Wall Lizards as Pets

The Wall Lizards are a large family of active, diurnal creatures that fit many folks’ image of a “typical lizard”. But the brilliant colors of some, such as the aptly named Jeweled and Green Lizards, are far from typical, and their social behaviors are fascinating. Ranging in size from 6 to 24+ inches in length, Wall Lizards are wary, fast-moving animals that are usually stressed by handling. However, when provided with large terrariums and proper care, they make fine, long-lived pets.

Range and Habitat

The Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis) is found in the mid-European latitudes from the Iberian Peninsula to the Ukraine, including Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and the Balkan Region. They inhabit bushy locations including lawns and rocky areas.

The Jeweled Lizard is native to Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and northwestern Africa. This ground-dwelling species inhabits sunny and rocky open spaces, thorn bushed and forest slopes and stonewalls. They hide by digging burrows, occupying rodent tunnels, and slipping into hollow trees and under big rocks.

Appearance and Temperament

Lacerta viridis are popular in the pet trade for their striking color and because they can be tamed into gentle handling by their owners. They are naturally aggressive towards other lizards, especially their own species. When threatened, they can lose their tails.

Wall Lizard Housing

Green Lizards prefer large woodland terrariums with plenty of foliage for humidity and climbing about. Climbing branches, walls, large stones, and cork tubes are recommended to address the lizard’s habitat preferences and tendencies. Good ventilation is a must, as well as a large water dish. The best substrate should be soil, sand, and gravel, about 2-4 inches deep. Day temp: 77-86F; night temp: 61-68F; basking temp: 95-104F; humidity 60-70%; lighting: 10-12 hours UV radiation required.

Jeweled Lizards are best kept in a medium to large dry terrarium with a substrate that is about 2 inches deep. The enclosure must contain several hiding places like hollow bark and stable piles of rock, plus a climbing wall, lots of branches and a large stone slab for basking. A water bowl is also essential. Depending on the weather, Jeweled Lizards can be kept outdoors. Day temp: 73-82F; night temp: 61-68F; basking temp: 95-113F; humidity: 60-70%; lighting: 10-12 hours. UV radiation required.

Wall Lizard Diet

Lacerta lepida is easy to feed because it is omnivorous. It eats insects (crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches), small rodents, snails, grubs, and slugs, as well as sweet soft fruit (bananas, peaches, apricot, strawberries). In captivity, they will also eat eggs and chopped non-fat meat. Gut-loaded and mineral-dusted insects are recommended.