Keeping Reptiles Newsletter
  Issue 4 Vol 5 April 2010
Mixing Species in a Terrarium? Bad Idea! - Part 1 In this Issue

Olive python eating another snake in the same cageHaving your own community of reptiles in one terrarium sounds like a great idea! A varied little ecosystem all your own seems awesome! Well, not so fast. Though it sounds like a dream display the reality is that having multiple species in one terrarium should be avoided for some very important reasons. Problems with cage size and habitat specifics, predation, toxicity, diet and stress are all factors that come into play when you try to mix different types of reptiles in one environment. For the private hobbyist, sticking with species-specific communities and focusing on that is going to be much more rewarding and much less frustrating that combining species.

Cage Size and Habitat Specifics

Many experienced reptile enthusiasts understand the space requirement of their reptile pets, however, mixing species requires even more space. Each animal in the cage must have enough room to create their own space and territory within the terrarium. The space has to be ample enough for them to continue in their normal patterns of behavior including feeding, resting and managing their body temperature. All of this needs to be done without having to worry about cage mates intruding and possibly being aggressive. This is especially true when trying to accomplish this in a terrarium type set up as it, by nature, offers limited space and variation in habitat.

Habitats for different species may seem similar, but even slight variations can have dire consequences. Different species have very specific requirements regarding temperature, furnishings and environment and it’s almost impossible to provide for more than one species in one aquarium.

Temperatures for different reptiles can vary up to 25°F, which will make it impossible to achieve the proper variation in one container, and even if this could be achieved there’s no way to ensure each animal stays in its respective zone within the terrarium. Additionally, humidity levels must be considered, which affects the ability to mix species from different climates. This also applies to the actual physical environment in which it would be impossible to combine the right amenities for both terrestrial and aquatic species, as terrestrial reptiles can drown in water provided for aquatic species and aquatic species require the water feature to survive.

Light is also an issue. There’s not a good way to combine nocturnal reptiles with diurnal reptiles as one or the other would suffer from lack or presence of light at the wrong time of day. Providing the differing habitat and environmental requirements for more than one species in one terrarium that is manageable by the average hobbyist is next to impossible.

Taking a look at space requirements, cost and lizard handling preferences is a great way to help you determine the right lizard for you. Once you match up your personality to that of a lizard, you’re on your way to a wonderful and rewarding experience as a lizard owner!


Reptile Relief - 16 fl. oz. Natural Chemistry's Reptile Relief - 16 fl. oz.

De Flea Pet Shampoo - Kills Mites on Contact! Safe and Easy to Use.
The only EPA registered mite product that requires no warnings on the label. Can be applied directly on the reptile. Contains no pyrethrins or similar chemicals.


Our philosophy since 1989 has been:
"It's not enough to be safe and non-toxic... each product must outperform its synthetic and non-friendly counterpart."

  1. Mixing Species in a Terrarium? Bad Idea! - Part 1
  2. The Green Iguana: Be Prepared for Proper Care! - Part 1
  3. Feature Video
  4. In the News
  5. Get Paid to write an article
  6. Tell Us What You Think
  7. Feedback and Updating

Other Issues

Other Articles & Resources

The Green Iguana: Be Prepared for Proper Care! - Part 1


Green IguanaMost people are familiar with the green iguana, at least in appearance and generalities. This is because the green iguana is the most popular reptile pet sold in America. They are small when they are young, have a gentle disposition, and can be purchased very cheaply, often under $20. This often misleads prospective pet owners into believing green iguanas are simple pets that are easy to care for, an inaccuracy often perpetuated by pet store owners trying to keep their inventory moving. The opposite is really the truth. Iguanas can be incredible pets, but they also demand proper care over their lifetime, which requires learning about them, understanding their needs, and taking the time to care for them so they can thrive and live long, healthy lives.

Another misunderstanding is that iguanas will remain small and docile, however, as they mature they can reach six feet in length, including their tail, and can become aggressive if not properly tamed. And unlike some reptiles, iguanas cannot be put in a cage and left as room decoration. They need interaction and attention! And they need plenty of room to move and climb, and they need plenty of stimulation. If you have the patience, commitment, time and space required, than an iguana may be a good reptile pet choice for you.

There are a many things that are crucial to successful iguana ownership and care, but two primary concerns that must be considered when owning an iguana. The two most important considerations are diet and habitat. If you learn the right way to provide these basic necessities, an iguana can be a great pet and can make a fantastic addition to your family.

Green Iguana: Diet Essentials

Green iguanas are vegetarians. Aren’t they? This has been a topic of much debate as some enthusiasts believe they can eat animal protein in addition to vegetable based foods. Most reliable sources, however, agree that iguanas are generally strict herbivores and that animal protein in excess can cause devastating organ damage. So for our purposes we’re going to say with full confidence that yes, green iguanas are vegetarians. Seems easy enough! But there’s much more to it than simply providing a few lettuce leaves daily. Iguanas require a variety of nutrients to be fully nourished.

Vegetables should make up approximately 80% of your iguanas diet. The ideal vegetables for their diet include greens, green beans, squash, peas, mushrooms and carrots. Do not, under any circumstances, give your iguana rhubarb. Rhubarb is poisonous to iguanas. Fruits can make up another 10% of their dietary intake. Fruit that is great for iguanas includes berries, grapes, melon, apples and bananas. The remaining 10% should include a variety of grains and supplemental protein. The grains can consist of rice, pasta or bread. One easy to find source of supplemental protein that works great for iguanas is alfalfa pellets commercially produced for rabbits.

As you get to know your iguana you’ll discover that they have favorites and that they can sometimes be finicky eaters. Don’t let their favorite food choices dictate what you’ll feed your iguana. Be persistent with trying to feed them to proper diet so they get complete nutrition.



Healthy Habitat - 1 gallonHealthy Habitat - 1 gallon

Natural Chemistry's Healthy Habitat is specifically formulated to effectively eliminate odors and soiling caused by organic animal and food waste.

For use in any pet habitat, glass and other surfaces within habitat ie: heat rocks, gravel, artificial plants etc.  Safe for use on all strong animal/reptile odor sources and stains, can even be used when pet is in it's habitat!

  • Safe, yet powerful
  • All natural
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Easy to use
  • Unconditionally guaranteed 

Enzyme Technology
Natural Chemistry’s products are inspired by processes that occur in the natural world. Our patented technology uses trillions of natural enzymes and co-enzymes to break down undesirable organic materials safely and effectively...resulting in a healthier pet environment.

Feature Video

Some pets are not for beginners

If you have a favourite video, let us know and we'll feature it.

In the News

Dinosaur eating snake

End of Large Reptile Business in Florida

Or is it?

Tread warily in Oz

Death of a legend

buy supplies
Get Paid to write an article

Keeping Reptiles will pay you to write and article. Ideally it will be 500-1500 words. These can be care sheets, funny stories, herp hunting trips, hints and tips or anything herp related.

Payment will be based on the number of words and published at editors discretion.

Tell Us What You Think!!

We would love to hear what you think of this (or any other) issue of Keeping Reptiles.

And of course, if you have any suggestions, photos, links, care sheets or whatever for upcoming issues that you'd like to share with us, please send those, too!

These could also include:

  • Great herp web-sites
  • Why you pet reptile is fantastic
  • Funny things that happened
  • Dumb**s things that happened
  • Images you'd like to share.

Remember - there are lots of people who would love to hear your stories. Just e-mail me at: Reptile-Cage-Plans

buy supplies