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Basic Care of Gerrhosaurus & Zonosaurus

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Posted by: 7serpents at Mon May 14 06:59:44 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by 7serpents ]  
   

General husbandry of Gerrhosaurus & Zonosaurus species:
(Except specialty care with: Gerrhosaurus validus validus, Tracheloptychus petersi, Zonosaurus maximus, and Zonosaurus quadrilineatus)

1. Diet: these are primarily insectivores. Mice pinkies should be fed biweekly. During the breeding season they will eat greens, fruit (berries & bananas especially), and occasionally fruit flavor yogurt after winter brumation (not hibernation) and during the breeding season. “T-Rex Bone Aid MicroStick Calcium Powder” has worked the best for all my lizards, dusting insects every feeding. *Note with Zoophobias/Superworms only small size was feed. Greens, fruits, and pinkies were never dusted.

2. Cage setup: 12” to 14” animals are housed in 5”L x 2’D x 2’H, 6’ x 2’ x 2’, 4’ x 3’ x 2’ melamine cages for pairs & trios. 14” to 24” animals are housed in 6’L x 3’D x 2”H melamine and “Vision cages: Model #432 54" wide - 36" deep - 18" high and Model #600 72" wide - 28" deep - 16" high for pairs & select trios of 1.2. Homemade cages work well also. Run of thumb is 3x body length for length, 2 ˝ x for width, and height is so they can climb landscape without touching lighting, wiring, vents, but still be in range of UVB/UVA wave length absorption for D3 conversion.

Lighting consists of Dual fluorescent shop light (with starter) containing combinations of 48” ZooMed 10.0, Exo-Terra 8.0, and Veralux fluorescent bulbs along the back vents of Vision and 36” single tube fluorescent fixture inside melamine cages. Single or multiple UVB Reptile twist bulbs in incandescent fixture and be attached in any cage. Spring/Summer 14 hr cycle and Fall/Winter cycle is our daylight cycle.

Substrate I use is “Kaytee shredded Aspen Bedding & Litter” (not the fine shreds) or Cypress Mulch 2” to 5” deep, this is useful with burrowing and waste absorption. Natural Dirt mix can be used effectively but this is not my preference. One corner of cage should have an area with leaves or hay type covering combined with Cork Bark tubes for them to hide in without burrowing in Aspen, my Sudan’s love this. Most plated lizards come from grasslands and savannas.

Nesting/Humidity Box is basically a Rubbermaid type container, big enough for animals to enter/turn around in/lie in, and upside down Cat Litter Pan for larger animals. Place 2” to 3” of moist coconut husk (I use Bed-a-Beast) in and under pan with a layer of New Zealand Sphagnum Moss (misted daily). This allows a moist humid area like a natural burrow. Cut an entrance hole big enough for the lizard to easily get inside, then drill or use a soldering iron to place holes along sides of box for ventilation. During the breeding season females will lay their eggs here which is convenient for removal to incubator.

Basking area should have 12” x 12” tiles, Terra cotta pots/saucers, or a Frank Retes Stack of Cork Bark Flats directly under Incandescent spot bulb(s).With pairs and trio’s two basking areas are essential. The use of red Infrared Incandescent Spot Bulb(s) or Ceramic Heat Coils means they are left on always which eliminates the necessity of having to change day spot light out for night colored spot bulbs. The surface temperature of the tiles/basking area should be 95f to 110f on and under stacked materials. Ambient cage temperatures should range from 75f to 82f depending on square footage and basking area placements/fluorescent light type & placement. Use of a digital temperature gauge with probe helps with readings. Temperatures will also change/depend on which area of your home cage is kept, number of cages in room, and our yearly seasonal changes.

H2O dish should be big enough the lizard can soak in. I change the H2O twice daily as they drink then soak in the afternoons usually/especially when in shed.

Hope this helps my fellow plated lizard enthusiasts as a starting place. Gather information from many sources and then see how your plated lizard(s) react to the cage environment setup/change and this will is his way of telling you yes or no way. Will write more on breeding/incubation/ specialized care of others.


   

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