What Type of Lizard Has a Blue Tail?

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While blue is a somewhat rare color amongst terrestrial vertebrates, many lizards have blue-tone tails. Some of the most common pet species that possess blue tails include skinks of the genus Plestiodon, the attractive blue-tailed day gecko (Phelsuma cepediana) and the blue-tailed monitor (Varanus doreanus).

Skinks

Several skinks from genus Plestiodon possess blue tails as juveniles. The bold coloration of the tails likely serves to dissuade or distract predators, thereby allowing the skinks to escape. Mature males usually feature brown, gray or black tails, but adult females retain varying amounts of blue coloration on their tails.

Skinks are generally hardy lizards who thrive in warm, well-lit and spacious cages, filled with numerous hiding and climbing opportunities. Skinks eat virtually any small creature they can overpower, so use caution when housing them in groups. Mature males will engage in violent fights, so house them separately from each other.

Some of the most commonly seen species in the pet trade include:

Blue-Tailed Day Geckos

Clad in a mixture of blues, greens, reds and oranges, blue-tailed day geckos are very attractive lizards. They need the same things most day geckos do, including a spacious, moderately humid cage with a warm basking spot, access to full-spectrum lighting, and plenty of insects and fruit-based commercial foods. In nature, blue-tailed lizards live only on the Island of Mauritius, where they serve as important pollinators, and their numbers are declining, so captive-bred specimens often command high prices.

Warning

  • Never grasp a skink or gecko by the tail, as it may break off.

Blue-Tailed Monitors

Some of the largest lizards with blue tails are the blue-tailed monitors, who may reach lengths in excess of 4 feet. Blue-tailed monitors are challenging captives; they often remain nervous even after long periods in captivity. This has prevented the establishment of viable captive breeding populations, which means that only wild-caught specimens are available to keepers.

While blue-tailed monitors are more terrestrial than their close relatives the mangrove monitors (Varanus indicus), they require similar care. Blue-tailed monitors require clean, spacious, escape-proof enclosures. They also need a basking spot that reaches temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, numerous hiding spots, and a substrate that allows burrowing. Blue-tailed monitors consume standard monitor fare, including rodents, insects and chicks.

Rare Examples

While few make their way into the pet trade, a few other lizard species possess blue tails. A few agamas (Agama ssp.) possess blue tails or blue markings on their tails, but most that appear in the pet trade are wild caught individuals who can be difficult to acclimate. Rarely, sailfin lizards (Hydrosaurus spp.) may have some blue markings on their tails, although most of their blue coloration occurs on their faces. Neon blue-tailed gliding lizards (Holaspis guentheri) are rare in captivity, but they exhibit interesting gliding habits in the wild.

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