Creating a comfortable lizard habitat requires a different approach to pet ownership. While your cat or dog is delighted to share your family’s living space, you must provide a self-contained apartment for your reptile. Your Welland veterinarian will be glad to give you some habitat tips when he sees your new pet for a physical exam.
A properly sized glass aquarium provides a terrific lizard habitat. Determine the aquarium’s size by estimating how much time your lizard will spend there. If your lizard will regularly exercise outside of his enclosure, a smaller aquarium might work well. However, if he’ll call the aquarium his permanent home, make sure the enclosure is large enough to include climbing rocks and exercise space.
If your lizard lived in the wild, he’d scurry about in the warm sunshine, and get some downtime when the thermometer dropped. Simulate these temperature variations with a heating pad, placed underneath the raised aquarium on one side; or a “hot rock” that provides heat in a specific location. Ask your vet for pointers on using each device to warm your lizard; and closely monitor the equipment so your lizard doesn’t get burned. Your overall goal: to get the cage temperature between 85 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your lizard needs considerable ultraviolet, or UV, light so he can metabolize the calcium he eats. He’ll also require between 10 to 12 hours of darkness daily. Of course, if you own a gecko, you’ve found that he’s a nocturnal little creature, meaning he doesn’t need any sunlight at all.
While you might think lizards like dry environments, they actually prefer a habitat with 50 to 70 percent humidity. In fact, increased humidity levels make your lizard’s shedding process go more smoothly. To add humidity, spritz the enclosure’s interior with a spray bottle, or place a wet towel near (but not on top of) your lizard’s heat source.
Line your lizard’s enclosure with absorbent newspaper or butcher’s paper. Clean the cage consistently to minimize disease risks from fungal and bacterial organisms in the lizard poop. Add resting logs, rocks, and artificial plants for a more natural environment. The logs and rocks also encourage your lizard to climb and exercise. Finally, don’t forget a hiding box.
When you’ve finished furnishing your lizard’s habitat, send your Welland vet a photo of your lizard happily enjoying his comfortable new apartment.