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RE: how to sex a sudan plated

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Posted by: Matt Campbell at Fri Apr 1 12:38:05 2005  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Matt Campbell ]  

I've tried contacting Zoological Imports in the past - they never return emails. Either they don't care about earning your business or as I suspect, the company is defunct and the website has never been taken down. Either way, I would steer well clear of doing business with someone like that. Plated Lizards for sale are pretty common among many breeder/importer sites. You just have to keep looking. I located many sources that I have bookmarked simply by clicking on links in the Kingsnake breeders directory. You have to look at a lot of junk before you find some good sites but it pays to keep looking.

I'm assuming you have Gerrhosaurus major, a largish uniformly brown colored Plated Lizard with a light colored underbelly, and a large head with a blunt snout. There is one subspecies, Gerrhosaurus major bottegoi that is often sold as an Ornate Plated Lizard. It has flecks of black and red on the scales, a much more attractive lizard but fairly uncommon. The name Sudans are actually known by in Africa is Rough-scaled Plated Lizard or Round-nosed Plated Lizard. This 'Sudan' business comes from some assigning that name to them simply because some of them may get imported from there or are shipped from Sudan before being exported out of some other third country like Ghana.

Sexing isn't difficult if you know what you're looking for, and if you indeed have a Rough-scaled Plated. Both sexes have femoral pores but males have much more prominent pores than females. You'll see waxy secretions coming out of the pores - it's really obvious, but might be difficult to figure out for sure if you don't have several to compare to. Unfortunately, this is a cheap lizard and most importers don't care much about them so they don't bother to learn much about sexing them.

In most cases an importer or reseller is only concerned about getting their Plateds sold quickly. The best you can hope for is that they might be kind enough to take some photos of the cloacal region so that you can try to sex the lizards yourself based on the femoral pores. Of course you have to have a decent photo to begin with and your chances of that are going to be slim.

I'm assuming you want a male/female because you intend to breed? If so, then you're going to need to get them out of the tank with the Beardies. You've already kept your Plated in with the Beardies, so there's no going back there, but in order to create the proper environment for breeding they MUST be in a separate cage, and it's a good idea to keep the sexes separate until you want to introduce them for breeding. Finally, Plateds come from a much more temperate area than Beardies do, so either your Plated is being baked under the lighting your Beardies require or your Beardies are not getting temps as high as they would like.

Also, your Plated Lizard is wild-caught, and your Beardies are captive bred. Unless you bought your Beardies from the most filthy, irresponsible breeder, they should have been free of parasites or bacterial infections. Your Plated Lizard has parasites of one form or another - there's no getting around that. Unless it was treated by a vet after you acquired it, you may have unwittingly exposed your Beardies to parasites for which their bodies have no defenses. That is why it's seldom a good idea to house multiple species together and why it's certainly almost always a bad idea to house together species from entirely different continents.
Matt Campbell
Animal Keeper, Small Mammal/Reptile House
Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago, Illinois

Assistant Curator
Wildlife Discovery Center at Elawa Farm
Lake Forest, Illinois


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