When examining a large sample taken at a time, one can determine the relative age of an individual by its position in a series of dimensional composition. However, this technique gives the more reliable the result, the more compressed the breeding time. Considering that in the fast lizard, the breeding periods are quite extended, and also that the individual variability of the growth rate can be large, one should carefully interpret the distinguished groups as annual classes. It will be shown below that only the first age group is clearly distinguished (yearlings - in summer and autumn and overwintered once - in spring). Individuals of older age groups cannot be surely attributed to a certain age group. Therefore, the problem of developing methods for accurately determining the absolute age of lizards becomes relevant.
A clear method for determining the absolute age of reptiles is still missing. The commonly used division into sexually mature and immature according to the state of the gonads is in fact not a definition of age. The allocation of age classes according to body size (Zalezhsky, 1938, Bannikov, 1940, Schepotiev, 1948, Terentyev, Chernov, 1949, Bannikov, Denisova, 1956, Bogdanov, 1965, Blanchard, Blanchard, 1931, Hamilton, 1934, Michael, 1972, Cruce , 1971, Peters, 1964, Gibbons, 1972, and others) cannot be considered satisfactory primarily because, upon reaching puberty, the growth rate of animals decreases significantly and the further, the slower the body size increases. This leads to the fact that the last size group of those that can be distinguished by the length of the body includes adult animals of different ages. In addition, this technique does not take into account individual differences in growth rate. Quite a few attempts have been made to determine the age of reptiles by the layers in the bone. The fact that in the bones of reptiles, like the rest of the vertebrates, there are layers reflecting the frequency of growth of animals, has long been known. The layered structure of the bone is visible on thin flat bones or on thin sections of bones (enlightened in glycerin or other antireflection fluids), as well as on bone sections stained with hematoxylin. The narrow lines formed during growth retardation and delimiting the wide layers of bone tissue are called growth retardation lines, or gluing lines and determine the age of the animal by their number (Klevezal, Kleinenberg, 1967). As early as 1907, layering of the periosteal bone in the diaphysis was described in several species of extinct and modern reptiles (Seitz, 1907). At the same time, it was suggested that wide areas of bone tissue are deposited in the summer, and narrow lines in the cold season. Then, layers in the bones of reptiles were discovered by a number of researchers in different species of reptiles (Wallis, 1928, Emelyanov, 1929, Mattox, 1935, Bruzgin, 1939, Peter-Rousseaux, 1953, Saint-Girons, 1957, 1965, Peabody, 1958, 1961 , Thireau, 1967, Castanet, 1974, and others).
A comparison of the animal’s body size with the number of layers in the bone gave researchers reason to believe that the number of layers in the bone corresponds to their age. However, none of the researchers cited sufficiently strong evidence that the visible layers are indeed annual.
Some authors criticized the methods for determining the age of reptiles by layers in the bone (Dobie, 1971, Griffiths, 1961). J. Z. Dobie (1971), comparing the layering pattern on the tarapax carapace flaps (counting the number of layers on the carapace flap - a common method for determining the age of turtles) with the lamination on the slices of its vertebrae and lower jaw, found only a very weak positive correlation the number of layers on the scutes and bone sections. Griffiths (1961), who studied layers in the bones of snakes, whose age was known, as they were incubated and grown in captivity under conditions close to natural, concluded that this technique was unreliable. One of his objections was that in long bones, in addition to the deposition of new layers of bone tissue from the side of the periosteum, in the process of growth from the side of the endosteum, there is a resorption of previously deposited bone, and the first layers are not preserved.
Fig. 76. The distribution of individuals by weight (a) and body length (b) in accordance with age, determined by the number of layers in the bones. Sampling from a population of okr. Uman, USSR, May 19, 1970
To solve the question of the possibility of determining the age of reptiles by layers in the bone, it would be ideal to study animals of exactly known age, taken from natural conditions. The second way is to study a large one-time sample taken from natural conditions. Since we did not have animals of a certain age, we chose the second path.
At our disposal was a sample of a fast-moving lizard (93 specimens), obtained in mid-May 1971 in the region of the city of Uman, and 33 specimens. yearlings mined in August of the same year in the Novgorod region.
To study the patterns of layer formation in the bones of fast lizards, transverse sections were made from the middle of the diaphysis of the humerus and femur. Bones were decalcified and sections were stained with Ehrlich hematoxylin, using a technique that was used to determine the age of amphibians (Kleinenberg, Smirina, 1969).
In the Uman sample, we identified only 2 groups according to body length: yearlings and adult lizards (Fig. 77.). The first age group, which can be distinguished by the length of the body and the picture on the transverse sections of the bone, is yearlings. The body length of the yearlings at our disposal ranged from 29 to 42 mm. The picture visible on the slices was not the same. In individuals with a body length of 29 to 32 mm, not a single gluing line was visible in the bone, and in individuals with a body length of 32 to 42 mm a gluing line was visible.
Fig. 77. Correlation of body length and the number of 'winter' lines of bonding in the bone of a fast lizard. Duplication okr. Uman, USSR
In individuals of the second age group, which we distinguish from the Uman sample, body lengths from 31 to 47 mm, two gluing lines are visible (Fig. 78, I). These lizards can be considered wintering once, or yearlings.
Obviously, in yearlings, growth in the first summer of their life is uneven, as a rule, they have one growth retardation, which is characterized by the first gluing line. The second line is formed as a result of winter growth retardation.
The next age group, which can be distinguished from the picture on transverse sections of bones, is lizards with two groups of gluing lines (see Fig. 78, II). Near the bone marrow cavity, they are usually clearly visible two partially resorbed gluing lines, close to one another, which we consider the first group of lines. These, obviously, are traces from the line that was still present in yearlings and from the first wintering. Next, a large bone growth is visible and closer to the outer edge is another, often double or even triple gluing line (second group of lines). Lizards with two groups of gluing lines can be considered wintering two times, i.e., two-year-olds.
Fig. 78. Cross sections of the humerus and femur of a fast-moving lizard. I - the first wintering, II - the second wintering, III - the third wintering, IV - the fourth wintering, V - the case of the formation of five gluing lines during one year of life ,, gluing line: a - y yearlings, b - first wintering (IV, a), c - second wintering (IV, b), d - third wintering (IV, c), d - fourth wintering (IV, d) (cross section, decalcified preparation, hematoxylin staining , vol. 9hock. 15 (preparations and photo by E. M. Smnrnoy)
In the studied sample of 28 two-year-olds, 20 show visible gluing lines from two wintering sites, and 8 specimens. the gluing line of the second wintering is not visible. On the bone sections of these specimens, only both gluing lines of the first year of life are visible and then a large increase in bone tissue. It is difficult to say whether this is a feature of the studied section or is it a violation of the growth rhythm and its recording in the bones. However, our belief that these lizards hibernated twice, and not one, is based on the fact that the bone growth from the last gluing line to the outer edge of the bone is too wide to be considered formed from the time of awakening from the last hibernation until mid-May. It is possible that these lizards have not yet begun to grow actively and the last gluing line has not yet separated from the outer edge of the bone. This is evidenced by the fact that in some biennials with gluing lines from both winters, the trace from the second wintering passes near the outermost edge of the bone, barely separating from it. The body length of these lizards (65 - 76 mm) also gives reason to consider them two-year-olds (see Fig. 77). Probably, the mismatch of the number of layers to age in this case can be considered a consequence of the individual characteristics of the growth rhythm and its recording in the bones.
Next, we can distinguish a group of lizards, which should be considered wintering three times. From the gluing line, which is visible in yearlings, they usually only have a small area, and three more lines are visible (single or stratified), which can be considered as corresponding to the first, second and third wintering (see Fig. 78, III).
And finally, there were lizards, which can be considered wintering 4 times. They have a gluing line, which is visible in yearlings, is resorbed and only occasionally can its very small area remain. The gluing line corresponding to the first wintering is also partially resorbed in them, and then three more lines follow (see Fig. 78, IV).
Since we did not have lizards of exactly known age at our disposal, in order to find out how many gluing lines manage to be resorbed on the endost side with active growth of the young animal, we made the following measurements on the transverse section of the bone: the diameter of the circle bounded by the first gluing line was measured in yearlings (which is visible in yearlings), and the diameter of the circle bounded by the second gluing line (which appears after the first wintering). In biennials and older individuals, the bone marrow cavity diameter was measured. Measurements were taken from 10 copies. each age group (three sections from each individual). The results are shown in table. 41.
|Yearlings||Biennial||Three year olds and older|
|Bone diameter * to first gluing line||Bone diameter to second, bonding line||Diameter of the bone marrow cavity|
|33.4 x 31.2||41.2 x 39.4||36.6 x 34.5||42.6 x 38.5|
* (The largest and smallest diameters were measured, since the slice is an ellipse rather than a circle.)
Based on these measurements, one would expect that the two-year-olds completely resorb the first gluing line, and the second, corresponding to the first wintering, remains. In fact, this does not happen with the first one, since the resorption does not go evenly around, but more strongly captures one side of the bone: therefore, from the first line, the two-year-olds also see the remaining area, which can be preserved even in individuals wintering three times. The remainder of the bonding line, corresponding to the first wintering, is evidently preserved in four-year-old and, possibly, older individuals. Sometimes this line is retained even as a whole.
Thus, according to our preliminary data, in a sample from Uman of 93 individuals, there were 49 individuals wintering once, 28 individuals. wintering twice, 10 specimens. - three times and 4 - four times (the number of wintering 2 specimens is difficult to determine).
It should be noted that on the transverse sections of the bones of the oldest of the caught lizards, the width of each of the layers deposited after the first, second, third, etc. hibernation decreases slightly, while in most younger individuals, the layer deposited after the first hibernation is much wider than the layer deposited after the second and subsequent hibernation. This may be due to one of two reasons: either the gluing line corresponding to the first wintering was completely resorbed, and the first line that we see corresponds to the second wintering, or the growth rate of these lizards was slower and more uniform throughout life and, as a result, the width the layer set aside after the first wintering is narrower than usual. The first is hardly likely, as can be seen from the above measurements of the bone marrow cavity. The second explanation seems more likely, and if so, then the relative number of copies with evenly spaced layers should increase in each subsequent age group. This trend can be traced even on our small material. In all four lizards, which we consider four-year-olds, the width of the layers on the sections in the bone did not differ significantly. Of the ten three-year-olds, 6 individuals. there was a large gap between the gluing lines corresponding to the first and second wintering, and the three gluing lines were located at almost the same distance from each other (one copy was doubtful). From 14 copies In two-year-old lizards, only two gluing lines are separated by small gaps.
There is evidence in the ichthyological literature that faster-growing fish die sooner than slow-growing ones. Therefore, in fish, the oldest age group is sometimes represented only by the slowest growing individuals (Richer, 1969). It may be that in the fast-moving lizard, only individuals with a slower and more uniform growth rate survive to the very oldest ages. This position is also confirmed by the fact that the body sizes are the oldest of the ones we defined: the lizards were not the largest (see Fig. 76, 77).
In addition to gluing lines that delimit annual layers, additional lines are often visible on sections, which, as a rule, are less brightly colored than the main gluing lines corresponding to wintering, but sometimes indistinguishable from the latter and make it difficult to determine age. The reason for the formation of such lines can obviously be the influence of any exogenous or endogenous factors: severe cooling in the summer, drought, illness, etc., i.e., any factor that causes growth arrest. In lizards, on 1 - 2 years of life, up to 4 - 5 closely spaced bands can form in the bones (see Fig. 78, V). This can be explained by the fact that in winter, the hibernation period in young lizards is sometimes interrupted by short periods of activity, as a result of which, although insignificantly, they can undergo growth processes (Sergeev, 1937, Davis, 1967), and in the summer period, growth stops (for example during hibernation).
The material obtained in this study allows us to conclude that in fast lizards a wide layer of bone tissue is formed annually during the period of active spring-summer growth in the tubular bones, delimited from the subsequent layer by a single or stratified gluing line formed in the winter period. In addition to the "winter" bonding lines, delimiting annual bone growths, there is another very first bonding line that forms in fingerlings shortly after hatching. The processes of bone resorption from the endosteum are slow in the fast lizard. The first bonding line formed in yearlings is completely resorbed only by the age of 3-4 years. The line corresponding to the first wintering, even in four-year-old lizards, may not be completely resorbed and, possibly, will last a lifetime.
Based on the above data, the determination of age, fast lizards by layers in the bone can be considered quite possible.
History of the Bearded Agama
Bearded Agama - a reptile that came to us from Australia.
The lizard belongs to the agam family. It got its name because of a bag located in the neck, which swells when the animal is aggressive or trying to attract attention during mating season. The natural habitat of the reptile is the Australian continent. Agama inhabits regions such as New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland. These lizards live in desert rocky areas, sometimes climb trees.
The appearance of a lizard with a photo
The bearded agama has a unique appearance.
The bearded agama has an amazing appearance. The length of the body reaches 50-60 cm, with most of it falling on the tail. Lizards can weigh 300 grams or more. The head resembles a triangle. The lizard has a strong physique. The back, head and outer side of the limbs are covered with scales with sharp ends. On short and thick fingers are strong claws. When the agama inflates the throat, the scales rise, resulting in the formation of a formation similar to a beard.
The bearded agama does not have such a characteristic of other varieties of lizards as dropping the tail. For this reason, injured individuals are quite common. Agamas in childhood often bite off the ends of their tails to their relatives. Due to the limited ability to regenerate, new organ fragments do not form in these reptiles. But this does not affect the quality of their life.
The color of the agama can be beige-brown, gray-brown or gray. The body of the lizard is covered with bright spots and dark stripes. The jaw may be yellow or white. Young individuals have a brighter color. Agamas are able to change their color depending on the emotional state, as well as temperature. In hot weather, they brighten, and when cold, they become dark. Eye color varies from golden to dark brown.
Important! A unique feature of the agama is to change its color due to fright. In this state, the lizard turns pale, and the legs become bright orange or yellow.
Отличить самца от самки можно по характерным внешним особенностям: особи мужского пола имеют более толстое основание хвоста. Борода самцов во время брачного периода приобретает чёрный или тёмно-синий цвет, а у самок она имеет бежевый или оранжевый окрас. Живут агамы 7– 10 лет.
Как выбрать Бородатую агаму?
Lizard should be wary
To choose a healthy animal, you need to pay attention to the following signs:
- Examine the reptile and make sure it has no wounds and ulcerative formations. The presence of scars is also undesirable.
- Since the agama cannot restore lost parts of the body, do not get an animal that does not have a paw or tail. The lizard will remain so until the end of life, although sellers can convince you otherwise. But the absence of the tip of the tail or finger is perfectly acceptable.
- Inspect the area near the mouth. There should be no liquid or foam.
- A healthy lizard has clear eyes, and it also has wary behavior. In the natural environment, the agama preys on fast insects, which require attention and mobility.
We create the necessary conditions
Terrarium for agama must have heating, ventilation and decor
Terrarium is selected depending on the number of lizards. For one agama, you need a container with a size of at least 50 cm in width and 100 cm in length. Choose a horizontal terrarium with a wall height of 60 to 80 cm. The best option would be a terrarium with sliding glass on the side or front wall.
Important! For the agama, a container with a door at the top will not work. Under natural conditions, lizards are attacked by birds of prey, so the reptile will perceive all movements above its head as a potential threat, which will negatively affect its emotional state.
You should also take care of ventilation. At the bottom, top or side of the tank should be openings that can be closed with a metal mesh. Otherwise, the agama will have difficulty breathing. The lizard can be kept alone or in small groups. The best option is one male and 2-3 females.
Important! It is not recommended to choose a plexiglass terrarium, which the agama can easily scratch.
Artificial plants, driftwood, stones can be used as decor. NIt is not worth placing live vegetation in the terrarium, since the agama will quickly take it for food. In nature, lizards climb rocks and trees. So that the captive agama could fulfill this need, equip a special place for it. Apply a layer of PVA to the wall and fill the surface with fine pebbles or sand. This will not only provide the lizard with the opportunity to climb the terrarium, but will also become an original decor.
Spread a 15 cm thick litter on the bottom of the container. For this, cat litter, sand, pebbles, gravel, shavings, or shredded bark are suitable. In the natural environment, reptiles take refuge from danger, burrowing into the ground, leaving their heads on the surface. Also, the tank is equipped with shelters: houses made of stones, shelves. They must match the size of the reptile.
Take care of lighting and litter bedding
Agama needs bright lighting, and she must also receive ultraviolet light. For this, the terrarium is equipped with fluorescent lighting devices. Deficiency of ultraviolet radiation will lead to the development of rickets in animals. The duration of lighting should be 12 hours per day.
Terrarium is heated with incandescent lamps, infrared devices or thermal mats. The temperature in individual parts of the tank should be uneven:
- It is necessary to organize a cool corner with indicators of 23–25 ° С.
- You will also need a local heating area (40 ° C).
- The general temperature background is maintained within 27–30 ° С.
Humidity should correspond to 35–40%. At night, the indicators can be slightly increased. To do this, once a week, one hour before turning off the light, the tank is sprayed from the spray bottle with warm water. Lizard needs to ensure constant access to drink. For this purpose, a ceramic drinking bowl is installed in the terrarium. Do not use containers made of lightweight material. Agamas not only drink from a drinking bowl, but also bathe in it, so they will immediately turn over the light capacity.
Agama nutrition depends on the age of the individual
Agamas are omnivorous, which greatly simplifies their feeding. The diet should consist of plant and animal food. In this case, the percentage of feed varies depending on the age of the animal. Young individuals up to 12 months old are given 80% of insects and 20% of plants. After a year, only 40% of animal food should be present in the diet of lizards. This is due to the fact that in adult animals the metabolic process slows down.
Agama is given:
- cabbage leaves, tops and root crops of carrots, pumpkin, eggplant, squash, wheat leaves, bell pepper, peas, green beans,
- parsley, spinach,
- alfalfa, clover, dandelions, buttercups, crocuses, cyclamen, daffodil, euphorbia, mint,
- peeled apples, grapes, bananas,
- flour worms
Also, the lizard should consume vitamin supplements such as Reptilife. Young agama is fed daily. Adult lizard food is offered every other day. Feeding is carried out during daylight hours.
Important! For the agama, there is enough food that she consumes in 15 minutes, the remaining food must be removed to avoid overfeeding.
Other interesting facts
Agama loves water treatments
Agama often sheds. This process occurs in stages. First of all, the head sheds, then the trunk and tail. Once a week, reptiles are bathed in warm water at a temperature of 30–35 ° C. To do this, you need a deep basin. Keep an eye on the water level; it should be safe for the lizard. The duration of the procedure is 30 minutes. Then blot the animal with a paper towel and put it in the terrarium. After bathing the lizard, avoid drafts.
Video: Lizard Bathing Rules
Agama can be periodically released from the terrarium for walks around the apartment. But you must adhere to some rules. No other animals should be in the lizard room. In order for a pet to get used to communicating with the owner, it needs to be picked up once every 1-2 days. It is also advisable to release the lizard not on the floor, but on the surface of the sofa so that the animal does not catch a cold from a draft.
Important! The agama should not move on a too fleecy surface, if the pile is wound on the fingers of the animal, this will cause necrosis.
Breeding and breeding
Bearded Agamas mate in spring.
Agamas reach the reproductive age by two years. To stimulate mating, lizards are first placed in individual containers. They should be at rest. In the early days of December, agam are seated in separate terrariums. Lighting is reduced to 8 hours a day, the temperature level is reduced to 25 ° C during the day and 20 ° C at night. The rest period lasts 11-12 weeks. After that, the indicators return to their original level.
Then the male is placed in the terrarium, where the female is located. Mating takes place in March. Agama pregnancy lasts 30–45 days. Females lay eggs in burrows 40 cm deep. A layer of sand of appropriate thickness is poured into the terrarium for this purpose. The clutch contains from 8 to 25 eggs.
The incubation period lasts from 60 to 75 days at a temperature of 28-30 ° C. During the season, the female can postpone 2–4 clutches. Hatching babies begin to eat on 2-3 days of life. They are fed with cockroaches, small crickets, grated carrots, small pieces of fruit.
Diseases and treatments
- One of the common diseases is pneumonia. It develops due to the stay of the agama in a cool room with high humidity. You can recognize the ailment by a runny nose, because of which the animal breathes through its open mouth. Pneumonia is divided into 2 types. In the first form of the disease, reptiles have mucus in the mouth and wet whistles. Pneumonia of the second type is characterized by wheezing. In the first case, treatment is carried out with the antibiotic Ampicillin for 7 days. In the second type, this drug is administered from 9 to 15 days with an interval of 72 hours.
- Salmonellosis is an intestinal bacterial infection that can be fatal. It manifests itself in the form of refusal of food, diarrhea, regurgitation, weight loss. For the treatment of lizards, the antibiotic Chloramphenicol is used, which is introduced into the stomach through a probe. The procedure is performed 2-3 times. Also use the drug Bactrim. It is introduced into the body of a reptile in a similar way for 7 days.
- Cloacite is an inflammation of the cloaca. At the first stage of the disease, purulent discharge is observed during the bowel movement of the animal, at the second there is a violation of the defecation process. Treatment consists of introducing a catheter into the cloaca and supplying warm water with the Tetravil drug through it to the intestines. The volume of fluid depends on the weight of the lizard.
- Stomatitis is an inflammatory process of the oral mucosa. It arises as a result of a deficiency of vitamins A and C, as well as mechanical damage. The oral cavity becomes pale, acquires a bluish tint. Well visible vessels. The oral cavity of the lizard is treated with a 1% solution of Dioxidine, Iodinol or Etericide. Neosporin ointment or Polisporin ointment is also used, which 2 times a day for a week treat the affected areas. In addition, vitamin C is administered to the animal.
- Calcium deficiency in the body of a reptile provokes fractures, edema, rickets. As a therapy, the lizard is given a special complex: a mixture of vitamins D3, A and calcium. Complex reptiles give throughout the week. If the agama gets hurt, treat the damaged area with turpentine liniment or 10% potassium permanganate solution.
- Sometimes a lizard refuses food. The most likely reason for this is overfeeding. If she does not eat for two days, but drinks normal amounts of water, this is normal. Agama can arrange fasting days in this way. If she refuses to eat for more than three days, proceed with forced feeding. Also observe the animal for symptoms specific to an intestinal infection.
In order for the Bearded Agama to feel comfortable in captivity, it is necessary to adhere to some maintenance requirements. The reptile needs a certain temperature and light conditions. Throughout the year, she needs fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and live insects. A lack of vitamins, as well as non-observance of reptile care rules, can lead to the development of a number of diseases in the Bearded Agama.
Description of the Bearded Agama
In the color of the lizard, a predominance of yellowish, gray or brown tones and shades is noted.. Color may vary depending on temperature and the condition of the bearded agama. In adults, the pattern on the body is almost completely absent.
Young lizards are characterized by spots and stripes located mainly in the back, as well as on the sides. The pattern is formed by fairly regular geometric patterns. The bearded agama is the only representative of the reptile family, with the dental system located on the outer rim of the jaw.
The size of a sexually mature adult most often reaches half a meter. The entire body of the lizard is characterized by a flattened ellipsoid shape, and the tail is about one and a half times the length of the body. Due to the very unusual type and structure of the scales, the bearded agama lizard has a very exotic and somewhat predatory appearance. The scales are represented by original prickly spikes located in several rows on the surface of the entire body of the lizard.
It is interesting! The external differences of the bearded agama by gender are obvious: the males have a tail noticeably thickened at the base and have a dark blue or black “beard” during the mating season, and the females are characterized by the presence of a “beard” of pale beige or orange color.
A significant number of spikes are located precisely on the sides, which contributes to a visual increase in the visible size of the body of a scaly reptile. The head area of the bearded agama has a very characteristic triangular shape with a frame consisting of numerous spines. There are noticeable auditory openings on the sides of the head.
When a clear threat appears, the lizard is capable of greatly flattening its entire body, and also inflates the warty “beard” and opens its mouth wide. Thanks to this behavior, a scaly reptile visually increases significantly in size, which contributes to a very effective deterrence of enemies in natural conditions.
Lifestyle and character
The menacing and unusual appearance possessed by the bearded agama is often confusing, but this scaly creature, when tamed and kept at home, is very affectionate, easy-to-hand, and enjoys scratching the neck of the animal. Awesome stance and appearance are demonstrated by males exclusively during the mating season or when protecting from enemies.
It is interesting! Bearded agamas are quite fearless animals, so they do not run away from the enemy, but try to frighten him off with their unusual external data, snorting, active tail movement, hissing and jumping, as well as squatting on their feet.
When kept in a terrarium, bearded agamas very rarely possess a long tail, which is a natural sign of this original scaly reptile. Such a feature is caused by fairly frequent collisions of individuals among themselves, which end with biting each other's tails.
Despite the fact that the damaged area heals quickly on its own, the tail of the animal no longer grows anymore. For this reason, experienced terrarium hunters prefer to keep domestic bearded agamas only separately, pairing exclusively for the breeding season.
Bearded Agama Morphs
Under natural conditions, the bearded agama has a predominantly gray color with an orange, beige, brown and black tint. Variations in color directly depend on the locality of the individual and the ambient temperature.
As a result of selection, it was possible to deduce quite a lot of morphs interesting in color and tint range:
- Leater Vask - a morph bred in Italy with absolutely smooth skin on the back in red, yellow, orange and other color variations,
- Leucistic - a morph represented by individuals completely white from birth,
- VLOOD RED - a morph characterized by a very original and intense red color,
- Snow - a morph with a white color with yellow and pink stripes in adulthood, and a pale pink color at birth,
- Sandfire - a morph incredibly popular among lovers of scaly exotics, obtained by crossing golden and red individuals,
- Salmon - a morph from pinkish to orange in color, with a disappearing pattern, obtained by crossing individuals of SandFire and Snow,
- German Giants - a morph related to rapidly developing lines and characterized by very large sizes, as well as abundant egg laying,
- Sunburst - a morph characterized by rich yellow and orange with very original red stripes,
- Trance or Translucnt - a morph that has incredibly beautiful black eyes, as well as a relatively transparent skin,
- NyroTranslancent - a morph characterized by completely transparent nails and exceptionally light tones in color,
- Witblits - a relatively new type of morph, first bred on the territory of North Africa, and characterized by cream colors in color.
In recent years, Zero morph, which is a genetic form and is characterized by the absence of yellow, orange or red color pigment, is increasingly being bred by domestic terrariums. The color of such a bearded agama is characterized mainly by white or whitish-gray tones..
Habitat and habitat
The natural habitat of the flaky reptile, unusual in appearance, is the Australian semi-desert zones, rare wooded, as well as rocky terrain. A large number of individuals inhabit the states of New South Wales and Queensland, as well as the northwestern part of Victoria, the eastern part of South Australia and the southeastern Northern Territory.
A bearded agama prefers to settle in arid desert and semi-desert biotopes, dry forest zones, rocky semi-deserts or shady shrubbery. The animal leads a land or semi-wood lifestyle, and is especially active only in the daytime. Shelters for scaly reptiles are burrows dug independently or by other animals, as well as stony piles and crevices located near the root system of plants.
On hot days, the bearded agama most often hides inside shelters or climbs into low vegetation, where it selects a zone with a relative ventilation mode. Agama always adheres to its territorial site, where it lives and eats.
Bearded Agama Feeding
Today, there are eight species of bearded agamas from the genus epaulettes (Pogona), and all of them, in natural conditions, lead a prey or predatory-plant-life lifestyle. Such scaly reptiles successfully hunt all kinds of insects and small vertebrates. However, with age, the main diet of a bearded agama consists mainly of plant foods. About 20% of the total nutrition of the agama is animal food, and about 80% is a diet of plant origin.
Из пищи животного происхождения, бородатые агамы отдают предпочтения различным мелким позвоночным или беспозвоночным, а в виде растительной пищи используется листва или побеги, плоды или цветки различных растений. В условиях неволи такое чешуйчатое пресмыкающееся с огромным удовольствием поедает разных сверчков и тараканов, а также мучных червей.
It is interesting! The main source of animal proteins is represented by snails and bird eggs, small rodents. Due to the characteristics of the body, a bearded agama is able to eat only once every few days.
Bearded agamas inhabit areas and regions that are not too rich in water, so such a scaly reptile receives a significant part of its moisture exclusively from eaten food. Particularly interesting behavior of a bearded agama is noted during rare rains. In such a period, lizards massively line up under the rain coming from the sky, flatten their body and characteristically tilt their heads down. It is in this position that the bearded agama very effectively collects all the falling drops with the help of the tongue.
Breeding and offspring
Bearded agamas, along with other species of lizards, are egg-laying creatures. Such animals are able to reproduce their own kind a couple of years after birth, when puberty begins. Ready to mate males demonstrate a bright coloration of the throat.
During the mating season, the male bearded agama lifts himself on his forelegs and makes relatively frequent head nods. Females who are ready to mate are characterized by a demonstration to males of consent to reproduction through various head movements and manipulations of the tail. After such mating games, the females are chased by males, after which the overtaken individual is seized with teeth.
During this retention with teeth, the males inject their hemipenis into the females, and the process of copulation of scaly reptiles continues for no more than five minutes. About one and a half to two months after mating, fertilized females lay eggs.
It is interesting! The gender of newborn lizards is determined by the set of chromosomes: ZW - for females and ZZ - for males, but the peculiarity of the agama is its dependence on the temperature regime during the incubation period, therefore individuals of both sexes are born at a temperature of 22-32 ° C, and exclusively at a temperature of 32 ° C females.
Under natural conditions, the bearded agama makes ovipositions that are quite large in size, consisting of a maximum of two and a half dozen eggs that are laid in a mink pulled out by the female. In order to protect future offspring, the entrance to the mink with egg laying is covered, and after about three to four months, small-sized newborn agamas are born.
The bearded agama is one of the rather large lizards, but its impressive size is not able to completely protect the scaly animal from natural enemies. Almost all predators that can grab and easily defeat the reptile can attack the lizard.
The main enemies of the bearded agama can be considered snakes, large birds of prey, mammals and even humans. Methods of protecting a scaly reptile are represented not only by morphological adaptation, but also by special behavioral techniques.
When kept at home, you need to correctly approach the issue of care. Large birds of prey are one of the main natural enemies of a scaly reptile, so the bearded agama reflexively perceives any movement that occurs above the head as a potential threat, causing the animal to be extremely stressed and have a characteristic protective stance.
Population and species status
Unpretentious Australian lizard in natural conditions combines the genetically determined and environmental mechanisms that are involved in the formation of sex. Bearded agamas are able to optimally balance the sexual composition within the population, due to which a stable number of such scaly reptiles is maintained.
It is interesting! For this reason, representatives of the genus epaulettes (Pogona) are quite widespread and are characterized by the stability of the population.
Like other lizards, the bearded agama is not able to harm people, and the benefits of such scaly reptiles are absolutely obvious. Such an animal massively exterminates harmful insects, and also is itself an integral part of the natural food chain in natural conditions.
What does the choice of a lizard begin with?
How do you think, where to start choosing a lizard? From the fact that you come to the pet store and choose the first lizard you like to play the role of your pet, or from the fact that you first get acquainted with the characteristics and features of the contents of each such species, and only then choose the applicant for a place in your house and heart? Most correct, there will be a second option. Thus, you will protect yourself from disappointments, and the lizard itself - from torment, since you will not be able to provide it with proper care and care in the future. Therefore, Before you buy a lizard itself - be sure to find out the maximum information about how to properly maintain it, how to feed it, and what special requirements (if any) you will have to provide your pet so that his stay in your house is as comfortable as possible.
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Learn all about lizard sizes
All the little lizards are cute and funny creatures. However, it should be understood that your reptile will not always be so tiny or even tiny. She will grow. And, it is precisely its adult size (it depends on the type of lizard) that you should be guided by now, when you buy a small lizard. Well, if your pet adds only a few inches in length, and if it comes to a few feet? Will you be ready for this?
In addition, you must understand that it is the size of the lizard that dictates how large a terrarium you will have to provide it. If the "house" is not a problem for you, 8 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet high - then you can start a large lizard. But, if you yourself huddle in such a limited square space, then it is not worth it to start a competitor on a living space of such large sizes. Neither you nor him will be comfortable with such a neighborhood.
Therefore, when choosing a lizard, be sure to check with the seller what size it reaches in adulthood, and based on this information (it is better to take the maximum), focus on whether you can provide it with the necessary square meters or not. Unfortunately, the likelihood that the lizard does not grow or you overeat is very small.
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Hand pet or wild?
Is your lizard tame or wild?
After you have decided on the type and size of the future pet, it will not be bad to find out some features of its character. For example, whether this lizard is tame or wild and aggressive. If you dream of carrying your own pangolin in your arms, then, accordingly, you need to choose manual types. Whereas, if you are more interested in the beauty of a pet behind glass, you can take a chance and choose a more aggressive, but bright pet.
However, even if you have chosen a manual lizard, and the description of this species says that it is friendly to humans, you should understand that lizards are not cats or dogs, and the word “friendly” has a slightly different explanation for them. You will not be able to squeeze such a lizard, constantly carry it on your hands, scratch it behind the ear and sleep with it in an embrace. Even the tamest lizard will not tolerate this.
In addition, you should always be prepared for the fact that even the most “tame” lizard can ... have a nasty character, and become an exception to the rules of its kind. Therefore, be prepared for this surprise, and do not flatter yourself too much about the friendliness of these creatures. The violent manifestations of feelings, emotions, devotion and fidelity - all this is not about them.
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Whichever lizard you choose - this concerns its appearance, size and character, as well as the degree of friendliness, if you want your pet to please you with its neighborhood for a long time - you must choose a healthy individual. But how do you know if a lizard is healthy in front of you or not? It is unlikely that any reptile seller will take care in advance to provide you with a certificate of the condition of such an animal at the time of its sale, therefore, you have to rely solely on your visual perception. So, what should a healthy lizard look like?
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What a healthy lizard looks like
As a rule, a healthy lizard has a bright color, which fully corresponds to its appearance. Her skin is smooth, without growths and wounds. The only exception is situations when the reptile sheds - then, on the body of the lizard, small patches of skin can be visible. However, it is not easy for an inexperienced person to distinguish molting from a skin disease, therefore, such it is better not to buy reptiles during molting. You can trivially slip a sick creature.
The eyes of a healthy lizard should be clean and clear, wide open, the eyelids should not be swollen. The oral cavity should be free of plaque or foam. Feet should not be swollen and deformed. If you find slight damage to the claws - then, in principle, this is not too much trouble, therefore, because of the broken claw of the lizard, to deny yourself the pleasure of knowing it better is not worth it.
The gait of a healthy lizard should be confident and even, and the spine should be straight. Deformation of the spine, its curvature is a symptom of a serious illness. The tail of the lizard should be rounded and have a full shape. The seller’s assurances that the fallen tail of the lizard will quickly grow - should not be taken for granted. In some species of reptiles, the tail does not regenerate, and such a deficiency can adversely affect the health of the lizard itself.
Also, if you pick up a small lizard (however, you are a daredevil!) - it should actively resist you. If the animal is sitting limp in your hands - most likely it is either hurt or badly exhausted.
But, even these visual signs of health, unfortunately, can sometimes fail us in our choice. So, how frequent are cases when the disease proceeds in a latent form and makes itself felt only after a few months, or even years. Therefore, rely not only on what your eyes see, but also on what your intuition tells you
The body of the lizard should not be too thin or swollen, the reptile should have all its teeth in place. The abdomen of the lizard should also be clean - however, you can inspect it if you take the lizard in your hands or the seller will do it for you. By the way
if you are squeamish about these creatures, and it is difficult for you to pick them up - think again - should you get a lizard in your house or maybe you should give preference to a nicer pet.
Sex does not affect the nature of the lizard
We will not argue that female lizards are less capricious in leaving than males - or vice versa. The choice of sex should determine your main goal of why you get a home lizard. If it’s just for beauty, then it’s better to choose a male. They grow larger, and their color is usually brighter, although it all depends on the species of the lizard itself (in some species, males are brighter, but smaller than females, which are larger but have a calmer color). If you are planning on breeding lizards in the future, then it is better to breed either a female or a pair - a male and a female.
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How to determine the gender of a lizard
Fortunately, you should not have problems with determining the sex of the very home lizard. At the base of the tail of the male around the anus will be observed compaction - the testes. At the female - they will not be. Also, some species of lizards have their secondary sexual characteristics - for example, signal coloring or femoral strips ...
Another clue - who is in front of you, male or female - is the presence or absence of a crest, which is located on the back and on the head of a lizard. As a rule, only the male has such a crest. Similarly, only males have skin growths on their heads, and some species also have calcaneal spurs. And, for example, male iguanas have guttural rags and scales near the anus.
But, so that you can be confident in your choice - it is recommended to compare what you see with other lizards. Then the last doubts will disappear, who is a female or a male in front of you.
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As for the age at which it is better to take a lizard, then everything is much simpler here than, for example, if you get a kitten or puppy. A lizard can be raised at any age, and if it had already lived in a terrarium before, then adapting to new living conditions will be painless for it. Simply, buying a small lizard, you can not always be sure of what species it belongs to, respectively, what maximum sizes it will reach when it grows up. Yes, and small lizards are more painful and weak than large individuals, therefore, they are cheaper. Whereas, adult lizards - you risk them too, since determining the age of your adult pet itself under an hour is not easy enough. Therefore, with confidence, no one will undertake to say how long such an adult lizard will live in your house.
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How to determine the age of a lizard
Unfortunately, an exact method for determining the age of a lizard (during its lifetime) does not exist. And, such methods as navigating along the length of the body of the lizard itself and the size of its head are too biased. Therefore, one does not have to rely on an accurate determination of age.
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What else is worth knowing when choosing a lizard
Be sure to ask the reptile seller about was the captive lizard raised or was it just recently captured? What value will the answer have and how can it affect your decision to purchase this or that lizard? Specialists and those who are not the first year involved in the breeding and maintenance of such exotic pets, argue that newcomers - those people who have never previously kept such animals at home, it is better to give preference to those individuals that were raised in captivity, as they are already adapted to terrarium conditions, and it is easier to care for them than those reptiles that Yesterday we lived in the wild.
A similar thing to recommend is choose ... exotic lizards, not those that live in our latitudes. And, although this sounds somewhat paradoxical, it is. Indeed, exotic lizards, however, adapted to one temperature indicator, while lizards of local origin adapted to temperature fluctuations. And, we cannot be sure that the room temperature will seem to them comfortable for living. Moreover, reptiles are not from subtropics, but from those places where there is a big difference between summer and winter temperatures, in the cold season they tend to hibernate or behave sluggishly, since all the functions and processes of their body are inhibited at this time. It is not worth disturbing them to sleep. However, the constant temperature of the terrarium prevents them from falling into sleep, and as a result, the lizard can become sick and even die.
Therefore, if you still chose a lizard of local origin, do not forget that you have to provide it with conditions for winter sleep. By the way, ensuring such conditions is quite painstaking work. And, if you are a beginner, then the chances that you will do everything right and your lizard will wake up are very, very small.
Interesting video about the domestic lizard:
Today we talked about how to choose a home lizard, what to pay attention to so that later you will not be disappointed in your choice of such a pet. We hope that our tips and tricks will come in handy for you, and you can make your right choice.
And what difficulties did you encounter when choosing your domestic lizard? Perhaps you still have questions about the topic of this publication or there are additions - we invite you to be active, leave your comments and join the discussion of the article on the choice of lizards in our VKontakte group.
In our next publication, we will tell you about how to equip a terrarium for a home lizard ...
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