The docility, wonderful temperament, and easy maintenance of mountain horned dragon lizards make them great starter critters. These easily tamable reptiles can reach to a length of about one foot. In terms of appearance, these lizards have a gray background color with reddish or orange markings. Some even have yellow markings. However, the different types of lizards vary in color.
They also have large distinguishable spines present on the nape and smaller spines adorning the rest of the back till the tail. These lizards hail from the deep rain forests of Burma, Thailand, Southern Vietnam, Northern Malaysian Peninsula, and Cambodia, where high humidity levels reign. Mountain horned lizards need high humidity for survival, so it's no surprise why they are found in the deep rain forests.
Mountain Horned Dragon Care
If you are planning to get one as a pet, you need to equip yourself with the necessary essential information.
Since MHDs are arboreal lizards, they love climbing and perching on high branches. Thus, while considering a terrarium consider its height. The terrarium should be 8" high x 36" wide x 18" deep. These lizards need plenty of branches, aligned vertically to simulate their natural habitat. This kind of natural habitat resemblance makes the lizard feel secure. For the substrate you can use soil or mulch. Coconut fibers used as substrate are good as they retain humidity.
Humidity, Temperature, and Lighting
Maintaining a temperature range of 65-75ºC during day time is ideal for the lizard. At night, the temperature range should be around 55-65ºC. Since MHDs require high humidity levels for survival, it is important to maintain humidity levels within the range of 70-75%. You can achieve this by misting the terrarium one or two times a day using a misting system. If you do not have a misting system, cover the tank lid with a damp towel. However, one has to take extra precaution in order to keep molds away. Besides providing mist, the terrarium needs proper ventilation to evaporate moisture constantly. Moreover, since these lizards enjoy basking, you need to provide a UVB light outside the terrarium. It should be positioned far enough, so as to prevent our pet from getting burned.
Mountain Horned Dragon Food
Mountain horned dragons lap up almost any kind of live insect they come across during daylight hours. Generally they feed on insects like earthworms, grasshoppers, mealworms, silkworms, crickets, etc. While breeding these lizards in captivity you should get various insects besides the standard one available at pet shops. This will furnish the lizard with trace minerals. Dust all the insects with vitamin or calcium powder before feeding. MHDs need moving water. They will simply ignore stagnant water in a bowl. To prevent them from dehydrating, you need to get an aquarium-type 'bubbler' stone in their water bowl. This will provide constantly moving water. Don't forget that these lizards need large water bowls in which they can soak themselves, so get bowls according to the size of your pet.
Mountain horned dragons make lovely pets. Their gentle, docile nature lures one instantly towards them. However, most of these MHDs available in pet stores today are caught from the wild, carry several parasites, are weak, and appear stressed. Moreover, the females often end up dying shortly after laying eggs. Bring one home only if you are prepared to provide the adequate love and care this lizard needs.