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Can a lizard be depressed?

Discussion in 'Herp Health' started by herpguy, Dec 14, 2005.

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  1. herpguy

    herpguy Member

    My little girl (collared lizard), Joan, passed away recently and I'm not sure why. Joan suddenly stopped eating and drinking. I tried to find a liquid food to force down her throat, but I couldn't find anything. She just grew weaker and weaker, until eventually she burrowed down into the sand in her cage and died. She acted normal and was healthy up until I took her friend, Walter, out of the cage which leads me to believe she was depressed. Does anyone know about lizard depression? I want to know why Joan died before i get a new lizard.
  2. geckoguy14

    geckoguy14 Elite Member

    hmm....i have heard of depression in lizards that are deprived of UVB light. They eventually get so depressed that they just die....did you provide UVB?
  3. herpguy

    herpguy Member

    The light I had provided UVA, is that the same thing? It says
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I suspect that your lizard was ill and the death was purely coincidental with the separation from the other lizard. Depression as referred to in reptiles is more a state of lack activity then a mental affliction.
    The light you need for diurnal lizards is a UVB generating light. They require this type of lighting to metabolize the calcium in their diets. Without it the body steals it from the bones structure of the animal. The UVA lights are frequently packaged to give the misleading idea that they are all you need.
  5. geckoguy14

    geckoguy14 Elite Member

    UVA light only stimulates...well i dont know exactly personally i really dont care what it does but all i know is that UVB is vital to a diurnal reptile's health. You can get it in the form of a separate florescent tube or even a coil bulb that fits into regular heat lamp sockets. Both the proper heating device (heat lamp) and a UVB must be provided for collared lizards. There is a brand of fluorescent bulbs called "reptisun" that i especially like, for your eastern collared "reptisun 8.0" would be best. I use the coil UVB lamps that fit into the regular heat domes for all of my herps.

    As soon as the UVB light hits the reptile's skin, it starts to manufacture vitamin D3 in a process called "photo-biosynthesis". This is crucial to grown and proper bone development. Since your collared didnt have the UV at all, it susepted to depression and probably many other problems.

    Dont feel bad, These things happen to all of us at some point in our herp-keeping careers. I suggest reading the HC caresheet on collared lizards and then maybe try it again once you have done some more research. I wouldnt rely on petstore advice either, most of them have no clue what they are talking about. They only know that the employee's manual told them (which is not avery good source in the first place). Books also provide a greta keepsake that you can return to for advice throughout your herp's life. So i'd go out and buy a good collared lizard book, read it cover to cover, do some internet research and maybe talk to some collared lizard owners through private messanging, chatrooms, and instant messanging.

    The very best of luck to you,
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