Peter’s rock agamas (Agama picticauda) are medium-small, diurnal, terrestrial lizards native to western and a bit of central sub-Saharan Africa. However, they are also prolifically invasive in Florida. They typically prefer coastal areas characterized by plenty of rocks and trees, and are frequently found in urban areas.
Peter’s rock agamas have a flattened shape with broad mouths, prominent brow ridges, rough triangular scales, robust limbs, and a small crest of spiked scales behind their head. Male and female coloring are very different: males have a red-orange head, dark body, and black and orange tail. Females are tan, brown, or gray.
Peter’s rock agamas are not common pet reptiles, but they can still make good pets when cared for appropriately.
Minimum terrarium size for Peter’s rock agamas
The minimum size for housing one Peter’s rock agama is 36”L x 18”W x 16”H. This species is primarily terrestrial, so plenty of floor space is the main concern. However, they are skilled at climbing, so vertical space will be used if offered. And of course, if you can provide larger, do it!
Multiple Peter’s rock agamas should not be housed in one enclosure, as conflict and/or cannibalism are a possibility.
Do Peter’s rock agamas need UVB?
Peter’s rock agamas will get sick without UVB as part of their environment. The best UVB bulbs for this species are:
- Zoo Med Reptisun T5 HO 10.0, 22”
- Arcadia Desert 12%, 22”
The basking area should be 8-12” below the lamp to give your agama the right amount of UVB. For best results, use the Arcadia ProT5 or Vivarium Electronics T5 HO fixture. UVB is fully blocked by glass and plastic, so you can’t give your lizard UVB by placing its terrarium in front of an open window. UVB lamps decay over time, so you will need to replace the bulb every 12 months.
Because Peter’s rock agamas are diurnal, it’s best to also install a bright 6500K plant grow light for extra brightness. This will also nourish any live plants you have in the enclosure.
Best temperature for Peter’s rock agamas
Peter’s rock agamas need a basking temperature around 95°F, as measured by a digital probe thermometer, with the probe placed on the basking surface. For best results, use a large, flat stone as the basking surface. General air temperatures should be between 75-85°F, with all lamps turned off at night so things can cool down.
Provide heat for your agama with a 60-100w incandescent heat lamp placed on one end of the enclosure. Do not use ceramic heat emitters (CHEs), red bulbs, blue bulbs, or heat mats, as these are not very effective for heating reptiles.
Best humidity levels for Peter’s rock agamas
In order to stay adequately hydrated and maintain good scale health, Peter’s rock agamas need an average humidity between 70-85%. This should naturally fluctuate higher during the day and lower at night. Humidity levels should be monitored with a digital probe hygrometer, with the probe placed in the middle of the enclosure.
Maintain humidity inside your terrarium by misting each morning and evening with a pressure sprayer. If you live in a particularly dry climate, misting in the afternoon may be necessary.
Best substrate for Peter’s rock agamas
Peter’s rock agamas need a layer of substrate at least 3” deep so they can dig and burrow, which is a natural behavior for them. The best substrates for this species include:
- Zoo Med ReptiSoil
- Zoo Med Eco Earth
- Exo Terra Plantation Soil
- Zilla Jungle Mix
To keep the substrate clean and your lizard healthy, remove waste every day, along with contaminated substrate. You will need to completely remove and replace your substrate every 3-4 months.
How to decorate a Peter’s rock agama terrarium
A barren terrarium is boring to look at and boring for your agama. Make the most of your terrarium by adding a variety of enrichment items for your pet to climb and explore. Here are some ideas:
- climbing logs/branches
- live or artificial plants
- rock stacks
- textured background
At minimum, your Peter’s rock agama will require at least two places to hide and something to climb on.
What to feed to a Peter’s rock agama
Peter’s rock agamas are primarily insectivorous, which means that they eat mostly insects and other invertebrates. However, they are also known to eat small vertebrates and flowers on occasion. Offer food every morning, as much as they can eat in one day. Juveniles will generally eat more than adults do.
Variety is the key to providing a healthy, balanced diet for your agama. The more variety you can provide, the better!
Although they are insectivores, flowers can make great treats for Peter’s rock agamas! Clean, chemical-free flowers such as marigolds, geranium, clover, dandelions, and hibiscus are safe to use.
Small vertebrates like frozen button quail and pinky mice can also be used as rare treats.
You will also need calcium and vitamin supplements to help keep your agama healthy. We recommend Repashy Calcium Plus LoD, lightly dusted on all feeder insects. It’s okay to occasionally skip a dusting.
How to handle your Peter’s rock agama
Reptiles generally don’t appreciate petting and handling in the same way that dogs and cats do. Peter’s rock agamas can be skittish at first, but with patience, they may be tamed. Here are some tips for success:
- Start with tong-feeding.
- Don’t grab the lizard from above. Instead, scoop from below.
- Whenever possible, let the lizard come to you rather than chasing after it.
- Support as much of its body as possible, especially the feet.
- Start with short handling sessions at first, then gradually make them longer.
- Put the lizard back in its enclosure only when it’s calm.
- Make every interaction a positive experience!
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please further your research with high-quality sources. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for your pet!