Southern Angle-Headed Dragon (Caresheet)
As arboreal lizards, Southern Angle-Headed Dragons (Hypsilurus spinipes) need an enclosure which is higher rather than wide. A cage around 60cm wide, 40cm deep and 90cm high would be ideal for a male and one or two females. Provide plenty of climbing supports especially vertical branches around 4-6cm in diameter preferably with a rough bark to provide extra grip for the climbing lizards. Artificial plants are a good option as they provide extra cover yet don't deteriorate under the low light levels required by these lizards. A low UV fluorescent tube or compact bulb is all that is required for light and as long as the cage stays around 20-28°C over the warmer months no additional heat is required. In fact it is important to ensure the dragon's enclosure doesn't exceed 34-35°C for any extended period otherwise heat stress may be potentially fatal. Humidity is also important for these damp forest inhabitants so a water bowl and regular spraying of the enclosure are essential. Outdoor enclosures work well for angle-heads provided they are located in a sheltered and shady position.
Angle-headed dragons are extremely productive lizards when the conditions are suitable. Females will produce clutches of 3-8 eggs every month or so through spring and summer and will eat frantically between clutches to maintain this output. It is important to ensure calcium supplies are maintained to breeding females during this period as the demand is high for the production of healthy egg shells. It is important to provide a suitable laying site for gravid females as unless they are happy with the site they will either lay their eggs on the surface where they will rapidly dehydrate or retain the clutch which may lead to serious egg binding problems. Ideally cover the entire floor of the enclosure with a suitable moist substrate (a 50:50 mix of coco peat and fine sandworks well) so it doesn't matter where the female lays her clutch or, when egg-laying is imminent, check the female and enclosure regularly to ensure the eggs are located before they dehydrate. Eggs should be incubated at around 24-25°C and will take about 70-80 days to hatch.
CLOSE UP OF A MALE SOUTHERN ANGLE-HEADED DRAGON SHOWING THE DORSAL CREST