The Fascinating Crevice Spiny Lizard

by Luke Tansley on in Lizards

The spiny crevice lizard (Sceloporus poinsettii) is a small terrestrial lizard from the Chihuahuan desert in the USA. They can be found from southern New Mexico to central Texas all the way down to Zacatecas in Mexico. They are mainly found in semi-arid regions near limestone structures. If approached they will scuttle up rock faces or into crevices so that predators cannot reach them. They are very fast and generally skittish which along with their climbing skill and small size makes them very fun to keep.

They are typically green-grey or brown in colour with a black and white collar around the neck. But some individuals may have more green than others and there are those that also have hints of reddish brown. It is usually quite easy to tell males from females as when they are fully grown males will not usually have dorsal cross bands and tend to get a blueish tone to their throat and flanks.

They can grow up to 4.6 inches from mouth to vent and up to 12 inches from nose to tail. Unlike other similar lizards these are not very territorial and as long as they are given enough space for the males to get away from each other these are usually fine to keep in small colonies. Due to the fact that these are smaller lizards you could comfortably fit 4 adults in a 4ft enclosure which makes for quite interesting social behaviour.

When it comes to breeding these reptiles are quite unusual as rather than laying eggs that then incubate outside of the lizard they incubate their eggs internally and have live birth. Each female will breed once a year, usually in the spring, and have a litter of up to a dozen babies in the midsummer.

At Northampton Reptile Centre we provide them with a basking bulb to give them a 95oF hot spot and intense UVB from a 10 or 12% UV tube. At night time they are fine to have a temperature drop to around 60oF so do not generally need night time heating. We have made sure to include many decorations on various levels and caves or burrows at different heights throughout the enclosure so they can scurry away and feel secure. Though they are mainly terrestrial lizards they really do appreciate a rocky outcrop directly under their basking spot that they can cling to and bask.

About Luke Tansley

Luke works within the customer service department at At home he keeps hognose snakes, bearded dragons and kingsnakes.