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Top 11 Reptile Recommendations To Keep in a Paludarium

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Most people picture a desert or jungle environment when they think of reptile habitats. However, some pet reptiles can adapt to a temperate environment, commonly referred to as a paludarium.

Here are the top 11 reptile recommendations to keep in a paludarium:

  1. Baby American alligator
  2. Baby Asian water monitor
  3. Baby Black-Throated monitor
  4. Blue-tongued skink 
  5. Common leopard gecko 
  6. Crested gecko
  7. Corn snake
  8. Bearded dragon
  9. The red-footed tortoise
  10. Red-tailed boa
  11. Green iguana

Many reptile owners consider building a paludarium for their pets as it provides their reptile with the benefits of both an aquatic and terrestrial environment. Read on as I discuss the reptiles that can thrive in a paludarium.

1. Baby American Alligator

  • Typical size: 8.2–11.2 feet (2.6–3.4 meters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: The length and width should be at least twice the length and width of the alligator. The depth of the enclosure should be at least thrice the alligator’s length.
  • Feeding habit: Carnivorous
  • Temperature range: 82–92°F (28–33°C)
  • Life expectancy: 35–50 years

The first on the list is the baby American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). This reptile can grow up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) long and live for 35 to 50 years.

If you decide to keep a baby American alligator in your paludarium, ensure the enclosure has a basking area and a water area where baby alligators can swim and soak in.

Also, give the baby alligators a large area to explore, as they have very high energy levels. As long as you provide them with enough space and appropriate conditions for their habitat, these little reptiles will be able to live happily in this type of environment.

Caveat: It would help to note that it’s illegal to keep an alligator as a pet in most states in the US. States that allow residents to keep this reptile include Florida, Wisconsin, Nevada, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. However, be sure to check for the relevant requirements with the authorities before keeping this animal in your paludarium. 

In addition, it would be best to increase the size of the paludarium or surrender the pet to your county once it grows too big.

Recommended diet: Water, fish, snakes, turtles, frogs, snails, and birds

2. Baby Asian Water Monitor

  • Typical size: 4–8 feet (1.2–2.4 meters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 36 x 30 x 24 inches (91 x 76 x 61 centimeters) for hatchlings and 8 x 8 x 8 feet (2.4 x 2.4 x 2.4 meters) for adults
  • Feeding habit: Hypercarnivorous (eats other animals and their eggs)
  • Temperature range: 74–150° F (23–66°C)
  • Life expectancy: 15–20 years

Next on the list is the baby Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator). They’re known to be the largest lizards in Asia. Wouldn’t it be fun having one of these little guys in your paludarium?

A crucial thing you should keep in mind is that they can grow up to 8 feet (2.4 m) long, so make sure to have enough space for this animal. Also, monitor the temperature closely because these lizards are sensitive to temperature changes.

Another thing to be aware of is that they can live up to 20 years, so think about whether you’d want an animal living with you for that long. If yes, then go on ahead! If not, skip this reptile on the list and choose one that won’t live as long.

Recommended diet: Water, crickets, roaches, and calcium/Vitamin D supplement (for the baby Asian water monitor – I recommend this Fluker’s Calcium Reptile Supplement from Amazon.com. It comes with added Vitamin D3 for healthy growth); poultry, rodents, and fish (for yearling monitors).

3. Baby Black-Throated Monitor

  • Typical size: 7 feet (2.1 meters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 8 x 8 x 8 feet (2.4 x 2.4 x 2.4 meters) 
  • Feeding habit: Hypercarnivorous (eats other animals and their eggs)
  • Temperature range: 130–150° F (54–66°C)
  • Life expectancy: 20+ years

The next reptile on the list is the baby black-throated monitor (Varanus albigularis). This lizard originates from Australia and New Guinea. They can grow up to 7 feet long (2.1 m) and live up to 25 years, so once again, make sure there’s enough room for this animal.

Other considerations are daily temperature fluctuations, specific dietary needs, and enclosure security. Once you’ve considered all these factors and believe you can provide for this lizard’s needs, then feel free to welcome it into your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, rodents, eggs, fish, insects, lizards, snakes, and birds

4. Blue-Tongued Skink 

  • Typical size: 24 inches (60 centimeters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 36 x 18 x 10 inches (91 x 46 x 25 centimeters)
  • Feeding habit: Omnivorous
  • Temperature range: 75–85°F (24–29°C)
  • Life expectancy: 20 years

Another reptile that would be very comfortable in a paludarium is the blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua scincoides). These lizards can grow up to 24 inches (60 cm) feet long and live for up to 20 years.

You should carefully monitor the temperature of their environment because they’re sensitive to changes in temperature. Also, their enclosure should have appropriate security measures to protect them from predators or other dangerous animals.

If you’re willing to provide all of the needs of this lizard, then it would be a great addition to your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, berries, snails, flowers, worms, fruits, insects

5. Common Leopard Gecko

  • Typical size: 7–11 inches (18–28 centimeters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 24 x 16 x 12 inches (60 x 40 x 30 centimeters)
  • Feeding habit: Carnivorous
  • Temperature range: 80–95°F (24–35°C)
  • Life expectancy: 10–20 years

One reptile that’s very easy to care for is the common leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). They can grow up to 8 inches (20.32 cm) long and live for 10 to 20 years.

They’re carnivores, so make sure to provide them with the right food in their enclosure. Also, they can drop their tails when frightened, so take precautions when handling them; they may lash out. If you can offer all of their needs in an enclosure, then they’d very much enjoy living in a paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, crickets, small locusts, Dubia cockroaches, and mealworms

6. Crested Gecko

  • Typical size: 6–10 inches (15–25 centimeters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 12 x 24 x 24 inches (30 x 60 x 60 centimeters)
  • Feeding habit: Omnivorous
  • Temperature range: 70–82°F (21–28°C)
  • Life expectancy: 15–20 years

Next on the list is another reptile that’s easy to care for: the crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus). This lizard can grow up to 8.5 inches (20.32 cm) long and live up to 20 years.

It’s essential to provide them with the proper humidity, temperature, and dietary needs because they’re susceptible to environmental changes. Also, check often for any signs of illness or injury because these lizards are prone to sickness.

If you can provide for this lizard’s needs, then it would be an enjoyable addition to your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, waxworms, Dubia cockroaches, crickets, mealworms, banana, peach, apricot

7. Corn Snake

  • Typical size: 5 feet (1.5 meters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 48 x 12 x 16 inches (1.22 x 30 x 41 centimeters)
  • Feeding habit: Carnivorous
  • Temperature range: 75–85°F (24–29°C)
  • Life expectancy: 10–15 years

Here comes another excellent reptile for the list: the corn snake (Elaphe guttata). They come in many different colors and can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) long. Even though they aren’t venomous, they have a large mouth containing sharp teeth, so handling them with care is essential.

However, they’re relatively easy to care for and can live for more than 15 years if properly cared for. Keep them at the appropriate temperature, be sure to often check for any health problems, and make sure to secure their enclosure.

If you can offer all of this for your corn snake, it would make a great addition to your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, small rodents, lizards, frogs, poultry

8. Bearded Dragon

  • Typical size: 18–22 inches (46–56 centimeters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 4 x 2 x 2 feet (1.22 x 0.61 x 0.61 meters)
  • Feeding habit: Omnivorous
  • Temperature range: 75–85°F (24–29°C)
  • Life expectancy: 4–10 years

Next on the list is another common, easy-to-care-for reptile: the bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). They can grow up to 22 inches (56 cm) long and live up to 10 years.

This lizard needs a spacious enclosure because they’re active lizards. Be sure to provide them with the right temperature, humidity, and dietary needs and monitor their health closely because they’re prone to illness.

If you can offer all of these needs, this lizard would be a great addition to your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Salad (greens), vegetables, water, beetles, small lizards

Caution: Avoid feeding the bearded dragon cabbage, kale, chard, broccoli, spinach, and parsley since they can cause bone disease or reduce thyroid function to your lizard.

9. The Red-Footed Tortoise

  • Typical size: 11.25–13.5 inches (46–56 centimeters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 6 x 4 x 16 feet (1.83 x 1.22 x 4.88 meters)
  • Feeding habit: Herbivorous
  • Temperature range: 75–95°F (24–35°C)
  • Life expectancy: 50 years

One fascinating reptile that would love living in a paludarium is the red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria). They can live up to 50 years and grow up to 13.5 inches (56 cm) long.

They’re herbivores, so be sure to offer them a leafy diet in their enclosure. Also, they have very thick shells that protect them from predators, but you should still monitor your paludarium for any dangers because they can’t regenerate lost limbs.

If you can meet the needs of this tortoise, then it would make a great addition to your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, leaves, grasses, fruits, invertebrates

10. Red-Tailed Boa

  • Typical size: 8 feet (2.4 meters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 8 x 3 x 3 feet (2.4 x 0.9 x 0.9 meters)
  • Feeding habit: Carnivorous
  • Temperature range: 75–95°F (24–35°C)
  • Life expectancy: Up to 40 years under human care

The red-tailed boa (Boa constrictor imperator) is another reptile that would love living in a paludarium. They can live up to 40 years and grow up to 8 feet long (2.4 m).

They’re carnivores, so they need meaty foods like rodents, chickens, or fish in their enclosure. Also, it would be best if you offered them hides and other sleeping areas to rest because they’re more nocturnal than diurnal.

If you can provide all of these needs, rest assured that this snake will enjoy living in your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, rodents, chicken, fish, snakes, lizards

11. Green Iguana

  • Typical size: 6.6 feet (2 meters)
  • Recommended enclosure size: At least 7 x 7x 7 feet (2.1 x 2.1 x 2.1 meters)
  • Feeding habit: Herbivorous
  • Temperature range: 75–95°F (24–35°C)
  • Life expectancy: 20 years

Next on the list is another reptile that’s easy to care for: the green iguana (Iguana iguana). They can grow up to 6.6 feet (2 m) long and live up to 20 years.

Although they’re excellent swimmers, these lizards are herbivores, so be sure to offer them a plant-based diet in their enclosure. Also, make sure that there are plenty of branches and climbing areas for them to explore and stretch their legs.

If you can provide all of this, this iguana would be a great addition to your paludarium!

Recommended diet: Water, collard greens, alfalfa, arugula, chicory

Caveat: The green iguana is a very delicate animal. Therefore, you should be extra cautious when keeping it as a pet. Be sure to consult a herpetologist on the Do’s and don’ts of petting this reptile. Here’s an exciting video that will come in handy when taking care of your iguana:

Sources

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