Northern Alligator Lizard

Northern Alligator Lizard

The Northern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria coerulea) is native to Western coast of North America. They can live 10 Years and grow to 11 Inches. Their conservation statis is Least Concern (LC).

The Basics for Northern Alligator Lizards

  • Housing
  • 20 Gallon Aquarium
  • Substrate
  • Mulch, wood bark or soil
  • Lighting
  • UVB light, basking light
  • Temperature
  • 70 - 90 ° F
  • Food
  • Crickets, mealworms & small insects

Northern Alligator Lizard Care Sheet

Northern alligator lizards aren’t a hugely popular lizard species being kept as pets. They do, however, make great pets and they’re fairly simple to care for.

Cage Setup

These lizards require a moist substrate that can help them shed so it’s important to provide an area within the enclosure that meets their shedding needs – most Northern Alligator Lizard pet owners recommend soil mixed with gravel as a substrate as this provides the moisture needed to help them shed.Make sure your enclosure is big enough for the reptiles you’re keeping, if you have just the one then a standard aquarium around 20 gallons (10 gallons will work for young lizards) will suffice for a Northern Alligator Lizard that doesn’t grow larger than 11 inches.

Being as this species survives mostly on the ground, a vertical style terrarium isn’t required. They enjoy burrowing so the amount of substrate in their enclosure is important. The recommended depth of substrate is at least 4 inches.

Hides such as hallow log or branches are recommended as well. They can and will burrow but an optional hide will only prove helpful for them regulate their temperature. This is accomplished by moving out of direct light and farther away from their heating source.

Zilla has a cheap “Reptile start kit” tank with a screen lid & lights that would work well for a northern alligator lizard.

Lighting & Temperature

A UVB light source is recommended to keep your northern alligator lizard at optimum health but only if you aren’t dusting their food with supplemental vitamins. Be careful not to mix the two (UVB light & dusting crickets with supplements) as this can cause an overload of Vitamin D3. Aside from that, a basking lamp is important. It should provide a temperature between 85 – 90 ° F. Place this on one side of their cage. The opposite side of their cage should reach 70 ° F and temperatures at night can drop an additional 5 degrees.

Creating this nice gradient of temperatures allows your northern alligator lizard a means for regulating their body temperature by moving from one side of their cage to the other. Burrowing and hides help in this process as well!

Feeding your Northern Alligator Lizard

A dish of fresh drinking water is recommended but not required provided you mist their enclosure daily. They will most likely sip water drop from their misting rather than drink from a bowl.

Crickets and mealworms are a good diet for these lizards, make sure, when using live prey, you dust twice a week using an optional vitamin powder if you aren’t providing a UVB light. Northern Alligator Lizards have also been known to eat other smaller lizards and baby mice should you choose to change their diet.


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