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Nevlonniel   Acre  

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 QUESTIONS! New to alligator lizard onwership

Hi there!

I’m new to alligator lizard ownership, and want to be sure I’m caring for my little guy/gal correctly.

I have been reading ALL the care sheets here (thank goodness for the internet).

To give a run-down of what I know and have done:

* Southern Alligator Lizard (caught in Costa Mesa, CA)

* I suspect it’s a female, simply because it truly has a very mild temperment. But still being a juvenile, I’m not sure. It’s about 5-6" long, caught this past April 2017. (It’s already shed it’s skin once while we’ve had it, shortly after it came into our home and we caught it.)

NOTE: I bought the Zilla Basic Desert starter kit --it was on sale-- simply for ease: We’d had it in a small plastic cage for a month, and finally got around to getting a proper home for it.

*I’m using the reptile "carpet" the kit came with. However, I have provided sticks, rocks, and fake greenery, along with a purchased "sunning" rock that also has a hidey hole in it. (I read that alligator lizards do not sun themselves like other lizards, and prefer to sun themselves under partial shade. I made a makeshift bamboo-straw shade, over the "sunning" rock, under the day light bulb, from an old bamboo-straw shade in our backyard, where I find several alligator lizards "sunning" themselves underneath through the partial shade.

* I bought a large, shallow water dish for it to drink and wade in.

QUESTION 1: Is it necessary to get a separate dish for drinking? Or can one dish be used for both drinking and wading?

* The kit came with both a day white light incandescent (50 watts) and night black heat incandescent (50 watt). From what I’ve been reading, the white light is ok for the alligator lizard, but I’m not sure about the night black heat for the alligator lizard.

QUESTION 2: I need to get a UVB light. The one sold at PetCo is a UVA/UVB combo; one is desert 20 watts, one is tropical 13 watts. Would either of those work, or should I get a straight-up UVB bulb? The closest pet store to me is PetCo, so suggestions from there (links) would be helpful!

QUESTION 3: Is the night light necessary?

* The kit came with an analog temp/humidity gauge. Placed the gauge about 1-2 inches from the bottom, in the center. Temp in the cage has been steady at about 80-90 degrees (f) naturally during day, and about 70-80 degrees (f) naturally at night (our house runs warm). Having the lights on doesn’t seem, to affect this much (maybe changing it 2-5 degrees). Still, I turn the day light on during the day on one side (where the rock and hidey hole is). The other side, where his water is, has the night light. Humidity has been between 40-50% without misting. With mist, it jumps into the 50% range. (I mist daily.)

* We have no heat pad.

* The kit came with a 10 gallon tank. (I plan on upgrading to 20 gallons once the lizard is fully grown.)

* I got about 50 medium-sized crickets from PetCo, along with Fluker’s Orange Cube Diet: They are currently happily residing in a cricket cage on our shaded patio. When we moved the alligator lizard into its new home, we threw five crickets in with it. (I tried to only get three, but, yeah. Crickets.) This morning, I noticed one of them gone, so either it’s hiding really really well, or lizard ate it when I wasn’t paying attention.

Alas, I think my little friend has mites. I hadn’t noticed anything up until we put it in it’s new home. It was hard to see last night, but this morning, with the day light on, I could definitely see them. So, yay me, I get to clean everything that’s brand new (irony). I’ll also be "washing" the lizard with water, then vegetable or olive oil.

QUESTION 4: Is one oil better than the other? All I have in the house right now is extra virgin olive oil.

I’m not sure how long the mites have been there (I’ve counted about five dark ones and seen one white one). I have also noticed the lizard has been more lethargic the last couple of days. It was super active/agitated when we put it in the new cage last night, but today it has been sleeping all day, having moved to different spots in the cage several times. So, this new behavior is freaking me out a bit.

Anyways, thanks for reading my novel! Please give me any and all advice on caring for this guy! The kids are fascinated by it, and I’d hate for it to slip into eternal sleep under my watch! We caught it, and I sure as heck want to be responsible for it!

Thanks everyone! ^_^

06/05/17  02:29pm


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  Message To: Nevlonniel   In reference to Message Id: 2320725

 QUESTIONS! New to alligator lizard onwership

The dual wading/drinking dish is fine.
They don’t need heat at night.
You should be occasionally dusting the crickets with a commercial vitamin/mineral mix.

The big thing is the mites; you need to get rid of them pronto. In an enclosed situation like a reptile terrarium they will rapidly overwhelm and kill the lizard. This is the best way to go -
Get some at once - mail order it direct if it isn’t available locally. Forget the topical mite treatments; they are useless. Mites go off the lizard to breed; you need something like Provent-a-mite with a residual effect to break their cycle. In future, keep a can of the stuff stored so that you can treat a "quarantine" cage. Place the new lizard in it for 5-7 days, then transfer it to it’s permanent home.

06/06/17  03:43pm

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