Acquired: Online breeder / seller,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
New York, United States
Posted Nov 25, 2015
While working at the Bronx Zoo, I was informed by a visiting friend, an old-time animal dealer, that our Sudan plated lizards were copulating. Upon noting the event on their ID cards, I realized that the pair had been delivered to the zoo 27 years earlier…by the same friend who had just observed alerted me to the breeding activity! An so it is with robust, ever-alert creatures – with proper care, longevities of 30+ years, and breeding, are quite possible.
Unfortunately, they are usually quite difficult to come by, and do not fare well unless provided with very large enclosures. But if you have the space and ability to meet their needs, Sudan (or Giant) plated lizards are well-worth a close look.
A huge terrarium or preferably, a custom-built enclosure, is essential if a healthful temperature gradient (78-88 F, with a basking site of 100-110 F) is to be established; a 125 gallon tank or larger will suit an adult. High levels of UVB are essential to their survival and, as they are adapted to arid habitats, humidity should be low. They are most comfortable when able to dig into a deep substrate of sand and orchid bark.
A wide variety of calcium and vitamin-supplemented butterworms, sow bugs, locusts, crickets, roaches, hornworms, super mealworms, and wild-caught invertebrates, with the addition of a pinky each 6-8 weeks, is required for proper nutrition. Limiting the diet to crickets and mealworms will result in your pet’s early demise – please do not re-prove this infallible rule! Many individuals also accept mixed fruits and vegetables, but most under my care did very well on invertebrate-based diets.
As alert as any lizard with its body heated to 100 F can be, plateds tend to remain high-strung, and are best thought of as pets to observe only. Long term captives may adapt to careful handling, but they show themselves to best advantage when left undisturbed in large, naturalistic terrariums or outdoor enclosures.