Armadillo lizards are unique reptiles with a fascinating personality that you can keep at home. They have a spiny coat of armor that resembles that of a dragon. Furthermore, due to the fact that they curl up and bite their tails for protection against predators, they are named after the Armadillo.
Armadillo lizards originate from Africa and they are gradually becoming one of the top pets in the exotic pet market due to their manageable size and unusual behavior. As a responsible pet owner, you may be wondering how long can an armadillo lizard live.
This article will help to talk in detail about the armadillo lizard lifespan and things that can affect their lifespan.
How Long Do Armadillo Lizard Live in the Wild
Armadillo lizard is regarded by many as a long-lived reptile species. However, there is little information known about their lifespan in the wild. If we compare their lifespan in captivity with the best wild’s condition, Armadillo lizard can live up to 20 years in the wild.
But as we known, all the wild animals have shorter lifespan because many reasons. One of the most common reasons is that they are being eaten by other animals.
Armadillo Lizard Lifespan in Captivity
Armadillo lizard is a long-lived reptile species and can live for about 20-25 years in captivity. However, the lifespan of your armadillo can be shortened if you do not take appropriate care of them or when they continually have health problems.
How to Maximize Armadillo lizard Lifespan?
You can maximize the lifespan of your armadillo lizard by the type of diet that you give them and their tank setup.
Feed Armadillo lizard the Right Foods
Armadillo lizards are omnivorous animals. However, their main diet in the wild is the termites but can also feed on small insects and spiders. Although armadillo lizards can also eat plant-based food, juveniles can only eat an insect-based diet.
What Should I Feed My Armadillo Lizard?
You should try to feed your armadillo lizards with small invertebrates in captivity. Some of the small invertebrates that you can feed them are stated below.
- Bee moth larvae
- Super worms
- Waxworms and silkworms
- Pinkie mice (adults)
You can feed adults with greens like collard greens, carrots, dandelions, peas, watercress, turnips, etc.
You may gut load and dust insects with calcium powder to help get the proper nutrition to your lizard.
What Should I Not Feed My Armadillo Lizard?
One of the common foods that you should avoid feeding your armadillo lizard is mealworms. You should also avoid feeding adult armadillo lizards with greens that can be toxic like broccoli, avocados, kale, mushrooms, radish, cabbage, corn, chard, etc.
Furthermore, you should avoid feeding your lizard with harmful substances like alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine.
Note: You should only feed your armadillo lizard with fruits and greens occasionally.
Factors that Can Shorten Armadillo Lizard Lifespan
The lifespan of armadillo lizards can be shortened if you do not provide them with good care or they get ill more often. Some of the factors that can shorten the lifespan of armadillo lizards are stated below.
Wrong Diet In Young Armadillo lizard
Although armadillo lizards are omnivorous animals, juvenile armadillo lizards should be only fed only an insect-based diet. This means feeding young armadillo lizards with greens can affect their health which can then shorten their lifespan.
Furthermore, you should avoid feeding your young armadillo lizard with mealworms. For healthy growth, you will need to feed your armadillo lizard with feeds dusted or gut loaded with calcium to help strengthen their bones.
Impaction in Armadillo lizard
Armadillo lizards can get impacted if they swallow small or large objects that did not digest and then get stuck in their intestines causing a blockage. Furthermore, armadillo lizards can get impacted if it takes in lots of substrate in their tank.
However, hatchlings and baby armadillo lizards are more prone to ingesting substrate because they are learning about their environment. This is why it is best to keep hatchling and juvenile armadillo lizards on paper towels until they become sub-adults.
Armadillo lizards can ingest substrate when they are feeding. This means you can avoid this by offering them food in dishes or with feeding tongs. You can also place their food in a corner of the tank without substrate.
It can be quite hard before you notice that your armadillo lizard is impacted.
Symptoms of Impaction
Here are some signs of impaction in armadillo lizards that you can be on the lookout for.
- Loss of Appetite
- If your armadillo lizard has a plumb belly that looks round
- Weight gain
- Irregular pooping.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in Armadillo lizard
This is a health concern in armadillo lizards that causes bone deformities and soft bones and it occurs when your lizard cannot metabolize calcium or their diet is calcium deficient. Furthermore, armadillo lizards can have MBD if their diet lacks Vitamin D3.
This is because your lizard needs vitamin D3 to absorb calcium in its intestines and without it, it will not be able to metabolize calcium.
Symptoms of MBD
Some of the symptoms of MBD in armadillo lizards are stated below.
- Kinking of the tail and spine
- Your lizard is weak and does not move around
- Deformed limbs
- Your armadillo lizard lower jaw is soft and rubbery
- Humped back
- Poor feeding because of soft jawbones
- A Floppy tail may also be a sign that your armadillo lizard has MBD.
- Shaking and muscle tremors.
Treating Metabolic Bone Disease
You can easily prevent MBD by providing your armadillo lizard with a well-balanced diet. Furthermore, you will need to supplement their diet with calcium, Vitamin D3, and other supplements. However, you should avoid supplementing their food with Vitamin D2 as it of plant origin and will not be that useful to your lizard.
You should also keep in mind not to offer your armadillo lizards supplements, especially Vitamin D3. After you start supplementing armadillo lizards with MBD with calcium and vitamin D3 supplement, you can then take it to a vet to get expert advice on the best way to treat it.
However, in severe cases, you may need to feed your lizard with a syringe and the vet can also give it calcium injections.
Note: you can only treat mild cases but severe cases can lead to irreversible damage. This is why you need to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of MBD in your armadillo lizards.
Infections in Armadillo lizard
Infections are one of the factors that can affect the lifespan of armadillo lizards.
Common Types of Armadillo Lizard Infections
These are bacteria that live in the gut of most reptiles such as armadillo lizard, crested geckos, etc. However, they are part of normal gut flora and may not affect your lizard. However, owners can easily contract them and this is why you should ensure you wash your hands after handling a reptile or cleaning their tank.
Salmonella can lead to diarrhea, fever, cramps in humans.
This is among the worst reptile infections that armadillo lizards can contract and it can even lead to death if it is not treated. This is because this infection will lead to digestive issues, weight loss, and malnutrition. You can only see them under the microscope and treat this infection with anti-parasitic drugs.
Some of the other infections that can affect armadillo lizards are trichinellosis (disease of muscles, heart, lungs, and the nervous system), campylobacteriosis (bowel infection), leptospirosis (liver disease), and so on.
Note: Once you notice any worms in your armadillo lizard poop, you should ensure you quarantine it straight away and move it to a simple container with paper towels.
Preventing Infections In Armadillo Lizards
You can prevent infection in armadillo lizards by ensuring their tank is clean and you disinfect all the accessories in their tank.
Parasites in Armadillo lizard
There is a wide range of parasites that can affect your lizard. Some of the parasites are normal and they can be found in the gut flora of your lizard. However, you will need to do a stool test to help monitor their levels when your gecko is sick.
Some of the parasites that can affect armadillo lizards are stated below.
- Worms like nematodes, roundworms
- Protozoa like Cryptosporidium, Coccidia, Flagellates
When your armadillo is infested by internal parasites, it will lead to diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. You will need to take a stool sample to the vet for examination to help determine the parasites affecting your lizard.
Furthermore, you can prevent reinfection by cleaning the tank and disinfecting all the accessories.
Although armadillo lizards can be infected with mites, this is not a common occurrence. However, it can be quite hard to remove mites and can take time to clear the infestation. You can remove mites by using mite spray or removing them manually with cotton buds dipped in alcohol or oil.
Eyes Problems in Armadillo lizard
Armadillo lizards can develop eye infections and you can easily notice this as the infected eyes will look swollen and bigger because of fluid buildup. Furthermore, your lizard has an eye infection if you notice any swelling and discharge.
However, it can simply be a cataract or internal eye damage if there is no discharge or swelling. Once you notice that your armadillo lizard has an eye infection, you can use antimicrobial eye drops to treat infections. You will need to take your armadillo lizard to the vet if it has a cataract.
Armadillo lizards are regarded by many as the closest reptile to dragons that you can find out there due to their spiny-tailed and dark brown color. The best thing is that they are low-maintenance pets but can be quite rare to get one.
Furthermore, armadillo lizards are long-lived reptile species and can live between 20-25 years in captivity. This makes it a perfect pet if you are looking for a long-term pet partner.