Range: Central America
Other Common Names: These lizards are also known by these names Casque headed lizard, Crown basalisk Cone head basalisk, Casque headed basalisk, Cone Head iguanna, and Casque headed iguanna.
Size: Adults are around 22 – 28 inches. Babies are usually about 8 inches.
Lifespan: A well cared for cone head can live up to 20 years, but most die within a week of being in captivity.
The cone head lizard is a beautiful, but difficult to keep arboreal lizard. These alien-like lizards are from the forests of Mexico where they spend most of their time in trees hunting insects. Related to basalisks, and iguannas these lizards also have the ability to run across water (like the basalisk), but looks more like an iguanna. You can tell the difference between male, and female cone head lizards by the size of the cone on their head, and the fact males have spines on their backs.. Males can be very aggressive, but females tend to be docile. Most cone heads are wild caught, and could be hard to keep alive. It is best to find a captive bred one. Note never grab one of these lizards by the tail as it will break off. It is not recommended to keep these lizards with other lizards(including other cone heads unless you are trying to breed them) often they will fight to the death, or eat smaller lizards. These lizards also have a limited ability to change color from light green to dark green to brown, and sometimes yellow, or blue. They use their running, and color changing ability to avoid predators. These lizards can blend in perfectly with their surroundings. Their tails even look like vines which makes it harder for them to be spotted. These lizards will also whip their tails, scratch, and bite to defend themselves, so it is advised you use gloves when holding a newly acquired specimen as they can make some deep cuts.
Cone head lizards need an enclosure with lots of space it, should to measure 4’x2’x2′. These lizards are arboreal so they will need lots of branches, and vines to climb on, but make sure there is space for the lizard to move on the cage floor as well. Also don’t hold these lizards to often(once a week at the most) doing so could cause stress, and eventually death. You can however hold them sometimes, and some(mainly females) will mellow out. These lizards can run at 7mph so do not let them get away from you as you may never catch them. Although cone heads are slender their ribs, or spines should not be exposed through the skin.
Lighting: Full spectrum uv light is a must for these lizards to survive, and grow. Make sure to turn the lights off at night so the cone head can sleep though.
The cool end of the enclosure should be 80*F, and the warm end should be 86*F. The basking area should be at least 90*F. Use a under tank heater(placed on the side of the enclosure) to heat the cage at night, or you can use a ceramic heater. Night temperatures should be 75-78 degrees
These lizards need a constant high level of humidity(about 70%), so you will need to mist the enclosure 2-3 times a day. Use a spray bottle to mist the cage. The water dish will also add humidity. If you use reptibark it will also add to the humidity. When the cone head is shedding raise the humidity to 80%
You’ll need lots of places to climb branches, vines, shelves, etc. A dish of clean water should be provided at all times(make sure it’s big enough for it to soak in). You might also want to include a food dish to contain mealworms, and waxworms. For substrate reptibark works best for humidity, so thats the best way to go, but you can also use peat/soil mixture. These lizards will not use a hidebox, it will spend most of it’s time hiding in the vines.
These lizards are carnivores. Feeding on a diet of crickets, waxworms, meal worms, locusts, and the occasional pinky mouse. Don’t forget to use a vitamin(high in calcium, and vitimen D3) supplement(2 times a week) when feeding it insects this is very important as these lizards are prone to metabolic bone disease. These lizards will only eat live prey items no canned food, as only movement will trigger a feeding response.
They have also been known to eat snails, other lizards, and frogs, but none of these are recomended as food items.
I personally have never bred these lizards, and it’s said to be quite complicated. Their are very few bred in captivity most are wild caught, so there’s not much breeding info on these lizards. I would say it’s about the same as breeding brown basalisks though. It is said that they will lay 3-5 eggs.
The cone head lizard is not a beginner lizard. Most are impulse buys, and are not properly cared for. Their care is much like that of the green iguanna, with the exception these lizards are smaller, and are carnivores. Their are currently no books on these lizards to my knowledge, and there is not much info on them on the web either. These lizards are hard to care for, and are not recomended for a begginer it’s really one of those herps that should not be kept as a captive.
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