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Not Sure What To Do About Alligator Lizards In The Winter.

Discussion in 'Alligator Lizards' started by Skyhawk, Dec 26, 2013.

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  1. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    I keep 2 northern alligator lizards in a 40 gal aquarium, since its become cold, they've stopped coming out as often and since I don't have almost any food for them with it being winter and I don't buy food from stores, can I have them hibernate or whatever it is they do for the winter? Or is it necessary for them to eat the whole time? Can I just shut off their heat lamp and will they then stop coming out at all and be fine the rest of the winter? Not sure, but I do know that in the wild, all the ones I've seen dont come out at all during the winter nor is there almost anything they could eat.
  2. CourtneyAnn

    CourtneyAnn Elite Member

    I'm not sure about specifically northern alligator lizards, but in my opinion, when you take in any animal as a pet you need to provide for /all/ of their needs /all/ of the time. And you never know what wild-caught prey could be carrying.
  3. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    I catch its food in an area of forest that my family has owned for about 70 years, and no one has ever done anything to it or used chemicals or poisons in it, the prey I catch is also the same things it would have eaten in its own habitat as where I caught it and where I get its food are only about 10 to 20 miles away and in the same type of area. Mostly I give it spiders, a few crickets/katydids/grasshoppers if I can find them, black soldier fly larvae, and various flying insects. Also, if I'm mimicking what they do in the wild by keeping then inactive during the winter, isn't that still caring for them the whole time?
  4. CourtneyAnn

    CourtneyAnn Elite Member

    Sounds like you are just going to do what you want to, but I was referring to parasites etc, not chemicals. I am not going to validate your choice to starve them because for whatever reason you will not/cannot buy them food, though.
  5. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    For parasites, wouldn't they already be used to that type of thing since they came from the wild? With all my pets, not once have I had a problem with parasites. And only once has one of my pets been killed by a disease, which was a rough skinned newt that died only days after it was caught, and obviously had the disease before being caught, I also separated it from the other newt. And I don't have money for all the food for my pets, my parents aren't going to buy any for me, and I spent everything I had on lights, supplies, and got most aquariums for free from friends.
  6. CourtneyAnn

    CourtneyAnn Elite Member

    I know this is going to sound harsh, since you seem to care a lot for your pets and you seem to be quite young, but if you can't afford food, you really can't afford vet care, and probably should not have the animals at all. Wild-caught animals don't make the best pets, and I won't even get into the effects of trapping on the ecosystem. But you should consider down-sizing. It is better to have one pet you can properly care for, than to have lots that you can't. You still have a long life ahead of you to enjoy many animals and shouldn't have to worry about this at such a young age. Maybe volunteer at a wild-life rehab facility or at a local zoo to get experience without the financial obligations of pets. I am terribly sorry your parents don't seem to want to help financially support your obvious passion for animals. (If you go to a petsmart there are often crickets hopping around the store that you can catch and keep for free, if you can find them, just get permission first so they know you aren't stealing them).
  7. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    Yeah, I'm 17, but not time enough to get a job for this, but I've never had a problem caring for all my pets until now, the rest either were insects that don't live more then a year anyway or were animals like the newts that still have a food source even in the winter. And vet care, even when I have a job I'm still not going to bother with vet care, if something happens, then they'll just either have to live with it just as they would in the wild or if it's going to kill them then ill kill them painlessly so they don't have to suffer through it. And is taking a couple animals that I know aren't even endangered or threatened really going to make anywhere near as much of an impact as something like habitat destruction? Any animal I know is either endangered or threatened I don't take. As for wild animals not making the best pets, I completely disagree with that, I've never yet found a store bought pet I liked better then one I've found. The only pet I want from a store is either rats or a ball python, other then that, the rest aren't particularly interesting.
  8. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    My lizards btw.

    Attached Files:

  9. CourtneyAnn

    CourtneyAnn Elite Member

    I guess we are going to have to just agree to disagree, when you get older you'll learn more about animal husbandry and I would suggest studying up on ecology a little, too. I do caution, though, that if you don't find something to feed them they will starve (I really do suggest asking if you can look around your local petstore for escaped crickets, to see if they'll give them to you for free). In the wild they would have access to prey even if you couldn't find any.

    Your lizards do look a bit thin in my opinion, but otherwise healthy (I am not a vet, but I am studying herpetology in college). I am glad to hear that you at least have lighting/heating elements and decent enclosures. Sometimes parents will pay you to do extra chores, too, then you could get them some food (also try digging for worms and such if you absolutely /have/ to do wild-caught prey as they may be around still).
  10. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    Yeah, they only just came back out from hiding for a long time, they're not normally thin, I did manage to find a couple black soldier fly larvae and thawed them out since everything's frozen, I've tried worms before, but they've only eaten them once and since have never gone after one again, even when hungry. Spiders I think are my best bet, maybe I can find a couple. They also used to eat sowbugs and pillbugs, but not anymore, will go over to them but refuse to eat.
  11. CourtneyAnn

    CourtneyAnn Elite Member

    You probably already have, but spiders /love/ garages adn boxes and such, just be sure they aren't poisonous for you OR the little guys. :)
  12. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    Nothing even remotely dangerous where I live, only painful. The large ones I clip the fangs so they can't bite and also with wasps/hornets I pull out the stinger and clip the wings then drop them in. Only been bitten by a spider once, it was a jumping spider and I still have a mark on my hand from when it bit me 9 years ago.
  13. tbron

    tbron Elite Member

    you should try breeding your own food for your little guys
  14. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Member

    I'm thinking I should take a ton of black soldier fly larvae in for the winter so that ill have access to them during the winter.
  15. Jeanjaz

    Jeanjaz New Member

    I love northern Alligator lizards and had a rescue (from a cat) until just recently. I think she got a virus from a cat bite that I didn't catch until too late. :( She was awesome and have to admit to shedding a few tears at her passing.

    I wondered about the hibernating also. From what I've read the lizards further north than where I am (Washington State), will go quite a ways to a "community" hibernating burrow that is well below the freezing line - as much as 8" to 10".

    What I decided was to continue keeping food in the tank and if she wanted to eat it was there, and I provided a very secluded hide/burrow if she wanted to use it. However, the environment I provided was a 20 gallon tank, with a piece of ground literally cut out of the woods where she was probably at when the cat got her. I bought the first batch of crickets and they laid eggs in the tank and I only had to buy more a couple times more till the first batch got large enough for her. She really enjoyed hunting them. I watched the humidity (I have wood heat that is very drying), spraying her tank at least every other day, besides her water the crickets shared. I fed the crickets a high calcium diet, plus dog food, and table scraps. I also bought 100 meal worms that lasted the full 6 months I had her - she would eat 2 - 5 once a week. Several she didn't eat turned into black beetles and ran around the tank. We got a piece of branch (about 2.5" dia at the fat end) and baked it in the oven on a very low temp (about 250F) for a few hours to kill any unwanted organisms. It had some side branches and the top end got closer to her UVB light - she loved basking on it. Even though she was wild, she would come to my hand and crawl into it when I held it on the branch. She shed her skin 3 times while I owned her. I've read lizards shed in pieces, but she shed her skin whole - I still have them and having been intending to research how to preserve them. She grew nearly a half inch between each one. I was probably over feeding her, but I was letting her self-regulate, figuring she was wild and knew what was best for herself. About two months before she died, I moved her to a 50gal tank with pretty much the same set up.

    Even though I did a lot of research I worry that her disease was actually due to poor husbandry on my part. She had an actual puncture wound on her back from the cat, so I hadn't expected her to live in the first place - cat bites are lethal to small animals. It is hard to find things on the Elgaria Coerulea, so I followed general lizard care for similar lizards where specific information was lacking. I know one Canadian report said that more study was needed. One thing I read said they have live young, not eggs. There are a number of videos on youtube, some say they have eggs from Northern Alligator lizards, so I don't know which is in error.

    Anyway, it has been a while since you wrote your post, how are your lizards now?

    ~ Jeanjaz
  16. Mayginski

    Mayginski New Member

    Northern alligator lizards have LIVE birth and all other alligator lizards lay eggs.
  17. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    This thread is from 2014, please make sure you are responding to recent threads.
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