Ornate plated lizard, Zonosaurus ornatus

Ornate plated lizards are wilful, intelligent and rewarding pets

At a glance...
  • Ornate plated lizards are a highly intelligent species
  • They make an active and rewarding pet
  • An interesting challenge for experienced keepers
Collection only
Price Match

Do Ornate plated lizards make good pets?

Ornate plated lizards are a good sized, active and intelligent lizard originating from Madagascar. They need quite a bit of space, and tend to be willful and defensive which can make them challenging to handle. However, for an experienced keeper, they may tame down eventually and make an extremely rewarding pet whether they are tame enough to handle or not.

At Swell Reptiles, all of the Ornate plated lizards we have for sale are captive bred in the UK, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your new reptile came from a reliable source, with a minimal negative impact on the environment.

What size vivarium does an Ornate plated lizard?

Being quite a large and active species, Ornate plated lizards should be provided with a large vivarium to roam and explore. At Swell Reptiles, we recommend a minimum enclosure size of 120 x 60 x 60cm (4 x 2 x 2ft), for example, the VivExotic Repti-Home Bearded Dragon Vivarium Large, however, if you have the space and budget for a larger set-up, then this would be even better.

Do Ornate plated lizards need to be heated?

Ornate plated lizards should be provided with a warm-cool thermogradient that runs from one end of their enclosure to the other, to allow them to properly regulate their internal body temperature. The ideal basking temperature for this species is between 32-35°C (89-95°F), with the cool end dropping to between 22-25°C (71-77°F).

This is most easily achieved using an overhead heating system such as a basking lamp or ceramic heater. All heating equipment should be connected to a compatible thermostat to ensure their safety, so for a basking lamp this would be a dimming thermostat, whereas for a ceramic heater, this would be a pulse thermostat.

Do Ornate plated lizards need UVB?

To enable them to metabolise vitamin D3, and in turn, make proper use of the calcium provided in their diet, Ornate plated lizards should be kept within a UVI range of 3-4. This can be achieved using an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% placed 30-40cm (12-15”) above the basking area, or an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Desert 12% placed 40-60cm (15-24”) above the basking area.

How do I decorate an Ornate plated lizard’s vivarium?

The first thing to consider is your substrate, for Ornate plated lizards we recommend using a loose soil-based substrate such as coco soil, or Arcadia EarthMix for bioactive enclosures. This will help to keep humidity levels up whilst providing your lizard with the opportunity to dig and burrow which is part of their natural behaviour.

Your Ornate plated lizard should be provided with at least two hiding spots, one in either end of the enclosure, although the more you can offer the better. These can either be in the form of traditional reptile caves, or by using natural decor such as cork bark and logs. Foliage should also be provided from either real or artificial plants, to provide further cover and enrichment for your lizard.

What do Ornate plated lizards eat?

Ornate plated lizards are omnivorous, so should be provided with a varied diet of livefoods and vegetation. You can even offer the occasional frozen mouse or egg, but these food options are higher in fat so should be fed in moderation.

All livefood and vegetation offered to an Ornate plated lizard should be supplemented according to a schedule. We recommend dusting with a calcium-rich multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3.

How do I buy an Ornate plated lizard?

If you would like to purchase one of our UK captive bred Ornate plated lizards, you will need to come into our physical superstore to collect this.

To ensure our livestock only goes to suitable homes, we will ask a few quick questions and also to see some images of a suitable set-up ready for the animal to go into. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

To learn more about reptile care you can check out our blog posts like our Ackie monitor care sheet.

Common names Ornate plated lizard
Scientific name Zonosaurus ornatus
Country Madagascar
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 45cm (18”)
Natural habitat Scrub and grassland habitats
Housing 120 x 60 x 60cm (4 x 2 x 2ft)
Ideal temperature 32-35°C (89-95°F) (warm end); 22-25°C (71-77°F) (cool end)
UVI 3-4
Ideal humidity 60-70%
Diet Omnivorous
Average lifespan 15-20 years
Personality Wilful
Ease of handling Difficult
Cohabitable No
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