Zebra-Tailed Lizard Care Sheet

Updated on August 1, 2019
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Thomas is a reptile enthusiast who has cared for several varieties of lizards.

The Zebra Tailed Lizard Makes A Great Pet But Needs A Large Enclosure To Be Healthy And Happy
The Zebra Tailed Lizard Makes A Great Pet But Needs A Large Enclosure To Be Healthy And Happy

The Zebra Tailed Lizard is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. I love to watch these beautiful lizards run. I see this lizard quite often in the pet trade, and unfortunately, they are often kept in small aquariums and enclosures. The smallest enclosure you should keep this lizard in is a 55-gallon aquarium with a wire top with safety latches to keep the lizard in the enclosure. In the wild, these lizards are known as the fastest in the dessert. Obviously, they don't get much exercise when kept in a very small container or enclosure.

General Information and Care of Zebra-Tailed Lizards

Your Zebra Tailed Lizard will be 7 - 9 inches in total length when grown and the lizard has a distinct black and white banded tail and this is where the lizard got its name. It will have pale orange or yellow markings around its mouth. It will have an orange or yellow spot in the center.

Sex

Male Zebra Tailed Lizards have a pair of black blotches on the side and it extends to blue patches on the belly. Females don't have blue patches and the black bars are either very faint or not there at all.

Behavior

These lizards are very active and alert in all but the hottest weather. During the hottest parts of the day, these lizards appear to do a dance. Standing first on two legs and then switching to the other two legs the lizard appears to be dancing. You will also catch this lizard running for short distances on its hind legs.

Habitat

In the lizards' native habitat where there are patches of creosote scrub is where you will find the highest concentrations of these lizards. You will find that this lizard will bury into fine sand at night for warmth and it will hide in the shade of bushes in the day time.

Reproduction

In its native habitat, the female zebra tail lizards lay 2–8 eggs in the summer and the eggs will hatch sometime from July through November. Female zebra tail lizards will often lay several clutches of eggs throughout the summer especially if they are healthy and well-fed.

Diet

The lizard in the wild eats a variety of insects, moths, bees, ants, and spiders. In captivity, you can feed the lizard on crickets, mealworms, and red worms. About once a month you should sprinkle calcium powder on the prey you are feeding to your lizard or lizards. In the wild, the lizard also feeds on flowers and flower bulbs. You can occasionally offer your lizard a small piece of apple or other fruit. But make it only a small piece. You can also from time to time offer a few leaves of washed spinach.

Water

In the wild, the lizard will not often have access to water and usually drinks a few drops of dew or rain from leaves but I like to offer the lizard a small pond of water that I keep clean by running the water out through a filter and then back into the pond and I have some very happy zebra tailed lizards. I see them quite often in the water so I know they like it. Don't make the pond so deep that the lizards can't get out of it and you should put a rock in the center of the small pond for the lizard to climb out on.

Enclosure

In the wild, the zebra tailed lizard lives in the desert so you should try to replicate its native habitat as near as possible. I do this but I do add branches for the lizard to climb on and a small pond of water for the lizard to enjoy and I have some very happy zebra tailed lizards.

Camouflage

In the wild, the lizard's body colors will adapt to its surroundings over time and if you keep zebra tailed lizards long term in a container or large enclosure you will see the same thing going on with your lizards.

Tail Regeneration

One thing you should be aware of is that in the wild, it is the tail of the zebra-tailed lizard that it waves around to distract predators. If a predator grabs the zebra-tailed lizard by the tail, the tail will break off and the lizard will escape. The lizard's tail will grow back. In the wild, I have even seen these lizards with two tails. One long and one short and this lizard once lost part of its original tail.

Lighting

You should use a good broad-spectrum light in your lizard's enclosure and the lights made and sold by Durtest like their vita light is a good light to use in your lizard enclosure. Fix any light inside your lizard's enclosure so that the lizard can not touch it. You should know that over time the light will stop producing UVB light so replace the bulb every six months.

I hope I've given you information that will help you with your zebra tailed lizard and I hope if you have any comments, questions, or tips that you will post them below. Thanks for reading.

Please Don't Turn Non-Native Snakes Or Lizards Loose

This lizard has escaped from the pet trade in Florida and it is found in several locations where it appears to be breeding and reproducing. Many species of non-native snakes, lizards, and fish have made it from the pet trade to the wilds of Florida. The pythons in south Florida are destroying the native wildlife in the Everglades and are even competing with the alligators for food sources. Recent claims have been made that the pythons are preying on alligators. So please, if you have a pet lizard or snake don't release it. It is now believed that the pythons may spread all over the southeastern United States. If you have a pet snake or lizard turn it over to the authorities if you can't keep it.


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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      Katherine 

      4 years ago

      My Zebra Tailed lizzard gas stopped eating and I'm not sure but don't think he going to be shedding either. What can I do. Its been about a week. His environment is correct. I feed him meal worms and wax worms. He has a small pool. Hbv lighting....is he sick?

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