Saturday, April 19, 2008
Images from October 2007
On October 16th, Richard measured 3.25 inches (8.26 cm) from snout to vent (base of the tail). Including this tail, he measured 11 inches (27.9 cm). I read that water dragons-- and indeed, many other reptiles-- can have decreased appetite when they first move in. Not so with Richard. His appetite was completely intact! Then again, he seemed to dominate the food bowl he shared with his former tankmates...
It was at the end of the month that I realized the dust from his bark substrate was causing his eyes to be watery, so I switched to the less-attractive reptile carpet. Watery eyes can also be caused by a weakened immune system (due to a Vitamin A deficiency), but since Richard's crickets were eating carrots and collard greens and the symptoms appeared weeks after I purchased him, I was able to rule out the deficiency.
Around the same time, I built my own cricket keeper using a plastic container and pieces of plastic craft grid. The craft grid was hot glued to cover holes that I cut into the container, serving as ventilation.
I also found a recipe for cricket gut-load, which you can find online somewhere. The recipe called for wheat germ, whey protein, powdered egg, dry milk powder, bee pollen, kelp, and brewer's yeast. I found both the powdered egg and bee pollen on eBay at very reasonable prices.
I have also noticed that Richard can change colors. Of course, the changes aren't as dramatic as those you might observe from a chameleon, but they are noticeable. When Richard was younger, he would change from shades from dark brown to green. Now, in April, I observe changes from a medium brown to blue-green! Baby water dragons are darker in color to help them blend in with trees and stay out of the sight of predators.
When I first saw Richard bask in this peculiar position, I was alarmed. I couldn't find anything about it from books, so I decided to join a reptile forum called The Reptile Rooms. It's absolutely normal for a water dragon to relax like this. And funny, too. This kind of basking should not be confused with spastic limb extensions, which are associated with severe calcium deficiency.