Bradypodion tavetanum is found in isolated pockets of forest edges, shrubs and even nature-like gardens of east-Africa, on the slopes of Mt. Meru and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and the Teita Mountains of Kenya.
Sometimes shy and nervous towards the keeper, males are quite aggressive amongst themselves. Sometimes the males will stress unreceptive females.
Males grow to 8 inches. Females are slightly smaller. SVL is to 3.5 inches and adult weights are approximately 3.5 inches. Males have a flat casque, a sharp lateral crest, and sport two horns. Females have only two small rostrals. The males also have a dorsal crest along the first third of their back. This crest is lacking in the females. The basic coloration is brown and green. Females sometimes have a red stripe at the back of their smaller crest. The sexes are easily distinguished by presence or absence of the rostral processes.
Captive Care: The cage for one animal should be 2' x 2' x 3'. Individual housing is recommended since this species is a bit nervous. A dense foliage is necessary for hiding and also for taking up water droplets. The cage does not have to be entirely screened since the animals require a higher humidity. Misting at least twice day is a necessity. A dripper may also be installed. This species also benefits from outdoor housing during the warm season. Day temperatures should be around 77ºF with a night drop to 60-70ºF. B. tavetanum readily accepts most insects of appropriate size such as crickets, flies, small locusts and roaches.
Breeding/incubation techniques: After introducing the female into the male's cage, copulation takes place after a short head bobbing ritual. Approximately 40 days after mating, the female lays up to 12 eggs. If incubated at room temperature, the babies hatch after 220 days. If incubated at 73ºF during the day and 60ºF at night, the hatching takes place after nine months. The babies measure 1" at hatching. The babies will feed on the usual
Drosophila and pin-head crickets. It is important to keep the hatchlings at temperatures lower than 77ºF. The young reach sexual maturity at 9-12 months. One - two clutches are laid per year.
Contributed by Stefan Dangel.
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