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Photograph: Jason Little
The Chicago Pet Lover's Guide >

How to Make Your Lizard Feel at Home

Andrew Babbitt, co-owner of Curious Creatures, a reptile shop in Lake View East

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Illustration by Colin Hayes

PICK A TANK WITH A SIDE DOOR (1)

“When you reach in from the top, the lizard tends to associate your hands with a bird’s talons or mouth and could avoid being picked up or even retaliate. Also, place the tank away from windows and in a low-traffic area to avoid putting stress on the reptile.”

SET THE MOOD WITH LIGHTING (2)

“When owners bring in a lizard that isn’t feeling well, 99 percent of the time the problem is they did not have proper heating. Reptiles are cold-blooded. Designate one side of the tank for a heat bulb. And add another bulb that mimics UV light to encourage calcium production.”

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CREATE A HOME AWAY FROM HOME (3)

“Make the tank similar to what the lizard would experience in its natural habitat. Tropical reptiles should have fake foliage. Use long branches that extend up to the heat source. Fake sand is good for lizards you would find in the desert.”

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