The Agama lizard is a well-known species of lizard in Africa, the area where these lizards tend to live are deserts. When it comes to the nature of these lizards, they are very obedient and calm.
These miniature creatures are adorable in appearance, the fascinating part about these lizards that amazes most pet owners is that the male agama lizards change colors to flex in front of females.
The size of agama lizards varies between 5-12 inches.
If you are a reptile pet lover, then agama lizards will fascinate you, and as soon as you learn about them, you will want to buy them immediately.
Agama lizards live for approximately 25 years, with the proper diet and environment of course.
|Red-headed rock agama, Rainbow agama, agama
|20 to 25 years
|5-12 inches long
|Commonly grey or brown
|Small insects like crickets, ants, some mammals, and plants
|Beginner to intermediate
|80-90 degrees Fahrenheit
|Desert, grassland, dry forest
Agama lizards origin.
These incredible creatures are commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa, Agama lizards live in dry deserts, but they can also adapt to living in citified areas, and in villages as well.
There are more than 37 species of Agama lizards in Africa.
The species is found in arid Mediterranean areas of Europe, Madagascar, and India.
Due to agama lizards’ introduction to the United States via the reptile trade, it is also widespread in Southern Florida and the adjacent areas.
If you wonder where these lizards live and shelter themselves, then the simple answer to that is the agama lizards hide under bushes and plants.
The appearance of agama lizards
The best part about this lizard is its appearance, it comes in a variety of colors and sizes.
These color-changing lizards catch the attention of reptile pet lovers and persuade them to buy them.
Size of agama lizards is 5-12 inches yet, the males are 3-5 inches longer than the females. These reptiles have a short body, but a long tail, so their length clearly depends on the size of their tails.
One unique thing about these lizards is that they don’t have any dewlaps( loose skin around the neck) and crests (skin on top of the head of lizards).
Agama lizards have a white underbelly, their tales have a line passing through it right in the middle. Agama lizards often have gray or brown coloring, although they can also have other color patterns.
Dominant males alter their color to display and entice females, they are frequently referred as rainbow lizards. When males wish to show their superiority, their bodies become blue and their heads typically turn red or yellow.
The female agama lizards have an olive green colored head, which makes it easier to distinguish them from male agama lizards.
The cock will become brown like the others when it is threatened or resting. The superior males will take the best position in the region when it is basking in the sun, followed by the inferior males and eventually the females.
Agama lizards have rough skin, and it is gritty to touch. It has scales on its body that tend to be a bit pointy, so avoid handling agama lizards in your hands as they might prick you.
The tail of an agama lizard is around 5 inches if the lizard is fully grown, however, if it is a baby agama lizard then its tail will measure around 3 inches.
Agama lizards have long tails, so most of their length comes from their tails.
The tails of agama lizards may break off without any bleeding, and they grow out a new one within a few days. The tails of these lizards also help them jump from one place to another and provide the lizards with stability.
Legs and hands.
The agama lizards have a pair of legs and hands, the color of their legs and hands are the same as their body, and they have the same rough texture all over.
These lizards have sharp nails that help them with their grip.
Agama lizard’s behavior
The agama lizards are usually calm and mild in nature, but they can attack if they feel threatened.
Usually, these lizards bob their heads and change their colors when they feel threatened, in order to scare away predators these lizards can also change their color.
The tails of these lizards also help them with their protection against any predators, along with this these lizards open their mouths in order to scare away predators.
If there is no fear of predators and the lizard feels safe, it will remain well-behaved.
In the wild, agama lizards live in social groups and are territorial. One dominant male, multiple females, and subordinate males are the typical members of these groupings.
Males below must either seize the head cock or leave the area to create their own territory.
Just like turtles and other reptiles, the agama lizards also bask in the sun they are diurnal and spend their time out in the sun around ten to twelve because the sun shines at its peak during these hours.
Females and other males will relax underneath the dominant male, who will take up the highest resting position in the enclosure.
Later in the day, the agama’s hue will get darker, thus bathing in the morning is more beneficial.
Agama lizard’s habitat
Agama agama, a native of sub-Saharan Africa, thrives in dry environments, except for the warmest hour, when even shaded areas might exceed 100 degrees F, these lizards are active all day long.
Even the Agama finds a cool place to relax as the temperature soars. Although it lives in the countryside, rainbow lizards are as ubiquitous in urban places like Abidjan and Lagos as pigeons and squirrels are in New York City.
Due to the fact that they consume nuisance insects like ants, they might be useful to have around. They frequently gather under the eaves of buildings to spend the night sleeping.
The temperament of agama lizards
Although agama lizards are mostly peaceful animals, they will engage in combat with other reptiles if they feel intimidated or afraid. You could see your pet lizard imitate male agamas who lift and drop their heads to frighten away predators.
In captivity, agama lizards should live together. One male and two females should always make up groups of at least three, according to experts.
The lifespan of agama lizards
Agama lizard has a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. In captivity, they can live longer. This is because caged lizards have a longer lifespan because they aren’t exposed to predators and other threats of being caught or dying due to any other natural disasters.
Due to their widespread distribution, agama lizards do not have a particular conservation status specified.
Their principal predators are snakes, juvenile leopards, birds, or small animals. Agama lizards are stunning animals that draw notice right away because of their eye-catching hues.
Housing agama lizards
When housing agama lizards keep in mind that they live in hot areas, so their enclosures and environment must relate to the hot climate, this is very crucial for their survival.
Then when it comes to choosing its tank, you can go for a vivarium or aquarium as they keep the lizards from escaping.
Put a substrate of sand or dirt on the tank’s bottom.
Add branches and fake plants so your lizards may climb and play, and use pebbles to provide large hiding places.
To keep the lizards warm, put a water dish and a heat lamp in the enclosure, this will also let the lizards enjoy the heat.
The size of the enclosure truly depends on the size and number of lizards you get. Considering that agama lizards usually live in groups an aquarium or vivarium of 48x24x24 is a good size.
Even though they are not the largest lizards, they require a lot of room to move about freely. A basking rock, hides, logs, and a deep substrate for digging are required.
You should get a glass enclosure, as it enables you to keep an eye on your retile all the time, and it also lets the lizard take a look at its surrounding.
The average temperature that you must maintain when keeping a pet Agama lizard is 80-85 degrees celsius, and this should remain constant during the day and night.
The basking temperature must be maintained at 95 degrees, you can regulate this by using a heating pad.
The humidity level must be maintained at 40 and 60 degrees. Throughout the day, keep an eye on the humidity with a hygrometer.
The health of agama lizards depends on moisture since they lose their skin. Full shedding can take up to a week or two, and the optimum humidity and temperature will make sure that your lizards shed when they should.
Substrate and decor.
Soil, sand, or a mixed substrate should be used to cover the enclosure’s bottom. Create artificial plants, branches, and rock shelters to decorate the tank.
Also, give Agama lizard bedding that doesn’t retain wet. They require a cozy, dry location for relaxation and sleep.
Keep in mind that the agama lizard requires room to walk about in its aquarium. To allow the lizard freedom and to move about, separate the decorations in the tank.
Aspen bedding, coconut husk, lizard-safe sand, and bark are a few common options for this lizard. Make sure that your substrate is deep enough for the lizard to dig comfortably.
As we are already aware that lizards are cold-blooded animals, hence, they do require something that provides them with warmth and light, especially when you are housing them indoors, to solve this problem, you can get a basking lamp or any sort of UVB lamp installed in your tank.
The light must remain open throughout the day, you may also get a desert lamp.
Installing a red light in the tank has proven to be beneficial for your et lizard.
Cleaning after agama lizards.
Spot cleaning and changing the water that the lizards drink is mandatory daily, however, deep cleaning should be done after every 3 to 4 months, the health of your lizard depends on the condition of the enclosure, if you maintain a clean enclosure your lizard remains healthy and away from any sort of bad bacterias.
You can clean the enclosures by transferring the lizards into some other tank for a while, Make sure the temporary cage is deep and roomy, and that it is warm and equipped with a water dish the lizards may use to drink.
Then thoroughly wash the former tank with warm water.
Use soap and a sponge to clean the walls of the aquarium, rinse with warm water, and let it out in the sun to dry off also clean the decorations with water and soap, then rinse and let them dry.
After the aquarium has completely dried, put in a new substrate and ut back in the decorations.
Now your tank is ready for the lizards to be transferred in.
Agama lizards care
The agama lizard is simple to maintain and great for novice and experienced reptile keepers. The lizard needs suitable living space, a company in the tank (males shouldn’t be kept together), and careful handling. Your agama lizard will prosper if you give it the right care.
These reptiles add a great pop to your pet collection and also become very friendly over time.
Food and water
Diet is the most important factor to keep in mind when you go to purchase agama lizards, the health of your pet depends on its diet mainly, so make sure to provide it with a proper diet and all the nutrients it needs.
Agama lizards mostly eat insects, for this reason, they are called insectivores, but they do eat small mammals and plants every once in a while.
Agama lizards are insect eaters which imply they consume insects and bugs.
In the wild, these lizards eat ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and thermites.
Feed your adult agama lizard 10 super worms twice to three times each week or 15 to 20 crickets per day as agama lizards do require a lot of nutrients for growth.
To avoid choking, make sure the insects are not larger than the lizard’s head.
If you decide to give your Agama meal worms, bear in mind that each feeding must consist of at least 40 worms.
To offer your agama a nutritious supper, whatever you feed it should be stomach filled.
To keep your agama healthy, you should also sprinkle a calcium powder over every meal.
Gut loading is the practice of providing nutritious foods to your agama’s prey with the goal of transferring those nutrients to the agama.
Water is vital for the survival of any reptile, so make sure to provide them with water also keep in mind that these lizards do not drink still water, so keep the water running through a pump. Clean the water on daily bases as agama lizards tend to make the water dirty.
Handling agama lizards
Agama lizards are good pets they don’t mind being held, but you must take care while handling them, if you notice your pet lizard closing its eyes, this means that it feels threatened and scared, when such a scenario happens, put the lizard back in its enclosure gently.
Agama lizards do take a lot of time to get used to their enclosures and owners, so don’t rush as you can easily overhandle them.
If you live in a house with kids, do not let the kids near the pet lizard as the kids may scare them.
Health issues and threats
Agama lizards face metabolic bone disorder because they are cold-blooded animals and they need sunlight, this is the most common health disease, to overcome this disorder, provide your reptile with the right amount of sunlight and nutrients.
The therapy for metabolic bone problems in agama lizards includes calcium supplementation. Supplemental calcium helps in reproduction as well.
Parasites like worms, mites, and others are also a problem.
If the water that the lizard drinks is dirty and contains bacteria in it, then there are high chances of the lizard falling sick and prey to respiratory disorders and bacterial infections.
If you notice any of these signs you must take your reptile to the vet immediately
- Loss of weight
- hunger loss
- alterations in conduct
Sick lizards should consume nutritional supplements or adhere to a particular diet.
A few disorders can also be treated with antibiotics and light therapy, however, you must take precautions so that your pet lizard remains healthy at all times.
Make sure your pet eats enough and gets enough basking time, this will ensure that your pet is doing well.
Breeding and reproduction.
If you are buying an agama lizard with the view of breeding it here are a few things to keep in mind.
During the monsoon season or any other month of the year with enough rainfall, agama lizards often procreate.
As was already said, only the lead male is permitted to engage with the female Agama lizards. The mating process will often start with a brief succession of head bobbing from him.
Only a little period of time will pass during the reproduction.
The cycle will be completed, and then the mates will sever ties.
The female will use her snout and claws to dig a hole in damp, sandy soil that is approximately two inches deep when she is ready to lay her eggs.
She will then place a cluster of five to seven embryos within the hole, covering them with just enough herbs or grasses to protect them from predators, but allowing them to still get sunlight.
Even though their parents don’t give them much attention, the eggs take eight to ten weeks to hatch. With a 3-inch tail, each young lizard will be roughly 1.5 inches long.
The newborn lizards, which are solitary, will start consuming plants, bugs, sand, and rocks pretty quickly.
By the time they are around four months old, the juveniles will want to join a group that already has a dominant male in control.
Although there isn’t a rigid hierarchy in this group, the young guy will first occupy a subordinate role and may eventually rise to the position of dominance.
Males require up to 24 months to reach sexual maturity, whereas females do so between 14 and 18 months. The longevity of an agama can range from five to twenty-five years, depending on the variety, however most live considerably shorter lives. Predators often prey on young lizards as they are smaller and easier to catch before they reach adulthood.
Agama lizard population
When getting an agama lizard as a pet, you must know its population and wheater it is threatened or not.
Agama lizard (together with the majority of other representatives of the genus) is a species of least concern, according to the IUCN Red List.
Although we lack accurate population estimates, these species are widely distributed over their entire native range.
Buying a pet agama lizard.
When buying an agama lizard choose the one which has smoother skin and is playful and lively, lazy Agama lizards are a sign of some sickness in the lizard.
You can get an Agama lizard online, at a pet store, or from a breeder, when buying a lizard keep in mind its market price, the market price for an agama lizard is 25$ each.
Get two or three lizards, as they like to live in groups, overall a reptile lover will enjoy having agama lizards as pets.
Fun facts about agama lizards
- Agamas are fascinating due to their “third eye,” as well.
On the top of their heads, they have an eye that is light-sensitive and used to see predators. An agama will open its lips and show off its brilliant throat sac when it detects a predator in order to frighten it away and make itself more noticeable. If that fails, the Agama may flee or may even drop its tail to create a distraction so it can get away.
- Agama lizards change colors depending on their mood and surrounding, for example, they change their color when they feel threatened, they also change color matching the color of the environment they are in.
- Agama lizards are born with blue tails, but this changes to green color as they grow up.
- Only the victor gets to mate with the ladies in his group as the male Agama lizards struggle among themselves to control territory.
- The cock will become brown like the others when it is threatened or resting. The superior males will take the best position in the region when it is basking in the sun, followed by the inferior males and eventually the females.
- Agamas wait for their target in the shade or among a lot of greenery. When prey approaches their field of view, they will aggressively pursue and capture it. The prey may be caught in their jaws or with their clingy tongues.
Agama lizards are good pets for beginner to experienced reptile pet owners, they do not harm humans and live peacefully when not handled a lot. Their diet is quite simple as well they are mainly insectivores.
When taken proper care of they do not fall sick either, they do not require special sort of enclosures or substrates either, one thing to keep in mind is to provide them with good basking spots and lighting.
Agama lizards tend to become friends over time with their owners, and they are also very active, this makes them a great pet to have in your house, they are not only fascinating to look at but also keep you entertained with their changing colors and activities.
No, agama lizards have not been proven to be harmful to humans, they do not have any sort of poison, so they can not hurt you whatsoever.
The temperature mainly determines the gender of the offspring, hotter temperatures produce males on the other hand colder temperatures produce females.
No, agama lizards are diurnals, they remain active during the day and sleep during the night, and they bask and prey in the morning, the Agama lizards are most active during the peak hours between ten am and twelve pm.
The mucous glands on the tip of their tongue make it sticky, which helps them hang on to smaller insects like termites and ants, To capture their prey, they will even jump into the air.
In comparison to men, females mature sooner. They intensify their hues during the mating season. To impress the woman, the cock moves his head up and down as though performing push-ups.