Liz and Her Babies
North American Western Lizards
Liz first came to us when my dad was moving rocks out in our yard in August of 2001.
Before that day I never
even knew that Lizards lived in our area. I knew of Salamanders of course, but not actual
Lizards! Charlotte was living with us at the time and made sure that we kept Liz. We found
out what she eats and put her in my old 5 gallon aquarium and made a make shift lid. Within
a week we found four babies in her tank! She gave live birth, and we believe that she may
have actually eaten a few of the babies before we made the discovery. Susan at Estacada Pet
was extremely helpful in telling us how to take care of the babies.
We bought tiny crickets
and moved the babies into their own tank so that Liz wouldn't try to eat any of the remaining
ones. We painted the tips of each of the four babies tails a different color with nail polish
so that we can identify each one and keep track of how much each one eats per day. We were told
that a little nail polish on the tips of their tails wouldn't hurt them. It didn't help their
shedding but we tried to make sure that they could still shed without the worry of losing their
tales. The babies
looked like tiny snakes slithering around. For a time we kept the babies in a large rubbermaid
container with sand. We found out later that it was a bad idea to do that but we didn't have
any problems with it. The sand would get too warm at times and so we moved the babies into
a tank with dirt for substrate. Over time we reunited the babies with their mother, Liz.
I'm sorry to say that to this day none of the babies survived.
Two of the babies died from choking as they went after food that was too large for them and
had been meant for Liz. They simply ignored the crickets that they could easily eat and went
for the medium - large sized crickets. I saw one of them get a large medium cricket and tried
to back it out of the babies mouth, but it wasn't working. Another one died while I was camping
and believe it have crawled into the water dish and didn't bother to climb back out. It drowned.
The last one which we had named 'Red' because of the nail polish color that he had on his tail
from us. He lived for over a year but his health deteriorated. These Lizards were our first
attempt at raising Reptiles and we frankly knew nothing about taking care of them. We read
books, and internet articles, and even talked to pet shop clerks. Red's
shedding had become a problem as we had a horrible time trying to help him shed his skin
so that he wouldn't lose his toes, to no avail. He got around alright without his toes though.
He just had a harder time climbing but was determined to still be able to due everything that
his mom had done. He could get everywhere in his tank. Near the end Red became blind and
uninterested in eating. He seemed tired and withered. We made sure that he drank water,
and tried to make him eat. One day he simply died.
Charlotte and I would like to try again one day at breeding these Lizards, mainly because
of how cute they were and now we know more about Reptiles and how to actually take care of them.
Another one of these Lizards was found by my mother in our Carport some time in 2002. I went out
and caught the lizard and quarantined her. We named her Baby Liz but usually just call her Baby or
Princess. Now she lives with Liz in a 36 gallon tank. The tank
has a dirt substrate, covered den, and a moist hide box covered by a large rock to make it
more like home. I've also recently put in a water fountain that pumps water from a tupperware
and releases the water over rocks so that it trickles down. Now the lizards can drink from their
fountain as well as their dish.
Liz is getting to be older now, and we feel that she won't be with us much longer. I wonder
how long of a life span these lizards actually have. Red had been with us for over a year and didn't
even reach half the size of Liz. He was about 3-4 inches long including his tail. Baby Liz is almost
as long as Liz but half the diameter of Liz and doesn't seem to be growing.
And Liz is about eight inches in total length. Four inches is from Liz's nose to her hind legs.
Liz has been about the same size since we first got her. She sheds once every 2-3 months.