The Black Agama, also known as the Orange Spotted Agama, is
a lizard of unique beauty. But if you own one, it will be
important to understand your lizard in order to take proper
care of it. The Black Agama Lizard, scientifically known as
Laudakia stellio picea, is colored for its preferred
surroundings. It is diurnal (ground-dwelling) and is often
found in remote dry landscapes in the wild, where its
coloration blends in well. The Black Agama is not a social
creature and does not like being handled. They are shy and
will often simply hide when predators are about, but the
male can become aggressive, charging its predators while
shaking its head if its territory is threatened.
It is very important to understand and know your Black Agama
Lizard's habits and routine. Once you bring your pet lizard
home it is important to observe it closely for the first few
weeks in order to learn its habits. After that an
appointment should be made with your local reptile
veterinarian for a full checkup so that you know your lizard
is healthy. Having observed it for the first few weeks, you
then can answer the questions that the veterinarian asks you
about your lizard, its habits, and routine. It is important
to understand that most reptiles will often not show
symptoms of illness until it is too late. Observing their
habits and being able to answer some simple questions that
the veterinarian asks you could save your lizard's life.
The best way to keep your lizard alive and well is to keep
its environment clean, free of toxins and pests. To ensure
this, a regular cleaning of your lizard's enclosure should
be made once a week. Never use any harsh chemicals on the
inside of the tank, water and a rag should be enough to
clean the inside of the tank. If you need something more,
ordinary soap can be used. Just be sure to rinse the tank
well after using the soap. Try not to expose your lizard to
chemicals of any type.
The Black Agama Lizard's tank should be three to four feet
in length and at least a foot deep to provide plenty of room
for your lizard to move about from warm to cooler spots in
its vivarium and regulate its body temperature. You will
need to provide full spectrum UV lighting for the entire
It is important to regularly sift the sand or gravel used to
line the tank to remove all feces. If you notice any odor
coming from its environment liner you should either clean it
thoroughly or change it. If you do not, it will eventually
attract pests that will hurt your lizard.
Misting the tank is also essential to keep proper humidity
levels in your lizard's environment. Use an ordinary spray
bottle and distilled water (to prevent spotting) on the
inside of your tank once a day in the morning will keep
humidity levels at a good level.
Be sure that your lizard's basking area is set up properly.
You should keep the temperature at 85 - 95 degrees
Fahrenheit. An under-tank heating pad or a heating lamp at
one end helps to provide the appropriate temperature on that
end of the tank. Use a temperature gauge or strip to be sure
that the temperature is being held correctly.
The other side of the tank should be kept at 80 - 90 degrees
Fahrenheit during the day and 60 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit
during the night. This is also where the water bowl and
cave-like refuge structure should be. Have a temperature
gauge at that end also to ensure that your lizard isn't
overheated or overcooled.
The lizard's water should be changed daily. Your Black Agama
Lizard may not drink every day, but lizards and reptiles in
general have a tendency to use their water for a toilet, so
keeping it clean for when it does want a drink is essential
for your lizard's health.
You should never overfeed your lizard. Three times a week
for a healthy adult is enough to sustain your Black Agama
and keep it healthy. If you overfeed your lizard it could
lead to gut impaction, and they can die from this. Keep in
mind that whatever food you give the Black Agama should
never be bigger than the lizard's head.
Plants in the tank are nice, making the tank more attractive
and adding hiding places and snacks. But never put any
plants in the tank unless you are positive that they are
safe for your lizard to eat. Many common house plants and
some human foods are poisonous to lizards. Never put
anything in your lizard's tank without first researching to
see if it is a danger to your Agama.
Do not let your pet lizard roam free about your house
without observation. Even the lizard's eating a simple bug
in your house can kill it if the insect was poisoned or is
poisonous. Common house plants will kill lizards along with
some human foods like potatoes. Lizards will eat plants,
vegetables and meats that are lying around your house. It is
far safer for you and your pet to keep you lizard inside its
enclosure. Most lizards do not like to be handled anyway,
and too much handling can kill lizards from stress.
If you notice that your lizard's scales have become dry and
flaky, its eyes have developed a white cataract look, its
habits change dramatically either becoming more hyper or
more torpid, its feces have more white chalky substance in
them, or it coughs or wheezes, take your lizard to the
veterinarian immediately. Your lizard may have developed a
sickness or have been poisoned.
Remember, prevention is the best way for your lizard to
spend a long and healthy life and relationship with you.
Learn its habits. Keep it clean and its environment clean,
and do not expose it to poisons either from cleaning its
environment or letting it roam your house. And do not handle
your lizard frequently especially if it is shy and is not
sociable, and you should have up to ten long and happy years
with your Black Agama Lizard.