Kalrissan Rottweilers, Reptiles and Amphibians
Sound Mind, Sound Body
Here at Kalrissan, our reptiles are housed both in and out-doors. During winter, all reptiles are inside but where ever possible, the older reptiles love to go outside for the days if the weather is good. The following are some of our set-ups. We are just in the process of building a stellar outdoor area specific for the Water Dragons that will be complete with 2 ponds, water falls and a full pump filtration set-up. Even Zues, the turtle, may spend some time out here as well when it's done. Watch this space for pics when completed.
The Penthouse Suite: This enclosure featured in the Scales and Tails Australia magazine and included how it was constructed. The lizards love this one!
OUTDOOR MULTI-BAY ENCLOSURE
This enclosure is awesome, allowing many reptiles to be out enjoying the good weather at one time. They are set up species-specific; climbing areas for the monitors & other arboreal reps and loots of hides for the skinks. It has 6 separate bays that are very large and are set up to be species-specific. It is 12 m long, 6 m wide and 2.5 m high.
Water Dragon and Turtle Enclosure
This enclosure is the pinnacle of water dragon housing. It boasts 2 pond areas with a full time running waterfall and large basking areas. Fully enclosed to prevent escape and predation, they loooove it!!
I keep 2 adult turtles in here and a group of 6 Eastern Water Dragons. The ponds are supported by a large sand pool filter and have heaps of plants and fish. I have additionally added glass viewing panels to avoid the 'closed in' look.
Apart from a few earlier water quality issues, the ponds are now basically self-supporting and are cleaned regularly. The water quality is monitored but has had no issues for years. This enclosure has now been in service for 15 years and has a lovely established garden that provides both food and enrichment for the animals
OUT-DOOR REHAB ENCLOSURE
This one is frequently used by our rehabilitating wild reptiles, particularly when they are nearly ready for release and we want to test their hunting ability in a bigger enclosure. It is a recycled 22,000 litre water tank and can be divided into two or left as one big area. It is great for Monitors and Bearded Dragons.
The enclosure right and below is a dedicated Turtle Rehabilitation area. It features two Dry-dock areas fully enclosed for Turtles that need full support and cannot go into water. Water tubs can be added once they can start to go into shallow water and the flooring is 'soft-fall' where Turtles with shell repairs can walk around and not damage any repairs. The enclosure steps down to a large pond that is filtered and fully enclosed. There are two garden areas that Turtles can climb into to lay eggs or brumate in winter. It has a waterfall and running water to keep the water quality better and there is a healthy supply of fish living in here as well. Plants also help keep the water clean. This enclosure was funded jointly by the Logan City Council and WIRES and we thank them both.
There are currently 5 turtles residing here, 2 of which were critically injured when they arrived - they are all out in the pond now and will be released when the weather warms up.
Can you spot the two turtles in the photo below Right?
Indoor Enclosures and a bit of Husbandry
We aim to give our reptiles the best set-ups in regard to having plenty to do! When they're not outdoors climbing or basking, they can do it inside as well!! This one is a prime example of what you can achieve with a little imagination & time. It is an ex-woolies cosmetic display case in which the normal fluro light was removed & replaced with a 10.0 UVB tube for the dragons (in the top). As it is a large enclosure & the lighting MUST be within 30 cm of the reptile, shelves have been custom made into the backing & and additional 10.0 spiral UVB bulb has been fitted to the bottom of the large shelf, with a 50 w Night-Glo heater next to it. Both now have cages on them to protect against thermal injury. The wiring goes through the back of the enclosure & through the shelf so there is no wiring visible in the enclosure.
The backing is also custom made and looks great. It allows climbing, which the Beardies love. The shelves are coated in water-proofing for hygiene and the whole lot inter-locks & is not secured at all. It can be removed for cleaning. Can you spot the 3 dragons who live here (that gives you an idea of size!!).
The 2 enclosures above are examples of rehabilitation set ups for Lizards on the Left and Snakes on the Right. They have curtains to screen off wild animals and are big enough for basking and moving about. Seriously injured reptiles may need smaller enclosures when they first come in and are given more space as they meet their rehabilitation milestones. They are then transferred to outdoor enclosures if they are long-termers and prepared in a staged process for release back to the wild. All animals have detailed care sheets that records their progress and care pathways including all of their physical and mental data.
There are some basic rules for enclosure setup - you can convert pretty much anything, so long as you follow some simple rules:
- You need to ensure the UV lights are within 30 cm of your reptile. You can achieve this by lowering the lights OR raising the lizard with logs, rocks, shelves etc
- Make sure the reptile will not burn itself (COVER lights & heaters)
- You need to REPLACE all UV light EVERY 6-MONTHS regardless of whether they are working. After 6-months, the UV output decreases significantly and your reptile will be prone to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), a TOTALLY UNNECESSARY medical condition resulting from POOR husbandry.
- Make sure you supplement every live-feed with calcium powder to ensure your reptile is getting calcium (the UV lighting will help with the uptake of this calcium) & prevent brittle bones & MBD.
- Put your light & heater down one end, creating a warm end.
- You MUST have a THERMOSTAT to control your heat. There are great digital ones available that will control your lights (turning them on & off) AND control your heating (turns the heat source on and off to maintain correct temperature). They have alarms to let you know if there are issues and are great if you have a lot of enclosures!! They are all automated & much less work.
- You need to ensure a THERMAL GRADIENT (difference in temperature from one end of the enclosure to the other) of around 5 oC.
- Make sure the humidity is right for your species. You can manipulate this by the size and placement of water bowls.
- Ensure adequate ventillation (make sure it does not overheat in summer). You can cover some vents in winter if you have to. Overheating is the quickest way to kill your reptile.
- Make sure the reptile has ADEQUATE ROOM, particularly if they don't get outside. If you don't have the space DON'T GET the reptile. It's not much fun for an animal to be cooped up with nothing to do in a small enclosure. This is CRUEL. ie: An adult Bearded Dragon (single animal MUST have at least a 4-foot enclosure, with 6-foot being ideal). Remember the nature of the beast - they like to climb and bask, so make sure they have things to climb on and an area to bask. Also remember that the quickest way to kill a reptile is to overheat it. They need shelter from the elements on inclement days.