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Tropical Reptile Habitat Setup


Tropical Reptile Habitat Setup


Tropical reptiles such as green anoles and water dragons originally come from an environment with high humidity, warm daytime temperatures and slightly cooler nighttime temperatures.


Body Heat

Reptiles can't create their own body heat, so their homes must provide a source of heat for basking, with cooler areas available to help them regulate their body temperature (this is called thermoregulation).


Feels Like Home

For your pet's comfort and security, you'll want to make his home as much like his natural habitat as possible.

Lighting & Heating

Daytime Lighting
Use a daytime UVA/UVB light up to 12 hours a day to help your pet process calcium.

Nighttime Lighting*
If the temperature outside the habitat is less than 65º- 70º F (18-21º C), use a specially-designed nighttime heat lamp that provides heat without visible light.

Create a basking area at one end of the home for up to 12 hours each day. Use a basking spot lamp, and for some species, an under-tank heat mat with a thermostat control.

*Requirements vary by species. Please see your pet's custom Care Guide for specific details.

Humidity & Temperatures

Maintain the humidity level inside your pet's home at 75% or more. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) will help you keep track. For accurate readings, place the hygrometer above the coolest area of the home.

Provide a shallow dish with fresh water (change it daily), and thoroughly mist the surfaces inside the habitat at least twice a day to maintain humidity level.



While requirements vary by species, general temperature guidelines for tropical reptiles are:

  • Day - 75-85º F (24-29º C) measured by thermometer in cooler region
  • Night - 70-80º F (21-27º C)
  • Basking - 85-95º F (29-35º C) measured by thermometer in basking region
  • Place a thermometer at each end of the home to monitor temperatures - one at the basking site and one at the cooler end



Be sure the home is well-ventilated to help your pet with thermoregulation. Use a screen top lid on the home to encourage proper air exchange.

*Requirements vary by species. Please see your pet's custom Care Guide for specific details.


Use an appropriate size screen or screen/glass terrarium.


Coconut fiber, bark bedding and for some species, sterile soil, are ideal substrates for tropical reptiles. Line the home with up to a 3" (8 cm) layer of bedding; remove waste weekly and change bedding once a month.


Hiding Areas

All reptiles need hiding places like rock caves or hollow logs to help them feel safe and secure. If your pet doesn't use his hiding place, try another one or move it within the habitat.


Basking Areas

Use smooth, flat rocks, natural or artificial hollow logs, or branches to create basking areas. These should bring your reptile closer to the basking lamp for warmth.


Artificial or appropriate live plants provide shade, shelter and add a natural look to the home. Choose pothos, philodendron or ficus or check a reptile book for a list of non-toxic plants to use.


Artificial or natural branches provide climbing areas. Choose branches appropriate for your reptile's safety and comfort.


*Requirements vary by species. Please see your pet's custom Care Guide for specific details.