Western Fence Lizard Help - Reptile Forums

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Old 07-03-2013, 12:19 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Default Western Fence Lizard Help


To begin with, I do apologize if this is the wrong place. Please, allow me to explain the situation. During January, I had encountered what I considered(at the time) a problem. I live in Nevada, so the winters are as cold as the summers are hot. A television man had come into our house to do work and he went into the crawl space under our house for something. Along the way he had encountered a western fence lizard which he had promptly tossed onto the cement curb along the crawl space.

I had thought that since the creature's hibernation was disturbed or perhaps he was possibly injured, that it was in it's best interest to be "rescued" or taken into temporary captivity. As of now, I'm still uncertain but I reckon he would've been fine, simply slow moving if I had left him. We acquired a ten gallon tank to put him in. The substrate is newspaper, there's a long, large rock for him to sit on as well as a place for him to hide in. Unfortunately, and I know this is a problem as well, we do not have a UV light(cannot afford one) for him. We only have a heat light. What I've been doing is putting him into a little box with screen on either side and setting in the sun of an open window during less windy days. He's also been eating gut-loaded crickets coated with a calcium and D3 powder.

He has been doing alright until I noticed last night (the heat light is turned off every night) that his mouth was slightly open. Today, he's been doing this often as well(though it's difficult to tell whether it's due to the heat light or not). I'm familiar that lizards do open their mouths to pant when the temperature is high enough but the rock last night was cool to the touch as well. Are there any possible sicknesses this could be related to and should I be concerned?

I would like to add that we cannot, unfortunately, take him to a vet due to money issues and that he is not socialized with humans(to retain the wild for releasing him when the temperature outside rises to at least 70 or 80 degrees). The only real humidity in his tank is a small top with water in it which evaporates after a day's worth of time.

Once again, I am sorry if this is not the right place to post this. I'm familiar that I may have made the wrong decision initially, but I'm trying to keep him alive now, just until I can release him.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2013, 02:31 AM
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Oh God - not her AGAIN
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Hi and welcome to RFUK.

As you rightly say, with the benefit of hindsight, he would probably have been better left in hibernation in a safe place.

So what to do now? I am no way an expert on these lizards, they are not very commonly kept in the UK. But bringing a lizard out of hibernation is not as straightforward as just warming them up. Dehydration can be a major problem and he may benefit from a Poweraid bath - but I don't know what strength and to get this wrong can be harmful. He is not receiving enough UVb for a diurnal basking lizard although you are doing what you can for that. Would it not be possible to provide even a compact bulb? You don't say what temperature gradient you have in the tank. Unfortunately wild lizards will have a parasite load and if they are then kept in sub-optimal conditions this can overwhelm them.

The best thing you can do - after this very inadequate response from myself - is to post this in the Lizard section of the forum. There are some keepers on there that are far more experienced than me. You might also want to send a private message to Gregg M who is very experienced and also from the US to ask his advice.

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Old 07-03-2013, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 3

Thank you and thank you. I will do some internet research on the poweraid bath as I haven't heard of it. Most of what I have provided him comes from what I've found through various resources on the internet.
I will also be immediately re-posting this and contacting Gregg M, thank you very much for referencing those, though and thank you for the response.

We live in a little town with one pet shop whose UV lights are either too strong or too expensive(60 dollars and we've got but 30 in our pocket). At night, the temperature ranges anywhere from 65-70 Fahrenheit. The days, once the tank heads up, are mid-eighties to 90.

Alrighty, I'm off to post there and contact Gregg M. Thank you for your response, regardless of if you consider it "inadequate". There aren't many reptile keepers to consult in this town and the one I wanted to consult yesterday(one of the pet store owners) was not in.
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help needed , lizard , mouth open , western fence lizard

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