Jones Armadillo Lizard Care

Jones Armadillo Lizard (Cordylus jonesii), also known as Limpopo Girdled Lizard

Popularity: Make good pets because they are hardy; however, they do not like being handled.

Origin: South Africa

Native habitat: dry forest

Size: 6-8 inches

Lifespan: up to 25 years

Appearance: It has a dorsal pattern that varies from red to brown to gray with dark spots or lines. Some individuals have lines that fuse into a black-bordered white stripe along the midline of the back. There is a distinct dark dorsolateral stripe running from the head to the hips. The belly, throat, and lips are cream to yellow. They have a spiny tail that is nearly half as long as the entire lizard. There are smooth scales on the throat and belly. Tube-like structures in the lizard’s nostrils help it sniff for insects.

Diet: insects

Defense Mechanisms: An alarmed Jones Armadillo Lizard puts its tail in its mouth and rolls itself into a ball. This exposes the thick scales on its back to thwart off predators. When it does this, it resembles the mammalian Armadillo, which is how it got its name.

Misc characteristics: Lives in groups of 30 or more in the wild. It is one of the few lizards that births live offspring rather than laying eggs. Do not house males together.

BASIC CARE

Housing

A 20-gallon aquarium tank with a secure, screened top makes good housing for one or two lizards. They are diggers, so the substrate should be a fairly deep layer of reptile-safe bark or mulch. Avoid sand, gravel and pebbles. It needs a hide box, a cave, cork bark or a piece of wood so it can get off by itself.

Temperature and Humidity

The housing needs a temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and low 70s at night. There needs to be a basking area of 95 degrees. Humidity should stay around 45%.

Lighting

They need 8-10 hours a day of full spectrum UVB lighting so the lizard can synthesize minerals. They also need a day/night cycle, which you can provide with lamps or normal household lighting.

Feeding

Feed the lizard gut-loaded and calcium-dusted crickets. Give them mealworms occasionally as a treat. Do not feed it wild-caught insects, as they may be diseased. A cricket should be no longer than the lizard’s mouth is wide. Adults need 8-10 crickets every other day; hatchlings and juveniles need 6-8 crickets daily. Keep a shallow bowl of water in the tank for drinking.

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