Can Lizards Have Strokes? Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness in Lizards. In this life-threatening condition, the body is unable to dissipate heat load at a rate that accommodates excessive heat levels. Itis actually very dangerous and can kill your Lizard quickly by causing dehydration, confusion, and stroke.
Can Lizards Have Strokes / Common Signs of Heatstroke in Lizards
The signs of heatstroke include severe panting, trying to escape the tank, digging, hiding under a rock or hide, and sitting in a corner. If you notice that your Lizard has overheated, take it out immediately to allow to cool down and review heating in the tank.
High temperatures can be often seen with incorrect lighting heating or in small tanks. Adult Lizards require at least a 40-55-gallon tank to themselves. Baby Lizard over a month old already require 30 gallons tanks – so it’s better to get a bigger one straight away. In this tank, you must create a temperature gradient – a hot and a cool side. However, in smaller tanks, especially for baby dragons, you cannot create a gradient due to a lack of space. Lizards require high-temperature basking spots, so this can create a problem in small tanks. Make sure not to use high wattage bulbs in small tanks, or tube lights either. But the most important thing is – your Lizard does require a large tank with tube UVB light and heat bulb.
Make sure to use one digital thermometer with a probe in a hot spot, and one in a cool spot. Analog stick-on thermometers tend to be very inaccurate and can be off by 10 degrees or more. On top of it, please use a handheld infrared thermometer and hold it 2-3 inches away from the spot to get accurate temperatures.
Preventing Heat Stroke in Your Lizard
Maintain the Ideal Temperature
If you are a reptile parent, you’re no stranger to the fact that to survive, reptiles need a very specific environment. To ensure they thrive, you may need to change their environment as the weather changes. Depending on the scaly family member you are looking after, the ideal temperature of their enclosure will change so ensure you have an accurate thermometer. In summer though, there are ways to maintain that ideal temperature to avoid heat exhaustion. First, keep your terrarium away from windows or any warm areas in your home. In fact, species that prefer cooler climates might like to stay in a room with air conditioning.
For tropical species, turning off heaters during the day may be an effective way to maintain their temperature. For any outdoor reptiles, of course, provide plenty of shady spaces for them to retreat under. Ensure their terrarium has a ‘warm’ and a ‘cool’ area, allowing your reptile to choose. Look to your vet for the best advice on the ideal temperature for your reptile.
Monitor Humidity Levels
While we know reptiles (particularly tropical) love the humidity, with summer comes high humidity that can cause your reptile to overheat in their terrarium. If you live in an area that experiences this, adjust your reptile’s ventilation as necessary to maintain humidity – opening vents to allow for airflow. For those living in dryer areas, you may need to increase humidity, which you can do by adding another water bowl or increasing misting.
How Do Lizards Cool Off?
Reptiles use the environment to regulate their warmth. This strategy helps them conserve energy in the cold and rapidly ramp up their body temperature in the heat, but it also makes them particularly sensitive to global warming.
For most lizards and snakes, cooling down is as easy as moving into the shade or hiding under a rock, said Jack Conrad, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a specialist in reptile biology. Reptiles warm up just as simply, by basking in the sun. If you have a lizard in a desert that feels like it needs to warm up for its metabolism to work better, it goes and sits on a rock in the sun, Conrad told Life’s Little Mysteries. If it gets too warm from running around, it goes and sits under a rock in the shade. However, some very large and very small reptiles regulate their temperature a bit differently. Very big lizards like the Komodo dragon have so much mass that their bodies trap a lot of heat, allowing them to maintain consistent body temperature, almost like a mammal, Conrad said.
But for small lizards, maintaining this consistency is more difficult. Their bodies cool down and heat up when the air around them changes temperature even slightly. Small lizards can feel changes as subtle as the sun moving behind a cloud, and their metabolisms slow down to a level near that of hibernation when they rest in the shade. Then, when they move into the sunlight, the lizards become hyperactive. Because they draw heat from the environment, instead of relying on the complicated internal mechanisms that mammals must regulate their temperature, lizards can survive on far less food than mammals, Conrad said.
But a life so dependent on small variations in temperature also makes climate change particularly dangerous for reptiles.
Even 30 years ago, when people were just beginning to detect something going on with the climate, one of the first groups they looked at was forest lizards. If climate change is dramatic, you will see a lot of diversity go away. There are about 9,000 lizards and snakes living today, and you will see that number drop dramatically.
Other Life-Threatening Problems in Lizards
Your Lizard can easily die from cold.
Preferred Lizard’s body temperatures are around 98 F (36.6 C). But for some time, it can be fine if temperatures are lower by even 10 degrees F (around 5 C). If you keep your Lizard in low temperatures for a few hours, it will go into a brumating state to save itself from dying. With more hours on, your Lizard will slowly start to die. This will depend on how low temperatures are. If there is a power outage in your home or if your dragon’s bulbs burn out, you can keep it warm until you find a solution. You can put your dragon in a blanket, under your shirt, or even use heat packs to keep it warm.
Parasites or Infections
Most parasitic infections can kill a Lizard if untreated. However, there are certain parasites or infections that can inevitably lead to wasting and death, even with supportive care.
This is especially true for baby Lizards, as many sick babies don’t survive at all. If you have got a baby Lizard and it died very quickly, it could possibly be a parasitic infection. This is why getting a slightly older Lizard at least will give you a better chance of its survival. Even if this sounds harsh, weak and sick baby Lizards mostly don’t make it, even with intensive care. And if you got one that was already sick or infected and it died, don’t blame yourself as it’s natural selection.
However, parasitic infections can kill adult Lizards too. Some of the most serious parasites include Cryptosporidium, Adenovirus, CANV (causing Yellow Fungus disease), and more. Other types of infections are bacterial or viral infections – such as meningitis. If you suspect a parasitic infection in your Lizard, please have a full fecal test done. Also, always quarantine your new Lizard. This means that you must keep it separate from other pets and have its poop tested. With treatment, you can bring your Lizard back to normal, but with weak dragons, it might not be enough.
When treating your Lizard for parasites, make sure to keep its enclosure extremely clean to prevent reinfection. You can even invest in a steam cleaner that will help disinfect a tank and surfaces with hot pressurized steam.
Ingesting Toxic Plants or Bugs
Ingesting toxic plants or bugs can quickly kill your Lizard. Unless you realize that your dragon has ingested a toxic plant or bug, your bearded dragon can go ill quickly and die. Toxic bugs for Lizards include fireflies, box elder bugs, lubber grasshoppers, and more. There are a lot of toxic plants and veggies, such as avocados, rhubarbs, daffodils, azalea, and many more.
Symptoms of poisoning in Lizard are lethargy or running around the tank, scratching the belly, black beard, vomiting, seizure, or twitching. If you suspect that your Lizard has ingested a toxic plant or bug, act immediately. Give your Lizard some activated charcoal, to help cleanse the system quickly. Mix a pinch of charcoal in a 10ml of water, and then offer 0.2 ml to small dragons under 150 grams. You can add extra 0.2 ml for every 150 grams of your Lizard’s weight. If you can, also make a cleansing slurry. If you do not have any charcoal at home, you can quickly get some at the pharmacy, or instead, you can make a detoxifying slurry. To make a detoxifying slurry, mix cilantro, kale, turnip greens, watercress, and add some coconut water for natural electrolytes and hydration. And you can also add a small drop of diluted charcoal in there, too. Keep offering the slurry with the charcoal every 4-5 hours. The best thing is to take your Lizard to the vet, but while getting there, you should make the slurry and offer some activated charcoal.