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Spiderman Agama

Elizabeth Gray

They may come from Africa originally but the Spiderman agama looks more like they crawled off the pages of a comic book. From their blue and red coloring to their ability to climb vertical surfaces, these desert lizards come by their nickname honestly.

While they may not be actual superheroes, the Spiderman agama is a unique reptile that also makes an intriguing pet. Read on to learn more about these lizards, including how to use your power as a pet owner wisely for the great responsibility of properly caring for a Spiderman agama!

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Quick Facts about Spiderman agama

Species Name: Agama mwanzae
Common Name: Mwanza flat-headed rock agama or Spiderman agama
Care Level: Beginner – Moderate
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Adult Size: 6 – 9 inches
Diet: Insectivore
Minimum Tank Size: 36 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches
Temperature & Humidity: 80 – 115 degrees F temperature gradient
10 – 20% humidity

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Do Spiderman agama Make Good Pets?

Spiderman agamas make good pets because they are active and fun to observe, not to mention their one-of-a-kind appearance! These lizards are fairly easy to care for but do have specific housing requirements, thanks to their dry and hot natural habitat. With patience, Spiderman agamas can learn to tolerate some handling but they prefer to be watched rather than interacted with.

Appearance

Male and female Spiderman agamas look noticeably different in appearance. The males are found in the brilliant colors that earned them their superhero nickname. Their bodies are bright blue, with the neck, head, and shoulders red or violet. Females are dull brown all over. When stressed, angry, or frightened, male Spiderman agamas can change color from their usual bright hues into the brown commonly found in females.

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How to Take Care of Spiderman agama

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

Tank

A solo Spiderman agama needs a tank thatʻs at least 36 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches. These lizards can be kept in pairs or a group of two females and one male, which would require a larger tank. The tank should be filled with branches and rocks to allow the lizards to climb and stay active.

Spot clean the Spiderman agamaʻs tank daily and replace the substrate completely every few months. Be careful when cleaning the tank that your speedy Spiderman agama doesnʻt manage to escape!

Lighting

Spiderman agamas do require UV lighting on a day-to-night schedule. Typically, they should get 12 hours with a lamp on and 12 hours off. Their ideal UV index is within Ferguson Zone 3 so be sure to provide a reptile light within these parameters.

Heating (Temperature & Humidity)

The Spiderman agama is native to dry, hot African regions. Their tank should be large enough to allow for a range of temperatures.

At night, the temperature should be between 80-85 degrees, no lower than 75 degrees. During the day, the tank temperature should be between 86-95 degrees, with a basking spot kept at 100-115 degrees.

The humidity of a Spiderman agamaʻs tank should be kept at 10%-20%. A tank thermometer and hygrometer combination can help you keep your petʻs habitat safe and comfortable.

Substrate

A sand and soil combination makes the best substrate for the desert-dwelling Spiderman agama. Various rocks or desert grasses can be added to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible.

Tank Recommendations

Tank Type: 50 – 55 gallon wooden vivarium
Lighting: Ferguson Zone 3
Heating: Heating lamps, basking lamp
Best Substrate: Sand/soil mixture

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Feeding Your Spiderman agama

Spiderman agamas are insectivores who enjoy a wide variety of insects. Crickets, mealworms, and roaches are good choices to offer. These insects should be gut-loaded–fed a nutritious diet–before being fed to the Spiderman agama. This allows the lizard to gain extra nutrients from their prey. Live food should also be dusted with a calcium and vitamin supplement 2-3 times a week.

Make sure to provide your Spiderman agama a water bowl and change the water daily to keep it fresh. Spiderman agamas are known to be big drinkers so keep a close eye on their water bowl to make sure itʻs always full.

Diet Summary

Fruits: 0% of the diet
Insects: 100% of the diet
Meat: 0% of the diet
Supplements Required: Calcium/Vitamins

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Keeping Your Spiderman agama Healthy

AgamaLizard (Image Credit: Gaurav Pandit, Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0)

The best way to keep your Spiderman agama healthy is to provide them with a clean and safe habitat, with the proper temperature and humidity. Feeding the right diet, complete with added supplements, is also key.

Before bringing home any pet, including exotic ones like the Spiderman agama, make sure you have identified a veterinarian for them. Depending on where you live, finding an exotic pet doctor could be tough so make sure you know where to go before your lizard gets sick or suffers an emergency.

 Common Health Issues

Spiderman agamas can suffer some common health issues that impact many reptiles. The most widespread is a metabolic bone disorder caused by inadequate nutrition and lighting. They can also get parasites like mites or worms. Respiratory infections or bacterial infections can occur from unclean living conditions or the wrong temperature and humidity levels.

Signs that your Spiderman agama may be sick include weight loss, loss of appetite, and lethargy. If youʻre concerned about the health of your lizard, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Lifespan

With proper care, a pet Spiderman agama can live as long as 15 years. Again, their ability to make it that long depends on how well theyʻre cared for during their lives. As we just discussed, most health conditions in these lizards are the result of inadequate diet and dirty housing.

Breeding

Spiderman agamas will breed in captivity but with variable success. While theyʻre usually kept in groups of one male to two females, the addition of a second male is often helpful for breeding. The two males will try to establish dominance, leading to a higher chance of successful mating with the females.

Pregnant females should live away from the males and receive extra nutrition, especially calcium. Once the eggs arrive, remove them from the tank and place them in an 85-degree incubator to develop for about 3 months.

Once they hatch, keep baby Spiderman agamas separate from the adults as they grow.

Related Read: Toad-Headed Agama

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Are Spiderman agama Friendly? Our Handling Advice

Spiderman agamas can be tamed enough to tolerate brief periods of handling. New pets need a couple of weeks to get used to their new homes before you try handling them. These lizards are extremely fast, so itʻs best to stick to short periods of handling. Even if they can tolerate more handling, Spiderman agamas shouldnʻt be out of their tanks for more than 20-30 minutes or theyʻll get too cold.

Shedding: What to Expect

Spiderman agamas usually shed their skin in large flakes. Theyʻll need water or more moisture to help them shed successfully. Some options for this include providing a soaking water dish or an area of damp substrate for them to burrow in. If your lizard seems to be having issues shedding, especially if their skin seems stuck, consult your veterinarian.

Many lizards donʻt eat well around the time theyʻre due to shed so be aware of this. Again, bring any concerns to your veterinarianʻs attention as soon as possible.

How Much Do Spiderman agama Cost?

Spiderman agamas arenʻt as easy to find as some other agama species, and they typically sell out quickly when they are available. They usually cost between $40 – $60, with the females being cheaper than males. If you need your new pet shipped to you, expect to pay about as much in shipping as you do for the lizard! Itʻs best to buy a captive-bred Spiderman agama rather than a wild-caught one as theyʻre usually healthier. Wild lizards may not adjust well to captivity either.

Care Guide Summary

Pros
  • Unique appearance
  • Active and fun to observe
  • Can be kept in pairs or small group
Cons
  • Specific environmental needs
  • Can only tolerate minimal handling
  • Hard to find for sale

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Conclusion

While you may be drawn to the Spiderman agama by itʻs one-of-a-kind appearance, be sure youʻre prepared to care for a living reptile, not a fictional comic book character. No pet should be purchased just because you think theyʻll look cool in your house. Owning any pet requires a commitment to care for them properly and the Spiderman agama is no different.


Featured Image Credit: Anil Varma, Shutterstock

Elizabeth Gray

Elizabeth Gray is a lifelong lover of all creatures great and small. She got her first cat at 5 years old and at 14, she started working for her local veterinarian. Elizabeth spent more than 20 years working as a veterinary nurse before stepping away to become a stay-at-home parent to her daughter. Now, she is excited to share her hard-earned knowledge (literally--she has scars) with our readers. Elizabeth lives in Iowa with her family, including her two fur kids, Linnard, a husky mix and Algernon, the worldʻs most patient cat. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching all sports but especially soccer, and spending time outdoors with her family.