Animal Care

Jeweled Lacerta
(Lacerta lepida)

: Varied, including forest and rice fields    Diet: Insectivorous     Adult Size: 18-24 inches    
: 10-20 years    Native To: Europe

Did You Know:

  • Jeweled Lacertas will hibernate in nature, but don’t have to in captivity.

  • They are the largest of the Lacerta lizards.

  • In nature, Jeweled Lacertas live in breeding pairs.

The material below is a general guideline, and is not intended to serve as your sole source of pet care information. Visit a veterinarian trained in caring for reptiles and consult a broad range of literature to ensure that your pet receives adequate care.

Things You Should Know About Jeweled Lacertas

The Basics:

Attractively colored and active, Jeweled Lacertas are also called “eyed lizards,” and are reported to be accomplished escape artists. They get their name from their beautiful emerald-like color tone.

Enclosure: They Need Lots of Room A single Jeweled Lacerta must be housed in a 40-gallon tank, while a pair must have at least a 50-gallon terrarium or aquarium. The enclosure must be well ventilated with a secure top, and it must provide ample roaming for these active lizards. The terrarium should have gravel, rocks, and a “grassy” area. Lacertas require climbing space and hiding spots, both of which can be provided by branches and rocks.

Deep enough for burrowing

A substrate that can hold moisture, such as soil, mulch, sand, or bark, is recommended. It is beneficial to provide Lacertas with combination substrate and enough depth for burrowing.

UVB Exposure is a Must

Lacertas require a source of UVB light to help make Vitamin D3 and absorb calcium. Provide UVB light on a day/night on/off cycle. Follow manufacturers guideline. Important - see the Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating below.

Provide a Gradient

The enclosure should provide a temperature gradient ranging from 78° Fahrenheit to a basking area of 90-95°. Temperatures can be lowered at night. Appropriate temperatures can be achieved with a combination of under tank heating mats, a ceramic heating element, and incandescent light sources. The temperature must be monitored with a digital thermometer. Humidity should be kept at about 50%.  Important - see the Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating below.

Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating:

All reptiles, including this pet, must have distinct day and night periods in their enclosure to maintain their biological rhythms. (See the lighting entry above for the specific length of this animal’s day/night cycle.) The day period must be light; and night must be dark. A timer should be used to set day/night periods. If a heat source is required to maintain correct nighttime temperatures, use heat mats or strips mounted below or on the side of the tank, infrared heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, or a combination of these products. This will allow the enclosure to be heated while remaining dark. Follow directions carefully with all products. If ceramic heat emitters are used always choose fixtures with porcelain or ceramic sockets and to protect against fires do not place them by dry wood or flammable fabrics. Ceramic heat emitters must be kept out of the reach of children and all pets, including dogs and cats.

They Are Hearty Eaters:

Jeweled Lacertas should be offered a variety of gut-loaded insects, such as crickets or mealworms. They are hearty eaters and should be fed generous portions. They will also enjoy the occasional piece of fruit or superworm; and adults can be offered an occasional thawed frozen mouse. Feed adults 3-4 times a week and juveniles daily. Dust insects with supplements. As a rule, a growing juvenile's food should be dusted more often than an adult's. Please read the supplement section below for more details on supplementing.

A Note About Gut Loading Feeding crickets a nutritious diet will pass on vital nutrients to your reptile. When reptiles eat these insects they are able to absorb the nutrients. This is why it is important to gut load crickets at least 48 hours before offering them to a reptile. Commercial cricket foods provide a convenient way to gut load crickets. (Always follow manufacturer’s directions.) Crickets should also be provided with water, preferably in the form of oranges or a commercial water gel product designed specifically to hydrate feeder insects. Putting a shallow dish of water in the cricket holding tank will result in insects drowning and promote the spread of bacteria.

You can also create your own gut-loading formula. Our vet recommends a mix of ground up dog food, cereal and fresh greens with oranges or a commercial gel for water.


Dust insects with calcium supplement and vitamin supplements. As a rule, a growing juvenile's food should be dusted more often than an adult's. Follow product label directions when applying supplements, and avoid over-supplementing food. The following is a possible supplementing schedule for this reptile. Our veterinarian recommends dusting insects with a plain calcium supplement every time they are offered to the pet. (Avoid using a calcium supplement with added phosphorous, unless specifically directed by your veterinarian, since this can promote kidney disease.) Our veterinarian also recommends dusting insects with a D3 supplement once a week and a vitamin supplement two times a month. This is only one recommendation, consult your veterinarian for specific directions on supplementing your pet’s food, since there are many variables that go into determining the best supplementing regimen for a given animal.

A NOTE ABOUT WATER: All water given to this pet for drinking, as well as water used for misting, soaking or bathing must be 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals. (Not all home water filtration systems remove 100% of the chlorine and heavy metals from tap water, so check your system's specifications before using it to filter water for your pet.) We recommend that you use unflavored bottled drinking water or bottled natural spring water and never untreated tap water. If tap water is used, you should treat it with a dechlorinating treatment. Do not use distilled water, which can cause severe medical problems, since it lacks minerals that are essential to important body functions


Provide a constant source of fresh chlorine-free water in a shallow dish as well as by misting. Do not use tap water unless it has been treated with a conditioner to neutralize chlorine and heavy metals. Do not use distilled water.


Watch Out For This:
Jeweled Lacertas are accomplished escape artists.

Recommended Chubby Frog Supplies:

  • Enclosure

  • Appropriate heat source

  • Furnishings and hide area

  • Thermometers

  • Substrate

  • Water dish

  • Hygrometer

  • Supplements

  • Chlorine-free water source

  • Appropriate food

  • UVB light source

  • Book on Lizard care