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Reptile Questions

Marc answers questions about caring for bearded dragons, anoles, iguanas, and geckos.
Martha Stewart Living Television

What size cage does a full-grown bearded dragon need?
Bearded dragons often grow to a length of 20 inches, so their ideal home would be a 29-gallon tank that's about 30 inches long.

My cousin gave me an anole and I was wondering if her colors change according to her mood. If so, what do the different colors mean?
Anoles and some other lizards can change their colors with the aid of cells called chromatifores. The lizard's color does reflect its mood; when the lizard is green, it's happy. If its skin is tan, your pet is probably sleeping, while a chocolate-brown coloring indicates the lizard is unhappy.

I think my baby iguana sheds its skin a little too often. Should I increase the humidity in his tank?
A healthy baby iguana grows quickly and is almost always shedding skin on one or another part of its body. So don't worry about the frequency with which it loses its old skin.

I recently acquired a full-grown green iguana and was wondering what the best food is for her?
Iguanas are folivars, meaning they thrive on diets rich in leafy greens like lettuce, chickory, dandelion, and watercress. While you can give an iguana melons and berries, avoid sweet crunchy greens such as romaine or iceberg lettuce. The most important thing is to dust all their food items with a phosphorous-free calcium supplement.

I've had my leopard gecko for over a year and a half and he doesn't seem to be growing much. What can I do to help him grow?
Leopard geckos don't get much bigger than 6 to 8 inches. As long as you're feeding it crickets that were raised on vitamin-fortified food and sprinkled with a mineral/vitamin powder, your gecko should be fine. The sign of a healthy leopard gecko is its tail; it should be filled-out and fat. If the tail is skinny, take him or her to a vet that's knowledgeable about reptilian health.

How do you clean a reptile's cage or aquarium?
Once a week, remove the reptile from its home and place it in a holder. Throw away all the bedding or sand and wash the inside of the tank with warm, soapy water. In addition, you should wash all the toys and decorations in the cage. Dry it out, refill the sand or bedding, and replace the decorations.