If you see any mistakes in this care sheet, please e-mail me so I can correct it (email@example.com). I no longer keep plated lizards, but I wrote this care sheet for the following species and subspecies of Gerrhosaurus
Gerrhosaurus major major (Sudan Plated lizard, also called Tawny, Major, or Rough-scaled plated lizard)
Gerrhosaurus major bottegoi (Subspecies of major major, called the East African or East African Giant plated lizard)
Description: Plated lizards may grow to about two feet long, about half of which it tail. They have rows of hard, strongly keeled scales. Major bottegoi is mainly black in color with tiny yellow spots all over its body. Males often have orange sides. Major major is plain tan or brown in color. These lizards may live over 20 years in captivity. Plated lizards have long round bodies, short limbs, a long thick neck, and heavy tails, when compared to other lizards.
Origin: Plated lizards are native to Africa or Madagascar. The Sudan plated lizard and its subspecies are from semi-arid, rocky areas of southern and eastern Africa. Most plated lizards in the pet trade are wild caught. Wild caught adults are usually very nervous, but can be tamed will gentle handling; these intelligent lizards can become great pets when properly cared for.
Caging and Habitat: An adult plated lizard will require an enclosure that is at least 4’ by 2’. A 75 gallon glass aquarium or a homemade wooden enclosure with good ventilation will work for this purpose. One to Several hatchling plated lizards may be kept in a 20 gallon long aquarium. Make sure that the enclosure has a sturdy lid or door; Plated lizards and strong for their size. Also be sure that there are no gaps in the cage that your lizard may escape from, they can squeeze themselves through very small spaces! Plated lizards need a substrate that they can easily burrow in, such as aspen shavings. Never use cedar in a reptile cage! It is fatal to reptiles. Provide multiple hiding places for your plated lizard; curved pieces of bark or sturdy flat rocks that they can burrow under will work, but be sure that rocks cannot slide out of place and crush your lizard. You may also put a branch or log for your lizard to climb and bask on.
Heating and Lighting: Because plated lizards are diurnal, they need uva/uvb light that is at least 5.0. Plated lizards also need a warm area that is heated to the upper 80’s Fahrenheit. This may be provided with and under tank heater or a high wattage light bulb (75 to 100 watts). Please do not use hot rocks, they get too hot for plated lizards and cause burns! The heat and UV light may be turned off at night to give your plated lizard a day/night cycle. The nighttime temperature should stay above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water: Plated lizards should be given a water dish large enough for them to soak in and drink from. For an adult, the water only needs to be about an inch deep, and less for a hatchling. The water dish should be checked daily and changed or washed when needed.
Diet: Plated Lizards are omnivorous. Their diet should be about 60-75% animal protein and 40-25% fruits and vegetables. Good insects to feed your plated lizard include crickets, super worms, silk worms, moths, and grasshoppers. Plated lizards can occasionally be fed pinkie rats or mice, but should not be fed rodents too often because they are high in fat. As with all lizards, they should not be fed anything larger than the space between their eyes. Fruits for plated lizards include berries, peaches, bananas, apples, mangos, and other fruits. Although they do not like vegetables as much as fruits or insects, veggies can be chopped up very small and mixed with their other food, and they’ll eat in anyway. Some good vegetables include carrot, collard, dandelion, or other healthy greens. Plated lizards will be healthier if provided with a varied, balanced diet. They should be fed every other day, with calcium (with vitamin D3) dusted on their food once a week. Hatchling or gravid plated lizards should be given calcium twice a week.
Breeding: Few people breed plated lizards. Most breeders recommend a 4-6 week period with lower temperatures and decreased photoperiod. Males have larger femoral pores on the underside of their back legs and are usually more colorful. Males should not be kept together at any time during the year because they are territorial. If you think that your female is gravid, the male should be moved into another cage because he may eat the eggs. The female should be given a nest box with moist soil for her to lay her eggs in. With Sudan plated lizards, two eggs are usually laid, though other species of plated lizard may lay up to six eggs. They can be incubated at 86 degrees Fahrenheit in moist vermiculite and will hatch in about 3-4 months. For the first two months the humidity should be kept very high, and then lowered in the third month until the vermiculite is nearly dry. If the eggs begin to get indentations, water can be added near the eggs and they will recover. Water must not be put directly on the eggs or they will drown.
These websites have information about plated lizards; please continue to research this species if you are considering a plated lizard as a pet.