The Emerald Swift is a small and attractive lizard native to the cloud forests of southern Mexico and Central America. Males are bright green with a striking blue underbody, while females are more brown in color. In captivity these lizards do well as long as their needs are met and maintained.
Average Size / Life Span
This type of lizard is small, only reaching approximately 7-8 inches as adults. Males may be slightly larger than females. Most swifts are acquired as adults, so it can be difficult to determine age. You should expect a life span anywhere from 5-10 years.
These lizards are solely insectivores, and will feed on a variety of appropriately sized insects. As a general rule, an appropriate sized insect should be no longer than the distance between the animal’s eyes. Providing a variety is the key to health, so offer crickets, young Dubia roaches, mealworms, and waxworms.
Young swifts should eat daily, while adults can eat every other day. Only put enough food in the cage that will be consumed within 10-15 minutes. If there are excess insects in the cage, remove them. Plan to feed your adult swift approximately 36-48 crickets (other other insects) each week.
Providing your Emerald Swift with supplements is VERY important and essential to living a healthy life, free of health problems. A quality Calcium powder supplement that includes Vitamin D3 should be dusted over the feeder insects at every feeding. Also, a quality multivitamin powder supplement should be dusted over the feeder insects at one feeding each week to avoid any vitamin deficiencies.
Cage Setup and Maintenance
The minimum cage requirement is a 20 Long tank so that there is enough space for thermoregulation. A larger cage is always recommended, especially when housing multiple animals. Two males cannot be housed in the same cage, but any other combination is acceptable, as long as the tank size is appropriate based on the number of animals.
The terrarium should have a substrate that will help maintain humidity, and is a couple inches thick so they can burrow into it. Cypress mulch, bark, or Eco Earth, along with areas of moss are good options. Provide several hides, branches, and fake plants throughout the cage, as swifts are arboreal and love to climb and perch up on higher areas. A large, shallow dish with a constant source of clean, dechlorinated water should be placed in the cage to aid with keeping humidity up.
Spot-clean your frogs enclosure as necessary. When feces/urates/uneaten prey items are present, remove them as soon as possible. Clean & disinfect the water bowl on a weekly basis. Depending on cage conditions, remove all substrate & cage furniture and completely disinfect using a 5% bleach solution approximately every 30 days. Rinse the enclosure thoroughly and allow to dry before replacing cage furniture & your dragon.
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Lighting and Humidity
Emerald Swifts need to be provided with a UVB bulb with a tropical rating. This bulb should be changed every 10-12 months, whether it’s still lit or not.
A heat bulb and ideally an under tank heating pad should be placed at one end of the tank, creating a hot area that reaches approximately 90 degrees. The rest of the tank can stay fairly cool, around 70 degrees. Don’t guess at the temperatures. At least two thermometers should be inside the tank: one on the hot side, one on the cool side.
Your tank’s humidity level should stay around 70%-80%. Keep a large water dish in the cage and keep the substrate damp, but not soggy. You can achieve this by misting the cage 2-3 times daily with room temperature dechlorinated water. A waterfall, fogger, or misting system may also be added to help maintain humidity levels. Again, don’t guess with your levels. Use a hygrometer to measure humidity.
Emerald Swifts are not aggressive and will rarely, if ever, bite. However, they do not appreciate handling and should only be observed and enjoyed inside the tank. Only handle when necessary.
Water & Accessories
Provide a constant supply of clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine free water in a shallow bowl that cannot be tipped over and large enough for the frog to soak in and drink from; replace water daily. Keep environment very clean.
Swifts are often captured straight out of the wild. Captive breeding is not common, but not unheard of. These lizards have live young, so there are never eggs needing incubation. If you have a pregnant swift, make sure she gets extra food with extra supplementation. The babies will need to be separated once they are born and fed tiny insects, such as pinhead crickets and fruit flies, once or twice daily.
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