Hi! My name is Brittney, and I am the new lab technician here in the Johnson lab. I did not have much experience with lizards before I came here, but I am learning a lot about them now. One job I am in charge of is taking care of the eggs and the baby lizards after they hatch.
As you may know, most lizards lay eggs, which they generally bury in a place where they can stay warm and moist. Here in the lab, we give the lizard moms a nest box full of moist soil, where they can bury their eggs. Anole eggs are about the size of a “Jelly Belly,” a very small jelly bean. After the moms lay the eggs, we collect the eggs and keep them safe in a small petri dish until they hatch. We put this dish in a box called a “reptibator.” The reptibator keeps the eggs at a warm temperature and high humidity, the conditions the eggs need to survive. This is very important, because the eggs are very sensitive as they grow; too much or too little water would not be good for them.
Baby anole lizards emerge from their eggs 25-45 days after the eggs are laid. As soon as they hatch, they are already very mobile and hungry for their first meal, so we put them in a cage in our lizard room, where the adult lizards live. But, because the baby lizards are so small, they are not able to eat the large crickets we feed to our adult lizards. Instead, the babies must eat baby-lizard sized crickets. These special crickets are called pinhead crickets, because they are about the size of the head of a pin. As the baby lizards grow bigger, we feed them bigger crickets.
So far we have had five eggs hatch, and we are expecting at least another five more! Newly hatched baby lizards are adorable and I can’t wait for more eggs to hatch!