Monthly Archives: March 2013

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.


Tropical grasslands, disturbed forests, plantations. Sunny sides!


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.


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.


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.