I constructed a shade house using a commercially bought 10ftX20ft canopy. I made it stronger by using longer (10ft), steel posts for the upright supports and I set these in cement within concrete blocks. The shade house was located on the edge of the rainforest in almost complete shade. Shade cloth was placed around the sides of the shade house. The temperature, humidity and light were similar to the conditions within the forest. In the wet season May-Dec temperature ranged from 22-29, humidity 80-90%. In the dry season temperature ranged from 21-330C, humidity ranged from 50-80%.
Adult Lizard Cages
Lizards were housed individually in mesh cages constructed from pop-up laundry hampers placed inside a handmade mesh bag. The hamper’s mesh was cut out leaving only the wire frame. I then placed the wire frame inside the mesh bag and secured it with a rubber band at the top. In each cage I placed 3 branches of similar length and diameter and a plastic leaf. The branches and leaf were secured together with a rubber band. The cages were hung on wires/rails within the shade house.
An opaque plastic divider was placed between adjacent males. Females and males were hung on separate wires/rails and could see each other from a distance of about 1m. No dividers were placed between adjacent female cages.
For egg deposition a small plastic plate containing leaflitter (~ 3cm deep) was placed on the floor of the cage. The leaflitter was collected locally.
Cages were checked every three days for eggs. All eggs were removed and weighed. Eggs were incubated in a small plastic cup containing ~1 tablespoon of water and some cotton wool. The egg was placed on top of the cotton wool and the cup was sealed in a ziplock bag. Eggs were maintained at ambient temperature in an open-air laboratory, that experienced similar temperature and humidity conditions as the adults. Incubation time ~45 days.
Hatchlings and hatchling cages
Eggs were checked daily for hatchlings. Hatchlings were weighted and transferred to a plastic box 180mmH X 150mmW X 150mmL with a mesh lid. The mesh was secured with a rubber band. The baby box contained 3 small branches and a plastic leaf. Baby boxes were housed in the Lizard House and experienced the same temperature and humidity conditions as adults. Hatchlings remained in these boxes until subadults (SVL=40mm, 5 months) and then they were transferred to an adult lizard cage.
Feeding and Maintenance
Lizards were fed crickets that I breed in Panama (I will add another page about breeding crickets soon). Adult lizards were fed every three days, females were fed 5 medium crickets (25-30 days old) and males were fed 3. Hatchlings and subadults were fed every second day. Subadults (SVL~35-41mm) were fed 6 small crickets (15-20 days old), hatchlings were fed ~10-20 crickets, depending on cricket size, i.e. older lizards get fewer larger crickets. The size of the crickets varied according to the age of the lizards. All crickets were gut loaded with watercress 24 hours prior to feeding the lizards. Crickets were dusted with vitamins and calcium prior to feeding.
Lizards were sprayed daily with water. In the dry season I used a sprinkle system on a timer to wet the lizard cages 3 times a day.