As many of you already know I am the owner of two Haitian Curly Tailed lizards. This thread started out as just a simple explanation of my attempts to cohabit a juvenile male with an adult female, it turned into a full care sheet. The primary reason is because the internet seems to lack a very accurate care sheet for these wonderful animals. I don't claim to be an expert at them, but here is the information I've collected and observed so far.
Haitian Curly Tailed lizards are a diurnal lizard and apparently not very well studied in the reptile trade. The most important thing to understand from the start is that this particular species is often easily mislabeled or misrepresented in pet stores and the internet. If you've owned one of these wonderful lizards before there's always the likely possibility it wasn't really a Haitian Curly Tail (HCT). I rarely site wikipedia as a source but to get a quick understanding of how many curly tailed species exist here's a basic reference list.
Out of this entire list the only species that is pertinent to our attention is the Red-sided Curly-tailed Lizard, Leiocephalus schreibersii. This particular lizard originated in Haiti and the Western Dominican Republic, but more recent populations have been sited in Southern Florida, Cuba and other Caribbean islands. Whether these new locations are legitimate I do not know, but it does give rise to possible reasons for the mislabeling.
To get an idea, here are some pictures of a Haitian Curly Tail and its often mistaken sister species.
Haitian Curly Tail (Red Sided Curly Tail) Leiocephalus schreibersii
Jeweled Curly Tail (Hispaniolan Masked Curly-tailed Lizard) Leiocephalus personatus
Northern Curly Tail (Cuban Curly Tail) Leiocephalus carinatus
San Salvador Curly Tail Leiocephalus loxogrammus
Haitian Striped Curly Tail Leiocephalus pratensis
No pic available
*Here is a picture of my final setup.
Habitat: Haitian Curly Tails appear to thrive in a desert vivarium. This may sound contradictory to the climate of the Caribbean Islands, but sandy beach terrains would not fair much difference. One of my main goals in any vivarium construction is limiting the upkeep costs as much as possible. Glass holds humidity well, but I find that it doesn't do as well of a job holding heat. On the inside of the tank, I glued styrofoam on the back and sides then covered them with sand-grout. The beautiful thing with this design is the styrofoam really allows for creativity in creating ledges while the grout covers up any imperfections with a more natural look.
*Here's a look before the furniture was put in
Furniture: These accessories were relatively cheaper to come by. Good looking fake plants can be found at the dollar store and the stems can be pushed into the exposed styrofoam at the top. This allows for the plants to hang down in the tank with a natural feel. Both the smooth beach rocks and larger rocks were collected along Lake Ontario then boiled in a pot to sterilize. The cork boards, slate rock, and fake cactus were all bought at the pet store.
Substrate: I personally choose Repti-calcium sand, which has its advantages and disadvantages. The obvious disadvantage is the risk of impaction, so many owners use paper towels or reptile carpet as an alternative. However HCTs like to burrow, they prefer to bury themselves when they feel threatened or tired. I have yet to witness either of my Haitians spend the night on a branch or rock, they are normally well hidden when they sleep. Depriving them of this sense of security could cause stress or frantic behavior. I use Reptilite, which i find to be a decent compromise. Their sand is comprised of customized spherical calcium pebbles that are said to improve pass-ability through the digestive track.
Temperature: There's a lot of controversy over this, but in my experience these guys like it HOT. Ambient temperatures during the daytime can reach anywhere from 95-105F while the basking spots can ideally hit 120F. This is primarily why I suggest a 20 gallon even for just 1 HCT, that way you can provide adequate space for shade if things get too hot. Other websites suggest 80-90F and they can live in such conditions, but it's debatable whether they like it or tolerate it.
Humidity: I am still undecided on the proper humidity controls for these guys. The desert habitat would suggest humidity levels that would resemble a Bearded Dragon setup, so 40-50% humidity appears to work. Depending on the room humidity and the type of lid I find one good misting a week to be sufficient. I use a simple screen lid with a customize sheet of plexiglass used to sit on top of the screen to hold in humidity better.
Lighting: A regular UVB/UVA bulb works well with these guys. Since their enclosures are usually not that big I go with an Exo Terra regular UVB/UVA bulb
I tend to avoid the regular 2.0 UVB bulb because I'm not sure it provides the right amount of UV radiation. The 2.0UVB bulb appears to be a more complementary bulb to enhance the color spectrum when combined with the 5.0 (rainforest) and 10.0 (desert) UVB bulbs. Whether or not the Haitian Curly Tail prefers a more tropical or desert habitat, it would appear a necessity to provide either a 5.0 or 10.0 UVB bulb.
*I plan on continuing more to this later on, i need a break for now.