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Another Reptile Keeper New On Herp Center Forums

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by MountainDragon, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. MountainDragon

    MountainDragon New Member

    Well, I'm new to this site, but not reptiles. As a matter of fact, I've grown up adoring every Herp one could possibly find, even the most bizarre species to be heard of! I grew up with a green Anole, while this isn't such a great beginner reptile, it was a great beginning spark for my thirst for information on keeping reptiles- and that big male did live for 7+ years (still not the "best" lifespan, but honestly I was pretty young)

    I now have a Mountain Horn Dragon- I beleive him to be an Acanthosaura capra? based on Internet research. I have an old picture of him as my profile picture; in case anyone wants to suggest what they think he might be specifically. This guy has gotten bigger since, and is a real impressive dragon, around 3+ years of age at this point.

    I now have 5 leopard geckos, and though long ago I used to look over them to more spectacular species, thats when I discovered how pretty and cute they really are even on an affordable and financial scale.

    But now comes the newest member of the family. A Chinese Water Dragon ( Physignathus cocincinus) just a baby. I've done my research, I know how big they get, and even though I might think I've read some excellent care information out there "much of which I acquired on this very site"There's always, more to know! So when the little guy was first brought home from "Petco" (though it is too young to know whether its a he or she) I offered it a small mealworm "I pretty much feed roaches, but I try raising as many kinds of feeders I can at home" and it ate the mealworm to my surprise! I let it settle in its enclosure, and I've been feeding it; I can get into the details if anyone wants to know. but in short, there are still questions to be asked, So I hope to enjoy and get a lot out of this forum! I also hope that you all enjoy reading this, and that its not just another giant block of words. ;)
  2. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to Herp Center. I admit sometimes when I see a long post I don't read it. However it usually depends on grammar and proper sentence structure. Yours is much better than most :) SO I continued to read.
    Welcome to Herp Center.
    Chinese Water Dragons can take a lot of care. But from owners I've talked with said to take the time and set the habitat up properly and it can greatly minimize daily maintenance.
    Buggy0123 and MountainDragon like this.
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, it`s nice to have you here (honest it is), it would be even nicer if you could show a few photos of the whole enclosure and give details of the conditions... Thanks! ;)
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  4. MountainDragon

    MountainDragon New Member

    Alright, I may not be able to show any photos today "I have math tomorrow, and general work." But I will as soon as possible! I look forward to becoming a part if this great community of reptile enthusiasts; even if just to have a few questions answered. As of right now, there doesn't seem to be any "real" problem, I'm glad, but I want to make sure nothing turns out that way!

    For my little starter question; I realize it isn't that uncommon for lizards to open their mouth a bit (trying to scare you off) this I have seen. But, Though I haven't seen it today, I read about someone who showed snakes and when they had enough, they would drool saliva or do something along those lines "look like they had some issue, I suppose so predators might be wary of eating them?" then they would live totally normal from there on when left alone.

    Now, I am slightly a septic of this story, although I could likely find it again if anyone "really" wanted to read it; but it doesn't sound impossible. (though my critic side points out the possibility that the snakes may have had something wrong, though hardly showed it until very stressed and up close in the hands of their keeper; perhaps a respiratory issue, along with that, the writer never gave his setup for the snakes) But that aside, I did see similar behavior in my Water Dragon just yesterday; I haven't been handling the baby much, there just isn't a great need to stress him right now. It appears he will be going into shed soon, so I decided to pour drops of water on him (I didn't think much of this, as its very much like luke-warm rain) but I did decide to pick him up gently with my hands, coaxing him on, and when I did that, he did the strange thing of drooling/spitting from his mouth, and in almost a reptile version of a cough. This is what worried me, and even after he stopped; which was actually a few minutes later under his basking light, to dry him off and settle him down, thats when I decided I really should join a site with knowledgeable people to ask when things arise.
    The little lizard hasn't done that today, but I reached my had in to very lightly rub him and see how he was this morning, he simply opened his mouth a little, then closed it. Even so, he is eating normally, sleeping, and as of now I have a heat pad, and I've watched its temp, while it isn't adjustable, the short distance where the dragon slept was about 70sF" Right now, and for a while I have had a food laser thermometer; to upgrade or not to upgrade? I always hold it as close as I can, for optimal efficiency. A picture will be worth the thousand words it takes to describe in great detail. So, my question is #1 What would be a good night heat source "you would sugest" its important with the winter. #2 While I'm going to give you pictures, and theres more to be said about the little dragon, what are some good substrates for babys, now; I've seen some here use fully hard substances, and many other people have "recommended things like coco-fiber, again for optimal baby condition I would like to know, as many "recommendations" are for adult and sub-adult. Finally, #3 size for a growing baby, currently close to 8in. in length. (Again, I have seen people recommend 20 gal, to a 60 gal "for a baby, now I bet they mean a sub adult, right?" regardless though, I want some info from live up to date keepers.) #4 So many people use glass tanks, as I've seen at least, and forgive me as I'm new to water dragons, and so much of my time researching reptiles went into species like the mountain horn dragons! "Which I recommend for someone who wants a far smaller-less hassle dragon with the exotic and cool appearance!" But as far as caging material, screen lid/or screen sides? I don't want him to get "worse nose rub, its not bad, and his mouth appears healthy, but when busy little reptiles who don't understand glass are in smaller glass cages for a bit that seems to happen, again not at my place, but I'm watching him for those things."

    I'm always trying to be super alert, because I know that sometimes when you notice something, its already to late (As was for a gecko I tried helping; she ingested considerable amounts of colored calci-sand, and that caused impaction as well as a number of other maladies. While I have never used calci-sand in my life and avoid it, That was what she was originally on before I got her.)
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Thanks for the reply, I was hoping you`d go into some detail rather than the short, sharp response you`ve offered, but here goes anyway... ;)
    You basically need to know two temps during the day ("activity time"); the lowest ambient (air) @ approx 24c (75f) in the coolest parts of the enclosure, then the SURFACE temp of the basking object @ approx 35c (95F). Nighttime ambient should also be around 24c (75f).
    The humidity should range between approx 60 to 70% or so.
    To accurately measure ambient temps and the humidity range you need a digital hygrometer (I believe you can buy them from Walmart for around $13), to measure the basking surface temp you`ll need a "Temp-gun" ( I`m not sure where you buy those but I know they aren`t too expensive), both those items are urgently required.
    You should not be forced handling at all at this time, it`s very stressful for the animal, you must allow sufficient time for it to acclimate to the enclosure (that could take many weeks at least).
    The smaller the enclosure the more difficult it will be to create a decent temp and humidity gradient. As far as size goes, there`s really no such thing as "too big" providing all the necessary conditions are in place.
    Edit: Absolutely no screen tops/sides, there is no way to stabilise the internal conditions to any great extent unless the enclosure is relatively "air tight" (at most a small vent low down) anything higher will result in a significant loss of heat and humidity.
    Sorry, another edit: The need for nighttime supplementary heat will depend to alrge extent on the ambient temps in the room the enclosure`s in, if it`s much lower than the 24c I`ve mentioned you can use a ceramic heat emitter.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
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  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I like the ceramic heat emitters, very durable. I have one hooked up to a Zilla Rheostat to keep a base minimum temp in the evenings.
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  7. MountainDragon

    MountainDragon New Member

    Sorry this took so long; I had homework pretty much all day, then I wrote a draft of what to say here containing the same info below this part of the comment "and accidentally deleted it". But finally heres info regarding the Chinese Water Dragon.

    Day Temp: Hot side, 80sF depending on whether you check the temp just below the backing site, or near / Cool side, 70sF, with 71F the most common temperature there. I do have a temp gun, and it works great, it can even switch the modes from Celsius to Fahrenheit. ;)

    Day Lighting: 100 watt basking spot lamp from Zoo Med, and a full spectrum UVB fluorescent tube light, its a 15 watt from the tropical series, same thing I use and was told to use for my mountain horn "and has worked nicely" the company this light comes from is Zilla.

    Humidity: Thanks for recommending the digital hygrometer, and where to get one! It won't be any big investment to get one, as of right now I have one of those typical little humidity gauges in the mid section of the cage; these aren't optimally accurate, so I'm going to invest that little bit to get a nice digital hygrometer like you said. Now, what the gauge does say, is that after a nice misting in the morning the humidity stays "around" 60% "Supposedly in the upper 60s on up to the 70s."

    Finally, At night; I've used a heat pad, which worked well enough for the moment keeping the temperature by the dragon at the low 70 mark , but I think the ceramic heat emitter would be a great option! I haven't used one before, but considering the fact that you would recommend it, and it appears that it would serve its intended purpose nicely I'll have to check this one out!
  8. MountainDragon

    MountainDragon New Member

    Also, I'll mention that the reason I handled him was because he had been holding one of his eyes shut- it had been this way for about two days, though he could open it and it looked fine, I wanted to see what the issue was, it appears all he did was hit the side of his face "on the glass I'm supposing" early on when I first introduced him to his cage in his running around. As of today, he has been holding it open just fine, you can tell its a little sore still on his eyelid, but otherwise normal today. But I'll be keeping an eye on his eye, to make sure all goes well!

    I have visual dividers up on the sides of the cage, and in front a shorter one.
    I'll have some pictures to show you all likely in a couple of days. I don't like to take a long time, but I'll see how quickly I can get that done!
  9. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to Herp Center.
    MountainDragon likes this.
  10. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to HC!
    MountainDragon likes this.

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