6308 Monona dr., Monona WI 53516
SHELTOPUSIK LEGLESS LIZARD Caresheet
Common Name: Sheltopusik Legless Lizard, European Legless Lizard, Pallas' Glass Lizard
Scientific Name: Pseudopus apodus
Origin: Southern Europe to Central Asia
Size: 2-3 feet head to tail; rarely longer than 4 feet
Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.
Although it may seem to resemble a snake, the sheltopusik can be distinguished by its movable eyelids, external ears, and uniform ventral scales. This species does actually have tiny rear legs which are sometimes noticeable.
The sheltopusik is diurnal, staying active during the day. In the wild, they live in open grassy ares, underbrush, hill sides, and rocky embankments.
So floor space is more important than height in your enclosure. Young legless lizrds up to about 6 months of age can be housed in a 20 gal long enclosure or Exo Terras 18" x 18" x 12". They are best kept singly. Sometimes two females will get along, but not always.
One adult can be housed in a minimum of a 36" long enclosure. Exo Terra's 36" x 18" x 18" or Zilla's 30 breeder critter cage both work well. If you have the space, you can go bigger to give your pet more room to roam.
They like to burrow in soft substrates so provide a loose bedding such as Zillas Jungle Mix or ground coconut husks.
Include a hiding place for them to feel safe when they are sleeping. This can be as simple as a piece of driftwood that is raised enough for them to go under or a reptile hide like Zillas bark bend. Plants (live or plastic) are also good. Several rocks and low branches can make the enclosure more interesting for your pet, but make sure they are secure. You don't want you lizard getting hurt by falling off of loose fixtures.
LIGHTING & TEMPERATURES
Like all reptiles, the sheltopusik dependent on thermoregulation to control its body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a warm side and a cool side to your enclosure. All the heat elements should be on one side and the other will be the cool side. This way your legless lizard can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.
A basking area in the high 80 degrees Fahrenheit should be provided. The rest of the enclosure can be in the 75-82 range. At night, temps can drop to as low as 70 degrees. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer. The easiest way to increase the heat in your enclosure is with a Reptile basking bulb and/or an Exo terra or Zoo Med heat pad.
In addition to heat, provide UVB lighting to help them absorb calcium and to synthesize vitamin D3. Since they are not out in natural sunlight in our homes, we must provide UVB light in the form of a special fluorescent bulb designed to produce UVB rays.
The best bulbs are the mercury vapors such as Exo Terra's Solar Glo bulbs, ZooMed's Powersun, or Solar bright bulbs. These provide heat and UVB all in one bulb. You can also use separate basking (heat) bulb and UVB bulbs. If you use these you will want the Zoo Med 5.0 or Exo Terra UVB 100 variety.
Sheltopusiks live in dry areas but they do need moisture. Lightly spray their enclosure with water each morning. This will dampen the top layer of substrate so that it stays wet for about an hour. Other than this, the bedding should be allowed to dry out.
Hand misters are usually sufficient but if you don't care to remember to spray, an automatic mister like the Exo Terra monsoon is a nice option.
Exo Terra bowls or Flukers rock dish are nice naturalistic non-porous water bowls. Always provide a nice sized water dish with fresh water. You might have to change the water everyday if your lizard defecates or kicks bedding into it. Scrub the bowl at least once a week to keep bacteria slime from building up.
Sheltopusiks love to eat. Adults can be fed 2-3 times a week. Young lizards are better fed every other day. When you feed, you can give as much as they want in one sitting. Use a shallow dish rather than palcing the food directly on the substrate. This avoids ingestion of the bedding pieces. Remove any uneaten food when they are done.
Make sure to supplement your pet's food at least every other feeding with calcium and vitamins such as Repashy Calcium Plus or Zoo Med Reptivite with D3.
Live bugs crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms, hornworms, etc
Canned insects, snails
Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
Boiled organ meats
Pinky mice (live or frozen/thawed)
Fruits and Veggies:
Dandelions (pesticide free)
Hibiscus flowers (pesticide free)
Banana (in moderation)
Sheltopusiks don't typically care to be handled too often and tail shedding could result if stressed. However, this is rare. In fact, they do become quite responsive to the people who feed them and tame enough so that gentle handling can occur. They are a hardy species which is quite enjoyable to observe.