The bright green color and keeled scales of the Gastropholis prasina give credence to their common name: the green keel-bellied lizard. This mostly arboreal species from the coastal forests of Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya, has a very impressively long prehensile tail.
The Gastropholis prasina lizard color is very bright; however, stressed out individuals will take on darker shades of green with bluish tints.
Due to their large size, adult green keel-bellied lizards require lots of space. An 18x18x24 enclosure can house an adult pair. Males are territorial and should not be housed together. A variety of substrate mixtures can be used with coco fiber or peat moss as a base. Josh’s Frogs BioBedding works very well with this species; in addition to holding moisture, it will help propagate and maintain live plants and isopod populations in the setup (both highly recommended with this species).
As an arboreal species, these geckos will enjoy a setup filled with many pieces of cork bark, branches, large bamboo sticks, and live plants. Be sure to use robust plants, as adults will trample weaker plants due to their larger size. Providing an enclosure with plenty of climbing material is key to keeping this species in captivity. Green keel-bellied lizards can be kept at ambient temperatures ranging 72-80F. A basking area of around 90F should also be provided using a halogen light. As with all lizards, which are diurnal, UV light is recommended.
This is a very humidity loving species. Ambient humidity for this species should remain around 60-70%. Misting multiply time throughout the day is strongly recommended to keep the substrate moist, maintain higher humidity within the enclosure, and also provide water droplets from which the lizards can drink. Make sure that there is enough ventilation such that any water droplets on the walls of the enclosure dry out by the next day. They have been observed a shallow water dish, so one should be provided as well. Both temperature and humidity can be monitored with a thermometer/hygrometer.
No including tails, Gastropholis prasina as adults can reach up to 6 to 8 inches long, Their tails add another 8 to 10 inches. They are long and slender lizards as well.
Green keel-bellied lizards are insectivores and eat a lot compared to other lizards of their size. In captivity, a staple diet of daily crickets and dubia will work well. A good rule of thumb for size is to only offer insects whose length does not exceed the space in between the lizard’s eyes. Generally, hatchling prasinas should be fed ⅛-inch to ¼ inch crickets. As they quickly grow older, ¼-inch crickets, and later ½-inch crickets, can be added to their diet. Occasional treats such as waxworms and hornworms can also be offered. Feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement.
Green keel-bellied lizards can be sexed by looking for femoral pores between the hind legs. Males will have a row of these pores, whereas females will not.
You will want to cycle them according to their natural habitat where it is hot and wet in the spring and then cooler and dryer conditions occur in the summer. They are egg gluers and generally will attach their eggs in tubes of cork. They can lay egg clutches up to 12, but typically they range from 6-8. They don’t lay monthly or on a regular basis. Eggs should be removed and incubated on a 1:1 mix of vermiculite and water or moist sphagnum moss at around 78 degrees.