The Dragon's Lair

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
Just discovered about 100 little guys just like this morning.. it would seem some of the crickets I released "into the wild" have decided things are good enough to breed.. Free Range crickets anyone? LOL
😂

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magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
This has been so fun to watch/read! Thank you for sharing your journey... and obviously I'm pretty partial to the enclosure you used ;)
Thank you again for documenting it all!
Brit @ Kages
Hi Brit. Thanks for Chiming in! :) I'm glad you liked following the build. You came in at the right time as I just recently released the beast!

He's only been in there for two days so he's very shy so far and hiding a lot, but I was able to get a few shots of him in there basking.. He's looks so tiny in this big enclosure, and he blends really well with the ghost wood too. I was looking for him and couldn't find him until I realized I was staring right at him!! It's a bit of "where's Waldo" game right now with him, but when he thinks I'm not looking I catch him running around to his food bowl to get his greens and snack on a bug.

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xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Hi Brit. Thanks for Chiming in! :) I'm glad you liked following the build. You came in at the right time as I just recently released the beast!

He's only been in there for two days so he's very shy so far and hiding a lot, but I was able to get a few shots of him in there basking.. He's looks so tiny in this big enclosure, and he blends really well with the ghost wood too. I was looking for him and couldn't find him until I realized I was staring right at him!! It's a bit of "where's Waldo" game right now with him, but when he thinks I'm not looking I catch him running around to his food bowl to get his greens and snack on a bug.

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View attachment 87625
It took me a minute to find him in the first pic. Thst looks AMAZING!!!!
 

ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
I enjoyed following the construction of the Lair :)

I especially loved reading it as I basically had the same idea regarding a setup (a large "lifetime" enclosure, mimicking nature as much as possible) but with a different starting point (I'm here in Chile, and I cannot get most of the supplies discussed here - I can get the lamps (obviously), but not e.g. the enclosure you bought, not other things, also home automation electronics are rare or super expensive here; also I had to opt for some different plants as I cannot get most).
What I can get readily here, though: nice natural sand and nice stones ;) :)

I'll post shortly about my solution to the "enclosure problem". Mine looks, while having the same idea in mind, very different (I always love to see which different solutions people can find) - so I opted for full glass with a wide-screen top, and despite I'm very much into all sorts of technology (I work in that field), other of the lamps and an automatic timer (had to buy several until I found one that really works and isn't off by much... you see... wanted the timer as I cannot always make sure I'm at home at the times the lights should go on and out) there isn't any electronics.

He's looks so tiny in this big enclosure, and he blends really well with the ghost wood too.
That was true for my Taco, too, when he was small. Sometimes I was really worrying: Where is he?

I'll post a comparison photo of him "from the week I got him vs. now" in the intro later on.
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
I enjoyed following the construction of the Lair :)

I especially loved reading it as I basically had the same idea regarding a setup (a large "lifetime" enclosure, mimicking nature as much as possible) but with a different starting point (I'm here in Chile, and I cannot get most of the supplies discussed here - I can get the lamps (obviously), but not e.g. the enclosure you bought, not other things, also home automation electronics are rare or super expensive here; also I had to opt for some different plants as I cannot get most).
What I can get readily here, though: nice natural sand and nice stones ;) :)

I'll post shortly about my solution to the "enclosure problem". Mine looks, while having the same idea in mind, very different (I always love to see which different solutions people can find) - so I opted for full glass with a wide-screen top, and despite I'm very much into all sorts of technology (I work in that field), other of the lamps and an automatic timer (had to buy several until I found one that really works and isn't off by much... you see... wanted the timer as I cannot always make sure I'm at home at the times the lights should go on and out) there isn't any electronics.


That was true for my Taco, too, when he was small. Sometimes I was really worrying: Where is he?

I'll post a comparison photo of him "from the week I got him vs. now" in the intro later on.
Hello Chile from USA 🙂

I'm glad you're enjoying. I've been really busy on other things, but I wanted to thank you for following. No need to automate.. just a bit more work is all.. One idea I've used for the drip watering system without a pump/timer is to just use gravity, which I understand is available worldwide LOL:ROFLMAO: . If you can get ahold of the drip irrigation hose what you can do is put a container of water above the enclosure and just fill it with "X" amount of water every week and it will drain into the irrigation hose and disperse throughout the enclosure. I have done this on smaller enclosures.

Simple analog light timers are ok too especially for lighting. If you can get the Arcadia Lumenize stuff though, the timing is built right in so that's really helpful. Spyder Robotics and some of the reptile branded controllers if available are alternatives to the smart plug/timers albeit more expensive. More than one way to do things. The good thing about having different options than others is that it forces you to find different ways to accomplish the same result.. often times finding a better way!

I used to have all glass setup. The challenge for me in that setup was getting the ambient temps high enough.. Foam board can work wonders in this case.. Heck even a nice wood veneer over the glass (sides and back) looks nice and helps hold heat in too.

Love to see the pic. Post a link here if you'd like.
 

ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
Hello Chile from USA 🙂

I'm glad you're enjoying. I've been really busy on other things, but I wanted to thank you for following. No need to automate.. just a bit more work is all.. One idea I've used for the drip watering system without a pump/timer is to just use gravity, which I understand is available worldwide LOL:ROFLMAO: . If you can get ahold of the drip irrigation hose what you can do is put a container of water above the enclosure and just fill it with "X" amount of water every week and it will drain into the irrigation hose and disperse throughout the enclosure. I have done this on smaller enclosures.

Simple analog light timers are ok too especially for lighting. If you can get the Arcadia Lumenize stuff though, the timing is built right in so that's really helpful. Spyder Robotics and some of the reptile branded controllers if available are alternatives to the smart plug/timers albeit more expensive. More than one way to do things. The good thing about having different options than others is that it forces you to find different ways to accomplish the same result.. often times finding a better way!


Love to see the pic. Post a link here if you'd like.
Thanks for the suggestion of using a dripper - this might be an option when being away/ on vacation and just somebody is checking in. I suggest that.

If you can get the Arcadia Lumenize stuff though, the timing is built right in so that's really helpful.
No, that's not available here, checked into that before buying everything; only Zoomed, no Arcadia (and it's even sometimes hard to get the UV lights at all, so I always keep multiple spare ones if I can get them). This is why I use the analog timers.
Other controllers and especially reptile-branded things are not available here, or it gets _really_ pricey. (I'm a lot into electronics because of my job - and for many things I was keeping an eye on for buying them for a hobby I finally I thought: No, better not getting it here, it's overly expensive.)
Keeping reptiles is quite an unusual thing here. There is not a single store in town that sells reptile equipment; also ordering online is difficult, as of: often not available, steep prices plus high shipment costs.
"Pet" here usually means cat or dog, and they even consider a rat or rabbit as "exotic animal" :D
I remember when I checked out what is recommended (using US websites), and then looking up what I can buy here: nope, oh would be nice but that's also not available, no, and also this no... Was happy that I can get at least the required lamps and some of the insects.

(I lived in the US for seven years and saw how easy it is to get the equipment there.)

I used to have all glass setup. The challenge for me in that setup was getting the ambient temps high enough.. Foam board can work wonders in this case.. Heck even a nice wood veneer over the glass (sides and back) looks nice and helps hold heat in too.
Yes, this makes totally sense in a bit a colder climate.
Before buying the enclosure, I checked into options (MDF, repurposing used furniture, getting an Exoterra (here horribly expensive and too small), or getting something made by a glass company).
Here, in the part of Chile where we live, it's so warm/ hot all year long that one can wear t-shirts and sandals during all the seasons, and even new, upper-scale houses aren't even equipped with heating as it's just not needed. Think of: A climate very similar to Southern California.
So keeping the temps all year long is no problem at all. (I was, though, surprised that it's also not overheating as the enclosure stands right by two windows. If that had been the case, I had taken care of that, of course.)

I might have suggested the non all-glass enclosure in case of living in a more moderate climate, as there typically I had heating (of the room) off at night as I'm very much of the "rather put a sweater on and use a blanket instead of cranking up the heat" type.
(I'm from Germany, but lived in the US some years in the L.A. area and some years near Nashville, TN.)

For the link: It is already here, that's Taco's tank:
 
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magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
Jackson was catching the "Sunset" Today. The dimming feature on the Arcadia lights are so cool! There's a nice colony of crickets now and they like to come out at dawn. He's figured this out and finds a good spot and waits for them to eat a few up here and there. Late night snack before bed LOL 🙂

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ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
Looks great!
I can't dim my lamps, but I at least emulate the sunset with switching them off during approx. 45 minutes in the proper order. (I can highly recommend doing at least that if you can't use a dimmer.)

And then my Taco sits there just like your Jackson and is up for a snack :)
I had also recognized that sometimes Taco eats some Golliwog or other herbs during "sunset".
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
I used to do the "Staggered light setup" before and still do on some of my other setups. That's a great alternative.
Basking>>UVB>>LED<<UVB<<Basking

One thing I noticed with Jackson and other BD I had in the past was when the lights turned on all at once he would jump like he was startled and also when they all turned off he would just sleep in the most random places.... most likely where he was when they all went off or close by....

but what I am seeing now with the LumenIZE stuff (and to a degree, but not as much with a staggered light setup) is what I believe is a more "natural behavior" For example with the light gradually decreasing at night I find that he is more consistently seeking a more comfortable sleeping area.. usually in one of his hides so that is cool.
 

magicmagni

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Jackson
I was so amused by this observation recently..

He is such a messy eater.. when he chomps up his greens often 3/4 end up in his mouth and the other 1/4 end up scattered on the ground around his bowl. I used to just pick it up daily as part of my cleaning process, but in this new setup I've been finding that the crickets like to come out literally pick up the whole leaf and carry it away under rocks and where ever they hide, but what is cool about that is these places are also where the isopods and mealworms like to hang out so they get some food as well. It's so cool to see how all these critters are somewhat dependent on the other and connected. The crickets are bit less shy (or stupid??) so they go into the "danger zone" and get the food for the rest of the more shy bugs!

So remember what I just said about Jackson being so messy? I think there is a method to the madness because in the evening he waits by the greens that he has scattered on the ground through the day and waits.. then when the crickets go to eat on it he nabs them up.. often with the green too LOL.. Some times just the green and he almost has a look on his face like WTF it's a leaf I want the cricket! :ROFLMAO:
 

ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
I used to do the "Staggered light setup" before and still do on some of my other setups. That's a great alternative.
Basking>>UVB>>LED<<UVB<<Basking
That's exactly how I'm doing it :)
(Before that is even: Light in the room goes on. I'm quite an early bird and I'm out of the house before the UVB goes on.)

One thing I noticed with Jackson and other BD I had in the past was when the lights turned on all at once he would jump like he was startled and also when they all turned off he would just sleep in the most random places.... most likely where he was when they all went off or close by....
I have also noticed that in case the power went off during evening (slept where he was) and once when timers malfunctioned (threw them out and now have better ones - out of three two were "running off" and suddenly were all three were at the same time). Thus in case I found him in the morning at some random place, I checked the timer and everything again.

My Taco usually sleeps in a cave behind a plant, or in a slightly elevated hide. Once in a while, maybe once per week, he however sleeps at an elevated place under the basking lamp where he can look out of the window. When I recognized I first thought that timers are malfunctioning again but now I know he sometimes stays there on purpose. But nevertheless, I always check.
I always wonder why he sometimes stays up there. I don't know, does he like to look out of the window when the lights are off? Or is he planning in a way like "when I sleep up there, I'm warming up more quickly in the morning?" (It's not cold. Night room temp is in the mid 70's F.)

but what I am seeing now with the LumenIZE stuff (and to a degree, but not as much with a staggered light setup) is what I believe is a more "natural behavior" For example with the light gradually decreasing at night I find that he is more consistently seeking a more comfortable sleeping area.. usually in one of his hides so that is cool.
That's absolutely clear: More natural.
For Taco I see this behavior:
Only basking light left on - he goes in the cave or the hide where he usually sleeps. Or once in a while, he doesn't and stays up there.
And in the morning: Light on in the room - sometimes he's awake or not; basking light - eyes slightly open; second basking light and then also UVB - eyes fully open, looking around, and after a while he comes out from his cave or hide.
 

ChileanTaco

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
I was so amused by this observation recently..

He is such a messy eater.. when he chomps up his greens often 3/4 end up in his mouth and the other 1/4 end up scattered on the ground around his bowl.
They are so different :D Sometimes my Taco also does that, but more often it's me like: Asking my husband whether he had already cleaned up and he says no, why are you asking, there was greens half an hour ago :D

I used to just pick it up daily as part of my cleaning process, but in this new setup I've been finding that the crickets like to come out literally pick up the whole leaf and carry it away under rocks and where ever they hide, but what is cool about that is these places are also where the isopods and mealworms like to hang out so they get some food as well. It's so cool to see how all these critters are somewhat dependent on the other and connected. The crickets are bit less shy (or stupid??) so they go into the "danger zone" and get the food for the rest of the more shy bugs!

That's cool! (I had "bioactive" (wasn't knowing the word yet...) setup decades ago, for fence lizards. I loved to see all those things going on and loved my "miniature biotope".)

So remember what I just said about Jackson being so messy? I think there is a method to the madness because in the evening he waits by the greens that he has scattered on the ground through the day and waits.. then when the crickets go to eat on it he nabs them up.. often with the green too LOL.. Some times just the green and he almost has a look on his face like WTF it's a leaf I want the cricket! :ROFLMAO:
I guess he has learnt that the crickets are coming there...
Bearded dragons are said to be among the smartest reptiles, and I guess that's because of the harsh conditions they live in in the wild. I was also surprised in many ways how much Taco became used to "living with his humans".
 

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