Yellow Spotted Lizard

Facts About The Yellow Spotted Lizard

 

A fascinating member in the category of night lizards is a creature called the yellow spotted lizard, or Lepidophyma flavimaculatum.  The very fact that it isn’t particularly classified as ideal pet material seems to make it even more intriguing to anyone with an interest in reptiles.

Although the aggressive behavior of the lizard may create a curious attraction among reptile aficionados, it is actually difficult to find in captivity because the populations are decreasing thanks to dwindling habitats.  These secretive creatures that favor the nighttime hours are found in areas ranging from Central America to Texas in the moist and humid conditions present in environs such as decomposing underbrush and logs. Unfortunately, the advancement of human inhabitation as well as the clearing of land for farming or ranching endeavors removes much of this natural environment, which in turn lessens the number of these fascinating lizards.  Nevertheless, many people who enjoy keeping lizards as pets still search for the elusive creature in pet stores; from time to time, they may be rewarded with a unique find.

Appearance

One of the most unusual aspects of the yellow spotted lizard is in its appearance.  It bears the similarities of a lizard, a snake and an alligator all at the same time.  The skin of the snake-shaped head is smooth, while the remainder of the body features alligator like scales that are rough in some areas of the body yet deceptively softer in others.

The non-lidded eyes are deep and penetrating with an unblinking gaze that is designed to strike fear into the hearts of any that look into them.  Almost black in color, the body is adorned only with a series of yellow splotches on each side and a yellowish underbelly.  The long, thick tail is also speckled with yellow.  The reptile is one of the largest of the nocturnal lizards, with some specimens reaching up to 13 centimeters in length.

Behaviors

Little is known about the behavioral habits of the lizard, mainly due to the fact that their furtive and clandestine lifestyle shields them from a great deal of scrutiny.  It is known that this reptile lives on the ground amongst decaying branches and logs in humid, sub tropical climates of Central America.  It may extend as far north as southern Texas.  The lizard traditionally feeds upon insects, scorpions and other small invertebrates; however, they have no qualms with feasting upon vegetation such as grass and leaves when meat is in short supply.

Also not well known is the mating process of this species.  However, one unique aspect of the reproduction process is known is that the creature can be asexual, which means that a female is able to produce offspring without the contribution from the male in the species.  In fact, in the southernmost regions of the lizard habitat, there is a community of the reptiles that are wholly female where they live and repopulate with no males present.  When asexual reproduction occurs, the offspring are almost always female, which explains the single sex population.  This phenomenon serves to continue the species.

These lizards are not egg producers, but rather an embryo forms within the female body and the term ends in live birth.  Because little activity has been observed of the raising of young in the wild, it is not known if the offspring are self sufficient at birth or how long they stay with the mother after birth.  The reptiles are relatively long lived, however; they can live up for up to 15 years in their natural habitats.  The lifespan of the creature in captivity has not been recorded.

The yellow spotted lizard is a skittish yet aggressive reptile.  They are not amenable to human contact; in fact, they will bite without any provocation whatsoever.  While their bite is not poisonous or life threatening, the bites can be quite painful.

Shedding of the skin is a normal and regular occurrence for the dark skinned lizard.  It always follows the birth of young.  Although the process generally happens without any problems, lack of moisture can create a dangerous health risk for the reptile during the shedding phase.

Tips For Keeping The Yellow Spotted Lizard As A Pet

For those few lucky individuals who are able to find and obtain the lizard to keep as a pet, there is scant information to help them to successfully raise it.  There are some common sense guidelines to follow, though, based on what is known about it.

Because the lizard lives a reclusive life in the wild, the same type of habitat must be provided when in captivity as well.  A good sized tank with several “hideaway” spots provided will be ideal.  The sub tropical environment in which they live must also be replicated.  A heat lamp, a source of water and regular misting using a spray bottle are necessary to create that same atmosphere of heat and humidity the creature craves.  It is also vital for the health of the lizard, since this type of condition assists in the shedding process.

It is best to obtain the lizard at a young age when possible, especially if hand taming the reptile is desired.  Keep in mind, however, that it is a natural response for the lizard to bite when feeling threatened, and this reaction is not lessened when kept as a pet.

Some creatures are ideal as pets, but the yellow spotted lizard may not be one of them.  While it is a fascinating creature, there are instances when nature is best when left alone.  A lizard that prefers the reclusive life may very well be one of those.