If you have a "Herp" related question, (feeding, care, lighting, heating, ect.) We will post the question and answers here. You can summit your questions at the bottom of this page using the form.
uch really anything else other than the crickets. I put fresh greens(kale) in for him daily but he does not seem to go for them. 2. My local pet store seems to be very knowledgeable with beardies and told me i should consider a infrared l
QUESTION-I was wondering the most fitable reptile to start a breeding program. Im also, going to start a business with them.
ANSWER-Good for you! More pet keepers should try their hand at pairing up and reproducing the herps in their care. These animals entire lives are based on the drive to recruit and reproduce the next generation. Female herps of many species frequently die of reproductive system failure because their keepers did not allow them to do the one job that mother nature requires - make babies! I applaud you efforts, go for it.
The easiest answer to your excellent question is to work with whatever species interests you the most. I am a firm believer that folks put the most time, effort and care into the animals that truly captivate them. However, in our current economic and political climate, we must consider the other factors that must be overcome in order to realize success. To that end, I would modify my original answer and advise you to work with animals that interest you, are legal to possess, breed and sell, have a viable market, and fall within your skill set as a keeper.
We have already covered the first factor, so assuming you are considering a species that you have a great interest or passion for, I would check your state and national regs to make sure that working with your critters of choice will not cause you any legal hassles. The animal police keep a close eye on the on-line classifieds and are more than willing to set up and take down folks whose business practices take them beyond the boundaries of the law. Don't do it, it isn't worth it.
The next factor to consider is the potential market for any offspring that you produce. These days there are many outlets for quality excess offspring and your choices range from the previously mentioned on-line classifieds, to local pet shops, to national wholesale outlets. However, even with all of these options, you must still consider if people will want to buy the species that you are offering, at least at a level that will allow you to earn enough profit to stay in business. While all herp species are great, many don't generate enough interest in the captive bred market to warrant the space, time and money that a focused breeding program will require. Savannah monitors are a great example. While they are an awesome species, there is simply not enough interest in captive bred savs to make it worth your while, as anyone with access to a computer can find them for little more than $10.00 each as imports. Even if you are in the honorable and valued business of creating and disseminating life, you will quickly fail if you are unable to both find homes for your babies and pay the very real hard costs of producing and caring for offspring and breeding stock.
Finally, you must ask yourself if you have the experience, skill and financial wherewithal to actually produce the species that you are setting out to. Decisions based solely on good intentions die hard and quickly in herpetoculture. One must have the skill to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling, so to speak. I would not advise anyone with limited experience to jump into a project with a rare or complex taxon. Luck happens, but not with any consistency in this business. You must understand the basics of good husbandry, reproductive cycles, gestational care, egg incubation and care of neonates before you begin. Reading is great, but it doesn't hold a candle to real-time experience with live animals. Do some leg-work and find out who the players are in your field and model their successes while at the same time recognize where failure can get you. Start off modestly and build your collection and your business as you gain confidence and experience. Buy the best stock you can afford as the best parents usually create the best babies, and the best babies sell...well, the best. Most importantly, make integrity your primary goal and make sure all of your customers are satisfied, even if their satisfaction means that you have to replace animals or money. That is how a good name in this business is made and kept. Good luck.
QUESTION-First, I would like to know the most effective/nutritious foods to feed it. Also what do I do when the turtle starts shedding or peeling? How much water should be kept in the aquarium and is it necessary to have a dry area for the turtle as well?
ANSWER-Painted turtles are a very commonly kept species and they are relatively easy to care for as long as a few simple rules are followed. First however, I must advise you that the NY DEC does not allow the keeping of any native reptiles or amphibians without a state issued permit, so please make every effort to assure that your turtle is being kept legally.
Painted turtles thrive in conditions that include a sizable cage for swimming and basking, clean water and a hot area to dry off and achieve operating temperatures. I have found that concrete mixing tubs sold at any of the home improvement stores make great, inexpensive turtle enclosures. They are sturdy and provide a large, usable area in which your painter can bask and swim. Add to that a good power filter to keep the water clean between weekly water changes and a large, secure basking platform on which the turtle will dry off and get warm and you've got your set-up. The basking area is critical, as the heat it provides will allow your turtle to digest food, maintain its immune system, and kill any pathogens on the shell or skin. This platform should be heated by a small floodlight (45-50w)which will allow the basking area to achieve a temperature of at least 100F. The area heated by the bulb (the sweet spot) should be at least the diameter of the turtle's shell. Without a hot, dry basking area, painteds, as well as most aquatic turtles, will quickly succumb to bacterial or fungal infections. The shedding of the large, outer shell scutes that you mentioned is the first sign that your turtle is not being allowed to get hot enough. In the summer, a hot basking area is easily achieved by maintaining your turtle outside, in a secure area. Remember however that if you maintain your turtle outdoors, you must also assure that the animal has access to shade. This can be achieved by covering half of the cage. In the cooler months, supplemental heat must be provided or your turtle will suffer. This is not optional.
Luckily, painted turtles are generalist feeders that will do well with a broad diet that includes aquatic plants such as anacharis (found in any tropical fish store or water garden shop), earthworms, snails, fish, crickets, or thawed pink mice. I have personally found that feeding fish fouls the water more quickly and drastically than other protein sources and makes maintenance a greater hassle than it needs to be. Earthworms are like prime rib to turtles and they do very well on this complete food source. You may certainly feed any of the prepared, commercial turtle foods, but I would advise against making these products the sole diet, as they are not a true complete food like a whole animal would be.
Enjoy your painted turtle! They are a very beautiful and easy to care for species that thrives in captivity as long as they can swim in clean water, bask on a hot platform and enjoy a complete diet. Good luck!
QUESTION- I have searched every avenue to get clear defined answers about breeding reptiles. I was wondering what licensing or permits are required to breed and sell reptiles in NY?
ANSWER-Congrats on your decision to look into a breeding project. NYS wildlife laws can essentially be divided into three caterories of animals that would be off-limits for a captive breeding project.
The first of which are herps that are indiginous to the state. If they live here, you can't legally keep them without a permit. Permits are perportedly given for a very few research projects and would likely not be granted to you for a for-profit venture...so forget about anything that calls NYS home.
Next on the do not keep list are animals that are considered venomous. You are not allowed to persue any venomous project without a state sanctioned permit. These permits are also not acquired with ease. When our state venomous laws first took effect, all you really had to do was fill out an application, pay the fee and an annual permit was granted. Those days are gone.
Finally, are the restricted reptiles that NYS recently prohibited because of their dangerous size or attributes, such as Burmese, Indian, reticulated, African rock, and scrub pythons. All anacondas are also included on the list of large constrictors. Crocodile, Nile, white and black throat monitors are also included, as well as all crocodilians, and the alligator snapping turtle.
Most other herps are allowed, as far as the state is concerned. However, check with your local municipality for specific local laws.
Seriously, even considering all of these state road-blocks, these are still several thousand reptiles and amphibians that you can legally work with in NYS. Choose animals that are not over-represented in the hobby yet still maintain great appeal for you. Good luck.
Question: Hi I ordered a snake rack from AP. I have two corns and two ball pythons. I was wondering if I could keep them in the same snake rack. Because of their temperature differences. I really hope I can. But if so, do I need two different thermostats? Also I was wondering which thermostat is the best? Thank you. Also I was thinking about joining the herp society. I was wondering what do I get out of joining? Besides meeting amazing people :)
Anwser: Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, you can absolutley keep corn snakes and ball pythons in the same rack. I have been keeping a variety of pythons and kingsnakes in the same racks for decades. All snakes essentially want the same thing: appropriate food and clean water; the ability to choose the temperatures that they need to accomplish specific tasks (digestion, shedding, reproduction); humid, but dry cage conditions; and most of all security. If you provide these big 4, you can keep most snakes in very similar conditions, including both boids (boas and pythons) and colubrids (kings, rats, pines, hognose, etc.)
The biggest concern that most hobbyists have when contemplating housing multiple species in similar conditions are percieved differences in temperature requirements. The truth is that most snakes are comfortable when provided with similar temperature choices. Basically, if most of the cage has an air temperature similar to that which most people would find comfortable, most snakes will be comfortable as well. My personal cool baseline has always been in the high 60s to low 70s F. However, these ambient temps are balanced by a constant hot spot of 90-100F. This basking area can be achieved with heating tape or cable in a rack set-up. The general rule of thumb for basking spots is that the snake should have the ability to warm its entire body up to operating temps quickly. In order for this to occur, basking areas should be able to fit the animal from the snout to vent area. Many snakes often choose to bask with only a small portion of the body in contact with heat, but they should always have the ability to fit most of their mass in the basking area at once. Snakes will go back and forth between the cool side and the basking spot frequently. Observation of this behavior reveals that the animal is utilizing its options effectively. If a snake sits on/under a basking spot for days on end, the keeper can assume that the cage is a bit too cool for its inhabitant's liking, or the animal is digesting, gestating or prepaing to shed. Conversely, if an animal hugs the cool wall or water bowl the keeper should assume that the animal is uncomfortably warm, unless it is preparing for breeding, as females often hug water dishes when growing ovarian follicles which will become eggs.
In short, give these animals choices and they will successfully regulate and choose the temperatures that they need. I have personally used Ranco on-off thermostats for my racks and incubators. I have also used many pulse-proportional thermostats as well, but they offer no practical benefit to the keeper or kept in my experience.
Join the herp club, not only for its friendly, helpful and knowlegeable membership, but also for the networking options, and unity that such an established organization provides. Membership in a local herp society gives keepers a voice and strength that individual keepers simply do not have. Forces are aligning against us herpers and we need to stand united in order to maintain our rights to keep and learn from these most amazing of creatures. Supporting your local herp society is a solid step in that direction. Join, you won't be sorry. Thanks.
Question: Can the water for red-eared sliders be softened using freshwater aquarium salt. The VERY hard water in our area is ruining my tank and the turtles can barely be seen through the mineral deposits.
Answer: Wow, that is some hard water! I have kept turtles in our mineral rich, WNY water for decades and have never had deposits impede viewing. Although, I routinely added oak and maple leaves to my turtle water for cover and their acidic qualities. So that may have softened my water inadvertently as well. One just has to get used to tea-colored water.
Although some species prefer specific water conditions, your red-eared slider is a hardy generalist that will thrive in either hard or soft water, as long as it is clean and the turtle has hot, dry, basking options. I have never used such a product, but if a water softener claims to be safe for fresh water, tropical fish, I would think it would be safe for your red-eared slider. I would just change the conditions gradually, as sudden changes in water chemistry or temperature can be stressful and negatively affect your turtle's immune functions.
In any event, at least you don't have to worry about calcium deficiencies! Good luck.
Question: I am a brand new reptile owner (baby Jackson Chameleon). Have had no luck getting any/enough crix from Petco (an hour away) and when I do get some, the die off immediately. I've made sure they are in a dry environment, at proper temps ( 75-78). Even petco is having trouble keeping their's alive. Do you have any suggestions as to the best place to get healthy ones. I even had 1000 shipped to me fedex overnite, and they all arrived dead.
Crickets can be tricky if don't know their basic requirements. These most popular of feeder insects are ectotherms just like reptiles, and require heat, humidity and security to thrive. In fact, when you keep crickets well, you'll know within a couple weeks, as your cricket enclosure will be filled with their offspring (pinheads). Crickets will desiccate and die in dry conditions and rot and die in wet conditions. However, if you keep them in any number in a large plastic box with limited ventilation, a few inches of slightly moist coco fiber, hiding spots (the egg crate that they are shipped with), offer food (dog food, oatmeal, greens, cereal) and a small light (30w flood), they will thrive until they are fed off. I have kept crickets in this manner for decades with great success.
As for purchasing crickets, I would try buying a box of 1000 again and purchase insurance with the company in order to guarantee live arrival. These folks are professionals and want you to have success with their product, but in order guarantee live arrival, most will require that you pay a bit more for insulated packing supplies. Good luck.
Question: I have an eight year old Russian tortoise that is getting ready to go into hibernation. She is an indoor tortoise. I was wondering what advice/recommendations you could give me to help keep her the most comfortable during this process? Also, how often will I need to feed her? Thanks
Answer: There are two schools of thought on hibernation. One is that hibernation is a necessary requirement for temperate climate animals that allows them to rest and "recharge" for their active season. The other is that hibernation is a strategy that has evolved in order to avoid suboptimal conditions and is not necessary. For what it is worth, I subscribe to the latter theory. I have successfully bred kingsnakes and temperate climate turtles for over 20 years, ten of those have been without hibernation. What I believe is that reptiles need temperature choices that allow them to get cool, but that also allow them to bask at high temperatures if they choose.
However, if you choose to hibernate your Russians, just be aware that the biggest threat to their well being is dehydration. A large mass of substrate, such as a deep pile slightly moist leaf litter will do the trick. I would always offer water, but if conditions are appropriate, there would be no need for your animals to drink. I always preferred to drop temps quickly, but gradual transition from warm to cool will not harm the animals if they are in good physical condition. Hibernation temps should be above 40F, but below sixty, as any temperature above that will allow a higher metabolism that will cause your tortoises to bleed energy and waste valuable bodyfat. Also, most folks hibernate their herps from one to three months. Shorter periods offer no benefit and longer periods only succeed in wasting stored energy that would be used for reproduction following hibernation. Finally, while we call this winter dormancy hibernation, that is not really accurate, as hibernation implies a winter sleep like a bear would experience, but reptiles are in fact awake and aware throughout their winter rest. Brumation is a term that more accurately describes what our herps go through. Good luck.
QUESTION: I have recently become a slave to a baby bearded dragon. I love it. I have been researching them a lot over the last few weeks and i have so many questions that i hope you have the opportunity to address them. 1. Feeding: On average i feed him crickets 2-3 times per day. In a normal feeding he will eat anywhere from 3-6 crickets and they are always dusted with a calcium powder. Is this to much, not enough or just about right? Also he seems to be very picky and wont touch really anything else other than the crickets. I put fresh greens(kale) in for him daily but he does not seem to go for them. 2. My local pet store seems to be very knowledgeable with beardies and told me i should consider a infrared lamp for my beardie for night time especially since the room his tank is in can drop below 65 degrees at night. Well i purchased one for him but am wondering if it is keeping him up at night. I don't hear him moving around but when i go to turn the daytime lights on he is already awake and basking in the infrared lamp. I have read that the red light can keep beardies awake at night, should i switch to a different type of light?
Answer: Congrats on the dragon, I'm glad you realized that you don't own the animal, it owns you. Every herp keeper should feel that way. On to your questions:
1. Feeding: On average i feed him crickets 2-3 times per day. In a normal feeding he will eat anywhere from 3-6 crickets and they are always dusted with a calcium powder. Is this to much, not enough or just about right? Also he seems to be very picky and wont touch really anything else other than the crickets. I put fresh greens(kale) in for him daily but he does not seem to go for them.
A - You should feed him until he is full at every feeding, meaning if he keeps pounding crickets, keep feeding him. In the wild they eat until they are stuffed or run out of prey. Dragons come from hot, hot, hot territory, so your basking options should reflect this. 120 F for babies and 150 F for adults. This will also improve digestion and allow for a strong immune system, a component most captive dragons are lacking. If you are unsure of your temps, get a temp gun. They are cheap and reliable (I just changed the batteries in mine for the first time in 13 years). However you must balance the hot side with a cool escape (70F), if you don't, you will have a crispy dragon. Babies in particular want a mostly carnivorous diet, as it is their goal to grow quickly and get out of the "99% chance of death" stage of life quickly.
2. My local pet store seems to be very knowledgeable with beardies and told me i should consider a infrared lamp for my beardie for night time especially since the room his tank is in can drop below 65 degrees at night. Well i purchased one for him but am wondering if it is keeping him up at night. I don't hear him moving around but when i go to turn the daytime lights on he is already awake and basking in the infrared lamp. I have read that the red light can keep beardies awake at night, should i switch to a different type of light?
A - I leave my lizard light on 24/7 with no worries. If they have adequate, dark hiding areas, a light won't bother them one bit. I stack boards with a lip on them (known as Retes stacks, after their inventor Frank Retes) and the lizards (monitors) get beneath and between them and rest in dark comfort regardless of the time of day. Good luck, enjoy your master.
QUESTION - How do I know the right temp to keep my herps at?
ANSWER--The most accurate answer is that there is no one temperature that reptiles of any species require. All reptiles and amphibians are ectotherms, meaning that they are unable to produce usable heat internally like mammals can. Because of this fact, they must all utilize micro-habitats within their environment that reach or (more typically) exceed the temperatures that they need to digest food, shed, allow eggs to develop, etc.
We as keepers cannot possibly know what these animals need at any given moment, so it is our job to give the critters in our care broad choices so that they are able to select the temperatures that they require at any given time. These choices are often referred to as a temperature gradient, which is a gradual transition from cool to warm across the the horizontal or vertical plane of the enclosure. However, temperature gradients are difficult to achieve in most captive set-ups and are not needed.
What is needed is a large cool area within the cage and a relatively small hot area (generally, just large enough to quickly heat up the entire body of the animal). This is important, because in reality, most herps seek hot temperatures for brief intervals to complete specific tasks and carry out their daily movements in cool areas. Exceptions are when animals are seeking warm temperatures for extended periods of time to heal an injury, digest, shed or to support developing eggs. Extended cool seeking exceptions will be noticed when animals are preparing for reproduction. As sperm die or deform and ovarian follicles don't develop at temperatures that are too great.
We can see examples of heat seeking behavior in wild herps during their active seasons through close observation. Snakes will often bask in the direct sun for short periods of time in the summer and then move on to hunt. We can find snakes under warm cover for longer periods of time during cooler parts of the day or season, when it takes the ground longer to provide them with the temperatures that they need. Turtles are the same way. In the heat of the summer day, they will crawl onto a log and briefly bask, before resuming foraging behavior. But in the morning, late afternoon or spring we may see them basking for longer periods of time while they try to achieve operating temperatures. During cooler times, these animals bask in the open longer because they have to, it is not a choice, it is not safe and it causes them the stress that we should avoid at all costs in captivity.
The type of basking behaviors that we should try to accommodate in captivity are brief periods of warm seeking behavior followed by cool seeking behavior. This is characterized by frequent movement within the cage between warm and cool areas. When this movement is noticed, the keeper has achieved appropriate temperature balance and his or her animals will be able to metabolize food, avoid obesity and carry out life events such as feeding, breeding and shedding. If a herp is sitting on the heat source all day, the heat source is not warm enough. If the animal is hugging the cool side all day or pacing, the cage is too warm overall. These generalizations hold true for all herps from diamond pythons to dart frogs and every species in between.
Depending on the natural metabolism of the animal in question, the highs and lows will vary, but the range should be wide for all species. All snakes will select and use temperatures between 60 and 100 F. All monitors will select and use temps between 70 and 150F. Dart frogs have successfully utilized temps in my terrariums between 65 and 90F. Turtles will select and use temps between 60 and 110.
Even though we cannot have a temperature gradient reflecting these ranges in our cages, we can have a hot spot that reaches the upper range and a large enough cool section to choose safe resting ares under cover. Generally, the less experience a keeper has, the greater the range he or she should offer. Once a keeper reaches a greater experience level, these ranges can be reduced slightly. Because once we get a better feel for the animal's needs, we can customize our enclosures and choices more appropriately.
In the wild, these animals do not live at one temperature, they spend their days and nights moving between a wide range of temperatures to meet their operating needs. It should be our goal as keepers to offer a broad enough range to allow our charges to complete the tasks that they were designed to do. Good luck!
QUESTION- I'm trying to start my own herp business building terrariums and breeding dart frogs. I was just wondering if/what permits i would need to legally breed and sell frogs and also ship them in the USA?
ANSWER- In NYS there are no legal restrictions that would prevent you from breeding and selling dart frogs commercially. Specific cities, towns and villages within the state may have restrictions regarding non-traditional pets, but there is nothing to stop you at the state level.
Many species are easy to breed and are very prolific to boot. I personally bred Dendrobates azeurus for several years and a couple of generations in my 6th grade classroom. My students fed the frogs and cared for the tadpoles. My adult female frogs would lay eggs weekly. At one point we had several hundreds tadpoles to care for and ease of maintenance became a priority (something to consider). My good friend Aaron Handzlik at Aaron's Frog Farm has been successfully breeding and selling dart and other frogs as a full time business for well over a decade. He is a leader in the field and a wealth of knowledge and experience. I also believe that he is a club member, get to know him.
The factors to consider above and beyond actual frog care and production are shipping and marketing. Shipping can be done with either Fed-Ex, Ship Your Reptiles (Pro Exotics) and Delta. They all accept frogs, and with proper packing procedures and well insulated boxes, shipping darts is no big deal. Their are several on-line communities with classified sections where you could advertise frogs, plants and feeders to reach a national (or larger) market. Also, you would be wise to develop a rapport with some of our local herp dealing petshops. Many of them sell dart frogs and accessories (fruit flies & terrarium goods) and having the ability to wholesale surplus stock locally is a big bonus. Holding out for the big retail bucks is an attractive option until you find yourself sitting on a thousand froglets during a slow month. It sure is nice to be able to sell them in twenty lots to a local shop or a national dealer.
Terrarium construction and maintenance is a relatively un-tapped field, locally anyway. More and more professional offices are hiring firms to set-up and maintain tropical and reef aquaria. It is only a matter of time before someone runs with the idea of doing the same with terrariums, especially since established terrariums are virtually maintenance free, unlike messy fish tanks. Basically a terrarium "specialist" would have to feed the frogs and trim the plants. Consider that most folks in the non-herp keeping world don't even know that living jungles, with colonies of dart frogs shrouded in mist, mosses and ferns is even possible. It won't be a secret for long, someone is going to do it, why not you? Good luck.
Question Would anyone know what airlines allow international shipping for turtles. I'm trying to ship to yellow bellied sliders from South Korea to New York. Any information would be helpful. Thanks
Answer: I have never shipped internationally, but I'm sure that there are legal considerations that you will need to consider before importing your turtle into the USA. First, you will have to fill out export paperwork from S. Korea and import paperwork with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. There will be fees involved. You must also find out your turtle's CITES status and determine if any permits are required for international movement of that species.
I know that Delta airlines ships reptiles internationally, but, since 9/11, shippers are required to register with Delta and receive a known shipper's status, which I hear can be a drawn out and complicated process. You may be able to send the animal through Fed-Ex or UPS, but both companies require approved shipper status in some capacity for reptile shipments.
I'm aware that it is a tough decision, but you might consider finding a caring home for your turtle in country and purchasing another one in the States. I know folks that have turned down lucrative overseas sales because international shipments are such a headache. It is clear that love for a pet is your motivation, and not money, but be prepared for some roadblocks that you will have to get past in order to get your turtle into the USA legally. Remember that illegally importing animals into the USA, without proper documentation, may result in criminal charges and will result in the confiscation and likely euthanization of your beloved pet. I wish you luck and please let us know how everything works out.
Question: we recently purchased a chinese water dragon and we are looking for some help & advice to learn more about her. We have been reading wht we can but, Hoping maybe u could give us pointers or point us in ther right direction?
Answer: Congrats on your Asian (Chinese) water dragon. They are beautiful and interesting captives, but a few factors must be addressed in order for them to do well in captivity. The first and most important factor for for any reptile is security. Everything else is secondary. As you know, water dragons get their name from the fact that they are connected with permanent water sources in nature. They hunt and thermoregulate in and around water, but also dive into water to escape predators. In captivity it is common for these animals to drop from elevated perches into a tub of water when they sense danger. After a while, they learn that their keepers are not a threat and will relax or discontinue this behavior. However, these animals should have access to a cat litter pan or tub full of water at all times. Branches should descend into the water to provide both cover and an exit from the water source. Branches can be collected from outside and should be at least the thickness of the width of the lizard at its largest point to support the animal.
Also, it is common to see water dragons in captivity with snout damage from banging into the aquarium glass. This occurs because they don't understand glass or why it prevents them from leaving when they want to. It doesn't help that they dive into the tank wall as hard as they can, but that is their escape mechanism - jump and run from trouble. However, the damage caused by this behavior mutilates the animal, causes infections and often leads to death or very expensive vet treatments. The two ways to avoid snout damage is to offer the largest cage one can reasonably afford and cover most glass surfaces so that they are no longer transparent. On the front of the enclosure, a common practice is to begin with the the entire front surface covered and gradually remove a few inches of paper at a time, so the lizard gradually gets used to the glass, and the fact that it cannot escape through it. However, if you take good care of the dragon, it will soon outgrow any aquarium and will require at least a 4 foot galvanized cattle trough or something similar for housing. Tractor Supply stocks these stock tanks and they are surprisingly useful when modified for herp enclosures.
Once security has been addressed, you should focus on temperatures. Like all reptiles, water dragons are constantly regulating their temperature by moving closer to or away from heat sources. These animals come from tropical climates and require the ability to bask under an incandescent light source that approche 100F. This is easily achieved with incandescent or halogen flood lights. A 45 flood stationed about ten inches from a sturdy branch will do the trick. Without the ability to reach high operating temperatures, your dragon will not metabolize its food properly, will not absorb calcium and will likely die an early death from surpressed immune function. A special UV bulb is not necessary for water dragons, so don't get talked into one. They are nearly useless and essentially act as a band aid to make up for inadequate temperature choices. We now know that reptiles can safely absorb vitamin D3 and calcium from a healthy diet and suppliments such as Rep-Cal if they are given the opportunity to bask under a hot light during the day. Useable heat is the key, not uv exposure.
Speaking of a healthy diet, water dragons thrive on an omvivorous diet which includes insects, small, frozen/thawed mice and occasionally some plant matter. Insects should be dusted with a calcium/D3 suppliment whenever they are offered. It is unnecessary to suppliment pink or fuzzy mice.
Again, congrats on your new water dragon, they are awesome animals and can be very rewarding, long-lived pets if a few simple husbandry factors are addressed. Good luck.