Small Breed Rescue of Southern California

Animal Care

Animal Type:
Lizard
Animal Breed:

Lizard Habitats - Our Adoption Requirements



Lizard Housing Requirements

Most all reptiles require a variation of the same basic components to be healthy; Appropriately Sized Enclosure, UVB Lighting, Timer, Overhead or Underneath Heating, Thermostatic Controller, Substrate, Hide, and a Water Source. It is important to size these components appropriately to each other as well.

A small 13 watt compact fluorescent UVB light may work well on a 20 gallon terrarium where it is 6 inches from the reptile but the same light would not work at all on a 40 gallon terrarium where it is 13 inches from the reptile as the UVB will not reach. Conversely, a large 18"x18" under tank heater may work great on 40 gallon terrarium on the hot side but would cover the entire bottom of a 20 gallon terrarium providing no room for a cold side at all. 

When planning your enclosure, you should take into account not just the current size of your reptile but more importantly the adult size of your reptile or you may end up buying the entire setup twice or even more times as they grow in order to keep them healthy.

Below is a diagram covering the basic minimum components of your reptiles enclosure. We have provided links at the bottom of this page to help you locate and purchase these items often at a much lower price than what you might find at your local pet store.





Basic Recommendations

Leopard Gecko:

Enclosure - Optimally you are going to want a 30-40 gallon front opening terrarium. This allows you easy access to the animal without having to touch or move hot light housings. Most reptiles prefer to be approached from in front of rather than above as well.

Lighting - You are going to want strong UVB lighting but not necessarily strong UVA lighting. What that means is you need a light that can reach UVB all the way to the bottom of the terrarium but not necessarily one that is exceptionally bright. Many bright bulbs also emit UVC which can be harmful to the geckos eyes.

Themostat - Do not ever place an heating with your reptile without it being controlled by a thermostat or you risk baking or burning your pet.

Timer - Having a consistent light cycle actually benefits your reptiles health both by ensuring a consistent 12hr UVB period and a consistent 12hr rest period.

  • Basic Light Timer - Any basic 120v timer that has a 3 prong switched outlet and provides a 12hr on/off cycle will work

Substrate - These guys need a soft substrate. Paper towels are a safe choice. But if you must have substrate...

  •  ZooMed Eco Earth is acceptable as long as you monitor feeding so they do not ingest it.

Hide- We are flexible when it comes to the hide as long as it is safe for the lizard and large enough for them to hide inside completely. Be careful when using fish decorations as hides as they may have sharp edges or passages the lizard can get up and into where they can get stuck.

Water Bowl- We are flexible when it comes to the water bowl as long as it is safe and large enough for your lizard to soak in but shallow enough they cant drown.

  • ZooMed Reptirock Reptile Dish We love corner bowls, the take up less room and come in all kinds of sizes. Its best to see these in person prior to buying to make sure they are the right size.


Bearded Dragon

Enclosure - Optimally you are going to want a 30-40 gallon front opening terrarium. This allows you easy access to the animal without having to touch or move hot light housings. Most reptiles prefer to be approached from in front of rather than above as well.

  • Thrive 40 Gallon Front Opening : We Highly Recommend the Thrive 40 Gallon front opener from Petsmart. It has the most thought out design features of any of the front opening enclosures, however they are getting harder to find anymore and when you do they are often only available as a kit so make sure you can use what is included.
  • ExoTerra 40 Gallon Front Opener : A good terrarium with a quality build. You can often find these bare or in a kit (make sure you can use what is included).
  • ZooMed 40 Gallon Front Opener : Probably the most readily available of the 40 gallon front openers. Not as feature rich with the design as the prior two and the kits often include things you shouldn't use like reptisand or too small/wrong type of lighting. 
  • Kages Ethical Reptile Enclosures or some equivalent large melamine or pvc enclosure. These look and perform amazing but do come at a cost. We do not require these but do hope you consider it for the lifetime nees of your animal when the time comes

Lighting - You are going to want strong UVB lighting with strong UVA lighting. 

Heating - Ceramic Heat Emitters are a great wat to provide day/night heat without the light that a basking bulb generates  

Optional Light/Heat Combo kitThrive UVB + Heat Desert Set

Themostat - Do not ever place an heating with your reptile without it being controlled by a thermostat or you risk baking or burning your pet.

Timer - Having a consistent light cycle actually benefits your reptiles health both by ensuring a consistent 12hr UVB period and a consistent 12hr rest period.

  • Basic Light Timer - Any basic 120v timer that has a 3 prong switched outlet and provides a 12hr on/off cycle will work

Substrate - 

  • Sani Chips - This removes moisture well, is easy to clean up, and provides a safe bedding for your juvenile to adult Bearded Dragon. Consider using something less ingestable for your babies until they are old enough.

Hide- We are flexible when it comes to the hide as long as it is safe for the lizard and large enough for them to hide inside completely. Be careful when using fish decorations as hides as they may have sharp edges or passages the lizard can get up and into where they can get stuck.

Water Bowl- We are flexible when it comes to the water bowl as long as it is safe and large enough for your beardy to soak in but shallow enough they cant drown.

  • ZooMed Reptirock Corner Bowl We love corner bowls, the take up less room and come in all kinds of sizes. Its best to see these in person prior buying to make sure they are the right size.


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