The Mexican alligator lizard is one of my favorite reptiles. I will teach you all about how to care for them as best as possible. If you decide to get one yourself you will not be disappointed especially if you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Owning one of these guys does require a fair bit of experience so be warned and prepared
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The Mexican alligator lizard (abronia graminea) AKA the green arboreal alligator lizard is actually endangered and can be found in some areas of Mexico.
Because these guys are endangered purchase it from someone who knows their stuff. Someone that is trusted by other people and reviewed properly.
These little guys are not really meant for beginners and should be handled with care and caution. They have specific needs that owners need to follow closely to keep them healthy and happy
They are cute and rare looking creatures. Its one of the more pretty lizards found out there.
Appearance and different Colors
These guys are pretty. They definitely stand out amongst other lizards that we have talked about on our website.
These little guys are known for their green skin and of course you will find them in different colors too but green is the most popular.
another thing that stands out is their scales. They are clearly defined. The coloring underneath each scale fold really makes the scales pop. They almost look fake.
They have distinct eyes. They have this round coloring around their eyes which makes them pop as well. its like a white/ yellow patch. They like to climb as well so if you have an enclosure make sure you put some small little trees inside it.
They have cute faces. It looks like they are staring at you wondering how you are. Like they want to communicate with you somehow its funny.
They have really long tails too. Almost half their size is made up of their tails.
Like most other reptiles and lizards the Mexican Alligator lizard suffers from things like
- Mouth rot
- Parasitic infections
- Respiratory infections
- Metabolic bone disease
make sure you take your lizard to the vet for check ups to keep them healthy but make sure you keep an eye on them to see if they act funny. You’re going to look for stark differences in their behavior like lack of energy, lack of appetite. Do they just not seem interested in life when normally they are spry.
Like with humans focus on going to the vet and preventing things from happening. Its only a matter of time if you don’t do regular checkups before something is wrong. its easy to just go to the doctor right, take your little guy to the vet.
Temperament and behavior and handling- Will they bite?
The Mexican alligator lizard are nice. Like most other lizards and reptiles they can bite you if they are scared or feel threatened by you. Many people want to know if they will bite you.
They Don’t like being held all the time like bearded dragons or leopard Geckos so just respect it.
They like to move around a lot inside their enclosure so you’ll see them running around a lot and climbing their trees and rocks
Thats why its pretty easy to notice when they are sick or not feeling well because they will just sit still or they might even hide from you for a while.
Understand that it will take time before they will want to be handled. If you over-handle them they will get all stressed out and will not trust you as much.
This is where biting can happen. Think of it as just being overwhelmed. Something like a bearded dragon can’t really get enough of being handled. It really comes down to preference.
Give them time to acclimate to you. They will warm up more and more but give it time.
If you take proper care of these little guys they can live up to 20 years long. It takes commitment like any other pet and after a couple years they will trust you a lot so be patient
Mexican alligator lizard care
Taking care of these cute little reptiles is meant for more advanced caretakers. If that’s you then great but if you’re new to reptile care then i would try something else first.
They need a specific regulated environment which is why we only recommend this to advanced caretakers. The enclosure should be very dense and well designed so that the lizard has variety to their home. Its totally worth it if you want to go down this route though. Taking care of these little guys can be a lot of fun as my friends that own them tell me.
Just avoid triggering their stress. Remember to not over-handle them and let them have a good amount of space from you to hide in their enclosure.
Mexican Alligator Lizard Enclosure Size and Habitat information
if you’re going to own one of these guys you should aim to create a lot of variety. You might need to get creative with how you set up their enclosure.
The first thing you should think about is the substrate. You can use Peat moss, paper towel, newspaper or sphagnum moss.
you want to remember they like to climb and the word for that is arboreal.
You want to use an all screen cage as well for ventilation and natural sunlight. For an adult you’re going to want to get an enclosure that’s 25 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 35 to 40 inches tall. Height is more important than width
If you have more than one keep the males away from each other as they will fight. Females Don’t usually fight each other and babies will fight each other as well.
Sometimes you can let the moss dry out completely. You want to mimic their natural environment as much as possible and naturally they have dry times.
The sphagnum moss has natural anti bacterial properties so you don’t have to worry too much about bacteria buildup.
If you can help it try to get them into natural sunlight as much as possible and you will notice their color really shines. They will be a bright green color. its really cool
Mexican alligator lizards like to burrow as well so make sure your substrate layer is several inches thick.
add things like plants, bromeliads, branches, small logs and rocks to your enclosure
Mexican alligator Lizard Heating, Temperature and Humidity needs
Try not to let your enclosure get too hot. You will want to have a temperature gradient within the enclosure.
For basking set up a temperature between 80 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit
The cooler side of the cage should be between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Mexican alligator lizards are okay with cooler temperatures so at night its okay if it falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit
try to provide some shady areas if you’re going to keep your lizard out in the sun as well
If you don’t want to put them outside then you will need to Get a UVB light for them as they do need UV rays
For the basking light make sure its a low watt bulb that is placed outside of the enclosure. you can overheat them pretty easily and that can hurt them.
You want to keep the humidity around 80 percent and freak out if it goes above 90 percent. The substrate should hold onto that moisture too.
You can do a couple things to keep moisture high. Mist the enclosure plants sometimes daily. You can also mist the sides of the enclosure and the lizards themselves too. You can also get a Fogger too.
One thing to note is that proper ventilation is important too because again you need to mimic nature as much as possible. Obviusly they aren’t going to be humid ALL the time. Let the enclosure and substrates dry out once in a while. You will develop fungus growth throughout the enclosure if its too moist for too long so just be careful.
Mexican Alligator Lizard Water needs
Their water needs are pretty standard for lizards. They will drink from the water droplets that form when you mist their enclosure. Please make sure that the water you’re spraying with is free of chlorine and other nasty chemicals. You can let the tap water sit for a day and the chlorine will be gone as well.
for my lizards i use distilled water. You can buy a machine that gets rid of the chemicals from the water as well and you can use it for yourself too. i bought one and when i taste tap water now i find it to be gross.
Mexican Alligator Lizard Food and Diet needs
You can give them a wide variety of insects. Crickets are awesome for these guys. You can give them grasshoppers too. Phoenix worms are good for their calcium needs if you want to use those and you can also use spiders and cockroaches too.
For the maximum benefit make sure you gut load these insects before giving them to your lizard
for gut loading you can use kale, lettuce and fruits.
You should dust the insects with supplements like calcium and vitamin powders as well
Try not to overfeed your Mexican alligator lizard – THEY CAN GET FAT
They can be very rewarding when you can take proper care of them. it takes experience and knowledge to care for them properly
everyone i know that has one loves it. They love looking at it as it is a beautiful little lizard.
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