The Steppe Runner - A Great Lizard for Beginners

Posted by Nancy on 2/25/2015 to Reptile Care Sheets

I'm often asked if I can recommend a lizard for beginning herpetoculturists that does not get as large as a bearded dragon. They also want a lizard that will become very tame with gentle handling.   I have finally found a lizard that is easy to care for and will encourage beginners with a successful first pet reptile

The Steppe Runner has come on the scene and is now available.  We are now seeing hatchlings at most of the reptile shows and will probably be available in pet shops soon.  This little lizard will reach a length of 6 inches and have a life span of 8 to 10 years.  They are native to Romania, Ukraine and southwest Russia.  Their natural habitat is semi-arid with bunch grasses.

This small lizard can be housed in a 10 gallon terrarium for one Steppe Runner.  And five gallons of space for each lizard you add to your collection.  There does not seem to be any aggression between the animals as long as adequate space is made available.

Setting up their terrarium is easy.  The substrate can be reptile sand or bark.  At one end of the terrarium provide a basking spot.  This could be a reptile hide with a lamp above it.  It should have a spot light that will raise the temperature in the basking area to 100 degrees.  The ambient temperature in the tank should be between 70 and 85 degrees.  If the temperature in your terrarium falls below 70 degrees add a heat pad to the warmer end of the tank.  Additional hides can be added to the cool end of the tank.  Keep their enclosure dry, but they do seem to enjoy a light misting every couple of days.

Lighting should be a lamp that provides UVA/UVB.  Be sure that your lizard can close enough to the light to receive the benefits of the UBA/UVB light.  Your light bulb box should give you the proper distance.

Steppe Runners are easy to feed.  They are insectivores.  Food should include appropriate sized crickets, mealworms, and roaches.  Feed your lizards every day or at least every other day.  Dust the insects with a calcium supplement with D3 every other feeding.

This pretty, tame little lizard should make a great addition to the pet trade.  Look for it next time you attend a reptile show.  Any one ready to start breeding morphs?

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