Agamidae

Agamidae is a family of over 300 species of iguanian lizards indigenous to Africa, Asia, Australia, and a few in Southern Europe. Many species are commonly called dragons or dragon lizards.

 

Appearance

Agamids usually have well-developed, strong legs. Their tails cannot be shed and regenerated like those of geckos (and several other families such as skinks), though a certain amount of regeneration is observed in some. Many agamid species are capable of limited change of their colors to regulate their body temperature.In some species, males are more brightly colored than females, and colors play a part in signaling and reproductive behaviors. Many agamids have keeled scales, middorsal crests, and throat flaps or fans.

One of the key distinguishing features of the agamids is their teeth, which are borne on the outer rim of their mouths (acrodonts), rather than on the inner side of their jaws (pleurodonts).This feature is shared with the chameleons, but is otherwise unusual among lizards

They range in size from tiny (14 mm snout-vent length in Pogonamicrolepidota) to quite large (145 cm total length in the water dragon Hydrosaurusamboinensis).

Distribution

The agamids show a curious distribution. They are found over much of the Old World, including continental Africa, Australia, southern Asia, and sparsely in warmer regions of Europe. They are, however, absent from Madagascar and the New World. The distribution is the opposite of that of the iguanids, which are found in just these areas but absent in areas where agamids are found.

Diet

Agamid lizards generally feed on insects and other arthropods (such as spiders), although some larger species may include small reptiles or mammals, nestling birds, flowers or other vegetable matter in their diets.

Behavior

The agamids are a diverse group of lizards that represent a variety of life history strategies. Among their ranks are terrestrial, tropical forest dwellers; terrestrial desert dwellers; and semiaquatic forms that use water as a refuge. Some agamids dig burrows; others have modified foot scales that allow them to run bipedally across the surface of water. The heavily spined Moloch horridus can inflate itself with air when stressed. Draco has modified ribs covered in thin skin that acts as an airfoil, and these lizards glide to safety as an escape response.

Agamids are diurnal and visually-oriented, and at least some species can distinguish between colors in the visual spectrum, as well as in ultraviolet wavelengths.

Reproduction

Phrynocephalus is live-bearing, but the remaining agamids are oviparous.

In captivity

In captivity, some members of the family can live up to 24 years.

Representatives of the family are very demanding in temperature and humidity.

Glass terrariums are well suited for them. The size of the home depends on the lifestyle and the size of the pet. In the design of the terrarium extra ventilation holes must be in addition to the mesh in the upper lid. Poor ventilation leads to bacterial and fungal diseases of the skin and respiratory organs of lizards.

It is necessary to provide heat with a thermal cord (heating the bottom of the terrarium); an ordinary incandescent lamp, a halogen lamp or a special lamp (spot heating). The point heat source can only be turned on for a few hours. Under such a light source, the pet will be able to warm up and sunbathe. You can also use a regular fluorescent lamp, which should function for ten or twelve hours a day. Increase or decrease the photoperiod is necessary when preparing the animal for wintering or to stimulate reproduction. The specific length of daylight during certain periods of agamids life depends on their species. The design and placement of heat and light sources should provide  the protection of the inhabitants of the terrarium from burns. The power of the heating lamp depends on the size of the terrarium, its ventilation, the temperature in the room and other factors.

Once a week, it is recommended to bathe agamids. Bathe it in warm water (30-35 °C) for twenty-thirty minutes. The water level in the bathing tank should not let the lizard drown. It is important that the water does not cool down. After taking a bath, the pet should be soaked with a paper towel and placed in a warm terrarium.

Agamids are generally nervous and distrustful animals, so not all of them actively make contact with humans. The water agamas can be easily tamed. The more often you take your pet in your arms, the faster it will get used to you, but you need to take into account the individual characteristics of animals of a particular species.

Agamids diet: crickets (basic food), royal mealworm in winter; in summer – spiders, caterpillars, bedbugs, slugs, snails, newborn baby rats or mice. They can get used to raw chicken meat as an additional component in the diet.

Animals also need vitamins and mineral supplements. They should be used strictly according to the recommendations specified in the instructions.