When considering what type of lizard you would like to keep, it is important to research the different species and their care requirements before you purchase the lizard.
Do you want a pet that eats insects, knowing that you will also have to care for the crickets like another pet(see cricket care below)? Do you want a vegetarian lizard? One that eats rodents? How much room do you have in your home for the lizard’s enclosure? Who is going to take care of the lizard when you are out of town? Is the lizard that you are interested in going to get large and aggressive as it matures? Do you have enough money left after the purchase of the lizard to buy the proper heating/lighting and substrate? Are you going to be able to afford proper medical care for your lizard once you make the commitment of caring for one?
Please consider these variables before you purchase any pet. Rescue groups are having a difficult time keeping up with the numbers of animals given up each year, mostly because people didn’t research what they were getting into with their choice in pet.
Healthy Vegetables For Vegetarian/Omnivorous Lizards
The most important thing to remember is that your lizard will be healthier in the long run if you offer a base variety of greens(the best being collard greens) and then supplement with other greens/vegetables.
Greens: Collard greens, kale, mustard greens, escarole, romaine lettuce, red/green leaf lettuce, boston lettuce, endive, parsley, dandelion, spinach(though it containes oxalates, small amounts are safe to feed to increase variety in the diet)broccoli leaves and carrot tops.
Veggies: Shredded sweet potatoe and carrot, green beans, peas, squash, zuccini, tomato.
Fruit: Kiwi, papaya, mago, melon(honey dew and cantalope) and any berries in season. (Different species of reptiles should have more or less fruit in their diet, be sure to know your pet’s requirements before feeding fruit).
Housing: Keep your crickets in their own cage/container. Be sure the container has adequate air circulation because moisture build up will kill the crickets.
Substrate: Don’t use any substrate in the cage bottom. Place paper towel rolls, egg carton and/or crumpled newspaper in the cage to increase surface area.
Diet: Feed your crickets crushed dry reptile food(that is appropriate for your reptile), crushed bird pelleted diet, and/or commercial cricket food. Check to make sure it is not “gut load”, but an actual cricket diet. You can offer small pieces of greens like kale and collard greens, too. Remove any old food before mold grows.
Water: Fold a paper towel into quarters, and dampen with water. Place in the cage bottom away from the crickets’ food. Change the paper towel daily to prevent mold growth.
Powder Supplements on Your Crickets, General Guidelines: Powder your crickets by placing a few in a cup with the supplement and gently shaking them so that the powder coats the crickets. Use a calcium/D3 supplement every feeding in juveniles, every other feeding in sub-adults and 2 times a week for adults. Use a separate multivitamin supplement(with pre-formed Vit A) once a week in juveniles, and every other week in adults. *Check with your herp vet for proper adjustments in the dusting protocol for your individual pet.
Feeding Crickets to Your Pet: Remove any crickets that remain uneaten about 1 hour after feeding them to your pet. This is important, because the crickets that are left will not have food to eat and may bite your reptile/amphibian. The crickets will also clean off any powder supplements, so they won’t be as nutritious for the pet.
Remember, healthy crickets make healthy herps!