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RE: thinking of buying water dragon or basal

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Posted by: kinyonga at Mon Feb 2 23:47:03 2009  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by kinyonga ]  

Hi Travis,

I have kept/bred/hatched/raised water dragons for over 13 years...and the following comes from my experiences.

Although many people believe in keeping them in tall cages, I have always kept them in cages that are longer rather than taller. YI would use a glass cage at least 4'long x 2' x 18" for one adult. (Bigger is always better. You can start off with a smaller cage if you start off with a baby.) You need some appropriate sized branches for it to climb on and sit on. You need a water area that is big enough for the dragon to get its whole body will use it as a washroom and a place to soak/swim in. I only make the water deep enough that when the dragon is standing on the bottom of it its head/nose is still out of the water. I have used cypress mulch as a substrate.

If you have a female, she may lay eggs even when not mated so you need a place for her to dig to lay them. Washed playsand is a good substrate for this.

You need a long linear tube light that produces UVB. (Compacts have been known to cause eye I don't use them.) You also need a regular household incandescent bulb (not the new spiral ones since they don't produce heat) in a reflector. The lights should be outside the cage. I use screen lids on most of my waterdragon they can be set on that. The wattage of the bulb should be whatever it takes to make the appropriate basking temperature. This bulb should be placed to one end of the cage so that the cage will have a gradient in the temperatures from one end to the other. For babies, I make the basking temperature in the low 80's F. For adults they can be from the mid 80's to the low 90'sF. Exposure to UVB allows the dragon to make vitamin D3 which allows it to use its calcium.

I feed the dragons mostly crickets of an appropriate size for the dragon. I feed them a nutritious diet/gutload them with a variety of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.) before feeding them to the dragon. You can feed these same greens and veggies as well as a bit of fruit (apple, pear, melon, berries, etc.) to the dragon along with appropriately sized superworms, roaches, silkworms and once in a while, waxworms.

I dust the insects at most feedings with a phosphorous-free calcium powder since many of the insects we use as feeders have a poor ratio of calcium to phos.

I dust twice a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene source of vitamin A. Beta carotene sources of vitamin A won't build up in the system like preformed vitamin A can. Excess preformed vitamin A can build up and prevent the D3 from doing its job and lead to things such as MBD.

Phosphorous, calcium, D3 and vitamin a all play a part in bone health and need to be in balance. You need to look at what you feed to the insect and the dragon when trying to balance this.

I dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder too. D3 from supplements can build up in the system so don't overdo it.

Appropriate temperature aids in good digestion and thus plays a part in nutrient absorption.

I can't answer your question about the basalisk.

Hope this all helps! Sorry if its overwhelming...but its important to get things right if you want your dragon to live a long healthy life.


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<< Previous Message:  RE: thinking of buying water dragon or basal - TBL, Thu Jan 29 21:54:19 2009