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Adopting a cordylus... help with id some?

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Posted by jmorris on February 28, 2003 at 01:20:58:

I've been searching wildly with very few results for information on the smallest (I think?) cordylus species: t. tropidosternum, and subspecies t. jonesii. I found these two sites:

Why am I searching madly? Today at the vet hospital I work at, a woman, who I respect dearly for her rescue work with exotics and wildlife called up... she is having some rough times and is having to adopt out almost half of her personal animals... including an "armadillo lizard."

As you might have guessed, she was given the lizard as a rescue, but she loved how shy and small it was, and so kept it for herself. All she was told of it by its original owner was that it was called an "armadillo lizard" at the pet shop but we all know what that means!

The situation is further complicated by the fact that i have yet to actually see the animal myself, and so scale counting, exact coloration, head shape, sex, and even accurate size is up in the air. She says that it is quite "spikey" with a noticeably more spiky tail, has coloration ranging from brown to dark gray, and is about 3-4 inches from tip of nose to tip of tail. She has had him some time, and so he is probably full grown.

So, of the smaller species, I am guessing I have jonesii, as 3-4" seems small for a t.tropidosternum. She says she has him in a 5 gallon terrarium... wow, even for a 4" lizard that seems small, but then again, I spoil all my herps (I am currently setting up a custom 40 gallon viv. for a single green anole!).Assuming it is t. jonesii, how large should its cage be minimally... will the 5 gallon suffice for the time being while I have him vet checked and probably quarantined for treatment?

How will I want to arrange his permanent cage? From the one fairly speculative, but in depth, caresheet I've read, an aprox. 20 gallon long was recommend for a pair, so 5 gallons seems small for a single, and 20 gallons seems perfect for a single spoiled brat. I also read that they will climb some (especially in slightly tight crevasses), like to hide amongst stacked flat rocks and dead bark, and will come out to bask (when undisturbed) at temps around 90, with cool hide areas around 70.

I would probably do a planting mix of sand, pumice, pea gravel, and organic soil with a good drainage layer underneath. A toplayer mix of mostly bark chips (wild collected bark, broken up, and sterilized by baking, not commercial bark mulch) and some variable sized small rocks. I would then use larger pieces of sterilized collected bark and wood, in combination with stacked flat stones for hiding and basking areas. A couple succulents or some such plants, and a shallow water dish would finish it off nicely I think.

so what do you think about all this my fellow lizard lovers?

Thanks for any help you can give,

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