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Desert Spiny Swift (Sceloporus magister)
A.K.A. Desert Spiny Lizard Description:
Desert Spiny Swifts are stocky lizards with pointy overlapping scales. They are primarily brown, but males have bright blue-green patches on their bellies and throats. They will grow up to 6 inches from snout to vent. These lizards can live up to 10 years if taken care of properly.
Habitat and Tank Requirements:
This species is native to the deserts of Western North America.
These lizards do well with sand or sand/gravel mix as a substrate. Be sure to put enough rocks and wood in the tank for your lizard to hide in and climb on.
Desert Spiny Swifts need at least a 20 gallon tank for a pair (two males should not be kept together, as they may fight). A screen cover is recommended for your tank, as it allows better airflow and heating.
A comfortable temperature for these lizards is around 70-80º F during the day and nighttime temperatures between 60-70º F. LEDs or other low-wattage light bulbs work best for maintaining these temperatures.
In addition to UV light, these lizards need a hotter basking area from 95-100º F. You can use either a ceramic heat emitter or a reptile basking light for this. Heat rocks are not recommended as they can burn your animal.
Your tank should have a small, shallow bowl of water that is cleaned daily. This is for your lizard to drink from as well as wade in. Some lizards won’t drink from a bowl. In this case some sort of dropper is recommended.
Desert Spiny Swifts will feed on small crickets, fruit flies, mealworms, wax worms, and any other insect small enough for them to ingest. It is recommended that food be dusted with calcium to prevent bone softening.
Allow your lizard time to become accustomed to its new home before handling them extensively. Handling them little by little over a period of time lets the animal get used to you and reduces stress.