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Horned Toad

Discussion in 'Lizards' started by Lemonade, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Lemonade

    Lemonade Active Member

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    A teacher I know was bemoaning the fact that her father, after a trip to the desert, had brought her son a horned toad lizard. She didn't really want it, so I said I'd take it. But, I'm actually angry that the idiot father took it captive. I'd love to return it to the desert, but do the same rules that apply to turtles and tortoises apply to lizards: they should not be returned in case they've picked up disease?
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    My guess would be that it's not a good idea to return him, sadly.
  3. Millerlite

    Millerlite Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    They eat ants I believe. From what I read they can be tough to keep. I wouldn't return it to the wild
    ZEROPILOT likes this.
  4. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Yes. They eat ants....And hundreds, if not even more each day.
    I kept one in a glass 40 gallon aquarium on dry sand. The dust on the aquarium walls kept most of the ants from escaping (couldn't climb up)
    I used a glass jar with jelly inside to catch ants in my yard. Luckily, the kind that i caught were also the kind that don't bite. (I assume a handful of FIRE ants would kill the lizard.)
    After a few months, I gave it back to the pet store that sold him to me.
    It was a real PAIN!
    I've heard that you can also use "pinhead" crickets. But they must be fed prior to being fed to the lizard, and keeping crickets has a bunch of issues by themselves.
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    If it has had no exposure to any other reptiles, and you are in the native range, I would risk returning it to the wild. It won't live long if you keep it.

    Where are you?
  6. Lemonade

    Lemonade Active Member

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    I live in Riverside County--Hemet. I think they've just been keeping it is a 5 gallon "temporary" tank. I could talk to them about taking it back where it was found. I love the horned toad, because we used to see them in Hemet when I was a child, and I would love to have them around again, but more importantly, I want what's best for it.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    They are super cool.

    While you have it, it needs a hot basking area and a cooler area to retreat to. Can't do that in a five gallon tank. Also give it a shallow water bowl.
    You'll need to feed it ants. Those big red ants work well. I use a smooth sided container, like a rinsed out milk jug with the top cut off and I use a stick to collect them. Get a thin stick and push it around their burrow entrance. The ants will attack it and get on the stick, when you have a few, knock the stick onto the side of your plastic container and the ants will fall in. Only feed him a few at a time and make sure he's eating them. Don't leave any ants in the enclosure if he isn't eating them. They will sting him. They can't handle more than 3 or 4 at a time, so it is time consuming to feed them. I would put in three or four and wait for him to eat them, then add three or our more. They can take down 50-60 in one sitting a couple of times a day, depending on the size of yours, so it takes some time to get them fed properly. You can offer a cricket or small roach once in a while too, but ants must make up the majority of the diet if you want to keep it alive. I think they need the formic acid from the ants.

    Long term, it will need a strong UV source, in addition to the heat.
  8. Lemonade

    Lemonade Active Member

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    If I keep it, I want to keep it outside. I'm thinking in a dog crate wrapped with screen. I would put boards around the bottom 8-10 inches, so I could give a good floor of sandy dirt. Any ants that don't get eaten right away would get away.

    I'm getting ready to move to a new home in 2 1/2 weeks and I don't need 1 more think to do, so I' d like to ask the people to keep it till after the move, but I'm concerned about whether it will survive the current living conditions.
  9. Meganolvt

    Meganolvt Active Member

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    I did the dog crate wrapped in screen thing for my bearded dragon. I used 1/4 inch hardware cloth and it works great. I used tinsnips to cut the pieces and zip tied them on. Took me all day but I was worth it. Good luck!
    Lemonade likes this.
  10. Lemonade

    Lemonade Active Member

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    One of my concerns is where I would set it free. Do you think it needs to be near where it was taken or just a desert area. I could ask where the father got it, but I suspect it was several hours away.
  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    It would need to be put back right where it was found. Putting it somewhere else, even if if was a decent environment for a horned toad, would most likely be a death sentence because this particular lizard doesn't know that particular territory.
    Lemonade likes this.
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