Natal's Mountain Horn Lizards, or Acanthosaura nataliae, are delightful to any home. These lizards are native to the mountains of southern China and are known for their beautiful colors and patterns. They grow to be about 12 inches long and are very active playful lizards. These lizards are also very hardy, making great first pets for kids or beginners.
Care Guide and General Information
Natal's mountain horned lizards (Acanthosaura nataliae) are native to South Africa, and they are one of the most beautiful lizards out there. They are known as shy creatures that stay hidden during the day, coming out at night or in low light conditions.
Natal's mountain horned lizards are bright green with brown striping down their backs and have the namesake horns coming out of their eyes. Their underbellies are yellow or tan.
Natal's mountain horned lizard can grow about 18 inches from head to toe or up to 30 inches when the tail is included. Their average life span for this species is 7-10 years.
These lizards can be handled but often tend to be more skittish than other species of lizard, so they may drop their tails if stressed. Handle them gently and keep holding sessions short.
Natal's mountain horned lizards should be fed crickets dusted with calcium powder and mealworms dusted with calcium and other insects. They also require dark leafy greens and flowers in their diet.
Natal's mountain horned lizards do well in a 50-gallon tank with a secure top. Make sure you have a tight-fitting lid with no gaps so your lizard cannot escape! They need climbing areas and require plants or branches to make hiding spots for them to feel comfortable.
Natal's mountain horned lizards need a substrate with no loose sand and are non-abrasive to their feet. Many choose paper towels, but some may prefer aspen bedding. Make sure the humidity level is low and that there are not any damp areas for mold to grow.
Natal's mountain horned lizards need a 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit temperature gradient for the basking area, which you can accomplish using an incandescent light bulb, under-tank heater, or other methods. They need 10 degrees cooler overnight by covering half of the tank with newspaper, rocks, or other items to block out light.
Natal's mountain horned lizards need to be misted daily and have fresh water available at all times.
Natal's mountain horned lizards are an egg-laying species. Like other lizards, they will need a place to lay their eggs. Please provide them with peat moss or vermiculite in their tank. They will breed in the spring.
When caring for sub-adults and adults, always keep them in individual containers. They need an enclosure with a temperature gradient of 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit for the basking area. Sub-adults should not be housed with adults because sub-adult tails are easily ripped off, which will cause the sub-adult to bleed to death.
Natal's mountain horned lizards are prone to parasitism by nematodes, mites, ticks, and other pests. They may also have respiratory infections, which antibiotics can treat. Other health problems are ingestion of sand, malnutrition, and pseudomonas infections.
Natal's mountain horned lizards are a beautiful species that need special care. Please do your research before getting one as a pet to ensure you can meet its needs.
Eric Gosselin - November 25, 2011
Joey Hill - April 25, 2012
DEBI S - July 21, 2015
I've probably driven these people totally nuts while I was deciding on which ones & how many (got a breeding pair of Marbled & a breeding pair of Flying Geckos), but they never once let on how "dumb" I was being. I loved working with them and my babies arrived, safe/sound/active/alert and very healthy. I'm looking forward to dealing with them again in the future!
Sherry Mc Greevy - February 14, 2012
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