Heating and Lighting: Provide a bright basking spot on one side of the cages with the hot spot reaching 95-100 degrees. Cool side should be room temp (75 degrees). A UVB bulb, either tube or compact should be provided (place in the middle of the cage). These two lights should be on during the day (for 12 hours) and be turned off at night (for 12 hours). If room temp is under 72 degrees a small nighttime heat lamp will be needed.
Humidity: A daily mist in the morning should be sufficient for hatchlings while older Lacertas can be sprayed a few times a week. A shallow water bowl should be provided. Never spray at night when the heat lamp is off.
Substrate: All of our hatchlings are kept on paper towels/newspaper and changed three times a week. Reptile liners should be avoided as it will catch on the lizards’ claws and substrate should be saved till they are older to avoid potential impaction. Large juveniles and older are kept on a mix of repti-bark and forest floor from Zoomed as the chunks are too large to ingest and also promote moderate humidity when sprayed.
Enclosure: Hatchlings are kept in twenty gallon tanks with two hiding spots (one on each side) and a couple of fake plants to provide more hiding spots as hatchlings tend to more shy than adults. A 40 gallon breeder tank is a minimum size enclosure for an adult male Lacerta. Lacertas are semi-arboreal so branches are always recommended. A pair would need at least 75 gallon or four foot enclosure with lots of hides. The cage should be filled with fake plants, branches and hiding spots. A bare tank will only cause your Lacerta to become stress and avoid coming out to explore its cage.
Handling: These lizards are advertised as “Mini Tegus.” While their body structure is very similar to that of Tegus. Lacertas are very skittish and take time to tame down, unlike Tegus. These are the type of lizard that can become tame, but only with time. Food is the best incentive for attempting to tame these lizards as they will see their owner as the “food god.”
Diet: Lacertas are mainly insectivores. Hatchlings will eat mainly crickets and roaches, while juvenile will also eat other worms (mealworms, wax worms, superworms, etc.). They will also eat some fruit such as strawberry and watermelon (no seeds). Our Lacertas go from eating crickets as hatchling to bowl feeding Dubia roaches, ground turkey and superworms as treats when they are older. Remember to also use calcium with D3 (2-3 times a week) and multivitamin powder (once a week).
Last thoughts: Jeweled Lacertas are truly a fascinating lizard. They are definitely one of the most beautiful lizards in the world with Males achieving an almost neon green with bright blue dot appearance. While they are not as tame as bearded dragons or tegus, they can become rather tame with their owners that have the patience to work with them.