Nov 162011
 

Download care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Males up to 3 feet, females smaller.

Life Span
10+ years.

Male/Female Differences
Male adult water dragons are crested and have large heads and jowls. The neck on the male is darker colored. Females have larger femoral pores and are smaller.

Compatibility
Keep in groups of one male up to four females. Large rooms can accommodate more groups.

Origin
China, Thailand, into the Indo-Australian archipelago.

Climate
Warm tropical trees near water.

Day Cycle
Diurnal – active during the day.

Temperature
Mid 80’s during the day, slightly cooler at night. Provide higher heat – up to 90 degrees – above a basking spot.

Lighting
Provide UVB lighting for 8-12 hours per day to help utilize calcium, vitamin B, and vitamin D.

Humidity
Water dragons prefer 70-80 percent humidity. This can be maintained with daily misting, a waterfall, a large water dish, or automatic misting systems.

Habitat/Territory
These lizards spend their time on branches up in trees.

Substrate/Bedding
Reptile bark and shredded coconut fibers make ideal bedding in that they help hold humidity. Soil mixtures, although they can get dirty, can be planted with live plants. Reptile carpet can be used as it is easy to disinfect and prevents parasites.

Hiding Place/Den
Plenty of live or artificial plants and vines provide places for the animal to climb and hide.

Cage Type
The cage should be a minimum of twice the length of the animal – a 15 inch lizard needs at least an aquarium measuring 30 inches. Glass aquariums with screen lids are great homes as they help hold humidity. Larger and multiple animals can be housed in custom made enclosures. These active animals really need room to run and climb to prevent atrophy of the leg muscles, so provide as much space as possible.

Diet
Offer variety to these lizards. They are omnivores, so feed properly gut loaded crickets with an occasional waxworm or superworm. Larger water dragons can also be offered an occasional pinkie or fuzzie. Offer fresh vegetables, such as dark leafy greens and squashes, and fresh fruits, such as apples, bananas, strawberries, and melons. Continue to offer vegetables and fruits even if ignored the first few times.

Supplements
Feed crickets a proper diet to ensure adequate nutrition for you dragon. Dust crickets with small amounts of vitamin/calcium powder; lizards fed a properly balanced diet should need supplementation every week or two, but tiny amounts can be used every feeding.

Diet Precautions
Dietary imbalances and a type of gout can be caused by feeding a limited diet. Avoid over supplementing , especially with too much phosphorus. Do not feed too much fruit as this can cause diarrhea.

Feeding
Feed juveniles small crickets dusted with vitamin supplements every two days. Adult water dragons should be fed every three to four days. Offer smaller items, about one third of the animal’s head, instead of one large item.

Water Source
Provide fresh water daily. A large water dish will allow the dragon to soak and will help keep the humidity high.

Grooming
Proper humidity ensures proper shedding of skin – but too high can cause bacterial infections in the skin and mouth. Soaking daily in a large, tall sided container of water will benefit their skin and provide some much needed exercise.

Oral and Foot Care
Mouth rot from too much moisture. Toes can get caught on loose threads from the cage carpet. Providing climbing branches helps keep these lizard’s nails trimmed; they can also be trimmed by an experienced vet or here at Wilmette pet. Limbs can become atrophied if they are not given enough exercise.

Proper Handling
While water dragons do not enjoy a lot of handling, they are calm and relaxed in the hand for short periods. Keep nails trimmed to avoid scratches, and always wash hands after handling any reptile or amphibians. Use care when handling as their tail can break off.

Habitat Maintenance
Spot clean cage and replace water daily. Replace substrate when dirty, every few weeks.

Health Concerns
Bacterial infections can result from excessively high humidity and unsanitary conditions. Metabolic bone disease can result from improper diet, poor lighting. and lack of supplements. Water dragons can also suffer from internal and external parasites and atrophied leg muscles.

Nov 162011
 

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Males range from 6 to 9 inches long while females range from 9 to 12 inches.

Lifespan
20-40 years with proper care.

Male/Female Differences
Females are larger and have a smaller tail. Males have longer, thicker tails and longer front claws with the cloaca closer to the tip of the tail.

Compatibility
Interacting with red-eared sliders and socialization are important in the development of a young turtle to eliminate behavioral problems later. These turtles are best kept alone because of the space, water quality issues, and aggression. If cohabitation is preferred make sure they have a large aquarium (75 gallons for two 5 inch turtles), a powerful internal and biological filter, appropriate lighting, and that both turtles are of equal size.

Origin
Southern United States.

Climate
Ponds, lakes, marshes, creeks, and streams.

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
The proper temperature allows the turtle to regulate body temperature. As such the water temperature should be of 76-80°F, while their basking area should be 86-90°F.

Lighting
Appropriate lighting is important since wild red-eared sliders enjoy the full power of the sun; their captive habitat must attempt to replicate their natural environment as much as possible. The lighting should provide three things – UVB, UVA, and heat. UVB rays help the turtle by providing D3, a vitamin which allows for the metabolization and absorption of calcium. Heat and UVA rays help regulate the turtle’s feeding, activity, and mating. Lighting should be on for 10-12 hours a day with an emphasis on a consistent day/night cycle. Heat can also be provided with a submersible heater; make sure it is shatterproof since turtles tend to break them.

Humidity
Moderate; lightly mist the tank every couple of days to simulate rain.

Habitat/Territory
Red-eared sliders reside in areas with calm, fresh, and warm waters

Substrate/Bedding
River rocks, sand or no substrate, all make good choices for the aquatic part of the habitat. Small aquarium gravel poses a health risk as the turtle could easily mistake it for food and an impaction could occur. 70% of the habitat should consist of water and the rest should comprise of land. The water level should be no deeper than the total length of the turtle. For example, if the turtle is six inches, the maximum height of the water level is also six inches. Make sure the turtle can gain access to the land by using rocks that are not steep, like slate. Wood chips, river rocks, and sand are all good choices for the terrestrial area.

Hiding Place/Den
Non-toxic hiding places will provide a spot where the turtle can retreat to if they feel threatened or uncomfortable. This is especially important for younger turtles that may not always want attention.

Cage Type
Aquariums, plastic storage containers, and ponds all make excellent habitats. Since red-eared sliders can grow up to a foot, buy the biggest enclosure possible. A 36” x 13” enclosure is a good size to start with, and should house the turtle adequately for the next three years, but a fully-grown turtle should live in something no smaller than a 48” x 18” enclosure. Make sure the area is escape-proof.

Diet
A varied and balanced diet is important for the long-term health of the turtle. Simply put, an exclusive diet of commercial pellets will not meet the turtle’s dietary needs and may cause deficiencies, disorders, or even premature death. Their captive diet should be close match their natural diet which can include earthworms, small fish, shrimp, dandelion leaves, anacharis, duckweed, etc. Young turtles (1-5 years) should have a 60-40% ratio of protein and vegetable matter. Older turtles should have a 25-75% ratio of protein and vegetable matter.

Supplements
Calcium and phosphorus supplements are recommended since red-eared sliders often suffer from shell and bone inadequacies and the phosphorus will help to control their metabolism. Since these supplements are usually in powder form, simply sprinkle over their food.

Diet Precautions
Excess amount of protein in young turtles cause rapid, unhealthy growth that could lead to permanent shell deformity. Avoid a uniform diet. Inadequate amounts of calcium and phosphorus are also issues with feeding the same foods.

Feeding
Small amounts of vegetables and plants should be offered every day while the protein part of their diet – be it pellets, feeder fish, or worms – should be given every other day. Be careful not to overfeed.

Water Source
Red-eared sliders drink and absorb water while they swim so it is vital that a high water quality is maintained. 50% percent water changes should be performed every three days.

Grooming
Make sure the turtle is spending enough time out of the water because most illnesses aquatic turtles are prone to are due to their lack of drying off on land. Red-eared sliders should spend at least six hours on land daily.

Oral and Foot Care
The turtle’s nails may need to be clipped every couple of months depending on the level of their activity. Use cat safe nail clippers.

Proper Handling
Pick them up with both hands and make sure to support their body. Be careful to keep your fingers away from its face as it may mistake them for worms. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling a turtle with antibacterial soap.

Habitat Maintenance
Healthy turtles will relieve themselves a lot, so cleaning their habitat is very important. Turtles tend to defecate right after they eat, so it is advised to feed them in a small container filled with water. Large water changes should be done every three days to maintain clean water. The terrestrial part of the habitat should be cleaned out and replaced every week.

Health Concerns
Red-eared sliders are prone to metabolic bone disease/soft shell (MBD), dystocia (egg binding), shell rot, respiratory infections, fungal infections, ear infections, accidental drowning and obesity. MBD is a serious, but preventable condition brought on about by lack of calcium or vitamin D3. Appropriate UVB lighting and a differentiated diet will help counteract this disease. Dystocia affects female turtles when eggs are abnormally held within the body. Constructing a nesting area (consisting of moist soil, leaves, and sand) and meeting their calcium needs should prevent this anomaly. Shell rot develops when an injury to the shell becomes infected because of the turtle spending too much time within the water. Symptoms are discoloration, exposed tissue, and softening of the shell. Keeping the aquarium clean, antibiotics, and a lot of rest will help remedy this ailment. Improper temperatures cause respiratory infections, which may become fatal. Irregular swimming, breathing difficulties, and lethargy are all symptoms of infection. Consult your veterinarian immediately. Ear infections are caused by the poor water quality and the symptoms are erratic swimming and a swollen head. Consult your veterinarian immediately as he/she will need to prescribe antibiotics. Poor water quality and insufficient UVB lighting cause fungal infections. Cleaning the water, soaking the turtle in saltwater, and using sulfa blocks should help clear up the fungus. Aquatic turtles frequently drown by accidentally wedging themselves between the terrestrial part of the habitat. Lowering the water level and making sure the land mass is situated underneath rocks or bricks that are impenetrable, that is the turtle cannot jam itself between them. The causes for obesity are obvious, not enough exercise and bad nutrition. Feed less, focusing more on vegetables and make sure the turtle gets a decent amount of activity, be it by buying a bigger enclosure or letting them play outside under close supervision.

Nov 162011
 
Mali Uromastyx

Mali Uromastyx

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Up to 16 inches

Life Span
About 35 years

Male/Female Differences
Females are smaller and less colorful. They are usually tan colored with black dorsal spots while males are bright yellow with black markings. Females also have shorter claws than males.

Compatibility
An Uromastyx is very territorial but may be kept in groups with only one male as long as there is adequate space.

Origin
The Mali Uromastyx comes from African regions.

Climate
It is necessary for the Mali Uromastyx to have a hot and dry climate.

Day Cycle
Diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and asleep during the night.

Temperature
During the day, it is ideal to keep the temperature between 85-110 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night, keep the temperature between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. There should also be a basking area provided by a heat lamp that heats the area 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lighting
Full spectrum UVB bulbs as well as a basking light are necessary for proper absorption of calcium that benefit heart and kidney functions.

Humidity
The humidity level in their environment should be maintained at 20%. This may be monitored by a hygrometer.

Habitat/Territory
Rocks and branches are great for the Uromastyx. Placing a rock underneath the basking lamp allows the Uromastyx to feel the heat from both the top of its body as well as from the belly. Although they love it hot, branches and enclosures kept at cooler areas are recommended to help regulate body temperature.

Substrate/Bedding
A reptile carpet should be used as a substrate. Also provide a burrowing box filled with calcium sand to promote instinctual burrowing.

Hiding Place/Den
They love to have hiding places in order to feel secure so provide decorative rocks, logs, and plants that are stationary in order to prevent injury.

Cage Type
For the Mali, the larger the tank the better. A 36” glass terrarium with a screen top is recommended for proper ventilation. The size of the terrarium may vary with the size of the Mali.

Diet
Being herbivores, Mali’s should be mostly fed with nutritious leafy greens and vegetables. Fruits should also be provided as an occasional supplement. Good supplemental fruits can include red berries, melons, and plums in small quantities.

Supplements
A calcium supplement dusted on the food is necessary.

Diet Precautions
Malis should not be overfed. As a supplement, they can occasionally be fed insects however too much may become hard to digest.

Feeding
Mali Uromastyx must be fed every day with about one to two tablespoons of food.

Water Source
Provide a shallow and small bowl of fresh water. This should be changed out everyday.

Grooming
A very light misting of the terrarium as well as of the Mali is sufficient for their grooming.

Oral and Foot Care
It is vital to wash food and water dishes to prevent mouth infections. Provide safe climbing areas for healthy muscle development.

Proper Handling
The Mali should be allotted bout 3 to 4 days in order to adjust to its new home. After it becomes comfortable, careful handling for short periods of time is fine.

Habitat Maintenance
A proper cleaning of the entire terrarium is recommended to keep the Mali healthy. The tank and the fixtures inside should be completely washed out and disinfected every two to three weeks. Spot clean as necessary.

Health Concerns
Malis may be susceptible to parasites if the terrarium is not often cleaned. Egg binding could be a result from poor calcium levels and or from the first infertile egg cycle. Mali’s may face kidney problems, which can be due from protein rich diets or poor calcium and phosphorous levels. Trim nails when necessary. Respiratory problems may be caused by low heat conditions and excess moisture.

Nov 162011
 
Iguana

Iguana

Download the care sheet (pdf)

Adult Size
Specimen’s lengths can range from 4-6 feet and their weight can be between 14-20 lbs.

Life Span
20+ years with proper care.

Male/Female Differences
Males have dorsal spines that are noticeably longer and thicker than females. Males also have highly developed femoral pores on the underside of their thighs which secrete a scent. Females are generally smaller in size and have slimmer heads and wider abdomens.

Compatibility
Young iguanas are very timid and will not like human contact. Do not be intimidated by its tail whips, hisses, scratches, or bites; take slow steps and in time the iguana will be successfully socialized. It is highly advised not to keep multiple iguanas together because of their sheer size, territorial grounds, and aggression.

Origin
North, Central, and South America.

Climate
Arboreal, tropical parts of the Americas.

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
The appropriate temperature is critical in maintaining the iguana active and healthy. Keep the temperature at 80-95°F during the day and 75-80°F at night. Provide a temperature gradient across the habitat, with areas to bask and shade, so the iguana can regulate his/her own body heat

Lighting
Appropriate lighting is important since wild iguanas enjoy the full power of the sun; their captive habitat must attempt to replicate their natural environment as much as possible. The lighting should provide three things – UVB, UVA, and heat. UVB rays provide D3, a vitamin, which allows for the metabolization and absorption of calcium. Heat and UVA rays help regulate the iguana’s feeding, activity, and mating. Lighting should be on for 10-12 hours a day with an emphasis on a consistent day/night cycle. Be careful to place their heat source somewhere the iguana cannot reach it, because burns are a serious and common injury to reptiles.

Humidity
Humidity is essential to the general health of the iguana because these reptiles receive the majority of their water intake directly from the moisture in the air. Humidity within the enclosure should be maintained around 90-100% and monitored with a hygrometer.

Habitat/Territory
Green iguanas reside in the highest branches of arboreal and tropical areas.

Substrate/Bedding
Reptile carpet or anything that can be easily disinfected cleaned and dried. Bark chips can also be used, but must be changed a couple times a week, as bark can get dirty and moist very quickly. Bark chips may also harbor parasites and mites, which can be difficult to get rid of.

Hiding Place/Den
Non-toxic hiding places will provide a spot where an iguana can retreat to if it feels threatened or uncomfortable. This is especially important for young iguanas that may not always want attention. The best things you can add to their environment are animal safe branches, vines and plants. Iguanas are disposed to climbing high places and the vines and plants will replicate their natural surroundings nicely.

Cage Type
Aquariums can be used to house juvenile iguanas, but nothing less than a 30-gallon tank. As they grow, it would be cost effective to purchase a custom built cage designed to house a fully mature iguana. This means an enclosure at least 8 feet high, 8 feet long, and 4 feet wide. Many dedicated owners redesign a room specifically intended for their iguana given that they grow to be so large. Make sure the area is escape-proof.

Diet
A varied and balanced diet is important for the long-term health of the iguana. Make sure to offer a wide selection of vegetables and fruits so that they do not become selective and hooked on a few foods. Juveniles require a higher protein content and for this reason they should be fed commercial pellets as the staple until it is three years old. Their diet should consist of 90% greens and 10% fruits since iguanas are herbivorous. Healthy vegetables, fruits, and plants include mustard greens, collard greens, kale, green beans, peas, carrots, mangos, papayas, apples, bananas, melon, dandelion flowers, and hibiscus flowers. Most fruits are high in phosphorus and for this reason they should be given sparingly.

Supplements
Calcium supplements are recommended daily, given that young iguanas are prone to calcium deficiencies. Vitamin and mineral supplements should also be administered once a week. Since these supplements are usually in powder form, simply sprinkle over their food.

Diet Precautions
Try not to feed animal protein to iguanas because their bodies are not designed to deal with it. Doing so may cause rapid, unhealthy growth. Avoid a uniform diet. Inadequate and excessive amounts of calcium and phosphorus are also issues with feeding the same foods.

Feeding
Chop/grate all the ingredients into a size that can easily fit into the iguana’s mouth and then sprinkle calcium powder on top of it. Feed the iguana appropriate amounts twice a day. Be careful not to overfeed and make sure you are alternating both foods and supplements.

Water Source
Provide a constant supply of clean, fresh, and chlorine-free water. Change their water pan twice a day. Iguanas are capable swimmers and should be allowed to exercise. Fill up a kiddie pool or bathtub a couple times a week and drop them in. Keep a close eye on the iguana to make sure it is comfortable.
Grooming The habitat must have the correct humidity in order for the iguana to properly shed its skin. Allowing the iguana to swim in a bathtub or kiddie pool will also facilitate their shedding of old skin.
Oral and Foot Care The iguana’s nails may need to be clipped every month depending on the level of their activity. Use cat safe nail clippers.

Proper Handling
Juveniles should be picked up with both hands making sure to support their body. Adults should not be handled unless they are completely comfortable with you. Never grab an iguana by their tail, since it can easily break off. Always wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after handling a lizard.

Habitat Maintenance
Spot clean their enclosure daily; iguanas tend to relieve themselves in the water provided, so change the water often. They can also be trained to go on newspaper and in time will go on nothing but paper. Thoroughly clean their habitat once a week with a mild bleach solution, rinse it clean, allow it to dry, and replace the substrate.

Health Concerns
Iguanas are prone to metabolic bone disease (MBD), respiratory infections, kidney disease, severe burns, mites, and intestinal impaction. MBD is a serious, but preventable condition brought on about by lack of calcium or vitamin D3. Symptoms include lethargy, soft bones, and swollen limbs. Appropriate UVB lighting and a differentiated diet will help counteract this disease. Improper temperatures cause respiratory infections, which may become fatal. Irregular swimming, breathing difficulties, and lethargy are all symptoms of infection. Consult your veterinarian immediately. Kidney disease is mainly caused by dehydration. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, and frequent drinking. Correctly adjusting the humidity, offering clean water, and weekly swims should cure the problem. Severe burns are a serious and common injury to reptiles because they often get too close to their heat source and do not realize they are in harm’s way. Iguanas are susceptible to mites and parasites if their habitat is not disinfected or cleaned often. Intestinal impaction can occur if the iguana eats his/her substrate, toys, or any other non-digestible items.

Oct 162011
 

Panther Chameleon: Furcifer pardalis

Adult Size
Males up to 20 inches. Females much smaller, almost half the size of males.

Life Span
Up to ten years in captivity, with an average lifespan of five. Breeding females tend only to live a couple of years.

Male/Female Differences
Males are almost twice the size of females and are much more brightly colored.

Compatibility
Panther Chameleons are solitary creatures and should be kept as such. Females may be introduced to a male’s cage during breeding season, but should be removed as soon as possible.

Origin
Panther Chameleons are exclusively found on the island of Madagascar

Climate
Warm temperate, high humidity but not excessively hot.

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
A gradient of heat from 75 – 85°F should be provided during the day with a basking point. Temp should drop 10 – 15° at night, but not below 65.

Lighting
Chameleons need a source of UVB light to properly metabolize calcium. This should be provided in the form of a reptile fluorescent or mercury vapor bulb in a normal day cycle (10 – 12 hours/day).

Humidity
High humidity is essential to a Panther’s well being. 65-80%. Accomplish this by misting the cage several times daily or with the addition of moisture retaining decorations, such as live plants or water features.

Habitat/Territory
Jungle/Rain forest. Chameleons from different geographical areas in Madagascar can be identified by different colour markings.

Substrate/Bedding
Moisture retaining substrate is best, as it will help raise the humidity, as long as it is not allowed to become sodden and stagnant. Newspaper or cage carpet is quite sanitary when changed frequently, but can’t retain moisture.

Hiding Place/Den
Your chameleon will feel comfortable high in the cage surrounded by real
or artificial foliage.

Cage Type
An open air, screen mesh cage is necessary. Glass tanks do not provide adequate ventilation for chameleons, and reflections will stress them out. The cage should be large (at least 24 inches square) with lots of vertical space for climbing. Ensure that the wire mesh is appropriate for reptiles and will not abrade your chameleons feet.

Diet
A variety of well gut-loaded insects, consisting primarily of crickets, but also including meal worms, super worms, and wax worms – or even silk worms, caterpillars, or grasshoppers if you can find a clean source (insects from outside may contain parasites which can overrun your lizard in captivity).

Supplements
The insects being fed should be lightly dusted with a calcium supplement 5- 7 times per week, and a multivitamin supplement once or twice per week.

Diet Precautions
In general, avoid feeding to much of any one prey item Ensure that your insects are properly gut-loaded (fed a high vitamin food for at least 24 hours before offering them to your lizard). Always supplement with calcium and provide proper lighting to keep your lizard’s bones healthy.

Feeding
Daily. 6-7 prey items for juveniles. As your chameleon grows, larger prey items, such as pinky mice, can be offered, or more smaller items.

Water Source
Chameleons will not drink stagnant water. They enjoy drinking water from leaves or decorations after the cage has been misted, or water that is constantly moving. Because of this and their high-humidity requirements, an automatic mister or water feature is a good investment.

Grooming
As long as proper humidity is maintained, your lizard should shed easily. If the environment is too dry, then you may need to correct the humidity levels and gently remove any unshed skin.

Oral and Foot Care
Make sure there are no sharp edges or excessively rough, abrasive surfaces in the cage, as chameleons like to climb over everything.

Proper Handling
Panther Chameleons should be handled rarely. It stresses them out a great deal. If you need or want to occasionally pick up your chameleon, it should be scooped up gently from underneath, or delicately shooed onto your hand from its perch. Avoid pulling the animal from a perch as you may dislocate joints.

Habitat Maintenance
Plants or decorations should be cleaned of feces when they are apparent. Substrate should be changed monthly and the cage disinfected with distilled vinegar or a 5% bleach solution.

Health Concerns
Metabolic bone disease results from lack of calcium supplementation or improper lighting. MBD manifests as swollen or bowed limbs, listlessness, and refusal to feed. Improper temperatures can lead to dehydration on the high end and improper digestion on the low end.

Oct 162011
 

Leopard Gecko: Euplepharis macularius

Adult Size
6-10 inches, including the tail.

Life Span
These geckos are long lived animals, living up to twenty years in captivity with proper care.

Male/Female Differences
Males are slightly larger and bulkier than females. Mature males will also have a v-shaped row of pores above their cloaca (vent), and two bulges just below their cloaca caused by their reproductive organ.

Compatibility
Adult males should never be kept together, as they are territorial and will fight. However, a single male can be kept with multiple females peacefully, as long as the cage is of an appropriate size.

Origin
Leopard geckos have been bred successfully in captivity for some time. Many different colour morphs are now available. The lizard gets its name from the wild specimen, which is spotted.

Climate
Leopard geckos are desert animals.

Day Cycle
Like many desert animals, these geckos are nocturnal (awake during the night) in order to avoid the extreme heat of the sun.

Temperature
85-95° F during the day, with a decrease of ten to fifteen degrees at night.

Lighting
Like all lizards, leopard geckos require a source of UVB light in order to synthesize vitamin D, and properly metabolize calcium.

Humidity
These lizards are desert animals, and are accustomed to an arid environment. A small amount of moistened moss or vermiculite placed in the reptile’s den will create a small area of humidity (humidor) that will greatly ease the animal’s shedding.

Habitat/Territory
The deserts of Northeastern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, often found in caves and burrows.

Substrate/Bedding
A sand substrate appropriate for reptiles (either crushed English walnut shells or calcium sand) will promote the most natural behavior. Cage carpet or paper may also be used if it is changed frequently.

Hiding Place/Den
These lizards are naturally drawn to caves, where they will hide during the day. As previously stated, they will benefit greatly from a higher humidity in their den.

Cage Type
10-20 gallon aquariums are appropriate for adult geckos, more space always being better. If multiple geckos are to be kept, the cage should be accordingly larger.

Diet
Leopard geckos are carnivorous, eating insects and small mammals in the wild. Four appropriately sized crickets per day makes a sufficient maintenance diet. Meal worms and wax worms make great supplements, as long as the lizard is large enough to consume them.

Supplements
A calcium supplement is necessary to ensure proper bone development. A good vitamin A supplement (found in reptile vitamin mixes) will ensure proper health for your gecko.

Diet Precautions
Insects are only as nutritious as the contents of their guts. It is imperative to gut load them before feeding them to your gecko. The crickets should be housed for at least 24 hours with a high quality commercial diet, or an assortment of different foods (fruit one week, vegetables the next, or grains). The scrapings from your cutting board usually make great cricket food.

Feeding
Place the crickets in a bag with a light dusting of calcium and vitamin powder, shaking the bag to coat the crickets. When preparing worms, simply sprinkle the supplements on top before offering them to your gecko.

Water Source
A small shallow bowl that cannot be tipped over should always be available. Geckos are much more likely to drink moving water, and will appreciate water dribbled onto the tip of their nose from a misting bottle or drip cup from time to time.

Grooming
All aspects of the environment should be kept clean, sanitized with a 5% bleach solution whenever necessary. The animal itself is relatively low maintenance.

Oral and Foot Care
Mouth and foot issues are rare in leopard geckos and any concerns should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Proper Handling
Pick your gecko up from behind, so as not to startle it. Hold it firmly, but gently. Small children may want to hold the gecko (with adult supervision) over its cage, so that if they lose their grip, the gecko will simply fall into its cage. Never grab a gecko by the tail, as they can shed their tails as a defense mechanism.

Habitat Maintenance
Scoop sand daily. Replace the sand completely every four months or so, or whenever it begins to smell, and use this time to sanitize the cage. If using cage carpet or paper, replace whenever soiled.

Health Concerns
Metabolic bone disease results from an insufficient amount of calcium in the animals diet, or the lack of proper UVB lighting. If the animal looks listless, refuses to eat, or has soft or deformed limbs, consult your veterinarian.

Oct 162011
 

Adult Size
3 – 5 inches

Life Span
5 years

Male/Female Differences
Males have pores that can be found around their anal openings and legs.

Compatibility
Can live in groups if plenty of hiding places are offered. Males tend to be territorial.

Origin
Southeast Asia and northern Africa, but now found worldwide due to their insect eating abilities.

Climate
Humid and tropical jungles, but adapts to household environments well.

Day Cycle
Nocturnal, working the night shift when their food is available.

Temperature
70 – 85 degrees fine, cooler at night. Comfortable at most home temperatures. Use mild heat sources such as a low watt reptile heat mat.

Lighting
Even though house geckos are nocturnal, use a high quality UVA light to stimulate appetite and for emotional health.

Humidity
Keep humid with frequent misting and a large water bowl. Waterfalls provide ample moisture, and live plants can add to the humidity.

Habitat/Territory
House geckos are arboreal with special feet that allow them to climb even the smoothest glass.

Substrate/Bedding
Coconut fiber, small gravel, or vermiculite can be used, but the substrate is not important as they will spend most of their time hiding in plants. Moss helps provide extra moisture and humidity.

Hiding Place/Den
Provide plenty of plants – either artificial or real – for house geckos as they need places to hide.

Cage Type
Ten gallon aquariums or critter cages with screen tops work well for house geckos. This provides plenty of from for plants for them to hide in. Use care when removing the screen top to prevent the house gecko from escaping.

Diet
Insectivore in nature, their nutritional needs are met by feeding gut loaded crickets, mealworms, flies, and roaches.

Supplements
Supplements are not necessary for house geckos since they do not get large like other lizards. Excessive supplements can in fact be damaging to their small systems. Ensure proper nutrition by gut loading crickets with healthy foods.

Diet Precautions
House geckos have simple diet requirements, and need little extra foods. Ensure food is the right size; larger crickets might be harder for the house gecko to eat.

Feeding
Feed smaller crickets, 4 – 5 daily. Feed in the evening to mimic their natural feeding habits.

Water Source
Provide a water bowl for humidity and for soaking. Waterfalls offer clean, flowing water. Change water daily to keep clean.

Grooming
House geckos do shed their skin, so provide a water bowl to aid this process.

Oral and Foot Care
There is no foot or oral concern.

Proper Handling
Handling is not really recommended. House geckos are very fast and will quickly escape your hands.

Habitat Maintenance
Spot clean soiled areas and plants. Every few weeks replace substrate to prevent mold from growing.

Health Concerns
A hardy species, house geckos stay healthy when you maintain a good diet, proper temperature and humidity.

Oct 162011
 

Frilled Lizard: Chlamydosaurus kingii

Adult Size
Males about three feet (including tail), females roughly half that size,
weighing around one pound.

Life Span
Uncertain. Oldest in captivity lived 20 years.

Male/Female Differences
Males are much larger than females, have larger frills around the head, and more colour in their frills.

Compatibility
While reasonably tame towards humans, frilled lizards can be quite aggressive towards other lizards. While they may be kept together as juveniles, they should be separated before maturity.

Origin
Southern New Guinea and across Northern Australia. The frilled lizard is a strong icon in Australian culture, appearing on their currency and as the mascot of various teams and organizations.

Climate
Warm, varying between dry and wet seasons.

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
Ideal 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit, with a basking point around 100 degrees.

Lighting
Like many lizards the frilled lizard is a basking animal. It needs exposure to UVB radiation in order to synthesize vitamin D3 and properly metabolize calcium. This is available commercially in fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and mercury vapor bulbs. Mercury vapor has the advantage of providing heat as well as UVB. These lights also emit UVA radiation, which is speculated to help your animal see its prey better and help regulate emotional health.

Humidity
Humid but not overly so, 70%.

Habitat/Territory
Savannah and warm tropical forest.

Substrate/Bedding
Wood chips, mulch, and moss provide a naturalistic substrate that helps to retain moisture and raise humidity. Many vets advocate the use of either cage carpet or newspaper, reduces the risk of impaction resulting from accidentally ingested bedding.

Hiding Place/Den
Frilled lizards are semi-arboreal and will enjoy a raised area where they can feel secure. Sandblasted driftwood or cholla (cactus skeleton) make great, natural-looking hiding places.

Cage Type
Juveniles can be housed in glass aquaria, keeping in mind that purchasing a larger aquarium up front will mean not having upgrade every few months. Adults should be housed in a cage at least 3x3x4 feet, similar to those used for adult iguanas or large birds.

Diet
Frilled lizards are primarily carnivorous, eating a variety of insects, spiders, and small vertebrates in the wild. An assortment of crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and eventually frozen mice if you wish will do in captivity. Be sure to gut-load your insects (feeding them a high-nutrition food for at least 24 hours before offering to your reptile) to ensure optimal nutrition. Insects should be pared with a small amount of dark leafy greens.

Supplements
The insects being fed should be lightly dusted with a calcium supplement 5-7 times per week, and a multivitamin supplement once or twice per week.

Diet Precautions
Avoid feeding exclusively one prey item, or only one type of veggie. A varying, rotational diet will result in the healthiest lizard.

Feeding
Feed 6-7 appropriately sized prey items per day. Leave a small dish of veggies to see if your lizard eats them.

Water Source
A large open pan of water is best, in which your lizard can soak and defecate. Misting the cage several times daily also provides ‘dew’ your lizard will greedily consume.

Grooming
As long as your lizard is properly hydrated it should shed its skin easily. If it does not, make sure the environment is properly misted and soak your lizard in a tepid bath. There are shedding aids to add to the bath available.

Oral and Foot Care
Placing rocks into your lizard’s environment can help to wear down its nails, but if they become overgrown you can bring them to Wilmette Pet
or your local herp veterinarian to be trimmed.

Proper Handling
Scoop up your lizard from behind holing it gently but firmly in your hands. Do not grab it by the tail or limbs.

Habitat Maintenance
Substrate should be changed out monthly if using mulch or chips, whenever soiled if using carpet or newspaper. Mist the cage daily, and change out the water daily or whenever soiled.

Health Concerns
Metabolic bone disease results from a lack of adequate calcium available to the body, either from lack of supplementation, over supplementation, or lack of proper lighting. It manifests as soft weak limbs and jaw, bad posture (lying flat against the ground), refusal to feed, and general lethargy. Keeping the cage to cool will result in malnutrition and possible infection. Keeping the cage overly humid can result in respiratory infection.

Oct 162011
 

Adult Size
10 “ – 14” Life Span 5 to 20 years

Male/FemaleDifferences
Males tend to be longer and more heavily bodied than
females.

Compatibility
Adult male skinks are very territorial so keep singly. Groups of females or females with one male can live together.

Origin
West Africa

Climate
Moist, warm areas.

Day Cycle
Diurnal – active during the day.

Temperature
Divide the cage into a warm and cool zone. The daytime temperatures should be 85 – 90 degrees in the basking spot and about 75 in the cool end. Nighttime temps should be between 72 and 78. Use a heat pad and/or a heat lamp.

Lighting
High quality UVB lighting to mimic daylight for 12 hours a day. Humidity Use moss to increase humidity. Mist daily to keep the humidity fairly high.

Habitat/Territory
Moist forested areas where they burrow into the soil.

Substrate/Bedding
Sand, coconut fiber, aspen, small gravel, or vermiculite all make a good substrate to burrow into. Cage carpet with moss will keep the cage more sanitary and prevent mites. Use a humidity box – a cave or shelter lined with moist moss – to keep up the humidity.

Hiding Place/Den
Fire skinks need a hiding place. Plastic reptile huts or wooden logs make ideal hiding places.

Cage Type
Aquariums or critter cages make ideal homes as they are easy to clean. Younger skinks need a foot of cage each, especially when kept in groups. Larger skinks need more space. The cage should be large enough to offer separate hot, basking areas, equipped with a log or stone to climb on to bask, and a cool zone for thermal regulation.

Diet
Fire skinks are primarily carnivores, so include crickets, earthworms, mealworms, scrambled eggs and cooked meats. Offer flowers, greens, fruits such as bananas, and baby foods. Skinks will also eat small lizards and skinks. Pinkies are great treats for older skinks and are a great source of
calcium.

Supplements
Dust crickets and other foods with a calcium/vitamin powder just before feeding. Ensure proper nutrition by gut loading crickets with healthy foods.

Diet Precautions
Avoid feeding only proteins to your skink. Ensure a mixed diet to prevent metabolic bone disorders.

Feeding
Offer 4-5 calcium-dusted crickets per day. Offer other foods in a small bowl and remove daily to prevent spoilage.

Water Source
Provide a water dish large enough for them to soak in. They get the bulk of their moisture from their food.

Grooming
Fire skinks need access to water to properly shed their skins. Their skin should be smooth and shiny. Other grooming is not necessary.

Oral and Foot Care
A clean water source and clean cage are necessary to prevent mouth rot. High humidity is also necessary to ensure a proper shed, including the skin between the toes. If the fire skink does not get enough climbing, their nails might need to be trimmed.

Proper Handling
Never grab a skink by the tail. It will break off as a survival mechanism. Their tail will grow back, but will be smaller. Fire skinks held from a young age are quite tame; support them at both sets of legs.

Habitat Maintenance
Spot clean dirty areas. Scoops are great ways to sift the substrate. Weekly wipe down cage, replacing substrate to prevent mold and mildew from growing.

Health Concerns
Most health concerns come from improper diet, incorrect lighting, and lack of humidity. Feeding balanced meals with proper calcium supplements can prevent any metabolic diseases. Fire skinks are prone to ticks and mites and bacterial infections from unsanitary conditions.