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Discussion Starter #1
Well, as the title says really. I'm a sucker for all Lacertids, but especially those of Iberian origin.

I've seen Lacerta agilis exigua (Black-Headed/ Russian Sand Lizard) on offer from China and intend to order a good few pairs, just wondering if anybody already keeps them on here? There's a good caresheet online if you google the name so I know there are some in the UK already, anybody else got some?

I have kept European specimens of Lacerta agilis before and they proved very hardy and easy to keep (I kept them on a terrace in Gibraltar). These L.a.exigua are supposedly larger and greener and I'm rather excited at getting some new lacertids!

So - discuss away!

Francis
 

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I used to keep various Lacertid species way back in the 1970s. Great lizards. Please excuse any ignorance on my part but have most of them been re-classified to Timon species? I would really love a breeding trio od Timon pater.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I used to keep various Lacertid species way back in the 1970s. Great lizards. Please excuse any ignorance on my part but have most of them been re-classified to Timon species? I would really love a breeding trio od Timon pater.
Timon is the new generic name for the Eyed/Ocellated Lizard and close relatives, I believe there are five species on there, most from north Africa.

EDIT: And yes, I'd love a few pairs of various Timon species, they are amazingly beautiful animals! I'd also love to have some Gallotia, some of the species on the Canary islands are also astonishingly beautiful.
 

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You and I can but dream - I have the cash and the commitment but just can't find them. Way back in the 70s there were many lacertids available. But they were all WC and I am sure 99% of them died within 12 months of captivity due to lack of care info available - criminal - but we knew no better. I actually gave up reptile keeping for 30 years because I love these animals and hated the fact that there was, during that time, no reliable care info or specialised equipment (such as UVb, stats etc).
 

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I'm a big fan of lacertids too, having kept both Timon lepidus and Podarcis muralis. However I have to say that I found the wall lizards quite flighty and nervous, which surprised me somewhat. But as display animals they are attractive and their small size makes them comparatively easy to care for if you have ready access to small insects.

Timon are sort of scattered around the Med - LACERTIDS (Lacertidae): The Asian species.

I agree Gallotia are also stunning. Did you follow the rediscovery of the giant Gallotia in recent years? One of the rarest lizards in the world. Giant is relative, of course, in this case about 3' if that, but still impressive and still fantastic that the species has somehow survived.

Incidentally Chris Wotshisface who does Springwatch has somewhat irritated me lately with his mantra about letting endangered species die (first it was the panda, then it was the tiger). He may be knowledgeable but I find his attitude both incomprehensible and irresponsible.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You and I can but dream - I have the cash and the commitment but just can't find them. Way back in the 70s there were many lacertids available. But they were all WC and I am sure 99% of them died within 12 months of captivity due to lack of care info available - criminal - but we knew no better. I actually gave up reptile keeping for 30 years because I love these animals and hated the fact that there was, during that time, no reliable care info or specialised equipment (such as UVb, stats etc).
Exactly that, I was put off lizards to some extent after moving over here... there's a world of difference between a Wall Lizard living in the sunlight in a mesh cage on a Gibraltar patio (or in the wild) and one kept in a wooden viv with a light bulb... They just lose that "bright eye" they have in the sun, their colours dull, their activity levels go right down... it's a sad thing to see.

Nowadays I would consider a bank of three or four fluorescents, of different wavelengths, a minimum for Lacertid species to get anything like "natural" activity levels - and I would also treat Agamids and Iguanids the same way. I have even kept Moorish Geckos which loved to bask next to a UV (you can see them doing it all the time in the wild - they change colour from ghostly white/bone to a very dark grey or black to better absorb the rays).

Francis
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I'm a big fan of lacertids too, having kept both Timon lepidus and Podarcis muralis. However I have to say that I found the wall lizards quite flighty and nervous, which surprised me somewhat. But as display animals they are attractive and their small size makes them comparatively easy to care for if you have ready access to small insects.
They're not animals one can handle, no, but I find the smaller species very charming... although if you think P.muralis are bad, you should see some of the even smaller, flatter "rock-dwelling" species (P.hispanica for example) - they are just so quick and shy! These are reptiles that reward long, patient hours spent watching quietly...

I agree Gallotia are also stunning. Did you follow the rediscovery of the giant Gallotia in recent years? One of the rarest lizards in the world. Giant is relative, of course, in this case about 3' if that, but still impressive and still fantastic that the species has somehow survived.
I did, with much interest, having explored a few of Las Canarias, with their wonderful landscapes,myself. Previously G. stehlini was the last known "giant" of the genus in Gran Canaria (the specific status of G. simonyi of El Hierro is not universally accepted), but recently, G.bravoana was rediscovered in 1999 on La Gomera and G. auraitae was also rediscovered on La Palma in 2007.

Personally my favourite species is Gallotia galloti, particularly the black animals with lime-green "chain link" markings on the back and bright blue throats. What I wouldn't give to own a breeding group of these...

Incidentally Chris Wotshisface who does Springwatch has somewhat irritated me lately with his mantra about letting endangered species die (first it was the panda, then it was the tiger). He may be knowledgeable but I find his attitude both incomprehensible and irresponsible.
And to think I used to idolise him... his reprehensible babble on pandas was made known to me last year and my reaction was immediate and caused a long and heated (but interesting, and good natured) discussion on this forum... to think he is further compounding his ridiculous stance makes me rather upset.

Regards,
Francis
 

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Hi Francis. Your remarks about UV lights are quite interesting. I've read deVosjoli recommending extra UV lighting for Uromastyx which are obviously also sunlovers, but now you've got me wondering about lacertids.

When I kept Timon and Podarcis I didn't notice them being unusually inactive on just one full-length UV light, but I didn't have your experience of wild lacertids to draw on. I noticed however that P. muralis liked climbing rocks! Whether that was to get closer to the light or just because they live among rocks and walls, I don't know.

I also agree re Chris Packham's comments. Maybe he's having a midlife crisis of belated punk iconoclasm? On the other hand I did agree with his remarks about "I'm a Celebrity...." (don't get me started on those "reality TV" shows! :lol2:)
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Hi Francis. Your remarks about UV lights are quite interesting. I've read deVosjoli recommending extra UV lighting for Uromastyx which are obviously also sunlovers, but now you've got me wondering about lacertids.

When I kept Timon and Podarcis I didn't notice them being unusually inactive on just one full-length UV light, but I didn't have your experience of wild lacertids to draw on.

Hi there!

I am also a fan of de Vosjoli, he has some nifty books and articles - but then I am biased because I love naturalistic setups...

To be honest I've found of all the lacertids Timon lepidus are among the best for keeping indoors, they just seem hardier without sunlight than other members of the family... although I would obviously still recommend plenty of bright light for them too if at all possible!

Smaller species wouldn't necessarily seem particularly inactive indoors - they'll still bask, hunt and eat like other lizards - but when you see how fast they can move and how much brighter they can be outdoors you start to comprehend the difference. The way they dart about at super-high speeds can be almost magical - more than once I've had them disappear when I was sure I had my hand over it... there's a world of difference between a wild one and a captive one.

As for wild Acanthodactylus... I've seen them running on two legs more than once in Spain. These things are so fast they laugh at you! They'll run a few metres, tail in the air, stop and just look at you with the head raised high waiting for you to make another abortive attempt to catch them...
:devil:

I've found activity levels tend to fall in captivity for most active, diurnal lizards, but especially lacertids, agamids and iguanids (don't get me started on agamids - I've seen wild Agama aculeata move so fast on flat, open sand that it took me ages to figure out what the hell I was looking at...)

I noticed however that P. muralis liked climbing rocks! Whether that was to get closer to the light or just because they live among rocks and walls, I don't know.
Yes, Podarcis are very agile, the common name "Wall Lizard" comes from their preference for rock faces and other vertical surfaces - some, like P.muralis and P. sicula have adapted particularly well to living on buildings, ruins and so on, hence the English moniker. They are often rather conspicuous in places like Spain, Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean destinations.

Most Podarcis inhabit that "third" vertical dimension to at least some degree... P. muralis is one of the "generalists" of the group and can adapt to various environments, altitudes etc. quite easily... on more sheer cliffs and rock faces it is usually replaced by the more specialised forms, in Iberia this would be P. hispanica (amongst others), a rather more delicate and flatter species, but elsewhere in Europe various other members of the genus fulfill the role (or in some places Podarcis Wall Lizards are replaced by the various Rock Lizards, which are even flatter and more adapted for sheer surfaces and cracks, such as Iberolacerta, Anatolacerta, Hellenolacerta and so on...).

Some of these myriad species are extraordinarily beautiful... for me there can be few lizards anywhere that can rival species and subspecies such as Podarcis muralis nigriventris or Podarcis pityuensis vedra (this one can be bright blue with a green dorsum! Unfortunately it only lives on an isolated rock outcrop so even good pictures are pretty rare).

One of the reasons I love these species is the possibility of designing very scenic "rock wall" terrariums... I used to painstakingly silicone limestone fragments to the back wall, but having seen some of the threads in the habitat section on making rock walls with polystyrene and grout, I'm dying to try my hand at it... would be perfect for Wall Lizards!

I also agree re Chris Packham's comments. Maybe he's having a midlife crisis of belated punk iconoclasm? On the other hand I did agree with his remarks about "I'm a Celebrity...." (don't get me started on those "reality TV" shows! :lol2:)
Me too! Big Brother? More like Big Bother... Thank goodness this is the last series... :bash:

Francis

EDIT: Good gracious! Did I just write all that? :lol2:
 

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Hi Francis. That's interesting about the speed of wild lizards in sunlight. Maybe it is the smaller ones that are ultra-fast? I haven't observed any Podarcis or the various Lacerta and subgenera in the wild, but I used two trips to Tenerife to hunt Gallotia with my camera. They are quick, but I wouldn't have said they were as quick as the ones you described. Then again, they just rushed to the cover of nearby stone walls, so maybe they didn't need such a turn of speed.

I agree with what you say about patience, as I noticed if you sat still for long enough eventually the Gallotia would eventually come out again and after a while ignore you, particularly the large adults.

Shame it's the last series of BB... :lol2:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Francis. That's interesting about the speed of wild lizards in sunlight. Maybe it is the smaller ones that are ultra-fast? I haven't observed any Podarcis or the various Lacerta and subgenera in the wild, but I used two trips to Tenerife to hunt Gallotia with my camera. They are quick, but I wouldn't have said they were as quick as the ones you described. Then again, they just rushed to the cover of nearby stone walls, so maybe they didn't need such a turn of speed.

I agree with what you say about patience, as I noticed if you sat still for long enough eventually the Gallotia would eventually come out again and after a while ignore you, particularly the large adults.

Shame it's the last series of BB... :lol2:
Hiya!

The genera of lacertids I've seen that particularly stick out to me as being very quick and active are Acanthodactylus, Psammodromus and certain Podarcis...

But even in the Lacertidae speed varies dramatically - Zootoca vivipara (Common Lizard) is rather slow moving and just bumbles about... Lacerta agilis (Sand Lizard) is also fairly easy to catch in Europe.

Green Lizards of various species (Lacerta trilineata [formerly viridis]and schreiberi are the ones I have experience with) are fast, but more than that they are very alert and shy, so will not allow you to get so close in the first place... but it is possible to catch them bare-handed with patience and skill... I have fond memories of childhood holidays in central and southern France spent stalking these lizards, sometimes taking more than an hour to approach one on my hands and knees... great fun!

Gallotia vary with size but don't seem any more difficult than the above, and some are ridiculously easy to approach - I remember having one climb onto my knee while I fed it pieces of banana in Tenerife a few years back!

Among the Podarcis, P. sicula and P. muralis have struck me as the slowest members of the genus I've worked with... perhaps not coincidentally these are the "generalist" species I mentioned... at the other end of the scale are things like P. hispanicus and P. vaucheri that are much more alert and much fleeter (also they are somewhat smaller and markedly flatter so very good at escaping into cracks - although I have pursued them across flat surfaces with no "bolt holes" and they have still easily eluded me).

Things like Psammodromus and Acanthodactylus are much faster and much less "cheeky" than Podarcis (i.e. they won't allow you so close) and as Psammodromus tend to favour cryptic environments they escape all-too-easily into vegetation... but a Spiny-Footed Lizard on flat, open ground will easily outrun you - or a net...

Regards,
Francis
 
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