I have a new pet. Geyri, my adorable Uromastyx, was going to be my only lizard. But I often said if I ever got another one, it would be a chuckwalla. Then a friend made me an offfer I couldn’t refuse.
We have friends who run a reptile rescue. They take their snakes and some lizards around to events to do educational shows, and give people hands on experience with the reptiles. Desert lizards can’t go to the shows, because they can’t be out of their hot environments that long. So they had a chuckwalla, and she asked me if I would like to give him a good home. Well, let me think about it…….there I thought about it, lol, and I’d love to have Chuckie the chuckwalla.
I have Geyri’s old glass house which is hard to control temps in, and I had converted the lights to make myself a little indoor green house. So I quickly converted it back to a desert lizard enclosure, knowing I could make it work for a week or 2. In that time I ordered a suitable enclosure for a chuck, got the lights etc and furnishings all ready.
Chuckie moved into his new desert home a few days ago and he is a happy chuckwalla. I swear he smiles, look at that little face.
He is a vegetarian like Geyri, so knowing what and how to feed him is simple. He is bigger than Geyri, and is an eating machine compared to her. Now the top shelf of my fridge contains more different kinds of Iizard food. I eat most of those things too, except one of Chuckie’s favorite things is zucchini, which I don’t like. He gets a big plate of varied salad every day, and he roots his nose around in his dish first thing to make sure he gets all the little cubes of zucchini. He also eats the spineless opuntia pear pad cactus I grow for Geyri. They come from the same place as he does.
Chucks come from the desert southwest of our country and also northern Mexico. He is called a red back, and was likely wild caught because not many herpetologists are breeding them here. (He came to the reptile rescue without a lot of background information, except that we know he is at least 3 years old.) Different distinct color variations come from specific geographical areas of the deserts there.
There are also several other very different sub species of chucks that come from islands off the shores of California.
Geyri is still brumating, having come out maybe once a week for a few minutes for most of the winter. She should soon be waking up and staying awake. Male chucks don’t normally brumate. The females do, to rest and prepare their bodies for the spring breeding and egg carrying season. So the winter boredom of keeping a brumating Uromastyx will be livened up by also keeping an active chuck who is quite a character. (Tony, the picture above, he wanted to say Hi to you.)
Summer flowers will be as much of a treat for him as they always have been for Geyri. But now the little garden area that was called Geyri’s garden will be called the lizard garden. In that area I grow arugula, mustard greens, nasturtiums, and alfalfa, and Chuckie will eat all those things too. And every summer morning I’ll be out in the yard making the neighbors wonder what I’m doing as I search around for dandelion flowers.
Chuckie is fun and I’m glad to have him.