Abronia Graminea

Abronia Graminea are native to Veracruz, and adjacent Puebla in Mexico. Their considered Endangered due to their decreasing numbers in the wild caused by deforestation and habitat loss. Graminea are found in pine, oak and cloud forests in the wild. This species is often found near bromeliads as they provide the graminea with water, shelter and a food source of insects.
Abronia Graminea give live birth once per year, making their reproduction very unique as most lizards not only lay eggs but reproduce more frequently than once a year.

Enclosure:

B.C.'s_Secret_Reptiles_abronia_graminea_Canada_air_plantAbronia Graminea are an arboreal species and spend almost all their time in the tree tops in Mexico high in the trees. For an adult pair their enclosure should be at least 20″Lx20″Wx30″T mesh enclosure. Their enclosure should have lots of live plants, most specifically bromeliads are essential for graminea as they use these plants as a shelter, water source and find food (bugs) in the bromeliad in the wild. They are often found around bromeliads in the wild so this plant is essential. I also use live orchids, air plants, pothos, palm plants and small oak trees. DO NOT use ferns native to Canada as they may be toxic and have the potential to cause acute renal failure. The enclosure floor should be sphagnum moss layer of at least 2-4″ deep for your graminea to retire from the heat. Half the moss should be damp while the other half remains dry. During dry seasons allow the moss to dry out for short periods of time, and the opposite for rainy season. Lots of climbing branches and cork hides will be appreciated with A. Graminea. Males will fight with other males. Females may fight with other females to establish territory but this is not common. I have also witnessed female aggression towards young males that are too small to breed.

Lighting:

12 hour UVB is essential for Abronia as they are diurnal. Enclosure should be placed in a sunny location where the graminea will have access to natural sunlight. It’s also beneficial to place enclosures outside in the sun for 12 hours each day in the summer providing it’s not too hot.

Feeding:

Abronia are insectivores and will eagerly accept the following: crickets, mealworms, soldier fly larvae, roaches, termites, wax worms, silkworms, and moths. They are very intelligent and happily accept food from my hands (once they realize my hands not trying to kill them) and recognize each species of insects-especially their favorites! Abronia Graminea should be offered several food items (4-7 appropriately sized bugs) every other day. Food items should be gut loaded as always, especially with graminea as they can be prone to fatty liver disease if fed too high of a protein diet. Bugs should be full of plant material at least 24 hours prior to feeding. Males are said to slow down and eat less during the summer, however I have never experienced this. ALL of my graminea are food driven. They love their bugs.

Supplementing:

B.C.'s_Secret_Reptiles_Canada_BC_Abronia_Graminea_female_turqiouse_lavender_green_blue_yellow_macro_blue_eyesAs a rule of thumb we supplement our graminea with herp vitamins + calcium with D3 once a month and calcium WITHOUT D3 + herp vitamins once a month. Supplementing every other week (one supplementing with vit D3, the other WITHOUT) is what I find to be a good rule of thumb. Try offering high calcium foods to supplement more frequently for suspected gravid females.

Humidity/Water:

Abronia Graminea live in cloud forests in Mexico and therefore need humid environment. Frequent misting may be necessary to provide high humidity. During the summer months I allow the enclosure to become slightly ‘dryer’ as it would in their natural environment or let the moss dry up a bit for a short period of time. An average humidity of 65%-90% is a good rule of thumb in my experience. Try and provide a rainy season so to speak for your graminea for several months.
This species is diurnal, being most active in the late morning-late afternoon. It’s important to heavily mist during these times. Allow bromeliads to ‘pool up’ water as your graminea will drink from these areas. Drip systems are also beneficial. I will also water plants (with peat moss as their potting soil only) in pots and place them on top of the mesh top of the enclosure and pour water into these plants to allow the water to filter through the peat moss soil from the plant and into the enclosure like rain.
Like all reptiles, use filtered water or water that has been sitting out for over 24 hours.

Temperature:

B.C.'s_Secret_Reptiles_Canada_BC_Abronia_Graminea_female_turqiouse_lavender_green_blue_yellow_maleA. Graminea live in the tall trees in Mexico and will experience noticeable variations in temperature when they drop from the top of the trees to the bottom. Extremes that this species can handle are 40°F-90°F (5°C-32°C) but these are absolute extremes and should be avoided. In the winter it has been noted for graminea to huddle up together under moss bunches in trees or rotting wood to keep warmer. Do not let babies enclosure exceed temps of 85°F (29°C) as it can be fatal.
During the summer it’s essential to provide damp moss sections in the substrate or hides to retire from heat.
Temperatures should be kept at: 75°F-80°F (24°C-27°C) during the summer and cooler during the winter.
A significant drop in temperature at night is essential for this species.

Breeding:

Abronia Graminea are not easy to breed. That’s why it’s best to mimic their natural setting for best results. Courtship often takes place from July-November. The breeding pair may stay locked up for as long as 24 hours. If you’ve witnessed courtship be sure to supplement your female more often and offer higher calcium foods. Gestation periods are typically 6-8 months. Remove the male from the enclosure when your female is close to giving birth. Females are said to appear darker, have more banding and or have chalk sacs on their jowls prior to birth. Females will give birth over the course of 3 days. Females give live birth of 7,10,11 or 13 babies per year during March-June.

Raising babies are similar to adults, just do not let temps exceed 85F as it is lethal. Do not keep too many babies together as they will fight for food and basking space.