All the information listed here is based on my own experience, please carry out your own research before attempting to replicate anything on this site.
A few updates ago, I wrote about the addition of two female Painted Wood Turtles (Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima) to my 3 metre long, Central/South American planted habitat.The new turtles are doing great, and have settled in as quickly as I could hope for. Whilst the enclosure is purely designed around its turtle occupants, it also provides a large amount of vertical space, which got me looking at a few new additions.
My main concern with the vivarium at this point (after the waterproofing...and the filtration..) was the so-called 'bioactive substrate.' In a nutshell, I added a number of small invertebrate 'custodians' to help keep the soil turned over and healthy, including springtails, tropical woodlice and buffalo worms. Not only has this been working well, but a little too well. Being so small, these inverts are not often foraged for by the turtles, and their populations have been booming.
So, I thought, why not add a small insectivore to keep these bugs in check, and also make use of all the vertical space? Sticking with the tropical American biotope, I've opted to add a handful of adult Brown Anoles (Anolis sangrei), and as a bit of an experiment, a Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus).
Both species have been on my radar for quite a while, but being skittish lizards which don't always thrive in captivity, I've never had the opportunity to work with them. Interestingly, although the anoles are wild-caught, they come from highly sustainable and ethical collection posts; locations where they have become established as an invasive species. Being a Bahaman native, they also fit in with the habitat, and will hopefully produce a small breeding population.
The Basilisk is a bit more a curve-ball, being native to South America, and potentially growing large enough to consider the anoles food. At the moment, he's too small to be a threat, but I'm hoping to figure out a more long-term plan for him in the near future.
I hope you enjoy the photos so far. There's still lots to do with this enclosure but it is starting to develop into an effective ecosystem. If you have any questions or would like any further information, you can contact me using the email address below.