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Reptiles/Chinese water dragon

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Question
I was wondering if I could cover the sides of my tank at night so it dims the light
Also even when fed my dragon eats his dropping in his water or tank.
Thanks, I'm in no rush

Answer
Hi Devon,

Your CWD needs a regular photo period. "Photo period" refers to the times of light and darkness that he is exposed to. Most keepers use a 12 hours lights on and 12 hours lights off schedule. Regular periods of darkness are important to regulate sleep patterns and other behaviours.

I was not clear from your question whether you may be under the impression that the lights/heat need to be on all the time.

If your lights come on at 8am (use a timer to make it easier to regulate) then they can be shut off at 7 or 8 pm. If you need to block the light coming from the tank before the lights are shut off then covering the sides is fine.

CWDs should have a night time temperature in the mid 70'sF which is just slightly above average room temperature. If the ambient room temperature is well below that you may need to  provide some night time heat either in the form of an under tank heat pad, red bulb or ceramic heat emitter which gives off heat only, no light.



Eating stool is called coprophagy and several species of herbivorous reptiles do it when they are young. The theory is that is establishes normal intestinal bacteria and may provide essential nutrients.

Adult and sub adult CWD's are also known to engage in coprophagy. It has been the subject of several forum threads over the years with a number of owners having observed similar behaviour in their CWDs. I have never come across a  compelling scientific explanation for it with this species although it may be something similar to the herbivorous reptiles.  

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Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

Education/Credentials
Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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