Last Updated 09 | 02 | 2013 at 10:00


The colourful Swift

Article By:
Althea Bonnici

The Emerald Swift or as scientifically called Sceloporus Malachiticus  is a lively, and fascinating lizard with magnificent bright green and blue coloration exhibited by mature males

Generally docile, the Emerald Swift is a tough, wild little lizard. They generally are not as easy to handle as other lizards and are probably best kept as primarily display animals, though with gentle, consistent handling some individuals will become tamer.

These Swifts are native to Mexico and Panama, where they live in forested areas. Emerald swifts are diurnal lizards and should have full-spectrum UV lighting for about 12 hours a day. During the day the enclosure should have a basking spot that is about 32-35 degrees Celsius and a cooler area of the cage that is about 27-29 degrees celsius. At night the enclosure should be between 21-24 degrees celsius. The terranium should have things they can climb on, like branches, and big rocks. As for substrate, reptile sand or calcium sand can be used for these lizards.

Swifts are primarily insectivorous, but some have been known to eat small amounts of plant leaves in the wild. It’s important to provide a variety of insects such as gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, mealworms and waxworms. Muliple vitamin/mineral supplement should be provided at least once weekly and calcium daily. Misting the tank with chloreen free water a couple of times a day is recommended as emerald swifts may not drink from a water dish, however a shallow dish should still be made available to them just in case.

They grow to about six inches in length. They are completely shrouded, head to toe, in emerald-colored scales, the color of deep forest. Males tend to have a light blue hue to them, while females tend to be a little on the gray side, usually with brown spots.  Unlike many lizards, Emerald Swifts are live-bearers, which means they give birth to live offspring rather than laying eggs. Only one male should be kept per enclosure with one or multiple females.

When properly cared for, the emerald swifts are expected to live 3-5 years in captivity.

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