Keeping Reptiles Newsletter
  Issue 4 Vol 4 April 2009
Housing a Bearded Dragon In this Issue

By Florian Ross

Bearded Dragons need a large enough habitat to allow for a variety of distances from the heat source. A glass aquarium is recommended for security, ease of maintenance, and pet viewing. To avoid the expense of multiple habitats as your pet grows to adulthood, consider using a partition that can be easily adjusted. This way, throughout the life of the pet, you can use a single large aquarium, 55-70 gallons.

The white melamine is a material that keeps the cage very bright which is important for stimulating a dragon's appetite. The light (and the UVB) stays inside the cage rather than escaping through the glass sides of an aquarium. Glass fronts will allow the dragon to check out their world and interact with you.

Where to place the cage?

Find a place, on a stable stand or table, where you feel comfortable and where you can watch anytime your little fellow, against a wall. Try to house your dragon somewhere interesting for him or her, but away from high traffic areas and out of direct sunlight. Do not hide the cage away in a seldom frequented place. Bearded Dragons have a big curiosity. They like to be somewhere where they can watch anytime to their human fellow doing their funny things.

The cage need to be organized with a basking light at one end of the tank, another end should be kept as a cooling area; a hide area of branches and potted non-toxic plants, or a hide box in the tank is also necessary; a rock or log for the basking area. Try to improve the animal environment and remember that the more you do to arrange a Beardie's environment to provide security, the quicker the animal will adjust to its new home and family. Animals that are housed correctly and stress free will remain healthy, eat well, be happier, remain active and alert.

The first days in his new habitat can cause a lot of stress to the Dragon, and because of this they could refuse to eat for some days. To help them accommodate you should:

- Use the first weeks to only watch the dragon and learn the behaviors and feeding habits. Read books on Beardies. Your children will want to play with their new friend. Do not allow anybody to pick up the dragon at this moment.

- For a while you can cover the cage with some milky white panes which won't let the Dragon see to many things outside.

Housing Young Beardies

Babies and small juveniles can be temporally housed in a 10 - 20 gallon aquarium. Young Beardies less than 10 inches in length need to be housed in a 20 gal long aquarium. This will last them for a few months only though as they grow quickly. You can use Profile Extended Storage Bins. The milky white sides of the bins prevent the dragon from becoming terrified in new surroundings and not eating for the first few days, which can become a serious problem.

It is important to judge the correct size of the enclosure. While the dragon is small, it's helpful to keep cage furniture to a minimum, so that they can find their food easily. Crickets can hide in deeply grooved logs or under the furniture making it difficult for a baby dragon to locate food. The dragon won't find them, so will not be able to eat, and the crickets will come out at night and nibble on beardies, who sleep quite soundly, stressing them (this could be serious).

On the other hand, a tank that is too small won't afford the proper temperature gradients the dragon requires.

As the dragon grows they will need to be moved to bigger cages. The dragon having a bigger size, a tank too small won't afford the proper temperature gradients the dragon requires, the dragon can no longer get away from the heat and it can cook and die.

Housing Adult Bearded Dragons

Adult Dragons should be housed in nothing smaller than a 40gal breeder tank, but it is recommended that you house a single adult Beardie in a 55 to 60 gallon aquarium. Dragons need branches or rocks to climb on and a hiding place. Any cage furniture should be carefully secured so it can't fall and injure the Beardie.

Florian Ross is a small lizard expert and a freelancer who developed comprehensive guides to help people succeed with their bearded dragon pet and have your bearded dragon lizard live two times longer. His guides on Bearded Dragons are considered the definitive guides on raising Bearded Dragons.

Find out more tips on raising Bearded Dragons Lizards and having them live 2 times longer, with his popular ebook about Bearded Dragons or get a free sample of Florian's bearded dragons caresheet

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All You Need To Know About Your Python's Cage

By Jessica G Harrison 

When you decided to own a pet python, every detail about your pet is invaluable in making sure your pet is healthy and comfortable. Python owners, like owners of other pets, are usually keen to provide everything their pet needs.

To keep both the owner and the pet happy, in this article, I focus on the habitat of pythons and what needs to be done when they are reared as pets in an artificial environment. Many pythons suffer silently if they don't get a warm, cozy place to live in that approximates their natural habitat in a few important ways.

So how can you rear python in a friendly setting? What type of habitat should you provide? How do you get your pet to enjoy your company?

Your Python's Cage Size:

Python husbandry begins with getting a proper cage: One that is the right size, has proper lighting and ventilation, facilitates humidity and temperature control and is absolutely secure.

Choosing the right size is critical. Too small, and the animal will feel cramped. Too big, and the animal can feel stressed.

How to tell?

There are basically two types of pythons ... those that live on land, and those that live on the branches of trees.

If your python is predominantly terrestrial, the rule of thumb for its cage size is that the perimeter (distance measured all the way around the cage) should be at least TWICE the length of the snake, and the ratio of the length to width should be 3 to 2.

For example, a 5 foot (1.5 meter) python would require at least a 10 foot perimeter cage ... applying the 3: 2 ratio, that would mean a minimum cage size of 3' x 2'.

A 10 foot python would require a 20 foot perimeter ... 6' x 4' cage would be the minimum.

Complexity of the Cage:

Most Pythons do very well in a simple cage. All require a water bowl and some sort of hiding place. And the water bowl must be disinfected regularly, since the python may have unwittingly used it as a bathroom.

Material the Cage is Made From:

Cages are made of different materials like acrylic, plywood, melamine and compressed shelving board. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Acrylic .. strong, transparent, and light weight. Pliable and easy to clean. The only disadvantage is its higher cost :-(

Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) also make excellent cage materials, ... but can also be very expensive.

Plywood can also be expensive, but you can select a 2nd grade material to reduce your costs.

Melamine is generally the material of choice for python owners. They are good looking, & less expensive, ...but HEAVY! (So it's kind of hard to move ... a trade-off most people are willing to live with given the lower fees).


Pythons need a substrate. Newspaper is the easiest and most cost effective solution. (There are other options).

The Door:

What about the door?

You can have a transparent thick glass sliding door or opaque glassed solid door. Your choice :-)

Keep two cages:

Ideally you would have 2 cages so that when one is cleaned, the python could be in the other one. Also ensure that your cage has a good interior coating.

Ventilation is very important:

Arrange to have near perfect ventilation for your pet cage. Good ventilation gives fresh air and lighting inside the cage, and is a strong component in keeping your python healthy and happy.

Rubber coated wire mesh is generally the most commonly chosen material. It's important to get the rubber coated variety ... the non-coated mesh will hurt your python's nose when it tries to test the boundaries of the cage :-(

Wooden and plastic pegboards also provide good ventilating materials.


One of the primary causes of python respiratory problems is improper cage temperature. So not only will you need heating arrangements in your cage, but you'll also need to be able to easily monitor it from outside.

The right choice of a temperature system will help your python to stay healthy. There are several commercially available options, from low cost to high cost.

Heat panels are ideal for larger snakes. They cost more, but last longer. (Make sure to monitor the temperature closely when you use them ... they are very effective).

Heat tapes are good also, but you have to be very careful to insulate the wiring, or you can electrocute your snake :-(

Heat emitters (light bulbs that emit no light!) are good for pythons that are only active during the day ...but are used less frequently.

Heat lamps are great for arboreal pythons. When you provide them at the top of the cage it helps them relax while coiled around a branch.

Heat rocks are not really recommended because of reports of thermal burns to pythons, and sometimes electrical shocks.


There is still a debate about lighting the python cages. It is argued that pythons do not require any artificial lighting as most of them shy away from it.

If you're going to use lighting, though, I recommend low watt fluorescent lights for the cage. But please remember to shield ANY lighting you use ... serious injury to your pet can result otherwise.

Since your pet Python will be spending almost all the time in its cage, it's a very important to know more about 'Python Housing" as this will help you get started.

The above is an excerpt from the free newsletter on "Python Secrets" published by Geostar Publishing & Services LLC.

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Here's to a happier pet-owing experience!

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