A taste for lizard keep­ing

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Maryanne Taouk

WHAT keeps a goanna go­ing?

For 25-year-old Spud, a stir-fry of Asian green veg­gies, de­frosted mice and chicken necks hits the spot.

Owner An­drew Camil­leri from Pen­dle Hill says live bugs also give his lizard’s hunt­ing skills a boost.

“All lizards have dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties, but some­times they need ex­tra stim­u­la­tion,” he says.

Camil­leri says goan­nas are a scav­eng­ing lizard which has an im­pact on their diet.

“Chicken car­casses, dead mice and chicken hearts are some of his (Spud’s) favourites,” he says.

Rhonda Glover, pres­i­dent of the Macarthur Her­peto­log­i­cal So­ci­ety, says peo­ple are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly in­ter­ested in keep­ing lizards as pets.

Glover says the Aus­tralian bearded dragon is even giv­ing dogs a run for their money as a pop­u­lar pet around the world.

One of the rea­sons is that they are low main­te­nance, she says.

“Lizards like goan­nas ... are just garbage guts. They’ll eat any­thing.

“You can have a piece of meat out for a day and they won’t think twice about tear­ing it apart.”

As long as you keep your fin­gers out of the way, Glover says keep­ing your lizard healthy is a sim­ple task.

“I feed a lot of my geckos live crick­ets; they wouldn’t just eat crick­ets in the wild, so I dust the crick­ets with mul­ti­vi­ta­mins and cal­cium,” she says.

“It’s more dif­fi­cult to get their liv­ing con­di­tions right and, if you breed them, the tough thing is get­ting the ba­bies out be­fore mum or dad eat them.”

Glover says own­ers should use wood roaches, meal­worms, and quails or chicken pieces for mon­i­tor lizards and mix that with leaves, flow­ers and bruised fruit, for other na­tive lizards such as blue tongues.

Ex­perts sug­gest rep­tile own­ers avoid feed­ing their pets ice­berg let­tuce, kale, broc­coli and cab­bage as the veg­eta­bles con­tain an in­gre­di­ent that pre­vents lizards from ab­sorb­ing cal­cium. Look­ing to get a lizard? Visit: arod.com.au

Spud the goanna en­joys snack­ing on dead mice. Pic­ture: Justin San­son

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