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Ctenosaura Similis wants HIGHER temps

Discussion in 'Ctenosaura - Spiny Tail Iguana' started by replover, Mar 24, 2007.

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  1. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Hi. I just took in a Ctenosaura Similis that was not given any UVB before but is still apparently in decent health. He is a youngster about 11 inches STL.

    This is the first day he's here. The temperatures recommended in care sheets are usually a temp gradient from 80 to 90/95F with a basking spot of about 100. Somehow, the cage I prepared ended up with about 89 cool end and 100 hot, and 110 at the basking spot. So while the lizard was in there, I was scrambling around the house trying to find a way to affix the light higher. It took longer than I thought. When I finally found a rack, I go back and I see that the fella is not only resting at the 110 F place, but TRYING TO GET HIGHER TOWARDS THE BULB. It seems that he wants the higher temps. I am suspecting that a lot of care sheets out there (very few) may just be saying do it like a green iguana, but that actually perhaps the ctenosaurs like slightly higher temps?

    He hasn't eaten anything yet, I don't think. I put some greens in there as well as a few mealworms and crickets. I haven't put fruit yet I will try in a bit. I hope he eats, I mean, it was eating before, but he was fed a carnivorous diet of crickets alone. Perhaps he's just getting used to the new home?

    Also, he has one missing claw on her hind right leg. I put some anti-bacterial ointment on the toe just in case but there seems no bleeding or open wound and I suspect that it was from a long time ago. The toe is a little darker than the other areas but doesn't look sunken and nectrotic. Should be ok right? Maybe I should just leave that alone since it is an old injury (or seems to be).

    Or maybe I should just leave him alone altogether for awhile to let him settle down.

    Oh yeah and I already know they bite and are nasty and etc. etc. I really don't mind. I get bitten all the time by my snakes even people bite me sometimes so I am just really looking for care information.
  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member


    He may not have been going after the heat. he may have been trying to get closer for more UV exposure.
  3. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Ok thanks. I just want to get him to start eating first. Are there any foods that they like, even if its not that good for them? Just to get them to open their mouths?

    I was told he was eating crickets only before, and I believe that he was eating as he's not really skinny or anything. A friend of mine has one, and he said that they are so nervous it took him almost close to a MONTH before his started eating, but once he started he ate well. He said his started eating when fed strawberries.

    I am surprised by such a drastic change in temperament from extraction from enclosure to handling. When I open the cage and put my hand inside, he scrambles, bumps the glass, dashes into his hide (LIGHTNING FAST!). But once I get a hold of him, he's probably the tamest thing I own. Tamer than my green ig, my tegu, any of my snakes (except maybe my ball).

    I don't know if he's too scared to move on my hand, or that he feels safe because he can cling to a warm thing and fit snugly between my fingers. I do know he's aware of my presence as he looks me right in the eye. He doesn't really look scared. I can put him on my chest, let go, and he doesn't run. When I pick him up from my chest, he actually CLIMBS onto my hand and sits there still! But as soon as I open the cage door, and put him back, he remains calm in my hand, then I put him down. He pauses for 2 seconds, then BANG! He's running around like crazy even though I'm standing back.

    Anyway he's not eating yet and I just want to get him started on food.
  4. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Ok I just checked on him. I think he may have eaten! I am not sure. He's on the edge of him food dish, and there is a "hole" in the salad where his head is, plate showing!!!! However, it may just be that I had moved the salad around with my fingers before. I did try to pick the fruit out and put it on top to attract him. So I don't know... LOL!!!!

    Where's Dominick when you need him? I know he has one of these I remember his posts from a while back. And Tammy may also be able to help me out here.

    They say they are "more terrestrial than arboreal". So is it good that the cage is big floorwise, but "kinda high" but not too high? I would think a strictly arboreal cage is no good, where it is taller than it is wide, right?
  5. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

  6. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Thanks for the article. I have read it before, and it has good information. But the problem now isn't really the nutrition balance or anything. I'm still at the stage of trying to get him to eat anything at all.

    I put in many different foods for him. Greens, papaya, grapes, squash, crickets and mealworms as well as some iguana rep cal pellets soaked in water. I don't think he has eaten any although I can't be sure because he may have eaten a little bit I don't know. He DID defecate this morning, twice, a tiny little bit, but perhaps that's from previous meals prior to arrival.

    It's only his third day here, so I'm not entirely worried yet. And he does seem to have calmed down since. I'm surprised how much tamer he has gotten in two days. He doesn't run away when I put my hand in there anymore. When I touch him he will scramble a little bit, but then if I touch him and then leave my hand there and not move, he'll actually climb onto my hand and let me take him out. He was much more skittish yesterday.

    Anyway I can get him to eat?
  7. venus

    venus Founding Member

    Are you sure he's not still stress from the move and his new enviroment? Might need time to adjust.
  8. replover

    replover Elite Member

    I'm not sure at all. In fact its only been 3 days. But I'm just worried because the only non-feeders I ever had were snakes. I never had a lizard that didn't start munching right away once it got home.
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Anthony your enthusiasm may be the source of your troubles.
    I would leave the poor guy alone for a few days and let him settle in.
    No handling.
  10. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    I agree with Merlin, let him settle in and watch what happens! The only time I start force feeding is if they come in obviously in desperate need of food and wont eat (starved), which seems to be a lot lately:( I can tell you they wont starve to death in a couple of days if it was healthy to begin with, usually once they settle in and settle down and start to feel better they will start eating on their own.
    Good luck! I figured it would only be a matter of time before the spiny tails started hitting the rescues as I saw Petco started selling them about a year ago, which generally means they will start needing homes around here! So frustrating and so sad:( I commend you for taking him in and wish you all the luck in getting him healthy!
  11. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Don't worry I may be really obsessive but I won't force feed him all of a sudden. Just wanted to give him some nice goodies to eat. :)

    Anyway, I gave him a variety of foods daily. I am not sure if he has touched it because he probably eats so little. But he HAS been defacating, once or twice a day, and the poops are getting bigger eat day. So maybe he ate a little bit and I just can't tell.

    What is the best to gut load the crickets with in your opinion? Right now I put papaya and cereal. That's what I've read to be ok except put more variety. I'm just starting out with feeder insects here.
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I use grains, cereals, powdered milk, and basically any odds and ends of fruits and vegetables. Just don't get the enclosure too humid.
    Too much moistures leads to dead crix!
  13. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member

    Greetings Anthony-

    I see you have embarked on a new reptile adventure, and a tough one at that! LOL

    I was very fortunate to have the benefit of training from John Binns before I received my adopted Ctenosaura. He helped a LOT!

    Ctenos are indeed terrestrial creatures and do not have the comfort of arboreal tree dwellers like Iguana iguana. Keep that in mind in all your interactions with it. They are flighty and will flee any perceived danger. If provoked they will bite to get away. Nasty bites too!

    It is strongly recommended that you leave a Cteno for up to 1 year, without heavy interaction. It takes them a long time to get used to you. Did I? Of course not! LOL I waited about a month before trying to handle her. Even now, 2 years later, with heavy interaction, she is very particular about who handles her and how she will react. As usual, my son is the reptile-whisperer and can handle her like a stuffed animal toy and she will not mind at all. For me she continues to struggle and try to flee. Go figure?

    I would take it much slower than with the I. iguana. It needs a longer time to adjust to new surroundings. They take an exceptionally long time to get to a comfort level to feed. Once they do, they will eat every day.

    Babies are omnivorous, adults are vegetarians. Offer the salad every day. I find greens and squash work best for them. Offer meal worms or legless crickets separately every few days. It's important to build the trust. I used to slowly lay a meal worm in front of her on the shelf and she would eat it right in front of me. Over time, she learned not to flee because she thought I had bugs for her.

    Hides are VERY important! They need a tube-type hide (I used a piece of plastic corrugated drain hose, about 4" diameter). They take great comfort in the tube and sleep in it (simulated wild burrowing behavior).

    Also, the biggest change in personality and taming came when I moved her from a high traffic area in the dining room to a low traffic area in my sons bedroom. The change was very quick and positive! She calmed down very fast and no longer spent most of her day in the tube. Now she bask on her shelf most of the day.

    For this little creature you must be patient-er than before.

    I'm sure you'll do well with it. You always do.

    Good luck!
  14. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Dominick thanks for the info. You seem to focus a lot on getting him tame. He's not particularly flightly or aggressive to begin with. He does run around when I open the enclosure door and scramble but actually lets me handle him. He doesn't even run anymore like he did the first 2 days when I reach for him. He actually crawls onto my hand when I put it next to him and touch his stomach. I'll handle him less now but he really doesn't seem bothered by it.

    The thing is, I don't know if he's eating or not, that's what I need to know. He has a hide, and is in a low traffic place.

    I give him a salad everyday fresh with both fruits and veggies, as well as a bowl full of meal worms with calcium and vitamins and legless crickets in the bowl. I havent seen him eat yet, and being so little, if he ate at all, I probably wouldn't notice the dent in the salad.

    So I don't know. However, I DO notice that he has been pooping everyday. Both poop and urates. Not a lot, just a tiny bit for the first few days, but this morning there was a huge crap in the cave hole. I don't know if this means he has eaten or do they just poop a little anyway if they had eaten before. I guess if he's pooped more he probably has eaten some, but the food looks pretty untouched. I even counted the mealworms and crickets and found some missing and I was like YAY until I notice that the mealworms were eating the crickets!
  15. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member

    LOL at the meal worms eating the crickets!

    Didn't mean to obsess over the handling thing. Sounds like you have a baby/juvenile, and that you are doing great with the handling. Ours was a full-grown female, which we adopted and the handling was much more difficult.

    I dunno. I think that if it is pooping and the poop is increasing, it has to be eating something. Give it some more time and see if you can catch it eating. As long as it doesn't stop pooping or become lethargic, I think you'll be ok.
  16. replover

    replover Elite Member

    Alright I think I don't have to worry anymore. He's almost completed a shed and he is getting fatter, and obviously healthier. He was brown, like chocolate brown when I rescued him, but now he's turned jade green!

    I still haven't seen him eat but his poop is everywhere now so obviously he has. I think he's eating the insects only though because the salads are untouched pretty much. He'll automatically start eating plants as he grows, right?
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