As you can gather from its name, the ubiquitous blue tongue lizard, or skink, found around Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea has an integral association with ultraviolet (UV) light.
Intended to be startling to predators, its most notable characteristic can be just as surprising for those who see it for the first time, which is the melanin-pigmented, UV-reflective blue tongue that looks as though it was dipped in paint.
My curiosity was further intrigued by a recent study published in Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology about the northern blue tongue skink’s cobalt-blue tongue: It is more UV-intense toward the back of the tongue appearing even brighter than the front.
Considering the popularity of the blue tongue skink as a pet, I wanted to know if it can thrive without exposure to full-spectrum light being enclosed indoors in a glass or wooden case.
Read on for the answer to that and many other questions I explored about the blue tongue skink.
As I said earlier, in a word: Yes. The blue tongue skink will live a longer, healthier life when supplied with UVB light. In all honesty most lizards, wall geckos, iguanas, etc, will need good heating and lighting. This may be achieved both by supplying an artificial light source within its indoor habitat as well as allowing the skink to soak in the natural rays by spending time outdoors.
What is the difference? Much the same way it is for us, the skink is better able to synthesize vitamin D3 through the skin. This is crucial for the proper absorption of calcium necessary for proper bone growth and development.Just like us, without exposure to the sun, the skink may not be able to metabolize the calcium it gets from its diet.
Both UVA and UVB light are beneficial to your blue tongue skink. UVA are the long visible wavelengths. This is the light that is supposed to influence basic instinctual behaviors such as mating and eating as well as positively influencing general well-being and mental health.
UVB are the short invisible wavelengths that allow for the formation of vitamin D3 essential to bone health. Don’t think that placing a glass terrarium next to a window will help since UV rays do not penetrate the glass. The most this might do is cause the habitat to be too warm.
The blue tongue skink is diurnal (Click here to see how often Blue Tongue Skins shed their skin), as opposed to nocturnal. They do not produce their own body heat. They are accustomed to hot, humid weather, so it is important to arrange the habitat to accommodate the warm heat of the day and the cool of the night.
What does that mean? The regular temperature during the day needs to range from 70 degrees up to 100 degrees, at the most. Your heat lamp is enough to achieve these temperatures if your placement is correct.
Make sure to create a cooler side to give your lizard a way to control his own comfort. You can use a handheld electronic thermometer to gauge the temperature, or you can place the skink inside the terrarium once you have everything in place and monitor the behavior.
If it is too warm, you might see the lizard retreating to the cool side of the tank, or you may find him inside his water trough. At night, you should turn the lamp off to replicate the natural atmosphere once the sun sets. The optimal temperature at night is between 60 and 70 degrees.
The simplest method of providing for adequate humidity levels inside your reptile’s habitat is in the use of substrate and plants
Other things to avoid are:
If you want to test the acceptable level of humidity, check the scales on your skink’s belly. Rough scales indicate the need to increase the moisture level, but silky smooth scales means your balance is just right and your reptile is shedding nicely.
Let’s start with what to put the water in first since your lizard will need to use water when shedding. Anything that is shallow, preferably heavy and low enough to access is perfect, such as a basic 9x13 glass baking dish.
Another reason you want something of this size is to help maintain the moisture level inside the tank.The water from the tap is the best water you can supply your lizard with, assuming it is suitable for people to drink. You don’t need to go through the effort of purchasing distilled water or installing a water softener.
The water must be changed regularly since the blue tongue skink will use it as a toilet bowl. Go ahead and disinfect the dish with a sterilizing solution. This is easily accomplished with a diluted solution of either bleach or vinegar as long as you thoroughly rinse this out before refilling it with fresh water.
You are not dealing with a climber with blue tongue skinks, so your enclosure does not need to be very tall. The adults can grow quite long, so the bigger the better.
You can select a smaller enclosure for juveniles, but you will just have to enlarge it as the reptile grows. There are cases where a lizard will raise up on the hindquarters and manage to pull themselves right out of the enclosure. Glass is a good choice when you consider your bluey enjoys peering out at you as much as you like to watch him.
You are better off keeping the elements inside the enclosure simple for ease of cleaning.
The blue tongue lizard is a ground dweller, which eliminates the need to place branches or pile up rocks for climbing. They do like to dig and hide, which calls for areas that will allow for hiding rocks or hollow logs. Arranging different levels using branches, logs and flat rocks will aid in naturally wearing down their claws.
A flat rock placed at the heated end of the tank gives your reptile a basking stone and a way to make the most of lighting. Fake plants may be used to create a livelier space. Wooden elements are helpful for scratching especially while shedding.
You may choose to use live plants, but you will want to research the ones that do not present a toxic threat. Overall, you want to create a stress-free environment for your bluey. This video gives you a good idea of how to set things up:
From the family of Scinidae, there are six species of the blue tongue lizard including two sub-species. They are identified by a pale belly and darker back adorned with dark variegates.
They have small eyes that can range from a reddish-brown to grey. They have a long body and large head, but the legs are short. They grow long in the body though their tails are typically shorter tapering to a point. Their most unique characteristic is that dark blue tongue contrasted by a bright pink mouth.
From the Reptilia class of the Tiliqua genus, the blue tongue lizard is of the scincoides species with a subclass called Lepidosauria. They break down as follows:
Left to their own devices in the wild, blue tongue lizards feed on a wide range of plant matter and invertebrates of the slow-moving variety. They are omnivores, but their diet tends to be restricted by what is available within the immediate area.
You want to familiarize yourself with what they eat so you can provide the same sort of variety when they are a pet in your home. In addition to plant matter, the small creatures they consume may be crickets, caterpillars, beetles or even other small lizards, but their favorite delicacy are snails and slugs.
In addition, the following list is a decent guide of what you can feed to your lizard:
You should feed your blue tongue lizard a combination of vegetables, greens, fruits and proteins. Switch things around to provide a diverse variety of foods.
The ideal ratio for each feeding consists of 50 percent vegetables and greens; 40 percent protein, and the remaining 10 percent in fruit. Adults only need to eat every two to three days while the young ones should eat every other day.
Go ahead and feed them as much as they will consume at one time, but when they are finished, remove all remaining food stuffs.
The birthing season for blue tongue lizards is January and February. You are likely to start seeing them late in January, and this holds true throughout Australia.
Pregnant mothers will give birth to as many as 21 live babies, however most of those do not survive.
They are engaged with foraging for food during the day when the weather is warm, but as it gets cold and winter has arrived, they will hibernate anywhere they find a deep crevice, a drain pipe, a hollow log or a pile of debris under which they can wait out the cold.
It can be tricky for the females to maintain a constant body temperature warm enough to regulate the rate of growth in the embryos.
The largest of the blue tongue lizards is the Northern blue tongue skink ranging between 18- and 24-inches in total length. Their heads are triangular, and they tend to be medium-sized with a heavy body overall. They have rather short, stubby legs and tails, which is why they aren’t very good climbers.
This combination of characteristics makes them slow movers. While the size of your pet bluey depends upon which species you have, count on this species to grow to an average length of 20-inches, sometimes even more than that.
There is enough of a variety of types among the blue tongue skinks, and each has its own average lifespan and unique characteristics. They are considered a long-lived family of lizards.
Anyone who is planning to have one as a pet should prepare to care for them from 15 to 20 years. Among those blue tongues in captivity, many have lived as long as 20 years. They are a medium-maintenance creature, and when kept well, there have been blue tongue lizards living as long as 30 years.
Due to the fact that all native reptiles fall under the protection of NSW, if you want to own a blue tongue lizard, you are required to obtain a Reptile Keeper’s License. You can pursue this through the Office of Environment and Heritage.
You want to make sure you have followed the law in all Australian states because it is illegal to take them from the wild without the proper permit.
This legislation was enacted for the purpose of preserving the existence of wild populations of blue tongue skinks. A licensing system is the best way to monitor those species that are owned, traded or bred. If you want to know what the situation in your area provides, your state wildlife authority is a good place to start. They are also a good source for obtaining your local Herpetological Association.
One of the reasons the blue tongue lizard is such a popular pet is due to their hardiness. Much of what befalls them in the way of poor health or diseases can be traced back to their fundamental care.
Adding calcium and vitamin D3 supplements to the diet is for the purpose of avoiding Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), a direct result of incorrect diet or lack of correct UV lighting exposure.
Be sure to consult an experienced reptile veterinarian if you have concerns about potential parasites. With proper feeding and care, the majority of health issues are easily avoided.
Blue tongue lizards are not a high-maintenance pet. They are prone to good health because they are so hardy. They are typically calm, and while they do not necessarily like to be handled, they will tolerate it quite well. It helps that they have so much personality with a great disposition.
Their intelligence is high, and they are capable of discerning sounds and recognizing people in the home. With persistence, they are trainable. The more they are handled, the more they acclimate to the family habits, happy to lounge around with you and enjoy the tele.
As placid as they are, they are great with children because they are easy to hold.
It is hard to resist a lizard that seems to enjoy having his chin or head scratched. The blue tongue skink is mix of reward and surprise as you get to know them.
It is the main reason I wanted to pursue this level of research on them, so I could share it here with you. If you got something worthwhile out of this article, let me know in the comments, and if you liked this piece, I hope you share it with others who might also get some value from it.
Interested in knowing about the shortest lizards? These pygmy Short-horned lizards are true to their name. They are barely 3-4 inches long in their adult life. Their shiny and spiky skin makes them quite attractive.
As a kid, we had often wondered about these toad-like animals. They had intrigued us from the beginning due to how small they were and how well they hid. However, our interest was just mild and nothing out of the ordinary.
What turned the situation around was a documentary that showed one of these squirting blood from their eyes on their predators! We had never seen that before! And we know you haven’t either!
So, we figured it was time to delve deep into these mysterious creatures. We found them to be absolutely fascinating creatures that had a ton of defensive capabilities apart from squirting blood. They could inflate up into a spiky balloon to ward off any predators!
We were stunned by these small yet unique creatures. We bet you want to know more too?
So, to help you find more about pygmy lizards, we have compiled a bunch of questions that ran through our mind. These will help you learn more about them!
Well, if you haven’t seen the pygmy short horned lizard, we are sure you will mistake it for a horned toad. The species has a rather inflated, fat sort of look which makes them look like a toad.
However, they do have some defining features of their own. Their skin is mainly shiny and they rather look like a miniature dragon. They are usually 1-3 inches long, which is shorter than most other lizards.
Their bodies are flat, round, squat and spiky. Most have a crown of long spines covering their head while shorter spines can be found dotting the body along the sides.
The spines jut out horizontally and are found on the back of the head. They are supposed and have short legs. The belly is usually smooth with no spikes. They have a short triangular tail.
The color of the pygmy depends on the geographic area and usually ranges from grayish-tan to reddish brown.
The color of most pygmies matches the color of the soil and the pebbles they live in. This helps them to blend in with their surroundings and be invisible to the naked eye.
Amidst the brown, tan, beige, white, gray or black color, dark splotches can be found on their top body. These dark spots are usually in the form of two rows. The belly is cream or white in color.
When these short reptiles are threatened, their colors become more intense in an attempt to intimidate their enemies.
The Short Pygmy lizards can be found in mostly rocky or sandy flat plains, sagebrush or bunch grass plains or even in pine forests and juniper woodlands. They usually prefer areas with loose soil so they can easily burrow inside when they need to defend themselves.
They can be found in regions of semi-arid plains to mountains. They prefer more open areas, which is why they are more likely to be found in open, shrubby or open wooded areas.
In the US, they can be found in the northwestern areas which include all regions extending from the northwestern border with Canada to northeastern California. This includes Northern Nevada, Southern Idaho etcetera.
In case of too much vegetation, it makes it harder for them to burrow. The pygmies are more cold tolerant than other species. They can be found in the upper, colder parts of the Cascade Mountains.
However, the secret might be hibernation. Studies show that most of these lizards that live in colder regions spend two-thirds of their lives in hibernation.
Well, there is quite a reason these lizards are called pygmies. Even the largest adults are only about 4 inches in total length.
The pygmy short horned lizards usually range from 1.25-2.5 inches or 3.2-6.4 cm in length from snout to vent and 3.5-4 inches in length from snout to tail. The adult species are small enough to fit the palm of a small child.
These animals are quite lightweight as well, weighing only about 4.5 -5.6 grams whereas, the younglings weigh 1.8-2.5 grams. If you’re wondering how light that is, well, a dime weighs 2.2 grams.
Most of these lizards are diurnal or daytime predators, i.e. they hunt during the day. You could almost call this species lazy as they usually take up a ‘sit and wait’ method of hunting.
They first bury themselves inside the soil and then wait for any unknowing prey to pass them by.
The major food source of these animals is ants. Ants are mostly sufficient to provide most of their dietary needs. Most pygmy lizards have specialized teeth and a larger stomach capacity to store and digest prey which it developed as an adaptation for eating ants. This is also why they appear fat and round.
Babies prefer eating ants and they make up 90% of their total diet. However, the younglings prefer to eat beetles while the adults like to mix and match and eat other insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, flies, honeybees, termites and even larvae. However, ants still constitute about 70% of their total diet.
They do not require free-standing water. Instead, they lick dew and make use of precipitation on the air for meeting their water needs.
During the winters, this species of lizard goes into deep hibernation. Mating only takes place after hibernation. Most of these lizards start emerging from their hibernacula from late March to June. The lizards are territorial lizards and mark their territories as soon as they emerge.
They can often be seen fighting for their territory. This is because they use their territories to impress females. They advertise their territories to the female species by bobbing their heads so as to gain attention.
In case a male manages to impress a female, the female enters the territory and bobs her head along with him before mating with him.
What’s truly unique and shocking about this species is that they give birth to their live. Most other short horned species and even most lizard species lay eggs.
However, they are still reptiles as their eggs hatch inside the mother’s body. When the species mate, their eggs are formed and they hatch inside the mother. After, hatching they remain inside the mother’s body for a period of about 2 months until the female gives birth (August to mid-September).
They give birth to 7-10 babies yearly. These neonates are very small and usually measure about 1 inch or 25 mm long.
Most scientists believe that the ovoviviparous (retaining eggs inside the body and bear the young babies) method of reproduction is a form of adaptation to cold weather.
As these lizards live in cooler climates than other species of horned lizards.
Studies also show that most females do not engage in mating each year due to temperature constraints. This is because the cold temperatures often result in a high infant mortality rate. So, females tend to refrain from reproducing each year as it would be useless and would only result in dead babies.
These animals are quite easy to breed. However, they prefer privacy and generally like to mate right after hibernation.
The process is quite simple as we described above. The male simply advertises his territory and if the female takes a liking to him, they mate.
As most conservation specialists advise against keeping them for pets, there is very little information on how to breed them in captivity.
Their natural predators include snakes, magpies, ravens, and hawks. Although roadrunners, dogs, wolves, and coyotes hunt these lizards as well. Apart from this, larger lizards are found to eat these pygmy lizards as well.
Since they are small, they have a larger number of predators. Perhaps, this is why they utilize a larger number of defense tactics than other lizards.
Like most animals, the females are much smaller than the males. The males are also found to have larger scales. During the breeding season, the difference is more pronounced as the males are found with a swollen base under the tail.
The pygmy short horned lizard is a rather lazy species of lizard. It prefers to sit and wait for its food to come by rather than go out hunting. These are diurnal creatures, i.e. they perform most of their activities during the day.
They are most active from spring through fall and go into hibernation if it gets too cold. They mostly make burrows for themselves to hibernate in or hide inside rodent burrow.
They mostly thrive in colder environments and prefer a temperature between 60-80 degrees F. In the summers, they are most active in the morning when there are less heat and warmth. They prefer burying themselves in soil if the temperature gets too hot or too cold.
Like most lizards, the pygmy short horned lizard is not aggressive. They mostly resort to aggressiveness when provoked.
Mothers are often protective of their young ones in the earliest ages. However, the pygmy lizard is actually known more for its defensiveness and the tactics it uses to defend itself.
These lizards rarely participate in territorial disputes but when they do, they tend to use their claws and teeth.
When confronted with predators, the pygmy short horned lizard has a surprising number of defenses it uses. The first and most common is that they shimmy their body from side to side and hide their body in the loose sand so that the predators cannot find them.
They also use camouflage to their advantage. Since the color of their skin mostly resembles the color of the soil in that region, they successfully and seamlessly blend into their surroundings.
They usually sit still to avoid their predators from detecting them. Remaining motionless is another one of their defense mechanism.
Another impressive defense mechanism they have adapted is inflating their bodies to twice their size. This way they resemble a shiny and spiky balloon, which most predators avoid.
The short horned pygmy lizards employ one of the most unique defense mechanisms in the animal kingdom, i.e. shooting blood from their eyes. The blood is shot from their ducts present in the corner of their eyes and the stream can often travel distances of greater than three feet.
The bloodstream successfully confuses their predators. The stream tastes bad as well, so a direct hit into the mouths of their predators can successfully indispose them. It might contain noxious chemicals as well that affect dogs, wolves, and coyotes.
The mechanism is quite simple, the lizard has two sets of muscles surrounding the major vein in the eye. They constrict these muscles to cut the blood flow back into the heart.
This results in the blood filling up the sinuses at a lot of pressure. By increasing the pressure, even more, the sinuses rupture resulting in a thin stream of blood that shoots very high and gar. This is known as auto-hemorrhaging.
Like most other animals, the scientific name of the short horned lizards is actually a combination of their genus name and their species name.
The pygmy lizards usually belong to the family called Phrynosomatidae which includes horned, spiny, tree, earless, fringe-toed, zebra-tailed lizards. They further belong to the genus ‘Phrynosoma’ which related to all horned lizards and their species name is ‘Douglasii’.
So, their scientific name is actually Phrynosoma Douglasii. In more etymological terms, the term ‘Phrynosoma’ is actually Latin for ‘toad body’ which is a nod to their toad-like fat bodies and the fact that most folks mistakenly identify them as toads.
The term ‘Douglasii’ is an honorary term for the Scottish botanist David Douglas.
The pygmy short horned lizards are actually found in abundance in regions of Northwestern US. If you live in some of the Northwestern states and wonder why you haven’t seen them often.
Well, this is mostly because they are excellent at hiding. Their sand colored hides make it easy for them to hide in the soil. This might be why you have never seen these small lizards.
Apart from the Northwest, the pygmy short-horned lizard is rarely found in other locations. If you’re outside the US, chances are you might never get to see a short horned lizard.
Although the short horned lizard is extremely vulnerable to extirpation through colonization as their natural habitat is destroyed due to urbanization. They need soil to thrive and protect themselves, which can be hardly found in urban areas such as the Washington state.
They may also be found in regions of British Columbia that are colder and in the mountains as well.
You might want to adopt these short horned pygmy lizards as they are attractive and cute. However, we strongly advise you against bringing them home to make them your pets. Although they can make lovely pets, chances are you might not be able to provide for them as well as Mother Nature could. This is often why they do not live for long during captivity.
They need a special diet of ants to sustain themselves. However, the amount is usually too high for you to provide. So, it gets very difficult to feed them as they might go under malnutrition.
This is why the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife deems these lizards as protected. SO, you cannot take these lizards from the wild to your home. It is against the law to do so.
All in all, the Short-horned Pygmy lizards are one of the smallest lizards you will find. Although they are rarely found in other parts of the world, they can be found abundantly in the Northwestern States of the US. We have often wondered about these cute toad-like lizards and we are sure you might have too. And the word of warning! As we mentioned before, these are not to be used for pets.
Although they have many defense tactics, they are still quite peaceful animals. We hope you found out everything you needed to know about these pygmy lizards! They are truly unique yet interesting creatures!
For more content like this, be sure to like, share and subscribe. Comment down below if you have any more lizard-related queries! We’d love to hear from you! Cheers!
You might be afraid that the pet you want to keep is poisonous. With kids around, can you really afford the risk?
We have had to research each animal we brought into the house beforehand to ensure it would not pose any threat to humans or other pets.
So, we get how hard it is to search pages upon pages of websites only to come up with two facts relevant to you. Read ahead and find out the answer to your most worrisome queries:
The first fact you need to know is that there is a difference between being ‘venomous’ and ‘poisonous’. In the simplest terms, if the creature bites you and you die, it is venomous.
If you bite it and you die then it is poisonous. Lizards are venomous i.e. they can inject venom into your bloodstream when they bite you. However, there are very few lizards that are venomous mainly iguanas, Gila Lizard, and Mexican Beaded Lizards.
This is a remarkable new discovery in the recent years as it can help scientists find out about the relationship between snakes and lizards.
Contrary to popular belief, most Lizards are not poisonous though. Although they have a plethora of dangerous bacteria and viruses on their skin, they do not have poison on it.
Eating one might make you seriously sick, but it has nothing to do with poison. Only a few ones such as the Blue-tailed lizards and skinks produce toxins in their skin and hence can be called poisonous.
Since most lizards have some form of bacteria on their skin, chances are your cat might get sick.
This involves severe vomiting, drooling, fever, staggering around and looking dazed. It can further dim their hunger so they might even end up starving themselves.
If the toxins are at a higher concentration it can even lead to severe diarrhea and even paralysis. If it’s your cat that has been infected, then you might want to clean the mouth to ensure all toxins are gone and then check with a vet.
Try to identify the species of the lizard it might have eaten.
If the lizard is venomous, then its bite can inject you with venom. This venom may not be as strong as some snakes, because it might not kill you. However, it can still cause you to be seriously sick.
Until recent years, it was thought that the swelling associated with lizard bites was due to the bacteria present on them. It was thought that this bacteria infected the wound.
However, it has been discovered that the swelling and bleeding is actually due to the venom.
Not only is this poison painful, but it can also reach life threatening conditions as well. Kids are at the highest risk of more serious complications including death.
Symptoms usually vary on the type of venom but generally includes pain, swelling, difficulty in breathing, tissue death, numbness, blurred vision, excessive bleeding, rapid pulse, diarrhea, convulsions, shock, paralysis, low blood pressure and in the most serious cases, death. Victims should be treated immediately.
Since lizards live around trees and bushes, they are bound to catch some parasites. They may carry some microbes on their skin and even in their digestion tract.
These parasites may not necessarily be harmful to the lizard, however, it can be very harmful to their predators.
These can include germs such as Clostridium, Salmonella, and Campylobacter etc. These can result in a number of diseases such as Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Campylobacteriosis, Botulism etc. Apart from germs, lizards are known to carry a number of smaller insects on their skins such as mites, ticks, and maggots.
These can infect your food and transfer to your hands easily any time that you touch them.
Most lizards, like the Green Anole, will leave humans alone as long as they do not disturb them. Most lizards only bite to ward off any potential predators.
They do so to scare them away. Only two to four species of lizards are found to be venomous.
They use the venom to daze to their predator so that they become distracted. This way the lizard can make their getaway. Even if the lizard is non-venomous, biting its predator will still cause a lot of pain to the attacker.
For humans, this is quite similar to pit viper venom, which might not kill them, but can cause a series of infections and conditions. The worst part is that unlike snakes, lizards are hard to dislodge.
They continue secreting their venom for a long time. Most folks have to use pliers to remove it. They hold on so strongly that their teeth often end up broken and stuck in the human skin.
As we have already established that many lizards and even the house lizard are nonvenomous, however, they are still harmful to humans. Since they spend most of their time outside, their skin catches many harmful bacteria.
One such germ is called Salmonella. It can cause serious illnesses in people.
It can result in a number of diseases such as salmonellosis which is evident by Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, blood in stool, and abdominal cramps.
So, be sure not to touch anything after touching your lizard and wash hands as soon as possible.
Yes, as we mentioned before, their skin is crawling with a bunch of different germs that can be harmful to humans. So, if the lizard fell in any food, it would definitely transfer germs such as Salmonella into the food.
However, if the food was to be cooked later, it would kill the germs so it would be safe to eat such food.
Although you could eat the food after cooking it, we don’t recommend it anyways! Not many people would like to eat it either!
Most Australian lizards such as Iguanas and monitor lizards as well as the Gila Monster and the Mexican beaded lizard produce venoms in their bodies. When the lizard bites another animal, it releases the venom from the para mandibular sack that is present behind their teeth.
The venom mostly contains neurotoxins that can paralyze or cause hallucinations. However, very few cases have been reported. The venom is called the helodermatid venom which includes substances such as serotonin, hyaluronidase and gilatoxin and helothermine. Gilatoxin is the main neurotoxin found in most Gila Monster and Mexican beaded lizards.
It can cause convulsions, restlessness, lethargy along with paralysis and even death.
Apart from these, very few lizards might have toxins, however, these are still to be known.
Venom is a poisonous or toxic substance that is secreted by many animals including snakes, scorpions, spiders, bees, wasps etcetera. It contains one or more than one toxin and usually causes harm to animals that it is injected into.
Some animals such as bees use it as a defense mechanism to try to discourage any potential predators, while others use it to attack their prey such as snakes and spiders.
The venom contains any of the four types of toxins: Necrotoxins (causing instant death), Cytotoxin (causing cell death), Neurotoxins (affects the nervous system) and mycotoxins (damage muscles).
Venomous animals are those which can secrete venom and inject it into their victims through their teeth or a stinger. These animals are responsible for killing thousands of humans every year. However, research has found that the toxins might be able to treat diseases.
All in all, lizards are mostly harmless. Only a few species are known to be poisonous or venomous (Click here to see if read-headed Lizards are poisonous). However, this does not mean you shouldn’t look out for these species.
Even with non-venomous lizards, you should be careful as they are known to cause cross-contamination. Be sure to wash your hands with a good anti-bacterial soap when handling them. And keep the kids away from them!
In my opinion, its the Komodo Dragon. But to be truthful, its really a subjective choice when you are comparing these two beauties! If you want the real comparison, that has led me to this choice, please read on.
Monitor lizards, like the impressive Komodo dragon and Lace Monitor, are some of the most astonishing creatures on the planet. Monitor lizard interest and ownership has increased dramatically in the last century.
As more homes are welcoming new scaly friends, it’s important that potential owners and lizard-lovers are staying educated. Below is a quick, informative Q&A that sheds some light on these amazing animals.
Any lizard of the Varanus or Lanthanotus genera is considered part of the monitor (Varanidae) family. There are approximately 50 species. Typical physical features of these lizards include elongated heads/necks, long tails, and prominent, muscular legs.
Monitors also have forked, snakelike tongues. They are found in Africa (south of the Sahara Desert), Australia, southern and southeastern Asia, and in various islands in the southwestern Pacific.
The smallest monitors can grow to a full length of 8 inches (20 centimeters), and the largest (Indonesia’s infamous Komodo dragon [V. komodoensis]) can reach up to 10 feet (3 meters) long!
The Komodo dragon is the biggest monitor lizard. In fact, it’s the largest living lizard on Earth! Komodos can reach lengths of up to 10 feet (3 meters) and weigh approximately 154 pounds (70 kilograms) on average.
The largest verified Komodo specimen was measured at 10.3 feet (3.13 meters) and weighed a gargantuan 366 pounds (166 kilograms)!
But the Lace Monitor (V. varius) is no chump. Lace Monitors grow to between 4.9 and 6.5 feet (1.5-2 meters) long and weigh about 44 pounds (20 kilograms) on average.
Komodo tails are equal in length to their body. Since Komodos can grow up to ten feet, this makes its average tail length approximately 5 feet (1.5 meters). Lace Monitor tails are usually half to 1.5x the size of the body, measuring around 2.5 to 3 feet (0.7-1 meter).
Adult Komodo dragons are greyish-brown. Juveniles can have a more pronounced yellow pattern with bands of varying colors and specks of yellow, green, grey, and brown. Notably, Komodo dragons from the Indonesian island of Flores are an earthy red color with yellow heads. (Here’s an excellent photo album.)
Lace Monitors have a more complex color scheme. Juveniles have broad yellow and blue-black stripes spanning the length of the body and tail. They also tend to have scattered yellow, white, or cream-colored specks/blotches. As Lace Monitors age, the colored bands fade, leaving only the paler spots and blotches.
Komodo dragons are very fierce hunters, often preying on much larger animals. They’ve been known to eat water buffalo, deer, and pigs. If needed, they will eat carrion. Komodos have also been known to eat smaller Komodos.
The Lace Monitor also has a varied diet. They eat a wide range of prey, including: birds/bird eggs, insects, and small mammals. Like Komodos, Lace Monitors will also scavenge carrion if the opportunity presents itself.
The Komodo’s intimidating name comes from Indonesian lore. It is named after a mythological, dragon-like creature that is rumoured to have once lived on Komodo Island. Locals call these behemoths ora, meaning “land crocodile”, or biawak raksasa (“giant monitor”).
The name was coined by W. Douglas Burden in 1926. Fun fact: Burden’s expeditions to Komodo Island were the inspiration behind the famous 1933 film King Kong. Many speculate that the creature’s unprecedented size helped give credence to the unusual name. Mythology aside, though, these dragons are still technically lizards.
The period between May and August is Komodo mating season. If you’re lucky enough to be in their territory during this time, you’re bound to see male Komodos warring with one another over mating rights.
The battles can be intense! But the winners of these epic bouts aren’t free to just take their prize. Females will fight aggressively, biting and scratching would-be suitors. Mating males need to fully subdue their female mates during fornication to avoid serious injury (That can be a real challenge after a hard day of fighting!).
Once the female has been impregnated, her aggressive nature toward the male will cease. Mated Komodos can sometimes form monogamous pair-bonds, a characteristic exclusive to only a few animals in the world!
In general, smaller monitors are easiest to care for. It should be noted here that monitor lizards are NOT typically recommended for beginner pet-owners, as their temperaments and special needs can be costly and time-consuming.
Popular monitors for pets:
Find a fuller and more detailed list of popular monitor pets and their needs here.
Yes! Komodos that haven’t formed a mating pair are solitary by nature. They prefer to be left alone. Not only are they incredibly territorial, but their huge claws and teeth can rend the hide of fully-grown water buffalo.
They also tend to use their huge tail as a powerful and effective battering weapon, known to knock down small trees and rocky outcroppings. Perhaps the deadliest feature of the Komodo is its saliva, which contains fast-acting toxic bacteria analogous to venom.
In general, it is advised to stay well clear of Komodo dragons if you spot one in the wild. Luckily, there’s a low chance you’ll accidentally happen upon one. Park rangers at Komodo National Park will strictly enforce safety procedures to ensure you’re protected.
That said, attacks on humans—though rare—have happened. Komodos are surprisingly fast (maximum land sprint speed of 12 miles per hour), and they’re shockingly stealthy despite their size.
You should not assume you’ll hear or see a Komodo coming at you just because of it’s large. These beautiful and amazing lizards should be viewed at a very safe distance.
Lace Monitors are notoriously hard to tame. Those born in captivity are usually easier to domesticate. Some domesticated monitors can enjoy being scratched under their chin, atop the head, and behind the “ears”.
Tip: if the lace monitor is breathing heavily, it probably means they’re enjoying the affection. If they start inflating their throats or hissing: stop immediately. It is generally unwise to underestimate the potential ferociousness and physical danger of these lizards.
Owning monitor lizards as pets has become quite popular over the years, and it’s no wonder: these creatures are entrancing, entertaining, and wonderful to look at.
But there’s also no denying that they are dangerous. In general, pet owners should only consider owning a monitor if they have some experience with handling monitor lizards. Many experts recommend against owning them as pets. Bonding with humans is not commonly considered a usual characteristic in monitors. Their loyalty to owners is questionable.
Many monitors are venomous (though their bites are typically only fatal to smaller animals). These bites do, however, pose a health concern. They can be especially dangerous for children and the elderly. Monitor bites—even from the smallest of monitors—have been known to break bones, penetrate skin and muscle, and cause excessive bleeding.
Well, that depends on what you mean by ‘best’. Komodo dragons are the largest and most aggressive living lizard. When it comes to sheer size and power, there’s just no other lizard on Earth that matches these titans.
However, Komodo dragons are an internationally-protected endangered species, and it is not legal anywhere in the world to keep them as pets. Honestly, knowing what they can do, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with one in my home!
Lace Monitors can be kept in captivity, but only by licensed and trained professionals. So, unless you’ve got the qualifications, you won’t be getting one from your local pet store anytime soon. They can be just as aggressive (and nearly as big) as Komodos, so keeping them as pets is inadvisable anyway.
If it’s a fight, my money’s on the Komodo.
Monitor lizards are beautiful and mesmerizing creatures, and they should be admired. But they’re just as ferocious as they are pretty. Uneducated owners are hurt all the time by their monitor pets.
With proper knowledge, anyone can appreciate them safely. My goal is for more people to reach a respectful understanding of monitor lizards so that humans and monitors can live together happily and peacefully.
If you like the article, or if you have some experience with monitors that you’d like to share, please leave a comment below! Was this article informative? Is there anything we should add? Let us know! The more accurate the information, the more we can protect monitor-lovers and their pals!
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!