HOUSING FOR BEARDED DRAGONS
Heating the Enclosure
· Dragons have a preferred body temperature (PBT) of 35-39ºC and their enclosure should provide a hotspot of 36-40ºC.
· The cooler end of the enclosure should be around 25-28ºC.
· Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature in the enclosure. Place one thermometer under the hotspot and one in the cold end to make sure there is a temperature range (called a temperature gradient).
· A thermostat is required to control the temperature.
· For heating, use a red globe or preferably a ceramic heat lamp at one end of the enclosure. Care must be taken to not allow contact with the heat lamp. Most commonly this is achieved with a wire cover or the lamp being at the top or above the enclosure. The wattage of the lamp will depend on the enclosure size.
· Heat mats and hot rocks are not recommended for most animals due to the risk of burns.
The Enclosure Lighting
· A source of ultraviolet light is required to prevent Vitamin D deficiency which causes metabolic bone disease (MBD). Use artificial UVB lights for indoor enclosures with the light a minimum distance of 30cm from the dragon. The light needs replacing every 6 months as it will stop producing UVB spectrum light, even if it is still producing visible light.
· Dragons also require natural sunlight for 30 minutes per day or 3½ hours per week total. The dragon must be in an enclosure/box with a shaded area and a wire top, as sunlight must not be filtered through plastic/glass.
The Enclosure Material
· The enclosure (ideally made of both wood and Perspex/glass) should be large enough for your dragon to move around freely.
· A screen top or vents on the sides will ensure airflow and the escape of excess heat.
· Provision of logs or rocks placed under the heat source allows your dragon to sit at varying heights and distances from the heat source.
· Hollow logs or upturned flower pots provide a cool retreat. Ideally use non-porous plastics, ceramics or regularly changed wood/cardboard to allow for effective disinfection and hygiene
Substrate should be easy
to clean and change. Newspaper, butcher’s
paper and newspaper-based kitty litter are all appropriate choices. Sand
carries the risk of ingestion and impaction and makes cleaning more
· · Enclosures and their furniture should be scrubbed with diluted dishwashing liquid to remove soiling and then disinfected with a product such as F10 or Avi-care. Rinse the furniture and allow to dry before replacing it into the enclosure.
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