If your Iguana is sick it is important to understand what common illnesses can affect it. Once you know this you can then understand how to treat it. For this reason I have compiled a list of the top 5 for you.
What Illness can affect your Iguana and best treatment? MBD, Mouth Rot, Respiratory diseases and hypervitiminosis are common illnesses. The best treatment is to contact your vet and take professional advise.
Now that you understand some of the common illnesses, I will now explain each one of the five n more detail, in particular, the causes, symptoms, treatments and best ways to prevent them.
Metabolic bone disease or MBD as what it is more commonly known as is a nutritional deficiency of calcium which causes a breakdown in the bones of your Iguana. This is commonly caused by lack of UVB lighting or lack of calcium in the lizards diet. This can also be caused by a lack of natural lighting as well.
There is a number of symptoms that are associated with this disease. Such as swelling of the jaw, your lizard walking around with its jaw open, which is not expected behaviour for a healthy lizard. You may also notice that his eyes seem to be popping, almost like a cartoon character.
Other symptoms include dragging themselves along the floor, almost like they cannot support their weight very well. Are you with me?
You may also find that your lizard seems to twitch and jerk in a weird kind of motion. There are a number of different symptoms that are associated with it, this could go on further but the key thing is once you see this you will understand that something doesn’t look quite right.
The interesting fact about this disease is that it is only really seen in captivity. You’ll never really find this issue in the wild because nature has a way of providing the correct amount of calcium in a natural way.
Other names for this diseases are nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (NSHP), hypocalcemia or even osteodystrophy.
The good news about this disease is that it is very treatable. However, it is mainly only treatable it if it’s caught in the really early stages. If you leave this too long, it is very unlikely that you’ll be able to cure your lizard from this disease.
As soon as you see any signs of the symptoms mentioned above it is advised that you take your Iguana to the vet as soon as possible.
Your vet is likely to take your lizard and apply calcium supplementation. This may or may not be injected, depending on how serious or how effective your vet feels that the treatment should should be.
To prevent this happening the best thing to do is to provide enough calcium in your lizards diet. Also consider providing more vitamin D3 as well. A good way to provide more calcium is to supplement your Iguanas diet with calcium supplementation that you can buy from your local pet store.
The trick to this is to dust or powder your lizards food with this supplementation so they indirectly eat this. You need to follow the instructions on the supplement and check with your local pet store to make sure that you provide the correct quantity.
So in this section I’m going to talk about mouth rot which is quite a common disease that you will find in Iguanas.
Mouth rot, also known as Ulcerative Stomatitis, is a bacterial infection which effects and manifests around the mouth. In particular hemorrhages around the gum area.
Technically speaking it is not actually a disease in itself. It is actually a secondary disease caused by other related issues.
It is caused by damage to the gums. Or food that is left in your lizards teeth or lodged in its gums. Over time this stuck food gets infected. If it is not dealt with as soon as possible it can lead to a serious problem.
The symptoms of this disease are quite easy to see. They will definitely cause you some alarm because they are quite obvious. In particular, you may see a kind of Swiss cottage cheese like liquid appearing out of your lizards mouth. Obviously if you see something like this something is obviously not correct.
Other symptoms include swelling of the jaw which may be confused with MBD that we spoke about before. Also you may find that your lizard is off its food and may stop consuming water due to the pain that it is suffering in its mouth.
You may also notice a lot of swelling around the head and mouth area which should seem obvious if you see this.
A vet is required to treat this disease. It is a serious condition that will need professional help. You can expect that your vet will prescribed some antibiotics. She may even inject antibiotics while you are there. You may also be trained of the best and most effective way to clean your lizards mouth going forward.
To prevent this from happening in the first place the best thing to do is to provide yearly check ups with the vet, to make sure that your lizard is in good health. In addition to this, if you see any food build-up in the mouth or any food stuck in the teeth it is advisable to clear this. To make sure it does not build into a disease or an infection.
So in this section I’m going to talk about parasites that can cause issues internally and externally for your Iguana.
Parasites are small organisms, such as worms, for example pinworms. They can infect your lizard and cause it some serious issues.
Usually this is caused by the parasites being ingested through your Iguana’s mouth. Such as your pet eating something infected, such as faeces believe it or not. They can also be infected through going through their skin, by making contact with the parasite, such as larvae that can penetrate the skin.
The symptoms for this issue can be vomiting, sickness or diarrhoea. You may also notice some abnormal faeces. You may even see the worms within the faeces when you are clearing it up. This is a good indication that they have this problem.
The unfortunate facts about this issue is that some of these parasites have the ability to infect the lungs and cause knock on issues such as pneumonia (more about this later) and other issues which can actually prove fatal. So is it it is important to be dealt with as soon as possible.
To treat these parasites largely depends on the type of parasites that your individual pet has. The best advice is to contact your vet to diagnose exactly what the issue is. There is medication available to deworm your lizard, depending on exactly what issue they have.
Your vet may provide medication orally or even injected depending on how serious it may be. Any good vet will also give you some advice about how to clean up your lizards living environment to help you going forward.
To prevent this from happening in the first place the best advice is to always clean up faeces and droppings as soon as you see them. In reality you should be cleaning up on a daily blaze basis to keep your iguana happy.
In addition to this you should only purchase food for your iguana from reputable sources. Such as your local pet shop or recommended retail outlets. This is just in case you purchase something that has not been properly processed and could include parasites within it, without you knowing.
So in this section I’m going to talk about respiratory diseases that can cause health issues in your iguana.
There are a number of different respiratory diseases that can be inflicted on your lizard. Respiratory diseases are anything that affects its lungs and airways, basically the respiratory system in your lizard. For example pneumonia is a classic case.
These respiratory conditions are usually caused by bacteria or some kind of fungal infection. The causes for these diseases range from poor environments such as living in a dirty enclosure which are not maintained. It can also be caused by poor diet. For example, having a lack of Vitamin A.
The common symptoms of this issue is difficulty breathing, wheezing, basically anything that sounds abnormal in the breathing area. You may also find that your lizard stops eating or reduces its eating. It may not be consuming as much water as possible as well. These are common symptoms that can occur and are clear red flags to look out for.
The best treatment is to contact your vet to give you some advice of how to deal with this. They are likely to prescribe some antibiotics and this may be given to them orally or it may be injected. This depends on the extent of the issue.
In addition to this it is advisable to have a clean living environment for your Iguana. You may be advised by your vet to also disinfect your enclosure. This will prevent this happening in the future.
Hypovitaminosis D is effectively too much vitamin D that has been given to your lizard. Vitamin D3 is toxic if it is provided in large quantities. This disease can cause kidney disease as well as premature death if it is not treated in a timely manner.
Treatment of this disease is quite serious and in most cases will require hospitalization from your veterinarian service. Methods that may be used by your vet may include medically feeding the lizards to maintain the correct diet. Other methods include therapy with fluids. As well as methods to lower the calcium level of your lizard.
How do you know if your Iguana is Healthy? Iguanas should have clear eyes, clear skin, heathy looking pink nose, and should be eating well. If you notice anything different it is reason to look into it to make sure there is no underlying issue.
If you have ever wondered a Piebald Chameleon is and what the difference is to the conventional veiled chameleon, you are in the right place. I had this same question in my head and decided to put this article together for you.
What is the Piebald Chameleon? A Piebald Chameleon is, for example, a Veiled Chameleon with a distinct white colouration. It is caused by a lack of pigmentation and essentially a colour mutation. It is not a different specie, but a specific colour pattern.
Now that you understand what a Piebald Chameleon is now, lets look at some interesting facts about this chameleon.
— Amin (@aminart) June 29, 2018
In this section I’m going to discuss the differences between the piebald chameleon and the veiled Chameleon. Some people often assume they are different species of Chameleon.
But in reality they are one of the same species. However, there is just a difference in coloration. The scientific name for the Piebald & Veiled Chameleon specie is Chamaeleo calpytratus.
The veiled Chameleon has various different nicknames as well as its official scientific name. For example, it is known as the “Yemen” or “Cone Head” Chameleon, but more about the Cone Head in detail later on in the article.
So in this section I’m going to discuss why the piebald chameleon has earned its name. In the last section I briefly explained that the veiled Chameleon and the piebald chameleon are effectively the same thing.
The piebald earned its name mainly through a pigment mutation. Meaning that parts of its body has white patches. These white patches are due to a lack of pigment in these areas.
This causes a freakish discolouration. So this is also known as Piebald. Piebald is not a term which is unique to the Chameleon, it is also used for other animals as well such as dogs cats even snakes.
So this term piebald is merely an explanation of the type of colour for a veiled chameleon, if that makes sense?
So now I will discuss why people have also named this chameleon the Cone Head Chameleon.
To be honest the reason why it is called the cone head is quite obvious when you look at it. It has an almost shark-fin like object on its head, which is simply looks like a cone head.
However there is a practical reason for this weird shaped head. It is actually used to channel and direct dew water down its head into its mouth to keep itself hydrated. Smart huh?
So there is a good chance that you may have heard about the phenomenal chameleon tongue, right? They have a very interesting tongue which they use to capture their prey.
Their tongue has a sticking ability at the end to grapple its pray. And has the ability to extend its tongue up to 1.5 times its body length. Not only this, the speed that the actual tongue can be propelled is also quite amazing.
To put this into perspective, if its tongue was a car, it could do anything from 0 to 60 miles per hour in one hundredth of a second, which is quite amazing.
If you’ve ever heard of Chameleons before, then you probably heard about their interesting eyes. The piebald veiled chameleon is nothing different. The eyes have the ability to almost see 360°, I say “almost” because, to be perfectly honest it’s not exactly 360.
But it’s about as close as you’re gonna get. They can see 180° horizontally and plus or minus 90 degrees vertically, which is quite an amazing feet when you compare that to the human vision.
They achieve this in two ways:
Anatomical specialisation is a very posh way of saying that the eyes have an amazing amount of freedom of movement and secondly binocular and monocular movement meaning they can focus on one object with both of their eyes or two completely different objects using each eye independently.
One of the reasons they have this amazing skill is the location of the eyes. Which are located on the opposite sides of their head. Just to put this into perspective, they’re able to see in front of them, to the side and even behind them as well. Just imagine having that capability, what would you use it for?
In this section I’m going to discuss and dispel some of the myths about chameleons and how Chameleons actually change their colour.
Many people believe that chameleons change their colour based on their environment, to try and disguise or blend in. However, this is not really the reason.
The reality is they actually change their colour to accommodate how they feel. In particular, its to do with temperature. So let me give you an example of this, if the chameleon is feeling exceptionally cold it may change its colour to Black, so that it can absorb more heat. Obviously it would be a different colour if it was feeling exceptionally hot at that time.
Another interesting trigger of colour change for these chameleons is their mood and how their feeling mentally. For example, if they’re feeling exceptionally angry they may decide to change their colour to a red colour. This is not necessarily a conscious decision but more of a physical change that happens automatically.
In this section I’m going to discuss how chameleons hear and exactly what level of hearing they can actually have and their techniques used to hear.
Chameleons have very different hearing capabilities to us. In reality they can not hear very well at all. This is to the extent that you could even consider them to be partially deaf.
The first factor that largely contributes to this lack of hearing is the physical size of their ears. As human beings we have very visible ears at either side of our heads.
A chameleon has got two microscopic holes either side of its head, near its eyes. Meaning that their hearing capabilities are significantly less than ours.
To put this into perspective, in comparison to human beings. Human beings have the capability of listening to sounds in the range of 20 Hz right up to 20K hertz.
However a Chameleon can only go from 200 Hz up to 600 Hz. This may not mean much to you unless you’ve actually researched and looked into what these ranges actually mean, but take it from me, in a nutshell, chameleons have significantly less hearing range than humans have.
Do Piebald Chameleons Need Light at Night? Yes, but they appreciate a cooler temperature at night. For this reason it is a good idea to go for red nightlight. They also require UVB lighting to maintain their calcium levels.
Do Piebald Chameleons Lay eggs or Live Young? They actually lay eggs. AN interesting thing about this is the fact that do not actually need a male to lay the eggs. They will lay groups, or “clutches” as they more commonly known of infertile eggs.
How can you tell if your Piebald is male or female? This is done by the “Tarsal Spur”. This is unique to the male. It is located behind their hind legs. If its there, they are a male. And obviously if it is not, they are female.
If you ever wondered what happens when a Chameleon bites, you are in the right place. I wondered how bad this bite can be and what risks it presents to humans. Read this article to discover.
What happens when a Chameleon Bites You? A chameleon bite is really not that bad. It is definitely not toxic or poisonous to humans. However, it will still have some mild pain. It will be more of a psychological shock, more than anything. The chances are it won’t draw blood or break the skin.
Now that you understand how bad a Chameleon bite is, lets understand a Chameleons typical behaviour, warning signs they will bite you, how to avoid getting bitten, and even more.
— Jimmy Milne (@animilnehouse) November 24, 2018
When it comes to comedians there are many different species to consider, so the behavior can vary from species to species. If we take the veiled Chameleon for example, they are typically quite a calm and docile Chameleon specie.
They are not really aggressive, however if they are stressed or feel that they are under some kind of attack by you, then there is a strong likelihood that they will actually bite you.
This is more of defensive mechanism more than anything. They would much prefer to escape from a situation rather than attack, so for them to bite you they must feel backed into a corner with nowhere to go.
For example, if you continually put your hand into their enclosure and antagonise them, then they may well give you a quick bite. Typically chameleons do not really like to be handled, and for this reason you stand a chance of being bitten.
There are two physical indications that are Chameleon is likely to bite you:
Hissing is one of the Chameleons defensive mechanisms. This is to tell you to back away. They use this in the wild and also in captivity. This can be due to a few different reasons, not just because they are about to bite.
It can also be due to temperature related issues as well as feeling scared frightened and defensive. However, if you are approaching your Chameleon and it’s hissing at you, it is a warning to back away or you will get bitten!
They may give you an aggressive standing glaring with their eyes. This may sound a bit hard to understand verbally, but if you see it it will be quite obvious. It’s almost like your Cham is sizing you up before they bite you.
In this section i’m going to discuss the best ways to tame and aggressive chameleon. Also the best ways to deal with them, so that you do not make them feel frightened or scared.
Generally speaking chameleons really do not like being handled, especially by human beings. This is not anything personal, it is more of a natural defensive mechanism. Largely due to experiences their species have had with humans in the past.
Also remember this, you are a lot bigger than them and they will naturally think that they are your food to you, are you with me?
For this reason it is a really good idea, especially when you get a new chameleon, to give them some time to settle in before you even think about trying to pick them up. If you have a baby chameleon that has been with you, and grown up with you, it is more likely to be more trusting and may allow you to handle it.
This is because it has grown used to you, but when you first start out with a Chameleon, whether that be a brand new baby or one that you have just purchased from a pet store, you need to give it some time to adjust.
You can expect when you first get a new chameleon from the pet shop that it may not even want to eat for the first few days, while it adjusts to its new environment. This is because they are quite sensitive to their environmental changes.
During the first week, at least, do not attempt to handle them. Give them some time to settle into their new environment or enclosure.
Hand feeding is a good way to introduce your chameleon to you and make them start to feel comfortable with you. The best way to do this is to first wait for the first week for them to get accustomed and comfortable in their new surroundings.
Then just get a piece of food and place it in your hand near them. But do not try to force it towards them! Just make it available to them. If you’re a bit squeamish, and you really did not like the idea of using your naked hand to handle insects, you can also substitute your hand with a metal tongue or another plastic device to feed it to them.
This is so they do not come in contact with your hand. But to be honest, your hand is the ideal method, because it’s personal to you and it will build the connection between you and your Chameleon.
Once the food is available and in your hand, do not try to force it towards them leave it there. Be patient, it might take a while for them to respond. But, in time, they may stop being cautious and attempt to take the food away from you.
Bear in mind this may not happen on the first occasion, it might take a few attempts to do this, for this to work.
The best way to do this, is to attempt this on the first feed of the day. This is because, on the first feed of the day, they are at their most hungriest and more likely to go for it.
After a while, with assistance, they will get used to your hand being there and then gradually start to associate your hand with positive things such as being fed.
One good technique to make your chameleon feel more comfortable it’s to gradually make them associate leaving their enclosure with positive experiences. This is so that they can get comfortable with leaving their enclosure and also being around you.
There are number ways of doing this, but one suggestion could be allowing them to come out of the tank, and then let them bask in some natural sunlight. Alternatively letting them roam a live plant. It will become something that will look forward to, and let them associate these positive memories with leaving their cage.
Depending on the type of specie dictates the likelihood of you getting bitten. For example, with chameleons you can have small species and large species. The veiled Chameleon, for example, as discussed earlier, may attempt to bite you if it is forced into a corner. But essentially it’s not really an aggressive breed.
However for a larger chameleon, for example a Panther (Click to see why Panther Chameleons need such a tall enclosure) or a Malagasy Giant, they are bigger Chameleons and they have the ability to be able to bite and even break your skin.
The simplest way to avoid being bitten by your chameleon is to reduce the amount of handling. You have to understand, even if you are tempted to pick them up, because you do genuinely love them, naturally they do not appreciate being handled.
If you continue to try and handle them there is a very good chance that they will bite you.
Many people believe that chameleons change their colour to match their environment, and they also believe they can do this with a click of their fingers, but in reality this is not the reason why they change colour.
They actually change their colour for a way of thermo regulating their body temperature. Also for interactions with other animals. In some cases they use really bright colours to display a physical threat to any impeding predators.
The Western Lizard is an interesting one that grabbed my attention recently. I decided that you can benefit from the facts, including its diet, understanding if mixing them together in enclosures i a good or bad idea and so much more.
What is a Western Fence Lizard? A Western Fence Lizard is also known as a Blue-Belly or Spiny Lizard. It is originally from California and is considered a great pet lizard for lizard keepers. It requires a 20 gallon tank and UVB lighting, along with other accessories to keep it happy in captivity.
Now I would like to go into more details and explain some background about them, the ideal lighting, food, required accessories, substrate and more. Keep reading to get the low down.
— Ctrl_Frk (@AutoCtrl) October 2, 2018
This lizard is known as a spiny lizard, but more commonly known as a “blue belly”, because of the bluish colour it has on its neck and on the underneath of its body. It is a native to California and and it is part of the Sceloporus lizard family.
Like most lizards, it likes to regulate its body temperature by basking in the sun. It usually likes an elevated location for this. This is so it can get the perfect most amount of sun rays. So, keep this in mind when you’re thinking about caring for one of these lizards.
Their legs are yellow-orange colour underneath but primarily they can range from a black or brown colour. In reality they can change their colour depending on the environment. They also have small scales all over their body.
In this section I’m going to talk about the ideal enclosure (Click for the best enclosures) size for these lizards. There is a range of sizes available (10-20 gallons), depending on your individual pet, but on the safe side is better to go for a 20 gallon tank. However, you can go as low as 10 gallon, depending on the size of the lizard.
So in this section I’m going to discuss the heating and humidity requirements that are required for this lizards. As discussed earlier they really enjoy basking in the Sun.
However, you need to make sure your enclosure has a heated area, as well as a cool area. This is because they like to cool off at certain times of the day. Extended periods of direct heat can dry out their skin.
The basking spot needs to be roughly about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, to keep them happy. And it needs to have moderate humidity, which is ideal for them.
To maintain the ideal humidity it is a good idea to mist the enclosure once or twice a day, just to keep on top of things. Are you with me?
UVA and UVB lighting is an absolute must, so make sure that you have this. However, they do not like the lighting very close to them. For this reason, you should keep it at least a few inches away from their tank. You should find that a 75 watt bulb is perfect for them in this situation.
These lizards really like digging, burrowing and making a real mess. And love the whole digging experience. For this reason, make sure, when it comes to substrate, that you provide sand, dirt or even cypress mulch.
These lizards really enjoyed climbing and grabbing onto things, so it’s an absolute must to have some branches or twigs in there. This is for them to manoeuvre well. You can also put live plants in there as well. This will help maintain the humidity levels.
In this section, I’m going to talk about the ideal cleaning schedule to maintain your enclosure. This is to keep it healthy and keep your lizard happy.
Ideally you need to have weekly, daily and periodic cleaning schedules. The periodic schedule, in particular, should be every two or 3 weeks.
An example of these periodic tasks. you may do more of a thorough clean of the enclosure, such as emptying the entire closure and cleaning out all of the accessories and substrate at this time. You want to re-house your lizard so that it is kept safe at this time.
Weekly tasks include completely replacing the substrate, such as cypress mulch. Also clearing up any dead/old leaves, branches or twigs.
The daily tasks are quick things, such as replenishing their water. Water is important to be changed every day, because there is a chance that you may find faeces inside it. This can lead to disease if you do not keep it fresh.
As discussed before it’s also good practice to Mist the enclosure on a regular basis. For this, it’s more like a twice a day activity really.
You can share the enclosures for multiple Western Fence lizards, however it is not advised to mix males together, Males can be quite territorial and may end up fighting. So, for this reason, it’s advisable to only keep one male in the enclosure.
You can have more than one female together though. Just to give you an idea of a perfect combination, for a 20 gallon tank, two females and one male would be ideal.
If you do decide to share the enclosure with more than one of these lizards, in particular if you have a male and a female together, you need to understand that there is a chance that they could be mating.
If this happens in your tank, you need to make sure that you have got adequate facilities for your lizards, in case they do breed and lay eggs. A good idea is to have a container with some topsoil in it, which is damp. This will be ideal for them to borrow and hide their eggs in.
So in this section I’m going to discuss the best temperature and lighting requirements for lizard. As discussed earlier the ideal basking area would be up to 90 degrees F. In your cooler spot in your tank, which we discussed earlier. It is ideal to have it anywhere from 70 to 85 degrees for this section.
When it comes to the night-time, it is better to reduce the temperature down to approximately 62 degrees Fahrenheit. You may want to switch off the lighting at this time. Anything from 8 to 11 hours without these lights is ideal, so that they can have the best temperature during their sleeping time.
In addition to these heating requirements they also require lighting which gives the full spectrum of colours, so that they can maintain and metabolize their calcium levels. This is important to keep their calcium levels correct.
— iNaturalist (@inaturalist) April 16, 2017
In the wild Western Fence Lizards eat flies, spiders and they are even known to eat smaller lizards. Yes, other lizards! This is cannibalisation, its something that happens in the lizard Kingdom.
In captivity their diet is fairly similar, eating ants, spiders, etc. However, they may also snack on mealworms or waxworms.
When it comes to the baby lizards, they can eat food such as crickets and other similar insects. However, the key thing to remember here is the size of the food. The food you’re giving them needs to be checked to be safe.
A good guide, to be safe is to not feed them anything that is longer than the distance between their eyes. This is simply to reduce the chances of them choking, and to keep them safe while they are eating.
With regards to the frequency of eating, as in how often you should feed them. Please do not feed them on a daily basis, this is not necessary, and can lead to over feeding.
The ideal feeding frequency is 3 to 4 times a week. It is also a good idea to let them feed in peace without standing over and watching them. Especially when they are new. The problem with this is, they may not feel comfortable in your presence.
And this may lead to them stopping eating or not eating as much as they should be to keep healthy and happy, are you with me?
When it comes to feeding them water, you need to make sure that you give them fresh water on a daily basis to keep them happy. You need to understand that they actually prefer to drink from water droplets rather than the dish.
However it is possible to give them a dish, but just make sure that there are no sharp edges around the dish to stop the chances of them cutting themselves.
Another technique that you can use to keep them properly hydrated is to spray the enclosure with water. This should be done on a daily basis. This is more commonly known as misting. This will keep them happy and hydrated.
Supplementation is a must for most lizards. For the blue belly lizard in particular, you want to make sure that they’ve got a good calcium supplement to regulate their calcium levels.
The best way to do this is to actually brush the calcium supplementation on to some insects, that they’re going to eat. For example, a cricket.
This way, they will indirectly eat it. If you are interested to know the exact amount of supplementation they should be consuming and adding to each meal, please read the directions on your supplement of choice just to make sure you get this right.
They do bite but you need to understand that this bite is really quite timid and tame. If you are bitten by one of them it is almost a non-significant bite. They will only bite if they feel threatened.
Even if it does happen, most people are not bothered by the bite at all. Some people have even described this bite as almost as if the blue belly is trying to grab their finger, rather than actually penetrating and drawing blood.
How big does a Western fence lizard grow? In this section I’m going to discuss how big the blue belly lizards grows. These lizards are really classified as a medium sized lizard, meaning they really do not grow that big.
But to be precise, they can grow anything up to 8 and 1/2 inches in length, and that will be from the tip of their nose down to their tail.
Are they Lyme disease killing superheroes? In this section I will discuss some of the talk and myths regarding the blue belly lizard being immune or even having the ability to cure the lyme disease infection.
Lyme disease is usually transmitted by small tick bites. These sticks are known to carry lyme disease and infect a human or another lizard by biting and passing it through their blood stream.
The interesting fact about this lizard is, if one of these ticks bites it, its blood can neutralises the lyme disease in the tick. Not only that, it also makes the tick unable to infect anyone else with the disease in the future.
Do Western Fence lizards hibernate? In this section I’m going to talk about the Western Fence lizard hibernating. In reality they do go into a form of hibernation in the winter months.
But technically speaking, it’s not called hibernation, the term for reptiles is “brumation”. This is similar to hibernation but is more like a slowdown of activity in your lizard.
At this point in time they may wake up and have some water but they really will not be active at all. And you may find they will they won’t eat during this period as well.
Because this is a known state, it is advisable to prepare for this by feeding them some extra food towards the end of autumn, so that they have enough fat stores available in the winter months, when they slow down or stop eating.
During this period of time you should make sure that their enclosure is cool and dark. In the wild this can go on for all the winter, however in captivity you may see it only last for a few weeks.
How can you differentiate between a male and female lizard? The males have very brightly coloured blue stripes on a white belly. Just behind the vent you should see two large scales.
As for behaviour, you will notice that the males can be aggressive and territorial. They like to fight with any other males that attempt to breach their territory.
The females only have 1 scale at the centre of their vent and they typically have a lot duller colours than the males do.
What Defensive behaviour do they have? What you will notice with these lizards is quite similar to other lizards, if they are under attack they will drop their tail.
What you should notice once the tail is dropped is that it will still keep pulsing and flopping around as the muscles in the tail are still contracting. This is done deliberately to create a distraction and make the predators go after the tail, whilst the lizard can make a sharp exit and run away to safety.
Losing their tail is not something that they do lightly, because it takes a lot of energy for them to regrow their tail back and is quite a stressful period for them.
The Predators that give them the most hassle is feral cats or even pet cats in captivity. They are ideal predators to fall for the trap of chasing the broken tail rather than the lizard itself.
Many Leopard Gecko owners are told to fed their Leo’s just mealworms or crickets, but is this best practice? This was the question in my head, and the reason why I will explain why this is not correct.
Can you feed your Leopard Gecko just mealworms? No, it is not advisable. You need to provide additional supplementation so they get enough vitamins and minerals. This can be provided alongside the mealworms to make them easy for your Leopard Gecko to consume.
Now you know what they should be eating, let us look into mealworms and understand exactly what they are, if they are better than other insects, such as crickets, issues with crickets, and more.
— 🏳️🌈 Cara Santa Maria 🏳️🌈 (@CaraSantaMaria) September 4, 2016
In this section I’m going to explain to you exactly what a mealworm is. A mealworm is effectively a beetle mealworms which is in it’s larva state, which is its very early stages of physical development.
Beatle mealworms have 4 key stages as they grow, as follows:
They start off his eggs they then move onto larva, then pupa and finally they will grow into the adult mealworm beetles that you may know of.
As discussed earlier, the mealworm that is given to your leopard gecko is the mealworm Beetle in its larva state, and this is effectively what is provided for food to your lizard.
In its adult size the mealworm (click here to see what types of worms you can feed Leos) beetle grows up to 2 cm in length. However, while they are in their larva form, which will be feeding to a leopard gecko, you can usually see them anything up to 2.5 centimetres in length.
In this section I’m going to explain some of the common foods that your leopard gecko should eat.
As you may or may not know, your leopard gecko is an insectivore. Meaning that their primary food source is insects. In particular some of the following: Mealworms, Crickets, superworms and waxworms.
Even though this is their primary food source they still need supplementation to maintain the best nutrition, vitamins and minerals, to keep them healthy and happy. But I will go into this in more detail and how you can keep on top of this later on the article.
When it comes to supplementation I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to maintain this nutritional profile.
Because if you do not supplement correctly you will find that your leopard gecko, in time, will start to deteriorate and can actually turn into deficiencies or even life-threatening situations.
You may find that pet stores or people that you talk to you about leopard geckos will always attempt to recommend a complete cricket based diet for your Leo. Whilst there is some benefits of this, in the next section I’m going to explain some of the disadvantages of this approach. And why mealworms are, in my opinion, a better choice to consider.
Firstly let’s discuss why crickets are really so popular (Click here to see if Leos can eat freeze-dried crickets) amongst lizard owners, in particular leopard gecko owners.
Crickets are high in nutritional value and they are also a very active feeder insects for your Leo, which they really do love. Another great advantage of crickets, which makes them quite popular is there availability.
You can find them in many pet stores and they are easily available, so that you can keep your leopard gecko fed well.
On top of these advantages, another great thing about crickets is that they are easily digestible by a leopard gecko. However, in the next section I’m going to explain some of the disadvantages of crickets and why I feel that mealworms can be a better choice.
There are a few disadvantages of crickets. First and foremost is the actual smell of the crickets. I’m not sure if you’ve ever smelt them before, but they have a really strong odour. For some people, this can become quite overwhelming.
They are a very active insects, which is good for your Leo. They like the challenge and movement of these actives, but for a lizard keeper, they can be quite hard to manage.
On top of this weird smell, and their high activity, they are also very loud. They create a lot of noise when you have them.
Another issue that you may find is that, if there are uneaten, the crickets left behind by your Leo have a tendency to start to bite and nibble on your pet lizard. Meaning they can start to cause issues, which can lead into bigger health issues and infections from the open wounds.
It is believed that they have a high tendency of carrying diseases. Also they are quite difficult to keep alive and happy while you wait to feed your Leo.
— Sweetiethebeardeddragon (@sweetiebeardie) May 3, 2018
Mealworms are less likely to carry bacteria and diseases which is good for your leopard geckos health. They are also a cleaner insect substitute.
When it comes to their activity level, they have quite a low activity, especially when compared to crickets. This is ideal for a lizard keeper because when you are providing this food for your lizard you do not have to worry about them moving all over the place, running away and jumping like crickets do.
You can simply present these mealworms to your pet on a dish. For example, simply lay them in the enclosure (Click for the best lizard enclosures) and they will happily eat away at their leisure, without any risk of these mealworms escaping.
Another great advantage of the mealworms is that they do not present any dangers to your Leo. For example, they will not try to nibble at your lizard like a cricket will. They also do not carry any noticeable odours like crickets do.
When it comes to storage, again they are ideal. They can be stored away for weeks and become quite inactive in this period of time. It is then quite easy to keep them alive. You can then simply take them out of storage and present them to your leopard gecko, but more on this process later in this article.
Whilst the mealworms have a lot of clear advantages that I have listed above they are not perfect, like anything in this world. So in this section I’m going to explain some of the disadvantages that you have to consider, when you are thinking of substituting mealworms for crickets.
Mealworms do not have as much nutritional value as a cricket does, that is a fact. Therefore they need to be accompanied with good supplementation, to make up for this gap in the nutritional value.
Unfortunately they are harder to digest for your leopard gecko than a cricket is. Also, if they do escape even, though they are quite inactive this is possible, they are quite hard to find. They tend to borrow them self away and make it quite difficult to get them back. Even though this is quite a minor thing
Due to their inactivity they are not as exciting for your leopard gecko to eat as a cricket is. A cricket is a real challenge, it jumps around and is very active and is quite pleasing for your leopard gecko. Where as the mealworm is quite inactive, and sometimes is not as enjoyable for some Leos.
As discussed earlier, these mealworms (Click here to see the difference between Mealworms & Superworms) are very easy to feed. To be honest you can quite literally lay them on a plate for your leopard gecko and they will happily just help himself without any issues.
If you have mealworms in bulk and you have stored them away in refrigeration. Before you can give these to your leopard gecko there is some preparation that you need to do first.
At least 24 hours before planning to give them to your leopard gecko, you should remove them from the fridge and let them return to room temperature. You should notice after this 24-hour period they will become warmer and start to become active.
The next thing that you need to do, after you’ve taken them out from the refrigeration and giving them ample time to become active, is to “gut load” these insects.
This is so that they are prepared and fed for your leopard gecko. This effectively means feeding the mealworms so that they are full of nutrition and will be a good asset for your leopard gecko, are you with me?
When it comes to gut loading, you can feed them a number of different things, in particular carrots or other vegetables. In addition to this you’ll need to provide some supplementation so that this is passed onto your leopard gecko.
A good method for supplementation is to mix the vitamin supplementation with the mealworms. In some cases you can dust the mealworms with the supplementation so that when your leopard gecko eats them it will consume the vitamin supplementation at the same time.
You can also consider giving your leopard gecko the supplementation in a dish on its own and it will likely feed itself this supplementation, but in all honesty mixing it with the mealworms is a good tactic.
Because they will be so excited to eat the mealworms, they won’t even notice that they’re getting the extra benefit of the supplementation at the same time.
As discussed before leopard geckos are insectivores therefore do not try to feed them vegetables, fruits, vegetables or any kind of vegetation, because this is not how they eat.
They will indirectly get this supplementation, as discussed, through the mealworms that they have eaten, that have been fed the vegetables. Or through the supplementation that you provide to them.
Also it is not a good idea to feed your leopard gecko pinky mice.
So how often should you feed your leopard gecko? Ultimately you should be feeding your leopard gecko 3 to 4 times a week. A good indication of the amount of food to feed your leopard gecko depends on the size, this is the best way to gauge it.
A good way to do this is to work out the size of your leopard gecko. Then provide it with at least two insects for every inch in length of its body, are you with me?
So, let’s look at a working example: If your leopard gecko is 5 inches in length, and that is from tail to the nose, then you would provide 10 insects.
And in this example, where we have calculated that you would give them 10 insects, you would provide 10 insects to them three to four times a week. You should check out this article on how to handle an aggressive Leopard Gecko.
Are you looking for a pocket-sized Iguana that you can car for (Click here for my best UV bulb for small Iguana’s on Amazon)? Unfortunately, Iguana’s are typically quite big. However, there are some exceptions to this, which I will break down for you in this article.
What is the smallest pet Iguana? The Spiny Tailed Iguana is the smallest from as small as 5 inches. It is part of the Ctenosaurs genus and is known for its record breaking sprinting speeds at over 20 miles per hour.
This is one of a few different small Iguanas. In this article I will list 7 of the best small Iguanas. However when I say small, they are smaller than the average Iguana, but some are still regarded as large lizards in general.
Charlie my Cuban Rock Iguana(2 years old)and me.Yes,I'm wearing a head band. pic.twitter.com/k19WdMfyC9
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) November 27, 2013
Iguanas are typically quite large lizards and for that reason it is advised that they are only kept by advanced lizard keepers. They require some specialist requirements and a lot of space.
There are over 30 different species of iguana, and the majority of them are less than 4 feet in length, this is nose to tail end. but in all honesty they are still regarded as large lizards.
There are some that you can find that are between 1 and 3 feet long, that are more practical for people that have got limited space in the house. For example, the desert iguana, which grows up to18 inches in length, but I will explain this in more detail detail later on in the article.
Another example of a small Iguana is the club tailed iguana ,which is up to 12 inches in length. This size is ideal for domestic life.
The thing to understand with these Iguanas, as there is so many different species to consider, they all have very different temperaments, requirements for food, water, heating and lighting. Therefore, every individual specie needs to be understood thoroughly before taking on the responsibility of keeping them.
Failure to fully understand their individual requirements can result in the untimely demise of your lizard. Or at the least, your lizard living a very unhappy, unhealthy life.
It is advisable, if possible, to speak directly with someone who has had experience of keeping these lizards for a long period of time. To get some special tips that you might never get from reading a book or scanning a website article.
In this section I’m going to list some Iguanas that you can consider keeping. I will list a range of species, but ultimately I am targeting those species of iguana that are smaller in size. The ones that are more realistic to be kept in captivity.
Getting too close to a desert iguana will make it run away incredibly fast, but sometimes one will stick around and try to look tough by opening its mouth a bit. pic.twitter.com/IXbPKXUII8
— Bryan D. Hughes (@rattlesnakeguy) December 22, 2017
This Iguana comes from the natural dry lands of America. Its main habitat is hot deserts, therefore it requires a very hot environment to keep it happy and close to its natural environment.
Size wise you can expect them to grow up to 16 inches in length, but the majority of this length is taken up but they’re really long tails.
One of their unique attributes is their camouflage, to match the natural desert environment. The colours you can usually expect them to be in is anywhere from a tan colour to a whiteish colour.
They also have the ability to change colour, depending on the time of day. When the sun is rising in the day they will have a greyish colour. But by 12PM, when the sun rises their skin will change colour to a warm white colour to reflect the sun and keep them safe from the hot weather conditions.
They also have the ability to run really fast, when under attack or in pursuit. They can reach really fast speeds and also while they are running, they have the ability to raise their front legs and run almost in a standing posture.
— Brian Lilly (@brglilly) December 13, 2018
They’ve earned their name from the horns that are on their head which, as you can imagine, resemble Rhinos. So it’s quite an obvious reason why they been called this.
Their natural habitat is in the Caribbean and they prefer to be positioned in a Rocky terrain. Size-wise you can expect him to be anywhere from 25 to 60 inches. They also have a few different colour ranges such as green to dark green or even a greyish colour.
The males are differentiated by their larger horns which is quite obvious when you see them side by side. Their main diet includes fruits flowers and vegetables.
They also have some pores in their thighs which secretes pheromones, which the males use to attract females.
Typically they are not really an aggressive type of animal. However, if they are backed into a corner they will defend themselves. One of their favourite attacks is using their tail as a whip.
These lizards are protected in the wild but are still kept in captivity at pets. They are kept by professional lizard keepers or zoos. However they are available on the open market, but more targeted to an advance keeper.
The Angel Island Chuckwalla Lizard is typically up to 17 inches in length. It’s natural habitat is in the Gulfs of California. It was originally introduced to the Angel Island, for food purposes, but since then it made it it’s natural home. Hence the name.
Behaviour wise it is quite a docile and laid-back animal. In fact one of the most laid back in this lizard family. It is also known for doing weird dances, which are believed to be linked to a number of different reasons. One of these weird activities is head bobbing, which is believed to be linked to communication with other lizards.
They have an ability to inflate their lungs and stretch out their skin. So that they can wedge and fit themselves into rock faces. This bizarre behaviour causes its skin to look quite saggy and stretched like an old balloon.
The Spiny tailed Iguana (Click here to see the typical costs of an Iguana) originates from Mexico or Central America. Its scientific genus name is Ctenosaurs. It ranges from five up to 39 inches in length.
The small Yucatan spiny tailed lizard is a small specie of this Genus. It can grow up to 10 inches in length, which is more of an ideal size to be considered for captivity.
They also have very fast running capabilities. In fact they hold the world record for lizards, running over 20 miles per hour, which is quite impressive.
Unfortunately they are an endangered specie due hunting and a collection of unfortunate reasons, which has severely reduced their numbers. In the wild there are laws to protect them, however, they are still endangered.
They have a varied diet, mostly eating fruits, vegetables and leaves.
— St ✧ Ave ✧ N (@Semioptera) May 20, 2016
It’s scientific name is Brachylophus vitiensis and unfortunately this is also one of the critically endangered species. Unfortunately its numbers are really low and continue to reduce.
They tend to be found in the dry Forest areas in an island in the northwestern region of Fiji.
It is called the crested gecko because of an obvious crest on its back. It grows up to 30 inches in length, which is from its tail end to its nose. And typically weighs up to 300g in weight.
It is a herbivore therefore it likes to eat fruits vegetables and leaves. For reproduction, eggs are laid instead of live young. and breeding time is often in March.
In this section I’m going to talk to you about the Turks and Caicos rock lizard. This lizard is endangered due to its habitat being overgrazed and trampled on, reducing their food intake.
They are relatively small lizards, growing up to 12 inches in length. Making them one of the smallest species in this Cyclura type.
They are also egg layers and tend to lay eggs in large groups of up to 9 eggs. The male and female are easily differentiated between each other, because the male is bigger than the female. And is quite considerable difference so it is quite obvious to see this.
The Cuban rock iguana has the scientific name of Cyclura nubila. Tt is also known as the Cuban ground iguana also simply as the Cuban iguana. It has red eyes, which are quite striking, and almost evil when you look at them.
With these red eyes they have amazing vision. With the ability to see moving objects over long distances. Maybe this is why they have such piercing red eyes?
So, even though it has these scary looking red eyes, it is actually a herbivore. Therefore, the majority of his diet is fruits vegetables, leaves and vegetation. Therefore it is not really anything to be frightened of as it is not really hunting for meat. As for the size of this lizard it is 16 inches in length.
Are Iguanas aggressive? As discussed in this article, there are quite a variety of different Iguanas, with varying temperaments. In general they are quite territorial. They will protect their territory and will bit if they feel under threat.
Do Iguana Bites Hurt? Yes, they will hurt. Although Iguanas are mostly not meat eaters, their teeth are designed to tear apart plant material and they have strong jaws. Therefore they can inflict some painful damage.
Do Iguana’s have a third eye? Yes, but not in a literal sense. This “third eye” as its called is really what is known as the “Parietal Eye”. It has the ability to detect fluctuations in the light, from light to dark. It is not like a real eye, meaning they cannot see people with it.
A healthy Leopard Gecko is a happy Leo, right? But how can you tell if he is healthy (Click here to see my best leopard Gecko guide & the price, on Amazon)? In this article I will explain how you can monitor this and common issues to look out for, so you can stay on top of things.
How to Tell if Your Leopard Gecko is Healthy? You need to look at their day to behaviour. In particular their food intake, energy levels, frequency of bowel movements, water consumption, etc. This requires consistent monitoring. If you notice any degradation in these areas then you need to get your lizard checked out.
To truly understand how healthy your Leo is, you need to identify what problems you need to look out for. For this reason I am going to explain a number of symptoms/known problems that you should be looking out for on a daily basis, to monitor.
You can expect baby geckos to regurgitate food but this shouldn’t happen on a regular basis. Once or maybe twice. If this is happening on a regular basis, then it is definitely cause for concern. And should be the point that you consider getting your vet involved.
If you find any unprocessed matter in the tank there is a good chance that this could have been regurgitated by your Leo, however, it may not definitely be because of this. It could also be faeces which has been passed.
This could be linked to impaction, but one of the main culprit for this is an issue with parasites.
As you may or may not know Leo’s are insectivores, meaning their primary food intake is insects. If you discover that there is leftover food in their tank then this may be a cause for concern.
However, if you notice that they completely skip a meal, this is definitely something that cannot be overlooked. This is an issue that needs to be investigated immediately.
If you noticed that your lizard has skipped a meal, or has left insects behind, it is very important that you remove the surplus insects away from your Leo as soon as possible. The problem here is, these insects could then start biting your Leo.
This can cause injury and potentially infection down the line. So to avoid this happening remove these insects immediately.
The best idea is to consistently monitor your Leo’s eating habits. If you notice any of these changes in food intake immediately raise the issue with your vet.
In this section, I am going to explain why it is important to understand the consistency of your Leo’s faeces. This may sound disgusting, but it is a necessity to avoid issues with diarrhoea.
The consistency your Leo’s faeces depend on a number of factors, such as the food that he as consumed how much water has been taken in etc
If you notice that your pet Leo’s stool is watery, loose, has signs of undigested food or, in real extreme cases, has blood in it, then this is a cause for concern and should be flagged up as an issue immediately.
If you notice any of these abnormalities the best practice is to take your a Leo to the vet and get them inspected. They should be looking out for any signs of bacterial infection or parasite problems, but there could be other issues that they may find. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I will now discuss potential issues that you may encounter with your Leos skin. Your Leo’s stomach area is susceptible to skin infections. For the simple reason that their stomach makes contact with the substrate and can cause irritations and infections as they rub against it.
To be honest skin infections can be caused anywhere on their body. Basically, wherever the skin has been damaged or broken leaves it susceptible to infections.
Another common area is around the toes. This is because they make contact with the ground, in particular the substrate.
If the substrate has been poorly maintained, such as damp or soiled with faeces, it can get mixed in with your lizards toes. If there is any concern or doubt , you should contact your vet to clarify.
Regular deification is very important for a healthy Leo. As they consume their food, if they cannot get rid of the waste they can get backed up, which could lead to constipation.
If you notice that your Leo has a reduction in the amount of faeces that it is creating, it’s usually an indication that there’s a problem with his appetite.
Another reason for this reduction in faeces, is because your leopard gecko is feeling constipated. If this is the case you can attempt to bath him in water to stimulate a bowel movement. If this doesn’t work, then you can consider taking him to the vet to check this out.
On a day-to-day basis, you should find that your leopard gecko is quite energetic. He should be moving around in the tank and responding to its surroundings in a happy and vivid manner. However if you are not seeing this, it could be due to an underlying problem.
For a sick leopard gecko you made notice that they are hiding away a lot or not moving for extended periods of time. It should be quite obvious in comparison to his usual active behaviour.
You may even notice that your Leo is finding it hard to even push their body up using their own legs. If this is the case you need to take immediate action and get them checked out by your vet.
Generally speaking your lizard should have bright vibrant, wide open eyes. Also should have healthy moist gums from the water that they have consumed through their skin.
If this is not the case, and they have sunken eyes, i’m going to give you some information that may help you. Sunken eyes is usually linked to dehydration. If you discover that your Leo has sunken eyes it is a good idea to think about how you can hydrate him as soon as possible.
One thing that you can consider, to improve the hydration, is to soak him in some warm water or mist him, by spraying him with water so that his body absorbs it and gently hydrates itself.
Eye infections are something that are quite easy to see, which is fortunate. Let me share some common things to look out for when it comes to diagnosing an eye infection. Cloudiness in the eye, discharge or even swelling around the eye area are all common signs of this problem.
You may even notice that your Leo may have difficulties opening his eye, which is similar to conjunctivitis which some babies have when they’re really young.
Now let’s focus on what can cause these eye infections. It can be something as simple as getting dust in the Lizards Eye. It could also be damage to the eye during hunting or any other kind of physical activity.
Eye infections requires a vet’s assistant. This is not something that you should try and diagnose or cure yourself. It is likely that your vet will need to take a swab from the eye to ascertain exactly what the issue is.
Mouth rot is fairly rare when it comes to leopard geckos. Typically this happens when your Leo damages their mouth or snout. For example, this could happen while fighting or any kind of physical exchange with another lizard. These wounds then lead to infection down the line.
The common symptoms of this problem is a loss of appetite, you may also notice that your lizards mouth starts to swell. You may even notice some puss secreting from their mouth. Any of this is an obvious red flag for this issue.
To cure this issue you need to take your lizard to the vet immediately typically. They are likely to clean the affected area and then either swab or inject and antibiotic to clear up the problem. But obviously you will seek direction from your vet, this is not something that you do on your own.
This issue is usually caused by extreme exposure to really cold conditions and can affect their immune system.
The symptoms of this issue include gasping for air or finding it hard to breathe. In some cases this can be cured by just increasing the temperature in the terrarium, but it is advisable to contact your vet to deal with the issue.
Egg Binding is effectively where the eggs that are about to be laid by a pregnant (or Gravid) Leo, get stuck or obstructed.
At this stage females are usually referred to as “egg bound”. This condition can also get confused with impaction which has similar symptoms.
The term “gravid”, is used for a female lizard who is pregnant and full of eggs. During this time it is important to have the correct living conditions for a female lizard for this to be successful and to happen as planned.
The causes of this issue is basically any obstruction of the oviduct or cloaca. this problem can happen from any deformities in this area. It can even be down to the size of the eggs that are formed. Other problems can be if the eggs are too large and become stuck.
In some cases, the actual shape of the eggs, being miss-shaped or in a cluster of eggs that are stuck together making it almost impossible for them to pass can cause this.
It is believed that this issue can be caused by calcium deficiency because calcium is a very important part of egg development and also is believed to induce the egg laying process.
Symptoms for this condition could be a bloated stomach, failure to lay the eggs, or your Leo straining to lay the eggs. There is a number of different symptoms, which can be confusing sometimes.
It is best practise to consult a vet. the problem with this issue is that some of these symptoms can be just part of the natural process of egg laying and may not be a real problem. If the vet diagnoses that this is the issue, in extreme situations the eggs can be surgically removed but this is more of an extreme measure.
This condition is similar to Ricketts that you may see in humans. Symptoms for this issue could be deformed limbs, soft bone Jaws and in some cases your lizard my find it hard to eat normally, due to abnormalities in his jaw line.
This issue is usually caused by a lack of nutrition. Also can be caused from lack of vitamin D or even calcium deficiencies.
To prevent this happening you need to make sure that your Leo is being correctly supplemented. This can usually be achieved by brushing calcium supplementation on their food and then giving it to them.
For example you can gut load insects with brushed calcium supplementation and then feed these insects to your lizard.
To cure this problem you need to seek the advice of your vet. You first need the vet to establish if there is a true problem with MBD. If this is the case, they will need to verify if supplementation will help.
They may decide to take further precautions, such as injecting calcium supplementation to improve matters.
Just bare in mind that these measures will not necessarily reverse the damage that has already been done, this will just stop the situation getting any worse.
Leos within their first year of life are a lot more susceptible to this MBD issue. Therefore it is important to make sure that they have got their sufficient nutrition and supplementation to prevent this happening.
A healthy leopard gecko skin shedding will result in the entire skin being removed in one piece. If however you discover that the skin has not removed completely and they are partial portions of skin still on your lizard, then there is definitely some skin shedding issues.
This is typically caused by not having enough humidity in the terrarium and your leopard gecko getting dried out. But this can also be due to a lack of nutrition or minerals.
You are advised to seek advice from your vet, but essentially the skin needs to be removed. Your vet will advise how you can safely remove this skin, without causing any damage to your lizard.
Mites are a very common issue with leopard geckos (Click here to see if Leos can eat Human Food). They tend to live in the terrarium and effectively feed off your Leo, causing major discomfort and problems
They will bite your Leo’s skin and then feed off its blood to keep them surviving. And breed and live in the terrarium causing havoc.
The best way to diagnose this is through inspection of the stall but it is best to get professional advice to confirm if this is the case.
If you have ever seen a Prolapse on a lizard, would you agree it is quite unsightly? In this article I will explain exactly what this is, and how you can deal with it.
What is a prolapse? A prolapse is a piece of tissue that is sticking from the lizard which is visible it is quite a serious issue and needs to be taken and dealt with with extreme urgency. This is noticed by the organs effectively sticking out of the cloaca.
Now that you understand what a prolapse is, I am now going to explain how to avoid this, what the symptoms are, related issues that can cause it and much more.
And I’m going to explain what the symptoms of a prolapse. Fortunately it is quite obvious when you see this. When I explain this to you, it will make perfect sense.
Effectively you will see a very an obvious purple or pink coloured organ sticking out from the rear end of your bearded dragon. I am sorry to be so direct, but this is the reality. It is quite unsightly and will definitely be alarming enough for you to take it seriously.
The prolapse of the Cloaca can happen for a number of reasons. In this section I’m going to explain some of the reasons why it may happen.
One of the reasons can be due to a lack of calcium. This lack of calcium can happen due to a few different reasons. Such as:
Calcium deficiency in the lizards bones happens because they are starved of the required nutrition. This can lead to the deterioration of their bones, literally breaking down, becoming weak. For example, the pelvis. In this example the pelvis can actually break down due to the weakness and cause a prolapse.
Another less commonly known one is damage caused by the bearded dragons efforts to mark it’s own territory. This can be caused by your Beardie rubbing its body against the substrate causing damage and a potential prolapse.
Other reasons for this issue can be due to dehydration, impaction (more on this later), egg-laying or even constipation.
So far in this article we talked about different ways that you can prevent a prolapse, looking at all the indirect causes. And explored exactly how these issues happen.
Now I’m going to explain what you would need to do to actually treat it if you actually see this.
First and foremost the most important thing is to take your bearded dragon to the vet immediately because this is a very serious issue and needs to be treated with some urgency.
When you are on your way to the vet’s it is advisable to place some paper towels down while you’re transporting him and keep the towels moist with KY Jelly to keep him to keep him happy on way to the vet.
Once you arrive at the vet’s it is likely that the vet will attempt to rehydrate the tissue and gently is it back in and then treat your bearded dragon.
For me to explain this properly, I need to break this down depending on the potential causes for the prolapse.
Firstly let’s focus on preventing calcium deficiency. There are two main ways that you can reduce the chances of calcium deficiency. The first one is making sure that you provide the required UVB lighting that they need to maintain the calcium levels that they require.
Secondly is to improve your bearded dragons diet. In particular, you may need to supplement its diet (Are Calci Worms Good for Bearded Dragons? Click here) with calcium. A great way to do this is by gut loading insects and brushing them with a calcium supplement. When you do this, these insects will pass on the calcium supplement to your Beardie.
Avoiding dehydration is very important. Like human beings water is very critical to their diet. Water is even more important when they are feeling sick or unwell. During this time it becomes very hard for them to consume the level of water that they need.
To keep your Beardie hydrated is quite a simple solution. Just make sure that you provide it with enough water. The best water is Pedialyte, consider giving them this if you can. Obviously if you do not have this, they will still need water right away.
So do not make them suffer and wait any longer, you could easily substitute this with normal bottled water. This is better than tap water, which has chemicals that are used to process it.
However, as I mentioned earlier Pedialyte is the best option and also contains less Sugar and is digested and metabolized a lot quicker.
Impaction is quite a common issue with a number of lizards, not just Bearded Dragons. Let me give you some tips on this. Unfortunately there are many different misunderstandings and misconceptions about impaction.
But one thing’s for sure, it needs to be taken seriously, because it can lead to severe constipation and even in some extreme cases it can be fatal.
Impaction by Dehydration
Impaction can be caused by a number of different reasons. So let me explain some of the most common ones and give you some Solutions of how you can avoid it happening.
In the first instance it can actually be caused by dehydration, which I obviously discussed in the previous section. Let me explain one thing about why dehydration occurs a lot in captivity.
When your lizard is in its natural environment, nature has a very clever way of providing all of the water that a Bearded Dragon requires throughout the day. Such as simple things like the morning dew that builds up, that can be licked off and ingested by your lizard.
However, in captivity these things are not provided, so you, as a responsible keeper need to make sure you keep on top of the water supply. And make sure that they have got the required needs covered. My point is, unfortunately in captivity dehydration is rife, due to owners neglecting this.
One of the easiest ways is to simply provide the required water in a bowl in their enclosure. Allowing them to proactively feed from the bowl. However you may find, in some cases, that your lizard will not drink enough water from the bowl.
If your lizard is not drinking this water from the bowl you can consider another method. Actually spraying your lizard with water. It will actually lick and in take the required water from its own body.
Impaction by Diet
Another issue that can cause impaction is diet. One of the biggest issues is that some lizard keepers do not understand that they need to provide their bearded dragons with a mixed variety of food.
Unfortunately some only feed their Beardie insects. You may get away with feeding a baby bearded dragon only insects but as it gets older it needs to have a more varied diet. This is to make sure that it gets enough water and doesn’t become dehydrated.
In particular, from the age of 1 and a half years up to about 2 years old, you need to make sure that it has a mix of protein as well as fruits and vegetables. To make sure that it gets the required hydration.
The thing to note here is, getting hydrated is not always directly from the water you provide, it also comes from the fruit and vegetables that they consume as well. That’s why this is so important.
The thing to note here is that a bearded dragons body needs a required amount of fibre on a daily basis for it to process the food that it eats. So that it can pass the food, without having any difficulties. This is very important for their diet.
Impaction from Substrate
Another issue is the incorrect substrate. When it comes to substrate (Click here for the best 3 Bearded Dragon Substrates) there are many different options to choose from.
A controversial choice, that has mixed responses by different lizard owners is the particle base substrate such as sand. It is a known fact that this substrate can inadvertently be consumed by your lizard.
This then causes a blockage inside of their digestion system. Which can then lead to impaction. Some owners happily use sand based substrate and swear by it. And say they have no issues .
While others have issues with impaction. Obviously this just depends on the behaviour of your lizard and also your individual appetite for risk.
If you are not up for taking a risk, then there are other substrates that you can use, that are not particle-based. Such as AstroTurf based substrate, which have no particles. These ones make it impossible for your lizard to actually bite and swallow it.
Impaction from Parasites
Parasites are another issue that can cause compaction. For example tapeworm. This can cause a blockage in the intestines and lead to impaction. This is not always easy to diagnose.
You may actually require a vet to diagnose this problem. It is possible sometimes to inspect their faeces to see if this is the case. But you are advised to speak to your vet about this particular issue.
So what are the solutions for impaction?
So far I have given you ways that you can prevent impaction happening, to in turn avoid impaction. But what if your Beardie already has this issue? The first thing that you need to consider doing is visiting your vet because they will give you the best way to deal with this situation.
At the same time you can also consider having an immediate change of Diet for your bearded dragon , based on somebody information that you’ve read in this article. In particular moving it away from a highly protein protein, insect based diet.
Instead, you could consider a more high fibre diet with vegetables and fruit. Also as discussed earlier , provide it with a lot more water you.
Aside from this you can also consider giving them a warm bath and the the trick with this one is to make sure that the the water is at the level where it will cover their lower belly.
The idea is to is to stimulate the poop to come out from your bearded dragon. It is done by gently massaging the stomach of the bearded dragon in the hope that the warm water and a gentle massage will ease out the poop that is causing a blockage inside of their body.
Hove you got an aggressive Gecko and need some advice on how to deal with it? Well, you are in the right place, I will explain why this may be happening and how to deal with it.
How to Handle an Aggressive Leopard Gecko? You need gain their trust first and identify if they have any underlying issues to cause their aggression, such as sickness. Once that established, and you have trust they can be handled gently with an open hand.
There are a number of reasons for this aggression, and it is important to understand why this is happening, how to deal with it, and know when and when not to approach them. Read on and let me explain.
In this section I’m going to explain how leopard geckos temperament usually is so that you can understand what they usually are like before we can get into how to deal with an aggressive leopard gecko.
Usually leopard geckos are quite docile well behaved, well-mannered lizards. In fact, ideal for any beginner. However, as you will learn in this article there are some that may have an aggressive nature. While this is quite rare, it does happen on occasion.
The best way to tame an aggressive leopard gecko is to present yourself as not a threat. To them, you will find that leopard geckos, especially when they are new, have a natural fear towards human beings.
As you can imagine, they have a good reason to do so, because they are so low in the food chain and anything that moves and is bigger than them is obviously interpreted as a threat.
To gain their trust you can use a few different strategies, first being, using food as a way for them to identify you with a trusted person. Secondly, you can use tactics such as handling them and also even talking to them, which I will talk about later on in this article.
Before I explain how you should correctly handle an aggressive leopard gecko it is important to understand the times and the signs that indicate that they do not want to be handled. This is important because you may find that you’ll get your hand bitten if you approach them at the wrong time.
This may have nothing to do with an aggressive nature, it may just be the wrong time of the day for them to be approached.
Hiding away is a very common, especially for new leopard geckos or even hatchlings. The thing to look out for is how they behave whenever you approach them. If they are in their hide, this might just be because they are relaxing.
But the key thing to identify here is if they are playing and hiding only when you approach them. Then this is an indication that they perceive you as a threat.
Especially if they appear to be running for their lives, into a hiding spot, as soon as you approach the glass or attempt to move your hand towards them. This is a time when you should proceed with caution.
You will find that leopard geckos are more active during the night, this is because they are nocturnal animals and this is when they are most active. For this reason, it is best to approach them in the night, when they are more active.
Again, if you find that your Leo is almost running away from you and hiding, then this is a clear indication, especially at night-time, that they do definitely perceive you as a threat.
Weird noises such as Screams and hisses are another indication that it is the wrong time to try and handle your Leo. To be honest, this should almost be common sense and a natural reaction for a human to avoid proceeding, but unfortunately there are some people who will not heed to these obvious signs.
You may find that they do this if you try to approach them or if you try to touch the glass of their tank enclosure. They may even hiss or scream and posture themselve in a defensive kind of stance. If this is happening this is a clear indication that it is not a good idea to attempt to handle them.
This hissing and screaming behaviour does actually stress a Leo out quite a bit. It is something that they obviously would like to avoid.
You may also find that some of them open their mouth wide, while hissing and scream at you. This is the time that you need to leave them alone. It is clearly not an opportunity to try and handle them.
Charging is another tactic used to display a sign that they do not want to be approached. You may find that your leopard gecko will aggressively charge with its mouth open directly at you, as you approach their glass tank enclosure. Again, this is an obvious sign that you need to leave him, and not approach him or even try and handle him at this time.
During shedding is another time that you should definitely avoid trying to handle your Leo. This is because when they have shed their skin, the skin can be quite sensitive. They can get irritated easily during this time.
Another thing is, it takes a lot of their energy to shed the skin and to get rid of all the old one. So, this is not an ideal time to approach them. Just bear in mind that during this time there is a chance that they may bite you.
So in this section I’m going to outline things that you should definitely not do when you eventually get to handling your leopard gecko.
This is important because once you have earned their trust you can completely lose this in a second if you go about things the wrong way. For that reason let me explain what you need to avoid.
Never ever grab a leopard gecko by its tail even though they have quite fat tails you may be under the illusion that it is quite strong and therefore you can just grab it. This is not the case.
Although it is relatively strong they have a tendency to drop their tails if they feel that they are under attack. So, if you do this you will find that your leopard gecko is likely to have no tail. Although this will grow back, it is not ideal. Because it is never the same whenever it eventually grows back
You should not attempt to grab them. This will definitely stress them out. What you have to understand is, in the wild, birds will usually try to grab them from above and this will simulate this behaviour and stress out your leopard gecko.
Never squeeze them or hold them too tightly. They have quite fragile bodies and it is very easy to hurt them. Especially if you do not know your own strength. In fact the best way to handle them, which I will explain in more detail later, is to have an open hand, rather than trying to grab their body, are you with me?
Did I share that I got FIVE leopard geckos LMAO? Here’s one of them 🙂 hypo tangerine male pic.twitter.com/yuIANU0jek
— ✨morgan✨ (@lezboats) November 14, 2018
For a new leopard gecko it is advisable that you hold them over their new cage, just in case they escape from you. Unfortunately this may happen, so to avoid it and to save yourself some time scouring your house looking for it.
It is better to keep them held just above the cage so that they can fall back into the cage if need be.
When you first have a leopard gecko, your first priority is to get it acclimatised to its new surroundings. More importantly, get it comfortable with you. In the beginning you are a Predator to them, who is trying to attack. So this needs some patience.
At this stage it is advisable not to attempt to pick them up at all. Leave them alone for at least the first week to 10 days, so that they can get used to their surroundings. Let them roam around in their tank and find out where everything is and get used to their surroundings.
Avoid going into their enclosure in the first week. Obviously there are things that you can not avoid, such as giving them fresh water, daily spot cleaning, etc. If you need to do these tasks make sure that you do them as swiftly as possible, to avoid the chance of frightening them.
However if you are feeding them or putting insects out for them. Do this slowly, so they start to associate you with the provider of food. This is quite a powerful trust builder. They will associate you with something positive rather than negative, are you with me?
Another thing that you can consider doing is leaving an article of clothing in the tank which has your natural sent on it. This may sound weird at first, and its not mandatory, but is a suggestion.
As discussed earlier the more they associate you with the food provider, is the More the the trust will start to build. In time they will start to tolerate you and see you as a great thing and an important part of their day.
Some people suggest hand feeding a leopard gecko is a good idea. You may find that this may not be such a good idea. Because there are other ways that you can do this that are more effective and less stressful for your Leo.
They’re also people that suggest that you should use metal items such as tongs to feed them. Again, I will explain why this is not such a good idea.
Metal tongs to feed a leopard gecko can actually injure it. Because there are times when they will attempt to feed from the tong and may bite down on it at a bad angle.
This can injure them. This can then lead to diseases such as mouth rot. Simply because of the open wounds that are generated when it does not bite down correctly.
Another issue with using these metal tongs is that it can actually cause teeth injuries if they bite down incorrectly on them.
Instead of doing this, in my opinion it is better to place feeder worms or a feeder bowl into the actual tank itself. Then simply leave your hand in plain sight. The idea here is not to do any sudden movements with your hand.
Just literally make the leopard gecko feel comfortable with your hand and get used to it. And associate it with food, not food in a literal way as in they will start snacking on your hand, but they will get used to its presence whenever you provide great food for it to eat. Know what I mean?
When your hand is in the tank and you are feeding them, remember your hand is just there, it is not actually feeding them. The feeder bowl with the feeder insects inside is doing this.
So, do not be tempted to grab some insects and try to force the insect into the lizards mouth. This is not the objective here, the objective is to have your hand as a comfortable presence as they feed themselves.
To help make this process even easier, it is advisable to use fast-moving red runner roaches. This will put more emphasis on the food in the bowl rather than your hand being there. Also keep them focused.
Another thing to consider doing is placing the feeder bowl next to their hiding spot to coax them out. Gently, day by day, gradually move the feeder bowl further from the hiding spot, so they get used to being coaxed out of their hiding spot.
Handle them in the best time conditions. They are nocturnal, so the best time to handle them is in the night time. Or you can also consider doing this when it is low light. Wait for them to actually be awake and roaming around comfortably before you attempt to try and handle them.
Leave your hand open with your palm facing up near to the feeder bowl. Just leave your hand there and see if they will naturally walk on to your hand. If this doesn’t happen immediately you can also consider lightly tapping their tail, which may cause them to move forward onto your hand.
When they eventually do get on to your hand, allow them to set the pace and move around naturally. Although this may be an exciting time for you, try not get over excited and attempt to pet or pat them.
They are quite fragile and they will associate this with being an attack, so avoid that are all costs.
Always make sure that you are with them and never leave them unattended. This is a recipe for disaster if you do not follow this.
Make sure you do not put them in an area where they are likely to fall. Keep them away from loud noises such as stereo hi-fi systems. Even things like you speaking loudly or groups of loud people.
Another thing that is very important, when you are taking them outside of their tank, make sure that there is no other family pets such as cats and dogs in the same room as them. Because they have a tendency to attack, or even eat them. This can happen a lot quicker than you can think!
So in this section I’m going to explain some reasons why you may have a leopard gecko that will suddenly turn aggressive.
You may get a new Leo, but it may have a history of living with a pet owner who never looked after them very well. Or completely avoided some of the tips I’ve given you in this article. Therefore, it could have started life happy, but then turned aggressive due to mistreatment from a previous owner.
Other things such as not having a mate can cause your leopard gecko to get frustrated and aggressive. Like most animals they need a mate and it nature’s way of multiplying.
It could also happen when your leopard gecko is feeling unwell or has a disease. It may not clear to you that it has this is the case, but could be causing it to get frustrated and aggressive without you understanding why.
Speaking to your leopard gecko is a simple tactic that you can use to keep him happy. Softly speaking to him and getting him used to your voice will help you build a bond and keep your leopard gecko happy.
When you are speaking to your leopard gecko it is important that you keep eye contact so that it understands that you are the one that is making the sound and it gets used to you. In time it will become happy in your presence.
Simple things like letting your Leo explore beyond the confines of their glass tank is important for their happiness. Letting it crawl up your arm, up your body or even crazy things like letting it crawl onto your hair.
Just allow it to see things that it is not seen before and mixing up his environment a bit rather than being stuck in a cage all the time.
Consider making a simple obstacle course. Be creative you can get a bin or some kind of container and put obstacles in there such as use paper towels for them to borrow and roam around.
You can place smaller boxes in there that they can climb over. Anything you can think of that can allow them to explore and have fun.
There are obvious things that you can check, such as if they have some form of muscle injury. Check their limbs, etc. Just check to see if there is obvious signs that they are in some kind of pain or duress.
Another clear indication is, if they start to go off their food. If you noticed that the usual amount of food that you leave for them is starting to be left behind, this could be an indication that they have an issue or they’re stressed out and it is preventing them from keeping the usual appetite.
Want to know the best frequency to clean Leopard Gecko Cage? Well, let me explain this for you. I will explain how often, what you should use to clean and what you should not be doing.
How Often to Clean a Leopard Gecko Cage? You need to do this daily, weekly, monthly plus ad-hoc periodic cleaning. This the ideal requirement to insure that your Leo is well looked after and to avoid the build up of any bacteria or diseases.
Now that you know the frequency of cleaning, let’s delve into a bit more detail and see what you should use to clean, what items you need to clean. Where to put your lizard while you clean and more.
In this section I’m going to explain what happens if you don’t keep your tank clean and the reasons why you should be doing this. Just so you can appreciate and understand the benefit of keeping to this routine.
It can seem a little bit Mundane and boring but it is critical to keep your leopard gecko happy and lead a long life.
When lizards are in the wild nature has a way of dealing with things naturally. For example, rainwater will fall, which will rinse and clean animals and locations. There are also natural cycles of nature, such as plants growing, then eaten by other animals. This is a natural example of how nature is cleaning up after itself.
However, your pet leopard gecko in captivity cannot do this. It is relying on you to do everything, for example, they cannot wait for the rain to come down to clean and rinse their tank. They cannot rely on natural environmental occurrences to keep them clean. So you have to be the one that makes all of this happen on a regular basis.
If you don’t continue to maintain your pets tank then unfortunately you will encounter really bad smelling odours. You can also notice bacterial infections building in the tank, which can, in extreme circumstances, lead to the untimely death of your lizard. Which you obviously want to avoid.
You may notice build up of an unsightly layer of dirt, which can make it very hard to actually see through the glass tank that you are using, which is not ideal.
In this section I’m going to explain how you can follow a simple but effective routine to maintain and make sure that your leopard gecko is well looked after. If you stick to this routine, even if it’s not exactly to the word, you will greatly increase your chances of having a happy and healthy leopard gecko.
For this daily clean, the idea is to do a quick spot clean that removes obvious things, such as faeces, old food that’s remaining, that hasn’t been used and cleaning up substrate such as paper towels.
If you are using lizards Sand as substrate then this should be cleaned up (more on this in detail later on in the article). Also if you have water, which you should have in the tank, make sure that it is refreshed on a daily basis. You should have fresh water for them at all time,
Lastly, if there’s any signs of shedded skin, remove the skin from the tank. Finally, if there’s any unsightly spillages, obviously get rid of this as well. Simple, huh?
In the weekly schedule this is a more in-depth, thorough clean. And will require you to actually rinse and clean all the sides of the tank (more information on this later on). You will also need to remove items from the tank, to give it a proper clean.
When you are rinsing/cleaning the sides of the tank, another thing that you can consider using is a detergent bleach and water mix. (I will go through a more detailed explanation of what you can use later on in the article).
During this weekly clean, if you have tank cage carpet substrate, this needs to be cleaned. Also if you have any any substrate rocks in the tank, these need to be wiped down as well. In addition to this, if there are any old decaying plants, they should also be replaced.
Any other items that you have in the tank that are dirty, such as other toys or things for your reptile to entertain itself, should be cleaned or wipe down during this time.
You will need to relocate your lizard to another tank or holding area while you clean up. The idea is to give the tank a proper clean out so that when your lizard returns it’s nice fresh and clean.
For the monthly clean, this is taking the deep clean to the next level, some may argue that you don’t even need to do this level of cleaning on such a regular monthly interval. You can make a decision if you want to deviate from this frequency. This is your own personal preference.
Essentially you want to do a deep clean here. Again, all items need to be removed from the tank, so you can do this properly and give the tank a thorough clean.
One thing, when I say deep clean, I mean every corner of the tank needs to be scrubbed. You may even need to get an old toothbrush out just to make sure that there is no areas missed, are you with me?
This periodic cleaning schedule are tasks that need to be done on more of an ad-hoc basis. For example, substrates, such as sand, will need to be completely replace every couple of months or so.
Also if you have any other substrate that may need to be changed this is the time to do it. You will need to use some common sense here, if it really needs changing then change it, are you with me? Basically you maintain it.
At this time, it may even be a great opportunity to remove or replace certain items, such as old rocks. Or maybe even rearrange your tank to improve the decor. And, again this goes without saying that you will need to relocate your lizard at this time, for this to be done properly.
Firstly you need to rinse this and to make sure that you get it clean. To do this, run some hot water and rinse the water through the sand. Stir the water and the sand around. Let it settle and then do this a few times to clean through the sand.
For the final time that you do this, rinse add some water conditioner to clean through properly. This conditioner is used to remove any dirt in the sand, the type I mean is the one that is used to remove chlorine.
You can typically find this water conditioner in most pet shops. You just need to follow the instructions and add sparingly.
One thing to understand is that if you do not completely dry your tank after you have cleaned it, you can find out that bacteria may start to grow in these areas. It is very important to make sure that it is bone dry before you put everything back to where it was.
The first thing that you want to do is get hold of some paper towels and dry it down completely until it is 100% dry. After using paper towels to dry down the actual tank itself, make sure that it you leave it to air dry.
At the same time all the other items that were in a tank, for example rocks or any other items such as toys, leave them to dry separately. So, all the items, including the tank itself, drys naturally.
Debris inside of a tank, such as feaces, can some harmful bacteria. Therefore it is very smart to protect yourself by wearing protective gloves. The kind of gloves that you need to use are the ones that you can pick up, use and then throw away after you’re finished.
Therefore any bacteria that may have picked up in your gloves can be discarded. Just remember this, some lizards can carry salmonella and other diseases, so it is important to make sure that you protect your hands when you are handling items inside of the tank, even if it is not feaces.
First you need to establish where the real messy areas are in the tan. Once you get to know your leopard gecko you will probably find a habit developing, where it will poop (Click here to find out if Leopard Geckos Pee) in the same area over and over again.
So, if you need to pick up the faeces you can usually find it in this same corner of the tank. The good thing about this is that this poop is likely to be quite dry and hard so it shouldn’t be too messy as you pick it up.
Simply pick it up with the gloves that you have and dispose of it. If you are actually using paper towels as a form of substrate in the tank, just make sure that you completely clean and replace the paper towel each time.