Acquired: Bred animal myself,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
New York, United States
Posted Nov 18, 2015
The pygmy short-horned lizard and its relatives, the mini-Triceratops of the reptile world, are hard to resist. Indeed, back in the 1960’s millions were collected for the pet trade (and killed, stuffed and posed with instruments to be sold in cheesy tourist traps!). The vast majority met quick deaths, and they remain one of the most difficult lizards to keep…even when working in well-financed zoos I and others have had very limited success.
Primed by eons of evolution to thrive on an ant-based diet, some accept other insects but still expire in short order. And living in an ant-infested home or region is rarely an answer, as only certain species are accepted, and we know little of the balance of their nutritional needs. Harvester ants are available online, and most horned lizards consume these with gusto. However, they need huge quantities of ants every day or so, and a diet of one species alone may not be effective long-term. If you’re lucky enough to live within their range, get out and watch them (with care, they can be approached quite closely) – but please, leave them be!