The Spiderman Lizard Craze

The “Spiderman” lizard is becoming a popular pet, yet many people do not realize the commitment that owning one of these beautiful animals requires.

Due to a recent web explosion the Red Headed Agama, nicknamed the Spiderman Lizard, has seen a giant increase in interest in ownership.


via Wikimedia Commons

Although the press release has made them hugely popular, they are by no means suitable for beginners. A knowledge of keeping exotic pets, alongside the equipment is needed as this species is very challenging to raise in captivity and providing the right environment is also very difficult.

People buying these lizards do not realise that they can live for up to 15 years in the right conditions and most people are simply not willing to take that kind of commitment, or are simply unaware of it.

These lizards are particularly susceptible to internal parasites which an be caused by numerous things, including stressing the animal. Although parasitic problems are common amongst these lizards, a trip to a specialist or a vet can remove or provide you with a means of removing the parasites.

People do not realise that the cost of housing and caring for one of these lizards is great. This, coupled with the feeding needs can amount to quite a substantial sum of money which many people will not be willing to shell out just for a pet.

I cannot stress enough that buying one of these lizards just because they seem cool is a huge mistake. Not only will you be spending a large sum of money on a pet that will probably die in a short space of time, but you are endangering the animal itself. Lizards are difficult pets to keep and not something that should be purchased as part of a craze.

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  1. Goatslayer

    On October 13, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Ok so they are hard to take care of…so how do we take care of them? You are going to just tell us that they are hard to take care of, and then not tell anybody how? What is the point of this article? Are you just an asshole?

  2. Sn0W1310

    On October 19, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    The point was, if you don’t know about taking care of them then don’t get one just because they are the cool pet at the moment. Are you just an asshole or can you just not read?

  3. Youra Fag

    On October 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    You could take “spider man lizard” and replace it with any other living creature, and that is why this article is worthless. You give no relevant information. You state the obvious, and articles like this waste peoples time and highlight your own lack of intelligence. You can keep deleting my comments but I’ll just make new ones. You are an asshole .

  4. YousuckSnow

    On November 6, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I totally agree with the two that didn’t write this article, it is rubbish. Crap!

  5. lillyrose

    On November 12, 2009 at 6:27 am

    thank you for writing this article, I hope people that are thinking of owning one of these beautiful lizards think again.

  6. Snowsucks

    On December 14, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Lillyrose, what if they know how to take care of one? You dumbass.

  7. catlord

    On March 16, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    RJ did an article on these lizards last fall just about the time this came out so maybe this is riding his coattails of a popular subject. Anyway, the author IS correct that these are difficult reptiles to keep for the novice. They require basking light and special diets, -probably including live mice. If the mice are ‘jumpers’ (mice with fur) they are subject to taste-testing the fecal spoors of their adult conspecifics and thus, probably are carriers of pinworms and nematodes. If you are not familiar with the symptoms of a parasite-infested reptile and do not have access to OTC drugs like Panacur and Flagyl, expect to visit your local Reptile Veterinarian a few times per year for ‘eradication’ treatments.
    Inadequate diet in reptiles quickly leads to conditions of decline such as Thiaminosis (acute B-Vitamin deficiency) leading to advanced Metabolic Bone Disease whereby the latter is almost never treatable by the novice. Often, this requires injection meds (a liquid form of calcium and other) which is a ‘quick-fix’ to restore health short-term while you amend the diet for long-term longevity.

    Reptiles required not only artificial heat FROM ABOVE (not a ‘heating pad/hot rock) but regulated day/night periods. They have a pineal gland at the top of their skulls; a semi-clear ’scale’ that is actually a THIRD EYE that monitors day/night cycles. Disrupted day/night cycles can severely deregulate a reptile and cause untoward effects even when all other health aspects are correct or adequate. -A 12-hour day/night timer for their UVB sunlamp is required.

    Exotic reptiles need to have their substrate monitored also; captive lizards will sometimes ingest their ‘bedding’ out of boredom or accidentally if it becomes stuck to their prey food, causing impaction (intestinal blockage) problems. Impaction also is caused by the chitinous carapatics of insects like beetles, mealworms and even crickets (another common source of pinworms, btw.) so feeding the exotic reptiles insects comes with concerns too.

    I used to breed and raise Australian Bearded Dragons, Green Iguanas and have a number of Agamas and Agamids in my collection and have about 15 years experience raising ‘exotic reptiles.’

  8. lyndsbelle

    On November 24, 2012 at 3:00 am

    The red headed agama is not nicknamed the spiderman lizard. Look up agama mwanzae. This is the lizard nicknamed spiderman lizard.

  9. David Perry

    On December 10, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Just wanted to throw this out there, even though the post is years old – just in case someone wanders across this article and can’t find proper specifics.

    The comment from “thestickman” is mostly right, but pertains more to large reptiles in general and not specifically the agama.

    The agama is a medium-sized lizard (8 to 10 inches long at adulthood) which is indigenous to subsaharan Africa. They can live for up to 15 years and are mostly carniverous.

    While they are large enough that it’s possible to feed them pinkie mice they are not a dietary requirement and in fact they subsist mostly on invertebrates (bugs) in the wild. As such their diet in captivity consists mostly of crickets, mealworms and even roaches. Their buggy snacks must be gut-loaded (fed nutritious supplements) and are usually dusted in a vitamin supplement before being fed to the reptile.

    Agamas, like most reptiles, are very temperature sensitive and require special equipment in most climates to recreate the temperature and humidity of their native environment. Depending on where in the world you live this may include a dehumidifier, external heating, spot lamps and of course artificial UVB lighting to prevent a vitamin D3 efficiency. To make things even more complex, half of the substrate (stuff you put on the bottom of the tank) sold in pet stores can kill your reptiles – and the same stuff doesn’t kill every reptile. Reptiles of all types can suffer from impaction, a blockage of the digestive tract caused by the ingestion of their substrate. Add to this the fact that agamas specifically are very fast and energetic lizards and you’ve got something that can die easily in captivity or get away from you during handling and get itself killed in your big scary house.

    This isn’t to say that they’re not an amazing animal, a beautiful lizard or a worthwhile pet, simply that lizards, unlike cats and dogs, have not been adapted alongside humans to live in their habitats for tens of thousands of years. You have to create a little mini-desert for them and maintain respect for the fact that they are and always will be wild animals, no matter how much you love them and hold them. Reptiles can be very rewarding but they are NOT a beginners’ pet.

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