Blue Spiny Lizard

Taking care of blue spiny lizard is quite simple. It will be more as a fun activity when you get every detail right. The process is a breeze as the creatures are not aggressive. The most important thing is getting to know all the facts about the lizard. The process of taking care of it in terms of food, water, shelter is very important- otherwise, there’ll be havoc. The following is a basic introduction of what the blue spiny lizard is;

Its scientific classification is as follows; The animal kingdom is animalia while the phylum is Chordata. Blue spiny lizard is under the reptilia class, under the Squamata order and Iguania suborder. The lizard is placed under the phrynosomatidae family in the Sceloporus Genus. The binomial name is Sceloporus serrifer often contracted to s.serrifer. The longest of the blue spiny lizard is the A.cyanogenys that grow to a length of up to 14 inches including the tail. 

Normally the tail is longer than the body. This type of lizard has grayish-brown color having white spots on it’s back and head. Also noticeable is the white-body with a black collar neck. The males have a blue chin, throat, and belly while their backs have a blue-green color. The back has scaled with keel forming a sharp spine, and as a result, the back feels rough. This is actually one of its defensive mechanisms. Although the blue spiny lizard can be housed it still has its defensive mechanisms.

Blue Spiny Lizard

Blue spiny lizards are mostly located in the eastern Mexico states specifically southern Texas. They are also present in Belize and Guatemala. Most of the time they are found in an environment that are rocky, bridges, boulders, cliffs, outcrops, and dry creek beds surfaces. They have their shelter in burrows, rodent nests and crevices. They are located in areas that are hot and dry. This could be attributed by their nature of being cold-blooded.

Behavior

Blue spiny lizards change their color from time to time. This is depending on the temperature as well as season. When the temperature is cooler they normally change their color to a darker tone. This is to help in absorbing of more heat especially in the morning. They are cold-blooded and this ability comes in handy. During the breeding season, the male blue spiny lizard has a more brilliant blue color. In terms of giving birth the blue spiny lizard has a different characteristic. They normally give birth to live young lizards as opposed to laying eggs.

Blue spiny lizards seek their food by climbing on plants, flowers, rocks and shrubs searching for insects. You can easily locate them in crevices, woodrat nests, rodent burrows and under logs.  Climbing trees also acts as a protective measure from their predators.  You may at times spot them lying on top of the stones. They do this as a lookout for insects prey. Blue spiny lizards normally feed on any insect they catch.

These lizards move at a lightning speed. This is just like all the lizards in the Sceloporus family. The younger specimen move even faster. 

When handling wild specimens of blue spiny lizard do that with care. Normally they tend to bite. They will also play dead when captured. Blue spiny lizards located in the wild get water from their prey, vegetation and berries. Actually most desert lizards get water from rain as it flows down. This can be a good idea when caring for blue spiny lizards. You can use a spray bottle or ice cubes and allow them to drip. To avoid bites observe the mouth reaction and the hissing sound. Normally the Blue spiny lizard will hiss as an alert or warning.

Handling

Blue spiny lizards are easy to handle as they are less bullish. Considering the desert spiny lizard and others in the Sceloporus family the blue spiny lizard is easy to handle. They cannot be termed as aggressive however they have a few defensive methods. Among them is playing dead.

Be careful when dealing with them by hand. They travel really fast and will run up your body. From the hand to the arm to the shoulders and your back. Normally they won’t jump off your body although their speed makes them difficult to catch. When handling them on your hand you will have an easy time. However, you should be able to train them later on.

In case the captive-bred blue spiny lizard falls to the floor it will normally sit there with no movement. Wild-caught specimens will however runoff. Be cautious about the way you handle the lizards. Whether they are captive- bred or wild caught they will drop their tails in case grabbed by the tail. In case the tail falls off it will eventually grow back however it might look slightly different. Avoid grabbing the lizards by the tail as sometimes two tails may grow instead of one. This is actually weird.

How To Pick One Up

  1. Cuff your hand first and direct it to the lizard’s location.
  2. Give the lizard enough time for it to jump on your hand. This is important so the lizard feels it has full control. Avoid grabbing or forcing the lizard to your hand. It might consider this as a hostile method. Be patient and gentle as you can.
  3. Be gentle while handling it so it knows when to climb on and jump off. After a number of days handling the Blue Spiny Lizard gently, it will naturally learn when to climb on your hand and to jump off. You will actually be building a more friendly atmosphere. In such a case you will hardly be bitten

As part of their handling consider placing a dish of water. Most times you will hardly find them drinking water but it’s good in case they need it. Also, consider adding vegetation around their surroundings. Flowers can also be helpful. You may opt to substitute flower and vegetables with a multivitamin. Flowers and vegetables will also help the lizard feel as if it’s in its natural habitat.

Housing

Their habitat is in the wild. Blue spiny lizards exist in a warm desert-like environment. They are used to harsh conditions from the rocky hard surfaces they live in. They will normally struggle to survive in areas with humidity or cold environment. Normally they are used to hot temperatures and seem to enjoy this. T

hey are cold-blooded and the heat does some good. In case they need shade they know how to hide under rocks. To make their environment favorable normally it’s recommended to use wooden vivarium. A wooden vivarium is able to maintain the required heat levels. Do this carefully as the survival of the lizard is dependent on the conditions in their new environment.

The enclosure should be close in order to meet the temperature gradient required. You can place large vents and glass doors. In the wild they have enough space for air and so should the enclosure provide. The large spaces are for the purpose of ventilation ensuring heat is lost. The spaces also enable cooling on one side which is vital. In the wild, the blue spiny lizard will hide under rocks. In this closure, they will most likely look for hiding spots that are cooler. Heat should leave on one side to the other.

The ventilation also helps in keeping the temperature at the basking spot consistent. The basking spot is an important location. While in the wild Blue Spiny lizard will get direct sunshine. The basking spot should maintain the same temperatures. Blue spiny lizards have a shy nature so you might consider having hiding places. They can be partial areas and also full especially on the width surface. You are recommended to add decorations to their new environment. This is for the purpose of covering the large spaces that have been left open. As the lizard grows you can remove the decorations one by one.

Heating

The lizards are used to the wild environment nature. The temperatures in the wild are quite high and this should be maintained. Blue spiny lizards love spending time basking in the full heat of the sun. For this reason, their recommended basking area should meet the 95°F temperature during the day. Ensure this heat is provided by ⅓ area of the enclosure. The location of the enclosure may determine this.

While in the wild the Blue spiny lizard has direct access to the heat. The same should be the case in this enclosure. Do not be worried about cooling as it is catered for by the open spaces. The rest of the enclosure will be used to cool. It is recommended to add a basking lamp so as to achieve the temperature target. The lamp should be placed on the enclosure of the ceiling. A thermostat is recommended for this purpose as it is able to moderate the temperature correctly. This lamp should be on for about 10-12 hours a day.

During the night, you should switch off the lights and provide a dark environment for the lizard. The purpose of this is to facilitate a clear day-night cycle for the lizard. You need to make the lizard feel the same environment as in the wild. At this point, while in their burrow they will not get cooler than 70°F. It’s important to maintain temperatures above. Some households may get cooler than required. In such a case you can opt to attach ceramic lamp on the corner side.

However, be sure your household temperature does not go below 70°F. Most households don’t require additional warmth as their temperature is fit. Ensure that the lamp in use is controlled by a thermostat and surrounded by a guard. The main aim for this type of setting is to maintain at least 70°F on ⅓ of the enclosure.

However the lamp is not needed during the day as temperatures are normally higher. The thermostat will automatically switch off the ceramic lamps. By using the thermostat the ceramic lamps are controlled depending on temperatures. In case the temperatures drops below 70°F the lamps go on.

It’s however advisable to use a thermometer to monitor the temperatures yourself. The digital probe thermometers is among the best recommended to monitor temperatures. A thermostat ceramic lamp is reliable however there may be incidents of failure. Be sure to manually check the temperature.

UVB light setting

Blue spiny lizards most times enjoy full-time basking. This is among the reason it requires UVB lighting that’s intense. When using the UV tube it would at least cover ⅔ of the closure length. The strength capacity is recommended to be 10-20%. You may have to adjust the strength of the lamp based on the enclosure length. However the 10-20% is normally favorable in most cases.

There are two types of UV tubes to choose from the T8 or the T5. The T8 lamps are 1 inch while the T5 lamps are half an inch in diameter. The T8 lamps should be replaced every 6months while the T5 lamps last to a maximum of 12 months. The effective range differs, with the T8 lamps having 9-12 inches and T5 having 18-24 inches. Do not forget to replace the lamps as per their duration. In case you fail to replace they may not generate the desired heat.

Mount the ceramic lamp to the ceiling next to the back wall. At this point, the ceramic lamp should provide a strong UV gradient. Setting up on the ceiling helps achieve both the temperature gradient and UV gradient. Ensure you also have enough space left. Do not attach too close to the decorations. You want to provide heat as well as keep the lizard alive. Keeping the lamps too close may fry the lizard.

The temperature gradient is covered on the length and UV gradient on the width providing all lizards needs. Although you may focus on providing lighting do not completely cover all spots. Provide hiding spots for the lizard. Lizards will need dark spots with shades that will be required for cooling purposes.

Decoration

Choosing the supporting decorations should be in consideration of the humidity levels. Ensure you use hard decorations so that the lizard can climb and bask with ease. Hard decorations also helps in terms of maintaining temperature levels. The bedding area should not be sticky. Sticky surfaces may stick to the lizard’s food. Sticky surfaces may make the environment less habitable.

This could cause the Lizard to try and escape. They also do not increase the humidity of the enclosures. Beech woodchip is normally recommended. However, you may use natural decorations such as clay mix with sand. Beech woodchip is regarded the best due to it’s clean and dust-free nature. Ensure to put a clay mix with nutrient soil and sand. This would help for aeration in case you choose the natural method.

Placing the decorations should be situated close but not attached to the lamps. In case you use wood decorations leave space. Most people go wrong on this. Consider you need to give enough space for lighting as well as heat. Ensure there is adequate space for the lizard to get enough heat from the lamps but not get into contact. Among recommended hardwood decorations is grapevine pieces and java wood. These decorations enable the lizard to easily climb the wood and get the hot levels of temperature.

Lizards love lying on the rocks. Especially when temperatures are high you will easily notice this. They actually need belly heat. The belly heat is important nutrient wise. This type of heat is very beneficial to the lizard. For the enclosure, you may use natural rocks or artificial ornaments. Ensure the decorations used is able to radiate heat that the belly will gain. The decorations should be placed on the basking area.  Ensure you are able to monitor the temperature of the rocks. In case the lamp is low it may get too hot and cause burns.

If possible measure the distance from the lamps and decorations. The decorations should not be fully covering the enclosure. Light is needed as well as shade. Consider the lizard may require shade from the UV. Ensure there is both full and partial cover across the enclosure. You can use full cover decorations that will provide shade. Examples include; caves and flat cork pieces. A partial cover like trailing plants skulls, cactus skeleton, and tall plants can also work. The most important thing is to ensure the lizard has space adequate for shade. Do not forget the significance of basking.

Diet

Diet is important as they are no longer in the wild. At this point, you may have to provide feeds for the lizard. The lizard may also try to hunt for its own food. Blue spiny lizard feed on insects as they are insectivores. Try to feed them Brown crickets which are a favorable diet. The brown crickets are more nutritious. Lizards also have an easy time catching crickets as they are available.

There is also an option for black crickets, waxworms, calciworms, beetle grubs, mealworms, hornworms, butter worms, super worms, silkworms, mealworms, waxworms, cockroaches and locust. In case you opt to feed the lizard any worm or grub ensure this is once or twice per week as they are fatty. Fatty feeds may affect the Blue spiny Lizards growth. Worms such as mealworms and waxworms are also recommended. However ensure you only feed the 18months or older lizards once or twice per week. Worms are not easy to digest. Do not try to feed the Lizards exceeding the recommended duration as it will greatly affecting its digestion.

Water

Water is vital for all animals. This is not different from Lizards. Normally Lizards have their own methods to get water. This could be from plants. Although lizards get water for themselves providing a source is key. In the new environment, they have a lesser chance of getting water. Provide for them by Placing a water bowl in the enclosure just in case. Most times the lizard may use this water to bath.

By bathing the lizard is able to cool down and also helps loosen the shedding skin. Whenever you place the water bowl or even a food dish ensure it lies on the cool side. Placing the bowl on the heat side may raise the humidity. Consider the temperature levels at all times even in feeding. The bowl should be shallow.

Supplements

While in the wild Blue Spiny Lizards have enough of the required vitamins. In the enclosure, you may be required to add supplements. Although supplements play a major role in nutrients most vitamins and minerals are actually present in the diet. Examples include; vitamin powders and calcium present on live food. Most supplements are either vitamin or calcium.

The vitamins may include D3. However, Vitamin D3 is also produced by reptiles due to UVB heating. In cases where your enclosure allows strong levels of UVB heat you may use supplements without D3. There are calcium powders with the presence of D3 vitamin combined with nutrobal multi-vitamin. Actually, these powders are the most recommended.

Breeding

Breeding in the wild happens normally. Blue Spiny lizards are easy to identify the season and mate. Breeding of the blue spiny lizard on the enclosure will also happen naturally. When you place both males and female together they will breed. Under good conditions breeding will happen normally. In case you are dealing with a crevice lizard, this may be different.

Whenever you initiate a crevice lizard mating process you need to take into consideration the eggs. Create a nesting box that will facilitate the laying of eggs by the female spiny lizard. It’s important to ensure the nesting box has enough room for the lizard to turn. In the nesting box ensure it is kept humid using soil mix. Ensure it does not become so wet as it is supposed to hold the eggs.

You may consider using ProRep spider to make your own nesting box is most advisable. When the crevice spiny lizard finally lays eggs ensure they are kept at 84°F in an incubator. In case you do not have an incubator you can use sealed boxes. The boxes should have a moisture-rich substrate to help maintain the humidity. Hatching will take place in about 60days. Immediately the first babies hatch the others will hatch.

However, Blue Spiny Lizard does not hatch any eggs. Normally it will give birth to live Small lizards. This is actually better as it saves you the trouble of having a nesting box. Immediately the female Blue Spiny Lizard gives birth separate the lizards from its parents. Do this carefully as not to forget one of the small lizards.

Cleaning

A clean environment greatly impacts the growth rate of any animal. To have good conditions for growth the environment should be kept clean. It’s highly recommended to have a clean area. You may have to do the cleaning once in a while. Maybe every four weeks. You may also change the bedding however not as many times. The ease of cleaning will also be determined by the materials you choose. While some materials are easy to clean others prove difficult.

Cleaning of the enclosure should be done when the animal and decorations have been removed. Also, ensure to apply a reptile disinfectant. Check the disinfectant package for instructions. However, it should not take so long to disinfect. Do not use any other disinfectant apart from the recommended reptile disinfectant.

After completing the disinfecting process use a paper towel. Ensure the enclosure In completely dry. You may choose to disinfect the enclosure again. Do not forget to clean the decorations as well as disinfect them. Ensure you rinse the decorations completely and dry them.

FAQ

 

How do you care for the young blue spiny lizard?

 

The process of caring is not that much different from the adults. The process as well as the needs may be familiar. However you need to consider you are dealing with babies and extreme heat may fry them. You may have to adjust the conditions slightly. The first process is to ensure all babies have been removed from the adults’ enclosure or parents enclosure. You can use the same lighting as used in the adults’ enclosure.

However, consider the size of the tank not to require much heat. Heat stones are recommended for adults to provide belly heat however for babies try to avoid. Do not use heat stones in the babies enclosure. At this point in time, the lizard’s babies do not require much of the belly heat. Also, ensure you get proper advice in terms of heat levels. You do not want too much heat or little heat levels.

 

How long should the babies be kept together?

 

It may be a few weeks but it varies, depending on the rate of growth you may decide to keep the males and females together or separate them. In case they grow at a faster rate you may have to separate them sooner. Normally this should be for several weeks. When they are full-grown separate them each on their own closure.

Put into consideration the lizards may actually grow bigger to even about 14 inches long. You may be required to increase the gallon size as the lizard grows. Actually, the size of the lizard will determine the size of the gallon you use. However, ensure the enclosure gives enough space for basking.

 

Do you take care of desert Blue spiny lizard the same as captive-bred lizard?

 

No, the way of care differs. Captive bred blue spiny lizard are quite different from desert ones. The way desert blue spiny lizard feeds is quite different from a captive bred one. It’s also important to consider captive bred are used to getting all necessary needs. The desert blue spiny lizard are located in the Arizona desert. The environment and temperature they are used to is hot and dry. Captive blue Spiny lizards may require hot temperature but may not be equal to the heat levels in the desert.

You will need to provide flat basking spots.  The spot would be able to direct the heat. Desert blue spiny lizards can be housed in pairs. This is quite different from the captive-bred which only accommodates one per enclosure. The desert spiny lizards housed together should be of a similar size. It is also advisable to avoid putting two male desert spiny lizard in one tank. On the other hand, female lizards will actually get along. If you choose to put a male and a female they are more likely to breed. 

The size of the cage of an adult desert blue spiny lizard is required to be 30″ long ×12″ Deep and height. The recommended substrate includes sand, cage carpet, and ground walnut shell. The Blue Spiny lizard may at times consume the substrate especially if you are using walnut shell and sand. In such cases, the Blue Spiny Lizard may experience intestinal blockage in case it consumed large quantities of the substrate. Another recommended substrate is the cage carpet which is also regarded to be safe. However, the cleaning of the cage carpet is difficult.

 In terms of temperature for desert spiny lizard, it should be at 95° to 100°F. The cool part of the tank should remain within the range of 70°F. You may be required to facilitate humidity levels of between 30%-50%.  Most times you can cool the lizard using a spray once or twice every week.

In terms of water, they do not actually differ much. Both captive bred and desert do not drink water often. You will actually not catch them drinking water. However, since you are housing the lizard it’s advisable to put a bowl of water. The lighting may be required to be more intense as opposed to captive-bred option. You can use the UVB and UVA lamp. Normally they are indicated in the package box. It’s also important to use a thermostat. Thermostat help in monitoring of temperatures.

 

What do blue spiny lizards eat?

 

Blue spiny lizards eat insects. This is attributed by the fact they are diurnal and their nature makes them active during the daytime. Actually Blue spiny lizards tend to feed on invertebrates. Most of the times they will keep look while on the rock for insects. They also spend time hiding to avoid temperatures. Feeding blue spiny lizard is quite easy with readily available food. You can feed the lizard with worms.

Its also recommended to give nutrients since the lizard in now housed. Worms are quite nutritious however you need to follow the recommended feeding pattern. You are supposed to feed the lizard once or twice per week with worms. Worms are fatty and feeding them excessively may not be good.

 

Do Texas spiny lizards hibernate?

 

Texas lizards are the same species as the others. Yes, because of their nature they will hibernate. Spiny lizards fall under the Sceloporus genus. They are considered to be heliothermic and diurnal. The spiny lizards are considered as basking lizards. They are more active during the day. During the winter season the spiny lizards will bromate, which is actually the same as hibernate. The reason for hibernating is because they are cold-blooded. They do not have their own source of heat. However they still require certain heat levels for survival.

 

What is the Blue Spiny Lizard Life Span?

 

The life span of Blue Spiny Lizard differs depending on whether it is desert or captive.  Captive Blue Spiny lizards are estimated to live to a maximum of up to 7 years. This could be as a result of the care they are accorded. On the other hand, the wild blue spiny Lizard have a shorter lifespan, though most desert Blue Spiny lizard are accustomed to wild conditions. Also, consider the fact that wild Blue Spiny Lizard are faced with hostile conditions. They also have many predators. On the other hand, captive Blue Spiny Lizard is safe from predators and hostility.

 

Do desert spiny lizards eat scorpions?

 

Actually lizards will normally feed on any insect they come across. Desert Spiny lizards are used to eating different types of insects, birds and worms. Since they hunt for their prey they will actually eat more of any invertebrate they come across. Some of their common feed include; Nestling birds, small lizards, spiders, beetles, ants and centipedes. They have a more sharp vision that enables them to easily capture insects and small lizards as they move. Their super lightning speed is of great help in hunting.

 

Do the Blue Spiny lizards bite?

 

Blue Spiny Lizards have their own defense mechanisms. Actually most animals have their unique way to protect themselves from predators. Blue spiny lizards and other lizards have to bite as a defense mechanism. They may also play dead at times. When dealing with housed lizards or garden kept lizards they bites are harmless.

Although their bites are not poisonous they tend to be very painful. The good thing with lizards they will alert you of the threat to be bitten. Most yes you will notice them hiss as well as open their mouths as a warning sign. Also, avoid having to grab the lizards especially by the tail. Grabbing the lizards by the tails causes the lizard’s tail to fall off.

 

Can lizards infect you with diseases?

 

Actually they do. Just as most wild animals have bacteria lizards also have. Lizards have among the most dangerous bacteria the salmonella. This bacteria is regarded as harmful. Mostly it is transmitted via their feces and urine. The bacteria can cause very serious illness. Some of the symptoms associated with it are vomiting, stomach cramps and fever. Diarrhea can also be sighted.

The symptoms could be fatal for people with a weak immune system. Ensure you have safety gear when handling the lizard. Since feces and urine transmit the bacteria to be careful during the cleaning process. It’s also advisable to avoid direct contact with the lizard’s feces. In case you have a low immune system you need to be even more cautious.

 

What is the process of Blue Spiny Lizard mating?

 

Blue Spiny Lizard has a sequence of mating. When the season starts you will know by the males showing their blue bellies and throats. This will happen naturally without any provocation. This is a method males use to attract females. During the mating season, most males will seem not to agree with other males.

When carefully observing the Blue spiny lizard you will notice how it bobs the head up and down. This is a defense measure set at scaring its rival. It may also go a step further to show it’s the flattened body and the glowing blue belly. This happens especially when dealing with a rebellious rival. The glowing blue belly scares the rival away.

After the mating process happens normally the female blue spiny lizard will give birth from February to June. 

 

How many young ones does a Blue Spiny Lizard give birth to at once?

 

Animals vary in terms of how many young ones they give birth to. The Blue Spiny Lizard gives birth to about 6 to 18 young ones. It’s closely related to the iguanas.

 

Where do desert blue spiny lizards go during winter?

 

During winter Blue spiny Lizards will hibernate. They do this by creating homes in areas they can find shelter such as under rocked and tree trunks. Lizards are known to be cold-blooded and have no internal heat source. Actually this is the reason when housing the blue spiny lizard you require decorations. They rely on heat from the sun and other sources.

During winter they normally opt for hibernation in order to maintain heat. The Blue Spiny lizards normally hibernate alone. However, some other species of lizards will normally hibernate as a group. This can be attributed to the fact they are cold-blooded. During hibernation, there is less activity in terms of hunting for food. Some species of Lizards will not hunt for any food at all during hibernation. Some species of lizards choose to go to sleep mode or the dormant state in summer. This is commonly referred to as aestivation. Lizards are ectotherms so during summer they may end up getting too hot. As a result, they will aestivation.

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