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Western Fence Lizard Care Questions? (With Pics)

  1. #1
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    Question Western Fence Lizard Care Questions? (With Pics)

    I've been wanting to get a lizard for a long time now, but they were too much. In the end, I caught a couple of western fence lizards, one a juvenile and one a near adult male. The big one has some faint blue markings on it, but I think it is a male. While the juvenile has yellow markings on his thighs, but I didn't really see any blue on its belly. But what I don't get is this: It's scales/back are/is black. I'm pretty sure females have black scales on them, but s/he had yellow on her/his thighs too which were clear as day which females don't have, right? Or do all juveniles have that black back/scale thing? Well anyway, here are my other questions:

    What terrarium type should they be in? For example, desert, forest, tropical, etc.?
    Are they arboreal, terrestrial, or both?
    Can I use wood or rock for them to bask on?
    How many watts should the basking light for them be?
    What kind of substrate should I use?
    What kind of decor can I put in?
    What can I use for hiding spots?

    I have owned them for about a week.
    The enclosure is a 20 Gallon High.
    Right now, I'm using desert sand.
    No UVB light yet. 2 40 watt basking lights are on the tank.
    Temperature is around 75 - 80 degrees F.
    The humidity is unknown as I do not own a humidity measurer.
    Crickets are being fed to it. I am currently out of crickets.
    Snapshot_20130404.JPGSnapshot_20130404_4.JPG






  2. #2
    Elite Member DwarvenChef's Avatar
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    Re: Western Fence Lizard Care Questions? (With Pics)

    Black scales are not indicators of sex on western fence swifts, stress can cause black scales/coloration on these guys. Some areas have some black belly scales Sceloporus occidentalis occidentalis - Northwestern Fence Lizard but they can also be absent. Yellow under the legs at the femoral pores is very common on males but have been seen on females (not so much the pores )

    From your discription it sounds like the larger is a female anf the younger may be male, the pics are to far away to get good definition.

    UVB is important, get some asap.

    These guys are both terrestial and aborial, they love to climb and scurry about "Swift" in the name is a hint So having places for them to run about and hide are important... and these buggers will do all they can to foil your attempts to set up a logical path for them to run about. Screen lids are their super Hwy's.

    I use clean sand and organic potting soil as a base for my tanks and hve live plants growing in it. I have to keep mine very moist as they like a higher humidity than the local spieces. Probably 20-50% humidity would be acceptable for most native CA swifts.

    Wood or rocks are acceptable basking points, as long as the temps get to where thy like. If you got them from wooded area's than I'd go with wood, they would be more used to it. I use 50watt bulbs to get around 90F basking point, but my lizards are high altitude and can't deal with to high of temps. Local swifts would accept up to 100f but not much more, I lean to the cooler side and watch how long they stay in the spotlight. If they stay there all day long I raise the temp a bit till they move in and out of the light, thoughout the day.

    Many will commont about the negative aspects of catching wild herps and for the most part they are correct. However swifts are not easy to find captive bred and raised (preferable) so if you want these guys you have to accept wild caught. Just keep in mind that the stress of capture can cause them to get very i'll and after exposure to our own food systems (farmed chrickets and such) it is dangerous to local herps and wildlife if you release them back to nature. So be dedicated in their care, just because they didn't cost anything to get doesn't mean they are cheap. They deserve the same care and attention as something that cost $1500.00. Trust me I'm not chewing you out I just want you to understand what your in for

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  3. #3
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    Question Re: Western Fence Lizard Care Questions? (With Pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by DwarvenChef View Post
    Black scales are not indicators of sex on western fence swifts, stress can cause black scales/coloration on these guys. Some areas have some black belly scales Sceloporus occidentalis occidentalis - Northwestern Fence Lizard but they can also be absent. Yellow under the legs at the femoral pores is very common on males but have been seen on females (not so much the pores )

    From your discription it sounds like the larger is a female anf the younger may be male, the pics are to far away to get good definition.

    UVB is important, get some asap.

    These guys are both terrestial and aborial, they love to climb and scurry about "Swift" in the name is a hint So having places for them to run about and hide are important... and these buggers will do all they can to foil your attempts to set up a logical path for them to run about. Screen lids are their super Hwy's.

    I use clean sand and organic potting soil as a base for my tanks and hve live plants growing in it. I have to keep mine very moist as they like a higher humidity than the local spieces. Probably 20-50% humidity would be acceptable for most native CA swifts.

    Wood or rocks are acceptable basking points, as long as the temps get to where thy like. If you got them from wooded area's than I'd go with wood, they would be more used to it. I use 50watt bulbs to get around 90F basking point, but my lizards are high altitude and can't deal with to high of temps. Local swifts would accept up to 100f but not much more, I lean to the cooler side and watch how long they stay in the spotlight. If they stay there all day long I raise the temp a bit till they move in and out of the light, thoughout the day.

    Many will commont about the negative aspects of catching wild herps and for the most part they are correct. However swifts are not easy to find captive bred and raised (preferable) so if you want these guys you have to accept wild caught. Just keep in mind that the stress of capture can cause them to get very i'll and after exposure to our own food systems (farmed chrickets and such) it is dangerous to local herps and wildlife if you release them back to nature. So be dedicated in their care, just because they didn't cost anything to get doesn't mean they are cheap. They deserve the same care and attention as something that cost $1500.00. Trust me I'm not chewing you out I just want you to understand what your in for

    Ask away I'll try to help where I can
    Sorry for taking to long to reply. I have been busy with school stuff. Anyway, here are my questions:

    1. How do you tell if it is a male or a female and 2. Proper conditions for breeding.Snapshot_20130414_6.JPGSnapshot_20130414_3.JPG

  4. #4
    Elite Member DwarvenChef's Avatar
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    Re: Western Fence Lizard Care Questions? (With Pics)

    If you do have S. Occedentalis (sp... to much beer...) Males will have brighter blue belly stripes, blue throat, Femeral pores along the botton back of their legs (yellow in this area is common), and tend they have more color on their backs.

    Females will look at best a washed out version of the males, generally very bland looking, heavier bodied, and a narrow tail at the pelvis. The guys want to be seen and stand out while the females done so they will be drab in color.

    Breeding westerns is easy enough with a little attention to details. Just like most egg layers a moist hide under something is prefered. I found that a board placed over an almost full tupperware tub burried in the substrate works very well for mom to drop off her load. It also makes for easy removal to the incubater if you choose to go that way. Spring is the time of "insanity" for these guys so you will want to follow the seasons with wild caught specimins in order to keep them in cycle. Come to think of it I bet following the leopard gecko breeding programs out there may give reasonable results... I need to look that up

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