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Baja Blue Rock Lizard

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Species group:

Other common names: Baja Blue Swift

Scientific name: Petrosaurus thalassinus

The basics:
The Baja Blue Rock Lizard is restricted to the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico and the small offshore islands of Espirito Santo and Partida Sur. It is most abundant in arid, rocky scrub habitat but may also be found on lightly wooded hillsides and cliffs.

Appearance / health:
The Baja Blue Rock Lizard is one of the larger and more spectacularly-colored of the swifts, with a stout build and average length of 10-14 inches. The males’ bodies range from medium-blue through blue-green to nearly turquoise in color, and are flecked with orange and yellow. The colors appear especially intense in sunlight. The females, although somewhat less brilliant, are non-the-less striking as well.

Behavior / temperament:
Ever alert for predators and prey, fence lizards tend to remain high-strung in captivity, and are best thought of as pets to observe rather than handle.

Captive Care:
Baja Blue Rock Lizards are active and will not thrive in close quarters. A pair or trio of adults require a terrarium of 75 gallons or larger. A sand/peat moss mix may be used as the substrate. Shy by nature, they are best provided with numerous caves, cork bark rolls and hollow logs in which to shelter. Stout branches and rocks should be provided. The cage should be located in a quiet, undisturbed area of the home, as Baja Blue Rock Lizards are very aware of their surroundings and easily stressed by unexpected noises and movements.

Baja Blue Rock Lizards fare best when afforded a temperature gradient of 78-85 F; a dip to 70-75 F at night may be beneficial; Basking temperature: 95-100 F. UVB exposure is essential. Humidity should kept low, below 50%, except during the breeding season.

Baja Blue Rock Lizards produce very dry droppings – spot cleaning is sufficient to maintain cage hygiene. Humidity and temperature levels must be monitored carefully.

Diet:
The few available studies indicate that wild Baja Blue Rock Lizards feed primarily upon ants, beetles, spiders, scorpions and other invertebrates, with small lizards and snakes being taken by large individuals on occasion.

A varied diet comprised of roaches, crickets, hornworms, sow bugs, butter worms, lab-reared houseflies, silkworms and wild-caught insects, along with vitamin/mineral supplements, is essential to their well-being; crickets and mealworms alone, even if supplemented with vitamins, will not provide adequate nutrition. A salad of kale, collared greens, dandelion and other available produce should be provided as well, although many individuals will not accept non-living food items. A pink mouse may be offered each 4-6 weeks.

Breeding:
A single male can be housed with 1 or 2 females, but they must be watched carefully. A hibernation period of 2 months at 55 F, with a rise in humidity 70% when the animals become active, often stimulates reproduction. Clutches contain 4 - 25 eggs, which may be incubated in moist vermiculite at 82-85 F for 50-60 days.

Written by Frank Indiviglio