Do western fence lizards bruminate? He is avoiding his basking light and hiding. Just started a few days ago. Harvey. :)

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Customer: Do western fence lizards bruminate? He is avoiding his basking light and hiding. Just started a few days ago.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the western fence lizard's name and age?
Customer: Harvey. :) I believe he hatched last summer. He “was” wild in our home from October. We couldn't catch him. :) It got colder and clearly there were no lil bugs in our home so we started feeding him and providing a light. He isn’t in a cage...he stays in our study and we have prepared a great habitat for him. He is quite spoiled. I have never had a lizard, but am now in love...never knew they had lil personalities and were interactive. He is 1.25” snout to vent. He has a multi light (UVB/heat) for 12 hours during the day and an infrared light at night for 12 hours. His branch/basking area is between 95-110 and his infrared is around 86-88. Like I said, everything has been great...some nights he climbs the curtains, but mostly stays on his branch. He’s healthy, had an appetite before this “hiding” behavior.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Harvey?
Customer: His habitat is next to the slider (actually built in the track). I installed some window film hexagon tiles because he was acting strange regarding his reflection. He climbs the window film hexagons and will jump off his branch at the window and climb to look out the top. He has an area with the film that he can lay and see outside..but he insists at climbing the window.
Answered by Jav917 in 11 hours 3 years ago
Pet Specialist

27,324 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Why am I communicating with a CAT Vet for questions regarding a LIZARD? I want to dialog with a LIZARD expert please....
If there is no Herp Expert available I would like to stop this and request a refund...
Would you please direct my question to Anna, the biologist and teacher....I would like her answers to my questions....


My name is ***** ***** I am a Vet Tech with over 40years of Reptile experience.

Were is the lizard housed?

UVB light, sytength, age and brand?

Basking light?

Diet? supplements?



Hello Joan,I am so happy to have a lizard expert instead of the cat veterinarian that the chat function placed me with. Sheesh!Were is the lizard housed? Harvey was a wild western fence lizard we first saw in our house in October. He was very little and assumed he was a hatchling from the summer months (we live in central Texas). We couldn’t catch him so we let him live in our home and we would have occasional Harvey sightings. In January we found him predominantly in our study on the west facing curtains of our patio slider (clearly he was trying to warm himself) He didn’t look healthy so we started to take care of him. We created a habitat in the slider door track, complete with branches, his hide, enrichment items to climb, multiple water features (including a dripping water fountain) and of course his lights. We installed weather stripping on the bottom of French doors so he cannot leave the room and be accidentally stepped on in other parts of the house. For the most part he stays in his habitat area, with occasional climbing the curtains in the evening. But lately he has been hiding. We no sooner find him get him resituated and he will hide again. This morning we couldn’t find him, when he returned from hiding he was blackish in color and very lethargic. I warmed him under his lamp for an hour or so and then gave him a warm bath (heat and hydration). He has been active this afternoon...and has now hid again...Harvey has a dual lamp fixture (ZooMed mini combo deep dome).The lights are on an alternating 12 hours on /12 hours off timer.Daytime light is ZooMed 100W PowerSunUV (self ballasted Mercury Vapor UVB Lamp). Temps of 95-110 (west facing glass slider gets full sun at 3pm) Lamp was replaced March 22, 2019 (first one purchased in February was defective).Nighttime light is ExoTerra 50W Infrared Basking Spot. Temps of 85-90 (Purchased beginning of February 2019)Harvey eats flightless fruit flies dusted with Flukers Repta Calcium. We feed him after his branch heats up above 95. He eats about 30 flies. His has regular droppings that are fully processed (no bug parts) and his uric is a bright white.About a month ago he started trying to interact with his reflection in the glass and I could see it was stressing him, so I installed hexagon window film tiles that lets light thru without the reflection. He now is obsessed with climbing them to see out the top...he will jump from his branch and land on the window...but he falls often and I worry he will hurt himself. Is there something I can do to discourage these behaviors?I say all of this as if I know he is a boy...I don’t know. I showed a photo of Harvey’s undercarriage to a man working at pet smart, but he said Harvey is really small and he could not tell from the photos. Harvey is only 1.25” from snout to vent. He has not grown in length in the 3 months we have been caring for him, but he is much plumper and his skin is healthy looking now. He has shed/molted two times in these 3 months. In my opinion he is completely domesticated, knows his name, will climb on your finger when you extend it, likes to be held and touched, etc.I never had a lizard...was always afraid of them. But they have personalities and do interact in their own just have to recognize it. They are very playful and can also be very sweet/cuddly. I’m hooked...I had a 14.5 year old 185 pound mastiff I said goodbye to last year and now I have a 0.185 oz juvenile western fence lizard...I really do enjoy him.Happy for any info or knowledge you can share regarding his behaviors. And any resources you can recommend...there is SO much info on bearded dragons, and hardly anything on Fence lizards. I have played “tag” with an adult blue belly in our front yard repeatedly...his name is ***** ***** me scratch his chin and head. He will come find me when I am weeding or hanging out in the front yard. He & Harvey are fascinating to me.Thanks Joan for your time and expertise,

Thank you for the details. I know Harvey is not brumationg becuase that only comes in the winter, He could get cold and you may need to adjust your bulbs for better heat. If Harvey did get cold he could shut down, but being we ar almost into summer, I know this in notbrumation.

\With that being said Husnandry is good, I suspect we may be dealing with a common problem we see in Wild Caught Lizards which is Parasites. This is a big issue and if not addressed by a Herp Vet.

I see you are in TX, so I am going to give you a link for Herp Vets.

When I get WC rescues first thing I do is treat for Parasites/

All reptiles normally carry some but in WC Reptiles the load is usually much heaver.

This is a link for Texas Herp Vets:

I donot know how tame Harvy is, but a warm soak in shallow water would be good for hydration and warming him up.

When Dark he is cold, if you can get him into some Natural sunlight, that may help him perk up. Ony 15 mins.

Please reply to discussthis information and 1uestions.

When I have addressed all your concerns please take a moment to rate my servuice 5 stars.


Thank you Joan,So the answer is yes that western fence lizards can brumate? Does his environment cause brumation or is it an internal mechanism within his physiology? What are the symptoms of brumation?Harvey is quite tame, and he loves his soaks, he gets one a week at minimum. What temp do you recommend for the water? How long do you recommend soaking. He never wants to get out and avoids me picking him up to stay in the bowl.What temp do you recommend for night time? His habitat is currently 85-90 at night using an infrared bulb, should it be a different type of bulb that provides his heat? Or maybe just a higher wattage? Is he trying to avoid the red glow?What are the symptoms of parasites in a juvenile lizard? As I stated, his droppings are regular and near award-winning. His skin is plump, colorful, he is really active and playful. He doesn’t show any signs of being “sick”. What parts of his body do the parasites reside?How do they treat for parasites in such a small creature...he is only 1.25” STV?Can these parasites be transferred to humans? I’m really good about washing my hands before and after handling Harvey.Harvey does get natural sunlight. He has a small carrier (which he jumps right in because he loves to go on adventures). I take him outside with me when I work in the yard...he loves very alert and doesn’t want to leave his carrier when we come back in...I have to leave it on it’s side with the top open and he eventually comes out to return to his habitat. You say only 15 minutes...but he loves to be outside. I find a spot that is part sun part shade and he is content to hang out and watch everything going on. We are outside for hours sometimes. He also gets to be in other areas of the house in his carrier when I am working on a project. I usually post him up in a window to look outside...again very alert and interested in his world.Do you have an answer regarding his behavior regarding his reflection in the glass? Is it aggression or curiosity or fear? He will do a very jerky dance when he can see his reflection, and then becomes obsessed with it. I thought he was “flirting” at first, but then i could see it was stressing him.If I sent you his undercarriage photo, would you be able to determine his gender?I admit I am new to lizards and their care, but I have spent a great deal of time learning and will continue to because I want to provide the best care for him. Heck, I’m now a flightless fruit-fly “rancher”...I’ve learned how to propagate fruit-flies for Harvey and have 8-10 cultures rotating at a time.I would appreciate further information regarding your answers,
Here is a photo showing how small he is and two photos showing his interaction/curiosity. He’s a lot of fun.

Very sweet and alert. You have done well. As far as temps yours are pretty good. 90 is basking area and night no lower than 80. The soaks for his size shouldnot be more than 19 mins and he needs to be monitored so he does not draon.

For the reflection issue you can cover 3 sides of the tank with Black construction paper and tis will cut down issues where if he gets aressive with his reflection. Some will bump their facesto get at the other Lizard.

I can tell you that you are imprinted on him and he will always be attached to you.

AS far as your care it is supreme. If he is going to thrive it will be under your care.

If I have addressed allyour concerns, please take a moment to rate my service 5 stars.


Hi Joan, your initial answer discuss taking Harvey to a vet to address parasites. I had asked follow up questions regarding parasites...would you please respond to those questions?What are the symptoms of parasites in a juvenile lizard? As I stated, his droppings are regular and near award-winning. His skin is plump, colorful, he is really active and playful. He doesn’t show any signs of being “sick”. What parts of his body do the parasites reside?How do they treat for parasites in such a small creature...he is only 1.25” STV?Can these parasites be transferred to humans? I’m really good about washing my hands before and after handling Harvey.Thanks!

My pleasure to help. Parasites are in the gut of wild caught Lizards. It could make their appetie decrease in appetite and may sleep more. With stool you cannot see unles a fecal flotation is done. Sometimes there are no symptomes.

I always like Wc lizards and animals to be checked to elimiate problems.


Thank you Joan!
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