Believe it or not, many proud lizard owners have wondered if their pet can actually pee (urinate). I admit it may sound weird, but we all need to know, and that is why you are here, right?
Do Lizards Pee? The answer is no, well not exactly! Reptiles only have one tube that gets rid of everything, urine and faeces. They excrete a smooth paste like texture that expels all of their waste.
All animals need to get rid of the nitrogen waste that piles up in their bodies. If we didn't, that nitrogen waste would turn into toxic ammonia. However, not every animal uses the same method to get rid of the nitrogen waste.
You might have noticed slimy bird poo piling up on the hood of a car. Gross! That nasty texture is caused by uric acid, which birds produce instead of urine. Reptiles are just like birds when it comes to uric acid.
Mammals like you and me have two separate tubes for getting rid of waste, both solid and liquid, but reptiles only have one tube that gets rid of all their waste at once. It might seem weird, but it makes a lot of evolutionary sense for lizards.
Since they don't urinate like humans and other mammals, reptiles retain a lot more of the water they drink. Even though it takes more energy for a body to process water that way, retaining as much water as possible is an important survival tool for lizards that live in dry climates.
They may not pee the same way as mammals, but most lizards still have a bladder. It can modify urine like a human bladder. Its main function, however, is to act like a reservoir of water inside the lizard's body.
When you consider that a Gila monster has to endure a three month dry season every year in its native deserts, it starts to make sense that lizards would want to carry around a big pouch of water in their bodies.
Dehydration can be a real problem for lizards of all kinds. The lack of water causes their uric acid to crystallize into bladder stones which can be painful and uncomfortable. They might even cause damage to the lizard's organs.
Even lizards without bladders can develop uric acid crystals when they get dehydrated, so it's important to make sure your pet lizard is always drinking as much water as it needs. If you think your pet lizard might have bladder stones or any other symptoms of dehydration, you should consult a veterinarian right away.
Lizards, regardless of the specie, common callareds, Iguanas, you name it, they need water to survive just like every plant or animal on Earth. It's easy to say they need water, but do lizards want water the same way you or I do when we get thirsty on a hot summer's day? That's a trickier question to answer.
The part of the human brain that causes the feeling of thirst is the hypothalamus, which sits at the base of the brain. Your hypothalamus also regulates your body temperature, controls your appetite, and releases hormones into your body. It's still unclear how the brains of other animals work compared to ours.
The exact way different kinds of animals experience the world around them is currently being studied, but the science is far from settled. Some research into iguanas has shown that they drink water in response to physiological thirst stimuli.
However, the researchers described the response time to some of the stimuli as being "leisurely" compared to other animals. Short of teaching your lizard to speak, you're unlikely to find out exactly how it experiences thirst. That doesn't mean it doesn't need water to live, though!
Scientists once believed that some lizards absorbed water through their skin instead of drinking it through their mouths. This was always a tough theory to believe because permeable skin would lose more water than it could ever absorb in a hot, dry desert.
The truth, scientists discovered, is even stranger than they imagined. The lizards were actually trapping the water under their scales and using their skin to push the water across their backs and into the corners of their mouths. The phenomenon behind this survival strategy is called capillary action.
Capillary action describes the way water reacts to factors like surface tension and adhesion to move through a space. Water can even move against gravity if the capillary action is strong enough.
That might be a complicated process, but the end result is a nice stream of water running off the lizard's back and into the lizard's mouth. Whether they harvest it off their backs, sip it from dew, or lap it out of streams, lizards do actually drink through their mouths. The water they drink is supplemented by the water they retain from foods that they eat.
Of all the babies on planet Earth, lizard babies are some of the most resilient. Not even a new born baby lizard needs its mother's protection to survive. In fact, some lizards can even take care of themselves before they hatch!
In response to predators, delicate skinks hatch themselves prematurely and sprint away the instant they touch the ground.
That's one independent baby! They might be limited in their diet because of their smaller mouths, but otherwise baby lizards are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
That means they drink water much like adult lizards do. They drink moisture off of leaves or (depending on the species) out of dishes, and they retain the water from the insects they eat.
If your species of baby lizard likes to drink from a dish or bathe in a pool, make sure the dish is wide and shallow enough that your lizard can't accidentally drown in its water.
You've probably heard that urine is sterile. That's only half true for us humans. Our organs contain harmless microbial bacteria that gets mixed in with our urine, so you can't really call our urine sterile. Still, human urine is relatively clean and non-toxic due to the waste removal processes in our bodies.
The same can't be said for the uric acid that reptiles produce. The mix of feces and uric acid that lizards excrete can make humans very sick because it often contains salmonella. Salmonella bacteria causes all the vomiting and cramping symptoms of a stomach bug cranked up to high, even dangerous, intensity.
Salmonella is also the bacteria responsible for typhoid fever. When it comes to your pet lizard, make sure you handle any waste it produces with great care. If you own a pet lizard and you're experiencing the symptoms of salmonella, you should always seek medical attention.
You probably already know that lizards are cold blooded, which means they don't regulate their body temperatures the way you or I do. Instead, the bodies of cold blooded (or ectothermic) animals heat up or cool down depending on the temperature of their surroundings.
That can be a real problem for desert lizards. If the desert heat gets too intense, a cold blooded lizard is liable to burn to death from the inside. That's why desert lizards often bury themselves beneath the sand, where it's much cooler and they're far likelier to survive.
Some desert lizard species don't even bother coming out during the day. The western banded gecko is only active at night, when the desert is cooler. In the case of such geckos, it's not a question of where they live— it's a question of when!
Even though water's hard to come by in the desert, the lizards adapted to dry environments are able to make do. Remember the lizard I talked about in Question 5? That's the Texas horned lizard, a desert species.
Its ability to drink off its back helps it get the most of any moisture it encounters in its hot, sandy environment. The thorny devil lizard has similar harvesting methods on the skin of its feet, using the surfaces of its legs like straws to pry water from soggy sand.
Many other desert lizards rely almost entirely on the insects they eat as their main source of water. By the way, make sure you don't mess with a Texas horned lizard anytime soon.
While researching this article, I discovered that these formidable critters have a totally unique defense mechanism. When they get frightened, they shoot blood out of their eyes to ward off predators. Call me crazy, but a Texas horned lizard might not be the best choice for a pet!
It's very important that you give your lizard water in whichever way is best suited to its particular species. Chameleons, for example, will only drink water through a drip system, whereas iguanas need a daily misting.
You'll also need to mist the lizard's tank to match the level of humidity your lizard prefers. While bearded dragons often avoid water dishes and prefer to get water from the insects they eat, other lizards will want bowls to drink from or even bowls to bathe in.
Some lizards will have trouble shedding if they don't have water dishes for soaking. Lizards are very diverse and they live in just about every biome on Earth. In fact, there are lizards native to every continent except for Antarctica.
That means there are as many different kinds of environments that lizards like as there are different kinds of environments on the planet. Don't let that discourage you!
The most important thing to remember is that your lizard is unique. How you give your pet its water will depend entirely on its species, as well as the part of the world its species originally came from.
A clean water supply is essential for your lizard's health and happiness. Experts recommend changing your lizard's water supply every day. You'll also need to replenish the water supply if your lizard soils it in any way.
Remember: your lizard's waste has dangerous illnesses living in it! In addition to changing the water, it's important to clean up the dishes for your lizard. Water containers should be washed daily with soap and warm water. It's also a good idea to thoroughly disinfect the containers once a week.
The best way to care for your lizard will depend on its species. However, there are some good rules of thumb when it comes to misting any species of lizard. You might have seen someone use a spray bottle to punish a misbehaving dog.
The reason a spray bottle works as a disciplinary tool for dogs is because dogs hate getting sprayed in the face with water. A surprising blast of water to the face is unpleasant and startling for just about anybody. Your lizard is no exception!
If you need to mist your lizard's body, never spray it directly in the face. That kind of misting is a startling, disturbing experience for lizards. Instead, you should mist your lizard gently across its back.
Different lizard species prefer different amounts of mist. If you're the proud owner of an iguana, for example, you need to mist your lizard on a daily basis with fresh water from a clean spray bottle. Some gecko owners also choose to mist their pets once or twice per day.
Other lizards that like humid environments might not need to be misted themselves, but could still want their tanks to be misted so they can drink water off of leaves.
For these lizards, a thorough tank misting every morning ought to do the trick. Every lizard has its own preferences. If your lizard is happy and healthy, you're probably providing it the right amount of misting.
Regular tank misting can be a chore for some lizard owners. You're also opening your lizard's habitat up to human error. It might be a good idea to buy a fogger, a kind of humidifying device that automatically moistens your lizard's tank at regular intervals.
Foggers are distinguished from automatic misting systems by the size of the water droplets they produce. The water droplets from foggers are far smaller, which helps them stay in the air longer. Foggers vary widely in reliability and usability. Make sure you thoroughly research the different foggers on the market before you purchase one for your pet lizard.
The right fogger can simulate the humidity your lizard prefers in its natural habitat. It can also humidify the tank on a programmed schedule, keeping the environment consistent around the clock.
However, you'll want to be sure the model of fogger you purchase suits your lizard's unique needs. Some foggers heat up while they operate. For some species, that heat can be incredibly uncomfortable or even dangerous.
The owners of those lizards will want to invest in an ultrasonic model, which won't heat up while it's fogging your lizard's tank. Also, the fogger will still need water refills to function correctly. A good fogger will simplify your lizard care chores, but no product can replace the care and attention your lizard needs from you on a daily basis.
Hopefully, the research and information in this article will clear up any misconceptions you might have about pet lizards. Their reptile physiology is pretty different from our mammalian bodies.
Lizards get rid of their waste differently, drink their water differently, and need special attention from their owners to make sure they're living in the right environment for their species. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to consult a pet expert for advice. You won't regret going the extra mile to ensure the health and happiness of your lizard.
Did you enjoy this article? I sure hope so! Leave your opinion in the comments so I can write articles you'll have fun reading.
If you have a pet lizard of your own, you can also let me know in the comments how he or she likes to drink water. If you did enjoy the article, share it on social media so that more people can take better care of their lizards!
Looking for a gecko that is as pretty as it is easy to care for? confused about how to take care of it? I have compiled a Leopard Gecko Care Sheet so you can easily know all the essentials for your new family member.
So what is a Leopard Gecko? known as the Common Leopard Gecko due to the fact that they are the most popular geckos in the world. This is because of their cute appearance. They are also the only geckos to have eyelids which is what makes them look cuter.
The scientific name for the leopard gecko is Eublepharis Macularius. The term Eublepharis is Greek for Good Eyelid, pointing at their unique trait while the word Macularis comes from Latin meaning spots, which is a direct reference to their spotted bodies.
The natural habitat of the Leopard Gecko is rocky, dry grassland and desert. They mostly prefer places with little humidity and loads of insects so they eat, relax (and pee?). They are naturally found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and India.
These animals are cathermal reptiles which means they are more active during dawn and dusk. They don’t prefer temperatures that are too hot or too cold.
These animals are solitary and are not found with members of their own species. They also undergo brumation to escape hot or cold temperatures.
In captivity, leopard geckos can be found in pet stores, reptile shows and even on the Internet. They are the first lizards to be tamed, hence they are very popular. Their eyelids give them a sort of pretty look which has proven to be quite popular with kids.
You can find rare looking geckos at a collector’s market too, where they usually sell at very high prices due to their unique features.
Leopard geckos can range from $20 all the way to $300. They are usually cheaper when found in pet stores and online. However, chances are they were not bred correctly or were not cared for properly.
You want a gecko that will live for longer. This is only possible with reputable and professional breeders. However, these will be pricey. You can also get rare geckos at auctions, however, their prices are normally sky-rocketing.
Most leopard geckos live a long life when compared to other reptiles. They can live anywhere from 6-10 years. However, when taken care of properly, they can reach even 20 years.
To consider the size of the vivarium, you should probably consider the size of the geckos first. Most adult females range from 7 to 8 inches while the males measure anywhere from 8 to 10 inches and few can even reach a foot.
So, you might consider a 10-gallon tank for a single leopard gecko while for two, you can use a 20-gallon one.
If you use tanks that are too small, they might not be able to get a proper temperature gradient along the tank. Also, the geckos might not be able to get enough space for exercise.
However, if you were to get a larger tank, that would mean that the gecko can easily stray away from the warmer side. It could also mean that your tank would have cold spots that can prove to be a danger to the gecko.
You can use a cage as well. However, ensure that the cage is about 1 foot tall. And that it has a secure screen at the top for a lighting fixture. Also, ensure that your tank is well-ventilated.
The leopard geckos need about 88 to 90 degrees F in the day and about 70-80 degrees F during the night. The ambient air temperature in the place where they have been housed should not be lesser than 73 degrees F.
If the temperatures are too cold, they might not be able to survive. At colder temperatures, most lizards tend to get inactive and if it gets below 50 degrees F, they might freeze to death.
At too hot temperatures, the geckos might get dehydrated. This means that they need a moderate environment where they can survive easily.
One major reason is that these leopard geckos are cold-blooded. This means that their body temperature changes with the temperature of the environment.
So, this is why the temperature and heating are so important. Also, you need to ensure that your heating devices are at one corner of the tank.
This would develop a temperature gradient across the tank where one end of the tank would be hot and the other would be colder. So, the gecko can choose for itself.
You can use a heating pad or a tape underneath the tank for the best heating conditions. These are available at any kind of pet stores. Be sure to put this at only one corner of the tank.
As we explained before this creates a temperature variation and the gecko can choose the best-suited temperature for its body.
Do not use heat rocks as they can become too hot and geckos can often burn themselves on it. Since leopard geckos are nocturnal creatures, they do not need specific UV lighting to bask under.
However, to help them distinguish between night and day, you can use a low wattage lamp hung above the cage. Turn this on for only 12 hours a day.
If you do choose for a UV light, ensure that you place a 2 to 5 percent UVB bulb. This is necessary for making Vitamin D for their body. If you do not, then do remember to feed them calcium supplements.
One of the most important things when keeping a leopard gecko is imitate its natural environment as much as you can. TO do this, you will need to provide the gecko with a ton of hiding places.
This includes placing logs, rocks, cliffs, and even a pile of pebbles through which it could scurry and hide. You should also include low plants with strong and sturdy branches for climbing.
Of course, you can try for natural plants. However, they call for some extra maintenance so you
might want to stick with plastic ones that are non-toxic.
Another thing you might need is a substrate to maintain the humidity and temperature inside the tank. However, ensure that the substrate is natural, otherwise, your lizard could swallow it and go through a process called impaction.
This means that the substance cannot be dissolved by the stomach and eventually blocks the passage. So, using sand and beech wood would not be recommended.
You can use newspaper, flat stones, mulch, grains etcetera as a substrate. Also, do not use any commercial soils as those might be loaded with pesticides and fertilizers that may harm your gecko.
Geckos are insectivores and love to munch on crickets. They do not eat plants or veggies as they can upset their stomachs. They normally east invertebrates such as mealworms and crickets. You can also use waxworms or super worms.
They normally need a protein-rich diet. You can try gut loading your insect (click here to see how and why you should be gut-loading superworms). This means you can feed them with a nutritious protein powder and then feed It to your gecko a day later. These can include chickpea powder etcetera.
This ensures that your gecko gets as much protein as possible. You can further dust your insects with calcium or other supplements to ensure that your gecko does not become deficient. Simply place the dusting powder in a bag and place the insect with it. Shake them gently to coat the insects with the powder.
You can also place open powder in a dish as geckos are known to eagerly lick up the powder.
However, ensure that you do not dust too much. Talk to an expert about what the right serving size of these powders is. Feed them every one day. An adult sized gecko should normally eat double the amount of insects as his size (in inches).
If the geckos are juvenile, they should be fed every other day so as to complete their nutrition.
Leopard geckos, like any other geckos, cannot swim! This is because they have no other breathing mechanisms and are not accustomed to holding their breaths. You might see a tonne of videos showing them how to swim. But these are mostly shallow water.
The water bowl should be very shallow as well. If not, they could end up accidentally drowning themselves. However, in cases there is impaction or the gecko is shedding their skin, you want to put them in a bath as it can often ease the whole process. All you have to do is take a shallow water dish with warm water. Ensure that the water is not too hot, nor too cold. It should be just mild.
Hold the gecko by its back and dip it gently into the water. Ensure you do not put them in too deep. Just dip them until their shoulders. You can even try creating soaps with gentler reaction to help geckos in shedding their skins.
Since the leopard gecko is wildly popular due to its beautiful eyes and vibrant colors, they are available in a wide variety of pet shops all across the US and many different countries. These pet store leopard geckos are already tamed, hence they will be easier to deal with. However, we still recommend buying from a very reputable breeder as they know how to care for them and can teach you as well.
You can buy baby geckos as well, but keep in mind that they are much harder to deal with than adult geckos. They require extra attention and any accidents can cause the pet its life. Also note that although they might be tamed, they are still not prepared for your touch. You need to make them accustomed to your touch and socialize with them. This can down by allowing the gecko to run over your hands 5-6 times a day. Do not grab it until after 5-6 days have passed.
If you do not follow the process, you gecko might become stressed.
Yes, there are a number of health conditions that can land your pet with the vet. One of the most serious conditions is Metabolic Bone Disease. This can happen due to the deficiency of Calcium and Vitamin D. This is why even though you do not come out in sunlight, they still need a UVB lamp at lower powers to fulfill their Vitamin D Needs. They can be a result of not providing your pet with not enough or no Calcium supplements at all. This disease can cause spine and limb deformities which can cause them a lot of pain.
They are also known to be a victim of gastroenteritis which is a bacterial infection. The common symptoms are watery stools and a shrunken tail. It can be fatal, however, it is easily treated if caught early.
They can also develop dysecdysis which can be due to insufficient moisture or undernourishment. They can get a dry skin which will affect their vision and their shedding period.
Furthermore, they are known to be prone to different respiratory infections. Most common symptoms are wheezing or mucus bubbling around the nose. In this case, take your pet gecko to a vet immediately.
As with all other geckos, a male and female pair can live quite happily together with as little fights as possible. Similarly, female geckos can be housed together as well as male and multiple females.
However, do note in that these cases, the male will mate with the females and they might become egg bound and lay their eggs. If you do not want to breed your leopard geckos, ensure that you provide a separate tank for them.
For males, you might be able to keep them together. However, there is a very real chance that they continue to fight over territorial disputes. A common way to find out whether they are intimidated by each is other ‘tail waving’.
Most leopard geckos wave their tail when they feel threatened and are about to attack. Separate them instantly or they might bite each other.
Whatever the case, if you are keeping two leopard geckos together, ensure that there is sufficient space. If you do get hatchlings, separate them right away as the adults might harm them.
You need to tame the gecko before you can start handling them. Otherwise, they might be too intimidated and try to run away. These are normally nocturnal and ground dwelling.
They are mostly inactive and easy to tame. These geckos do not climb walls. They do not bite and move very slowly. They tend to be vocal too. This is a great way to communicate with them as they can easily tell you when they’re hungry.
Leopard geckos are tail rattlers as well. If they rattle their tails, this either means that they are excited and want to eat or mate. You should never hold them by their tails as they can self-amputate if you touch them. This is because they are extremely defensive animals and usually use this method to protect themselves from any predators.
Leopard geckos make for exceptionally good pets for beginners as they are easy to care for and do not require a lot of attention. They are also docile and you can easily handle them. They do not bite unless provoked.
This is why kids love them so much. With other geckos, you cannot pick them up because they are either too sensitive or they bite if picked up. These are the perfect lizards for beginners.
All in all, leopard geckos are extremely popular (Click to see if they are good for kids pets) in the reptile community. Ask anyone and they will surely say they started off with a leopard geckos. They make great pets for beginners and you can pick them up and play with them, without harming them. We hope you are ready for your first ever gecko!
Like and share if you found this helpful. Also, leave comments below with anything we left out! Cheers!
If you are new to lizard ownership, or even if you are just starting to learn about them, you may be curious about what baby lizards eat (Click here for my best baby lizard food on Amazon After looking into this I was surprised what I found.
What do baby lizards eat? Baby lizards eat exactly the same as an adult lizard, there is no baby specific food for them. Depending on the type of lizard, they may hatch from an egg or have a live birth.
With so many wall geckos hanging around the house, you might question whether their bites are venomous or whether they poison the food if they fall into it, well this article will answer this, and much more.
Is a a Wall Gecko Poisonous if Eaten? No, the are not. I am pleased to tell you that these geckos are non-toxic. You can safely consume food without worrying about toxins. However, the skin of geckos is known to carry harmful pathogens such as salmonella that can cause you to be severely ill if you consume the food. If you want to know more, please read on.
As discussed earlier, they are not poisonous, per-say. However, if one of these lizards did end up in your dinner plate, the main danger is if the food is ready-to-eat and will not go through a heating process. The germs can easily be transferred to your body if you handle them as well.
If the food is yet to be cooked, then the high heat will essentially kill all the bacteria and so the food will be safe to eat. So, if you’re okay with eating that food, it’s your choice! But, remember it will be completely harmless.
Well, to be honest, there are two types of wall geckos commonly found. One is the common house lizard, scientifically names ad Hemidactylus frenatus.
These are commonly found in groups in homes and feed on insects. During the summers, these reptiles sneak out from their hiding places and hunt their prey throughout the house.
The second species is called the Tokay Gecko or the Gekko Gecko which are also found in houses, however, they are not as common. They lead a very solitary life and have bright orange spots on their skins, not to be confused with the popular Leopard Gecko.
Only the Hemidactylus frenatus is known as the common house lizard. They are also known as the Asian House Gecko, The Pacific House Gecko, A House Lizard or Moon Lizard. They are also called the Housecleaners as they often help reduce the number of insects and arthropods in the house.
The House Gecko is actually found in South Asia and South East Asia where it lives in the houses of common folks.
As a result of trading and the increased inter-country travel, the Asian House Geckos are found all over the world. They can be found in coastal areas in East Asia such as Japan and Korea,
Australia, South America, Middle East, Africa, North America, Pacific Islands, Indian Ocean Islands as well as the Carribean Islands. In the United States, the House gecko can be found in coastal areas such as Florida and some southern states where it stays warm throughout the year.
The House Lizard is a more tropical reptile who likes to live in warm and humid areas. This is why it is mostly found in coastal areas where the air is almost always hot and humid.
Lizards have long been associated with superstitions of good luck. Most folks consider the gecko as the guardian of their homes. The Ancient Greek and Roman people thought that these reptiles are an indicator of wisdom and good fortune.
They used to represent hope and a good afterlife. The Ancient Egyptians linked the lizard to abundance as well as productiveness. Even today they are considered lucky and are deemed to bring great fortune.
Some folks even wear charms or pendants in the shapes of lizards, believing that it will bring them great luck.
Some even consider them to protect their children from harm. The main superstition is that it is very harmful to kill a lizard as it might bring upon a tide of bad luck to you and your family.
If a lizard falls on you then that means you have just been blessed with good luck. If an expecting woman sees a child, then it indicates the child will lead a successful life. These are some of the superstitions related with lizards.
In many countries such as Asian Countries, the house lizard is an invasive species which often causes a nuisance for most folks. In other countries where they were introduced, these are considered pests as well.
They are considered a serious threat to the local life species. Other native geckos often end up with fighting these invaders for food and their territories. The house lizard often carries disease-carrying termites to other species.
Despite these reservations against them, house lizards are generally harmless and pose no danger to humans. They are not toxic, non-venomous, and do not transfer any deadly diseases to humans.
Moreover, they do not suck blood or feed on humans. They are actually quite helpful in reducing a large number of insects from the house such as cockroaches, spiders, and other bugs because they prey on them.
While you may consider them as pests, but the truth is that they are the most commonly found gecko pet. This is because they are easier to maintain. All they need is a clean vivarium and substrate along with a heat source and a humidifier and you’re good to go!
You don’t even need to check on them for hours on end as they are fully capable of taking care of themselves. They can hide around and often surprise you in the vivarium. Most of their diet consists of a few insects that you can feed to them once every 2-3 days.
They should not be handled as they are very fragile due to the lack of scales or other protective layers. They are quick as well, as they can easily escape through your hands. They tend to live for 5 years in captivity depending on how well you take care of them.
These lizards are usually kept in a terrarium or any sort of enclosure. When picking out the perfect housing for your lizard, ensure that the tank is big enough so your lizard can get plenty of exercises.
If you’re going for a single gecko, a 10-gallon tank will suffice. However, for two geckos, you might want to look for something greater than 20 gallons that will give them plenty of room to live, hunt and mate as well.
Also, ensure that your tank has a vertical incline at some end as these reptiles love climbing the aquarium. They might like climbing on rocks, logs, trees, plants etcetera.
So, place those for them as well. Clean your gecko’s tank once in a week using spot cleaning techniques. Replace water every day as it can start looking dirty quite easily.
First and foremost, you need to ensure that there are loads of climbing spaces for the lizard. Of course, you can opt for real plants or mini-trees, however, since you would need to take care of them, they might not be suitable. You can have fake plants for them to climb.
However, ensure that these plants are non-toxic and that your lizard cannot chew them. You might also need a lamp for maintaining and regulating the temperature since these are cold-blooded reptiles. Other objects such as logs, rocks, and stones will provide ample space for them to hide in.
Another object you might need is a water dish for your gecko to drink water from. Since these are tropical animals, they need a lot of humidity to survive by. SO, we would recommend setting up a humidifier to achieve the desired humidity or a misting device.
You also need to put a suitable substrate at the bottom of the tank, at least 3 inches deep so your tank can maintain the humidity and the temperature.
The most important thing to consider when storing more than one gecko together is that they may resort to fighting. When two males are stored together, they tend to fight each other when present together.
This may be due to territorial disputes or perhaps they want to establish themselves as the leader. So, if you store two males together, chances are they might bare their teeth and claws and try to one-up each other.
So, we do not recommend that you put them together. You might want to buy a second tank for another male. However, keeping a female with a male is no issue as they do not fight each other. This, too, may result in some housing issues.
This is because the male and the female may mate and lay eggs. Then if the eggs hatch, you would have to make more room for the baby geckos. And the process might go on again and again. SO, even if you do want them to mate, place the female out of the tank as soon as you know she is about to lay eggs.
The Tank should have a heat gradient as reptiles are cold-blooded. This means their body temperature responds to the temperature of the environment. If the temperature gets too low, the reptile may become slow and inactive and may even die.
They can become sick t too high of a temperature as well. So, you need to regulate the temperature well. The simple solution is to keep a basking lamp at one end on the tank.
The gecko can then pick out the suitable temperature as the temperature will decrease as he steps away from the lamp.
You can turn the lamp off during the night to provide for a more natural environment, however, be sure that the temperature doesn’t fall too low. The overall temperature should be around 85-90 degrees at the hotter end and about 75-80 degrees F at the cooler end.
Night temperatures should stay between 75-80 degrees F. You can use a blue heat lamp to control temperatures during the night.
A substrate is an extremely important part of the living environment of any reptile. They help you maintain the temperature and humidity of the tank. The Substrate at the bottom of the tank will keep the tank hot and humid.
You can go with a simple option such as a tissue paper or newspaper. Or you can go for a more fancy looking option and put up mulch, bark, leaf litter or organic soil. However, do not use sand or pebbles as these reptiles might eat them and end up being sick.
Whatever substrate you chose, ti should be at least 3 inches deep. Make sure to clean the newspaper and change it every week. If you are using more natural looking substrate, spot cleaning will do the trick for a month before you need to change them.
Whatever you use, ensure that your gecko is not eating it, or else it causes impaction which can be dangerous for its health.
Since house geckos are tropical animals, they need a humid and hot climate. They respond well to an environment with about 70-90% humidity. You might want to use an automatic misting device that mists up to once a day.
This helps your tank stay humid. Of course, you can do this yourself, however, you might forget about it. So, it is much better to use an automatic device so that you don’t have to worry about maintaining the humidity of the tank.
If you do chooses to do it yourself, the process is quite simple. All you need to do is fill up a bottle of mister with chlorine free, distilled water. Then spray with it on the sides of the tank. Some folks tend to spray at their gecko. We’d like to remind them that they only need the moisture in their environment.
You need to give your lizard water every day. Use a small and shallow bowl and fill it with fresh water. Keep it on the cool side of the tank. The gecko can use it to drink water or to bathe.
Ensure that you do not use distilled water as it does not have any nutrients and might cause your gecko to be sick. Instead, use de-chlorinated water. Most house geckos would rather lick the moisture out of the air. Change the bowl daily even if the water does not look dirty.
Most geckos’ diet consists of insects such as normal worms and spiders. Young geckos need to be fed more often, five to six times a week, while the adults can survive with 3-4 feedings per week. The diet should be high in protein, consisting of crickets, mealworms, roaches, silkworms etcetera. Ensure that the insects are smaller than the gecko’s head so it can easily swallow and digest them.
Try gut loading (click here to see how and why you should be gut loading insects) your insects before feeding them. This can be done by feeding them with a nutritious diet given to them 24 hours before feeding them to your gecko. This results in a high protein diet for your gecko.
Like all other pets, geckos need supplements to make up for any deficiencies in their diet. The major deficiency is calcium as they might not be getting enough sun to produce it.
Dust your food with calcium supplements and then feed them to your gecko. However, do not overdust as it can cause over-supplementing which might end up having the opposite effect on your gecko. Dust the supplement two to three time a week.
House geckos are a common pet for a major reason. The reason is that they are extremely easy to handle and do not require a ton of attention on your part. You can simply set up an automatic temperature and humidity regulator after which need only feed them, clean their space and provide them with water every day. This is why they make perfect pets for beginners!
All in all, the house lizard is extremely easy to care for. However, this does not mean that you completely neglect it. Its long life is dependent on how well you take care of it and how well you pay attention to its needs. Well, we hope that answers all your questions about common wall lizards and how to take care of them.
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Want to learn some great Thorny Devil Lizard facts? Well then read on because you are in the right place. In this article I plan to cover their Scientific name, other names they are known by, why they "Puff Up" their bodies, why the wak real funny, and so much more.
This blog post will be taking a look at 15 unique facts about an Australian reptile lizard known as the ‘thorny devil’. This Australian lizard can grow up to 25 cm and has a lifespan up to 20 years.
There are many interesting things to learn about this type of lizard, which is why the purpose of this blog post will be to inform you about the very many interesting facts that this Australian lizard has to offer.
Some of the various facts that we will be talking about include this lizards appearance, size, lifespan, habitat, self-defense tactics, diet, and core survival tactics.
There are many things to explore in regards to the thorny devil, and we hope that you find many of the facts that will be mentioned in this article to be interesting and educational.
The first subject that we are going to take a look at in terms of the thorny devil is to explore the official scientific names and other nicknames that are associated with this particular lizard. the official scientific name for the thorny devil is Moloch horridus which is the soul species of genus Moloch.
To local residents in Western Australia, this lizard is also known as the mountain devil or the thorny lizard. The lizard’s thorny appearance has earned the nickname as the thorny lizard which accurately represents its form.
While there is no official reason that they have been dubbed as the thorny devil lizard, in most cases people use this nickname because of the lizards appearance. The thorny devil is an intimidating Australian lizard with spikes similar to that of a porcupine, and this collection of spikes runs across the majority of the top side of the thorny dragons body.
This lizard originates from Western Australia, which is where it was dubbed with the nickname thorny lizard and thorny devil. This nickname has stuck because of its appearance over the course of its lifetime with its painful spikes and intense lifestyle. It appears that this nickname suits its purpose.
This particular type of Australian lizard typically ranges between 10 and 15 cm in length. In some cases, the thorny devil can grow up to about 20 to 25 cm in length. The thorny devil typically grows for the first half of its life before it reaches its optimal size and stabilizes for the rest of its life span.
There are a number of factors that can differentiate each particular lizard in terms of its growth potential. Their diet, location, and habitat can all contribute to their growth potential which is why you see a wide variety of different sizes when exploring thorny devil lizards.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the thorny devil Australian lizard is the fact that its appearance pretty much dictates its reception towards humans. Humans nicknamed this Australian lizard as the thorny devil because of the fact that its appearance is so intimidating and because this remarkable lizard lives its life based off of its own appearance.
The thorny devil is equipped with hundreds of spiky thorns that are used as a self-defense tactics towards its predators. Potential predators and enemies will be far less likely to want to eat the thorny dragon because of the spiky thorns and rough skin type. These thorns sort of act as a lifeline for the thorny lizard so that it can escape and dangerous situations and continue to survive in an ever-changing world.
The thorny devil lizard has a relatively simple diet that consists of various species of ants, mainly Ochetellus flavipes, and other similar species. The thorny devil lizard often eats hundreds or even thousands of ants in one particular 24 hour period. This particular diet is what dictates its growth potential, so a healthy diet can help the thorny devil grow to its optimal size of up to 20 centimeters.
The thorny devil often scavenges and scouts the desert surface for several hours at a time in order to find food but it is willing to eat. They are very effective at finding what they are looking for, and while they are searching a camouflage skin tight can often defend them and mask them from potential predators.
The main purpose of the thorny devil lizard Puffs there appearance up to look bigger is so that potential predators are more intimidated from the lizards of appearance and are less likely to want to swallow it for food.
This is one of the thorny devils defense tactics that it uses when necessary so that it can continue to survive and thrive in Western Australian deserts.
The thorny devil is smart and stubborn which is why it does such a good job surviving in harsh conditions where the predators are constantly scavenging for potential food.
The thorny devil has an impressive reputation when it comes to self defense which is why it has remained one of the most impressive lizards that has continued to thrive in Western Australia.
The thorny devil has a unique walking choreography that may look different than what you might expect. They walk in such a way that appears that the upper part of their body rocks back and forth almost like a rocking chair.
While there is no confirmed reason that they choose to walk in this manner, one good guess that could potentially be correct is that the thorny devil lizard believes that this movement is less likely to bring attention especially towards potential rivals out in the wilderness.
There are number of self-defense tactics at the thorny devil uses to its advantage, and it appears that this unique walking technique is another great way for the thorny devil to continue to thrive and defend itself against potential threats and nature.
The thorny devil lizard originates from Western Australia and can now be found across central parts of Australia where a majority of the species currently lives. The thorny devil lizards tend to prefer dry desert land and considers the Western Australian climate its home climate. It's fair to say that the thorny devil practically rules among the majority of lizards in Australia.
One of the particular unique things about this type of lizard is the fact that it's Western Australian climate actually helps them change colors during warm and cold weather so that these lizards can disguise themselves from potential predators as a self-defense tactics.
The thorny devil has a unique behavior pattern that primarily focuses on their internal characteristics in order to provide optimal self-defense tactics and survival techniques.
This particular lizard is extremely stubborn and smart and knows how to get around in hot and dry desert climates. They specialize in protecting themselves from potential predators like wild birds by using camouflage to change color and by using a false head that is attached to its neck so that wild birds can't determine whether the lizard is vulnerable or not.
The thorny devil can being extremely intimidating lizard because of its harsh living conditions and intimidating self-defense features. They are constantly exploring for food, usually ants located on the desert surface and enjoy living in Western Australian climate.
Thorny devil female lizards tend to lay a clutch of five to twelve eggs between the months of October and December. The female lizards place these eggs into a nest approximately 40 centimeters under the Earth's surface and then eventually these eggs will hatch after approximately 90 days.
This cycle takes place every year and should be considered a relatively consistent process that most female thorny devil lizards will follow on a year-to-year basis.
The thorny devil lizard is capable of consuming water in unique ways because of its harsh climate that it has become accustomed to. The thorny devil lizard is capable of consuming water simply by touching water because of the scales on the lizard's body. As water strolls across the surface of the thorny devil body, it uses its skin to transport water to its mouth through its skin complexion.
This is one of the remarkable ways that this particular lizards consumes water, as it uses its scales to generate a mechanism to consume as much water as possible when the opportunity arises. The characteristics of this lizard are simply remarkable, which is why many people are stunned to find out how its lifestyle is different than some other creatures that live in Western Australian climate.
The thorny devil has dozens of potential predators that it has to use its self-defense tactics for, but its primary predators tend to be wild birds and goanna’s that exist in Western Australia. The thorny devil uses its camouflage and false head to protect from these potential predators during desperate times.
The thorny devil is capable of using his camouflage to change color which is particularly useful in the Australian climate at various times of the year.
One of the more prominent body features that the thorny devil uses to fend off potential predators are the harsh spikes that are extremely sharp and unappealing to potential predators.
The thorny devil Western Australian lizards is considered an endangered species, which is why some people have looked to try and help eggs hatch so that the Western Australian lizard known as the mountain devil can continue to thrive and produce additional babies so that the species can move towards a less endangered state.
It is hard to determine whether this process has been working, but it does appear that at least for now, the thorny devil is stable and is not moving towards an imminent extinction. The biggest threat to the thorny devil species should be considered wild birds that can swoop down and kill the thorny devil lizard in just a matter of moments.
The horns that are located on the thorny devil lizard are simply another self defense tactic that it uses among its unique variety of characteristics to protect against potential predators.
This particular lizard has a long list of characteristics and self-defense tactics that it has successfully used against many predators, although it tends to struggle with self defense against giant birds that seem to come out of the wild.
These horns don't serve too much of a purpose and are not one of the main self-defense tactics that the lizard intends to use. These horn serve as a complementary measure to try and intimidate potential predators, however they are not as useful as the sharp thorns that help distinguish this particular lizard from others.
While their horns may not be a major part of their anatomy, some people might find that these horns add character to the thorny lizards already unique list of features that make them appealing to some lizard enthusiasts.
Determining whether owning a thorny devil lizard in Western Australia is a good idea comes down to the core principles that surrounds a lizards lifestyle. It is important to remember that these lizards are designed to live outdoors in their natural habitat and that by placing them into a cage or confined environment can drastically change their internal lifestyle and senses which can have significant impact on their health and well-being.
Potential lizard owners and lizard enthusiasts should strongly debate the potential costs, challenges, and tribulations that could potentially arise from owning a thorny devil lizard as a pet. First off, it is important to remember that the thorny devil lizard tends to eat ants and other small similar species which can be costly over a long period of time. In addition, these lizards like to scavenge and move around for long periods of time which could potentially raise health risks if the lizard is confined for long periods of time inside of a small environment. It would be extremely difficult to raise a healthy thorny devil lizard for long periods of time without spending a lot of money to create a custom lifestyle that they would be happy with.
After taking a look at all the information that is available, it is hard to imagine a situation where a beginner lizard owner would be able to successfully meet all of the requirements that a thorny devil lizard would need in order to live a happy life style inside of a confined environment as a pet. While it is not impossible to do this, there are probably other lizards that are better candidates for beginner lizard owners before taking a look at the thorny devil lizard.
Regardless of whether owning a pet lizard is in your future, doing research on some of these creatures like the thorny devil lizard is really fascinating and can bring up a lot of interesting facts that you didn't even know where possible.
These fifteen facts in regards to the thorny devil lizard that has lived most of its life in Western Australian climate are extremely fascinating especially for lizard enthusiasts. Each of these fifteen facts create a unique characteristic that separates this particular lizard from other similar lizards that are not quite the same.
The thorny devil lizard lives up to its name and description as one of the prominent yet endangered lizards that currently strolls across the dry and harsh deserts of Australia. While it is unclear whether the thorny devil lizard has a bright future in terms of its overall species, the good news is that as of right now it is currently in a stable endangerment and is currently likely to stay around for many years.
As a writer and lizard enthusiast myself, it was fascinating to get to know some of the interesting facts that make the thorny devil mountain lizard so unique compared to other similar lizards that live across Australia. I thoroughly enjoyed doing research and finding out new information about this particular type of lizard.
Did you enjoy this in-depth research and fact based article about the remarkable Australian thorny devil lizard? We would love to hear your feedback about this article and would also love to hear your opinions about the thorny devil lizard. Would you ever make the bold decision to own one of these intimidating lizards? Let us know!
The short answer is yes, if you want your lizard to lead a long health existence, you will need one. If you want more in-depth detail, please read on.
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. You should provide vitamin supplementation such as calcium and D3 and other vitamins depending on what you are feeding your lizard already.
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, 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. A substrate that is lightweight allows for the lizard to burrow, and if it is absorbent, you can use a spray bottle for misting to introduce moisture without soaking the interior, something you want to avoid.
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 typical illnesses that beset blue tongue skinks are the result of an unclean habitat or poor feeding. A 40- to 60-gallon terrarium is roomy enough for an adult skink. A screen for the top will help keep your pet contained while still allowing for ventilation.
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.
Though they vary in size and color, the blue tongue lizard is commonly grey having brown stripes going down the back and tail and grow to as much as a foot in the length of the body, not including the tail.
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 vulnerable when young due to their poorly developed scales. Without a strong protective armor, they are susceptible to attacks from cats who are particularly attracted to them as prey.
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.
They emerge by August when you can see the return to their morning sunbathing to help warm them up before they resume foraging. September starts the breeding season all over again and continues through November.
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. In WA and Tasmania, no one is allowed to own one. South Australia and Victoria permit blueys to be kept by commercial dealers. You can go online to apply using the OEH website. If you are applying at a store, you can apply for a license with the assistance of their specialist reptile staff.
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.
Watch your humidity levels so you can prevent Dysecdysis, or abnormal shedding. Intestinal parasites are another area of concern as blueys are susceptible to worms. In some cases, this can be fatal.
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. Just don’t mistake their laziness for a lack of curiosity because when they are out of the enclosure, you could lose track of them if you don’t keep an eye open.
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!
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The short answer to this question is, no they are not poisonous. However, some of them are actually venemous. There is a distint difference, and in this article I will explain in detail.
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. However, if the lizard was poisonous, the cat might end up getting some sort of reaction to the toxins.
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. Chances are your vet might have an anti-venom.
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.
Thus, it is highly recommended that you wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap after handling animals. Salmonella can also be caused by handling lizard environments such as handling their water or food containers or even the terrariums that they live in.
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. If the food was ready-made then, it would mean that the germs would not be eliminated before ingesting.
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. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t look out for these species.
If you live in an area that is frequently inhabited by lizards, you might want to check if some of them are poisonous or venomous. Next, you might want to ensure what kind of anti-venoms are present at your local hospital or vet clinic. This will help you respond quickly to any emergencies.
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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