Making a terrarium ready for the hatchlings.

How many tanks you need for rearing young Takydromus depends on the amount of eggs you want to hatch.  Anyway, you have to get a terrarium ready for the baby lizards with somehow different needs than the adults have.

A 40x30x40 terrarium (LxDxH) will be big enough for one litter of about 6 hatchlings. Any more and you will find problems later in the process.

Do not place the hatchlings in big terrariums or in the terrarium with their parents. Adult Takydromus can be nasty to the young ones, sometimes even eat them or will catch away all the food provided for the little one. Next to that, the climate in the adult terrarium will do the hatchling no good. In larger terrariums it’s harder for the hatchlings to find food or water. In a smaller tank they often find food easier and it is easier to observe the little ones.

How to decorate the terrarium.

Light and warmth has to be provided in the same way as you would in an adult terrarium, with maybe a slightly higher night temperature than normal (20/22 degrees celsius). Take care of a  good basking place which can be used by more than one lizard at the time. If possible, keep the heat slightly to one side of the tank, so one side of the tank will reach a higher maximum temperature than the other side.

The biggest killer of young Takydromus sexlineatus is  a too high humidity and a moist substrate. Our biggest advice: Keep it dry!  But aren’t you saying that about adult grass lizard terrariums anyway? Yes I am, but with little Takydromus’s it is even more important and…..it must be even dryer. There for you’ll have to decorate the hatchling’s terrarium slightly different from the adult terrariums.

The substrate should be a thin layer of dry peat (special terrarium peat is the safest), do not place a lot of plants in the terrarium,stick with just one, which is standing in a planter and doesn’t need a lot of water. Provide the terrarium with some twiggs and branches, not too high above the ground. Place a few bottle caps with shallow water so the hatchlings can drink. However you want to provide in a drinking place, keep it small and shallow so that the lizards can not drown in it.

Keep everything as dry as you can, but spray a little water every day.

The hatchlings

As soon as they have hatched you replace the little ones to the special terrarium. The first hours they will probably not eat yet, give them some time to adjust to their new home.

Spray a tiny little bit of water on the leafs of the only plant (a fake one will do too) to provide in an easy way for the lizards to drink. It sometimes takes a while before te youngsters find the little waterbowls and know what to use for.

When you start feeding the baby lizards, take care of good quality and well fed feedinganimals. Some people (especially the ones who’s core hobby is dart frogs instead of lizards) think that providing in fresh and big fruit flies will do the job, but it doesn’t.

Main course for the baby lizards will be baby crickets (the smallest size) completed with fruit flies and other little insects. You’re lucky if you live close to unpolluted grass areas where you can catch different little insects. There is no healthier diet than that. Feed the little ones every day until they are close to adult size.

Do not forget the vitamin and calcium supplements on the feeding animals, with vitamin D3, because especially in this stage, they will have terrible deformities by lack of calcium.

When you want to provide in vitamin D3 throughout a UV B lamp, be sure you have a good quality lamp. The best lamps provide in UV B light and warmth at the same time. Build up the time you leave the UVB lamp on, to let the lizards adjust to the UV radiation.

In all cases, keep an eye on the baby Takydromus. They are so delicate at first that a problem will cause death before you know it.

I make these articles based on my own experience, the research I did on scientific sheets and the information I gathered of other successful (hobby)breeders of Takydromus sexlineatus. The way I described the breeding proces in this article is based on the best results by certain Takydromus breeders, but it doesn’t exlude other methods.

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Part one: Taking care of the adults, get ready and how to incubate the eggs.

Sometimes young Takydromus sexlineatus spontaneously hatch in the vivarium of their parents and some of these hatchlings even grow up to become adult lizards. But in a lot of cases, somewhere along the way something goes wrong in the process, eggs die off, young never hatch, when they hatch they are weak and small and die in the following days or the parents (females especially) die soon after laying eggs.

To do it right, keeping the females healthy and getting a high percentage of young lizards to grow up healthy,  you need to take special precautions.

 What do you need?

1. 3 or more lizardtanks. 2 average sized and 1 or more smaller rearing tanks.

To start up, keep in mind that you will need at least three tanks. Two of them completely ready to the climate requirements for adult Takydromus s.

2. You’ll need containers with air holes (some people use small containers made for growing  plants out of seeds. These have a sloping lid, to prevent drops of dew falling on the eggs which can cause mold on the eggs)

3. Fine Vermiculite.

The parents and there needs.

Make one tank ready for the male Takydromus s. and one for the females. Provide the tank for the females with a thin layer of dry peat and sand and place some plants in planters in the tank. The plants should leave enough soil (eco) open so the females can lay their eggs there. Because only the soil in the planters is moist and Takydromus’ do not like laying their eggs on dry grounds, you can locate  and remove the eggs easier to place in an incubator.

Of course the both tanks need all the requirements for Takydromus in order to climate and moving space.

If you just bought the lizards do not breed with them for a period of half a year to a year. When the lizards are young and just about full grown wait at least a year. You need this time to observe the lizards, make sure they are in a great state of health, their tails are filled and almost round, they are active and eat well of your high quality, gutloaded foodanimals.

You provide the animals with good quality vitamin and calcium powders on the feedinganimals and so now and then (once a week) electrolyte in the drinking water of the parents.

When the situation seems to be alright to start breeding, swop one female with the male and leave the male with first female until she had about two or three litters of eggs (that is about 4 to 6 eggs per litter. Then swop the females and leave the second female  for the same period of time with the male. After she had her second or third litter, swop the female with the male again and let them live in peace for that year.

The eggs.

Of course, as soon as you see eggs, you replace them to a plastic container filled with a thick layer of moist vermiculite, and leave them be in an incubator with a constant temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. The vermiculite has been soaked in water and squeezed until just a few drops of water drip out.

Do not disturbe the eggs bij opening the incubator. Any temperature drop will decrease the chance of the eggs to hatch.

Some Takydromus breeders use spagnum to lay over the eggs, to keep them lightly moist. Others just put the lid on the container. In the first case you’ll have to controle humidity better then in the second. I can’t say though that the one method is better than the other.

Leave some space between each eggs and make sure you didn’t turn them over when you place them In the containers.

Why 28 degrees Celsius?

This is the average temperature for incubating Takydromus eggs. It won’t be such a problem if you have the temperature constant on 27 or 29 degrees, but the more lower or higher the temperature differs from 28 degrees will cause problems.

Between 30 and 33 degrees Celsius will make the young develop to quickly what will make them hatch too soon, what results in undersized weak young.

A lower temperature will  make the period of hatching so much longer that there is more chance on mold and other problems with the eggs. A temperature under 25 degrees Celsius is too low. There is a slim chance that any egg will hatch.

It will take 4 to 6 weeks before the eggs hatch. Are the eggs over 6 weeks old and still looking good, leave them in the incubator. There is a big chance the eggs will still hatch.

Eggs who color brown/grey have died off and so have eggs that have lost more than half of their size. A little shrinking of the eggs is no problem, it tells you that the humidity in the incubator is too low. Just before hatching you will see the eggs will start to dent. This is perfectly normal.

Takydromus dorsalis mating

Next time: Breeding Takydromus sexlineatus part 2. Preparing the rearing tank and rearing the hatchlings.

Before you start breeding Takydromus, realize this!

I am pro breeding with Takydromus. For now 98% of Takydromus are wild-caught animals and I am against catching animals from the wild, selling them cheap in pet stores, mostly to people who’ll buy them in an impulse and have no experience with lizards what so ever. Too many Takydromus’ die in the first year of captivity due to a lack of experience of their new owners or because people buy them for their kids as a substitute of a hamster. Next to that the lizards often are damaged while caught and transported to countries in Europe, the America’s and to Russia.

But because of this there is a downside on captive breeding too!

Problems you will face trying to do it right.

Most people are ignorant about the things I described above and will buy the little lizards from stores without thinking. When you have reared young Takydromus’  successfully you might find it hard to find new owners for them. People aren’t searching for captive bred grass lizards. They do not know or they do not care.  Be aware that costs you’ve made will not be compensated with selling the young. The best chance of selling the young is selling them to pet stores and reptile stores for a small price. That means your baby Takydromus’ will end up as pets of impulsive buyers who were never been given good information about keeping Takydromus. And unfortunately, in most pet stores  your lizards will have a hard life already because the people there have a lack on information and experience with these animals.

Doing it right will cost you  time and money and at the end can become a frustrating experience for you, finding that the young will not end up with serious lizard keepers having a long and good life.

So, if you do not want to consider these things, do not start breeding with Takydromus! And if you feel burdened with the whole situation and your only motivation of keeping Takydromus is the fun of it, do not even buy them.

Disturbing wild animals in their natural environment, catching them from the wild to end up in somebody’s tank as a pet is wrong!

In my opinion Takydromus deserves serious enthusiasts for keeping and breeding them, who cherish the idea of ending wild catching of the species and ending their reputation of cheap to buy easy pets for children and all ignorant people who want a reptile instead of a goldfish.

Unfortunately, in our throwaway society it will be hard to change this all.The only chance of success will be when the consumer is aware of this all and will not agree with this situation.

Then it might end up with never again seeing Takydromus in captivity. Well, so be it! The well-being of the species and not disturbing wild animals is in my opinion much more important then our hobby.

Serious hobbyists should team up in their own countries for an exchange of young animals and start a studbook. Share your experience with others and speak out. Only then we can bring the well being and reputation of Takydromus sexlineatus to a higher level. Be aware and be honest and if you can’t, don’t even start.

 

 

 

All reptiles need their terrarium to be set up, suiting to the environment and climate that you’ll find in their natural habitat. In the case of Takydromus sexlineatus there are two mistakes made a lot by beginners. Some make the terrarium too dry (sand substrate, no moist areas) and others too wet. Too many tropical forest plants, big water parts and too moist substrate.

Devide the terrarium into a dryer area and a moist area where the dryer area is bigger then the moist one. For specific needs read the set up requirements below.

Size

For one couple: 60x50x60/70 cm For a group of 6: 120x50x60/70 cm Length x depth x hight

Light

baskinglamp / spotlamp providing the right heat. Always check it out for a few weeks before you put your lizards in when you are not experienced. For a 60x50x60 terrarium you’ll need 40 or 50 watt. Depending on the lamp and your terrarium. The maximum heat in the terrarium should be 30 degrees Celsius (close to the basking spot) and at the cold spot (far away from the basking spot) should be at least 22 degrees Celsius.

Night heating. If the temperature doesn’t go under 18 degrees Celsius  you don’t need to place any heating panels or other kinds of night heating. If it does, place a heat panel in the side of the terrarium, not underneath the bottom, or place a ceramic lamp with a low warming capacity. fluorescent lighting TL or PLL. Next to warmth, a diurnal living lizard needs light. If you have plants in the terrarium the strength of light is important to make them grow healthy.

UVB lamp – A good quality UVB basking lamp.  UVB HQI lamps or mercury vapor lamps for bigger terrariums. Enables the lizards skin to make vitamin D3, which is needed to assimilate calcium.

If you can’t place a UVB lamp in the terrarium it is important to powder feeding insects with vitamin and calcium powder for indoor lizards (which contains vitamin D3) Never provide the feeding insects with both at the same time, because some vitamin and calcium mixes nullify certain vitamins and minerals.

Substrate 

In a grass lizard terrarium  the right substrate contributes to a good climate. The soil used should lightly hold water but shouldn’t need to be to moist. A mix of unvertilized soil (coco-peat for instance) peatery peat and sand will be right. Devide your terrarium in a dry side and a moist side (not too moist) and use more sand on the dry part then in the moist part of the tank. Build the substrate on a layer of baked clay balls (hydroculture) which is covered with root canvas and place at least 5 cm of substrate on top of that. In planted tanks, the deeper the substrate goes. If you add millipedes (isopods) to your tank they will help keeping the substrate clean and so will springtails. They do need a small side with moist ground and a piece of bark or stone to hide under.

Decoration

In it’s natural environment you will find Takydromus sexlineatus in tall grasses, shrubs and herb areas.  So branches, thin bushy twiggs, grass like plants and bushy plants are in it’s place. The more a mess it is, the more the lizard will be able to move around on a natural way.

Plants, when planted with thought, will contribute to a good climate in the grass lizard tank. But if plants are used who’ll need a lot of moist soil or a high humidity, the plant or the grasslizard won’t live very long. (I’ll make a special article about plants later)

Branches and twiggs should be cleaned well to get rid of dirt from birds and dung of other animals. Use hot cooked water and vinegar and rinse well with water before you place them in the tank. Thick branches can be placed in a hot oven for an hours or two, to exterminate hidden parasites deeper in the core of the branch.

A waterbowl

Always provide in clean drinking water. The grass lizards will mostly drink water of the leaves of plants, but a bowl gives them the opportunity to drink whenever they want to.

Stones (optional) 

Natural stones under or nearby the basking spot will take on heat and cool down slowly. They will help with the transition from day to night time. Cooling down will go slower. Take care the stones can’t get to hot and place them into the soil not on it.

Without your concern I'm helpless in captivityBy W.A. Djatmiko (Wie146) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Family: Lacertidae – Genus: Takydromus – Species: Takydromus sexlineatus (subspecies: ocellatus)

This care-sheet gives you basic information about keeping Takydromus sexlineatus. With only reading a care-sheet you are not well prepared for starting with keeping grass lizards. Always look for more information that goes deeper into certain subjects and read about nuances in keeping the lizards. So read this and learn what you have to study before you start with keeping grass lizards.

Habitat

Tropical grasslands, disturbed forests, plantations. Sunny sides!

Size

The lizard is about 6 cm long, with a tail that is up to 3 times it’s body size. There is not much difference in size between males and females.

Difference in gender

Males have femoral pores on their thighs and a thicker tale base compared to females. Their colors there is more contrast between the colors of stripes and they ‘re somehow more robust then females.

The males of the sub species Takydromus sexlineatus ocellatus have bright white pearls on their sides, which can be found, much less developed, on the main species too.

Vivarium decor 

A tropical terrarium with a large dry area. Common tropical terrariums are most of the time to wet, for the well-being of Asian grass lizards. Planted with plants who can stand a bit of drought so now and then, a smaller part of functional plants who might need a little more water and lots of branches and twigs, placed horizontally an vertically throughout the terrarium. Keep the plants in pots or make compartments for plants and for drier substrate.  The terrarium should have a climbable background and sides to  increase the roaming space of the lizard.

Divide the enclosure into two habitats, a dry area, which should be larger on one side and a moisture part on the opposite side. This way you can create micro-climates which gives the lizard the opportunity to choose between warmer drier areas en cooler and wetter places.

Do not place waterfalls, mist-machines or all area rain installations. Rather spray water by hand, so you can aim to mist one side of the tank more then the other.

I will be more specific about terrarium decor, plants and so on in articles called specials. 

Vivarium size

One couple 60 x 50 x 60 cm (Length x depth x height)

A group of 4 or 5 grass lizards  120 x 50 x 60 cm

It will be noticed that the recommended sizes are larger then you find in most care-sheets. With these sizes you don’t have to worry about keeping your lizards in too small enclosures. But bigger is better.

Grass lizards are arboreal, but the crucial difference with a lot of other arboreal species, is that Takydromus sexlineatus moves around mostly horizontally and diagonally. Therefor they need space in height but also in length.

With more length you will increase the lizard’s moving space and micro-climate possibilities. Especially with a group extra length is recommended.

With more depth you will increase the sense of security (very important), the lizard’s moving space, more micro-climates and less disturbance when laying eggs, mating etc.

With more height you increase the variety of warmer and colder areas, the moving space, the possibility of placing very functional plants for climbing, hiding and egg laying.

Vivarium climate

Summertime: 25 to 30 degrees Celsius at daytime and 20 to 22 degrees Celsius at night. Day length 14 hours

Wintertime: 25 to 30 degrees Celsius at daytime and 18/20 degrees Celsius at night. Day length 12 hours. Reduce water-sprinkling.

Under the sunspot the temperature must be 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. Wintertime lasts at most for three full months but seasons should slowly be build up or down week by week.

Vivarium soil

A mix of peat, orchid-soil (or special rain forest terrarium soil, and sand. In the dry area a mix of 1/3 per component will do, in the moister area, less sand is advised. The soil needs to be at least 5 cm thick.  On top you can place wood-chips especially for terrariums, but take good care that you don’t use eatable sizes of chips, so the lizards won’t accidentally eat them.

Put this substrate on a layer of pebbles for hydro-culture (clay-pebbles) what has been covered with a sheet of root canvas.

Light and warmth

TL/PLL for light (good for the plants too) a UVB lamp and a heat-lamp   A light environment makes the lizards more active.

Feeding Takydromus sexlineatus

Small insects such as juvenile crickets, flies, so now and then wax-moth larva and moths and small insects you catch outside. Take care that you don’t search for insects in polluted areas. Not in the neighborhood of roads, not on agricultural land (poison) .

Feed three or four times a week, every other day, and sometimes do not feed for two days. Juveniles should be fed every day!

Use a good vitamin supplement once a week and a good calcium supplement once a week. During breeding time, increase using calcium supplements up to twice a week. The supplements should be especially for indoor lizards and have to contain vitamin D3.

Provide in clean drinking water every day in a small bowl (juveniles in very small lids, so they won’t drown)

Sprinkle water every other day. When you have new grass lizards, sprinkle a bit every day to be sure they can drink every day. New animals do not always find the drinking bowl immediately.

Breeding (there will be more info in a special article later)

Always provide oviposition sites in your terrarium such as moist soil in a plant pot and by placing a grass like plant such as cyperus alternifolius zumula (also known as cat-grass) in a pot in your terrarium. Do not place a lot of these plants for they will bring the humidity up to high levels.

The female must be well fed with good quality insects of a smaller size.

When you let her lay her eggs in a plant, you are stuck on leaving the eggs in the terrarium, or place the plant (so keep it in a pot) in it’s whole appearance into an other terrarium without adult lizards.

When the female lays the eggs in the pot with soil, you can place it in an incubator.

The incubator should be heated with 26 to 29 degrees Celsius. Try 27 degrees Celsius.

Hedged juveniles should be placed in a terrarium without adults, with a same set up as you have for the adults, but do keep the terrarium dryer.

Notes

Takydromus sexlineatus is known for its tolerance to their own species. But there is always a risk that it doesn’t work out. Therefore, if you keep a group of grass lizards in a terrarium, take care you have an extra terrarium ready, to take out oppressed animals. When you introduce a new lizard into a tank, this will often create problems and stress. The best way to introduce is to put in the whole group at once.

Takydromus sexlineatus sold in pet or reptile shops are almost always wild-caught animals. Feral animals are often weakened by the journey from their natural habitat and by stress. They often cary parasites and are already damaged caused by bad circumstances during the journey. So rather be patient and search for captive bred lizards. These are much stronger and less stressed with human action.

Literature 

Unfortunately the only good book about Takydromus species is written in the German language.  But     it is worth it trying to read it. (google translate?)

Die Langschwanzeidechsen der Gattung Takydromus: Pflege, Zucht und Lebensweise             Auteur: Uwe Schlüter

Names used:

  • Lat. Takydromus sexlineatus, 
  • English. Asian grass lizard, long tailed grass lizard, long tail lizard.
  • German. Langschwanzeidechsen, Sechsstreifen-Langschwanzeidechse
  • Dutch. Langstaarthagedis
  • French. lézard à longue queue
  • Spanish. Lagartija Asiatica Cola Larga
  • Vietnamese. Đó chính là liu điu

Distribution: Throughout South East Asia: South of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and more.

Subspecies: Takydromus sexlineatus sexlineatus and Takydromus sexlineatus ocellatus.

Habitat: Takydromus s. lives in open grassland, disturbed area’s and plantations. In these areas they live between higher grass, wild vegetation, shrubs and small trees. They do not appear in wetlands, tropical dense forests and rain forests.

Climate: Although the countries distributing Takydromus s. are tropical, the lizard lives in areas where there is enough sun to make it less humid. All countries have periods of dryer and wetter seasons  what differs per area.

In the most extreme situation the night temperature drops to about 15 degrees Celsius and the day temperature goes up to about 35 degrees celsius. Most captured grass lizards come from areas where there isn’t such a big difference between temperatures.

Behavior: For a lizard, Takydromus sexlineatus is pretty active. It hunts for prey in an active way and isn’t really a sit and wait predator.  They climb through and over tall grasses, twigs and branches and can balance with there tail on the lightest blades of grass.

In their natural environment you can find several grass lizards together, but it isn’t a social behaving, group animal. They tolerate each other and that’s about it.

Appearance T. sexlineatus sexlineatus and T. Sexlineatus ocellatus. The biggest difference between the subspecies are somewhat stronger contrast between stripes and the contrasting white pearls on the male ocellatus.

Both sub species can loose their tails when caught by it and will grow a new one which isn’t looking as good as the original tail. In the wild it doesn’t seem to harm the grass lizard too much, although the animal has more of a challenge on climbing higher grasses.

Eggs laid by  the grass lizard can be found in humid soil but most of the time females will drop their eggs just above the ground in fine bladed grasses. The outcome of females and males is genetically decided and not by warmer or cooler temperatures.

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