Savanna Lizards live near the end of a woodland, forest or at the
of a desert. They are places where the environment transitions.
areas are sparse and may have periods during the year where there is
rain and vegetation. There are many types of lizards found
in this sometimes harsh, but vegetated environment.
should reflect this type of habitat. Note that many plants used in
Savannah terrariums need to be periodically replaced. Substrate used at
the bottom of any terrariums should be sandy humus and rocks. Plant
clumped grass areas
Plants can be in pots. Use a cage with a screen top to keep humidity
levels in the lizard cage, low. Note Savannah Lizards is the spelling
used in the UK whereas Savanna is used in the U.S.
Geckos eat crickets that are
calcium. This supplement needs to be added to the diet 1x per week.
They eat nectar. They will drink from a water dish, but these
lizards must be misted every day. Keep plants in the terrarium moist to
encourage Geckos to drink from the droplets.
chazaliae): This Gecko breed is native to the west coast of
Africa and grows to 3 to 4 inches in length. These Geckos prefer
daytime temperatures of 85F to 96 F (29C - 25.6C) and nighttime
temperatures of 70F (20C). Will drink from a low water dish. Lizard
feed for a helmeted gecko includes butterflies, crickets, cockroaches,
meal worms and beetles. One month per year is the
"winter rest" where the temperature is kept 10 degrees lower.
They live in the desert
as well as the Savannah.
The Helmeted Gecko is a
Savanna Lizard that is Bred for Captivity
Source: Wikimedia, Gunilla
Gekkonidae): The Tokay Gecko is a nocturnal lizard that grows to
10 inches to 1 foot in length and will live 7 to 10 years. This Gecko
is from Southeast Asia and the Malayan Isles. They are found in many
types of environments including tropical and subtropical areas,
mountainsides, rocky outcrops and in deserts. In the United
States they are found in Hawaii and South Florida, and are found around
These types of savanna lizards are characterized by a green/gray color and spots
that are orange/brown. The "Tokay" name is based on the loud call or
noises made by the lizard.They eat other lizards,
insects (crickets, wax worms, wax moths, super worms, locusts, butter
worms), frogs and pinkie mice. These lizards can also vocalize and
other Geckos, they can climb walls. Tokay Geckos are nocturnal and are
only for experienced lizard hobbyists since they do not like to be
handled. Download this PDF for more
information on the Tokay Gecko.
Habitat: 10 gallon tank
Temperature: 85F to 90F during the day, 15F at night
Heat: Heat can be used. The Gecko requires 10 hours
light per day.
Tokay Gecko's make distinct
noises that sound like its' name. They can change skin tone to blend
into the environment. These Geckos are able to cling to surfaces,
including the unique ability to walk upside down.
Indonesian Skunk Gecko:
Kept in small 10 gallon terrariums, although more space is preferred.
High terrariums are preferred, particularly in the dimensions of 48
inches long,x 30
inches wide, 66 inches high. Provide opportunities to climb.
Indonesian Skunk Gecko
Source: Wikimedia, Humphrey Manusiwa
Australian Velvet Gecko: These savanna lizards very active. Kept in a vertical 15 gallon tank. Terrarium
temperature of 80 to 90F (26.7C - 32C) is preferred. Drink water drops
from plants and perches.
Australian Velvet Gecko
Source: Wikimedia, Peter Firminger
Caledonian Geckos or Eyelashed Geckos
This is the type of Gecko commonly found in pet stores that sell savanna lizards. They grow to 8 inches.
Caledoniam Geckos feed on insects and fruit. The terrarium should be a
30 gallon tank (24 inches long x 12 inches wide x 2 inches high).
Female New Caledonian Crested
Source: Wikimedia, Margo226
These savanna lizards are 6 inches to 10 inches
long. They eat insects and some plants. The terrarium should be dry
with a sand substrate for burrowing. They can dart on rock surfaces,
which are preferred in the terrarium.
Curly Tailed Lizard
Source: Wikimedia, Lanare Sevi
This Savanna lizard is found in tropical
and temperate regions. They can be a
few inches to 2 feet in length. The terrarium should have a floor space
of 36 inches x 24 inches and a height of 15 inches. 2 inches of each
substrate plus dried leaves and small dried palm fronds. Also include a
few layered rocks and limbs. They will drink from a low dish.
Fire Skinks: same care as described above.
Broad-headed Skinks: Do well on vitamin dusted insects. Will
eat canned cat food.
Larger Australian Skinks: Requires large enclosure with
multiple rock piles.
Spiny-Tailed Skinks: Will eat canned cat food. Requires large
cages and rock piles.
Pink Tongued Skink: Will eat fish flavored cat food.
Pair of Savanna Skink Lizards
Source: Wikimedia, PFLY
and Glass Lizards:
These Savanna lizards superficially look like snakes and are legless lizards. Characteristics
that separates them from snakes include external ear openings, small
scales, movable eyelids. They grow in size between 18 inches to
42 inches long, most of which is tail (head to body grows to 12
inches). These lizards eat mostly insects (spiders, earthworms,
snails). Hard to capture in the wild without breaking the
lizard's tail. May bite a handler. They are called glass
lizards due to the likelihood that the tail will break off if a
predator grabs the tail. The glass lizard tail will keep on moving
after it breaks off. This lizard's lifespan is 15 years. Download a Glass
Lizard fact sheet here (PDF Download).
Slow Worm Lizards: Eats insects such as slugs, earthworms,
Alligator Lizards: Kept in a dry substrate, and must have
water. Will eat canned cat food.
Glass Lizards: Large size lizard that eats insects and mice.
Will also eat cat food.
The Savanna Glass Lizard will
break off if grabbed by a predator or human
Source: Wikimedia, FI295
These savanna lizards are between 4 inches and 18
inches. They eat insects and some rodents. They will also eat
leaves and blossoms. They will drink from water dishes. They
prefer hot, dry, low humidity habitats.
Sungazer: 13 inch long type of Girdle lizard.
Armadillo Lizards: 4 to 6 inches in length. Feed on insects,
like termites in particular.
Armadillo Lizards (Ouroborus cataphractus): Native to South Africa.
Characterized by rows of sharp spines covering the back of the tail and
can grow to 5 to 8 inches in length (150mm to 200mm). Found near
termite mounds, their food source. For more information download this
fact sheet on the Armadillo
Girdle Tailed Lizards
Lizards and Zonosaurs
time, these savanna lizards will get used to a handler and will become tame.
They are originally from Southern and Eastern Africa. The name is from
the thick scales on their body. Download this sheet on caring for plated
lizards (PDF download).
These Savanna lizards require 50% humidity
Day temperatures are 90F with cool areas
at 75F. Night temperatures should be 70F to 75F. Use a reptile
heat mat for 24 hour ground heat in a terrarium.
Basking areas are required on logs or
Furniture should include a hiding area,
such as one made out of cork bark
Substrate: Potting soil mixed with orchid
bark or beech chips
Clean the terrarium 1x per week using a
3% bleach solution (remove lizard before cleaning).
Diet: These savanna lizards are plant and meat eating
omnivores. Feed every day. Preferred foods include:
Insects (crickets, locusts, mealworms,
Rodents: Pinkie mice
Fruit: Papaya, banana, strawberry, melon
Plants: Dark greens, broccoli, spinach,
carrots, turnips, dandelions (leaves, flowers), green beans, sprouts
Provide a multi-vitamin supplement 1x or
2x a week
Water: in dish changed every day
African Plated Lizards Can live 10 or more years. Eat
and some rodents, blossoms, vegetation.
Zonosaurs (Malagasy Smooth scaled plated lizards):
lizards that also live in the forest. Rarely bask. Eat insects,
anelids, canned cat food, canned dog food, fruit. Prefer daytime
temperatures of 77F to 90F (25C to 32C).
Four Lined Plated Lizard
Jeweled and Green Lacertas: These savanna lizards grow to 18 inches to 32 inches in
Lacertid lizard diet is small insects, rodents and small birds. Will
eat fruit and blossoms. Require large cages since they like to move and
Lacertid Lizard Climbing Tree
Source: Wikimedia, SpiderOne
Lizards (also called
Frilled Dragons) and Bearded
Dragons: These are big 32 inch
lizards. Adapt well to captivity.
Origin is Australia and New Guinea
Named for the "frill" around the neck, the frill can expand
to 14 inches
The Frilled Dragon can grow to 3 feet long
These lizards primarily eat insects, but will eat small
rodents and birds.
Diet: Omnivore that requires 70% insects (gut loaded or
recently fed crickets, mealworms, was worms), 30% mixed fruits and
vegetables, sprinkle food with a calcium supplement
Lizard Feeding Schedule: 3x to 5x per week, younger lizards
are fed every day
For babies, 20 gallon terrariums are fine. Adult
lizards require an enclose that is no smaller than 75 to 100 gallons
(378.5L) or 4 ft square/wide x 3 feet high
Temperature: Warm basking area of 100F, cool area not less
than 70F. Supply radiant heat using a ceramic
heater or incandescent light bulb.
Dragons (pogona vitticeps):
Native to central Australia, beard refers to skin slap
the chin. Skin flap expands when disturbed.
Can make excellent pets
Can grow to 15 inches to 2 feet in length
Tolerates human interaction.
Grows to 12 to 18 inches
Lizard lifespan is 7 to 10 years
Habitat: 75 or 120 gallon tank is best. Measurement should
48 in x 24 in x 18 in high.
Substrate: Do not use sand or small particles. Best choice
newspaper, repti-carpet or sterile potting soil.
Lighting: UVB light from a fluorescent bulb that has at
5% UVB. Bulb should be more than 12 inches from basking area.
Provide 10 hours of light and 14 hours of darkness per day.
Temperature: Daytime is 80F-85F. Basking area is is
to 95F. Night temperature is 70F - 75F. Under tank heater can
maintain minimum night temperature if necessary.
These lizards like to bask in the sun to generate heat.
Diet (Omnivorous, insect/meat, plant): Feed a varied diet.
Plants/Vegetables: Pumpkin, winter squash, snow peas,
turnips, sweet potatoes, lentils, green beans, carrots, butternut
squash, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, acorn squash
and Whiptail Lizards
(also called Jungle Runners): The Racerunner and Whiptail savanna lizards are very nervous and will run away from any threat
Must be in a warm environment with a basking area at 105F,
hiding areas, dry substrate
Will eat a variety of foods
Source: US Forestry Service
Savannah Monitor Lizards:
The African Savanna Monitor (varanus exanthematicus) is a popular
lizard and can be found in
many pet stores. The lizard is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and north
of the Congo River. It is gray in color with markets and tough scales.
lizard is stocky in appearance and grows to 2.5 to 4 feet in length
(1.52m) - 5 feet is rare, depending on the type of Savannah monitor
The Savannah monitor lizard can puff up its body when
threatened. When they do this they are preparing to lash the
threat with their tail. They also have claws and the ability to create
a bad odor in defense.
Habitat: As a large lizard, the cage will need to be at least
ft. x 6
ft. x 10 ft. (1.83m x 1.83m x 3.05m). Do not use wire mesh, preference
for glass or Plexiglas to maintain humidity
Substrate: Use a deep 2 foot substrate such as dirt.
monitor likes to create tunnels and burrows.
Temperature: Cool size of lizard cage between 75F to 80F.
heated area to 90 to 100F. Basking area heat to 11`0 to
130F. Night temperature can fall to room temperature. Heat
basking area with rack of 3 to 4 flood lamps at 60 to 120 watts.
When held in captivity for many years they can become over
weight, and may require that food be limited.
Lizard lifespan is 10 to 15 years
Diet: Insects (large roaches), small rodents. Feed a variety
Supplements: Dust insects with vitamin and mineral powder
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