|Common Name||Southern Alligator Lizard|
|Scientific Name||Elgaria multicarinata|
|Captive Lifespan||5 to 8 Years|
|Size||3 – 7 inches (not including the tail, typically up to twice the body’s length)|
|Mass||No data available|
|Habitat||Forests, along creeks, chaparral, grasslands, urban areas,|
|Country of Origin||North America|
Southern alligator lizards possess a fairly long tail that can reach up to twice the length of the body. The bodies of these creatures are rather large yet slender, covered in rough scales, while the limbs are short.
On average, the body size of adult Southern Alligator Lizards measures at 5.6 inches and up to about 20 inches, including the tail. The body underside coloration is light, and the back is colored in brown-gray, dotted with black spots that are known to form multiple bands all across the width of the body.
On the back of the body, the legs, and on the sides, scales are keeled. In total, there are fourteen rows of scales. It is a band of granular, visibly smaller scales to separate the bigger scales located on the stomach and on the back, creating a fold following along each side of these lizards’ bodies, allowing for the body to expand when it comes to holding eggs or food.
Juvenile Southern Alligator Lizards are marked differently from mature lizards, with a wide stripe on the back, varying in color from yellow, beige, gray, tan, and reddish. The sidebars of juveniles tend to be less distinct than those of adults.
Throughout the world, there are 67 species of alligator lizards known up-to-date.
One of the closest relatives to the Southern Alligator Lizard is none other but Elgaria Coerulea (Northern Alligator Lizard).
Provided these two types of alligator lizards are not in hand, differentiating between the two might be difficult. However, if held together as to be able to examine them closely, one can easily notice that the Southern Alligator Lizards have yellow eyes, unlike the Northern Alligator Lizards having brown eyes.
Anyway, sometimes the eye coloration examination may be tricky, as the eyes of both types of lizards tend to exhibit varying nuances of yellow and brown.
The most reliable way to tell apart a Southern Alligator Lizard from its Northern counterpart is to check out the belly. The bellies of Southerns possess faint lines going all the way down to the center of the scale rows, whereas with Northerns, these lines , on the very site of the belly’s scale rows.
There are three subspecies of the Southern Alligator Lizard, based on the geographic range of these reptiles. E. m. Multicarinata is the scientific name for the California alligator lizard, while E. m. Webbii is the scientific name for the San Diego alligator lizard. The third subspecies is E. m. Scincicauda, the Oregon alligator lizard, with the name “scincicauda,” translating into “skink tail.”
Habitat & Lifespan
Southern alligator lizards are natively distributed throughout southern Washington, primarily west of the Sierras and the Cascades, and all the way to northwestern Baja California, as well as in some parts of the Channel Islands.
This species is known to occupy a wide range of habitats, located from sea level to 5000 feet. Although rarely, Southern alligator lizards have been observed at 6200 feet and up to 8000 feet above sea level, with the observations regarding their occurrence at 8000ft above sea level being solely based on unconfirmed reports.
The preferred habitat for these lizards includes open forests, grassland, and chaparral, whether they be under rocks, boards, logs, or even trash, among other suitable surface covers, as well as possibly hiding along creeks. These creatures can be also commonly spotted in foothill oak woodlands.
The average lifespan for southern alligator lizards in the wild is reported between 10 and up to 15 years. In captivity, these lizards usually live for anything between 5 and 8 years on average.
Southern Alligator Lizards are diurnal creatures, with little to no exceptions on that note, apart from possibly observing them actively out in hotter weather at sunset.
In the wild, you stand the highest chance of observing adult Southern Alligator Lizards in late spring and in early summer. In their natural habitat, juveniles are most commonly spotted from mid-summer to mid-October.
Admiring the beauty of these reptiles in the wild may not be an easy thing to accomplish, though, as these lizards are known to avoid humans. As soon as a human is to get close to a non-captive Southern Alligator Lizard, the animal is to run for the nearest possible shelter quite quickly, typically hiding in complexes of sticks and/or rocks or any plants located close-by.
One of the distinct behavioral traits of Southern Alligator Lizards is that they use a wiggling, snake-like running motion to escape from any possible threat swiftly.
Although more rarely than their preference for staying on the ground, Southern Alligator Lizards may also climb up vertical surfaces, including but not limited to branches, rocks, and vegetation.
It is in the winter months when Southern Alligators in the wild enter their hibernation period. Hibernation begins once the temperatures drop, and the lizard is to take shelter in rock crevices or right under wooden boards. Typically, hibernation starts in late November and proceeds until the beginning of the mating season.
Unlike the fairly common-to-spot Western Fence Lizards, Southern Alligator Lizards are very secretive creatures, which is one of the reasons why it is hard to observe their behavior in the wild. Quite often, though, one can hear the rustling sound made by a Southern Alligator Lizard hiding in the plants.
Southern Alligator Lizards are notable for their self-defensive behavior, as they are into biting and defecating whenever a person is to try to handle them. However, captive Southern Alligators are fully capable of tolerating handling and human interaction over time with patience and proper care provided by the keepers.
1. As a rule of thumb, Southern Alligator Lizards require an enclosure that resembles their woodland habitat, with scattered logs and rocks for the purpose of allowing these creatures to crawl through freely, exploring their territory. By providing climbing spots and hideouts, caregivers will not only ensure the comfort of their naturally secretive lizard pet, but they will also be happy to spot the lizard more frequently when climbing out the hideouts.
2. Mind that hideouts and climbing spots also serve great for another crucial aspect of housing a Southern Alligator Lizard, in particular, for helping with shedding.
3. For housing a single adult Southern Alligator lizard, keepers need to set up an enclosure of at least 10 gallons capacity. However, opting for a 20-gallon high enclosure will work better, as a bigger enclosure definitely makes the most appropriate choice for helping these reptiles live up to their fullest potential.
4. Glass tanks make the ideal choice for captive Southern Alligators.
5. If a glass tank is not an option for the caregiver, a 10-gallon critter keeper can be utilized. However, it is important to note that with this type of enclosure, heating pads do not work well.
Good-quality soil can make an ideal substrate for captive Southern Alligator Lizards. It is best to use organic soil, and at any cost, the soil must not have been treated with any toxic chemicals, such as non-organic fertilizers, pesticides and/or herbicides.
The best type of substrate in terms of keeping hygiene high, as well as easy to maintain, is coconut husks.
Apart from the substrate, live and/or artificial plants can be added to enhance the aesthetics of the enclosure, as well as for better mimicking the natural habitat of these fascinating animals.
Temperature, Lighting & Humidity
1. Southern Alligator Lizards are known to thrive in moderate temperatures.
2. In the nighttime, temperatures can be dropped down to the low 60s Fahrenheit range.
3. During the day, the temperatures should be maintained within up to the higher 80s Fahrenheit range.
4. On the cool side, keepers need to maintain temperatures within the mid-70s Fahrenheit range.
5. On the warm side, temperatures should be maintained within the low-80s Fahrenheit range.
4. Keepers need to utilize a heat lamp, positioned on one end of the enclosure, so that the lizard can bask whenever necessary as to aid digestion, and for drying off. If the enclosure is positioned right next to a window where plenty of daylight penetrates the enclosure, utilizing a heat lamp may only be necessary when the temperatures drop below the optimal rates and/or when light becomes scarce due to seasonal changes.
5. When temperatures are kept within the 70s Fahrenheit mid-range, Southern Alligator Lizards can be spotted active both during the day and night, despite being strictly diurnal creatures in the wild.
6. For heating and lighting the enclosure properly, caregivers can make use of a 100-watt bulb, or a heating pad, placed at half of the tank’s free space. If keepers are to utilize a heating pad and a heat light bulb at the same time, it is best to put them on either side.
7. Although not imperative, UVB and UVA lighting are both highly recommended, as they help the lizard optimize Calcium and other vitamin supplements. Anyway, gut loading remains crucial. As long as a keeper is to dust crickets with vitamin-mineral powder supplements, UVB/UVA lighting is not that essential.
8. For creating a well-lit basking spot, you want to maintain temperatures within the 85 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit range. Mind that the basking spot will only be used by your pet lizard occasionally.
9. Whether or not a caregiver will need heat lights depends on the temperatures one is achieving. Make sure to measure the temperatures before opting for a light, by using appropriate devices, and not by guessing.
10. You need to avoid exposing a Southern Alligator Lizard to temperatures higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Unlike Northern Alligator Lizards, Southerns do not require damp, above the average humid enclosures. However, humid hiding spots are essential, as these greatly help to facilitate shedding.
Southern Alligator Lizards are carnivorous. They feed on a variety of invertebrates, with grasshoppers, crickets, and ground beetles being a prominent part of these lizards’ diets.
Occasionally, these reptiles will also feed on young, small birds and mammals, too. Sowbugs, scorpions, snails, centipedes, spiders (including but not limited to black widow spiders) are also part of the Southern Alligator Lizards’ menu in the wild.
Interestingly, these lizards are also known to sometimes eat frog tadpoles, whenever tadpoles are to occur near the lizards’ habitat.
Based on observations, Southerns are suggested to eat animals that are quite close to or even greater in size than the lizard’s individual body length. According to some reports, Southern Alligators’ diet may also include birds’ eggs; however, this is still questioned.
Adult Southern Alligator Lizards tend to prey upon young Southerns, making cannibalism among these reptiles common. Eating other types of lizards, such as Western skinks, is also not an exception among Southern Alligator Lizards, as Southerns tend to be active when other lizards are not, therefore, snacking on easy, resting prey whenever possible.
The feeding behavior of Southern Alligator Lizards has been shown to be stimulated by movement. Southern seems to prefer moving prey. However, the eating habits of these lizards are not the least troubled when it comes to non-moving food, as they are known to feast on practically immobile baby mice, dead lizards, and spider egg contents, among others.
Southern Alligator Lizards approach edible objects/items by visually inspecting the prey at first. For this purpose, the lizards move their heads from side to side, up and down, and/or in circles, as to be able to judge the size and distance of their food.
If satisfied with the prey’s size, distance, and appeal, Southerns will then inspect the surroundings once again, this time, using their tongues.
As soon as the lizard is ready to strike its prey, the back is to be arched in a back-upward motion, while the front limbs will be straightened in attack position, with the head and neck bending downwards before a quick downward stroke is to finalize the attack.
Southern Alligator Lizards are active by day and typically rest at night. For captive Southerns, though, it is not an exception to see these lizards active both during the daytime and during the nighttime, as long as the temperatures are kept within the 70 degrees Fahrenheit middle range.
During the cold winter months, Southerns hibernate, cozily hidden in underground dens until the beginning of the spring. For captive Southern Alligator Lizards, the brumation period can be easily avoided, though.
It is best to utilize a shallow, small water bowl, placed in the very corner of the enclosure. Since these lizards are known to prowl, keepers should better securely anchor the water bowl, while making sure it will be easy to change the water and clean the water bowl as needed.
Do not worry if a captive Southern Alligator Lizards seems not to drink much water from its water bowl. These lizards often satisfy their daily drinking water requirements by simply taking some droplets from the morning mist.
It is imperative to keep the water bowl clean and to remove any feces immediately as to avoid harming the health of your lizard pet.
Development and Reproduction
After the period of hibernation is over, Southern Alligator Lizards are to emerge out of their underground dens, soon starting the mating season, which is assumed to occur from early April throughout May.
The breeding behavior of Southern Alligator Lizards is quite succinct, as they do not engage in any form of elaborate mating practices or displays like other lizards do.
The mating begins with the male pursuing a female of interest. Afterward, mating simply ensues.
What is amazing about the reproduction habits of Southern Alligator Lizards is that females have been observed to share egg-laying sites, which is quite an unusual, unexpected behavior. Another interesting phenomenon related to the reproduction and development of Southern is that there are significant differences in the number of clutches between lizard populations in different areas.
Usually, between 5 and up to 20 eggs are to be laid by the females at some time between May, June, and July. Females lay the eggs in rodents’ burrows or in rock crevices.
11 weeks after the eggs have been laid, the young Southern Alligator Lizards are to hatch. Hatchlings are approximately 1 1/3 inches in length. They weigh as little as 2 ounces on average.
Southern Alligator Lizards reach maturity once they turn 1 and ½ year old (18 months).
How to Breed
As of now, too little is known about the mating habits of Southern Alligator Lizards in the wild. With this in mind, breeding these lizards may not be deprived of possible trials and errors for the novice. However, Southern Alligators are also known to reproduce quite simply, as they do not require any highly pretentious breeding conditions, so even beginners can have good success with breeding a healthy pair consisting of a sexually mature male and female.
In general, mating is believed to occur between April and May, so this is the time when breeders want to introduce a male and a female Southern Alligator Lizard.
It is best to introduce the female into the male’s enclosure, and not vice versa, to increase the chances for fortunate breeding. Adding another male can spice things up, so to say, by triggering the natural competition between males, thus, sharpening their mating instincts.
Wetter, cooler weather is known to delay the mating season in the wild, so breeders want to ensure that the temperature and humidity within the enclosure of their captive lizards are kept on the appropriate side of the optimal rates, with temperatures leaning to the warmer optimal rates, while excess humidity should be avoided.
Mating typically begins quite shortly after the pair have been housed together. Early in their encounter, prior to mating, the male and the female may engage in a short-lived wrestling match, so do not hurry to separate them, they should be just fine. However, if the wrestling match is to endure and if any visible physical damage is noticed by the keeper, the pair should be separated.
Once mating begins, the male will hold the bite over the female for a relatively extended period of time, which can last for up to 49 hours. Do not worry; the male is not causing harm to the female by gripping her head.
Ensure that the female will have a suitable hide spot to lay the eggs. Eggs require constantly warm temperatures within the 70 – 80 Fahrenheit range to hatch. As soon as the hatchlings appear, make sure to separate them from the adults, as the young can become easy prey to the mature Southern.
Southern Alligator Lizards tend to be violent when handled during the initial stages of their development, which is mainly due to their natural defensive mechanism against possible predators, as well as because of the fact they will not have been well-used to their keepers or to their enclosure at the beginning.
Later on, as caregivers are to practice careful handling, these lizards significantly calm down and can be handled without much of a fuss, as long as the animal is approached with patience, respect, and understanding.
1. Only grab a Southern Alligator Lizard by gently taking a grip of the underside of the body. Support the body and carefully lift the reptile.
2. Do not pull or otherwise grab a Southern alligator by the tail. Although the tail is fairly durable, it is possible to break it with improper handling.
3. Do not attempt to handle a Southern Alligator Lizard when the creature starts feeding.
4. Start with handling your lizard pet for only short periods of time. Do not force the animal. It will get used to being handled over time, so be patient.
5. To prevent a bite during the early stages of handling, and/or if dealing with an adult Southern alligator, especially one in the wild, you can use a pair of work gloves.
How to Treat and Prevent Possible Health Issues
1. Captive-bred, healthy Southern Alligator Lizards are known to be very sturdy, hardy creatures. As long as their basic care requirements are met, and the hygiene within their enclosure is well-maintained, these reptiles will rarely suffer from any serious health issues.
2. Apart from possibly providing humid hideouts, in order to facilitate shedding, morning misting with water can greatly help, too. Just mist scarcely since Southern Alligator Lizards should not be exposed to high levels of humidity.
3. Crickets are a favorite food item for Southern Alligators. However, if some crickets are to escape during feeding time, they may dig up in the substrate. The buildup of escaped crickets in the substrate can lead to multiple crickets emerging during the cooler times, nibbling on your lizard pet. Then again, proper hygiene is a must to avoid such issues from occurring.
Possible Dangers to Humans
1. Armed with powerful jaws, hidden in their relatively large heads, adult Southern Alligator lizards are fully capable of inflicting a series of painful bites. Applying caution and care when handling these lizards, especially if they are not used to you, is a must.
2. Southern Alligator lizards are easy to care for and very adorable to the contemplators. However, careful handling remains crucial, as these lizards may carry a wide range of germs. These germs can easily lead to illness in humans, especially when it comes to pregnant women, minors, elderly people, as well as people with serious diseases causing the immune system to weaken, like cancer.
Typically, captive, well-looked after Southerns, annually checked by a qualified vet, should not be a source of nasty germs.
Commonly found in just about all types of reptiles, Salmonella can spread to humans if a human is to touch something contaminated with the reptile’s feces, and then is to touch his/her mouth.
Salmonella infection can lead to headaches, severe dehydration, stomach cramps, fever, diarrhea, and in severe cases, blood poisoning.
Back in 2008, out of the total of 449 reported cases of salmonellosis, 15 were due to contact with reptiles, and 9 out of 15 were documented with children under one year of age.
As a rule of thumb, keeping reptiles as pets does not pose high health risks to humans, as long as proper, high hygiene is maintained, and minors are kept away from close contact with pet reptiles.
However, it is possible for reptiles to lead to bowel infection in humans (aka campylobacteriosis), liver disease (leptospirosis), or trichinellosis. Most of these conditions are treatable, yet they can also be very severe.
To reduce the chances of any health risks, please mind the following:
1. Always wash your hands with soapy, hot water every time after handling a reptile.
2. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching reptile food, feces, tanks, and any other equipment within the enclosure.
3. Wear disposal gloves whenever cleaning the tank/equipment of your lizard pet.
4. Dispose of wastewater and feces in an outside drain or in the toilet, never in the common trash bin.
Availability: How to Get a Southern Alligator Lizard?
Only captive-bred Southern Alligator Lizards should be kept as pets.
Although many people are fond of obtaining a Southern Alligator Lizard from the wild and then releasing it back if desired, these animals can host a wide array of harmful diseases.
Also, wild Southern Alligator Lizards are more difficult to tame than captive-bred ones.
Not the least, Southerns caught in the wild stand a high chance of being subjected to environmental stress when kept in captivity, especially as they are used to hibernate in the winter. Ensuring the right conditions for these reptiles to hibernate in captivity and then to go back to their normal pace of life can be especially tricky and can often result in the death of the animal.
Taking these wild animals from their habitat is, nonetheless, harmful to the fragile ecosystems in their natural environment.
Only purchase captive-bred Southern Alligator Lizards from reputable breeders/ retailers. If purchasing one in-person, you can inspect if the tail has been broken or not. Although these lizards regrow their tails, once broken, the tail will forever lose its bright coloration and impressive size.
1. The tail of the Southern alligator lizard is pretty much prehensile, meaning that this type of lizard is fully capable of using its almost double the size of the body tail for the purpose of suspending, climbing, and pulling up from branches, offering quite a spectacular view to the contemplators to enjoy.
2. Southern Alligator Lizards can regrow their tails in the case of damage. However, the new tail will never grow identical to the original tail. In most cases (if not always), the new tail is shorter and has a visibly different pattern of fewer bright scales. Also, the process of tail regeneration is quite expensive in terms of energy. During the tail regeneration process, survival, as well as reproductive fitness, have been shown to significantly decrease.
3. Similarly to snakes, Southern Alligator Lizards are known to shed their skin by turning it inside out as they are to crawl out of it, thus, shedding in a single intact piece.
4. The generic term “Elgaria,” which makes up the scientific name for the Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata), is believed to be named for an “Elgar,” a pun on “alligator.” “Multicarinata” is a term referring to the keeled scales of these lizards. The common name “alligator lizard” is used as a form of reference to the way the belly and back scales of Southern Alligator Lizards are reinforced by bone in the same way as in alligators.
5. The blood protein of Southern Alligator Lizards is found to kill Lyme disease in ticks. In areas inhabited by Southern Alligator Lizards, there are up to 50% fewer ticks infected with Lyme disease, as compared with areas non-occupied by these lizards.
6. When mating, it may seem as if the male is trying to eat the female because of grabbing her by the head and keeping his grip. However, this is believed to be a type of a “mating guard,” used by the male as to make sure that no other rival is to try to mate with the selected, neatly gripped lizard lady.
How to Take Care of a Southern Alligator Lizard
1. To enjoy seeing your Southern Alligator Lizard pet more active, add a rough-barked branch within the enclosure to allow the animal to “exercise.”
2. Avoid feeding your lizard pet with mealworms too frequently. These worms have a hard exoskeleton, which can lead to health issues for the Southern Alligators.
3. Do not introduce a male and female Southern Alligator lizard, unless when it comes to breeding purposes. If attempting to breed them, make sure the pair has reached sexual maturity, as well as that the pair has gained a healthy body weight prior to mating.
4. Baby, as well as juvenile Southern Alligator Lizards, should be provided with enough space, as well as enough food, for successful cohabitation, or they can attack, hurt, and even eat each other. Mind that juvenile females are especially aggressive towards other females, while males are observed to act less aggressively at this stage of their development.
5. As a rule of thumb, you only want to house one single Southern Alligator lizard within the enclosure. With these reptiles, even when seemingly fine, cohabitation is generally a ticking time bomb scenario. By cohabitating these lizards, you risk their well-being and even their lives.
6. Keepers have the choice to intentionally brumate or not their Southern Alligator Lizards. However, with a mind to keeping a healthy pet, active all-year-round, it is best not to let captive Southern Alligator Lizards develop hibernation habits. Also, hibernating these creatures once may require you to keep hibernating them year after year.
7. To avoid hibernation, keepers simply need to maintain temperatures within the optimal rates. Having a suitable light source is also crucial to simulate the 12+ hours of light typical for the long summer days throughout the year.
8. Be gentle and patient when handling your Southern Alligator Lizard pet. These creatures need time to get better familiar with their owners, as well as to associate handling with positive interactions, rather than stress. Do not force the animal but respect its private space and temperament, and let your Southy teach you under what circumstances, as well as how often, it tolerates being handled.
Are Southern Alligator Lizards Poisonous to Cats and Dogs?
Southern Alligator lizards are not poisonous to cats and dogs alike, as these lizards are not toxic. However, if a Southern alligator lizard is accidentally ingested by a cat or dog, this can lead to temporary gastrointestinal issues, so consulting with a qualified vet is recommended.
Do Southern Alligator Lizards Make Good Pets?
Whether a Southern Alligator lizard will make a good pet greatly depends on the keeper’s attitude toward these creatures. Being easy to take care of, Southern Alligator Lizards can make great pets for the caregivers who are committed to ensuring that these reptiles will have the right conditions to thrive.
Are Southern Alligator Lizards Aggressive Animals?
Southern Alligator Lizards are not hostile, evil, or aggressive by nature. However, these reptiles can and will become aggressive if they feel threatened. In such cases, these animals will first try to threaten in return by having their mouths wide open, before they bite swiftly, especially when one is trying to pick them up carelessly.
Can Southern Alligator Lizards Carry Disease to Humans?
Like all other reptiles, Southern Alligator Lizards can carry disease to humans, because of a wide range of possible germs, including worms, parasites, viruses, and bacteria. However, captive-bred Southern Alligator Lizards are to lack any potential disease, and by maintaining proper hygiene, there should be no health risk for the caregivers.
How Often Should I Feed my Southern Alligator Lizard Pet?
Juvenile Southern alligator lizards should be fed with about five crickets every day. Adult Southern alligator lizards should be fed with about 10 crickets every third-fourth day. Also, adults can be fed with just one single pinky mice once every two weeks.
Can a Southern Alligator Lizard’s Bite Harm You?
If bitten by a healthy, captive Southern Alligator Lizard, harms will be mostly limited to the associated temporary pain. While not a pleasurable sensation, the pain and possible redness/swelling will fade away, yet the bitten spot should be immediately washed with antibacterial soap. Before biting, the lizards are sure to send warning signs, and with continuous, careful handling, they can get used to human contact and stop trying to bite altogether.
Do Southern Alligator Lizards Need Water?
Provided the keeper is to mist the enclosure daily, a shallow dish of fresh, clean drinking water is only recommendable but not imperative for taking proper care of a Southern Alligator Lizard. Southern Alligator lizards tend to prefer sipping water straight from their daily misting, rather than sipping from their water bowls.
Do Southern Alligator Lizards Get Lonely?
No, Southern Alligator lizards do not get lonely or depressed because of not being housed with other lizards. In fact, cohabitating Southern Alligator lizards are a quite sticky and tricky situation. Even though the cohabitating lizards may seem fine at first, the situation will almost inevitably swiftly change within weeks, months, or even days.
Are Southern Alligator Lizards Suitable Pets for Children?
Like with all other reptiles, it is best not to keep Southern Alligator Lizards in the house if there are children under the age of five. Children over six years old can be properly taught how to treat a lizard pet, yet hygiene must be kept very, very high. Children must have their hands thoroughly washed after touching the lizard or any item from the enclosure, and they must not be allowed to touch their mouths prior to washing their hands.
Are Southern Alligator Lizards Beginner-Friendly Pets?
Yes, Southern Alligator Lizards are generally considered beginner-friendly pets, as their care requirements are quite straightforward and easy to maintain, even by novice reptile enthusiasts. While both male and female Southern Alligator lizards can make quiet and adorably curious to look after pets, the newbies should keep in mind that males are typically easier to tame.