Timon pater (ssp) / Pearled lizard - Care
|Scientific name:||Timon pater|
|Reproduction:||oviparous / egglaying|
Timon pater, (Lataste, 1880)
Timon pater belongs to the true lizards (Lacertidae). There are two subspecies, the Timon pater pater and the Timon pater tangitanus (Boulenger, 1889).
General appearance: The Timon pater is closely related to the European Timon lepidus (Ocellated lizard) and has some of the same characteristics but is fairly easy to distinguish. The Timon lepidus get considerably larger, male Timon lepidus may well be 70cm long where male Timon pater will just reach 30cm. In addition the Timon pater lacks the strong pattern that the Timon lepidus has and blue spots on the sides considerably smaller. This species is sexually dimorphic, which means that one can identify the sex by appearance. The females are slimmer and smaller (25cm) than the males. The males have a significantly broader and bigger head. Male Timon pater are predominantly green. The Timon pater tangitanus has a brown tail. Outside the breeding season the females are mostly brown but can get a green colour in the mating period.
Behaviour: They are diurnal animals and quickly get used to their caregiver. This is not a lizard which likes to be hold or picked up. But they quickly learn to feed out of the forceps of hand. A large part of the day they will be actively looking for food. At high temperatures when the day reaches his hottest point the animals will hide.
Origin and habitat: The Timon pater pater occurs in eastern Morocco. Timon pater tangitanus is endemic to the Mediterranean area in Morocco, mountain ranges in the north-west of Algeria and Tunisia. They inhabit a varied range of habitats including Mediterranean forests and meadows, coastal and rocky areas and olive groves. They are mainly bottom dwellers but also like to climb against and between stone walls and rocky slopes.
Housing: This active lizard deserves a lot of space. You can accommodate a pair in a terrarium of at least 90x45x60 or 100x50x50. Keeping a male with multiple females is possible when the enclosure is a lot bigger. Sexually mature males are very territorial and against other males and cannot be housed together. Offer lots of climbing opportunities and hides with stacked stone, slate and timber. The lizards will spend a lot of their time foraging in this area. Make sure that the lizard cannot dig under a rock with a result of it getting stuck. This can be prevented by gluing the stones together and placing them directly on a small foam matt so the animals can nog dig a tunnel under it. This foam is then covered with the substrate so you won’t see any of it. As a substrate you can use a mixture of various materials such as sand mixed with earth and reptibark, forest floor bed (cypress mulch) or bark. Offer at any time a bowl with clean water. Spray 1 or 2 times a week.
This species has a high UVB and light requirements. You can best opt for a HQL or HID that has a high concentration of light, UVB and UVA. Provide this basking spot for twelve hours a day. Use fluorescent tubes for extra lighting and to mimic a natural day/night light cycle. Natural light that is rich in UVA will increase the natural activity and behaviour. Always position the heating source on one side
of the terrarium and not in the middle. This will create various temperature gradients in the terrarium which the animals can move between in order to thermoregulate properly. Experience teaches that the Timon pater mostly basks in the morning to get a good body temperature and then goes out hunting. The hotspot can measure 32-40C with a daytime temperature of 27C and 24C on the cool side. At night the temperature may drop. This species requires hibernation 2-3 months at 7-10C.
In several countries the climate enables us to keep the Timon pater in an outside enclosure for an extended period of time. The advantage is that the lizards then often have a lot more space and are exposed to natural sunlight. Which is the absolute best provider of UVB light and improves the vitamin D3 production. Also many insects that fly into the enclosure are a great addition to their diet. If you want to hibernate the animals outside., Make sure the hibernation quarter does not get below 2 degrees Celsius. Also it is best do provide them with a greenhouse with an additional basking spot may temperatures get too low.
Diet: These lizards eat a lot and need a varied diet. These active lizards have a high metabolism and appetite to match. The base may comprise out of various kinds of crickets and grasshoppers, mealworms and waxmoths and their larvae, dubia roaches and sometimes snails. You can feed some superworms but not in an abundance because of their high fat content. By feeding the feeder insects one can increase the nutritional value of the prey. Dust the insects well with a calcium powder without D3. Once a week you can dust the insects with vitamin powder with vit. D3. Feed young Timon pater daily and adult animals once every 2-3 days as much as they like.