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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Curly Tail Lizard Setup Steps

Curly Tail Lizard (Leiocephalus spp.)

Experience Level: Beginner

curly tailed lizard in habitat

Curly-tailed Lizards

Did you know? Curly-tailed Lizards get their name from their rapidly twitching tail. They whip their tail around furiously as a defense mechanism to threaten other lizards and to distract predators. Curly-tails can “drop” their tail when they need to get away and will grow a new, although different looking, tail.

Step 1Choosing a Terrarium

Curly-tailed Lizards originate from Peru, the Caribbean and Cuba. They can be territorial and
are best housed individually, although females can be housed together if given enough space.

Terrarium
(A) Use a 20-gallon (26-30" long) or larger terrarium for a single Curly-tail. If housing two females
together a larger terrarium will be needed.

(B) Screened lid, if not included with habitat.

 

Step 2Heating and Lighting

Curly-tails require a temperature gradient (cool side/ warm side) to appropriately regulate their body temperature. Temperatures within the habitat should vary between daytime and nighttime hours.

Heating
• Equip the habitat with two thermometers (one for each side of the habitat) and one
hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels.

• The basking spot should be the warmest point in the habitat during the day. Heat is provided
by a high-wattage heat bulb placed directly above the basking spot. Turn the basking light
off at night.

• Use a ceramic heat emitter or night heat lamp as needed to maintain nighttime temperature.

 

Target Range
Humidity 30-50%
Temperature  
Day-Cool Side 80-90° F (27-32° C)
Day-Basking Spot 90-95° F (32-35° C)
Night  65-80° F (18-27° C)

 

Lighting
• Curly-tails are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day. Use a daytime (F) UVA/UVB (ultraviolet) linear or compact fluorescent bulb for approximately 12 hours per day.

• For night viewing, use a night-specific bulb to minimize light provided to your reptile.

Step 3Substrate and Decor

Substrate
(G) Use a 2-3" (5-8 cm) of bark or fiber bedding.

• Clean out waste weekly and completely change bedding at least once a month.

Decor
(H) Include decor to elevate your lizard close to the heat source for basking.

(I) Add a wood/rock hiding place in the cool area of the home for hiding.

• Ensure decor is large and stable enough for the size of your lizard.

• Provide branches (artificial or live) for hiding and climbing.

 

curly tailed lizard in habitat

HEALTH
New surroundings and environments can be stressful for pets. Prior to handling your pet, give him 3-4 days to adjust to his new surroundings while monitoring his behavior for any signs of stress or illness. Shortly after purchase, have a veterinarian familiar with reptiles examine your pet.

THINGS TO WATCH FOR
• Runny droppings for more than two days

• Eating or drinking less; weight loss

• Swollen joints

• Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

• Shedding problems; discolored skin

• Decreased basking; more time spent hiding

If you notice any of the above signs, speak with a PetSmart store associate or reptile veterinarian with questions about the health of your pet.

PETSMART CARES
Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.

The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.