Animals / Reptiles

The Eastern Collared Lizard

Синонимы и названия на других языках

The common collared lizard, Oklahoma collared lizard, collared lizard, the mountain boomer

Halsbandleguan (German)


Order: squamata

Family: crotaphytidae

Subfamily: crotaphytidae

Genus: crotaphytus

Species: crotaphytus collaris.


The Eastern collared lizard is endemic to the south-east of the USA and Mexico. It is mainly found in dry semi-deserts. This species prefers flat areas and sandy soil. It hides near stones and in scrubs. 

Внешний вид

Males can reach up to 35 cm in length including the tail; the females are in average 5 cm shorter.

Also males are more vividly coloured than females. The upper body is yellow or light orange with small light spots. They have 5-6 narrow light stripes on the back. They have two black bands framed with white or yellow lines on their necks that resemble a collar. This pattern gave the species its name. The head of the lizard is light gray or white with small dark spots.  The forelegs are bright green, almost turquoise, and the hind legs are blue-green with light spots. The females’ colouring is much more modest: they are gray, yellow or brown with several narrow braids on their backs.

The lizard’s body is flattened, the tail is about 2 – 2.5 times longer than the body.


The Eastern collared lizards are quite aggressive towards each other; two males mustn’t be kept together. They don’t get tamed easily, don’t like being handled and can even bite. But this species is very interesting to watch, the lizard quickly gets used to people and isn’t afraid of their presence. Besides, their bright colouring and small size make them coveted pets.

These lizards are quick sprinters, they can run with the speed up to 26 km per hour. They can move quickly on their hind legs using their tails as a balancer. The Eastern collared lizard has a unique ability: it can change the color of the body depending on the light.

In contrast with many other lizards, this species cannot drop tail. If the lizard loses its tail in a fight, it doesn’t grow a new one. 

Содержание и уход

The Eastern collared lizard needs a horizontal tank with a large bottom area. It is a diurnal species, therefore it needs bright light and UV lamps. The tank can be rather low, but it should be at least one meter long for a harem (one male and several females). For a couple it can be a little smaller.

For substrate you can use sand; logs and stones are required for hiding places. The layer of sand should be about 10 cm thick. The air inlets should be located in the upper part with the regard to the layer of the substrate. You will need a reflector directed at a big stone for the lizard to bask. The distance between the lizard and the lamp should be at least 20 cm, otherwise it can get burnt.  

The collared lizard doesn’t drink much, but a bowl with fresh clean water is desirable. You will have to mist the enclosure daily: the lizards can lick water drops from logs and stones, this is the way they drink in the wild.

The ambient temperature should be around 23*C at night and about 29*C at daytime. In the basking spot the temperature can reach 43*C.

The air humidity should be around 50%.

The lizards need bright light and UV lamps. 


In the wild the Eastern collared lizard eats various insects, small lizards, spiders, small rodents and plants.

In captivity the menu of this lizard consists of different insects: crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, superworm (it is better to crash its head before feeding it to the lizard, since it can survive swallowing and injure the reptile’s stomach). Food has to be covered with calcium supplements and regular vitamin courses are needed too. From time to time you can give to the lizard pink mice and soft fruit: bananas, pears, kiwi, peaches, berries and lettuce. 


This species is active, agile and easy to keep.

These lizards are fun to watch and they can get tame.

They require a large tank.

Live feed are compulsory in the menu. 


If the level of humidity in the enclosure is not high enough, the collared lizard can keep some shed skin on and this can lead to necrosis. The molted skin has to be removed with the help of tweezers, but you have to wet it properly first. The prevention is to maintain the appropriate level of humidity in the enclosure by regular misting.

Rachitis is a system development disorder that manifests itself in distorted and fragile bones, UV light and calcium supplements are best prevention. 


The Eastern collared lizard is an egg-laying species. A male chooses a female and courts her. After mating the female lays 5-10 eggs in the sand. Then you should get the eggs out of the sand and take them to the incubator. Hatchlings appear 3 months later. This species can mate 3-4 times a year. Hatchlings grow quickly, they eat small insects. Mineral supplements, vitamins and UV light are compulsory for them.

Average life span in captivity is about 10 years. 

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