Archive

Category Archives for "Lizards"

How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Eating?

If you are concerned about your Bearded Dragon (Click here to see my best Bearded Dragon Guide, on Amazon) not eating, you may be scratching your head, thinking how this has happened and how long can this go on for. Let me explain…

How long can a bearded dragon go without eating? Bearded Dragons can last up to 2 months without food. This is quite a long time. But I must say, this is not a target, its an average limit. Meaning, you should never have a pet getting anywhere close this, know what I mean?

Now that you understand how long they can last without food on average, let me explain why your Beardie might not be eating, how to look out for red flags of abnormality, and more. Keep reading…

Why your Beardie might not be eating

If you notice that Beardie is not eating, the reality is there are a number of potential issues causing this. For that reason, I will be listing some potential issues here, so you can compare your situation to see if it matches.

  • New Habitat.
  • Changed Their Diet.
  • Brumation.
  • They are feeling sick.
  • Stressed Out.
  • Temperature issues.

New Habitat

Believe it or not, little changes in their habitat, or environment can unsettle your pet. This can make them feel uncomfortable and lead to them stopping eating. Have you moved recently? Or changed their enclosure? If yes, or anything remotely similar, this could be the issue.

Beardies like to have familiar surroundings. If they are moved about this can unsettle them and bring them out of their routine. If they feel unsettled, they may stop eating.

Changed Their Diet

One thing to consider. It could be a simple thing like a change in their diet. Beardies can be picky sometimes, and this could turn them off their food. In some cases, it could be a subtle change on your behalf, for example, you may change the particular supplier of a certain food source. Little things like this can trigger him to stop eating.

Brumation

Depending on the season, you could be facing issues with Brumation. What is this? Think of brumation as the lizard equivalent to hibernation.

It is usually season-specific, hence the reason I said that it depends on the season. During this time, you will notice your lizard’s behavior slow right down, to borderline nothing.

While they brumate, they are not expected to consume any food. They can go up to two months without food during this time. However, they will still need a source of water during this time.

Feeling Sick

This one is obvious to an extent. Have you ever stopped eating because you feel sick? Well, this is the same for Beardies. The list of health issues is impressive, so I won’t list them all here. But, I think you get my point, right?

Stressed Out

Stress is a complex one. There are various delicate triggers that can cause your Beardie to go off his food because of this.

For example, you may have introduced another cage mate, and your lizard is just not feeling her. This could trigger stress and anxiety.

Or maybe, you mistakenly paired up two males, and he is losing the game of dominance? Even things like too much noise in the enclosure could trigger these issues.

What signs should you look out for (for Abnormal behavior)?

Understanding why its happening is one thing. But, the best thing is understanding how to look out for these issues ahead of time. For that reason, I will share with you some red flags that you can look out for.

Impaction

Has your lizard stopped defecating? If yes, it could be because he is “backed up”. Basically impaction is when he consumes something that could not be digested correctly. If he is not eating, could be related to this issue.

The confusing thing is, your lizard still may eat if this is the case. So, if you see a lack of feces, rather than second-guessing, consult your vet for a professional diagnosis.

Diarrhea

This is almost the complete opposite of impaction. You lizard will show some obvious signs of loose feces. It will typically look very runny. During this time he may go off his food.

Parasites

Parasites are another prime candidate for lack of eating. However, it is not always easy to diagnose this as a Lizard keeper. Sometimes there are obvious signs, such as small moving parasites, that almost look like little dots.

They can vary in color, such as yellow, red, black, etc. The best thing to do is to consult your vet to check to see if your suspicions are correct.

Do Bearded Dragons Have to have Live Food?

Close-up of bearded dragon eating larva, isolated on white

If you figure out that your lizard is not eating due to diet. You may find that it’s linked to what type of food you are feeding it. Some squirmish lizard owners try to cut corners and feed their Beardie frozen insects and other workarounds. Why? To avoid live insects.

The reality is, yes, you need to feed your Beardie live insects. This is not all they eat, but it’s the staple part of their diet. You will find, in most cases, they won’t be stimulated to eat insects unless they see movement.

Why? It’s part of their instinctual behavior, are you with me? Even in captivity, these instincts are hard to shake. It’s like, why do humans naturally drink water? We just do, right? Same thing.

So, instead of trying to go “against the grain”, if you like, follow what they want. This will make life easier for you.

Related Questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some related questions to Bearded Dragons and their diet. If you have any specific questions in your mind, that you feel has not been answered, please leave a comment below.

Do bearded dragons poop every day? Yes, if they are hatchlings or Juvines. However, for Adults, this largely depends on their diet. If your Beardie is fed mainly insects like Silkworms, there is a good chance he will go daily.

However, if there is more of a mix of veg, crickets, etc, then this could vary. You may see them go 3-4 times a week for example.

Can I leave my bearded dragon alone for 3 days? No. It is not ideal. If your bearded dragon is a baby, then not even overnight is acceptable. Why? Because when they are this young they have fast metabolisms and require frequent feeding and care.

As they get older, according to this site, say, Juvenile, you can consider overnight, but more than that is a stretch. For Adults, there is a bit more flexibility. Because their metabolism has slowed down by that time. However, even then, a couple of days should be fine but not anything more.

How can you tell how old your Beardie is? You can measure them if they are under one year old. This is not an exact science by the way, but it will give you a rough idea of their age. If you have ever had children, you will have seen your midwife use a similar technique, measuring the babies size from within a pregnant mother. Similar concept here.

Do Bearded Dragons Like to be picked up? The reality is they don’t (Click here for my full article on this – do Beardies like being handled).  This is not natural for them. But, in captivity, with training, you can handle them without a problem. Typically they prefer their owners, rather than a random person though.

Can Bearded Dragons be potty trained? Yes, as crazy as this sounds, they can be trained. Typically you will be able to condition them to use one particular area of the enclosure. So, it is not necessarily potty training in the purest sense.

Superworm vs Mealworm for Lizards (Difference/Size/Nutrition)

If you are thinking of feeding your lizards the best insects, you may be wondering if you should choose Superworms (Click here for the price of my best Superworm selection, on Amazon) or Mealworms. Let me explain…

What’s the difference between a Superworm and Mealworm? Superworms are typically five times bigger than Mealworms. They can last as Larvae (which is the state most Lizard keepers favor) longer, but Mealworms have the added benefit of being able to be refrigerated for storage.

Now that you know the general differences, let me explain in more detail. Such as how Giant Mealworms size up to Superworms, the nutritional differences and much more. Keep reading.

What’s the difference between a Superworm and Mealworm?

In this section, I am going to summerise the main differences between a Superworm & Mealworm. At a glance, they can seem very similar, if not the same. Especially when you compare the Superworm to the Giant Mealworm (more on that later).

About 5 Times Bigger

One of the more obvious differences is the size. But, before I continue, let me clarify, I am comparing the standard Mealworm with the Superworm, ok?

One of the major reasons for this size difference is the extra Chitin, as well as their shell. The downfall of this (well, for your lizard) is, they appear bigger, but they have less meat. However, they make up for this with a higher level of Calcium, Fiber and also fat.

What is Chitin, by the way?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Its a fiber type substance that contains polysaccharides.

Not able to refrigerate

One of the biggest drawbacks with Superworms, when comparing them to Mealworms, is the fact that you can not refrigerate them.

But, why would you want to do that? 

Simple, to prolong their lifespan in storage. When Mealworms are put in the fridge, they can last a long while. They will stay in a larvae state, in storage. Giving you time to feed them to your lizard. However, this is not possible with Superworms (More on this later).

What is a Mealworm, anyway?

Mealworm Beetle

Before we go any further, let me explain exactly what is a Mealworm. To make sure we are on the same page. According to Wikipedia, Mealworms (Tenebrio Molitor) are Mealworm Beetles in their Larvae form. This Beetle is known to be a species of the darkling Beetle.

This beetle has four key stages of growth, with one of them relevant to this article (the Larvae stage):

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Pupa
  • And Adult Beetle.

So you can get an idea of their size, you can expect to see the Mealworm Larvae growing up to about approx. 2.5 cm. With the adult Mealworm Beetle growing up to 1.8cm.

The Giant Mealworm

Maybe you have heard of Giant Mealworms before. If not, let me give you the low down. They are really just the same as a regular Mealworm, apart from one key thing, they are a lot bigger.

But, how?

Well, they are bigger because they have been artificially treated with growth inhabitor hormone. This sounds quite scientific, but in reality, it means they have been treated to delay their pupation stage.

This means that their Larva form is bigger than normal. This is obviously a bonus to Lizards (& their keepers). As they are typically a lot bigger and juicier.

They May Pupate

This is the reason, I mentioned them earlier, as being quite similar to Superworms, at a glance. There are chances that they will pupate and transition to beetles.

However, this is not a big concern, because they are sterile, due to the fact that they have been treated with the growth hormone.

What’s a Superworm?

The Superworm (Zophobas Morio), according to Wikipedia, is a species of the Darkling Beetle. They are known by a few different names, such as:

  • King Worms
  • Morio Worms
  • Zophobas

As discussed earlier, their Larvae looks very similar to Mealworms (In particular Giant Mealworms), growing up to 2.25cm on average. The main give away, however, is their black coloration, on the ends of their bodies.

How long can you store them?

As briefly discussed earlier. The Mealworm can be stored in a fridge. While they are stored away, they can last months. This is ideal for keepers because they can rest there until you need them.

Also, during this time, they will not pupate and grow, giving you a great storage advantage.

Superworms, on the other hand, cannot be stored in the fridge. To be honest, if you try this, you will get a bad surprise, they will die in there.

Therefore, before you order them, you have to be sure that order what you need at that point in time.

What about their Life expectancy?

In this section, I am going to explain the kind of life expectancy you can expect from these worms.

Super worms.

Superworms can last a long time in a larval state. To put this into perspective you expect them in this state for up to one year. This more than makes up for the lack of refrigeration options you have with them, in my opinion.

They typically will not pupate unless they are separated from their family of larvae. However, they are quite reactive to temperature and humidity changes.

Number of eggs

To give you an idea of the life cycle of a super worm. You can expect anywhere from 100 to 500 eggs to be laid in one lifetime. As eggs, they typically last for up to 19 days before they hatch into their larval state.

Pupation State

In their pupation state, this can be up to another 19 to 20 days. Adult beetles can be expected to live anywhere from 3 to 15 years, depending on how their environment is.

Mealworms.

Mealworms are quite different from Superworms in this case. A mealworm will only last up to 50 days if it is not refrigerated. That’s why refrigeration is quite important for Lizard keepers.

Their Eggs

You can expect up to 100 eggs in a Mealworms lifetime. Also, they do not need to be separated from their larvae to trigger pupation. They typically last up to 12 days as eggs, before they hatch out to Larvae.

Pupation & Adult Stage

In their pupation stage. They can last up to 20 days. As adult beetles, they last considerably less time than a super worm. Living up to an average of 90 days.

How do you breed Superworms?

To have successful breeding with super worms you need to make sure that the adult beetles are fed on the same food source as the larvae. This is important to ensure they are well fed.

Why?

Because if not there is a good chance that they will actually eat their own eggs once they are laid. Meaning, you will be stuck in a cycle of breeding eggs, without ever seeing any end product, are you with me?

The best food for them is fruit and vegetables. Just make sure you do not give them potatoes.

Storage

The Beatles need to be stored in tubs. However, you will need egg containers within the tabs to give the beetles room to hide and lay their eggs. In addition to this,  it will help with transferring them, which will be required during their breeding process.

Once the eggs are laid you can expect them to hatch out within 7 to 10 days.

Related Questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Superworms and Mealworms. If you have any questions that you feel have been missed, feel free to leave a comment below.

Are any of these worms aggressive biters? Yes, the super worms are known to be quite aggressive and will bite. Also, they have quite a sharp head spike which is known to be used as a defense mechanism against Predators.

Therefore, you need to be careful when giving them to your lizard. In reality lizards naturally, know of the risk or learn very quickly.

Will super worms eat mealworms? Yes, one thing about super worms, they are quite aggressive. They are known to eat mealworm eggs without hesitation.

It’s even been known for Super worms to eat their own super worms as well. So, if you ever consider mixing them you have to bear this fact in mind.

Will mealworms bite? No, mealworms will not bite. In contrast to super worms, they are very unoffensive. They will not cause you any issues when it comes to fighting or aggression.

However, Superworms will bite. But they will not cause many issues to us humans. If you are bitten by one it won’t really be much of a major problem.

Can mealworms drown? Yes, they can drown if they are submerged in water. However, like most living things. They do need a source of water to keep them alive. But, you need to avoid submerging them in the water.

What Human Food Can a Leopard Gecko Eat?

If you have a Leopard Gecko, you probably understand that they love Insects, and why you need to supplement them with supplements (Click here to see my best Calcium Supplelemnt for Leos, on Amazon), but can they eat Human food?

What human food can leopard geckos eat? They can’t actually eat any human food. They are not built to consume the food that humans typically consume, such as fruits, veg, etc. This isn’t because they don’t prefer it, it isn’t physically possible for them to digest some of these human foods.

Now that you know why they cannot eat human foods, let me explain what they can eat, why they can’t eat fruit and veg, alternatives if you hate insects and more. Keep reading…

So, what can leopard geckos eat?

The reality is they are an insectivore. Meaning that they eat meat, in particular, insects. There are specific reasons why they can’t eat any other food (but more on this later in the article).

They will eat pretty much any wriggly insect that is put in front of them. This includes:

  • Mealworms
  • Superworms
  • etc.

Can Leos eat fruit and vegetables?

No, they cannot eat fruit and vegetables. This is because their body is designed to consume insects only.

The reason why they can’t consume fruit and veg is they do not actually have a Cecum, this is the part of the body which breaks down cellulose, which is found in fruit and vegetables.

Small digestive tract

Another issue that they have is the size of their digestive tract. This is typically smaller than a herbivore, who has a longer digestive tract and it is acidic. Whereas a Leopard Gecko’s digestive tract is alkaline.

What happens if you do not like dealing with insects?

Man scared of Live Lizard Insects

If you don’t like handling insects and you want to feed your leopard gecko, truthfully, your options are quite limited.

However, there is an alternative that you can consider. But, the chances of your leopard gecko enjoying this is quite slim.

Why?

Because the option I’m going to present to you does not include live insects. And, they typically prefer to see the movement to get them stimulated to eat, are you with me?

Repashy Gel

Repashy Gel (Click here to see the price on Amazon) is a powdered form of food, which can be processed and set into a gel. Once the gel is set you can cut it up into pieces and offer it to your Leopard Gecko.

It contains nutrients to keep your Leo fulfilled. But, taste and preference are another thing. As mentioned earlier, they prefer to eat live insects. So, there is a chance your Leo will not take to this.

However, if you are really squeamish about insects this could be something that you could try.

Skull designed for insect consumption (Not Human Food)

The leopard geckos jaw and skull is designed for consuming insects. It is smaller and more robust than a herbivore giving it the perfect structure to consume insects.

Some people believe there is new research to suggest that leopard geckos can consume fruit and vegetables.

But, I heard there is new research to suggest they can eat Fruit & Veg, right?

Let’s address this now. Being able to consume fruit and vegetables is one thing. But actually digesting it is another, are you with me?

As discussed in the previous section, they cannot consume and digest fruit and vegetables. Their body cannot do this. Therefore, to save any disappointment and wasted investment it is best to stick to live insects which they will devour.

The dangers of obesity and overfeeding.

Leopard geckos natural habitat is in the desert, in particular, the Southeastern regions of Asia. The reason I mention this is because it is quite a dry area with limited food supply.

Therefore, leopard geckos have to be clever and store a good source of fat inside their tails to maintain themselves in these conditions, are you with me?

Fat Storage

Therefore, they are not expected to eat every single day. So their body has evolved to naturally store fat. So, they can deal with these “lean days”, when there is no food available.

This works perfectly in the wild, in their natural environment. However, in captivity, this can work against them.

Why?

Because in captivity they are fed regularly, in fact as long as you are caring for them correctly, their food intake is border-line predictable.

However, their body will continue storing fat in its tail and building up fat reserves in this body, as if it was starving in the desert. You see whats happening here?

If this is done on a regular basis and they are overeating this can lead to obesity.

The General Rule

If you are concerned or curious to understand what is classed as a “safe weight” for your Leo, or what is deemed as overweight or obese, let me share a general rule with you.

The general rule is the tail should always be wider than its stomach, which is quite easy to see visually. Also, their stomach should remain flat, unless they have just eaten. If they have just eaten, this would obviously cause a bit of a bulge until the food is digested.

Things to look out for

Other things to look out for, if you are worried about signs of overfeeding, is regurgitation. If you see some food regurgitated, this is a clear indication that your Leo is eating too much.

Also, he may appear to be lethargic, which is quite subtle but another red flag. If this is the case you need to cut back on the food that you are giving to him. Also, you can consider cutting back on fatty foods such as Superworms (Click here to see what worms are good for a Leopard Gecko) or Butterworms.

Leo’s lap-up their own skin, what?

Another interesting dietary behavior that you may notice with your leopard geckos is the fact that they eat their own skin.

Immediately after they shed they will devour their old skin.

Why?

This is a clever defensive mechanism to avoid any predators picking up on the fact that they have been in the close vicinity. Basically, hiding their tracks.

If they consume their skin, they leave no evidence of them being there and therefore the Predator will not pursue them, get it?

Avoid these foods like the plague!

There are a couple of food groups that you should always avoid when thinking about what foods to feed your Leo:

  • Fireflies
  • Lightning Bugs.

Fireflies and lightning bugs should be avoided because they possess a certain chemical which is required to give them the glowing and flashing effect that make them attractive.

If you feed these to your lizard, it can cause them to be ill or stomach infections. For this reason, they should be avoided.

Random Wild insects

If you have a leopard gecko in captivity. It is not advisable to allow them to eat wild insects that are roaming around the house.

Even though, on paper, they can actually eat it.

Why?

It is unknown where these insects have been. They can cause infections and introduce parasites to your pet which cause major health issues.

Do Leos need any other Nutrients in Captivity?

In captivity, Calcium and other nutrients are a very important part of their diet.

A lack of calcium can lead to bone-related issues, abnormal joints and a number of other health-related problems.

So you may be wondering how is it possible to feed them these nutrients if they only eat insects and don’t consume other foods such as fruits and vegetables…

Dusting Insects

To get around this a lot of lizard keepers dust or gut load (click here to see how to gut load Superworms and why you should bother) their insects before feeding them.

Dusting is a way that you can prepare their food by dusting calcium supplementation on to the insects and then directly feeding it to your leopard gecko.

Got loading, on the other hand, is a way of pre-feeding the insects with supplementation so that it will pass on to your Leopard Gecko as they feed on them.

Can Geckos Swim? (Running in Water/Bathing/Soaking)

If you have a Gecko, you may be curious to understand if they can swim. Obviously making sure they are feed and looked after comes first (Click here to see my best Gecko food Cup, on Amazon). But let me clarify if they can or not…

Can geckos swim? Yes, geckos can swim. However, they do not really love swimming. In reality, this is something they do by necessity rather than enjoyment. It is a basic survival skill that they have that is used sparingly.

Now that you know that Geckos can swim, let me reveal if they can run on water. Also, if you should be bathing them, the benefits of soaking them and much more. Keep reading…

Can they also run on water?

Yes, they can run on water. In fact, according to atlasobscura.com, a biophysicist reported witnessing a house gecko running over a puddle. Not through it or swimming in it, but, actually running over the puddle! This was in an effort to get away from its predators.

It is probably hard to articulate how spectacular this really is. Unless you actually see it happen, words probably cannot do it real justice.

But, how could this be physically possible?

As crazy as this sounds, this is definitely possible. And in fact, geckos are not the only lizards that can run on water (Click here to see if the Common Basilisk Lizard can run on water too).

It has been observed that these geckos can run up to a few feet per second. And in fact, they can typically move faster than a duck can swim, while they run across these water verges.

There are four key techniques used to do this…

Firstly they utilize surface tension. Secondly, they have the ability to slap the surface of the water with all four of their limbs simultaneously.

This creates an air trap allowing them to defy the laws of gravity. This is similar to Common Basilisk lizard, who can also run across water.

Their third technique is undulating their bodies. Which is a similar method used by butterflies to take flight. Finally, the Geckos skin is water-resistant, which is a very final part of their secret to run across water.

The combination of all of these four techniques gives them the ability to skip over the water effortlessly.

Swimming anybody?

You may be thinking to yourself, OK, now that you understand that geckos can actually swim. Does this mean that you should actually be providing swimming facilities for them as an activity?

The short answer is, no. As mentioned previously, they can swim but it is something that they do not enjoy. They definitely will not like to have this as a day-to-day activity. Think of this as more of a defensive or lifesaving skill.

Should you be bathing your gecko?

As a general rule for Geckos, you do not really need to bathe them. The reason for this is, they have natural abilities to keep themselves clean.

For example, they will regularly shed their skin, assuming they’re in good health, which helps to keep their skin clean.

Also, general maintenance on your behalf such as clearing up old feces and old uneaten food will help to keep them from infection and keep them clean.

In fact, you should have a cleaning schedule in place (Click here to see how often you should clean a Leopard Gecko’s Cage). This is based on a daily quick clean, weekly deeper clean. And, a periodic deep clean. This may sound a bit much, but do you love your Gecko? Then, this is part of the deal.

Should you soak your Gecko in the water?

With all this talk about water and swimming, you may be wondering is it a good idea to soak your lizard.

Yes, you now understand that they don’t necessarily like swimming. But, you may have heard that soaking is a good thing.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea for most lizards to have a bowl of water for them to soak at their leisure.

Shedding Benefits

One of the benefits of this bowl of water is, that during shedding, in particular, they can use this to help remove the unwanted skin.

There are certain lizards, for example, the Bearded Dragon (Click here to see if Bearded Dragons like to be handled), that typically have leftover skin sheds on their toes or in other difficult areas. This leftover skin can cause the lizard some severe pain and discomfort. So, it is important to help your lizard through this.

This water bowl can help by soaking their skin and letting the skin shed more evenly, are you with me?

Obviously, if this doesn’t work it is not a good idea to try and manually shed the skin and pull at it. Because this will cause damage and injuries to your lizard. Also, you could actually tear skin tissue that was not due to be removed, are you with me? Which, as you can imagine is not a good idea.

If that is the case you need to consult your vet to clarify what the next step is.

So what do lizards do when it starts to rain?

You may be thinking, if this is the case, in their natural habitat, in the wild, how do they deal with natural weather conditions such as rain? Good question.

When it comes to natural rain, lizards are not necessarily scared of it. Why? because they know how to deal with it.

If the rain causes the temperature to drop significantly, they can simply hide away until the warmer weather comes back. Some lizards look forward to the rain. Why? Because this is their natural source of water. And, they look forward to drinking it as it comes down.

In fact, there are some lizards that will flat out reject any other form of drinking water, unless it is rainwater. Or simulated to look like rain. Such as the Green Anole (Click here to see what can live with Green Anoles).

Related Questions:

In this section, I will be answering some related questions, based on Geckos and swimming. If you feel that you have an unanswered question in your head. Please, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Can lizards drown?

Yes, it is possible for lizards to drown. The reason for this is their breathing is very similar to us humans. Lizards have lungs and consume oxygen much the same way we do.

Therefore, any animal that has lungs and consumes air, the way we do, has the ability to drown.

If you watch a lizard breathe you will see their chest expand and contract as they inhale and exhale. This is visual evidence of it actually consuming the oxygen.

Q:  Does this mean that they cannot breathe underwater?

Yes, they cannot breathe underwater for the said reason discussed above. Only fish (or other related creatures) are able to breathe underwater.

Q: Can lizards regrow their legs?

No, once a lizard loses any of its limbs, apart from its tail (Click here to see how many times a lizard can regrow its tail), it won’t be able to regrow it back.

As I just mentioned briefly, their tail is a different matter. This can grow back. However, when it grows back it’s never the same.

Q: Do lizards cry?

Yes, lizards can cry. However, it is very different from human tears. Why? Because the chances are they’re not crying because they’re feeling emotional or unhappy. It is more of a practical reason, such as clearing and cleaning their eyes. Therefore it is not the same as we humans do.

Ever heard of the term “Crocodile tears”? Well, for lizards, this is a similar concept. Their tears are not at all linked to feeling or emotion.

Are Red Headed Lizards Poisonous? (The Reality)

If you have seen a Read-Headed lizard before (also known as a Broad-headed skink), you may have been alarmed by its Red looking head (With a hint of Orange) and share size. The question is, will it poison you?

Are red-headed lizards poisonous? No, they are not poisonous or venomous for that reason. They have a redhead to help to scare away any potential predators that may believe they are dangerous. This is taking advantage of Natures natural warning color of red.

Now that you know these Lizards are not poisonous, even though they look scary. Wouldn’t you think twice about attacking this lizard if you were a bird, and you saw its scary red-head?

Well, let me explain if there are any real venous lizards, some background about this broad-headed skink, how they defend themselves and more. Keep reading…

Are There any real poisonous or Venomous Lizards?

In reality, there are only a few really venomous Lizards (Click here to see more details these Lizards). In summary, it comes down to the Gila Monster and the Mexican Beaded Lizard.

What about Komodo Dragons?

Many people debate if Komodo Dragons (Click here for more info on Komodo Dragon) are venomous or not. My understanding is, they are not. But they are still dangerous and can cause fatal injuries.

What is a Red-Headed lizard?

The Red-Headed Lizard is commonly known as the Broad-Headed Skink. And, its scientific name is Plestiodon Laticeps. They are easily spotted, with the males having the distinctive Red & Orange head.

Their natural habitat is in the South-Eastern region of the United States. Including, Kansas, Texas and the Gulf Coast.

Are They Dangerous to other House Pets (e.g. Cats)

Red headed lizard dangerous to cats

Redheaded lizard dangerous to cats

If you have other pets around the house, such as a cat, hamster, rabbit, etc. You may be concerned/anxious about mixing them. The reality is, you are correct to be concerned because you need to tread with caution.

Why?

Although they are not venomous, there have been reports of illness in pets that have attempted to eat these lizards. So, you will need to think twice about mixing one of these red-headed bad boys around your prized kitties.

How do these Red-Headed Lizards Defend themselves?

Now that you know that these Lizards are not a serious threat. You may wonder how they actually defend themselves. Good question…

Their Predators

Firstly, let’s understand what animals are considered their predators. This includes Birds, larger reptiles (Including bigger lizards).

Defensive Tricks

Like a few other lizards, they can detach their tail, if required (Click here to see how many times a lizard can regrow its tail). If this is the first you have heard of this, it sounds gruesome, but its not a major problem for lizards. Why? Because they can grow it back.

Wriggling Confusion

Once their tail is detached, it will wriggle like a snake to confuse and distract its predator. This is just enough distraction for them to get away (hopefully).

Other Defensive Methods

Apart from this, they can actually swim to get away. Failing that they can scramble up a tree, climbing to safety. Finally, if possible, they can hide under any available debris.

Clearly, the biggest defense is their bright red head color. It is quite amazing how this color deters any potential predators.

Where do they get their name from? (Call me Big Jowls!)

The Read-head lizard (Broad-headed skink) gets its name from its big swollen looking Jowls. It develops these as it gets older, turning to an Adult.

What are Jowls?

This is a term used to describe the sagging skin below the chin/Jawline of humans. Its the same concept for lizards.

How often do Read-headed lizards Breed?

Like any lizard species, breeding is a key part of their existence. They tend to breed once a year in the summer. In particular June or July.

The female is naturally attracted to the largest red-headed lizard with a lovely bright red/orange head. As you can imagine there is always competition to get a females attention.

Territorial Males (Man-marking)

In this world, its survival of the fittest. Therefore, you can expect the males to be very protective and territorial during this time. Once a male has won over his female, he will guard her (I call this man-marking) for at least a week after.

His objective is to block any other lizard from mating with her during this time. And, he will protect her by any means. Meaning, fighting and general displays of aggression is commonplace at this time.

The number of eggs laid

The typical amount of legs laid can be anything from 8 up to a dozen. Typically they are hidden in a nest made of leaves, branches and forest debris.

The interesting thing about skinks is how their hatchlings are treated. Once they hatch out, they are left to fend for themselves. No long, drawn-out parenting from their mother. They are left to deal with the big, wild world on their own.

What kind of Food do they eat (Canabolistic Tendencies)?

Skinks eat a wide variety of food. This includes Insects, mice, spiders, etc. They are also known to eat their own kind. Yes, I did say that. They have been known to eat young juvenile skinks.

As crazy as this sounds, the reality is they are not the only lizard to do this. It seems to be a very different mentality to us humans. I can only assume they do not have a conscious as we do.

 

Related Questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some related questions to red-headed lizards. If you have any specific questions in your head, that you feel has not been answered, drop me a comment below.

Can lizards harm humans? Yes, some can do. In fact, the Komodo Dragon is capable of inflicting fatal damage. However, the chances of you bumping into one of these is quite low.

The common house lizard (Click here to see where House Geckos hide), on the other hand, will not do any real harm. The only danger it presents is the pathogens it has, that can contaminate food if they mix with it. But they are not venomous.

Is a Skink a Lizard? Yes, as you have probably gathered from this article. Skinks are part of the Scincidae family of lizards. It is quite vast, with over fifteen hundred species.

Are Skinks Good to have around? Yes, they are actually quite good because they attack/prey on common house pests such as mice and cockroaches. If you have a problem with these pests, they can help.

However, although they can help, they won’t completely clean up an infestation. In reality, they can only consume so much, before they are full. Also, if you plan on keeping these skinks as a pet, then allowing them to eat random house pests is not ideal.

Why? Simple, it is not possible to know what potential diseases these pests may be carrying. Which, could harm your Skink.

Do Skinks like Water? Yes, most definitely. Like any animal, this is one of their most important requirements after oxygen. However, in captivity, you need to make sure you stay on top of their water needs.

They should have a fresh supply of water, in a bowl, on a regular basis. As they have a tenancy to get debris in their water, you should get a bowl that does not easily get knocked over. This will help to prevent it from getting this debris in it.

Do Skinks Sleep? Yes, they do. In fact, recent research has proven that they have sleep cycles like us humans do. However, the big difference is the actual sleeping pattern.

If they sleep through the night, they will have much faster sleep cycles. Meaning, they will dip in and out of REM sleep much faster than we do.

Can You Get Green Bearded Dragons? (Weird Morphs?)

If you have heard people talk about green bearded dragons you may wonder if this is a myth or they really do exist (Click here to see one of my best Bearded Dragon accessories, on Amazon). In this article, I’m going to explain if this is true and a bit more about them.

Can you get a green bearded dragon? Yes, you can but they are quite rare. Some people believe they are a rare Bearded Dragon Morphs. But, that is not the case. They are like albinos, they exist but, you won’t see them on a regular basis.

Now that you know that they do exist, let me explain how these bad boys even came into existence. Also, what a “Morph” is, and how that is relevant to the Green Beardies, other colored Beardies you may not have heard of and more. Keep reading.

Where did these Green Bearded Dragons come from?

You may be wondering, if they are so rare, where did they suddenly appear from? Good question.

They are either a freakish natural occurrence or the products of selective breeding (more about selective breeding later on).

Furthermore, It is also quite rare to even get a completely solid color bearded dragon. The standard colors for bearded dragons is usually a mix of green and yellow and hints of brown. A blended color, rather than solid, that’s my point.

Typically, if you see a solid colored bearded dragon, it’s likely to be because of selective breeding.

What is a bearded dragon morph? (and how is this even relevant)?

As briefly discussed in the last section, morphs are a type of bearded dragon which has a different appearance to its parents.

This is typically achieved by either a natural mutation, which results in the Beardie having a different look to its parents. Alternatively, they are selectively bred to make it happen (more on this later).

Morphs are more than just colors

For your info, a true morph does not only mean a specific color, but it can also have different behavioral traits, spikes on its body, or other vidual differences that make it different from the norm.

Many people are under the misconception that it describes the color of their skin. But, in reality, there are a number of things that could classify it as a morph.

Other features could include:

  • Scales.
  • Different Head shape.
  • etc.

The key factor is, they have distinctly different features to the standard Bearded Dragon.

How does selective breeding impact their color?

Selective breeding is an organized way to create a very specific type of bearded dragon. If nature is left to its own devices the color of the bearded dragon has a lot to do with its actual environment and habitat.

However, with selective breeding, a breeder will purposely get two specific types of bearded dragon together to form baby lizard with desired colors or features.

They purposely do this so that they can sell them. And, they can usually charge more for this, hence the reason why most of them do this.

These rare morphs I usually expensive. Why? Because of the classic economics of supply and demand. They are sought after due to the fact that there is a lack of supply.

For example, if a breeder wanted to get a red-bearded dragon (more about this morph later). He will get a male and a female that have distinctive red coloration. In an effort to selectively breed a deep red Beardie for re-sell.

What different types of colored bearded dragons are there?

Apart from Green Beardies, there are other color variations. Let’s look at these variations now…

The red-bearded dragon

As briefly discussed in the last section you can get red-bearded dragons. It’s obvious that they are red, that goes without saying. The process to get them here is based on combining two Beardies that have distinctive red coloration.

Going forward, the hope is, further generations of breeding can deepen their distinctive red color. This typically the key factor drive up their resale value.

Other variations of the red-bearded dragon include a “Ruby Red” or  “Blood Red”.

Yellow bearded dragons

Yellow bearded dragons, as you can imagine, are the products of combining two predominantly yellow bearded dragons.

However, when you mix a yellow bearded dragon with a red-bearded dragon you typically get a gold bearded dragon variation.

Other yellow-based bearded dragons include the:

  • Sandfire Gold
  • Lemon Fire
  • Citrus

White-bearded dragon

The white-bearded dragon is typically identified by either having a distinct white coloration or having an almost clear looking skin.

As you can imagine, they are bred by combining two lightly colored Beardedies. An example of two of these morphs is:

  • Albino.
  • Snow Bearded Dragon.

“Why has my Beardie turned green?”

With all this talk about green bearded dragons, there are certain instances where you may have a different colored bearded dragon but for some unknown reason, it starts to change color, in particular, to a green color.

This is different from a Green Bearded Dragon because it’s actually changing color. so, why could this be happening?

According to this forum, this is likely to do with skin shedding…

Usually, this is nothing to worry about and is a natural part of the process. However, if this is the case, you should look out for other known shedding related issues.

Like what? Known issues with skin shedding typically revolve around the shed not finishing completely. Meaning, your lizard is left with some old skin left behind.

This can lead to discomfort and potential infection. If there are any issues or concerns about this, it’s better to consult your vet.

Related questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Green Bearded Dragons. If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Why is my bearded dragon changing colors?

We briefly discussed issues with your bearded dragon changing green. However, recent studies mentioned here concluded that some color change, in particular, specific body parts of the bearded dragon, could be linked to temperature regulation and social signals.

For example, the change of coloration on the lizard’s neck is deemed as a social signal to other lizards. However, if there’s color change on their back, in particular, dark coloration and the temperature is pretty cool. This could be to reduce their required basking time in the sun.

Q: Do bearded dragons get more colorful?

You may be wondering if Beardies have the ability to change their color. The reality is, they can. They have the ability to change the pigment in their skin. This is typically triggered by their mood or reactions to their environment.

For example, in the wild, you may notice that a Beardies skin will change color at different times in the day. In particular, in the morning while they are basking, they are likely to have slightly darker coloration.

Why? Because this will help them to absorb more sunlight. Which, in turn, will help to reduce their basking time. Are you with me?

Q: Can bearded dragons feel love?

Yes. But, to be honest, this is a subjective answer. The reality is, nobody can really say yes 100%. However, there are some logical conclusions that can be drawn here, bare with me…

If you have a Beardie you will notice that they do show signs of affection. In addition, they also have a friendly and approachable demeanor. Especially around their owners. This, in my opinion, suggests they can understand love, in their own way.

Q: Do bearded dragons like being petted?

Yes. I would say so. Put it this way, it is commonplace to see a Bearded Dragon owner handling and cuddling their Beardie. This is one of the reasons they are so popular.

The reality is, we really do not know what goes on in their head, but the signs look positive, are you with me?

Can Crested Geckos Eat Strawberries?

If you are considering what you can feed your Crested Gecko (Click here to see why I love this Gecko feeder, on Amazon) you may have wondered about Strawberries. But, is a good idea or not? Let me explain…

Can crested geckos eat strawberries? Yes, crested geckos can definitely eat strawberries. They can be consumed on their own or you can mix them with other fruits. However, due to their lack of nutritional value, in particular, their Calcium to Phosphorus ratio, best to mix them with other fruits.

Now that you know that they can be consumed, let me go on to explain where strawberries come from, their calcium to phosphorus level, why this is something you should be looking out for and so much more. Keep reading.

Where do strawberries come from?

Before we delve into crested geckos consuming strawberries, let’s do a bit of background on strawberries themselves. According to Wikipedia, Strawberries were first introduced, in particular, the garden strawberries, in Brittany, France.

This was a long time ago way back in the 1750s. This was originally done by cross-pollination of two other variations (one from North America, the other from Chile).

Now strawberries are a well-known part of our day-to-day diet and consumed by us as well as lizards.

Do strawberries have a good Calcium to phosphorus ratio?

If you are familiar with the science of strawberries, I am going to explain their Calcium to phosphorus ratio. If not, don’t worry, I’m going to explain what this is in detail later in this article.

To cut a long story short, strawberries have an “OK” Calcium to phosphorus ratio. But, not great.

For your info, the ideal ratio is 2:1. 

However, strawberries have an even ratio (1:1). This is not really bad. But, to put this into perspective, let’s compare this to a tomato. This has an inverse ratio of 1:2. Meaning it has more phosphorus than calcium. Basically, in contrast, they are not ideal for a Crested Geckos.

Calcium, What now?

With all this talk of calcium and phosphorus, you may be wondering what is it and why is this even relevant to Cresties eating strawberries, right?

Don’t worry, in this section, I’m going to break down what it is so you know what to look out for. This is not only relevant for strawberries. But, also for other fruit that you may consider for your Crested Gecko.

The importance of Calcium & Phosphate

Phosphate is is a mineral which bonds with calcium. Together they are very important. Why? because, together, they are the lifeblood your bones and teeth. This is a key component to keeping them strong.

For this to be effective, you need the ideal balance. Meaning, there has to be a certain ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus. And, this is where this ratio comes from.

Hence the reason why it is important to look out for this ideal balance in the foods that you give to our Crestie. They consume this stuff through the food they eat.

What is the ideal Ratio for a Crested Gecko’s?

As discussed briefly earlier the ideal ratio is 2:1. And, the important things to consider here is, even if a fruit or vegetable has a low ratio, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not possible to be given to a Crested Gecko. It depends.

In some cases, you can still give him the fruit or vegetable. You will just have to mix it with other fruit to balance is more evenly, are you with me?

But, aren’t strawberries citrus?

There is often a misconception about strawberries being citric. The reality is, they are not citric. Even though they may have a weird acidic taste.

The dangers of Lizards and Citrus

For those that do not know, it is not a good idea to feed citrus-based fruit to your lizard (What fruits do lizards eat? Click here) Why? because they can upset their stomach and cause too much acidic balance.

Example of fruits to avoid includes:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Oranges

Because strawberries are not citrus you can safely give them to your crested gecko.

What other foods or fruits should you avoid?

In the last section, we already discussed the dangers of citrus fruit, such as lemon and lime. However, there are other foods to consider. Here are a few more:

  • Star fruit
  • Rhubarb
  • Grapefruit
  • Avacado

Avocado is a strange one. It contains “Persin”. According to Wikipedia it is a fungicidal toxin which is based inside the Avacado. It goes on to describe it as an oil-soluble compound which seeps into the body of the Avacado from the seeds.

What is the Crested Gecko food pyramid?

This food pyramid, according to CompleteCritter.com, is a guide for the required macronutrients for your Crested Gecko. This is based on experiences from crested gecko keepers and other relevant sources.

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some related question, related to Cresties and Strawberries. If there is a burning question in your mind that you need to be answered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: What is so different about strawberries?

You may be thinking about what is so great about Strawberries. They are just like any other fruit, right. Well, yes and no. There are some interesting facts about them. Hence the reason I will highlight a few facts about them now.

Strawberries have a lot of seeds.

Strawberries are quite unique. Why? because they have their seeds on the outside. You can expect to have approximately 200+ seeds within each strawberry. That’s a lot!

And this is one of the major reasons why you will get a mouthful of seeds every time you bite into these bad boys.

Are they True Berries?

Even though strawberries have the word, “berries” in their name, this doesn’t mean that they are technically a berry. As confusing as this is, I will help to explain…

Basically, to be considered as a true Berry, the seeds need to be on the inside of the fruit. Obviously, for strawberries, this is not the case. Therefore they are not technically berries.

Are part of the Rose family.

You may or may not know that strawberries are actually part of the Rose family. Maybe this is one of the reasons why they smell so sweet when they are growing naturally, right?

Q: Can you mix crested geckos?

If you are considering growing your family of Cresties, it’s important to understand how far you can go with it. Meaning, what they can and can’t mix with.

Can you mix Cresties? Yes, you can. But, you have to be very careful with it. The reality is they can be aggressive depending on what you’re mixing them with, are you with me?

Another point to add, to put things into perspective, they are known to eat their own young. So it just shows you the type of temperament you are dealing with.

Avoid mixing them with small fry!

If you have a Crested Gecko which is smaller than the other one, then do not consider mixing them. Why? Simple, because the bigger one will not hesitate to beat him up and serve him up for lunch.

If you have a slightly smaller crested gecko and you would like to pair them up. It is a good idea to wait until the smaller one gets bigger and stronger, so they are roughly equal.

Forget Mixing Male Cresties

Mixing two male crested geckos is not worth the hassle. Why? Because there is typically more aggression in males and they are quite territorial. Meaning, they will fight to establish who is the alpha male (sounds like a typical Friday night in a night club, right?).

If you have two females that you’re considering mixing together. Rather than throwing them together right away, it is better to have one in a separate cage and see how they respond when they are in close proximity first.

What Does It Mean When a Bearded Dragon Licks You?

If you have ever been licked by your Bearded Dragon, you may be confused (Click here for my favorite way to decode Bearded Dragons and see the Price, on Amazon). For that reason, I will explain the real reason why they are doing this.

What does it mean when a bearded dragon licks you? It typically means he is using his tongue to check you out. He uses his tongue to smell and get a feel for his surrounding environment. In reality, he is not really licking you, he is flicking his tongue to gather microscopic particles.

Now that you know why they are licking you, let me go on to explain the weird science of their tongues, other things they lick to lick, why some people misunderstand its true meaning and much more. Keep reading…

What do mean, he is not really licking you?

If you have been freaked out, wondering why your Beardie is licking you, don’t be, I have the reasons why he is doing this. The good news is, he is not planning on eating you. And, no, he doesn’t fancy you 😉

This is why, it’s Not really Licking

Firstly, it may seem like your Beardie is licking you like you are a strawberry lollypop, but in reality, it is not really licking. What? Let me explain.

The reality is, it’s more of a way for your Beardie to smell and get a feel for its surroundings. And, unfortunately, this includes your physical body.

Look at the “flick a da wris’!”

Ever heard of that rap song, “Look at da flick a da wris’!”, well, this is kinda similar, ha! Your Beardie is actually flicking its tongue to take in its surroundings.

The “Weird” Science of a Beadies Tongue

Maybe this fact of “not really licking” is a bit too much to digest, right? Well, good news. I am going to explain this in a more scientific way, to make you understand it more.

When your Beardie flicks his tongue, there are really small (micro size) particles that collect on its tongue. Its tongue is then pushed into an upper part of its mouth.

The Jacobson’s Organ

This upper part is actually connected to an important sensor, its called the Jacobson’s (or vomeronasal) Organ. This organ is critical because it decodes this information from its tongue into an understanding of its surroundings. All of this is done in milliseconds, so its way too fast to see in action.

The connection between their tongue & the environment

Maybe you are wondering why they are so curious about their environment. Or, wondering what is the desire to keep licking and understanding its environment. Let me help to explain.

Understand this, in captivity Bearded Dragons (Click here to see how smart a Bearded Dragon is) are far from their natural habitat. Which is typically deserts or even woodlands.

Therefore, they are always curious to see what’s around them. Wouldn’t you if you just arrived in a strange, unknown town?

Baby Beardies

You will notice this behavior of licking, is even more prominent in Baby Beardies. They will be licking and decoding their environment on a regular basis.

Other Reasons why they do this

Apart from their familiarity with their environment, they use their tongues to work out temperature. You know, how hot or cold is this item or place. You with me?

And, in addition to this, they will always be curious to understand the texture of an item. Their tongue will tell them how rough or smooth an item is for example.

What do Bearded Dragons like to lick?

Apart from licking on you. You may find that your Beardie will like to lick on other members of your family.

Items in their habitat

Apart from people, they also like to lick on items. Especially items in their habitat. This may be if you recently added some item such as a hideaway spot or a basking area, for instance.

Food Items

You may also notice that they lick food items. This is not really because they can’t wait to eat it. It is more of a pre-requisite to eating it. To get an idea of its smell, texture, etc. The human equivalent of this is smelling something before you eat it, have you ever done that?

Misconceptions of “Fear Licking”

There is a myth in circulation that Beardies lick in this manner due to fear. I am not sure where this rumor came from. But the reality is, its not correct.

As you have read here, they are licking for familiarization with their environment, understanding textures, etc. Not, due to fear.

The reason why his Tongue is sticking out

Have you ever noticed your Beardie just sitting there with its tongue hanging out? I am not talking about licking, just hanging out. If yes, you may be curious or concerned. Let me help to explain why this is happening.

Essentially there are 3 main reasons for this:

  • Overheating.
  • Aggression.
  • Stress.

Let me unpack each of these potential issues, for your understanding.

Overheating

If you see your Beardie with its tongue out, sitting in its enclosure. The chances are its hot. Especially if he is panting at the same time. If this is the case you need to check the temperature in the enclosure.

Especially in the basking area. This is a common area to overlook. If you see the temperature is over 110F, you definitely have an issue here.

Aggression & Stress

If its tongue is out and he is also making weird sounds. Especially if he is also puffing his beard. The chances are he is getting aggressive. He is likely trying to fend off a perceived predator. Or, feels stressed by something.

But, what could be stressing him? Good question, it could be as simple as new people, that he is not familiar with. Another animal (your pet cat maybe?).

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some related questions to Bearded Dragons. If you feel there are some questions that are not covered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Why is my beardie licking his lips?

If you have noticed that your Beardie is licking his lips and looking rampant. There is a good reason for this. The chances are, he is feeling thirsty.

This could be an indication that you are not providing enough water for him. However, providing water for your Beardie is not that straight forward. Why?

Simple, they will not just drink from a bowl of still water. They prefer water that simulates their natural habitat. Basically, flowing like rainwater.

The best way to simulate this is to use a dropper, for the short term. But on a longer-term basis, you should consider a water dispenser (Click here to see this great dispenser on Amazon).

Q: Why do bearded dragons flatten out?

If you have ever seen a Bearded Dragon flatten his stomach, you may be confused, and, wondering why this is happening. There are a few reasons for this.

Fear

Firstly, this could be a defensive mechanism. If he feels threatened, he will flatten his stomach. Why? Because he feels that, in this state, he feels bigger and more of a challenge to his predator.

The objective, in this instance, is to avoid confrontation. He is hoping that his enlarged physical appearance will make his predator think twice and leave him be.

Not Feeling Great

Another reason for this could be due to illness. Hopefully, it’s not because of this. But if he feels ill or lacks energy, he may do this. The best thing is to check in with your vet to check on him if you think this could be the case.

Keeping His Body Temperature Regulated

This behaviour of flattening its stomach can also be a ploy to regulate its body temperature. If you see your Beardie sprawled out on your basking rock, then the chances are this is the case.

Lizards are cold-blooded, so they have to switch between hot and cool climates to keep their temperature at the optimum level.

What Worms are Good For a Leopard Gecko? (w/ Pics)

If you want to keep your Leopard Gecko Happy, not only do you need the best housing (Click here for my best Leopard Gecko enclosure & see the price on Amazon). You also need the best food. And, for Leos, we know they love worms, so what’s the best choice in worms?

What worms are good to feed leopard geckos? The best worms are Mealworms, Waxworms, Silkworms, and Hornworms. However, you need to make sure that you gut load these worms to insure that you Leopard Gecko gets as much nutrition as possible.

Now that you know the best worms for Leos, let me explain the correct sizing of these worms, the pros, and cons of each worm, how much they typically eat and more.

What worms are good to feed leopard geckos?

If you have a leopard gecko obviously you want to give them the best food. For Leos that will come down to insects & worms as they are insectivores. With that being said, you need to choose the right ones.

The best food for leopard geckos is crickets or mealworms. However, there is a great selection of worms that you can also consider giving to your leopard gecko.

In this article, I’ll be giving you the pros and cons of each one of these. The other worms that you can consider are:

  • Waxworms
  • Superworms
  • Pheonix Worms
  • Silkworms
  • Hornworms
  • etc.

What size worms (or other food) should you give two leopard geckos?

Before you feed your Leo, it’s important you consider what size food that you should be feeding him. This is important to get right.

But, why is this so important?

It’s simple if you feed your Leo food which is too big, especially if he is young, this can lead to choking or other food-related problems.

A general rule

A general rule to follow, to make sure that this doesn’t happen, is to never ever give your Leo, or any lizard for that matter, any food item bigger than the distance between each of their eyes.

What about Crickets?

Regarding crickets, I’m going to give you some sizes that you can use as a guide. This depends on what age he is.

For baby leopard geckos, the ideal cricket size is 3/8 of an inch. However, if they are bigger than this, for example, juveniles, then you can increase the size to approximately a quarter of an inch.

For adult size leopard geckos, you can provide them with crickets which are small to adult size crickets and they should be fine.

How much do leopard geckos typically eat?

To understand how much leopard geckos eat, as a general rule, you can expect an adult gecko to consume as much food as they can consume within a 10 to 15-minute eating session.

Greedy Leos

However, from time to time, you may have an overweight or slightly more greedy leopard gecko. In this situation, it is a good idea to try and reduce the amount of food they are eating to make sure that they don’t overdo it.

Understand this, this is just a guideline. Therefore, your leopard gecko needs to be fed based on their activity and their body condition.

If you notice that your leopard gecko has a habit of overeating, it is advisable to limit the amount of food he eats and do not allow him to exceed that. Even if they seem that they are asking for more.

The reality is they won’t stop eating until you stop giving them the food. So, watch out for this, you do not want to encourage overeating and obesity.

The pros and cons of different worms for Leopard Geckos.

In this section, my objective is to share with with you a selection of worms that are good for leopard geckos. In addition to this, I will explain the pros and cons of each worm to help you make an educated choice.

Mealworm Pros

Mealworms are a classic worm for the leopard geckos. They are one of the more popular worm choices.

The pros of mealworms is there are cheap, easy to find, and they are quite easy to look after.  You can also keep them alive for a long time.

In addition to this, you’ll find that these mealworms have a good life span. It is also possible to extend their lifespan by using simple refrigeration. You can also consider growing your own colony of mealworms. Another great benefit is they do not smell very much.

Mealworm Cons

Although mealworms are cheap and easy to find. They do have some negatives. You will find that they have quite a high-fat content. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on how much you give to your Leo to make sure that they are not overeating and putting on excessive weight.

In addition to this, they’ve got quite a high calcium to phosphorus ratio, which is not ideal.  Another important factor is gut loading.  They have a small digestive tract which makes it quite difficult to gut load.

Further on in this article, I will explain the importance of gut loading when you are feeding your leopard gecko these worms.

Lastly, another issue, which may cause you problems with getting your leopard gecko to consume these worms is their lack of movement.

I don’t mean they do not move at all, they do not move. It’s just that they do not always move enough to stimulate your leopard gecko to eat them. And, as you may know, Leopard Geckos enjoy live food.

Superworm Pros

The Superworms are a great choice. They are a great source of protein, which is a must for your Leo. They are also easy to care for without having to worry about them smelling out the house.

They also last quite long, even without having to refrigerate them.  They are also quite easy to breed as well.

Superworm Cons

The Supreworms have a few negatives to consider. Firstly they are not ideal for smaller Geckos and have quite a high-fat content. This just means that you need to monitor how much your Leo is consuming.

They are also known for biting. So, you need to be cautious with them, they are little nippers! Also, similar to the Mealworms, they are not ideal for Gut loading.

Waxworm Pros

You will find that Waxworms will be devoured by your Leo. If you want to treat him, this is the one to buy, they love them. Another great thing is they are still quite cheap and quite easy to find them.

Waxworm Cons

Now onto the cons. If you think Superworms and Mealworms have high-fat content, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. These worms are really fatty!

In fact, you really need to reserve these as treats only. Even though your Leo will love them, you need to limit their consumption. They have quite a short lifespan as well, which is unfortunate. And, did I mention the smell? They are real stinkers!

Finally, they cannot be gut loaded, so you can rule that out. Which is a big issue for maintaining your Leo’s nutrition.

Pheonix Worms Pros

These worms are not as well known as mealworms. They are the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly. The great thing about these worms is the fat content. It is quite low, making them a more viable worm for your Leo to consume in quantity.

They can last quite a while as well. You can expect up to a few weeks for these bad boys. They also have a good amount of protein as well. One thing I like about them is their movement. Their move will motivate your Leo to lap them up, assuming he likes their taste (more on this later).

Pheonix Worms Cons

While they are low in fat and it sounds good on paper, you will find its hit and miss if your Leo will like these worms. They are quite messy as well. When it comes to gut loading, forget it. They can’t be gut loaded, unfortunately. Which, is quite a big negative.

How Much Do Pet Iguanas Cost?

If you are toying with the idea of buying an Iguana (Click here for my best Iguana guide & see the price on Amazon) its critical to get an idea of costings before you commit. Let me help you now.

how much do pet iguanas cost? You can expect to pay anything from as low as $15, right up to $600 for an Iguana (this is just for the lizard itself). But, understand there many different types. Also, you have to mindful that there are various other related costs, such as one-off costs for their housing, etc. And, ongoing maintenance costs.

Now you know the actual cost of an Iguana, let me break down the factors that affect their varying valuation and the related costs that you also need to consider.

Why do their costs vary so much?

If you are looking forward to picking up a Pet Iguana it is good to get a range of costs, to help you understand the cost. Therefore in this section, we will look at some costings.

Firstly, Iguanas have a big range of prices. Why? There are many different types. Also, beyond that factor, there is age, condition, etc.

However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay anything from $15 to $600+ (for the actual Iguana itself). I know, the range is massive. But, this is reality.

What Fixed Costs Do Iguanas Have?

The initial cost of owning an Iguana is one thing, but there are also other related fixed costs to factor in. As well as ongoing maintenance costs (more on these later). For this section, I will focus on the fixed costs that you will need to consider.

Here are some of the fixed costs you can expect:

  • The enclosure, to house your lizard.
  • License fees (Applicable in some states in the US).
  • Shipping costs (to get your lizard delivered to you).
  • Enclosure accessories (This varies).
  • Lighting Costs
  • Environmental control (e.g. Humidifiers).

This is an idea of each one. Be mindful, depending on how extravagant you wish to be, this list could be longer, are you with me?

Let me break down some of these costs now, to give you an idea…

The Enclosure Costs

(Click here for a range of costs and enclosures on Amazon)

The enclosure is critical, and one of those fixed costs that can’t be avoided. Initially, depending on which Iguana you have,  you can start with a smaller enclosure of approx 20 gallons.

License Fees

License fees may or may not be applicable in your location. But, if they are applicable you need to check with your local authorities to verify their latest license fee prices.

However, make sure you check with them and don’t think about going ahead without a license. Why? Because in some locations, for example, Hawaii, they can be very strict. In fact, you can receive substantial fines (in the hundreds of thousands) and prosecuted.

Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping is mainly linked to the housing/enclosure I mentioned earlier. This depends on what enclosure you select and materials, etc (Click here for a range of costs and enclosures on Amazon).

Enclosure Accessories

(Click here to see these enclosure accessories & prices on Amazon)

There is a range of accessories you can use for your Iguana. Such as a lizard lounger for your lizard to relax on, decor (Such as plants), Substrate, etc.

Again, this largely depends on your personal choice and budget. Prices for these change on a regular basis, hence the reason why it’s better to visit the link above and get the latest prices.

Lighting Costs

(Click here to see Iguana lighting & prices on Amazon)

Lighting can be broken down into fixed and maintenance. Why? Because the actual initial kit, such as light fixtures are one-off. However, there are ongoing costs, such as replacing the bulbs.

What Maintenace costs are associated with Iguanas?

In this section, I will break down the ongoing costs (Maintenance costs). To be honest, these are more costly in my opinion. They do not seem so on the surface. But, you know, $1 here, $5 there, it all adds up to a large long term cost…

So, in my opinion, it’s better to get these under control as much as possible. Let me break down some typical maintenance costs you can expect:

Food & Water

Fortunately for you, Iguanas are not too costly in this department. Why? Because they are herbivores. Meaning, they expect to eat fruit and veg on a daily basis.

Obviously, this is significantly cheaper than providing live insects or other small animals that other lizard, such as the Tegu lizards (Click here to see how often and what Tegu’ss eat).

Typical costs

To put their grocery costs into perspective, you could easily get away with as low as a couple of dollars a day, or up to say, forty dollars. Give or take a few dollars. For other countries, you can convert this into your local currency. But, either way, it is regarded as a low cost.

Heating Bulbs

As discussed earlier, the initial purchase of light fittings is a one-off. But there ongoing costs for the bulbs. For example, they need UVB bulbs. These need to be replaced at least every 6 months or so (Click here to see a range of UVB bulb costs on Amazon).

Entertainment

Iguanas are not great at mixing. So, you need to make sure that they have fun and keep stimulated on their own. Therefore, in my opinion, toys are critical.

The great thing is, they are not too picky, and these toys or activities do not need to be too much. They prefer toys that are soft, so have that in mind.

Medical Costings

Unfortunately, from time to time your lizard will need some assistance. Hopefully, this will not be a regular occurrence. But if or when it happens you could be looking at a cost in the region of $100 (give or take $20 or $30 dollars). And also, this is a rough guide, because the more serious it is, the greater the costs.

As a general rule, look out for obvious symptoms ahead of time, to help reduce the costs. What? Well, if you notice some blood in the enclosure, for example, don’t just clean it up and move on, it could be something serious brewing, you with me?

Personally, I would jump on the issue right away, even if its a precaution. Take your lizard in for a check as soon as possible. The reason is, if you can get it sorted before it develops, it will be cheaper and less painful for your lizard in the meantime.

Are there any potential “Hidden Costs”?

I would be lying if I said this is the entire list of possible costs. Treat this as a guide of the main things. However, there are some costs that you could never expect. Such as being told such as an increase in rent!

What?

Well, for example, Iguanas are not loved by everyone. Especially other homeowners. Therefore you may find that you could be charged more rent to keep the Iguana. Or, in some cases refused to stay in some places. Meaning, you will need to seek other, potentially more expensive accommodation.

This is just one example to consider.

Is it easy to rehouse an Iguana?

If you are the type of person that likes regular changes, such as moving home every 2-3 years, etc. Then, I need to explain why having an Iguana may not be ideal for you…

Earlier I explained that you encounter higher costs, due to the perceived inconvenience of having an Iguana in the house. Well, another thing to consider is the commitment you need to make.

Iguanas will get big and unfortunately, sometimes they get aggressive. On top of this, you will find that they are not easy to give away. Not even zoos will take them in some cases.

Therefore, if you are not committed and feel this is a short term fad, then this one is not for you.