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Tropical Girdled Lizard

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Species group:

Other common names: East African Spiny-tailed Lizard, Dwarf Sungazer

Scientific name: Cordylus tropidosternum

The basics:
The Tropical Girdled Lizard or Dwarf Sungazer is found in East Africa, from Kenya, Congo, and Malawi to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Tanzania. They inhabit dry forests and stay under dead tree bark or in grassland tunnels.

Appearance / health:
Like other Girdled Lizards, the Dwarf Sungazer has bony plates that support their spiny scales, which are especially large and pointed in the tail region. They average 7 inches in length, with the male slightly larger than the female. The body color is brown, with dark and light markings. A dark band runs from the ear to the shoulder. The belly is creamy white, as well as the throat and lips. Males have larger femoral pores than the females.

Behavior / temperament:
These lizards are favored pets because they are hardy and easy to feed, and they can be hand-fed. They are terrestrial and rock-dwelling, but also enjoy arboreal activities.

Housing:
The ideal cage for the Tropical Girdled Lizard is a medium to large desert-type terrarium decorated with plenty of hiding places like cork tubes, hollow logs, driftwood, or stable piles of flat stones. Climbing structures will also be appropriate because these terrestrial lizards also clamber up dead tree branches. The substrate must be at least 2 inches thick with a mixture of soil, sand, and loam. A water container is necessary for drinking and soaking. Day temp: 86-95F; night temp: 68-71F; basking temp: 104F; humidity: 40-60%; lighting: up to 14 hours, UV radiation required

Dwarf Sungazers are community lizards that can get along together unless mating season when males become aggressive about their territories. Under optimum conditions, these lizards can be hardy and live for more than 20 years.

Diet:
Tropical Girdled Lizards are insectivores. They feed on moths, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects. Gut-loaded crickets and mineral-dusted insects are recommended.