Eyed Lizard Care Sheet


Introduction

The Eyed Lizard, known by the Latin name Timon lepidus, is Europes largest Lacertid. They inhabit parts of south western Europe, in countries such as Spain and Portugal. They typically grow to around 70 cm long with the tail being roughly 2/3 of the total length.  They have a distinct black tessellation with  notable blue spots on a stunning green exterior. They are a large sized reptile, weighing on average 500 g with males being much larger in size, particularly in head size. Juveniles tend to be more brown or dark green with faint markings.

Young eyed lizard (top) and a large adult basking on a rock (bottom).

Feeding

Eyed lizards have a varied diet in the wild meaning they will feed on any commercially available insects, e.g. mealworms, crickets, wax worms, calci worms, morio worms, roaches, earthworms, as well as the occasional berry or plant matter. Due to them being larger lizards, adults may benefit from a pinkie mouse or some boiled chicken however, ensure that this is a rarity  (no more than once a month). It is important to gut-load the feeder insects with fruit, vegetables and dandelions as the nutrients from the food will go straight into the lizards. Dusting the feeder insects is also an important step to ensure your lizard maintains healthy levels of vitamins and calcium. We encourage people to establish natural colonies of insects and invertebrates into the enclosure which will ensure your lizards can get an unlimited supply of a varied diet, at no extra cost: a win-win! Before your eyed lizard goes into hibernation, it is advised to feed it wax worms or any other type of high-fat insects to help it gain weight, as they burn fat during winter to subsist.

Housing

Eyed lizards are smart animals meaning they will really appreciate a vivarium with plenty of space to explore, dig and bask. Therefore, we recommend a vivarium of size 2m x 0.6m for a pair. The enclosure should also have 50-60cm of soil for the lizard to burrow aswell as hibernate. A variety of plant species from the eyed lizard’s native range, logs and stones will help create a more natural, realistic environment for the lizard to enjoy. This also makes for great habitats for insects such as ants, spiders and woodlouse. Remember, the larger the enclosure, the happier the animal, so don’t hesitate to make a larger enclosure! At Celtic Reptile & Amphibian we house all of our eyed lizards in converted greenhouses, to maintain a Medditeranean climate. This also means that no external heating supply or UVB bulb is required. This ensures the animals live the most naturalistic and healthy life possible which can be seen from the stunning colours of our animals! In terms of temperature and humidity, this lizard is rather hardy and so can withstand temperatures as low as 10 C and as high as 40 C , with a happy medium of around 30 C. This species love to bask and so basking temperatures may need to be higher than the rest of the enclosure, however you can achieve this by ensuring your enclosure is on the south facing wall with no sunlight obstruction.

Habitat of the eyed lizard: sand dunes of south-west France.

Breeding

Mating occurs within the spring months, and consists of the male biting the base of the females tail and proceeding to intertwine tails. This kind of courtship/mating is not too dissimilar to other lacertids. After a successful mate, the female will become extremely fat, usually 2-3 months later with the outlines of eggs being visible. During this period, the female will actively look for ideal places to lay her eggs, and may notably disrupt some soil/sand in the enclosure. It is advised to keep an eye on the disrupted areas as the female may lay her clutch of 8 -22 eggs there. The eggs can be collected, and artificially incubated to maximise the yield of healthy hatchlings. Eggs can take anywhere between 8 and 14 weeks to hatch, depending on temperature.