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Mountain Horned Dragons make excellent pets. They stay small, are very docile, and if given proper care, are very hardy. They are arboreal lizards that can be seen hanging out for most of the day, sleeping on their climbing branches.
Don't be surprised if you sometimes have to reach in and prod your Mountain Horned Dragon just to see if it's still alive! They will rarely leave their favorite perch except to eat, get a drink, or…well, you know. ;-) They are very docile, and tolerate handling very well...once removed from the cage and placed on a shoulder, a Mountain Horned Dragon will probably not move from that spot except, maybe, to climb on top of your head; they love heights and will usually seek the highest spot for a perch.
Cages should be no smaller than 48" high x 36" wide x 18" deep. The emphasis here is on height, as Mountain Horned Dragons love to climb, and require diagonal branches for perching and basking. A larger cage, preferably with lots of dense greenery, is required for two adults. This will provide a forest atmosphere, and plenty of places to hide and feel safe. Web cages are excellent because they provide both height and exceptional ventilation, which cannot be gained from a traditional glass tank.
Coconut-fiber substrate or cypress mulch will retain humidity, which the dragon needs for survival, and provides a nice "natural" look. Utility matting and moss can also be used. Humidity levels need to remain high, in the 70-75% range. This can be accomplished by misting the cage at least once or twice daily, using a misting system, or covering most of the tank lid with a damp towel.
Running water is crucial to a Mountain Horned Dragon's health. For some reason, these dragons will totally ignore the water in their tank unless it is moving. Easy ways to achieve this effect are by using an aquarium-type "bubbler" stone in their water bowl, or a waterfall-type water bowl. Either way, the bowl should be large enough for the dragon to bathe in. Be sure to clean it daily, as dragons--like many other lizards--tend to defecate in their water bowls.
Mountain Horned Dragons like it warm, but they don't require excessive heat. Daytime temps should range between the upper 70's and low 80's. Nighttime temps should be between 5 and 8 degrees cooler.
Basking is a must! Be sure to provide your dragon with at least one high basking spot. Your UVB light should be outside the cage, and far enough above the basking area that your dragon cannot get burned. Remember, in the wild (living in the canopy of a tropical rainforest), a Mountain Horned Dragons will only get filtered sunlight. But metabolic bone disease (comparable to osteoporosis in humans) can result from a UVB deficiency. So be sure your dragon gets enough ultraviolet light.
Mountain Horned Dragons eat mostly insects, such as superworms, silkworms, and crickets. However, they adore earthworms. Treat your dragon to several small earthworms every week, in addition to its normal diet of crickets. It will be delighted!
Mountain Horned Dragons may resemble "punk iguanas" because of the spikes on their heads, but they are calmer and much easier to handle than their more-common cousins. Their smaller size is also a plus for the reptile lover who wants an iguana, but doesn't want to deal with a temperamental 6' lizard. These exotic dragons are quickly becoming a favorite for everyone who sees them.
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