Plumed Basilisk Caresheet

Plumed Basilisks (Basiliscus plumifrons) originate from the humid tropical forests of Central America. They are a semi-aquatic species of lizard that love to climb but use the water to escape, either by diving in or running very fast across the surface. They can become tame and make good pets. Adults can reach sizes up to 75 cm, including tail. Adult males can be territorial and should not normally be kept together. Average life span 10-20

Housing

A sealed wooden (Melamine) vivarium with good ventilation and a glass front is the most suitable. Glass can also be used but be aware that these lizards do not always realize that clear glass is a barrier, and many damage their snouts by constant rubbing – live plants or hanging silk pants in front of the glass sides and back can therefore be a good option for this species. The minimum size should be 1200 x 80 x 60cm but the larger the better. All reptiles are cold blooded and need an external heat source to maintain their body temperature. Each species of lizard requires different degrees of heating, but all lizards benefit from a range of temperatures within the vivarium. One end of the vivarium should be heated. This creates a thermal gradient allowing the lizard to choose its preferred temperature. Thermometers can be placed at each end of the vivarium to monitor the temperature range. The overall vivarium temperature must be controlled by a thermostat. Lower temperatures due to a blown bulb, power failure etc. can be tolerated for short periods but over temperature can kill in quickly. Basilisks like to climb and hang off things and can jump across from branches to heaters so wire mesh guards should be fitted over all hot heat sources used in order to prevent thermal burns.

plumed basilisk

Temperature

Gentle heat can be provided by using heat mats and more intense heat by spot lights or UV heat lamps. Your pet shop will advise on heating products and their use suitable for your green basilisk (another name for the same animal). Create a thermal gradient of 24-25°C at the cool end and 32-35°C at the hot end. Night temperatures can be dropped by a couple of degrees at both ends. There are various ways of achieving this end and different keepers have different methods. The important thing is the actual temperatures. We do it with a heat mat for night time, mounted on the vivarium wall at the hot end with a UVA basking lamp for increased daytime temperatures and natural lighting, using a dimming thermostat.

Lighting

Plumed Basilisks are diurnal lizards and require UVB lighting to fully absorb and utilize the calcium in their diet. This light should be left on for 12- 14 hours in the day. The bulbs will need replacing from time to time and your pet shop will advise you. Different brands and types have different lifespans and just because a tube still lights up does not mean it is still giving out UV. UVB (at around 5-6%) is essential. Without it the basilisk will suffer..Using a UVA basking lamp helps stimulate natural diurnal behaiour and has the added benefit of bringing out the colour of the animal.

Humidity

Plumed Basilisks require a high humidity of 65-85 %. This can be achieved by spraying the vivarium frequently (at least daily) with tepid water, or by installing a waterfall or automatic misting device.Substrate choice will also effect humidity throughout the day.

Furnishings

The floor of the enclosure should be covered with a suitable substrate, such as a mixture of coconut bark and coconut soil or orchid bark (bark chips) to maintain high humidity. As already stated provide a spot light or UV heat lamp for basking. Use branches to create areas to bask in and for climbing and shade. An area to shelter for shade and to prevent stress if your lizard wants to hide away. Plumed Basilisks love to be near water, they use it to escape if threatened in the wild, actually running across the surface, hence to local name of “Jesus Christ lizard” so a large bath should be provided for swimming, or at least for the basilisk to soak its whole body.

plumed basilisk

Cleaning and watering

Remove droppings, frequently produced in the bath and dead food daily. Baths, water and food bowls should be washed and cleaned daily. The enclosure is very warm and bacteria will grow rapidly in dirty water bowls. Vivariums should be completely cleaned out and disinfected with a pet-safe disinfectant regularly. How regularly depends on a lot of factors; substrate choice, whether there are detrivores used or in the case of bioactive set ups perhaps not at all. If not using a live set up then soiled substrate should be disposed of and replaced every couple of months. You can spot clean basilisk poop but I challenge anyone to spot clean cricket or locust poop! Over time this will start to make the vivarium smell if left too long. I don’t like vivarium deodorisers. If it smells then you are not keeping it clean enough.

Feeding

Plumed Basilisks mainly eat live insects, of a size up to the width of their heads, but some will accept fruit and vegetables if offered. In the wild they will also eat fish, small mammals but it is not necessary to feed this in captivity unless you really feel the urge. Remember it is illegal and foolish to feed live vertebrates to another animal in the UK but frozen are available for you to defrost if you simply must. Don’t overdo it though as this can lead to obesity and laziness. Young basilisks should be fed insects once or twice a day with occasional fruit and vegetables. Once growth slows, appetite diminishes substantially. Adults can then be fed 3-4 times a week with more fruit and vegetables offered, if accepted, some just will not. Animal protein can be supplied as crickets, locusts, morio worms and very occasional pinkie mice. Wax worms should be fed sparingly as they have a high fat content. When feeding crickets feed a few at time; if they are eaten readily you can feed a few more. Loose, uneaten crickets annoy and distress them, particularly the black variety. Brown or “silent” rickets are less carnivorous but in large numbers will still nibble. Fruit and vegetables should be washed and dried before being offered in bite size pieces. All food should be dusted with a calcium supplement for fast growing juveniles, and two or three times a week for adults. Vitmain powder should only be used once a week. It is possible to overdose with vitamins (not calcium)

Handling

Plumed basilisks are fairly easily tamed and rarely bite once you’ve put in the work. Young lizards will be quite skittish however, particularly wild caught ones. We only sell captive bred anyway and these are generally much more docile. Movements to pick them up should be smooth, gentle but confident. If you go in with a shaky hand, hesitating and moving around to get the best angle then the basilisk will get nervous and probably clear off or if it can’t then that is the only time it is likely to bite in self defence. Once you have decided how you are going to approach, go in quickly but smoothly. To pick up your lizard place one hand above the shoulders and support the underside fully with the other hand. Keep the basilisk supported at all times, especially when young. It could “take off” at any time.

Health

A healthy Plumed Basilisk should be bright and alert. Its body and legs muscles should appear well-formed and strong. Things to look out for are diarrhoea; this can be caused by incorrect feeding or internal parasite infestation (much more likely in wild caught specimens, another reason to buy captive bred). Nails may become overgrown and will need to be trimmed (we can trim nails for you). Mouth rot: cheesy deposits appear in the mouth. Respiratory problems: signs include fluid or mucus from the nose. Bone disorders: signs include twisted, twitching, swollen or paralysed hind limbs and a soft or undershot jawbone. This is due to a lack of calcium and/or vitamin D3. It can be reversed if caught in time and properly treated. If you are at all worried about the health of your basilisk you should consult a specialist reptile vet as soon as possible. Some reptiles can carry a form of salmonella. Salmonella is most usually contracted by ingestion. Good hygiene and washing hands after handling or cleaning your basilisk should be sufficient to prevent any risk of infection.

At Angell Pets we sell complete set ups for the Plumed Basilisk, including all the equipment, food and supplements you need to keep your animal healthy for many years. We are a five star licence holder and take the welfare of our animals very seriously, both in store and after they leave us.

Gloucester Pet Shop Increases Stock – Some Old Favourites, Some New Lines

We are always looking to increase the range of stock we hold in store in our Gloucester pet shop. We have just reorganised the shop floor again to enable us to get a new order of stock in this week. We have restocked with some old favourites that are popular with our customers but that we cannot get through our regular weekly deliveries from our normal wholesalers and we have also added some new lines. One of the new lines is actually both. It is a new brand to replace the brand we used to stock but can no longer get. Turns out to be the same product with a different label.

Komodo Nano Vivariums

gloucester pet shop

These are our favourite enclosures at our Gloucester pet shop for housing tarantulas and other inverts. like mantids. They are glass, so easy to clean, well ventilated and stakable (for the larger collections. The larger sizes can also be used for small amphibians or reptiles (some of the smaller gecko species). We have stocked these before and they are always popular but due to minimum order levels are not always available.

Komodo Terraced Water Bowls

Gloucester pet shop

These heavy resin bowls will grace any vivarium. Will not be overturned by even the most active of lizards or snakes. We always sell out of these quite quickly. I have just found out the real reason they were on the order though. Billie wanted one to match the hides she has in her hognose viv. Cheek.

Hugs Dog Beds In Grape And Teal

gloucester pet shop

We have a new range of Hugs dog beds in stock at our Gloucester pet shop in two attractive colours. These come in rectangular and oval formats and compliment our other ranges of beds already held at the store. Theyt are also very reasonably priced considering their stylish design.

Geo Range Of Cat Scratchers

pet shop gloucester

This is a new product and we only have one model from the range in so we can make ourselves familiar with the product. They looked good in the brochure but we like to know what we are selling. From first look the model we have in stock looks like a winner and again is very reasonable priced as it is an activity toy as well as a scratcher.

Happy Pet Bird Toys

gloucester pet shops

A return of a range of old favourites to our Gloucester pet shop. With a couple of exceptions, we have stocked all these toys before and they sell out quickly everytime. Good value and will keep the fussiest of birds occupied for hours. We also have a couple of new items to expand the range further.

Happy Pet Crafty Creatures Range

gloucester pet shop

Back by poular demand, this range of soft dog toys in the shape of some of the animals we sell!. Spiders, geckos and chameleons. We also have Chuckie the chimp back in our Gloucester pet shop for the first time at Hucclecote.We stopped stocking him at Southgate Street because the drunks would continually set him off and it drove Bille mad. Not a problem we have now we are out of town thank goodness, so Chucky’s back.

Komodo Turtle Food Range

pet shop gloucester

We stocked a very popular turtle food product range for a number of years. However the supplier became less and less reliable, to the point where we were finding placing an order a bit of a lottery as to what, if anything, we would recieve. We have been looking for a suitable replacement and have been disappointed with the alternative products. We saw this new range in the brochure and thought it looked good. Turns out it is the old product supplied under a their own brand name via one of our other suppliers. Result. We have limited numbers of each item this time round because we were not certain how good it would be. Now we know it is our old product, so popular with our existing customers we will order more next time.

Jelly Pots

gloucester pet shop

We always have a range of different flavour jelly pots in store but now we have even more. All the favourites with some exotic additions like melon. Always popular with birds, reptiles and invertebrates.

We will obviously keep trawling the trade press for new and innovitive products to stock in our Gloucester pet shop so keep up to date by visiting the store, checking out this blog or our Facebook page, visiting our webstore or signing up to receive regualr updates. Of course you could do all of the above.

Gloucester Reptile Shop 10% Discount On Vivariums

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of our Gloucester reptile shop we have 10% off all Exo Terra and Viv Exotic vivariums for the rest of this week (until Saturday 13th July 2019).

Gloucester reptile shop

Exo Terra glass terraiums make excellent enclosures for some of the higher humidity species we stock in our Gloucester reptile shop. Species such as crested geckos, frogs and other amphibians, chamleons and water dragons.

Gloucester pet shop

Viv Exotic are an ever expanding brand and make wooden, glass fronted vivariums with excellent ventilation, for anything from a Kotschys gecko, leopard gecko and other smaller reptiles, up to larger snakes and monitor lizards.

gloucester retille shop

We stock both ranges of vivariums in our Gloucester reptile shop as well as all the ancillary equipment, the reptiles themselves and a good range of live, dried and frozen foods.

We also sell and can give expert advice on complete packages for all the reptiles and amphibians we have in stock and have access to even more by pre-order. Do pop in and see us in our Gloucester reptile shop. Out of town, with easy access by car or bus and with ample FREE parking in our parades large private carpark

The Angell Pets Team

Exo Terra Mini Wide Glass Terrarium Offer

We have two Exo Terra Mini Wide (30cm x30cm x 30cm) glass terrariums on offer as part of complet set up deals. These versatile small terratriums make ideal enclosure for a range of animals including spiders and other invertebrates, small frogs and small geckos (such as our Kotschys geckos).

exo terra small wide

The RRP for these enclosures is £68.99. Our normal price is £59.99 but we have them on offer at £29.99, when purchase as part of a complete set up deal. This could be a set up for any suitable animal held in stock, such as an Asian jungle scorpion, Brazilian black taratula, Ghana speckled millipede, blue legged Mantella frog or Kotschys gecko or any other appropriate animal that we sell.

As an example of price, a set up for an Asian jungle scorpion would total £60, including the Exo Terra terrarium, a heat mat, substrate, hide, water bowl and of course the scorpion. A Kotchys gecko set up would be £125, including the enclosure, canopy, UVB lamp, heat mat, substrate, water bowl, hide and gecko.

As the Exo Terra mini wide enclosures are made of glass, we cannot send them by courier and we do not courier any animals in any case. These set up deals are only available for collection from our Hucclecote store.

The Five Star Angell Pets Team

Angell Pets involvement in overseas conservation

We take animal welfare seriously at Angell Pets We follow the top industry standards with our own animals and give our customers the best available advice and information so they can do the same. We also have contributed to animal conservation and welfare at other establishments and around the world. Our staff have worked on a projects locally with the Gloucester Wildlife Trust, across the UK, such as encouraging the re-introduction of otters to Birmingham and for the last few years at various locations around the world.

angell pets conservation

Africa Nature Reserve

George Angell (familiar in the shop to many of our customers) left the UK to help with work on Assumption and Aldabra for SIF (Seychelles Island Federation). Having worked on Rhino conservation in Africa during university, he was keen to get involved as soon as possible. Initially landing on Mahe – the main island in the Seychelles, George worked for a few months on supporting Black Parrot conservation. This work was a long term project, continuing after George left that was recently declared a success. He moved on from Mahe to the main focus of his work on the Seychelles controlled Atolls of Adabra and Assumption. These islands are so remote, even from the Seychelles islands themselves, that travel there is not possible all year round, so George contributed to the Mahe project whilst waiting for transport to be available.

 

angell pets conservation

Mahe

angell pets conservation

Mahe

Aldabra is a world heritage site and as such is an important and therefore protected environment. Invasive species of birds had made it at least as far as Assumption Island (40 km from the coral atoll of Aldabra) and an E.U. funded project was in place to remove these birds before they got to Aldabra (and to check how many may have already have got there and remove them).

George left to assist with the removal of these birds, helping to protect this important and unique habitat. He also did his own research for his dissertation toward his higher degree on the work he will be involved in.

Aldabra and Assumption are extremely remote islands in the middle of the Indian ocean. Situated  1100km south west from the main Seychelles Islands, Assumption is only 11 square kilometres. The only population are the scientists George is joining who go by boat to study Aldabra and support staff who maintain the landing strip. He was not be able to get there until October as travel is not possible from the Seychelles island of Mahe until then.

Below is an extract from the project brief outlining why the work was important and what it was trying to achieve and George’s part in it.

Under the European Commission’s (EC) Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, including Energy, the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) is implementing a 4-year project entitled “Mainstreaming the management of invasive alien species to preserve the ecological integrity and enhance the resilience of Seychelles World Heritage Sites” (‘the Action’) which started in February 2011. The overall objective of the Action is to develop and implement a strategic programme applying the ecosystem approach to limit the spread and reduce the impact of invasive alien species (IAS) in Seychelles’ World Heritage Sites (WHS). The Action is being coordinated and implemented by SIF, in partnership with the Seychelles Environment Department (ED) and National Parks Authority (SNPA), and with project associates Islands Development Company (IDC) and Island Conservation Society (ICS).

Under the project’s specific objectives, an eradication of avian IAS from Assumption of the Red-Whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus and the Madagascar Fody, Foudia madagascariensis is underway. Until recently, Aldabra was thought to be the largest island in the world with no introduced avian species but in 2012 both the Assumption introduced species have been observed in the eastern part of Aldabra. These species have long been considered the most severe threat to Aldabra’s avifauna, making their eradication an immediate conservation priority. SIF is therefore running two parallel bird eradications on these adjacent islands. Due to the unexpected invasion on Aldabra , more staff are being recruited to help ensure the success of these eradications.

Georges specific role in this project was as follows.

1. Eradication of all introduced birds from Assumption and Aldabra

2. Improved understanding of avian IAS ecology on Assumption and Aldabra

3. Continued trial of alternative eradication methods for invasive avian species

4. Elimination of the threat of avian invasive species to Aldabra’s ecosystem and outstanding universal values

5. Recommendations for restoration of avian fauna on Assumption

George’ duties also included catching their own food (to quote the organiser – “hope you like fish and rice”) and there were lots of opportunities to see the local marine life (he had invested in prescription scuba goggles). Fortunately he didn’t get to see some of it too closely (sharks, venomous snails, fish etc.) and got to meet the famous Aldabran Giant Tortoise  very up close and personal. Assumption has an air strip that has to be cleared of tortoises before supply planes can land and so they are not all as friendly as those on Aldabra. George can vouch for that having been chased by “Terry” who’s head came up to Georges hip! He also made a trip across the island to an abandoned unfinished hotel where he had to construct barriers across the door ways to try to keep the robber crabs (giant land crabs) out of the gear – they steal everything!

angell pets conservation

Fishing for dinner on Assumption

This, as you can imagine, was a sort after placement and George had to interview and compete to get the post. We were very pleased to be involved in such a globally important project and wish the team still on the islands every success in their continued efforts to protect our environment.

After completing his term on the SIF projects George returned to the UK to complete his  honours degree gaining a first. During this period he worked in the shop at weekends, providing our customers with the benefit of his growing knowledge base.

On completion of his degree he again looked about for conservation work around the world. There were a number of competing projects looked at, from  the Antarctic to the Galapagos. In the end he opted for New Zealand.

angell pets conservation

New Zealand Office

New Zealand is a group of islands with an endemic population of flora and fauna This means the animals and plants of New Zealand are found there and no where else in the world.

angell pets conservation

Walking The Trails

As these species have evolved in isolation, they are vulnerable to the introduction of invasive competing or predatory species from outside the islands. Since man has reached the islands there has been a decline of endemic species, from the now extinct Moa (a large flightless bird, hunted to extinction by the newly arrived Maori people) to the endangered Kiwis and Kakapo (smaller flightless birds, brought close to extinction by predators introduced by European settlers to control the rats and mice they had already accidently introduced from their ships and initial supplies). George was to become involved in the control and/or eradication of some of these invaders, such as the Australian brush tailed Possum, the European stoat, ferret and weasel to name but a few.

angell pets conservation

Time Off

He spent three years working towards the stated aim of New Zealand to become predator free by 2050 (with a couple of months out to train vultures in Spain to fly with tourist on paragliders!) As a falconer, he also captured, trained and released two Autralasian Swamp Harriers during his stay, being amongst a mere handful of people in the world licensed to do this.

angell pets conservation

Vulture

After three years of this work George has returned to the UK where he is using his expertise to train upcoming animal carers, handlers and perhaps future conservationists at a college in Oxford. At the same time he is working for us back in the shop in Hucclecote on Saturdays where our customers can benefit from his knowledge and experience. We are very happy that Angell Pets staff are so involved in the promotion of animal welfare at such a range of levels, from giving advice on dog food to protecting some of the worlds most endangered species in the most hands on way possible.

angell pets conservation

Working Hard

angell pets conservation

Back Working In The Shop

So there it is. Just a little background on just one of the Angell Pets staff members. Perhaps I’ll do another log at some point on the relevant experience of the rest of us one day.

The Angell Pets Team

Current livestock list growing

Following on from our move to Hucclecote we are now growing our list of livestock in store and available to order. Every now and then I post the current list. I don’t do it too often as it changes almost daily but a quick post of what we currently have is often welcomed by our customers.

We do not have birds or fish at present. We can’t stock birds until we have finished painting because of the fumes and the area where the fish are going has only just been re-plastered ready for the tanks to go in. Obviously the tanks have to be matured before we can put fish in them.

Please note this list is only what we have in store and does not include the much larger range available to order.

So here is the current list as it stands today, it will be changing tomorrow.

Mammals

gerbil

Reptiles and Amphibians

Cave gecko

Spiders

tarantula

Other invertebrates

mantis

The Angell Pets Team

 

 

New Year – New Stock

The New Year is well underway and we have a lot of new livestock in store and even more available to order. Every now and then I post what we have in our shop so now would be a good time for an update.

Birds

red canary

African grey (Timneh)

Cockatiels (coloured)

Budgies (rainbow)

Canary (green)

Canary (red)

Java sparrows (silver)

Zebra finches

Chinese painted quail female (white)

 

Mammals

rabbit

Rabbits (mini lop)

Guinea pigs

Rats (dumbo and top eared)

Mice

Gerbils

Syrian hamsters

Reptiles

cave gecko

Cornsnake (amelanistic)

Cornsnake (ghost)

Milksnakes

Common boas

Kenyan sand boa

Carpet python

Royal python (pastel)

Bearded dragon

Leopard gecko

Flame crested gecko

Chinese cave gecko

Kotschys gecko

Madagascan giant day gecko

Yemen chameleon

Marginated tortoise

Red Eared Slider Turtle

Yellow Belly Turtle

Musk Turtle

 

Amphibian

phantasmal dart frog

Phantasmal Arrow Frog

Whites Tree Frog

 

Spiders

brazilian black

Brazilian black (juvenile)

Brazilian red rump (sub adult)

Costa Rican big bstd (sub adult)

Curly hair (spiderling)

Giant white knee (juvenile)

Haitian brown (spiderling – large)

Hati Hati purple (spiderlings – large)

Mexican red rump (spiderling)

Mexican red leg (spiderling, sub adult)

Mexican pink (sub adult)

Mexican rose grey (spiderling)

Socotra Island blue baboon (juvenile)

Thai zebra (adult female)

Togo starburst (spiderling – large)

Trinidad chevron (spiderling – large)

 

Insects

mantis

Deaths head cockroach

Fruit beetle

Giant spiny stick insect

Indian stick insect

Cameroon Mantis

Griffin Mantis

Other Invertebrates

Yellow rabbit snail

Red onion snail

Fish – Coldwater

Assorted Goldfish

Zebra Danio

Leopard Danio

Pearl Danio

Glowlight Danio

Butterfly Plec

Fish – Tropical

Bronze Corydora

Endler Guppy

Splendid Rasbora

Galaxy Rasbora

Albino Halfbeak

Lampeye

Cherry Barb

Glowlight tetra

Blonde Guppy Female

Clown Loach

Black Lyre Tail Molly

Orange Lyre Tail Molly

Mixed Lyre Tail Molly

We will be getting more fish stock soon.

The Angell Pets Team

 

 

 

 

 

Free food for a month with ALL complete set ups

From now until the end of December we have a fantastic offer on. Buy ANY complete set up, for any animal and receive one months food FREE.

pet shop gloucester cornsnake

We have a range of set ups for birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates to suit all budgets.Complete set ups include the housing, relevant equipment for that animal, substrate, decor where relevant, the animal itself and now, in addition, one months food FREE.

rankins-dragon
We have set ups for budgies, cockatiels, finches and canaries, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats and mice, gerbils and hamsters, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, day geckos, crested geckos, chameleons, cornsnakes, milksnakes, boas, pythons, frogs, tarantulas, mantids, stick insects and many more.

hog island boa
All our set ups are put together by the most experienced and qualified team in Gloucester so you get all the correct and  best equipment for your new animal. You can contact us here or on Facebook or on 01452 501882 to find out more.

Exo Terra

 

The Angell Pets Team

Livefood deliveries during the autumn/winter

Our Angell Pets FREE local livefood deliveries in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Painswick are very popular. During the warmer months we are happy to leave the deliveries in a secure location, by prior arrangement, if the customer is out.

livefood

However as the nights draw in and during the colder months this is not possible as the insects would likely die before being brought in by the customer. So with this in mind and wishing all our orders to remain in tip top condition, could all customers ordering livefood for FREE local delivery please ensure they request delivery for an evening they know they will be in to receive it.

From now until the mid spring we cannot leave any livefood deliveries in outside locations (recycling bins, outside storage cupboards etc.) if a customer is out. We will still attempt to redeliver the order during the next delivery slot for that area, as per our delivery policy but we cannot just leave the orders outside to spoil.

Obviously this only affects livefood (and already is the case for frozen food orders). Packaged pet foods and non perishable goods can still be left in a secure location by prior arrangement.

Thank you for your understanding.

The Angell Pets Team

Rankins Dragon Care Sheet

The Rankins dragon is the smaller cousin of the bearded dragon. For those who want to own a beardie but don’t have the space requirements, the Rankins dragon could be the one for you.

rankins

Generally a Rankins dragon requires a smaller vivarium than a bearded dragon as an adult. I would recommend 30” as around the size for one adult although 36” would be better for more dragons. A very young Rankins dragon can at least look a bit lost in a large viv. though and some do seem (at least at first) to get a bit nervous in a large viv. (they will hide away a lot, sometimes to the point of not getting enough UV light) so starting off in a smaller viv is definitely OK, although by no means essential.

If you wish to keep more than a single Rankins dragon (and they seem to be more sociable than beardies) then ensure you only have one male, with a couple of females. Obviously you  will need a bigger enclosure. If you wish to have more than one male Rankins dragon a much larger space is required and it is not recommended.

Rankins dragon heating

A Rankins dragon requires a good temperature gradient (a “hot end “and a “cold end”) to enable them to regulate their body temperature with the hot spot at the hot end at 35-40 C and the cool end around 25 C (so you are going to need two thermometers). There are a lot of opinions out there on heating a Rankins dragon viv. and I’ll not get into it all here. I use a heat mat combined with a basking lamp (sized to the viv.) to create a hot spot. I have mounted mats on the side and on the bottom of the viv. with equal success. I have seen comments saying never use a heat mat and cannot agree. I have never had a problem, ever and this is over a number of years with a large number of animals. That said, there are alternatives and they are fine too (with the exception of “heat rocks” – they really are a bad idea, if you bought a Rankins dragon starter set up from a certain well known pet supermarket you will have one of these, please throw it away to avoid any risk).

A thermostat will help avoid over temperature. A Rankins dragon can tolerate lower temperatures (i.e. if your spot lamp blows) for quite some time but will suffer quite quickly from over temperature. Even with a thermostat you should always check your thermometers at least daily – thermostats can fail.

Rankins dragon lighting

A Rankins dragon needs relatively high levels of UVB light to manufacture vitamin D3, enabling them to assimilate calcium. You will need a 10-12% UVB lamp on 12 – 14 hours a day. Remember UV light does not travel too far from these lamps so make sure they are not too far from where your dragon likes to bask. I don’t use hides with dragons, sometimes they can spend too much time under it and not get enough UV – not common but best avoided.

A basking lamp will give a bright “hot spot” for a Rankins dragon to bask in when it wants to heat up. Obviously the lamp needs to be a proper basking spot, energy efficient lamps are efficient because they do not give out wasted energy as heat, which is what you want.

Rankins dragon substrates.

Substrate (what your Rankins dragon lives on) is probably the most controversial subject in the hobby. I am not going to tell you what not to use, there is not a substrate currently in use that can’t cause problems. I use beech wood chips (the coarser variety so it cannot fit in the Rankins dragon mouth when small) or desert bedding in the main, although I have used others. I have never had any issues with impaction with a Rankins dragon so I can’t comment on what is worst for this. However I avoid calci sand, as calcium is an essential nutrient for a Rankins dragon, so they will eat as if they feel they need it – why tempt fate? Also, most of my vivs. are front opening,  with sliding glass and the sound of sand in the runners makes me cringe!

rankins dragon

Rankins dragon decor

A Rankins dragon does require a water bowl, although they are rarely seen to drink (I know some individuals seem to love getting in their water bowl see the little Rankins dragon above). Do change the water regularly and keep the bowl clean. It is hot in a Rankins dragon viv. and bacteria will grow very quickly around the rim of the water. A feed dish is a good idea for the veggie component of a Rankins dragon diet, to help avoid the risk of impaction by picking up bits of substrate.

Your Rankins dragon will  love something to climb on, branches, rocks etc. Avoid anything sharp, they may suddenly jump down and you don’t want them to get injured. Anything else in there is up to you. Some people like to put in things to encourage activity and don’t mind what it looks like, so use anything they can find. Others like it to look as natural as possible. It’s really up to you but I would suggest you read a good book for the more advanced aspects of setting up a vivarium both for further advice and for ideas if, like me, you’re not that creative yourself.

Rankins dragon feeding

Your Rankins dragon is an omnivore. They eat a wide range of foods including crickets, locusts, cockroaches and various lavae, vegetables and fruit etc. In captivity they also need vitamin and calcium supplements to ensure continued good health. I feed mine to a regular regime. It is necessary for the health of the Rankins dragon and with the amount of animals I have to feed it is more convenient to stick to a plan and this gives us confidence our animals have received a varied and balanced diet. You will find your own regime that suits you. I will give you mine just to illustrate what a balanced Rankins dragon diet looks like, not to suggest this is superior to any other feeding plan for a Rankins dragon.

Day one – cricket or locusts dusted with Nutrobal vitamin supplement.

Day 2 – salad vegetables.

Day three – crickets or locusts dusted with calcium powder.

Day four – salad vegetables.

Day five – crickets or locusts dusted with calcium powder.

Day six – fruit or veg.

Day seven – crickets or locusts without any supplement.

I vary this further by changing the crickets and locusts for calci worms from time to time and very occasionally wax worms. I don’t use meal worms myself for a Rankins dragon due to the higher level of chitin in the jaws and the consequent increased risk of impaction but occasional meal worms would be OK. I must confess the type of veg I use depends very much on what is on offer at the local supermarket or my garden but favourites of my Rankins dragon are rocket salad or herb salad, grated carrot, romaine lettuce, curly kale and cucumber.  I haven’t had a lot of success with fruit with a Rankins dragon but common ones used are strawberry, mango and banana.

One way of getting veg. into a more obstinate Rankins dragon is to feed the veg. to the insects. Whatever they eat, your Rankins dragon is eating. I do this sometimes but usually I have gut loaded them on a gut load formula any way.  For a very young Rankins dragon I dust every feed to ensure the rapidly growing youngsters are getting enough calcium but I only ever use vitamin powder once a week. The risk of over dosing the Rankins dragon far outweighing the risk of under dosing when using such a balanced diet.

It is important to consider the size of the insect food. It is a bad idea to give anything longer than the distance between the eyes of your Rankins dragon. Too many over large insects will not be properly digested and you will see the half digested remains in the Rankins dragon poop, possibly along with some blood! Alternatively your Rankins dragon may regurgitate the meal, again with the risk of damage to the Rankins dragon digestive tract from the sharp bits of exoskeleton.

rankins-dragon

Things to avoid feeding a Rankins dragon are obviously anything toxic. This sounds really obvious but people have been caught out with plants. The Rankins dragon may not eat the plant but the insects probably will. The Rankins dragon will then eat the now toxic insect.The use of live plants with a Rankins dragon and with bearded dragons is becoming more popular do make sure you know what plant you have and that it is safe. Also I avoid broccoli and cabbage leaves with a Rankins dragon as these contain oxylates that can prevent calcium being available to the metabolism.

Common problems with Rankins dragon feeding include the notorius addiction to wax worms. I have seen a bearded dragon fed these exclusively. Not only is this a bad idea from a nutritional point of view but you often end up with a Rankins dragon that will only eat this one source of food and frequently only when fed by hand! However I have not yet seen the Rankins dragon that cannot be weaned back onto a balanced diet with a little perseverance.

That said, a Rankins dragon can be fussy as they get older. The basic message is that as they are omnivores, it probably doesn’t matter as long as they get a balanced diet.

A reminder about Rankins dragon UVB

UVB lamps are essential to the well being of the Rankins dragon. Unfortunately as soon as you switch one on, the level of UVB output starts to deteriorate. Over time this will drop to zero, so although the lamp is lit, it is providing no benefit at all to the Rankins dragon. The lamps should be replaced between 6 months to 1 year (depending on type and manufacturer). We always replace all our UV lamps every 9 months WITHOUT FAIL. The consequences to a Rankins dragon of not replacing the UV lighting regularly are loss of appetite and metabolic bone disease.

Kept correctly a Rankins dragon should live over 8 years and prove to be a very inquisitive, interactive and easy to handle little lizard.

The Angell Pets Team