Monitor lizards are known for their prehistoric appearance and fascinating personality. These large and active reptiles make for great pets for those who have the space and time to care for them properly. One important aspect of caring for a monitor lizard is providing them with a suitable enclosure that mimics their natural habitat. This is where a bioactive enclosure comes in. In this article, we will discuss the process of setting up a bioactive enclosure for a monitor lizard that uses isopods.
What is a Bioactive Enclosure?
A bioactive enclosure is a unique and naturalistic approach to reptile keeping that involves creating a self-sustaining ecosystem within the enclosure. This ecosystem includes plants, microorganisms, and other small animals that work together to maintain a healthy environment for the reptile. Bioactive enclosures provide a more natural and enriching environment for the reptile in captivity.
Why Use Isopods?
Isopods, also known as pill bugs, woodlice, or sow bugs, are small crustaceans that are commonly found in leaf litter and soil in natural ecosystems. They are great additions to bioactive enclosures as they help to break down organic matter, control pest populations, and improve soil quality. Isopods are also a great source of nutrition for monitor lizards as they are high in calcium and other essential minerals.
Setting up a Bioactive Enclosure for a Monitor Lizard Using Isopods
Step 1: Selecting the Enclosure
The first step in setting up a bioactive enclosure for a monitor lizard is selecting the enclosure itself. The enclosure should be large enough to accommodate the size of the monitor lizard and provide plenty of space for the plants, microorganisms, and isopods to thrive. A general rule of thumb is to provide at least 1.5 times the length of the lizard and at least 2 feet in height.
Step 2: Substrate
The substrate is the material that lines the bottom of the enclosure. For a bioactive enclosure, a substrate made up of a combination of organic matter, such as coconut coir or peat moss, and inorganic matter, such as sand or pumice, is recommended. This substrate provides an ideal environment for the plants, microorganisms, and isopods to thrive.
Step 3: Adding Plants
Plants are an essential component of a bioactive enclosure. They help to maintain humidity levels, provide hiding places for the lizard, and encourage the growth of beneficial microorganisms. Plants such as pathos, bromeliads, and spider plants are great choices for a monitor lizard enclosure as they are hardy and easy to care for.
Step 4: Introducing Isopods
Once the enclosure has been set up with substrate and plants, it's time to introduce the isopods. A good starting population is about 10-15 isopods per square foot of enclosure space. Isopods can be purchased from Postpods, pet stores or online and should be added to the enclosure in small groups over a period of several days to allow them to acclimate to their new environment.
Step 5: Feeding and Maintenance
As the isopods establish themselves in the enclosure, their population will grow and they will begin to play an integral role in maintaining the health of the enclosure. In addition to providing a source of nutrition for the monitor lizard, isopods will help to break down waste material, control pest populations, and improve soil quality. The enclosure will require minimal maintenance beyond regular feeding and cleaning of the monitor lizard's waste.
Setting up a bioactive enclosure for a monitor lizard using isopods is a great way to provide a natural and enriching environment for your pet. With the right substrate, plants, and isopods, you can create a self-sustaining ecosystem that benefits both the lizard and the environment. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a bioactive enclosure that will provide your monitor lizard with a healthy and stimulating living space.