There are lots of ways to keep habitats for reptiles and many great resources to research. We work with our exotic veterinarians to recommend the most healthy options for our adoptable animals. Please bear in mind that as rescues, many of our animals came to us not having been kept in the right enclosures or having been fed the right diet. We work hard to get our rescues into good health and following these guidelines will help your adoption to be successful. 

Ball Python (and smaller snakes)

We recommend the use of coconut substrate which helps ensure your snake has the proper humidity levels. Most full-bodied snakes do well with an under tank heat mat, but bear in mind that this should be plugged into a thermostat to ensure the mat functions properly. You can use basking bulbs if you prefer, but an in-tank hydrometer and thermometer is necessary. Your snake will also need several hides (one is recommended to be a moist hide), climbs and a water bowl. Having proper enrichment for your snake ensures he/she stays happy and stimulated. 

Current research indicates that larger bodied snakes, such as ball pythons, should have a diet of rats as opposed to mice. This is due to their slow metabolisms and the lower fat value of rats. All of our snakes are fed a diet of frozen, thawed rodents and we ask that potential adopters keep to this regimen. The foster home for the snake you are wanting to adopt will inform you of the current size rodent the snake is eating. 

IMG_5562 2.heic

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons should not have any loose substrate in their tanks. The bottom of the tank should either be slate, shelf liner or another hard surface material. They require the use of both UVB and heating lights. The ideal basking spot (hottest spot directly under the heat lamp) of your tank should reach 110°F, the warmer side directly below the basking area should be 88-90°F and the cooler side 77-80°F. To achieve the ambient cooler side temperature (if your house stays cold or during the winter months), it will be good to have a ceramic heat bulb to use during the night time hours. Actively checking these temperatures will be part of a daily check of your pet. Proper lighting can be achieved with either a mercury vapor bulb or a combination of a UVB 10.0 strip and basking bulb. Coiled UV bulbs should be avoided as they do not disperse the UVB throughout the entirety of your tank. Your dragon will also need a hide, climbs (repti-hammocks are great), bowls for veggies/bugs/supplements and a water bowl for soaking. Anything decor that can fit into the bearded dragon's mouth should be avoided as they will try to eat and taste most everything. 

Current research states that adult bearded dragons should have a diet consisting of 80% vegetables and 20% protein. The vegetables should be a mixture of "greens" such as collard or mustard (no lettuces and kale is not recommended everyday). Supplemental vegetables like bell pepper, carrots or broccoli should be added. Proteins should consist of super worms, dubia roaches and crickets. Meal worms should be avoided as they are high in fat and low in calcium, consequently we do not recommend their being fed to our rescues. Calcium with vitamin D is recommended to be dusted on food daily. Water should only be supplied during soaks or sprayed on salads as exposure to standing water in enclosures has been known to cause respiratory infections in desert animals. 

IMG_5567 2.heic

Leopard Gecko

Leos should not have any loose substrate in their tanks. The bottom of the tank should either be repti-carpet, slate, shelf liner or another hard surface material. There is much debate about whether or not leos require UV, however, being crepuscular creatures it is not necessary for your application. You can either use an under-tank heat mat (plugged into a thermostat to ensure the mat continues to work properly) or a basking bulb with a thermostat. Ideally, you are looking for 100-110°F on one side of the tank with an ambient cooler temperature on the other side so that the gecko can regulate its own body temperature. If your house stays cold (or during the winter months), it might be a good idea to add a small ceramic heat bulb at night. Leos needs several hides (one should be a moist hide with reptile moss), climbs (repti-hammocks are great), a bowl for supplements/bugs and a water bowl big enough for the leo to fit its body into. You can also add small decorations such as medium sized reptile-safe rocks or decor to help bring enrichment to the enclosure. 

Leopard geckos are solely insectivores and the more diverse your offerings of bugs are, the better it is for your leo. Live meal worms, super worms (size appropriate), wax worms, calci worms and crickets are all suitable. Your leo should have access to Calcium with Vitamin D at all times as well as a water bowl with fresh, clean water changed out daily. 

IMG_5561 2.heic

Chameleon

Chameleons require a very specific set up in order to thrive. Repti-Breeze tanks (mesh or screened) enclosures should be purchased bearing in mind that chameleons are arboreal and need a lot of room to climb (avoid buying the smallest size). Proper lighting can be achieved with a combination of a UVB 5.0 strip and basking bulb. Coiled UV bulbs should be avoided as they do not disperse the UVB throughout the entirety of your tank. Chameleons do best with having their light mimic a natural day/night cycle, so do not have any heating element on your chameleon at night. The ambient day time temperature in the enclosure should be around 80°F. Chameleons do not actively drink from dishes, but should have their climbs and leaves moistened several times a day. This can be achieved either with a hand mister or with an automatic mister. Having a dripping watering device ensures that water is readily available. Having several climbs and fake plants attached to the walls ensures that your chameleon always has shade somewhere in the enclosure. 

Chameleons should have a mixture of greens given to them, as well as a variety of bugs. Anything with "greens" in the name, such as collards or mustard, are great. Live bugs should be size appropriate for your chameleon (nothing too large) and should be dusted often with Calcium powder WITHOUT Vitamin D. Current research indicates that Calcium with Vitamin D should be offered on bugs once a week. 

IMG_5565.HEIC