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What Worms are Good For a Leopard Gecko? (w/ Pics)

If you want to keep your Leopard Gecko Happy, not only do you need the best housing (Click here for my best Leopard Gecko enclosure & see the price on Amazon). You also need the best food. And, for Leos, we know they love worms, so what’s the best choice in worms?

What worms are good to feed leopard geckos? The best worms are Mealworms, Waxworms, Silkworms, and Hornworms. However, you need to make sure that you gut load these worms to insure that you Leopard Gecko gets as much nutrition as possible.

Now that you know the best worms for Leos, let me explain the correct sizing of these worms, the pros, and cons of each worm, how much they typically eat and more.

What worms are good to feed leopard geckos?

If you have a leopard gecko obviously you want to give them the best food. For Leos that will come down to insects & worms as they are insectivores. With that being said, you need to choose the right ones.

The best food for leopard geckos is crickets or mealworms. However, there is a great selection of worms that you can also consider giving to your leopard gecko.

In this article, I’ll be giving you the pros and cons of each one of these. The other worms that you can consider are:

  • Waxworms
  • Superworms
  • Pheonix Worms
  • Silkworms
  • Hornworms
  • etc.

What size worms (or other food) should you give two leopard geckos?

Before you feed your Leo, it’s important you consider what size food that you should be feeding him. This is important to get right.

But, why is this so important?

It’s simple if you feed your Leo food which is too big, especially if he is young, this can lead to choking or other food-related problems.

A general rule

A general rule to follow, to make sure that this doesn’t happen, is to never ever give your Leo, or any lizard for that matter, any food item bigger than the distance between each of their eyes.

What about Crickets?

Regarding crickets, I’m going to give you some sizes that you can use as a guide. This depends on what age he is.

For baby leopard geckos, the ideal cricket size is 3/8 of an inch. However, if they are bigger than this, for example, juveniles, then you can increase the size to approximately a quarter of an inch.

For adult size leopard geckos, you can provide them with crickets which are small to adult size crickets and they should be fine.

How much do leopard geckos typically eat?

To understand how much leopard geckos eat, as a general rule, you can expect an adult gecko to consume as much food as they can consume within a 10 to 15-minute eating session.

Greedy Leos

However, from time to time, you may have an overweight or slightly more greedy leopard gecko. In this situation, it is a good idea to try and reduce the amount of food they are eating to make sure that they don’t overdo it.

Understand this, this is just a guideline. Therefore, your leopard gecko needs to be fed based on their activity and their body condition.

If you notice that your leopard gecko has a habit of overeating, it is advisable to limit the amount of food he eats and do not allow him to exceed that. Even if they seem that they are asking for more.

The reality is they won’t stop eating until you stop giving them the food. So, watch out for this, you do not want to encourage overeating and obesity.

The pros and cons of different worms for Leopard Geckos.

In this section, my objective is to share with with you a selection of worms that are good for leopard geckos. In addition to this, I will explain the pros and cons of each worm to help you make an educated choice.

Mealworm Pros

Mealworms are a classic worm for the leopard geckos. They are one of the more popular worm choices.

The pros of mealworms is there are cheap, easy to find, and they are quite easy to look after.  You can also keep them alive for a long time.

In addition to this, you’ll find that these mealworms have a good life span. It is also possible to extend their lifespan by using simple refrigeration. You can also consider growing your own colony of mealworms. Another great benefit is they do not smell very much.

Mealworm Cons

Although mealworms are cheap and easy to find. They do have some negatives. You will find that they have quite a high-fat content. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on how much you give to your Leo to make sure that they are not overeating and putting on excessive weight.

In addition to this, they’ve got quite a high calcium to phosphorus ratio, which is not ideal.  Another important factor is gut loading.  They have a small digestive tract which makes it quite difficult to gut load.

Further on in this article, I will explain the importance of gut loading when you are feeding your leopard gecko these worms.

Lastly, another issue, which may cause you problems with getting your leopard gecko to consume these worms is their lack of movement.

I don’t mean they do not move at all, they do not move. It’s just that they do not always move enough to stimulate your leopard gecko to eat them. And, as you may know, Leopard Geckos enjoy live food.

Superworm Pros

The Superworms are a great choice. They are a great source of protein, which is a must for your Leo. They are also easy to care for without having to worry about them smelling out the house.

They also last quite long, even without having to refrigerate them.  They are also quite easy to breed as well.

Superworm Cons

The Supreworms have a few negatives to consider. Firstly they are not ideal for smaller Geckos and have quite a high-fat content. This just means that you need to monitor how much your Leo is consuming.

They are also known for biting. So, you need to be cautious with them, they are little nippers! Also, similar to the Mealworms, they are not ideal for Gut loading.

Waxworm Pros

You will find that Waxworms will be devoured by your Leo. If you want to treat him, this is the one to buy, they love them. Another great thing is they are still quite cheap and quite easy to find them.

Waxworm Cons

Now onto the cons. If you think Superworms and Mealworms have high-fat content, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. These worms are really fatty!

In fact, you really need to reserve these as treats only. Even though your Leo will love them, you need to limit their consumption. They have quite a short lifespan as well, which is unfortunate. And, did I mention the smell? They are real stinkers!

Finally, they cannot be gut loaded, so you can rule that out. Which is a big issue for maintaining your Leo’s nutrition.

Pheonix Worms Pros

These worms are not as well known as mealworms. They are the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly. The great thing about these worms is the fat content. It is quite low, making them a more viable worm for your Leo to consume in quantity.

They can last quite a while as well. You can expect up to a few weeks for these bad boys. They also have a good amount of protein as well. One thing I like about them is their movement. Their move will motivate your Leo to lap them up, assuming he likes their taste (more on this later).

Pheonix Worms Cons

While they are low in fat and it sounds good on paper, you will find its hit and miss if your Leo will like these worms. They are quite messy as well. When it comes to gut loading, forget it. They can’t be gut loaded, unfortunately. Which, is quite a big negative.

How Much Do Pet Iguanas Cost?

If you are toying with the idea of buying an Iguana (Click here for my best Iguana guide & see the price on Amazon) its critical to get an idea of costings before you commit. Let me help you now.

how much do pet iguanas cost? You can expect to pay anything from as low as $15, right up to $600 for an Iguana (this is just for the lizard itself). But, understand there many different types. Also, you have to mindful that there are various other related costs, such as one-off costs for their housing, etc. And, ongoing maintenance costs.

Now you know the actual cost of an Iguana, let me break down the factors that affect their varying valuation and the related costs that you also need to consider.

Why do their costs vary so much?

If you are looking forward to picking up a Pet Iguana it is good to get a range of costs, to help you understand the cost. Therefore in this section, we will look at some costings.

Firstly, Iguanas have a big range of prices. Why? There are many different types. Also, beyond that factor, there is age, condition, etc.

However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay anything from $15 to $600+ (for the actual Iguana itself). I know, the range is massive. But, this is reality.

What Fixed Costs Do Iguanas Have?

The initial cost of owning an Iguana is one thing, but there are also other related fixed costs to factor in. As well as ongoing maintenance costs (more on these later). For this section, I will focus on the fixed costs that you will need to consider.

Here are some of the fixed costs you can expect:

  • The enclosure, to house your lizard.
  • License fees (Applicable in some states in the US).
  • Shipping costs (to get your lizard delivered to you).
  • Enclosure accessories (This varies).
  • Lighting Costs
  • Environmental control (e.g. Humidifiers).

This is an idea of each one. Be mindful, depending on how extravagant you wish to be, this list could be longer, are you with me?

Let me break down some of these costs now, to give you an idea…

The Enclosure Costs

(Click here for a range of costs and enclosures on Amazon)

The enclosure is critical, and one of those fixed costs that can’t be avoided. Initially, depending on which Iguana you have,  you can start with a smaller enclosure of approx 20 gallons.

License Fees

License fees may or may not be applicable in your location. But, if they are applicable you need to check with your local authorities to verify their latest license fee prices.

However, make sure you check with them and don’t think about going ahead without a license. Why? Because in some locations, for example, Hawaii, they can be very strict. In fact, you can receive substantial fines (in the hundreds of thousands) and prosecuted.

Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping is mainly linked to the housing/enclosure I mentioned earlier. This depends on what enclosure you select and materials, etc (Click here for a range of costs and enclosures on Amazon).

Enclosure Accessories

(Click here to see these enclosure accessories & prices on Amazon)

There is a range of accessories you can use for your Iguana. Such as a lizard lounger for your lizard to relax on, decor (Such as plants), Substrate, etc.

Again, this largely depends on your personal choice and budget. Prices for these change on a regular basis, hence the reason why it’s better to visit the link above and get the latest prices.

Lighting Costs

(Click here to see Iguana lighting & prices on Amazon)

Lighting can be broken down into fixed and maintenance. Why? Because the actual initial kit, such as light fixtures are one-off. However, there are ongoing costs, such as replacing the bulbs.

What Maintenace costs are associated with Iguanas?

In this section, I will break down the ongoing costs (Maintenance costs). To be honest, these are more costly in my opinion. They do not seem so on the surface. But, you know, $1 here, $5 there, it all adds up to a large long term cost…

So, in my opinion, it’s better to get these under control as much as possible. Let me break down some typical maintenance costs you can expect:

Food & Water

Fortunately for you, Iguanas are not too costly in this department. Why? Because they are herbivores. Meaning, they expect to eat fruit and veg on a daily basis.

Obviously, this is significantly cheaper than providing live insects or other small animals that other lizard, such as the Tegu lizards (Click here to see how often and what Tegu’ss eat).

Typical costs

To put their grocery costs into perspective, you could easily get away with as low as a couple of dollars a day, or up to say, forty dollars. Give or take a few dollars. For other countries, you can convert this into your local currency. But, either way, it is regarded as a low cost.

Heating Bulbs

As discussed earlier, the initial purchase of light fittings is a one-off. But there ongoing costs for the bulbs. For example, they need UVB bulbs. These need to be replaced at least every 6 months or so (Click here to see a range of UVB bulb costs on Amazon).

Entertainment

Iguanas are not great at mixing. So, you need to make sure that they have fun and keep stimulated on their own. Therefore, in my opinion, toys are critical.

The great thing is, they are not too picky, and these toys or activities do not need to be too much. They prefer toys that are soft, so have that in mind.

Medical Costings

Unfortunately, from time to time your lizard will need some assistance. Hopefully, this will not be a regular occurrence. But if or when it happens you could be looking at a cost in the region of $100 (give or take $20 or $30 dollars). And also, this is a rough guide, because the more serious it is, the greater the costs.

As a general rule, look out for obvious symptoms ahead of time, to help reduce the costs. What? Well, if you notice some blood in the enclosure, for example, don’t just clean it up and move on, it could be something serious brewing, you with me?

Personally, I would jump on the issue right away, even if its a precaution. Take your lizard in for a check as soon as possible. The reason is, if you can get it sorted before it develops, it will be cheaper and less painful for your lizard in the meantime.

Are there any potential “Hidden Costs”?

I would be lying if I said this is the entire list of possible costs. Treat this as a guide of the main things. However, there are some costs that you could never expect. Such as being told such as an increase in rent!

What?

Well, for example, Iguanas are not loved by everyone. Especially other homeowners. Therefore you may find that you could be charged more rent to keep the Iguana. Or, in some cases refused to stay in some places. Meaning, you will need to seek other, potentially more expensive accommodation.

This is just one example to consider.

Is it easy to rehouse an Iguana?

If you are the type of person that likes regular changes, such as moving home every 2-3 years, etc. Then, I need to explain why having an Iguana may not be ideal for you…

Earlier I explained that you encounter higher costs, due to the perceived inconvenience of having an Iguana in the house. Well, another thing to consider is the commitment you need to make.

Iguanas will get big and unfortunately, sometimes they get aggressive. On top of this, you will find that they are not easy to give away. Not even zoos will take them in some cases.

Therefore, if you are not committed and feel this is a short term fad, then this one is not for you.

3 Lizards That Don’t Eat Insects (or Live Food)

Lizards that don’t eat insects (Click here for my best guide on Green iguanas, who don’t eat insects, on Amazon) are interesting for people that hate messing with creepy crawlies. I get it, I remember waking up to finding a mouse in my bin once I was freaked out! So let me help you learn about some lizards you can consider.

Are there lizards that don’t eat Insects? Yes, Most lizards fall into one of three categories: carnivores, omnivores or insectivores. They mainly eat meat or a combination of meat and insects. However, there are herbivores. These lizards will mainly eat plants fruits and vegetables without live food or insects.

In this article, I’m going to list some of these lizards that don’t need insects, so that you can understand what lizards you consider. In addition to this, I will reveal some lizards that also do not need any live food. Keep reading…

01 The green iguana

The green iguana is regarded as a herbivore. To be precise it is actually referred to as folivore. This is just a posh word for saying they mainly eat leaves.  In the wild, it mainly snacks on leaves from various trees and vines.

Some of these leaves and plants that it feeds on in the wild are not commonly available in captivity. So it is not always possible to give it to your iguana. However, there are many other foods to choose from that are freely available (more on this in a moment).

These Iguanas are also known as “hindgut fermenters” meaning that they rely on special bacteria to break down the fiber that they consume.

The following is a list of some vegetables that they consume that are acceptable. These are also good because they can be easily found in captivity:

  • mustard greens
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • cabbage
  • Watercress

02. Desert Iguanas

Desert Iguanas are also herbivores. They especially like to eat the leaves of perennial and annual plants. One of their most favorite delights is the yellow flowers from the Creosote Bush.

What are Perennial or Annual plants? (I hear you ask)…

According to wonderpolis, they are differentiated by their life span. Let me explain. The Annual plants literally last for one year (or round about a year). After this, they die and new plants replace them.  Perennial plants, on the other hand, have a short life cycle of approx 2-3 weeks.

03. Chuckwallas

Chuckwallas are another type of herbivore. They originate from the US and Mexico. They specifically like lava flow or Rocky areas. They can find the yellow flowers from their beloved brittlebush there.

Similar to the desert iguana they also like to consume plants and buds that come from perennial and annual plants.

04. The Caiman lizard

This lizard is well known for its love of aquatic snails. However, it does eat other food and does not just completely rely on aquatic snails. It is also known in captivity to eat canned snails or tegu food. Also, it is also known to eat Superworms (Click here to see why and how you need to “Gut Load” Superworms) and crickets.

Are there other lizards that do not eat live food?

Yes, I am going to share a list of lizards that are not necessarily herbivores. But, they do not need live food to survive in captivity. This is useful for people that are squeamish and prefer not to deal with “creepy crawlies”…

  • Crested geckos
  • Gargoyle Gecko
  • Mossy Gecko
  • Prehensile-Tailed Gecko
  • or Lechianus gecko

Instead of eating live food such as pinky mice, crickets or other live insects. They can survive on having an “insect mix”.  This is a powdered version of live insects. Think of it as a meal replacement. You simply add water to this mix and place it in your lizard’s enclosure and they will consume it that way.

However, with these lizards, you will also need to provide other supplementation. This is usually found in a powdered form. Such as calcium and other vitamins and minerals.

Blue-tongued skinks

Blue-tongue skinks (click here to see if blue-tongue skinks can really live in a 40-gallon enclosure) are categorized as omnivores. Meaning they eat a combination of meat as well as fruit and veg. They can live comfortably on a selection of non-live food.

Here is a list of the type of foods they can consume:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Dog Food
  • Cat Food

Related questions:

Q: What foods do bearded dragons eat?

Bearded dragons eat a combination of insects as well as fruit and veg in the wild. Therefore, in captivity, you should also follow this.

Here is a list of some of the types of food they eat:

  • Crickets
  • Parsley
  • Mealworms
  • Kale.
  • Collard Greens
  • Kingworms
  • Mustard greens
  • Endive.

Q: Why do lizards need calcium supplementation?

Calcium supplementation is required because lizards, like human beings, need calcium to keep their bones healthy, strong and to maintain them.

If they are starved of calcium then this low blood calcium level could lead to one of two health conditions. Number one is referred to as hypocalcemia and the second is a disease known as Metabolic Bone Disease or is often referred/abbreviated to as MBD.

To avoid this happening, lizards need sunlight in the wild, or artificial UVB light in captivity, to help them process the calcium in their diet.

Even though they consume the calcium directly in their food their body cannot metabolize or process it without vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 is activated from the inactive vitamin D in their body from the natural sunlight that penetrates their skin. In captivity, the artificial UVB light does this.

Q: What do leopard geckos eat?

Leopard geckos (click here to see my article explaining if Leos can live off just mealworms) are insectivores, meaning they mainly survive on insects. They do not consume fruits and vegetables. The ideal diet for them is insects such as crickets and mealworms.

However, you can treat them once in a while, maybe once or twice a week, to super worms (click here to see why “Gut Loading” Superworms is important) as well which are also gladly appreciated.

However, you should avoid giving them pinky mice this is not ideal for them.

Q: What foods should you avoid giving to a bearded dragon?

Bearded dragons have quite a varied diet. They do consume fruits and vegetables, however, I’m going to outline a few that you should definitely avoid giving to them and explain why…

Lettuce

If you give your Beardie Lettuce they will attempt to eat it. And to be honest they will probably enjoy it. However, the problem is it has no nutritional value. And in addition to this, it can also give them digestive issues leading to diarrhea. So, it should be avoided because the body cannot really process it properly.

Fireflies

Fireflies should also be avoided at all costs. The simple reason is they are toxic to your bearded dragon. And they will cause them some serious health issues.

To be blunt with you, if you continue to feed them Fireflies there is a chance that they could eventually die from this. SO, its really important you do not do this.

Avocado

Avocado should also be avoided. However, the reasons for this is slightly different. It contains high amounts of oxalic acid. You may get away with it in small doses, but if you repeatedly feed this to your bearded dragon it can develop into a big problem. And can actually kill them. So, for that reason it should be avoided at all costs

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is also very toxic to beardies. And should be avoided at all costs. Regular amounts of this are dangerous. If you accidentally give this to them you should seek advice with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Spinach and Beet Tops

Spinach and beet tops should also be avoided. The reason for this is because it contains a very specific chemical. Which can actually block the processing of calcium in the lizard’s body.

The danger with this one is that your lizard can start to produce calcium deficiencies. And this can lead back to my earlier point about MBD. This is due to the lack of calcium being consumed in their body.

Gut Load Superworms (How and why bother?)

Gut-loading insects is a well-known trick in Lizard keeping to provide a nutritional meal to your pet. But how do you actually do this and are there any things to avoid? Let me explain…

How do you Gut Load Superworms? Simple place some food (more details of this below) into a separate container along with a source of water (such as a carrot or piece of juicy fruit) and place the Superworms in the container. Give them approx 48 hours to consume enough food.

Now you know how to do this at a high level, let’s delve deeper and understand what foods are ideal for them, what to avoid giving them, how many you can expect some lizards to consume and so much more. Keep reading…

What is a Superworm?

A Superworm is the larvae of a darkling beetle (Zophobas morio).  This larvae is approximately 50 to 60 mm in length. They are relatively small and resemble mealworms at a glance.

The larvae of these Beatles have a few names as follows:

  • Super Worms
  • King worms
  • Morio worms
  • and also referred to as Zophobas

Why do you need to gut load super works?

Gut loading is a well-known and recommended practice. Effectively, you are feeding the super worms with nutritional value. In particular vitamins and minerals in the hope is that these vitamins and minerals will pass onto your lizard.

It’s a similar concept to the saying “you are what you eat”. So if you feed the super worms well, your lizard will be fed well. And if you neglect to do that then it will affect their nutrition.

When it comes to crickets many pet stores will pre-feed or “gut load” them. This is because it has become quite mainstream and quite popular. Also, crickets are in high demand. Whenever they’re in stock in the pet shops, they sell out fast.

However, when it comes to super worms. There are a couple of things that you need to be careful of.

Pet Shops May Not Gut-load them

Firstly not all pet shops even bother to gut-load Superworms. So you can’t assume that they have been. Also, you can’t guarantee the food that has been fed to them contains high nutritional value.

May have Been Feed Low-quality Food

For example, you may find that some super worms have been feed potato feed. This really doesn’t have much nutritional value.

How to Gut Load Superworms

The actual process for gut loading is quite straightforward. First, you need the following items:

  • A separate container
  • Some food to give to them
  • A water source

Firstly you have a separate container which has their food (I will explain their ideal food later) source at the bottom of the container. You also want to make sure that you have a source of water.

They do not drink water directly (more on this later), So, you need to make sure that you have got some food which they extract the water from.

For example, you could have some carrots or even some orange slices. The later is a good choice because it has vitamin C as well. This will add to the vitamins that your pass on to your lizard.

Give them Time To Eat

Once you have the food and water source in the container. Simply load the container with the super worms. Give them approximately 48 hours to consume as much food as they can. They may or may not consume all of it, but this will be enough time to do the job.

If you have done this correctly you should notice that they start to snack on the food right away. After this time period, you can simply pass them onto your lizard. In turn, your lizard will consume them without delay.

What food can you give to Superworms?

There are a number of different food sources that you can provide to them. Let me explain…

Prepackaged foods

You can actually buy super worm premixed food. This can be purchased in pet shops or even online. It comes pre-packed with a nutritional and vitamin-rich mix. You can simply put it in there and leave them to eat for 48 hours.

Fruits and vegetables

You can provide almost any fruits or vegetables for Superworms. They are really not that picky. Another great benefit about fruits and vegetables is they provide additional vitamins and are very nutritional.

They also work very well as a water source. In fact, you should really be providing at least one form of fruit or veg even if you have opted for a pre-packed offering discussed in the last section, even if it’s just for the water source.

Dog food and cat food (dry)

If you have a dog or a cat as a pet already you can take advantage of this by offering them the same food.

However, you need to make sure that the food is dry and not the wet food that is also available, are you with me?

Fish food (pellets or flakes)

This food is ideal because it comes preloaded with a nutritional mix of vitamins and minerals and, in some cases, it has algae in it. This is beneficial for your Superworms.

Other things that you can consider

In fact, I will be honest, you will find that super worms are not very picky at all. You can get away with feeding them almost anything. Just be mindful, whilst they will eat anything, you do not want your lizard to be passed on just anything, are you with me?

Here are some suggestions that you can consider…

  • Baby food
  • Fruit juice (use a cotton bub and soak it, not direct)
  • Parsnips

Supplementation

You can also consider feeding them dusted supplementation such as Vitamin or calcium supplements. This will then indirectly be fed to your lizard.

What Foods should you avoid feeding Superworms?

As discussed earlier, Super worms are not very picky at all. Food wise you can pretty much give them anything. However, you should not give them water directly, for example, do not think about providing water directly into their feeder container. This will get you a negative effect.

Instead, you should be giving them juicy fruits that can provide moisture or alternatively vegetables. Such as carrots, tomatoes, etc..

Related questions:

Q: How many Superworms do lizards typically eat?

There are a number of different lizards that consume Superworms. For your benefit, I will list a few to give you an idea of the sort of consumption you can expect with some popular lizard species (click here for my list of popular beginner lizard choices).

Bearded dragons

Bearded dragons have quite a healthy appetite. Therefore you can expect him to consume anywhere from 3 to 5 super once a day. However, they will also eat other things such as fruits and vegetables to supplement their diet.

Chameleons

Chameleons will tend to consume anywhere from 5 to 6 Superworms in a week. So a bit less than the beardies. However, there were also mix their diet with other insects as well.

Q: How long does it take for Super worms to change into beetles?

Super worms take approximately 14 days to change to Beatles. During this period of time, you will expect them to curl up and pupate.

However, if you notice that some of them have gone straight and turned into a blackish color, then there is a good chance that they are dead. You probably need to discard these ones.

Once they pupate you need to monitor them until they actually turn to Beatles.

Q: Do super worms bite?

Yes, they do bite, unlike mealworms that do not do this. In addition to this, they also have a spike on their back. Similar to a scorpion. They also use this as a means of attack.

This is not really much of an issue for a human but if you are providing them to a smaller, say baby lizard, you need to take some caution.

Q: What is a “Herp”?

Herp is a shortening for herptile. This derives from the term “Herpetology”. This name is derived from a Greek word that means reptile or crawling animal, according to Wikipedia.

Are Leopard Gecko Kid Friendly? (Might Surprise You)

Depending on the age of your children, you have probably been bothered about getting a pet. But is a Leopard Gecko a good idea for your child, that is the question. Let me explain right now.

Are Leopard Gecko’s Kid-Friendly? No, not if they are unsupervised. They can be if they are well supervised. Children unsupervised are at the risk of consuming salmonella from the skin of the Leo and the Leo is at risk of being harmed from an overexcited child.

Now you know some of the potential issues with this. Let’s go deeper and see what other issues there are if it is a good idea for older children, how you can gradually involve your child if you want to pursue Leos as a pet and more.

What are some of the problems with Mixing children with Leopard Geckos?

No, really and truly leopard geckos are not 100% percent kid friendly, let Me Explain.

Tendency To Put Things in Their Mouth

Young children have a habit of putting things in their mouth and the problem with this is lizards are known, in some cases, to have salmonella. This can be transferred from their skin at the point of touch, then over to the mouth of your child.

Lack of Responsibility

Also, young children cannot handle the responsibility of looking after a pet lizard. For example, feeding them live insects such as crickets or other live insects can make them want to question why you doing this, are you with me?

They may not understand why we are giving them another living creature to eat.

However, you can consider giving them limited responsibilities. Such as checking or replenishing their water supply, anything basic like that.

With supervision, they will make a good pet for a child. But, they are more suited for older children. They are responsible and at the stage where they are not willing to put just about anything in their mouth.

Why you should consider getting an older leopard gecko

Children can get over excited by movement. A younger leopard gecko is likely to have high energy, be on the move all the time, darting around and exciting your child.

In addition to this, a younger leopard gecko hasn’t been conditioned to be handled by humans yet. Therefore, it is likely to object to being touched, especially if you have an aggressive Leopard Gecko (click for my article on how to deal with aggressive Leopard Geckos).

An older Leo, on the other hand, would have more experience. Especially if it’s been raised in captivity. It will be more susceptible to being held or touched by a human.

However, regardless if you have a supervised child, older or younger gecko you need to make sure that your child is not going to grab and hold them too aggressively. Because they are quite small and are easily damaged.

Is a Leopard Gecko temperament ideal for a family?

Yes, they are very docile well-behaved lizards in general. I know I spoke earlier of the older leopard geckos being favorable over a younger one, but in either case, their general temperament is very good.

This is the reason why they are such a popular choice when it comes to pet lizards.

Even still, with this in mind, you still need to treat them with some respect. This is because they are living things and are gentle. They can easily be harmed with heavy hands.

Considerations when living with other pets

If you are a pet owner and have other animals such as birds, cats or dogs. You need to seriously consider if a leopard gecko is a good idea to add to your family.

The reason for this is, no matter how tame or well behaved your pet is, there is a very good chance it will see the leopard gecko as it’s prey. Your Leo would be seen as an easy target for these animals. Therefore these pets are not an ideal mix.

Even if you have the leopard gecko in its own enclosure, which you must have any way in captivity, there will still be attempts to get into this enclosure. And there will always be an opportunity when your Leo is vulnerable and at risk of being attacked.

Starting them off slowly

If you are considering getting a leopard gecko for your family and you have children, as briefly discussed earlier, it is a good idea to gradually ease in some responsibility for them, let me explain:

If you have a young child that is adamant that they want to help out with some of the lizard caring duties, you may have simple daily tasks. Such as clearing up their enclosure or tidying things up.

In the beginning, offer them simple duties like getting the substrate packet so that you can then help you replenish it in the enclosure. Or letting them gather the water that you’re going to use to replenish in the enclosure.

The idea is to make sure that they are supervised but still feel that they’re involved in caring for the pet.

As They Get Older – Increase Their Responsibility

As they get older and prove themselves with responsibility, you can increase their duties.

Once they are old enough and they have proven themselves they can start to play a bigger role in the care for your Leo. Ultimately the end goal is for them to take sole responsibility. If not, take on the majority of the tasks that you need to look after them.

Considering the personality of your child with a leopard gecko

Before committing to owning a leopard gecko with a child you should first analyze your child’s personality. This is to understand if a Leo is a good match for the characteristics of a leopard gecko. Let me explain:

Not Ideal for this Type of Child

If you have a child that is very high energy. For example, likes the jump around, wrestle, fight with her sibling, run around, you know, kind of “the rough and tumble” type of child. Then the chances are a leopard gecko is not ideal for them.

Simply because leopard geckos do not do much apart from staying in their enclosure and walking around occasionally.  Also, from time to time allowing you an opportunity to hold them. These lizards cannot take this kind of rough play, are you with me?

If that is the temperament of your child, they are probably better to have a dog or maybe a cat in some cases.

They May Get Bored Because of this….

Also, you may find that your child will get bored of having a leopard gecko after the novelty wears off in the first week. Simply because they may desire more of an interactive pet. You know, wanting to stroke and play with it.

……If this is the case, again, a leopard gecko is not a good choice!

Hygiene considerations for leopard geckos

As briefly discussed earlier, Leopard Geckos, along with other lizards, can carry salmonella. For this reason, they may not be the ideal choice for a child that doesn’t understand the danger. Worse case, they will need to be supervised.

These lizards carry this on the surface of their skin, so all a child has to do is just come into contact with them. This harmful bacteria can then get transferred into their body by simply holding them and then putting their hands in their mouth.

As a father of two with young children, I understand that everything usually ends up in their mouth. Especially when they’re very young toddlers.

Therefore if that is the case then it is not a good idea. In the worst case, if you’re adamant that you want to proceed, you need to at least make sure they’re well supervised.

Best Chinese Water Dragon Vivarium Size (+ Vid)

If you are considering caring for a Chinese Water Dragon, you must have considered the best vivarium size for them, right? Well, you are in the right place, let me explain:

What’s the best Vivarium Size for a Chinese Water Dragon? The ideal size is 36 inches tall and 46 inches in length. Water Dragons can be as long as 1.5 feet and need a decent sized vivarium to make them feel comfortable.

Now that you have an idea of what they need, let’s also look at the type of vivarium, what decorations and accessories they need in the enclosure and so much more.

 

Why do they Need a Vivarium This Big?

As discussed briefly, the ideal size for a water dragon vivarium is at least 46 inches in length and 36 inches in height. The reason for this large size is the following:

  • They need appropriate space for their length
  • Need the height, so they can climb
  • Need contrasting temperature conditions

Need appropriate space for their length

Firstly, Water Dragons (Click here to see why I feel this is the best UVB light for them) are not small lizards. They can grow up to 1.5 feet in length. For this size lizard, you need to give them enough space to feel comfortable in the enclosure.

Height, so they can climb

Secondly, they do like to climb and spend a lot of their time off the ground. So, you need to give them enough height so that they can climb in the enclosure.

Contrast in temperatures

Lastly, the length of the enclosure is also important, the reason being you need to make sure that you have a contrast of temperatures within the enclosure, let me explain.

One side of the enclosure needs to have a very warm temperature. This will allow them to bask in the heat. On the opposite side of the enclosure, there needs to be a cooling area. This is where they can cool down when their body has had enough Heat.

Why You Should Only Consider a Wooden Enclosure!

Ideally, you should get the water dragon a large wooden vivarium. There are a couple of reasons why you should do this, let me explain:

  • Insulation
  • Do not expel heat like Glass enclosures

Firstly, wooden vivariums are very good at insulating the heat. As discussed earlier, you need to have a hot area and a cool area. To maintain this heat the most efficient way is to have wood because it will keep it well insulated.

However, you need to make sure that it is well ventilated so that you can control the humidity and keep it ventilated.

Using material such as glass is not ideal for some lizards. It definitely is good for some, that’s why they also are quite popular.

However, for Water Dragons, it is not ideal. Mainly because glass vivariums lose temperature. and not as insulated as the wooden counterpart.

What decorations are required within the vivarium?

Water dragons are partially Arboreal. This means they spend a good portion of their time in trees off the ground and climbing.

For that reason you need to make sure that you provide a good source of wood branches and equipment for them to climb on.

Trailing or artificial plants are all good things that you can use. Trailing plants are good because they can help disguise some of the electrical equipment in the enclosure as well and keeping it looking as natural as possible.

Are there any special requirements needed for the plants or Foilage in the enclosure?

To avoid any problems with parasites or any other small creepy crawlies that could be hidden in the plants or foliage, it is advisable to treat them with a rinse of 5 to 10% bleach.

If you are going to use real plants it’s a good idea after you have rinsed them to re-pot them. Then leave them sitting for at least a week before moving them into the vivarium.

This is simply to ensure that there are no parasites that have been collected within the plants that may transfer to the enclosure and cause health issues with your lizard.

Artificial plants are just as good as live ones. They can also be considered. You could also consider some of the following plants:

What Substrate do you need for a Water Dragon?

To maintain the required humidity it is important to go for a moist substrate. Many competent lizard keepers are often concerned by loose substrate. This is because of the chances of the lizard consuming the substrate and then leading to issues such as impaction.

However, successful lizard breeders who keep Water Dragons have had success with this substrate (Click for the price on Amazon) and this is something that you can consider. An added bonus with this substrate is it easy to maintain and keep clean.

What is the ideal humidity for a water dragon?

Ideally, you want the humidity to be 70 to 80% This can be achieved by doing a few different things, let me explain.

  • Spraying the enclosure
  • Using a Misting System

Firstly, you can consider spraying the enclosure which is also known as misting on a daily basis. When I say daily, ideally you should be doing this at least a couple of times a day.

Secondly, if you feel that manually spraying the enclosure is a commitment that you cannot stick to you can also consider getting a more automated misting system (Click here to see the price on Amazon).

They will cost you but at the same time, it will mean that you will have more of a reliable system to keep the humidity in the enclosure.

To make sure that the humidity level is correct it is a good idea to purchase a Humidity Gauge (Click to see the price on Amazon). This little device, whether it’s electric or the dialed version, will allow you to monitor the humidity levels to ensure that you are sticking within the boundaries for the water dragon.

Related questions:

Q: Can you Breed Water Dragons in captivity?

Yes, you can breed them in captivity. Let me explain…

Before you do this you need to make sure that you get the conditions in the enclosure correct and also the timing is very important as well.

Breeding Temperature Control

Assuming you have a male and some females in the enclosure for this to happen, just after the autumn. You need to reduce the temperature.

Ideally, you want to drop the temperature down to a maximum of 78 degrees Fahrenheit with the basking area up to 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

At night-time, you need to reduce this again down to approximately 74 degrees Fahrenheit. During this period you want to reduce the feeding down to a lower level. Potentially once a week is ideal. After winter you can return the levels the temperature levels back to normal and increase the eating schedule again.

Male Mating Signs

A week after this you should find that the male water dragon will show signs of wanting to mate these signs are as follows:

  • Head Bobbing
  • Chasing the female around the enclosure
  • and obviously attempting to copulate

Egg Laying

You can expect copulation to take anything from 10 to 20 minutes. After this time period, all being well,   2 months the female lizard should be ready to lay her eggs.

You can expect as much as 5 to 15 eggs per clutch clutch (means the collection of eggs). She lays these all at one time.

All being well you can expect her to lay another clutch of eggs in approximately 3 to 4 months after this.

It is important to have some moist soil substrate so that she can dig and hide her eggs. You need to make sure that it is at least 8 inches deep so that she can feel happy. She should lay and place them into the soil comfortably.

Following this, it is important to remove the eggs and place them into incubation. In the incubator, you can expect the temperatures to rise up to 88 degrees Fahrenheit and then you can follow the incubation procedure to make sure that you get some successful hatchlings

Q: Do water dragons need any supplementation?

Yes, to keep them healthy and happy in captivity you will need to provide some supplementation. Let me explain.

Firstly, they will need a calcium based supplementation as well as vitamins and minerals. The calcium base supplementation and the mineral and vitamins are usually in a powder form.

The calcium based supplementation should be provided on a daily basis. You can easily dust the powder calcium supplement onto their food. Right onto the insects that they consume.

For the vitamin based supplementation, you can provide this daily or every other day. Best to read the instructions on the supplements that you purchase to make sure you follow the requested dosage.

Also the insects that you provide them should be “gut loaded”.  This is to make sure that they have got the maximum nutritional value.

You can achieve this by buying insect food which is preloaded with vitamins and minerals. After this, the insects that you feed to your water dragons with will pass on this nutrition.

Komodo Dragon Predators (Facts, Diet)

The Komodo is a big and formidable lizard, in fact, the largest. But I was wondering what animals prey on them. In reality, no matter how big you are, there must always be danger or predators, right? Let me explain.

What are the predators of Komodo Dragons? Other Komodo Dragons and humans are their biggest predators. However, as hatchlings, they are also preyed upon by birds of prey. Because they are so big and ferocious they are usually the attackers.

Now you know what their main predators are. Let me explain in more detail and also explain if they can be kept as pets, if they are endangered, what food they eat, how they attack them and much more.

More Detail about Komodo dragons Predators

Komodo dragons do not have many Predators simply because they are so big and dangerous in their own right however there are some.

Predators as Hatchling

When they are hatchlings their biggest predators are:

  • Other komodo dragons
  • Also birds of prey

As a hatchling, they are left to fend for themselves by their own mother. Their mother digs a hole, buries the egg and abandons them to hatch and take life in their own stride.

Unfortunately, it is even possible for the Komodo dragons own mother to attack and even eat it if she finds it at a later date after it hatches.

Adult Komodo Dragon Predators

As they get older their Predators change slightly. The biggest predators become:

  • Other Komodo Dragons
  • and us Humans

Unfortunately, humans pose the biggest threat. There is an appetite to hunt for Komodo Dragons (Click to see my article on why they are called Dragons). They are seen as treasures, but more on this later on in the article.

Are the Komodo Dragons endangered species?

Yes, they are endangered species, according to wikipedia. And they are actually on the international protective list.

In fact, they are only allowed to be kept by zoos and educational institutions. And they are closely monitored to make sure that their numbers do not reduce.

Currently, there are 5000 komodo dragons. The biggest concern is that there are not enough females breeding to increase these numbers.

It is estimated that there are approximately 350 breeding females which is a cause for concern.

The biggest danger to their numbers is illegal hunting and other inhabitants of their natural habitat.

Unfortunately, people hunt them for their body parts which they can sell on on the black market. In the early part of last century, they were also hunted and sold to zoos or black market private buyers.

They are also hunted for their skin and their feet to make novelty items which can be resold.

What do Komodo Dragons eat (pray upon)?

As you can imagine, Komodo Dragons are carnivores. Meaning they primarily eat meat. They have a huge appetite and hunt large animals. Such as:

  • Deer
  • Water buffalo
  • and Carrion (decaying dead animals, e.g. roadkill)

They have such a big appetite that they can even eat up to 80% of their body weight in one single sitting.

How do Komodo Dragons attack their prey?

The Komodo dragon uses a simple technique of knocking over its prey and using its large serrated teeth, which are very similar to shark’s teeth, almost like razor blades. Then shredding their prey and causing horrific injuries.

If their prey is not immediately killed by this attack, within 24 hours they’re expected to die due to the venomous bite of the Komodo dragon.

This saliva is believed to hold 50 strains of bacteria. Their victim’s blood will effectively be poisoned and effectively die from this attack. The Komodo dragon will find them later with its very keen sense of smell for blood. It will locate the victim and devours them.

Is it possible to keep a Komodo dragon as a pet?

No, it is illegal to keep them as pets. In fact, as stated earlier they are protected animals and only zoos and educational institutions are allowed to keep them.

In addition to this, they are very vicious animals and one bite from them could lead to your death. So, it’s not advisable for an average person to even think of having them as a pet.

In addition to this, even if you were brave enough and allowed to keep one, these animals require a very large enclosure and large amounts of food to eat.

As discussed earlier they would expect large animals such as water buffalos or deers. These types of livestock can be purchased but it’ll be very difficult to maintain financially and logistically.

The deceiving thing about these animals is if you ever come across them in a zoo or in an educational institution they are usually quite well behaved.

They are well trained and have a very likable temperament. This is because in captivity they are handled very well so that they are not an immediate danger to humans.

This doesn’t mean that they are not capable of attacking anyone in captivity. It just means that they are treated very differently than if they were in the wild.

Related questions:

Q: How fast can a Komodo Dragon run?

Komodo dragons, believe it or not, are very fast lizards. You may look at them and assume they are really slow based on their humongous size. However, in reality, they can run as fast as 12 miles per hour in short sprints.

Bear in mind this does not mean they are capable of sustaining this speed at any great length of time but it is enough for them to sprint up to their prey and deal with them.

They are also very good in the water and can dive as far as 15 feet deep.

Q: Where is the Komodo dragons natural habitat?

They are located in five separate Islands located in Southeastern Indonesia. In particular:

  • Komodo
  • Rinca
  • Gili Montang
  • Gili Dasami
  • Flores.

In their natural habitat, they are mainly surrounded by savanna grassland and Forest.

Q: How can you save the Komodo dragon?

As discussed earlier the Komodo dragon is an endangered species. And you may be thinking to yourself how can you help to save them and stop their numbers reducing?

There are a few simple things that you can do that can contribute to helping them to survive. Firstly do not purchase anything which is made from Komodo Dragons.

This includes ornaments or any type of offering that may have been made from Komodo Dragons. The likelihood is, they were illegally hunted. However tempting it may be, don’t buy it. you will be contributing to the illegal black market.

Secondly, you should avoid buying any timber or wood which originates from Komodo Island. This will help to keep their natural habitat intact. This will indirectly help them to last longer.

Finally, as a tourist of Komodo Island, if you are ever fortunate to visit, make sure you do not do anything to harm them.

Q: Are Komodo Dragons Bigger than a Lace Monitor?

Yes, the Komodo is bigger than a Lace Monitor (Click for the full article on Komodo vs Lace Monitor). The Komodo is the largest lizard and a formidable carnivore.

Q: Why would a Female Komodo Dragon Attack its own Hatchling?

When a female lays her eggs, she simply buries it. Then she immediately disappears. The reality is she forgets where she buried it and never gets to even meet it as a hatchling. Once it is hatched the chances are she will not even know it is her hatchling.

Its sounds weird when we compare this behaviour to humans, but this is nature.

9 Reasons Why Lizards Are Good Pets (+ Pics & Vids)

If you are considering getting a lizard as your family pet, you may be curious about what the benefits are. Or the reasons why others have done this. Let me explain.

Why are lizards good pets? Easy to look after. In comparison to other pets, lizards are quite easy to look after. Especially when it comes to feeding them. Obviously, there are some issues with some people who are a little bit squeamish around insects.

With that issue aside you can find insects and other vegetables that they use in various pet shops or even easily online.

Let me explain 9 reasons why people keep lizards as pets:

01. They like watching what you’re doing

One thing that I like about lizards is, as you walk past their enclosure or in their vicinity, they are always interested in what you’re doing. This is a good feeling as a pet owner.

02. Helps to teach your children responsibility

There are many benefits of having a lizard as a pet. One, in particular, is allowing your children to earn some responsibility, let me explain.

You can start them off with simple duties like providing a bowl of water for the lizard or preparing the food for them, even if it’s just some veggies.

This small task will give them some ownership and accountability. It will start the road to them becoming a responsible adult.

03. Will help children become more confident

Looking after a pet lizard or even just helping out with some agreed tasks, as discussed earlier, will add to them feeling more confident.

If they do this small job well, such as providing water on a daily basis, then they can start to feel confident in themselves and then gradually be awarded more involved tasks.

This can lead to good personal development. Later on down the line possibly helping and creating an income for themselves.

04. Gives children another person to talk to

As a father of two children, I know how much children love to talk. And if I am honest, I am not a big talker. I am very much a person that likes to keep myself to myself and have my own space.

Having a pet lizard is a great way for your child to express itself and talk at no end. It will always be attentive and always be a listener. This is good for a child that’s got a lot to say.

05. Easy to maintain

Unlike dogs, you do not need to walk a lizard on a daily basis for them to get exercise and go to the toilet. Most lizards in captivity are happy to stay in their enclosure. This makes it easy for you to maintain.

In fact, most lizards do not need to be taken out of the enclosure at all. As long as you’re prepared to do the minimum maintenance required, such as cleaning out their enclosure on a regular basis and providing food, they are happy and easily maintainable.

06. No Fur to worry about

Many people in our Society today suffer from allergies. I also have a son that has many allergies. We have to be careful what food we give him, what we put around him. For example, cat fur can be a problem for him.

With lizards, this is not an issue. They have no fur and there is no risk of the dust mites building up.

However, if you do have children or family members that do have allergies related to fur. You still need to be careful about what substrate you choose for your lizard. To make sure that it is compliant with their allergies.

07. Do not require a lot of Food

The good thing about lizards is they really do not need a large amount of food to keep them happy.

Being cold-blooded animals with low metabolism rates they don’t need to consume large amounts of food. Especially in comparison to a pet dog.

Obviously, as discussed earlier, there are some people that are a bit squeamish about insects. But, if you can get past this then it is really not an issue.

Also, if this is a big problem for you. You can also consider getting a herbivore lizard. They can eat vegetables, fruits as well as insects.

08. Long life spans

On average lizards live a long time. Sometimes greater than 20 years and even more.

When compared to the lifespan of a hamster, for example, which could be as short as a couple of years. Or even worse, fish.

For example, my son has some fish and we find that we having to replace them on an annual basis or even less.

So, lizards can be a good long-term family pet. Just keep this in mind. They are not a good option if you are just interested in a short term pet, they are a lifetime commitment.

Another benefit of their long life span is, it usually means that there’s always a good source of lizards that are looking to be rehomed from other families that may have a change in circumstances.

09. Happy to stay home alone

The great thing about lizards, you don’t need to worry about going to work and leaving them unattended. Or staying out overnight. For example, at a friend’s house or for a weekend.

We all know if you have a dog you cannot just up and go without pre-planning and organizing a sitter. Or at least someone to come in periodically and check on him.

With a lizard, you could literally have this pet in your home and no one would even know it’s there because it will happily get along with things. As long as you make sure that it has access to water and food that is.

10. They don’t need walks or training

As briefly discussed, lizards are nothing like dogs. They don’t need to be trained on how to use the toilet and they do not need regular walks.

If you have a very demanding career and having a dog or a cat is a problem for you, then the lizard is a perfect answer for this.

However, I would like to emphasize that you can not completely ignore the lizard and neglect it. It does need some of your attention. But in comparison to other pets, like the pet dog, it is a big difference.

Related questions:

Q: What are the easiest lizards to take care of?

The first one is the leopard gecko (click for full care sheet). This lizard is easily one of the most popular reptile pets in general. It is a real hardy lizard that is easy to get along with. This is because of the easy maintenance required for it and also because of its lovable temperament.

The bearded dragon

The bearded dragon (click for full care guide) is another popular lizard amongst pet owners. It is loved because of its docile, laid-back behavior. It is also a good size, being relatively small, for a beginner to look after.

Q: Do lizards stink?

Yes, some do. In theory, they shouldn’t. Let’s look at it, they don’t need to urinate to mark their territory, they do not have any noticeable sweat problems and they’re not highly active reptiles. They also shed infrequently. So, you would expect them not to really have any issues with smell.

However, in reality, the bearded dragon has been known to create some orders within its enclosure. Obviously, they are still very popular pets. And if you look after them well and maintain the enclosure then you can deal with this problem. It’s not a deal breaker problem.

Q: Can pet lizards carry diseases?

Yes, they can do. Some lizards are commonly known for carrying Salmonella. This is something that can be passed on by contact.

Therefore it is advised that pets, such as cats and dogs, be careful if they attempt to eat these wild lizards. In some cases, it’s important that humans are vigilant when handling wild lizards.

What Can I Use for Iguana Bedding?

Are you keen to learn what substrate you can use for your Iguana? Well, you are in the right place. Let me explain why it is important to not just choose any old substrate for your pet.

What can I use for iguana bedding? There are two main types of bedding particle based, such as sand and non-particle based, such as substrate liner (Click to see reviews on Amazon). The best and safest, in my opinion, is the non-particle based.

Now you know what is available, let me explain why I don’t recommend particle based substrate for your Iguana, what can happen if it eats this substrate, some great substrate options that are easy to maintain and are safer than particle based offerings, and more.

What are the dangers of losing using loose substrate?

Loose substrate or particle-based substrate as it is sometimes called looks great in an enclosure. And in most cases, it gives a good look and resembles a lizards natural environment.

However, it does have problems. Let me explain.

Small Particles Can Get Lodged

It is based on small pieces of particles that can easily be eaten by your lizard by mistake. The problem is, if this happens, it can cause some major health issues, in particular, impaction.

What is impaction?

Impaction is where some loose substrate is consumed, this could easily be done by an Iguana. For example, they may be using their tongue to eat an insect or something and inadvertently pick up a particle of the substrate.

They also use their tongue for a number of different activities, as you can imagine, any of them can inadvertently result in this loose substrate getting into their system.

Once the substrate is in their system there is no way for it to digest it and it causes a blockage (Impaction). Depending on how serious it could lead to different levels of health problems. There are two major types of impaction that I will discuss now:

  • Chronic impaction
  • Acute impaction

Acute impaction

This one is more obvious. The symptoms are quite simple to detect. You can expect your lizard to become constipated. Also, in extreme cases, it can also lead to them passing away.

Effectively the food particles from the substrate get lodged into their system not allowing any other food that they eat to get digested properly.

In time the food will start to enter their bloodstream and could eventually lead to them dying. If it is caught in the early stages it can be cured. But, the key thing is making sure that you pick it up early enough.

Chronic impaction

This form is a bit more subtle and is easy to go unnoticed. This is because there are no obvious symptoms. You may observe your lizard continuing to defecate without any noticeable problems.

You may also notice that they are eating as normal, without any noticeable problems. However, internally there is a substantial problem happening.

In this case, the food is not being digested correctly. On the surface, it looks like they’re eating, but in fact, the food is not being digested. They are basically slowly starving their system of valuable nutrients required to survive.

However, if you catch this at an early enough stage then your vet should be able to help you get around this problem. But, the issue is ever knowing what stage it’s at and identifying the problem in the first place.

These are the reasons why most lizard keepers try to avoid particle base substrate, especially for Iguanas. However, it is still possible to use loose substrate successfully. And in fact, many other lizard keepers have done this.

If you do want to pursue using loose substrate you need to make sure that the substrate is digestible. This is important because in the event they consume the substrate, then it is possible to go through their system and not cause the blockage and lead to impaction.

Non-particle based substrate

This type of substrate is definitely not as good looking as the particle-based. However, it is a lot safer. The reason being, it does not have any small particles. In fact, it is pretty much solid and doesn’t have any particles at all.

The advantages of this, in addition to not having small particles, is the fact that it is easily found around the house, economical to use (e,g, kitchen towels or newspaper). And finally, it is quite easy to maintain and keep clean.

There are slightly more expensive options such as ceramic tiles but this is at your discretion.

Best Substrate for Iguanas:

01. Vinyl Tiles

Pros:

  • Safe (No loose particles)
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in varies colors

Cons:

  • Needs to be fitted (may need some effort/skill to get it laid correctly)

Vinyl Tiles (Click for reviews on Amazon) is a great option. They are easy to keep clean, maintain. The main benefit is the fact that they do not have any loose particles, meaning they are a lot more safe option.

02. Zilla Reptile Substrate Liner

Pros:

  • Easy to fit
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to clean
  • No Loose Particles

Cons:

  • Will need to be cut (but not a big issue)

The Zilla Substrate Liner (Click for reviews on Amazon) is a very simple substrate ideal for Iguannas. It does not have any loose particles to keep your lizard safe from impaction.

It is easy to clean and maintain. The only little thing is, you will need to cut it to size before use, but that is quite a minor thing in my opinion.

03. Artificial Grass

Pros:

  • Looks great
  • Toxin Free
  • Washable
  • No loose particles.

Cons:

  • Will need to be sized up and cut to shape.

Artificial Grass (Click for reviews on Amazon) Is a great substrate. It looks great and more importantly it looks realistic. It is safe, without any loose particles.

On top of that, it is toxin-free. Another great benefit is that it is washable, meaning that it is easy to clean and maintain. The only minor annoyance is cutting and shaping it to fit your enclosure, but that’s it

Related questions:

Q: Do Iguanas need heat lamps at night?

Yes, they do. In fact, they need heat in the night, however, they shouldn’t have the lights on. Let me explain.

Iguanas need to have the lights off in the night hours so that it does not affect their sleep cycle. If you do not do this, they will not rest properly. And will become aggravated and could lead to health issues.

You may be thinking to yourself, if that’s the case how can you heat the enclosure if there is no light?

Good question, to do this, you need to use a ceramic heat emitter (CHE) (Click to see the price on Amazon):

 

This CHE gives off heat without requiring light. They easily screw into an incandescent light fixture.

One final tip on this note you need to make sure during the Night-Time. That the temperature does not drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: How long until an iguana reaches a mature size?

The reality is there are a number of different iguana species. So, it is hard to say an exact age across all. However, on average you can expect them to hit maturity at around 3 years old.

Full-size for an iguana has quite a big range depending on the species. For example, the Spiny-tailed iguana, one of the small Iguana species (click for 7 of the smallest), will be approximately 4.9 inches in length. As opposed to a green iguana which could be as long as 7 feet so there is quite a big broad range.

Masoala Panther Chameleon (Facts, Diet, Care)

If you are interested in Chameleons you may have heard people talk about Masoala Panther Chameleons. They are rare, but well worth it if you can get one. Let me explain.

What is the Masoala Panther Chameleon? The Masoala Panther Chameleon is effectively a Panther Chameleon but, from a very specific locale. Panther chameleons (Furcifer Pardalis) are large species of the Chameleon. They are typically found in Madagascar and there are over 20 different variations of this species.

Now you know a bit about them now, let me go deeper. Let me explain exactly were Masoala is, what they eat, other variations of the Panther Chameleon (Click here for my reasons why they need a tall enclosure)  and so much more.

Where is Masoala?

Masoala is a peninsula on the Eastern coastal area of Madagascar, hence the name of this lizard variation. They have a distinct coloration. Their body parts show a combination of yellow, orange and black.

Where can you get these Masoala Panther Chameleons?

This type of Chameleon is very rare. Because of this keen breeders have found it hard to get hold of females. So, some breeders have resorted to mixing these lizards with other locales.

This is so that they can sell them on, unfortunately sometimes falsely claiming they are genuine Masoala Panthers.

Because they are quite rare, the economics of supply and demand means the prices for them is quite high. So if you can find a genuine one, make sure that you have the budget to support this.

What different panther chameleon locals are there?

As discussed earlier, there are over 20 different variations. Let me give you a list and break down of some of them now:

Ambanja

This type of Chameleon is found in the Northwest of Madagascar and has a typical color variation of blue, green and red.

Ambato

Also found in the northwest area of Madagascar, but just north of Ambanja. It is sometimes referred to as the “Turquoise Blue” or even the “Blue Diamond” Panther Chameleon.

Ambilobe

Very close to Ambanjo, and also near Diego Suarez, this Madagascan Panther it is often referred to as the Sirama (a town close by) or “Picasso” Panther.

There are many more so I will give you a list of the rest:

  • Ambodirafia
  • Ampiskiana
  • Andapa
  • Ankaramy
  • Ankify
  • Diego Suarez
  • Joffreville
  • Maroantsetra
  • Nosy Ankarea
  • Nosy Be
  • Nosy Boraha
  • Nosy Faly
  • Nosy Mitsio
  • Nosy Radama
  • Reunion
  • Sambava
  • Tamatave

How big are these chameleons?

All being well and you have a healthy adult Masoala Panther Chameleon you can expect it to grow up to 18 inches in length. That is from its nose to the tip of his tail. The female is slightly smaller and you can expect it to grow up to 14 inches in length.

With regards to the weight, for the adult male, you can expect to grow up to 180 grams and a lady female up to 140g.

What is the best enclosure for them?

Best to be given a wooden enclosure. The reason for this is because wood is an excellent material to insulate the heat.

Masoala Panther Chameleons like a very specific heat requirement. Wood is a perfect option for them to retain the heat and humidity they need.

Why I don’t suggest Glass Enclosures

Glass enclosures have a habit of not retaining the heat as well as wood. And that’s the reason why I would suggest using a wooden one instead of glass.

However, you need to make sure that the wooden vivarium is well ventilated to keep them happy in there.

Ideal Size

With regards to the heat. It needs to be at least 36 inches in height. There are two reasons for this:

  • Contrasting Heat
  • Climbing

Number one, they like to have a heat variation within the enclosure. The top level being the hottest and then a gradient of heat as it reduces to the ground level.

Lastly, they appreciate climbing. So they need enough of vertical space to keep them happy.

Lighting and temperature requirements

Masoala Panther Chameleons originate from the rainforest of Madagascar. Therefore, it is important to keep their habitat as close to this as humanly possible.

In captivity, they bask in the natural sun allowing them to receive a lot of UVB rays. Therefore, you need to provide a good strong UVB light to maintain their requirements.

UVB lighting is very important because it allows them to metabolize the calcium which is put into their body from their diet. Without this, they will not be able to process the calcium that they need and it could lead to health issues.

The best UVB lights will have a strong five to six percent rainforest jungle strength UVB. There are two tubes that are recommended to provide this level of rays. The first one is the T8 (click to see the price on Amazon) and then there is the T5 (Click for reviews on Amazon).

The T8 will give you twice the Range and is more efficient than the T5. It will cost you slightly more but you will find that it will last longer as well. Meaning it is more efficient and more value for money.

For example, with the T5 you need to swap the bulbs at least every six months however with the T8 that could be every 12 months. For that reason, the T8 is a good idea if you have the budget to support it.

What substrate do they require?

Some people say that loose substrate can be dangerous because they can be swallowed by the lizard. However, many keepers have found using bark chips (click here for reviews on Amazon) as a reliable substrate.

Obviously, the decision is yours which substrate you choose. But the bark chips have been known to be a good choice.

What decoration is required in the enclosure?

It is important to try and replicate the rainforest environment as close as possible.

For that reason, the top half of the vertical enclosure should be well decorated with vines plants and greenery to make your chameleon feel at home.

Trailing plants and upright plants are a good option for this. It will make your chameleon feel at home and also allow them to exercise and enjoy climbing which is one of their good pastimes.

Another benefit of this decoration is, when you spray the mist into the enclosure on a daily basis (as you should be) it will allow the water droplets to run off these plants and greenery. This will provide a valid and required water supply for them.

Water and humidity requirements

As discussed earlier you should be spraying water for misting, as it is called. This is directly into the enclosure on a daily basis. This is important because they will drink the water droplets that fall from the plants and greenery that have been listed at the top end of the enclosure.

The humidity levels should remain at approximately 50% in the enclosure

You can measure the humidity by using a hydrometer (click to see the reviews on Amazon):

 

In addition to this, you can also train some chameleons to drink from a dripper system as well.

Food and diet requirements

Their main source of food is live insects in particular brown crickets. But you can also offer them locusts and also black crickets. They will even appreciate Dubia cockroaches.

On rare occasions, just to provide a bit of variety, you can also offer them mealworms or wax worms.

Related questions:

Are Masoala panther chameleons good for beginners? Yes, in general, they are quite docile and well behaved. However, Chameleons do not appreciate being handled (click for an article on Yemen Chameleon handling) especially not on a regular basis.

It is possible to handle them if you know what you were doing. But, you need to really think of these chameleons as display animals like a fish that is how they prefer to live.