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Jeweled Lacerta

Lacerta lepida

  • Family: Lacertidae
  • Adult Size: 15 to 24 inches
  • Range: Southwestern Europe
  • Habitat: Open woodlands and meadows
  • Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Intermediate

Overview

Jeweled lacertas are active, diurnal lizards that hunt insect prey on the ground. Many people only get brief glimpses of jeweled lacertas as they scamper off quickly when a human comes into view. In captivity, most jeweled lacertas lose that fear as they learn to associate their keepers with food. Besides bugs, these largest of the lacertas will also accept sweet fruits like bananas and mushed apple.

Set up a cage with enough roaming room so jeweled lacertas can explore a domain and hunt for food. Soil or wood mulch is a good substrate. Add numerous rocks and logs, with at least one sheltered nook for sleeping. Spray the substrate a couple times per week to keep the humidity moderate but not damp or wet. Water can be offered via a small bowl.

Provide a hot light at one end of the cage and an elevated place to bask where it’s completely dry. Jeweled lacertas like to warm up and then forage for insects. Toss in six to 12 crickets or mealworms at first and watch to see if all are quickly captured. If the jeweled lacerta continues hunting, offer more, a couple at a time, until the enthusiasm to chase them down wanes.

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