You can never have too much information about the care of your new reptile. Whether your a beginner or a seasoned pro, the hobby continues to grow. As it grows, new ideas are discovered about our cold-blooded friends. We at Reptilian Projects owe a big thanks to many, many other breeders for years of helpful information. And so, as we develop our own techniques, and discover new ideas, and of course, suffer our many mistakes, we feel it is important to pass on our growing knowledge.
We start by teaching our way of doing things. Then, it's up to you to make any modifications that work best for you. There are many ways to do things. Some things can be easily changed without affecting the health or happiness of your animal. But there are many important factors that are well known and documented which are less flexible. Our first goal is to emulate as many factors as they reptile would seek in the wild. Temperatures, photo period, diet, companions, etc. are all instinctive to most animals. Though they are enjoyable to us, we need to consider their needs and happiness first. Below, you will find a short list of care sheets of some of the animals we care for. Feel free to ask us if you don't understand any of them. And feel free to gather information from other sources.
|Name: Rhacodactylus ciliatus, commonly known as the crested gecko.
Origin: New Caledonia
Longevity: Crested geckos can live approximately fifteen years.
Maturity: Sexable at 7 months. Our Crested Geckos breed at about 2 years. They reach 5"-6" in length on average. Breeding usually takes place in the fall, but ours seem to breed far into the spring.
Diet: Crested Geckos will eat crickets. But their main diet consists of large amounts of fruit.
Housing: The crested gecko is a arboreal reptile. Which simply means, they prefer vertical trees and vines over horizontal ground and rocks.
We use screened enclosures for adults. Babies can be housed in small plastic tubs, with secure lids as long as they have plenty of ventilation.
Though they are nocturnal, we provide 12 hours of lighting to simulate the outdoors. They will generally hide during the day. They become very active at night. Provide hiding places for them. We use egg crate flats. They love them. And they are disposable.
Never house two males together. You can house one male and several females, as long as the space if provided for that many. On average, think of a 10 gallon aquarium as having enough space for one crested gecko. Though height is more important than length.
Daily misting is required. Use clean, room temperature water in a misting bottle and lightly mist the entire enclosure at least twice a day.
A loose bark substrate such as "Repti-Bark" will work fine as a substrate. But it is important, not to have any standing water in the bottom so that bacteria doesn't have a chance to grow.
Crested Geckos, unlike many other reptiles, don't require height heat. As a matter of fact, heat will harm them. We use no heat for ours. A typical room temperature 65-75 degrees F is perfect. But if you do have them located in a room that stays cool all the time, a small basking light may be placed on top of the enclosure and the temperature under the basking light should be around 82 degrees F. Just make sure the warm spot is located in an isolated are to allow the gecko to seek a cool end.
Our eggs are incubated at 78-82 degrees. Most of our babies hatch in about 50 days. If you incubate towards the cooler end, you should hatch out more females. Hotter, and you get more males. We incubate in small 4" deli cups with moistened perlite
|Name: Pogona Vitticeps, commonly known as the Bearded Dragon.
Origin: Southeastern Australia
Longevity: Bearded Dragons can live approximately 5-7 years. Many have lived as long as 10 years and up.
Maturity: Sexable at 1-2 months. Our Bearded Dragons breed at about 2 years. They reach 12"-18" in length on average. Breeding usually takes place in the early spring.
Diet: Bearded Dragons will eat just about anything that moves. As hatchlings, they start out with crickets. The love meal worms, superworms, waxworms, etc. Here at Reptilian Projects, we raise our Dragons almost entirely on Rep-Cal food. By the time they are 1-2 months of age, we have weaned them off of crickets completely. Our current breeders were raised from hatchlings on nothing but Rep-Cal.
Housing: The Bearde Dragon requires more floor space than height. Babies can be housed in a 10 gallon aquarium for a few months, but quickly out grow the small size. A typical adult will require a minimum of 36"-48" Long X 18" Deep X 18" High.
You can use newspapers or papertowels for substrates. But we prefer aspen chips. Never use pine or cedar.
A basking spot at one end can be provided with a 75-150 watt spot light bulb in a ceramic clamp on fixture. Be careful not to position the light too close to the ground that your dragon can get burned. Place a flat stone under the spot light to allow a warm basking spot. A basking temperature of 100-110 degrees is ideal. Make sure there is plenty of room at the cool end to escape the heat. A cool end of 75 degrees is ideal.
The need for UVB light has been a source of many debates. The argument is that without true sunshine, the dragon can not absorb vitamin D3 and calcium deficiency becomes an issue. Our experience is that a good diet, including extra calcium with D3 has provided all they need to live happily, and breed without any case of calcium deficiency. Our dragons have had some exposure to sun light when they are taken outside for brief periods, but I stress "brief" because it might be for only an hour or so in a 6 month period. Obviously not enough to prove anything to them.
You may want to provide UVB anyway just to be safe. That's fine. But whether you provide UVB or not, extra lighting is helpful. And those lights should be on a timer to create a day/night cycle.
You should provide a hide spot. There are many commercial hides available. You may use something simply. Just make sure your dragon can seek shelter from the lights, if it chooses.
Many dragon breeders don't provide a water source all the time. We do. And our Rep-Cal pellets also provide plenty of hydration. But we also feel it is important to "soak" your dragon at least every two weeks, if not more. We put some warm water, (80-85 degrees), in a large plastic tub. Make sure the depth is only as high as your dragons legs. Place your dragon in the water for a few minutes. They will drink, swim and absorb moisture.
Our eggs are incubated at 83 degrees. Most of our babies hatch in about 60 days. We incubate in shallow plastic tubs with moistened perlite.
|Name: Elaphe guttata guttata, commonly known as the Corn Snake and Red Rat Snake.
Origin: United States
Longevity: Corn Snakes can live up to 12 years.
Maturity: Corn Snakes become sexually mature by 2 years of age. They reach 36"-56" in length on average. Breeding usually takes place in the early spring. Corn snakes are "cycled" during the winter if breeding is to be achieved. Many breeders don't cycle their breeders but it has been documented that a better breeding outcome will result with a cooling cycle of 2-3 months.
Diet: Corn Snakes are among the easiest snakes to feed. They rarely refuse a meal. Mice and Rats are the total diet of a corn snake. The size of the food item depends on the size of the snake. In general, the widest part of the snakes body, will compare in size to the width of the mouse our rat. I usually, feed a size smaller. Common terms used in feeders are "pinkies, fuzzies, crawlers, hoppers, adults", in mice and "pinkies, fuzzies, pups, weanlings and adults" in rats. Some other names are used too. But they all refer to the age and size of the feeder. Most all corns will take a live or fresh killed food item without hesitation. But with a little effort, they will quickly move over to frozen/thawed mice and rats. The frozen food item is placed in a zip lock baggy and submersed in warm water until it reaches room temperature or a little warmer. Then offer the item with a pair of hemostats.
Clean water should be provided at all times. Corn snakes may get into their water to cool themselves or to prepare for a shed. So make sure the water dish is heavy enough not to tip over.
Housing: The Corn Snake requires very little in terms of an enclosure. But first and foremost, it must be secure. Corn snakes are escape artists. Make sure their doors, screen tops or lids are very tight and secured.
A 20 gallon long aquarium will work great. If you will house many corn snakes, and plan to breed them, the "rack" is very common. But using the rack, will minimize your view of the snake.
You can use newspapers or paper towels for substrates. But we prefer aspen chips. Never use pine or cedar.
A basking spot at one end can be provided with a under tank heater or heat tape. Some people use basking lights but we prefer to offer a belly heat 24 hours a day. A "hot spot" temperature of 85-90 degrees is ideal. Make sure there is plenty of room at the cool end to escape the heat. A cool end of 75 degrees is ideal.
Since Corn Snakes are nocturnal, there is no need for UVB light.
You should provide a hide spot. There are many commercial hides available. We use PVC pipe. I use a size that is open enough for the snake to have 3 widths of the body so it can curl up. For an adult, 3-4" PVC, 12 long is perfect. Females are provided with a shallow plastic tub, about 10"X12"x3" with a lid. I cut a 3" hole in on corner of the lid and fill the tub 1/3 with most sphagnum moss. This makes the perfect egg laying chamber. You can also provide this to any of your snakes that need assistance shedding.
Corn Snakes will shed about 1-2 a month. Depending on the conditions. Breeding females shed right before laying a clutch. But they all shed as they grow. And adults will continue to shed off old skin. Normally, the shed comes off in one long skin. In some cases, the she will be retained around the tale area and the head or eye cap. A soak in warm water, or the use of the for mentioned hide, will help in loosening the shed.
Our eggs are incubated at 83 degrees. Most of our babies hatch in about 55 days. We incubate in shallow plastic tubs with moistened perlite in the bottom, then we lay the clutch of eggs on the perlite. Then cover lightly with slightly moist sphagnum moss.
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