Blog

Proper Lighting, Heating, and Humidity for Iguanas

Lighting & Heating

Hot rocks are not recommended for iguanas! Not only are hot rocks inadequate in providing heat, but they are dangerous. There have been numerous cases of iguanas obtaining serious burns from hot rocks. Heat and light should come from above, since in the wild iguanas bask in the sunlight. Ordinary incandescent light bulbs work great to provide both heat and light. You do not need to purchase expensive “basking bulbs” from the pet store. These are no different than ordinary bulbs.

What wattage of bulbs you will need depends upon the ambient air temperature of the room and the size of the enclosure or basking area. Do not guess when it comes to temperature! It is imperative that you install a few good, reliable thermometers at various places in the enclosure to give you an accurate temperature readout. You can also hook up dimmer switches to your lights, which will allow for minute temperature adjustment.

Hooded clamp fixtures work well for basking lights, come in a variety of sizes and can be positioned in various ways within an enclosure. Be sure to use fixtures that are designed to accommodate the bulb wattage you are using. If you are using high wattage bulbs (150-250W), you must use a fixture with a ceramic socket to prevent fire hazard. Be sure to place the fixtures in such a position that your iguana cannot climb on or touch them.

iguana

If you place the fixtures inside the enclosure, it is a good idea to add a wire “bulb guard”, such as you see in the photo below, to prevent your iguana from coming into direct contact with hot bulbs. Bulb guards can be made from hardware cloth or other safe types of wire. If you have a smaller iguana that is likely to climb up on and/or cling to the light fixtures, consider placing the fixtures outside of the enclosure.

This simple bulb guard was made from a small piece of hardware cloth, which is held in place by the simple guard that came with the fixture. The edges of the wire have been bent under so that no sharp edges are exposed.

Nighttime heat – Like all other animals, iguanas must have a day/night cycle. We recommend a 12:12 or a 13:11 cycle. This means that you must shut your iguana’s lights off at night for 12 or 13 hours, or better yet, have them on a timer that turns them off at night and on again in the morning so you do not have to remember to do it. This allows the iguana to regulate behaviors and rest peacefully when necessary. Not providing a day/night light cycle can stress an iguana, causing behavioral changes such as feeding, pooping and unnecessary aggression.

Iguanas can and should have cooler temperatures at night, but they still need ambient air temperatures to fall no lower than 75-78ºF. How then, do you provide best heat lamp for iguanas, if you use light bulbs to heat the enclosure? There are a few methods of providing nighttime heat. One of the best is to use Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHEs), which screw into an incandescent light fixture and give off only heat, not light.

These are available in different wattages. It is possible to have a set up where the lights come on in the morning and turn off at night, and the CHEs come on at night and turn off in the morning. Another possibility is to use a low wattage CHE 24 hours a day in addition to the daytime lights. Since iguanas can and should have cooler temperatures at night, a CHE of the appropriate wattage should provide adequate nighttime warmth. (more…)

Yellow Fungus On Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons have been a favored house pet by many pet owners for quite a number of reasons. These docile pets are not only quite tamed, but they are also easy to look after. Once they have settled in their new habitat, you only need to do a few things to maintain their health. If they are provided with adequate and proper nutrition, provided the right level of heat and humidity, as well as cleaned regularly, they may stay with you for the next 10 or more years.

That does not mean that they are free from any sickness that may cause their health to deteriorate. Like any other animals, they are also susceptible to disease-causing microorganisms widely distributed in the environment.

Yellow Fungus: A Lethal Bearded Dragon Disease

One of the diseases that most bearded dragons fear is called Yellow Fungus. It is colloquially known among hobbyists as the Yellow Skin Disease. This fungal infection can cause severe skin infections or fungal dermatitis. If not treated properly, the condition can be fatal to a birdie. Such a skin condition has been proven to be lethal to other reptile species as well.

This skin condition is clinically known as Chrysosporium anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii or CANV. It is a skin condition that is caused by aggressive flesh-eating fungi. The fungi attack both the superficial and deep layers of the skin. The infection will first appear as yellow, brown or grayish patches on the surface of the scales. It is normally seen as a small spot that gets bigger in time. More spots may appear on other parts of the body as time passes by. As the disease progresses, the color of the patches will become dark. It will also be cracked or crusty.

The discoloration of the skin is accompanied by the formation of necrotic lesions. This formation will eventually scrape the outer layer of the skin and reveal sensitive ulcerated tissues underneath the scales. It can also spread painful swelling and inflammation under the skin. In more severe cases, hyphae of the fungus (main mode of vegetative growth of the fungus),  can extend deeper into the body cavities and internal organs of the reptile. This often causes marked pathology and the eventual death of the beardie.

Symptoms of the Yellow Skin Disease

Bearded dragons are quite active during the day if they are healthy. However, if they are infected with the Yellow Fungus, they may be quite restless.You may also observe them to lose some weight, have a poor appetite, have sunken eyes, shed irregularly. When they shed, what is left behind are dull or discolored scales with a rough appearance. They may also have wounds that have discolored scales around them. These wounds may also be swollen badly, with a discrete puss, and with a foul smell. A bearded dragon that is sheds constantly but does not gain any weight can be manifesting early signs of yellow fungus.

Causes of the Yellow Skin Disease

1. Dirty enclosures. Bearded dragons may be exposed to elements within the enclosure that are already contaminated. Choose the Bearded Dragon enclosure.

2. Overcrowding. When too many dragons are housed and handled together in a single enclosure without proper quarantine measures. Yellow Fungus is a contagious disease. A new bearded dragon needs to go through a quarantine phase until it is considered clear of any health issues. This ensures that only healthy dragons are added to the crowd. (more…)