Mountain Dragon Pride of Our Day


New Member
Hi Aussie Pythons,

We are very new to reptile keeping, also new to forums and discussion such as this, but we've recently caught (accidently) a young male (?) Mountain Dragon. He is the love of our life... already. We have our DPIWE permit, and the great advice of our local pet supply place, but not a lot else in terms of information or support for their particular needs. I guess we will learn as we go along.

Currently he is housed in a small tank with natural sand substrate, scoria rocks at one end, sphagnum moss at the other, a screen mesh lid, a hygrometer, a generous misting of rain water when required, milk bottle water dish and enjoying a lavish diet of approx. 6 live crickets a day, plus occasional small grasshopper and he's being rotated to a sunnier spot on the deck for the afternoon sunshine. What a life!

Yesterday we cleaned out the tank, and obviously - it was quite stressful for him, being handled is not ideal - invoking natural defence response ie biting... Does anyone have any tips for how best to manage taking him out without undue trauma? Also, realistically… how often do people actually clean out their tanks?? I am feeding with tweezers (loves it) and consequently not much food is being wasted. Once a fortnight? Not sure...

Also worth mentioning a bug called Salmonella Mississippi - very prevalent in rural Tassie - transmitted by skinks, also currawongs and possums. I contracted this from handling garden variety skinks and ended up in hospital - hand hygiene is paramount after playing with these delightful little critters.

Thanks for the great site everyone - I will "try" and upload a photo of our "Wendy the Wizard" at some point.

Have a beautiful day


Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
Congratulations and welcome to the reptile enthusiasts community. Like any caged pet, keeping gives you access on a regular basis that you would not have otherwise. Done well, keeping is also beneficial to the animal – removing the threats faced in nature of starvation, dehydration, predation, disease and natural disasters such as bushfires and floods. I personally have a preference for naturalistic cages to provide environmental enrichment and allow more natural behaviours, but that’s up to the individual.

There are numerous old threads available on Mountain Dragons but they vary in worth. The one I recommend is: The best care sheet I could locate on the net is on the “The Australian Bearded Dragon Forum” entitled “Mountain Dragon Care Sheet”. There are a couple of worth-watching YouTube episodes entitled: “NEW REPTILES! Mountain Heath Dragons” and “Mountain Dragon Enclosure Build! (DIY Rock Wall)”. Probably the best and most current book available on their care is: “A Guide to Australian Dragons in Captivity” by Danny Brown RRP $65.00. Danny is a vet by trade and a member of this forum and his book is available from and can be viewed at his website “”.

Just a couple of questions to be on the safe side. What do you understand about the needs lizards have for UVB and are you aware that almost all of it absorbed by glass or plastic such as Perspex? Secondly, what do you know about the potential effects of ambient temperatures from 35 to 40 plus Celsius on reptiles?


New Member
Thanks Bluetongue1,

I am a complete novice when it comes to these things so thanks you so much for your interest and concern. It is so hard to find reputable information, but the tips you've provided look really good. I have much to learn, but my animals always come first, such is my level of responsibility!

I did not know that UVB is absorbed by glass. I have a UVB lamp, but I wasn't planning to set it up until the winter months, thinking that our lovely sunshine would be enough, so now I will rethink that idea. We have recently obtained a huge (4ft long and heavy!) glass tank that we are now trying to find space for somewhere. This will become the main enclosure and like you I prefer the naturalistic look and approach for sure. Plenty to do and lots of rocks and places to hide. Ambient temperatures are a bit of a concern with an indoor set up. I guess it is a very real risk that the lizard could bake? I suppose it is best to try and think like the animal to ascertain what its ideal requirement would be. When we set up our big tank, this will be another consideration.

I am also wondering about dormancy vs keeping them awake?? I don't know - but here it gets super cold in winter - naturally they must enter a state of dormancy to survive this time. Is it best to replicate this process if possible? Or does torpor lessen the life span. Don't know.

Anyway thanks heaps for your suggestions Bluetongue1 - off I go now to do some more reading and research!

Cheers Flyfisher.


Can you up load photos of the tank and the current lighting ( basking globe, UV globe or tube ) and tell us the brands of the lights and the distances from the UV light to the basking spot ( useful to help experienced people guide you on the correct UVA and UVB flux for your dragon to ensure good health).

Please be aware there is a lot of bad information around about lighting is suitable and even what is safe . Mostly advise by petshops and online sellers who want to promote their reboxed homebrand junk.

In brief , if the UV lighting is NOT carrying the following brands = Arcadia Reptile , Exo Terra , or Zoo Med , then it's a Chinese made clone and at best very suss wrt quality of the UV spectrum ( your dragon needs UVA and UVB ) , the quality of quartz used in the globe or tube ( clones don't use premium quality quartz or have much or any in the way of quality control ) .
Better off spending a bit extra to get the best quality lighting than trying to save a few $ and ruing the decision at leisure. If the seller tries to tell their cheaper home brand is just as good as the better brands of UV lighting , you know they are lying.

If you have access to a library ( I think the book is currently out of print ??) , ask the librarian to get hold of A Guide to Australian Dragons In Captivity ( Dr.D.Brown ) ISBN10 0987244728 , the librarian can source the book via an interlibrary loan, and you might be able to access it via Kindle
it's a very good reference and has guidance for Mountain Dragons.
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New Member
Hello Nuttylizardguy,

I am not yet very good at uploading photos.... But, I will get there!

So currently, I have the lizard in a small fish tank (14 x 8 x10) which I can move around the house to sunny spots. It is way too small, but we are progressing towards setting up our decent sized four foot length, 18inch high tank, and intend putting up an Exo Terra light dome with a 50 w UVB bulb. I set it up today for a while, and the attachments are all very mismatched and the instructions are confusing. Anyway. We will work it out.

What do you suggest the ideal distance would be between globe and basking spot? I really don't want to hurt the little creature... And I know I was taking a gamble on buying what I did, but I'm okay with sourcing the right gear - just need a bit of help working through this.
Thanks for your advice and lending a hand to this newbie!


Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
@Flyfisher, There are commercially produced net enclosures available from various pet supplies outlets that keep reptiles secure while allowing them access to natural UVB in sunlight. The netting used is plastic, rather than metal, so that the animals do not injure their snouts if they try to get out. Alternatively, you can DIY one. It can be as simple as the cut-off base of a reasonable sized cardboard carton, with a screen top across it. As a the mesh is on the top, it can either plastic or metal of appropriate size. Irrespective of what you use, a cool shaded retreat must always be available to the lizard whilst using it.
[doublepost=1581566175,1581505030][/doublepost]A heat lamp needs to be well out of reach of the lizard’s jumping range, or with an appropriate sized guard around it. You then determine the wattage needed to keep the basking spot at the required temperature. If using a thermostat to control heating, bear in mind that they can sometimes fail. Given this it is wise to use the minimum wattage required for adequate heating. Note that an appropriate sized guard is one that you can stay touching for 15 to 20 sec or so once the globe has heated up. A good mate named it "the touch test”.

The distance to a separate UV bulb of suitable strength is normally around 25cm +/- 5cm. If you buy one it will have instructions on the box.
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