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Reptiles/water dragon turning brown


set up
set up  
QUESTION: The picture shows the issue im facing. I know the set up isnt nearly ideal for this thing but its what i have to work with until friday. it has not drank any water yet but has eaten 3 wax worms, 1 small cricket, and if the store i bought it from fed it anything today then that too. If you know of any other common household items to make its life a bit better for the time being let me know. Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Scott

I really don't think you are dealing with anything more serious then stress colouration caused by the temporary housing. He is likely also a bit cool which will cause the skin to darken.

Once you have him properly set up with branches and foliage I'm sure his colour will return to normal. The fact that he has eaten for you is a very good sign.

Young arboreal animals are often preyed on in the wild and they instinctively stay up in the branches and hidden as much as they can, even in captivity. The combination of having no where to hide and being on the floor would be a very stressful combination for a young CWD. I would avoid handling him while he is in that situation. Anything swooping down from above (like human hands) is going to look like a big predator to him right now.

Just putting in a leafy branch from outside would help him feel more secure until you get him set up. You can use fake foliage as well, Walmart usually has a good selection of fake greenery. If you can raise the temporary cage up from the floor and onto a table, that will also help him feel less vulnerable.

He would also appreciate a larger water container. Something big enough for him to get into. CWD's like to soak and that is often when they drink as well.

This is an excellent resource for info and is put together by a fellow Canadian of mine!

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QUESTION: I have a proper cage for him now with a big water bowl he can submerge himself in and other things. The only issue now is hes rubbing his face on the glass and now part of his mouth is a bit run down. Iv tried coloring the glass a bit so he can tell theres a barrier, but he still does it :/
As for the picture I know I still need a uvb light which ill most likely be getting tomorrow.

Hi Scott,

Nose rubbing can be a frustrating problem with these guys. It should decrease once he settles in a bit more. You may need to temporarily add a visual block around the bottom few inches of the cage using newspaper or something else that he cannot see through at all until that time.  

That is a nice enclosure. Once you get some larger climbing branches and leafy plants he should start to feel right at home. Pothos is a good vine to use if you are going to try some real plants. It is very common and can be found anywhere that sells houseplants.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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