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RE: Plated lizard questions

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Posted by: Matt Campbell at Thu Dec 22 21:43:30 2005  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Matt Campbell ]  
   

>>I done some research and still am doing research but was woundering if anyone can tell me some info on these guys.

Good start. Keep reading, and look at back posts on this forum as many will deal with issues regarding diets, substrates, etc. A good book that has some basic natural history on all the species is the 'Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of South Africa' by Bill Branch. It has great photos that can really help identify the differences between tricky species like Black-lined Plated Lizards and Yellow-throated Plated Lizards. Also, 'Reptiles' magazine had an article on 'Sudan' and Giant Plated Lizards in I think it was their October issue. Beware though, as the full page spread is misidentified as a Giant Plated Lizard when in fact it's a Black-lined Plated Lizard. I think it's a mistake on the behalf of the 'Reptiles' editorial staff and not the author.

>>How big do they get?"

There's a large size range. They can get anywhere from 8 - 10 inches total length to up to 24 inches total length. Obviously the smaller sizes will be more suited to the aquarium size you're talking about.

>>Also can i house one in a 55 gallon terrarium?

I personally would recommend against a glass aquarium for the simple reason that aquaria are made for fish, not reptiles and as such have lousy ventilation characteristics and also tend to stress animals more since when you feed, water, and clean you always approach from above as a predator would. I would much rather see any species of Plated housed in a front-opening enclosure that is spacious in its dimensions.

>>Do they like to climb more or stay on the ground?

They primarily dwell on or near rock outcroppings and will prefer stacked shelves of flat pieces of rocks where they can get into crevices where they feel more comfortable.

>>Also what is a good substrate?

I recommend plain old dirt. I make my own soil substrate mix composed of equal parts hardwood mulch, topsoil , and peat moss.

Finally diet. Variety is the spice of life for these guys. For the insectivorous species feed more than just crickets - use roaches, earthworms, waxworms, superworms, even frozen/thawed pinkie or fuzzy mice . For the more omnivorous species, the above applies but you'll also want to feed a varied diet of leafy greens, pieces of prickly pear cactus pad and/or fruits, other fruits like apple, the occasional grape, pieces of tomato or bell pepper, etc.
-----
Matt Campbell
25 years herp keeping experience
Full-time zookeeper
Personal collection - 21 snakes (9 genera), 20 lizards (4 genera), 6 chelonians (2 genera)


   

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