Laemanctus serratus

How we care for our Coneheads…

Laemanctus should be kept in glass arboreal enclosures at least 36″Wx18″Dx36″T and of course, the bigger the better statement applies here.

T5HO 5.0 or 6% UVB across the entire width of the top is preferred. Basking should be accomplished by placing a dome fixture on the side of the enclosure designated to be the warm/dry side. I often use BR30 65w incandescent FLOOD bulbs in the larger 36x18x36″ enclosures and lower wattage bulbs in smaller.

Lights can be on a 12hr photo period or set to a circadian rhythm. This can be done with several of the Wi-Fi timers now on the market. I prefer the TP-Link Kasa units over others.

Leaving all lights off at night is preferred as long as your house doesn’t get cooler than mid 60s.

The side opposite the basking will be the cooler/wet side. I like to place a large plant here. Schefflera amate being my top choice. Natural branches that are at least as big around as the animal should be used throughout the enclosure for climbing and cork rounds with the inside diameter big enough for them to be able to turn around in if needed.

I like to keep my Conehead enclosures bioactive. This can be as complex or simple as you like. Just about any tropical substrate will do fine. I’ve even had good experiences with cheap top soil from Menards mixed with play sand.

Coneheads like a pretty humid environment. A densely planted enclosure will help greatly with this and partially covering off some of the screen top will help hold it in.

Hydration under my care is accomplished by automatic misters spraying on the leaves and then the water being lapped up from the leaves and glass surfaces. But many coneheads will drink just fine from a clean water bowl if provided. Spraying of the enclosure either manual or automatic should be done in the morning to provide water to drink and then again in the evening to increase night time humidity.

Coneheads are basilisks and therefore primarily eat insects. Crickets and black soldier flies seem to be favorites for them. Dubia roaches are readily taken off tongs. I gut load crickets and roaches with leafy greens and carrots, seasonal veggies like squash. I dust every feeding with Repashy Calcium Plus and organic bee pollen powder.

I’ve had good luck keeping my Laemanctus in trios. My pairs are kept together year round and they seem to stop producing for a few months in cold season. I start getting eggs again as soon as April. 7-8 eggs every 59 days has been the norm. Three to four clutches in a season is not uncommon.

The females become quite rotund and uncomfortable in the later stages of egg development. They are NOT powerful diggers and prefer a warm and moist location to dig where the soil isn’t firm. I will often turn the substrate a few times in the coming weeks to ensure that she can easily dig. In the days before laying, she will go to ground several times and test the ground conditions. When ready, she will dig a shallow burrow and deposit the eggs. Once laid, she will cover the eggs and tidy up the area to hide evidence of disruption. Eggs are removed and artificially incubated at 84f over moistened substrate. I’ve always used calcined clay, but speculate that vermiculite and perlite could net similar results. Calcined clay was moistened with purified water. Submerged in water then left to drain for a few minutes. Incubation typically lasts 52-57 days.

Eggs sweating excess moisture is a sign that they will be hatching within a few days. Often times the babies will pip and remain in the egg with only their heads exposed for a day or so.

Once out, they are ready to take on the world. 3/8” crickets that have been gut loaded and vitamin/pollen dusted are often taken within a day or two of hatching, they will also take black soldier flies. Babies are housed together as a clutch and are setup identically to the parents.

Sexing serratus is a fairly simple affair as mature adults. Babies and juvies, not so much. Males will develop hemipenal bulges at onset of maturity.

A male resting at night showing a visual hemipenal bulge.
Males are typically a little smaller than the females. Male on the Left. Female right.
A gravid female not quite halfway through gestation.
This female is just a day or two from laying.
Eggs successfully burried.
Laemanctus hatching over calcinated clay at 84f.
Baby coneheads are hatching after 57 days in the incubator.
Putting the newly hatched babies into their habitat. Look at that tail.
Laemanctus doing Laemanctus things.
This is how we have come to display our coneheads at shows. They seemed to stress out in a delicup on a table. But do quite well on overhead branches. They do tend to try and jump in tall patrons visiting our table. A sign saying you touch it, you bought it quickly seals the deal.
The casque