You can start with the minimum of a 20-gallon long tank (30″W x 12″D x 12″H) for dragons up to 12″ long. This provides enough length so that the end opposite their basking area (115-120°F) will be about 80°F; allowing the dragon to self-thermogate. After the dragon reaches 12″, we recommend a minimum of a 40-gallon breeder tank’s size (36″W x 18″D x 16″H). Therefore, unless you already have a suitable habitat, it makes more economic sense to simply go with a cage the size of a 40-gallon breeder tank from the beginning!
You can try to locate a 40-gallon breeder tank at Petsmart or Petco; tank $140 and screen top $20. Or you can buy a Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Large 36Lx18Wx18H with front door access, if you are at one of the reptile shows that we do throughout the year or you may purchase one through our website to Amazon.com.
Beware of cages with limited ventilation
They make it almost impossible to provide the temperature gradient that your dragon needs to self-thermogate. The habitat either gets too hot, or the basking spot will not be the correct temperature (not hot enough).
Babies up to 12″ long; nose to tail
You will need at least a 20L glass tank; 30″W x 12″D x 12″H. If you already have a larger tank then it can be partitioned off to make a smaller space for the small dragon until it gains size. There are several reasons that a small home is best to start with. First it makes it easier for your little one to find and catch its food. Second your little one can find its basking spot with ease. Third it makes it easier for you to catch the leftover food and remove them before bedtime.
We also suggest that you keep your young dragon’s home simple. Just a basking rock or limb, maybe a hammock. This gives the dragon’s food less places to hide so your dragon can catch it. Also this way your dragon can find its basking spot with ease; getting the heat and UVB light it needs to process its food. You do not want to provide your young one with places to hide initially, for they may chose them instead of basking in the light needed for growth. So with a small area and not too many items in the home your dragon can get all it needs and not feel overwhelmed. Tanks should be longer rather than higher to provide the most footpath you can for your pet.
Juveniles, 12″ or longer and Adults
The larger the footpath and space you can give your dragon the better once they reach this size. They should have a minimum of a 40 gallon tank to live in; 36″W x 18″D x 16″H. We use a 36″W x 24″D x 18″H cage. Glass tanks are fine, however to be sure not to use wood, plastic or any other solid material for the top. Screen is the best for ventilation and allowing the most light possible into the home. You don’t want to allow too much humidity in the home as it is not healthy for your dragon. We offer several sizes of custom cages on our Products for Sale website page. The most popular sizes for dragons are the 36Lx18Wx18H, the 36Lx24Wx18H and the 48Lx18Wx18H. Their design has evolved over the years and we hope you will appreciate the level of features and quality that is now offered.
Building your own enclosures is also an option; using plexi-glass, wood and screen; I built some of mine. Some people think dragons do better with limited vision outside their habitat. I think they are right. When I first started with dragons, I felt it was better for them to see out of all sides of their houses. Over time I learned that they seemed to be more stressed seeing out of all sides. They also see more reflections which they think are other dragons. Also the shadows created remind them of birds flying over, also stressing them out. This additional stress can lead them to not eating as well as
they should. We have found that seeing out of one side seems to be the most comfortable for them. They are still able to see us, without worrying about predators.
When housing small dragons, they can be grouped together. But once they reach a sexable age, males should be moved out and housed alone. Females can normally be housed together as long as you are sure they’re each provided a place to bask. Also make sure they are close to the same size. Smaller dragons will not eat or will eat very little, if housed with larger dragons. They have a social structure of dominate and submissive. You have to make sure the home is large enough for those housed there.
Two girls can be housed together in a 40-gallon breeder size tank, but we prefer the extra space provided by our Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium, Large Deep 36Lx24Wx18H. It offers them 33% more space so they both have plenty of room.
I think if the girls live together from the time they are young, as they grow older they will keep living together with ease. If you are going to add an adult girl in with another, watch them. Make sure they are not head bobbing at each other or that one does not go hide, not coming out. If this happens they will need to be housed separately.
If you don’t provide a basking area for each dragon, or a large enough basking area, they will pile onto each other under the one provided. When this happens the girl on bottom is not receiving the heat and light she needs to be healthy. I always say if in doubt, ask questions and go with the safer option for your dragon’s sake.