I've been keeping succulents
for a number of years now (people sometimes say I should try other plants, but I find succulents
fascinating. Besides, I have an orchid) and have had three playful, desert-dwelling lizards for over a year. As a responsible reptile keeper, I'm always striving to recreate their natural environment as closely as possible. I once tried keeping an aloe vera plant with one leopard gecko (only about 8 inches long, insectivorous, and not very heavy) and she accidentally killed it by climbing on and breaking off the leaves/stems.
I've heard of some bearded dragon owners ("beardies" grow to about 2-3 feet long) keeping jade plants in their terrariums without any harm to the lizards or the plants. That got me thinking...why not try one with my plated lizard, who originates from roughly the same part of Africa as the jade plant? He lives in a terrarium that's about four feet long and 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Since he needs sunlight as much as plants do, he has his own UVA/UVB light that raises the daytime temperature to about 30 C directly beneath it with an ambient temperature of about 25 C. His home is heated by an undertank heater at night, which makes half the terrarium about 20 C when the light goes off (the other half is about 18 C). I believe he's an adult, although I can't say for sure since I got him from a family-owned and operated animal rescue centre. This means that he's unlikely to grow past his 18 inches of length (most of which is tail) or to gain much weight.
I'm wondering if a jade plant would do well in this terrarium for at least a few years. It is a desert setup, and as I said there's lots of light in there. I also understand that the plant will need to stay in a pot lest the lizard dig it up when he burrows. There is a chance he'll nibble on it a bit, but although he's technically an omnivore, he'll gladly take a juicy insect over a salad any day.
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!