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Southern Forest (Angle-headed) Dragon Care Sheet
John Fowler & Rachel Barnes

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Southern Angle Headed Dragon- Lophosaurus spinipes
(was Hypsilurus) spinipes )

Southern Angle Headed Dragon- Hypsilurus spinipes Lophosaurus spinipes
(Picture of a wild caught adult male showing how large the Qld variety can grow)

General

Southern Forest dragons are particularly interesting and enjoyable to keep. Captive bred forest dragons adapt well to captivity, make good pets, breed easily, and are one of the few species of lizards that can be handled easily.

Caging

They are a rainforest species found from Southern Qld to Central New South Wales and can be either kept in a well planted aviary or an unheated terrarium.

Lophosaurus spinipes Southern Angle Headed Dragon- Hypsilurus) spinipes /></p>
    <p>(Picture of a hatchling from Southern Qld) </p>
    <p>We recommend a low to medium strength UV lighting (must be suitable for reptiles) a normal fleurescent tube or low wattage lighting. Use of high wattage heat lamps or spotlights for example is not recommended as the lizards have a different metabolism to other dragons and do not bask to the same degree. If no UV light is supplied then they should be put in the sun from time to time, but only on mild days, and care should be taken that they do not overheat. </p>
    <p>Hatchlings can be kept in plastic tubs ( we use 10 litre capacity) with no substrate until they get established. This is easy to keep clean. Soil is not used because it provides a breeding ground for bacteria which may be harmful to the hatchlings . </p>
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We recommend a low to medium strength UV lighting (must be suitable for reptiles) a normal fluorescent tube or low wattage lighting. Use of high wattage heat lamps or spotlights for example is not recommended as the lizards have a different metabolism to other dragons and do not bask to the same degree. If no UV light is supplied then they should be put in the sun from time to time, but only on mild days, and care should be taken that they do not overheat.

Hatchlings can be kept in plastic tubs ( we use 10 litre capacity) with no substrate until they get established. This is easy to keep clean. Soil is not used because it provides a breeding ground for bacteria which may be harmful to the hatchlings .

Food.

Moths, crickets mealworms, earthworms etc, preferably dusted or gut loaded with calcium or reptile supplement for about half of the feeds. They also eat fruit, particularly banana. we have found that the hatchlings usually do not start feeding for several days, but once they start feeding they will start growing rapidly.

Sexing.

At several months of age the males tend to lose their juvenile patterning, whereas the females tend to get more patterning.

Southern Angle Headed Dragon- Hypsilurus spinipes Lophosaurus spinipes
(Picture of one of our males Southern Qld variety)

Breeding.

Apparently they may breed at less than 1 year, although ours bred at about 18 months.

They usually lay between 3 to 7 eggs, and may lay at almost any time of year if conditions are suitable (warm). Ours usually have 2 to 3 clutches per year

Southern Angle Headed Dragon- Hypsilurus spinipes Lophosaurus spinipes Lophosaurus spinipes
Headshot of one of our females - (Southern Qld variety)

The female may dig shallow test burrows a day or so before she lays the eggs.

The eggs are likely to require temperatures much lower than normal reptile incubation temperatures. We are still experimenting with incubation but have hatched them at 24 degrees Celsius.

Special requirements.

They will easily overheat or dehydrate in summer. Ensure that the aviary or terrarium is kept cool.

They should be misted or sprayed with water from time to time, particularly in dry weather.

If several are kept together, ensure that they all get food otherwise some will not grow as fast as the others and will be intimidated by the larger dragons. Males fight in the breeding season and it may be advisable to separate the males at this time.

Special notes.

These lizards play dead and may look paralysed from time to time. This is normal cryptic behavior, do not discard dead animals until they start decomposing!.


Picture of hatchling

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The Basic Bearded Dragon Manual

Updated August 18, 2017