Reptiles have evolved over the course of thousands and millions of years to be very good at living in a very particular type of environment. As such, their health and wellbeing is very dependent on this environment. They’re not as adaptable as mammals like humans and cats and dogs. So when we keep a Sudan plated lizard as a pet, we need to make sure that the Sudan plated lizard setup recreates the natural conditions of its native habitat. This habitat re-creation starts with setting up the right lighting, heating, and humidity.
Sudan plated lizards’ natural distribution falls between about 10° north and 20° south of the equator, where sunlight tends to be strongest and UVI (UV Index) readings tend to be highest. These lizards are diurnal, which means they’re most active during the day, preferring to bask in the morning before the sun reaches its apex. They also have thick scales that help protect them from the intense UVB radiation in their habitat.
- T5 HO (high output) bulb
- 10-12% UVB output
- mounted on the ceiling of the enclosure
- 12-18” above the basking area
- 1/2 to 2/3 of the length of the enclosure
For a 4’x2’x2’ enclosure, for example, you will need a 24-36” lamp. Bulbs should be mounted inside a T5 HO fixture with a reflector for best results — fixtures without reflectors reduce bulb output by about 50%.
If your basking area will be 18-24” away from the top of the enclosure, or the light will be mounted over mesh rather than inside the enclosure, using an Arcadia Dragon 14% bulb will be more appropriate for your plated lizard’s needs, as UVB strength decreases as it gets further from the source and is partially blocked by mesh.
- Advanced keepers: While following the above instructions should produce UVB at safe levels for your rough-scaled plated lizard, you can double-check what your pet is getting by using a Solarmeter 6.5. This device measures UVB strength in UVI (UV Index), and can be used to measure UVB levels anywhere in the enclosure. If you’re using a Solarmeter 6.5 to help you set up your UVB lighting, aim for a gradient between 0 at lowest and 6.0 at highest (in the basking area). Raising the basking area closer to the top of the enclosure can help accomplish this.
- Arcadia JungleDawn LED Bar
- Light Your Reptiles 6.5K HO T5 Day-light Bulb
- SunBlaster 24” 6400K LED
- SunBlaster 6400K T5HO Lighting Kit, 24”
Keep the lights on for 12 hours/day. You can do this by manually turning the lights on and off or by putting them on a timer like the Zilla 24/7 Power Center. If you wish to create “seasons” for your pet, leave the light on for 13 hours/day during the summer and 12 hours/day during winter.
- Introduction to Sudan Plated Lizards
- Shopping List
- Enclosure Size Requirements
- Enclosure: Lighting & UVB Requirements
- Enclosure: Heating & Temperature Requirements
- Enclosure: Humidity Requirements
- Enclosure: Choosing a Substrate
- Decorating the Enclosure
- Feeding Your Sudan Plated Lizard
- Handling and Taming Tips
- Common Illnesses and General Health Information
- Additional Resources