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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Did You Know? 15 Incredible Emerald Lizard Facts

Emerald lizards facts about the lizards that are mostly found in the southern part of Mexico and some Central American countries

The emerald lizard, also known as emerald swift and green spiny lizard, is a species of lizard found in Central America and southern Mexico. Emerald swifts are a small lizard species known for their bright colorations and spiny texture on the body. The emerald swift is a diurnal and arboreal species. They spend most of the day basking in the sun. The emerald lizards require adequate UVB lights to survive in captivity in a terrarium or vivarium. To replicate the same lighting, heat energy, and temperature that the sun provides, UVB bulbs can be used too. Humidity inside the terrarium should always be high at around 60-70%.

The species of emerald swifts were earlier considered to be a subspecies of Mexican emerald Spiny Lizards, but proper research has now categorized the emerald swifts into a different species. They are mostly wild-caught and have a short lifespan. They are not very common as pets as the lizards need a lot of care and are not for beginners. However, they make a vibrant addition to your glass terrarium or vivarium.

For more relatable content, check out these Texas Horned Lizard facts and Collared Lizard interesting facts.

Emerald Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an emerald lizard?

Emerald swifts or emerald lizards are species of small lizards found in cloud forests in high altitudes.

What class of animal does an emerald lizard belong to?

The emerald swifts belong to the class of Reptilia in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many emerald lizards are there in the world?

The population of the emerald swift is not known. There is currently no trend of reduction in the population of the emerald swift and are found abundantly. Their life is currently under no threat.

Where does an emerald lizard live?

In Mexico, they are found in the Yucatan region. They are also abundantly found in the Central American countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. The emerald swift is also found as pets all over the world.

What is an emerald lizard's habitat?

The emerald swift is a small, semiarboreal, diurnal lizard found in mountain forests and woodland habitats. They usually live in the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. They are found in high-altitude cloud forests. During the day, they are found mostly basking in the sun. One male can also be housed together with multiple females. However, this would require a larger house for emerald swifts. In captivity, a 40 gallon (151.4 L) tank/terrarium/vivarium is required to breed the emerald swifts and a small tank or terrarium is also enough for the species. The tank should be of the dimensions 36” L x 18” W x 18” H at least. For their survival, they also need a constant source of UVB light which provides proper temperature, humidity, and heat energy. To provide this source of light, UVB bulbs are used in the terrarium. They also provide the vitamin D that the reptile needs. The basking surface should be a wood branch or a flat stone and ceramic heat emitters should preferably not used.

Who does the emerald lizard live with?

These lizards are quite territorial and males should be kept apart from each other. Proper housing can accommodate one male with a single female and multiple females can also be used. Native to high-altitude areas, emerald swifts are not considered the first choice as pets in captivity due to their high maintenance and low tolerance. The information on the life of these animals in the wild is not known.

How long does an emerald lizard live?

Emerald swifts are usually wild-caught and often have a short lifespan of 3-5 years.

How do they reproduce?

Emerald swifts are ovoviviparous and give birth to 6-15 young in a year. Males should not be kept together in breeding together. A male should be kept with a female to stimulate breeding. More than one female can be also kept. They need a large tank with the right conditions. Humidity, temperature, and basking area should be taken care of with UVB bulbs attached on the sides of the terrariums.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these animals is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Emerald Lizard Fun Facts

What does an emerald lizard look like?

With the name emerald swift, emerald green coloration can be seen on the body of the reptile. Males are more striking than females with vibrant colors. Males are also slightly bigger than females. The emerald swift has a stout body, a blunt head, and a slim tail. The bodies, like all swifts, have stiff, heavily keeled scales giving them a rough, spiny appearance. Males are bright green in color and have blue splotches on their bellies. They also sometimes have a blue tail. Females are mostly brown in color and have dark spots.

These eye-catching lizards are green in color with males having blue patches on either side of the body

How cute are they?

They are visually appealing and are considered very beautiful.

How do they communicate?

Communication between individuals has not been documented. Lizards usually use tactile communication. Emerald swifts do not like to be handled and let their owner know of their discomfort by wiggling and squirming which can lead to stress over time.

How big is an emerald lizard?

The length of emerald swifts has a range of 6-8 in (15.24-20.32 cm). The maximum they grow is 8 in (20 cm). The Komodo dragon, the largest living species of lizards in the world, has a length which has a range of 90-103 in (230-260 cm). They also weigh around 150-190 lb (70-90 kg).

How fast can an emerald lizard move?

They are pretty quick and agile. Their speed is not known.

How much does an emerald lizard weigh?

The weight of the species is not known. The sand lizard, one of the smaller species of lizards and found in Europe, has a range of weight up to 0.033 lb (15 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the species are not given different names.

What would you call a baby emerald lizard?

A baby emerald lizard is called a juvenile.

What do they eat?

They are insectivorous and feeding is restricted to live insects for proper nutrients. The emerald swift is known to feed on various insects like crickets, roaches, and various worms. Juveniles need to be fed daily.

Emerald swifts should be fed high-quality calcium and vitamin D3 supplements at every feeding.

Commonly, there are various predators of different species of lizards like hawks, snakes, dogs, wolves, and other lizards. There are more than 4675 species of lizards known in the world.

Are they poisonous?

They are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Emerald swifts are not always considered pets. Although they make the terrarium look beautiful and colorful, their short lifespan of just five years and the requirements for care makes them a little hard to keep. They are not also always inbred and are caught in the wild most of the time. Supplements are very necessary for their upbringing and are considered a vital food diet in the feeding cycle. For proper care, a glass terrarium housing should be used. They require UVB lighting to stay healthy. Fairly high levels of UVB are needed as the species is known for basking in the middle of the day. The UVB bulbs should be placed in a reflective area and placed on the basking site. The heat lamp should also be placed in the same area. Although many use ceramic heat emitters to help provide the lizards enough heat for basking, they do not provide the same energy as a halogen heat lamp. Maintaining the humidity, temperature, and heat energy is the most important thing to consider while caring for an emerald lizard or the babies.

Did you know...

They are not known to bite if mishandled.

They are known to give live birth to a minimum of six offspring at a time. They are ovoviviparous.

Do emerald swifts eat their babies?

There is no information stating if emerald swifts eat their babies.

Do emerald swifts give live birth?

A single male is put in a tank with a female or multiple females. They need a lot of room with branches and slightly moist soil with a fair amount of humidity in the air. Humidity should be 60-70% at all times. The nights need to be cooler, the same as their high elevated habitats in the wild. If all these conditions are met, females will soon get pregnant. They give birth to babies in a hidden area by the branches and the juveniles are able to run around and feed on their own. They need tiny insects to eat. Babies need more moisture and humidity than adults. This is achieved by misting the enclosure every day.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these reticulated python facts or gopher snake fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Emerald Lizard coloring pages.

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