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 #2310125


Thorson
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 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

So, my wife and kids brought home a lizard and already gave him/her a name before I had a say in it. I’m assuming she (I’ll just say it’s female) is a Northwestern Alligator lizard. Perhaps a few months old?

I’ve spent some time researching proper care, but I’m still concerned for the lizard’s health.

I’ve went out and purchased (on a small budget):
•10 gallon terrarium
•75w Infrared Heat Lamp (Petco guy said the UVB bulbs aren’t really necessary, maybe I misunderstood him because that doesn’t sound right)
•Compressed coconut fiber (brown brick+water = substrate)
•Reptivite Reptile Vitamins
•Random ceramic water dish
•Store bought crickets (feeding apples, lettuce, oatmeal and partially ground iams cat food.)

River rocks I found around the house in the landscaping. I just washed them with near boiling water and dish soap. Although I haven’t really sanitized the twigs I put in there.

I just want to know if there is anything I else I need to be doing. Yesterday I was worried because she just laid on the same rock the entire day. I changed the lighting a little thinking maybe the red glow interrupted her sleep. I tried to keep the heat lamp focused on one end of the tank and not where she sleeps.

When she decided to get up and move around, it’s usually just a slow stalking movement. I guess that is understandable since she has been in the terrarium for 2-3 days. I’ll put 3-4 crickets and she would eventually eat them. Some times it seemed she would eat one before it even hit the ground. Other times the crickets would run around for hours. I’ve coated the crickets in the reptile vitamin powder every time.

Current, she is laying sort of under the heat lamp in the corner. She has been there for about 2 hours. The kids startled her and she got up as if to run away, but then calming laid her head back down and eventually closed her eyes, she doesn’t seem bothered by me much. I just worry because it’s about 75 degrees in the house and heat lamp has been on for.... 30 hours so far. She opens her eyes occasionally but is this normal? Nevermind, I misted the area she was at, and when a drop of water landed on her head, she took off.

Side note: I’ve never been left in so much suspense watching her stalk a cricket. She would get near one and raise her head pointing towards it, locked in a motionless dead stare. I would find myself holding my breath and still be startled when she finally strikes. yea, this is how new I am.

Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!

Pictures of quickly thrown together terrarium.
http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/Fc3sZero/Misc/20141002_210030_zps2a4ba65b.jpg

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/Fc3sZero/Misc/20141002_205945_zps91c8bb9d.jpg

http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/Fc3sZero/Misc/20141002_203819_zps625278d5.jpg



10/02/14  11:19pm

 #2310139


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310125


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Barley opening their eyes is a problem...don’t leave the lights(uvb,basking)lights on for too long it’ll stress reptiles..Turn them on for 12hrs and off for 12hrs and I use red nighttime bulbs for all my reptiles with no problem. Its good that you got a uvb bulb as well.



10/03/14  10:05am

 #2310147


Acre
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310139


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Dittos.
Neither Northern nor Southern Alligator lizards need nightime heat so just put the light a timer or turn it on and off manually.
The only thing missing from your description is a hide area. I’d add something, possibly with some moss or something else to mist occasionally to maintain high humidity - they often need this to shed properly. Make sure that ceramic water dish is low enough that the lizard can easily find the water.



10/03/14  04:24pm

 #2310148


Acre
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310147


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Oops - neglected to look at your picture. Hide and dish look fine.



10/03/14  04:27pm

 #2310149


Thorson
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310148


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Thank you for the input!

Today I went out and collected 3 very large oak tree leaves and used them for more ground cover. I figured she would appreciate more places to hide out. Whether it was necessary or not, I did dig the water dish in a little ways so it sat lower in the substrate. She has climbed around it when crawling down the rocks before, so she knows it’s there.

It’s funny you mentioned moss, I had some green ground cover growing around my Japanese maples. I ripped some of it out and placed in the terrarium.

Today is a beautiful sunny day and 76 degree. I put the terrarium on a bench on the back porch, full sun. I put 2 crickets in there and she was seems to be loving it. Although she may just be investigating the leaves I put in there.

So just to clear up the lighting subject. I probably will turn the light off when I go to bed and turn it on some time in the morning? and there is no need for a UVB lamp?



10/03/14  04:49pm

 #2310161


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310149


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Don’t put a tank directly under the sun or you’ll be creating a oven...put half in sun and shade.



10/03/14  07:17pm

 #2310240


Thorson
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310161


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Just so I didn’t leave you worrying about my lizard being let out in the sun, no need to worry. Once I put a thermometer in the terrarium, I realized that the basking lamp was able to get nearly 90 degrees right below it. I turned the light off at night and she seems to be doing much better now. Although I do worry about the coming winter.

Regarding exercise, she seems to catch crickets with very little effort. Hell, most of the time she doesn’t have to move, the crickets come to her. Would it be a good idea to occasionally get faster prey?



10/08/14  03:45pm

 #2310248


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310240


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

My monitors barely chase their food too but I doubt if you get faster prey they’ll chase it but its good to have a variety of insects to eat.



10/09/14  11:23am

 #2310538


Thorson
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310248


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

I just wanted to share an update. I went out and purchased more crickets, smaller this time. I must have been getting ones that were a tad to big for her. Anyways, she can easily down 8-10 smaller crickets, she might eat only 2 medium size ones.

One particular cricket gave her some trouble. She missed her strike and ended up face planting a rock, 2nd attempt she missed again but managed to get one of the legs. 3rd attempt she was obviously pissed because she plowed through under a leaf and lifted one of the long twigs just to get to that cricket.

Another time she was standing on top of a rock looking down at a cricket swimming in her water dish. Was very similar to a cat watching fish swimming around.

Pictures:





Last week I heard a lot of movement in the terrarium. Puzzling since there were no crickets in there. I looked in and saw the lizard moving around erratically. I realized she was shedding her skin. I was impressed, it came off all in one piece and probably took her 15 minutes to do it. Thats a good thing right? I noticed her back isn’t as round and smooth as before. It has subtle ridges that run the length of her back. Similar to an... well alligator. huh, image that. ha



10/25/14  11:53pm

 #2310541


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310538


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Wow thanks for the update she’s so cute and small....it is funny when they watch their food my water monitor won’t even eat crickets he’ll just kill them.



10/26/14  11:50am

 #2310545


Acre
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310541


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Nice update, thanks.
One piece sheds are always a sign of a well maintained gator lizard.
With all the backyard additions I’d keep an eye out for lizard mites. Little red jobs barely visible; rub your hands gently across the lizards’ face and you’ll see them on your skin. If they come in on leaves or dirt they attach to the lizard, breed, and lay eggs in the cage. All the young go back on your lizard and breed some more because in a cage there’s nowhere else for them to go. In a couple months you have thousands - enough to kill the lizard. I harp on this here like a broken record only because it’s happened to me. I’m at the point where nothing goes my cages until after it’s been placed in my oven at 150 F for long enough to heat it all the way through and kill every stage of the lizard mite - egg to adult. Just watch for them.



10/27/14  06:20pm

 #2310546


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310545


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

I hate mites I had them once from 13 years of keeping reptiles and there annoying because I bought a female swift to go with them male and I was dumb enough to not quaratine her since she was bought from a store and was 100% she was wild caught and got on spike..she died a month or so later after the mites were gone from severe blood loss and spike got depress a month later and died but how do they spread to other cages if your using caution(washing hands after in contact with a infested one, etc...)???



10/27/14  07:15pm

 #2310579


Acre
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310546


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Those things can travel quite a distance. Treating both cages and the area in between them with Pro-vent-a-mite is probably the best treatment. And yes, quarantine for at least a month of any new additions.
Fun fact - Alligator lizards are one of the few lizard species that are attacked by those black snake mites as well as the red lizard mites.



10/29/14  09:01pm

 #2310580


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310579


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Oh wow but I’ll buy the pro vent a mite because I normally used mite off that really work and I cleaned every cage which added up to 7+ cages and most of them being over 4’ long it was the worst month of my life and I’ll never make that mistake again...and that’s a interesting fact I wonder why their less likely to have it and how big do they get?



10/30/14  12:28am

 #2310581


Thorson
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310580


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Thank you for the advice. I constantly watch her (sounds creepy I know), and look for anything weird or unusual. I would check for mites with my bare hands but I’ve... never actually held her before.

One time I was moving some things around and she was under a leaf watching. I stopped moving and held still, then very slowly moved my hand closer to her. She didn’t scurry off to hide, she started flipping her tongue and very slowly moving closer. The though of her biting me was starting to get to me and I lost my nerve and took my hand out. I’m embarrassed to admit it. My old occupation with the local electric utility company, I had to deal with dogs of every temperament. I could go into a yard with 2-3 aggressive shepherds but this little 4 inch lizard makes me nervous. hah.

Any tips on how to go about holding her without her dropping her tail, viciously attacking, or defecating all over?

So regarding humidity, I can somewhat relate to this lizard. I get pretty bad dry skin, and it’s a nightmare in the winter time. So far I’m just kind of winging it, I have a spray bottle that I spray distilled water in the terrarium everyday or every other day to keep it somewhat humid. Would that be enough? I know I probably should get something to measure how humid it is.

It was about a month ago we found her, she was so tiny and barely moving, didn’t look good at all. Now she is growing pretty fast and climbing all over. I’m usually at my laptop a couple feet from her terrarium, she will come out to bask a little or just check stuff out. I’ll turn around and see what she is up too, she doesn’t take off and hide. She just looks annoyed that I’m looking. Sorry... having a moment there.




10/30/14  02:06am

 #2310586


Acre
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310581


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

"and that’s a interesting fact I wonder why their less likely to have it and how big do they get?"
Not sure what you meant. Gator lizards suffer more from mites as they have those folds of skin along the sides and also more places around the ears that are accessible. If I’m adding anything new I quarantine it in a cage sprayed with pro-vent-a-mite so that any mites on it will die when they crawl off to lay eggs. The stuff does kill crickets pretty quickly though.
On handling - if I place my hand in the cage some gator lizards will explore it and climb on. Hold them over something so they can’t fall far if they freak out. Having them come to you works out better that trying to grasp them.



10/30/14  12:33pm

 #2310587


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310581


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

My water monitor hates when I stare at him up close he head butt me the last time and bust my lip lol but he’s cool if you lay on the floor he’ll climb on you lay on your back and fall asleep..I guess because were warm blooded and it feels good to them but your lizard is really small so its gonna take a lot of time to try to handle him.



10/30/14  12:36pm

 #2310644


Thorson
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310586


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Thanks for the quick tip. I still haven’t held her, but I figured I would wait a little bit. She seems to grow more comfortable each day.

Takahiro111, I wish I had the accommodations and experience to have a water monitor. I’m sure they are a little different but I was watching a series of youtube videos about a certain Tegu. I’m incredibly fascinated by the larger reptiles.

Another weird observation. I looked back and noticed she was staring up at the corner. Completely obviously to anything going on. This was shortly after turning the heat lamp off, maybe she was confused why it was no longer on. She did this for a good 5-10 minutes. Now she is just staring out of the terrarium again.



11/03/14  12:33am

 #2310645


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310644


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Yeah she was wondering what’s going on that’s how my baby water dragons are when its lights out they’ll stare until I turn on the red lights then they’ll go to sleep after finding their sleeping spots because unlike the adults and juvies their not use to the on and off thing with the lights. Buts its funny when they look up like that..I laugh when I see my smaller lizards do that but how did you catch a picture like that I try but they always see me? It was a series of vids of a tegu I use to watch his name was mcguyver(think I spelled it wrong). And water monitors can be calm and awesome if you know what your getting yourself into and have a lot of time and money because they will burn a hole in your pocket lol. Mine is a very smart,spoiled and ungrateful puppy. I call him ungrateful because he keep making me upgrade his cage and the one he have is already big enough. But bites/scratches from a 7 footer is no joke that’s why I tell newcomers about monitors before getting one.



11/03/14  02:05am

 #2310659


Thorson
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310645


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Yea, McGyver (you almost had it) is the one I was watching on youtube. when I saw the equipment this guy had to keep the humidity up and can’t have the AC going all the time in the summer like I would. After realizing that, I figured it would be one of those things like "yea, that would be really awesome if my friend had one" Just so I didn’t need to fork out the cash for Tegu supplies.

and how did I get that picture? Well, when I said oblivious to everything, I really meant it haha. I think I misspelled it, but ohwell. First couple of times I took his picture he would run off but now he is kind of used it. I can set the camera to take quiet shot and that helps. Because I don’t have a macro lens, I have to get super close to him. the glass doesn’t help the focus much, so I have to set it to manual and hope he doesn’t move.

I guess for a wild lizard he is fairly well adjusted, I just haven’t held him yet. Because he is in the dinning room, and I’m in there too, I feel like I should turn out the dinning room light when his 12 hours of light is up. Not sure if it makes that big of a difference though.



11/03/14  07:36pm

 #2310660


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310659


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Most of my reptiles are camera shy so I try to catch them off guard. I would like to let them free roam without a cage but I don’t want my place looking like jurassic park with these big animals and its very unhealthy for all of us not to mention they’ll all kill eachother. I wonder how the tegu live that long without a cage because humans cant thrive in such heat we’ll need to cool down. And your lizard look happy in that tank for him to be wild caught well atleast he don’t have to worry about getting eaten and plus he won’t have to go hungry lol.



11/03/14  08:18pm

 #2310673


Acre
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310644


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Are you sure you don’t have a tiny spider or moth in the upper corner of the cage? That’s usually the case when I see one of my gator lizards doing the head-tilt at the upper corner thing.



11/04/14  03:07pm

 #2310749


Thorson
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310673


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

I looked a few times trying to figure out what she was looking at. In the corners of the terrarium, there is some sort of glue holding the top frame piece together. I could look like a spider’s egg I suppose.

So, awhile back I mentioned the lizard acting strange and eyes seemed dilated, shortly after she shed her skin. Well she is kinda doing it again, her pupils are huge and scales are starting to have a dull look, more rigid. That kind of seems excessive, unless I’m feeding some sort of lizard miracle grow to the crickets.

I tried to entice her to come near my hand but she wasn’t going for it. I probably should lay off the redbull and coffee, I doubt my shaky hands are a comforting sight. haha

Pictures for attention:


^High Resolution, click zoom Link






11/07/14  01:42am

 #2310759


Acre
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310749


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

My gator lizards dull out in the Winter and just want to sleep. Around this time of year I quit feeding them, give them two weeks to clear everything out of their guts, then turn off the heat until mid-March. My reptile room is all temperate herps; it stays at 50-65 throughout the Winter, mostly at the lower end of that range.



11/07/14  09:35am

 #2310837


Thorson
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310759


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Another "wtf is he doing?" post.

I didn’t feed him yesterday or today, this hungry lizard ate the last of the crickets. I took the pictures of him below just before heading to the pet store. He was exploring all over and I took a picture of him at the highest point trying to get out. I thought it was pretty amazing that he lift his body like that. Am I right to assume he wanted out to search for food?

He actually made it to the corner that had caulking. I wondered if it were pliable enough for him to get a grip.

Oh, he did in fact shed his skin again a couple days ago.




11/14/14  09:36pm

 #2310839


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310837


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Omg he’s so cute I should get one since he’s small..I have 20gal tank with plants and a good basking accessorie and water bowl. Its just setup for something I have everything bulbs but its empty lol :)



11/14/14  11:24pm

 #2310840


Thorson
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310839


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

I haven’t had much experience with other lizards but this guy seems pretty cool. He has his favorite spot under a leaf, where he will just hang out and watch what is going on. It’s funny when I bring the same red Tupperware container "the cricket carrier" to the terrarium, he pokes his head out of where ever he is at and waits for me to remove the lid. Then he comes out all casual like.

These lizards are fairly common here in Oregon. I’d mail you one but I doubt that would be a pleasant journey for him.

The other day I put my hand in the terrarium to move a few things. I noticed he was checking out what I was doing from a distance. I figured I would just leave my hand in there and stay still. It seemed to work as he slowly started moving his way towards my hand, occasionally whipping his tongue out. He got probably 2-3 inches away then started heading in another direction away from my hand. Pretty good progress so far I think.



11/15/14  01:02am

 #2310843


Acre
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310840


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

If he starts to move around a lot - like he’s trying to find a way out - but goes off feed that will be a sign that he wants to be cooled down so he can hibernate. But at that size some of them will just keep feeding through their first winter if given the chance.



11/15/14  07:03am

 #2310848


Thorson
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  Message To: Acre   In reference to Message Id: 2310843


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

I put a few small crickets in his terrarium and, like usual, he wasted no time going after them. However now, being the next day, he was resting under his cave rock formation (rocks right of the pictures above), and stayed in there for awhile. I realized the humidity was down to 20%, so I misted in there a bit. He is now just kinda half out of his cave just laying there, has been for that last few hours.




Maybe he was over eager and ate too much or ate some substrate by accident? I notice he sometimes gets bit of the stringy stuff that is mixed in with the substrate. Most of the time he gets it out of his mouth but not always.

I’m sure you will get tired of my "over-analyzing paranoid dad" syndrome haha. I just looked again and looks like he planning on moving out when no one is watching. So I guess that is good.



11/15/14  04:54pm

 #2311335


Thorson
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  Message To: Thorson   In reference to Message Id: 2310848


 Another "ametuer with a lizard" topic

Well, Wally (my boys named him) is still doing great. He shed again, still has an appetite, still getting bigger. He seems a little more domesticated now than before. When ever I start to open the cage, he usually sprints to which ever side I’m on and looks up at me. Sometimes I’ll turn around and he will be looking right at me and watching the kids rough house. If I’m spot cleaning his cage, he will walk over to which ever leaf is closest to my hand and watch what I’m doing. He still doesn’t seem to want to be held but will walk over to my hand on occasion. Kind of odd behavior for a lizard that is usually secretive.

I’ve had a person comment on him and said he needs to be brumating right now or he will just waste away. I was afraid after he said that and tried to stop feeding him. Day two the lizard is frantically search all over the terrarium. Head tilting, looking at the ground or the usually head swaying. Not at a stalking pace either, he was speed walking (relatively speaking). So I fed him again and has seem to be content being wake.

Speaking on feeding. I decided to feed him crickets one by one, instead of dumping several in there. It gets him more mobile by dropping in different locations. That and if he has a cricket in his mouth and another walks by, he’ll strike that one too, so I think feeding him one by one is a little safer.

Added a few more things to his terrarium as well. The large stick I got from the yard, but this time I remembered threw it in the oven for 25 minutes. I plan on replacing the thermometer, it is about useless.




12/13/14  05:48pm

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