Blue-tongue Lizard – enclosure
Blue-tongued lizards can be housed in both indoor and outdoor enclosures as long as the enclosure is safe, secure, free from danger of predators and theft and their spatial requirements are met.
Outdoor enclosures are typically larger than indoor enclosures and can be more suitable for multiple lizards. Both outdoor and indoor enclosures must provide the minimum spatial requirements for Blue-tongue lizards and are based on the extended length from snout to tail tip of the longest animal to be housed in the enclosure and written as L.
Enclosures must be no less than 4L2 (2L x 2L) with no dimension less than 0.75L. For example, if a lizard is 20cm in length, the enclosure must be a minimum of 40cm x 40cm.
It is always recommended to provide more space for Blue-tongue lizards if possible so they can move around as they would in their natural habitat. An adult Blue-tongue should never be kept in a tank less than 120cm in length and 60cm wide.
While some species of reptiles must have an appropriate sized enclosure for their current size, adult Blue-tongue-lizards can be kept in a larger enclosure than the minimum requirements state. However, it is preferable that juvenile and small animals are housed in smaller enclosures than larger adult animals.
Large glass aquariums/tanks make suitable indoor enclosures for Blue-tongue lizards. The top of the tank must be securely enclosed to prevent escapes and objects falling into the tank. A metal framework attached to the top of the tank with mesh secured over the frame is recommended. The enclosure must be inside a room that can be secured and locked to prevent escape, theft and attack by predators.
If housed in outdoor enclosures, adult Blue-tongued lizards can be content in a fairly large enclosure that replicates their natural habitat. Outdoor enclosures must be extremely secure as lizards can climb mesh, rocks and branches and other routes to escape. Outdoor enclosures must have a solid base, e.g. concrete and be completely enclosed on the sides. If there is any chance that the sides can be climbed then a roof that allows sunlight in, e.g. wire mesh needs to be fitted. Typical outdoor enclosures are constructed from a solid concrete base and sturdy, fine mesh with at least 2 solid sides. Other enclosures used to house lizards include open topped enclosures with smooth concrete walls that prevent climbing. These types of enclosures however must be within a secure compound and are often more expensive and difficult to construct.
Suitable substrates that can be used on the floor of enclosures include sandy soil, rocks and leaf litter. Glass aquariums can also be lined with paper however a more natural substrate is recommended if possible. The substrate should be kept dry to reduce humidity in the enclosure.
Blue-tongue lizards require plenty of hiding places in their enclosure. Small logs, hollow logs and boxes as well as rocks should be provided in the enclosure to replicate the natural environment. As Blue-tongue lizards climb and dig, it is essential that all furniture within the enclosure is secure and stable. Rocks and logs should be placed on the base of the enclosure rather than on top of the substrate to prevent lizards digging under furniture and causing collapses and injury.
It is also essential to provide a raised basking area under the heat lamp. Flat rocks, logs or other flat objects can be used to create the basking area platform. The rock or platform should be large enough for all lizards within the enclosure to stretch out on and large enough so that the lizards can also move to the edge of the basking area, away from the direct heat to find an appropriate temperature. The heat lamp should be placed to one side of the basking rock and the rock should be big enough so that lizards can choose to lay directly under the heat or to the side in a cooler area.