Long-tailed lizards, as the name suggests, are lizards with really long tails, wherein their tail is 5-6 times longer than their body. These lizards are quite endearing by nature, which is why they are gaining popularity as pets.
Long-tailed lizards are greenish-brown to brown-colored, with a pale-colored belly. Scientifically known as Takydromus sexlineatus, these lizards are found throughout Asia, especially the Southeastern region in the bamboo forests or grassy areas. Thus, they are also called Asian long-tailed lizards or long-tailed grass lizards. These lizards are about 10-12 inches in size, with ¾ (30 cm tail and 6 cm body length) of their length pertaining to the tail’s length itself. Their long tail is prehensile, which means they can use their tail to curl around objects and hang on to them. This is why these lizards are named as the long-tailed lizard.
Their snout to vent length is 6.5 cm and they have two lateral brownish to gold-colored stripes running down the back to the tail. The males are brighter and colorful as compared to the females, and mating in these lizards is stimulated by the use of full spectrum lights and varied photoperiods. The eggs are laid at the bottom of a grass clump and hatch within the next 6 weeks and live for a period of 4-5 years.
In captivity long-tailed lizards are quite docile, however, they are quite active and entertaining to watch. They are endearing to keep as pets and they lure you with their cute, adorable antics. After a period of time and regular handling, these lizards do become tame.
For keeping long-tailed lizards, one needs to get a 15 gallon tank which has a tight lid to keep the lizard from escaping out. The enclosure should house several branches and climbing spots, as these lizards are great climbers and the house we prepare for them should simulate their natural habitat. Also ensure that there are enough hiding places for the lizard to feel secure and protected. For the substrate, one can use peat moss.
Temperature, Lighting, and Humidity
An optimum humidity would be 75 – 80%, and the optimum temperature during the day should be maintained at around 75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit. However, we need to create a temperature variation in the enclosure for the lizard, thus, at one end of the tank maintain a temperature of 90 degrees. This makes the tank slightly hotter and slightly cooler in certain areas. This enables the lizard to decide for himself or herself in which temperature zone they want to lie at the moment. At night, have the temperatures drop to about 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, lighting in the tank is important as these lizards are most active during the day (diurnal), thus, lighting must be on for a complete 12 hours. Fluorescent bulbs are good to provide this necessary light.
As with any pet, long-tailed lizards also are not to be fed with any insects from the wild, since we do not know if they are carrying any disease or poisonous substance in their body. Baby lizards need to be fed daily, while the adults can be fed alternate days. Crickets, wax worms, and meal worms are their favorites, so sprinkle them with some calcium powder and feed it to your pets. Every two weeks, feed them some vitamins as well. A large, shallow bowl would be perfect for water supply.
It is advisable to get only one male for one tank, lest you want to watch a wrestling match. While dealing with these lizards, one has to be patient and gentle. Moreover, remember never to pick the lizard by its tail as it tends to shed its tail in panic. Since the availability of this lizard is seasonal, check with your pet store and find out if the long-tailed lizard is available.