
To help your gecko feel at home, ensure there are multiple hiding spots in the terrarium. These help the gecko feel more secure. The terrarium should be about 45 x 45 x 60 cm or 10 gallons and should be wide enough for an adult sized gecko while babies can start with a 5-10 gallon tank.
This ensures they get sufficient exercise. If you wish to add more geckos, then you need to have 10 gallons more for each gecko. We recommend keeping a single male or female gecko as they are aggressive species.
Even when keeping a male and a female, the female might become egg bound over and over again. So, we recommend keeping them in a separate tank and only placing them together if you wish to breed them.
You can create lots of hiding spots by using stones and rocks. Ensure these places are accessible yet out of sight. These comfortable hiding places are necessary as the lizards are often more active during the night and love to hide during the day. However, we recommend that you glue down these places as they might shift and trap the gecko.
You can include live plants as well, however, we recommend using hardy and tough plants as the gecko, being an arboreal animal, might want to climb them. These can be Pothos Ivy, Sansevieria and Philodendron.
You can use coarse or gravel beds for the terrarium as they provide a more rustic feel.
Geckos prefer a temperature of about 79-86 degrees F in the day while during the night time the temperature can dip to 64 degrees F. Remember, they need heat, thats why lizards are not seen in the winter. A basking lamp should be provided to help reach the required temperatures and for lighting.
A basking lamp can help achieve temperatures greater than 90 Degrees F. You can turn the lamp off at night as these reptiles like to hunt in the dark, however, we recommend you don’t let the temperature fall below 60 degrees F.
Since these geckos are classified as ectotherms, they need an external heat source to stay alive. So, we recommend putting the basking lamp on one side of the tank. This allows your lizard to choose for itself the temperature it wants.
The photoperiod during the summers is about 12-14 hours while during the winters, it can be reduced to about 6 hours. You can achieve 40-50% humidity as well with a spray bottle or a misting device.
These geckos are found so regularly in the wild, that it is not common practice to breed them. Most times you can find a new one right next door. However, if you do wish to breed them, the process is quite simple and easy.
All you need to do is place a male and about 3 females together in a 40-gallon tank. The temperatures during the night should be dropped to 68 degrees F. This is because night time is the preferred time for these reptiles to mate.
If courtship is successful, remove the male from the tank as it might continue mating with the females and cause them to become egg bound.
The females will start laying their eggs after a short period of time. The females usually lay about two clutches in a year and each clutch will have about two eggs. The eggs should be removed as quickly as possible as placed in an incubator. Incubation temperatures should be about 80-82 degrees F with about 60% of humidity. The eggs hatch about two months after they are laid.
Most often, the eggs do not make it. So, we recommend you keep trying until you get it right. Once the eggs are hatched, the new babies will be about 2 inches long and need to be cared for.
Well, Bibron’s gecko is relatively safe and nice. They will only bite if disturbed, grab their tail or poked. We recommend you keep the kids away from them. These pets are best enjoyed by adults who have the patience to deal with them.
They do not like being handled or picked due to their sensitive skin. Their skin might tear if you’re not careful. So, we recommend being extra gentle and only rarely touching them or picking them up.
Otherwise, these can be one of the nicest pets to own. You can take our word on it!
The Bibron’s Gecko is one of the easiest pets to handle. They only require feeding every 3-4 days. All you need to take care of is the temperature and humidity.
These pets do not require a lot of attention. They actually like it if you do not pay too much attention since they love hiding. You can easily have the lighting and temperature system automated in case you forget to set it at the right temperature.
These are best for beginners who wish to have a pet but do not want to shoulder too much responsibility. However, that does not mean that you leave the pet on its own. You still need to keep it hydrated and its environment suitable for it.
Well, we hope that answers any questions or queries you had about these amazing reptiles. Now you can take care of them better than we did! All in all, these pets only need the slightest bit of attention and they’re good to go! No need to slave over them like the bigger pets.
This is why these pets hold a special place in our hearts. If you found the content useful, like, share and subscribe so we can continue bringing forth such content!
If you are interested in the Common Basilisk like me, you may want to find out their diet.
What does the Common Basilisk Lizard Eat? They will eat almost anything they can find including insects, such as crickets. Fish, frogs, snakes and even birds. Hence the reason I said they will eat almost anything. This is also the same as their baby lizards, although they have a smaller appetite, due to their size.
Getting its name from the Greek term basiliskos,’ which means ‘little king’ due to its crownlike head adornment, the common basilisks is undeniably one of the most beautiful lizards to walk the face of the earth.
It is also incredibly reminiscent of its ancestral cousins, the dinosaurs, and aren’t we glad that these ‘mini dinosaurs’ are still with us!
Adult common basilisks are big lizards that can grow up to two and a half feet long . Nevertheless, their tails typically comprise 70 percent of their entire body length. The large tails help them with balance.
The common basilisk is usually brown or olive but can have color disparities ranging from bright green to bronze. It has dark crossbands and lateral stripes. Younger common basilisks have similar colorations but tend to be more vivid while having three longitudinal lines on their throats.
It has bronze or brown eyes. On their feet, they have long digits that have sharp claws to aid in climbing. A sexually dimorphic species, males have a set of high cranial crests that run along their entire body’s length.
They are, indeed, a sight to behold. Even though the plumes appear soft, they are ridged to touch. This affords them some level of protection against predators. It is also likely that these crests serve as thermal regulators by diffusing heat.
This lizard typically lives in low elevations and is found in the South American regions of southwestern Nicaragua to northwestern Colombia.
It can also be found in central Panama and northwest Venezuela. You can also spot it on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.
This beautiful lizard also goes by the name ‘Jesus Christ Lizard, or Lagarto de Jesus Cristo’ due to its ability to run on the water’s surface. To achieve this feat, the common basilisk has big hind feet that have scaly fringes between their third and fifth toes.
These fringes are typically compressed against their digits while walking on land; but upon sensing danger, the lizard can jump into the water, while simultaneously opening the fringes as they land on the water’s surface.
This enlarges the foot’s surface area, thus enabling it to run on water for a short distance.
This phenomenon occurs in three phases. The first is known as the slap, which involves the foot rapidly pushing water away from the leg, thereby creating an air bubble around the foot.
The next phase is the stroke, where the foot propels the animal forward, and the final step is the recovery where the foot comes out of the water to do the slap again.
A small basilisk can run for up to 20 meters while a mature one will run for shorter distances before submerging due to the extra weight. Nonetheless, common basilisks are excellent swimmers and can stay submerged for up to 20 minutes.
Basilisks are diurnal and spend most of their time looking for food or basking. They sleep high up in the trees at night.
Birds commonly eat smaller basilisks. Snakes and opossums will prey on an adult basilisk if they catch it unawares, for instance, while it is sleeping.
In captivity, it does not take a lot to make the common basilisk comfortable. An aquarium of standard size that has screen covers should provide suitable housing. Nevertheless, the size of the tank shall depend on the number of animals you intend to care for. A 55-gallon aquarium should be an ideal setup for a small group of say three females and one male.
However, it is essential to simulate the natural environments for these natured arboreal species so that they are comfortable. To achieve this, consider incorporating large tree branches that the lizard will climb as part of the aquarium’s furniture. Moreover, be sure to add potted plants such as philodendron or dracaena in the tanks to enhance its attractiveness while giving the lizard places to hide.
And since it is a reptile, the common basilisk is not able to control its body’s temperature, which is why it spends a lot of time basking in warm areas. This means that you must create warmth in the vivarium. However, too much heat can also be harmful.
Place an ultraviolet light in one area of the cage where the lizard can go and bask. Keep the temperatures at the mid-80s while adjusting according to the season.
The cage must also have a large bowl of water for drinking. However, basilisks usually defecate in their water. Thus you should change the water regularly. Nevertheless, this makes the general cleanup a lot easier.
The common basilisk is an omnivore, meaning that it eats both plants and flesh. However, they have been found to have a liking for fleshy foods. Thus, the diet of your pet basilisk should comprise of various types of insects such as wax worms, crickets, spiders, grasshoppers, and mealworms. Also, be sure to dust their meals with a powder of Vitamin D3 and calcium supplements once a week.
If you will be rearing their food, such as feeder crickets, ensure that you give them a diet that is rich in vitamins. You could be giving the crickets rolled oats or shaved carrots.
Common basilisks will reach their sexual maturity at around one year of age. Thus, if you are housing sexually active females and a male, you can expect a clutch of eggs each month.
Nevertheless, if you are intent on breeding, drying out their enclosure should stimulate them to breed often. The best conditions are those of temperatures between 84 and 88 degrees while having the humidity levels at the low 50s.
The average clutch size is between five and twelve eggs. However, due to their constant breeding, it is a likely possibility that you will soon run out of space if you intend to accommodate the hatchlings.
High humidity and heat levels can cause respiratory problems and skin disorders to the animal. To avoid this, keep the humidity levels at between 50 and 70 percent, and the temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees. Also, ensure that the enclosure has sufficient air circulation and natural sunlight to prevent fungus and bacteria.
Basilisks require UV lighting to process vitamin D. thus, without it, they will be unable to synthesize calcium, which can result in metabolic bone disease or osteoporosis.
Common basilisks are not very fond of constant handling. Therefore, even though they are not typically aggressive, they might attack if they get agitated. This, however, does not imply that you shouldn’t touch them at all, instead, return them to their enclosure if they start getting upset.
These specimens boast an impressive set of jaws, and if they do bite you, do not try to wrestle them as you might injure the animal. A few drops of vinegar on its mouth should suffice.
The common basilisk is a docile animal that does not require a lot of maintenance. With the proper enclosure conditions, food, and respect towards it, anyone can have this lizard as their pet. Also consider checking out the interesting Bibron Gecko.