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Re: Desert Horned Lizard Set-up

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Horned Lizard Forum ]

Posted by Les4toads on September 24, 2002 at 18:25:43:

In Reply to: Re: Desert Horned Lizard Set-up posted by Mark Berger on September 24, 2002 at 17:40:45:

:I was wrong, they are almost the size of a quarter.

:Are there any ants that are not safe? They loved the ants that we saw them eat and were told they are harvesters. We will do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and safe.

:Are ants like crickets, in that they will harm the animal if left in there to long? If so, do you remove them from their enclosure to feed them, esp. while trying to find the right ants?

:One of them likes to burrow in under the hot spot, one likes to bask on the rocks. Is that usual?

:Is there anyhting we can use for our work with Colorado Reptile Rescue on your page to help with why people should leave the HLs where they are? We get a lot of calls about reptiles people have picked up, and the best advice is still, "Put it back!!!" Occationally we get a CB or one that is in need of rehabing before going back.

:I know I am full of questions... I am really thankful for the advice and help.

:::::Captive bred? How old are the HLs? Your set up sounds okay so far. What size enclosure are you using? Water is a necessary item for HLs. They do get most of their water from food prey, but Desert HLs do like water to drink also. Think of the summer rains that happen in the deserts. A shallow water dish works great. Distilled water, no tap water. Too many minerals and additives. It is good you have a natural supply of ants. What state are you in? This will be a better info for the kind of ants. Lester G. Milroy III


:::Aimee and Mark, the ants you have ordered will probably be too big for hatchling Desert Horned Lizards. You will have to collect ants in your area of differeent varities and experiment. The problem working with hatchlings is their size and the food prey.
::Hatchling HLs do not eat the same ants as adults. There are several differ and genera/species that HLs eat and you have to find the ants that are acceptable to the HLs. Offer different ants and observe. Hatchling HLs should not be sold until they are at least 1 year old. Their survival rate in the wild is about 40% of a clutch group. (typically 14 eggs in a clutch). They are very hard to care for, but give it a go and see what happens. Lester G. Milroy III


:Hello Aimee and Mark. If the HLs are about the size of a quarter, they are probably about 4 - to 6 weeks old. Ants that are not safe is something that the HLs will let you know about in their behaviors. They will avoid ants that are not "good" for them. There are only a few ants that meet that criteria. A small black ant that is found in the desert, Messor pergandi, is not a beneficial ant. If ants that are offered to the HLs are not eaten after abot 10 minutes, take the ants out and save them in the refridgerator until next time. Do not take the HLs out of their enclosure for feeding. New and unfamiliar areas cause stress and that is the most important thing to minimize. Offer different kinds of ants to increase food prey "richness." That is always beneficial, as long as it is varieties of ants.
HL behaviors, as you will notice is not necessarily "clear cut." You have to rememer that these are individuals and each will have a "personality." (I do not want to be accused of anthropormorphizing the animals :-)) Even though they do take on some rather interesting behaviors. Of course the question will be "is it because they are in captivity?" That is something that I am studying very closely with my captive study group and my study groups in the field.
The biggest thing you can put on your web site about HLs is that most all species are protected by state laws. The other is that they are not easy to care for in captivity. (Keep your eyes open for, my site. It should be up soon.) Lester G. Milroy III

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