How to set up a vivarium for a bearded dragon 0 310

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are relatively tame and easy to handle, with interesting, unique habits that make them entertaining to watch and brilliant pets. These wonderful reptiles can grow up to two feet long and have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, so it’s important to set up the perfect home for your new beardie.

Where in my home can a vivarium go?

When planning for your new bearded dragon, it is important to take into consideration the different features of your room that may cause a problem for your pet. Bearded dragons do love the warm, however, it is always considered best practice to avoid putting the vivarium too close to sources of heat as it can make it extremely difficult to regulate the temperature. Although many people like having their pets close to them in their living rooms, placing the vivarium next to any sources of loud noise, such as TVs or speakers can cause a problem for your new beardie.

What needs to go in the vivarium?

When you start shopping for a vivarium for your new pet, there are a variety of starter kits or individual items that you can purchase to help set up the perfect new home for your dragon. Usually, starter kits will include a UVB light (should span approximately two thirds of the length of the enclosure), a controller for the UV tube, a reflector to help maximise the tube’s output, a basking spotlight and ceramic holder, and an appropriate substrate for the base of the vivarium.

In addition to the lighting and base essentials, adding temperature gauges, a digital thermostat, a hygrometer to measure humidity and a shaded area, are all recommended to help you look after your dragon. It is always advisable to use a manual plug for the dimmer or dimming thermostat to regulate the temperature within your vivarium to reduce the risk of it overheating. For your bearded dragon’s comfort, artificial plants, rocks and branches all make brilliant additions to a vivarium.

Other points to consider

It is always worth doing your research when getting any new pet to make sure you get it right the first time, and this is definitely true when it comes to setting up a vivarium for a bearded dragon. Wooden vivariums are better suited to bearded dragons as it’s easier to maintain the temperature compared to full glass vivariums, and it is important to supply plenty of ventilation to prevent the viv becoming too humid, which will also reduce the risk of respiratory infections.

Four more unusual lizards you can keep as pets

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Should you choose a chameleon as a pet? 0 1076

Pet chameleon

Chameleons are not the easiest pet to take care of, and are more for the advanced reptile enthusiast. That said, they are beautiful creatures and they can thrive if well looked after.

Our pet care advice below will help you decide whether a chameleon is right for you:

Different types of chameleon

There are a few different chameleons suitable to be kept as pets: The Veiled or Yemen Chameleon is one of the easier species to keep. They can grow to two feet, so make sure you consider that when buying a cage.

Panther Chameleons are active during the day, and require a similar environment to the veiled chameleon. They grow up to about 20 inches.

Jackson’s chameleons are the smallest of these three breeds, and grow to around 10 inches. Some species of Jackson’s chameleons also have a horn.

All chameleons prefer not to be handled, and need to be housed on their own. If you want to breed your chameleons, make sure you look into this carefully.

Getting the environment right

A chameleon’s natural habitat is the humid rainforests and arid deserts, so they need a humid environment with enough space to allow for their tree climbing – the minimum size is three feet by three feet by four feet tall.

You’ll need to include lots of tree branches and foliage within the cage. The chameleon likes to bask, and you’ll need different basking spots, in a range of different temperatures, depending on your type of chameleon.

You’ll also need UV lighting that’s designed for reptiles as well as a misting system if you’re not going to be there to ensure humidity is at the right level. Misting needs to take place twice a day.

Feeding your chameleon

Chameleons are insectivores, and so a mixed diet of crickets, roaches, and worms is their preferred menu. Some also like vegetation such as fruits and vegetables.

Chameleons don’t drink from a bowl, preferring to take droplets of water from the leaves, so it’s important you’re misting twice a day, or providing a water system that drips.

With the right pet care, chameleons are a fascinating pet to keep, but are probably not for you if you want a reptile to handle. You’ll also need to put time into making sure their environment is right, as they can easily get sick if not.

Five snakes that are good for beginner reptile keepers 0 411

Pet Ball Python pet

Snakes are the most popular reptile pet to keep, but are they easy to look after? They do make unusual pets, but with good pet care – the right equipment, food and environment – they will thrive.

If you’re a beginner, what snake should you get to start you off? Here’s our rundown of five snakes that will make a great pet for first time snake keepers.

Corn Snake

Corn snakes are one of the most popular first time snakes to buy. They don’t grow too big – an adult corn snake needs a 20 gallon tank. They will live for around 20 years.

They’re easy to handle and to look after. They feed on mice. Corn snakes are quite active, so will need time outside their tank for exercise.

Royal or Ball Python

The royal python (also known as the ball python) can live for up to 30 years, and grow up to five feet.

Royal pythons are a timid species, so don’t appreciate much handling – they need somewhere to hide within their tank. For tank size allow 1 square foot to each foot of snake in length.

Royals eat mice or rats, depending on the size of their mouth.

King Snake

King snakes live for about 15 years. There are lots of different types, with some growing up to six feet.

King snakes are active, so will need time out of their tank, and can bite when cornered, but with careful and regular handling should settle.

They feed on mice and rats, and need the same sized tank proportions as a royal python.

Rosy Boa

Rosy boas are fairly docile, but can bite if caught unaware. Rosy boas grow to about four feet in length and will live for about 30 years. They need a reasonable size tank, and places to hide as well. Rosy boas feed on mice.

Garter snake

Garter snakes grow up to three foot long, and live to about 10 years.

They need around a 29 gallon tank to be comfortable. Garter snakes do eat mice, but prefer fish, and food like frogs, so it’s best to give them a varied diet.