Bearded Dragons originate in Australia. The most popular species in the pet industry is the Inland bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps. Which was formerly called Amphibolurus vitticeps. Also, the Inland bearded dragon is sometimes referred to as the Central, or Yellow-headed Bearded Dragon. Other members of the Pogona genus include: Pogona barbata — Common Bearded, P. henrylawsoni — Rankin’s, P. minima — Western, P. minor — Dwarf, P. mitchelli — Northwest Bearded, P. nullarbor — Nullarbor; P. microlepitoda
Petting your bearded dragon is one of the easiest ways to show it how much you care. And it helps to establish a bond between the two of you. However, to avoid startling your pet, use slow and careful movements. Also, stroke the bearded dragon with your fingers from head to tail. Picking up your pet from underneath, if it looks calm and happy.
The following information will be addressing bearded dragon pet:
- handling your bearded dragon
- recognizing bearded dragon’s body language
- maintaining good hygiene
- how to set up bearded dragons home
- what to put in bearded dragons terrarium
- bearded dragons terrarium heating
- bearded dragons terrarium lighting
- what bearded dragons eat
- how to keep bearded dragons healthy
- personal safety tips
Handling your Bearded Dragons
Lower your hand slowly towards the bearded dragon
When your pet is in its cage, you want to use very slow movements to avoid startling it. Likewise, try to get the dragon’s attention before you slowly put your hand into its habitat to make sure your pet doesn’t feel threatened.
Stroke your bearded dragon gently using 1 or 2 fingers
While you can use any of your fingers to pet the bearded dragon, your index finger is the easiest. Therefore, start slowly stroking the dragon’s head and sides of the face. You can also pet it from head to tail, going slowly and using gentle pressure.
Pick up the bearded dragon if it appears to be calm
If you’re petting your bearded dragon and its eyes become droopy, this means it is calm and probably wouldn’t mind you picking it up. Therefore, slide your hand under the bearded dragon. Then, carefully scoop it up while making sure to support the weight of its body and tail.
Hold the bearded dragon close to your body
Your pet will feel safer and more secure if they’re close to your chest as you’re holding them. Then, you can rest their tail on your forearm and use your other hand to gently stroke the dragon.
Release the bearded dragon back to its habitat when you’re finished petting it
After petting and bonding with the bearded dragon. Slowly take your arm away from your body and lower it into the habitat. Once your hand touches down, lift up from your elbow to give the dragon a ramp down into its home.
Recognizing Bearded Dragons Body Language
Back off if your dragon fluffs its beard
This is the behavior that gives the bearded dragon its name. When a dragon inflates its beard, it seems larger and more fearsome. As a result, they consider this as a defensive move. And can mean the animal is feeling unsafe.
Look for signs of stress like flattening and tail twitching
Bearded dragons’ bodies are already flat. But when stress creeps in, they can flatten their bodies even more. Hence, if your pet is twitching its tail. It could be feeling unsafe.
Avoid contact with a bearded dragon that is hissing
This is a very clear-cut signal that you ought to give the animal its space. That is, just like you wouldn’t want to pet a dog that’s growling. It’s best to wait until your bearded dragon stops hissing to avoid biting you.
Avoid interrupting two bearded dragons that are bobbing their heads at one another
If you are reaching into a habitat that contains more than one dragon, be on the lookout. Especially, for a face-off between the animals that include head bobbing. This is a show of dominance, usually between male. And it means that the bearded dragons are not in the mood for a gentle pet
Proceed with caution if you see mouth gaping
While bearded dragons will sometimes leave their mouth open when sun-bathing to help them adjust to the change in temperature. Other times mouth gaping is a sign that they’re feeling unsafe.
Keep up the contact if your dragon has heavy eyelids
Just like in many other animals. Droopy eyelids are a sign that there’s a high degree of relaxation and trust. Hence, if your dragon is closing its eyes while you pet him, you’re in!
Maintaining Good Hygiene
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your bearded dragon
Reptiles carry bacteria called Salmonella bongori. Which can pass on to other reptiles? As a result, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water before and after petting your dragon.
Be sure to lather up when washing and scrub all parts of your hands for a full 20 seconds.
Clean scratches or bites thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap
If your bearded dragon bites or scratches you, don’t worry, it happens! Clean the cut with antibacterial soap and water and apply an ointment to help it heal. Then, cover the cut with a band-aid to help protect it from dirt and other bacteria.
Biting is just extremely rare in bearded dragons and scratching will generally only take place if the animal is trying to regain its balance.
Avoid eating while handling your bearded dragon
Since reptiles such as bearded dragons have the possibility of spreading bacteria. Don’t eat or prepare food when you’re playing with your dragon. Save snacking or mealtime for after petting the bearded dragon. And wash your hands thoroughly.
How to set up my bearded dragon’s home
Once the bearded dragon is fully grown. You will want a glass terrarium of at least 40 gallons in volume (that’s 32 to 36 inches long). Especially, with a screened lid for him to live in. Remember, your bearded dragon is from a warm, dry environment. So you will also need a heating source for his home. Also, your dragon prefers solitary life.
What You can put in Your bearded dragon’s terrarium
To remind him of the desert of his ancestors. Line the very bottom of your bearded dragon’s terrarium with two to three inches of calcium sand. Or better still, invest in reptile carpet.
Carpet is a very nice choice for younger bearded dragons. Therefore, scoop up waste at least once a week. And treat him to fresh bedding once every month.
Reptiles can be finicky about comfortable room temperature. Hence, be sure to give your bearded dragon a piece of driftwood or rock. This is useful for climbing a little closer to his heat source. Or to hide behind. Also, add a few branches for hiding and climbing.
Bearded Dragons’ Terrarium Heating
Bearded dragons are ectotherms. That is, bearded dragons will need both a reliable source of heat and a cooler area to stay comfy.
Here are some more tips on heating to keep in mind:
- Your dragon’s habitat ought to have a thermometer at each end. As well as a hygrometer (a device that measures humidity). Likewise, your bearded dragon thrives when humidity is between 20% and 30%.
- If humidity is less than 20%, a light misting once a day is sufficient.
- Place your heat light over the basking spot. This spot should be the warmest area in the habitat.
That is, during the day: 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 49 Centigrade). The cool end should be about 75 to 85 F (24 to 29 C).
- Turn the basking light off at night. Use a ceramic heat emitter or night heat lamp to keep the temperature between 66 and 75 degrees F (18 to 24 C).
Bearded Dragons’ Terrarium Lighting
- Bearded dragons are usually active during the day and sleep at night. Just like you. But unlike you, they like basking under a UVA/UVB bulb for about 12 hours each day.
- For night viewing, however, switch to a night-specific bulb. In order for it not to disturb your bearded dragon
What Bearded Dragons Eat
Bearded dragons are omnivores. They eat both plants and meat. Therefore, feed your bearded dragon two to three times a day. However, a young hatchling will mostly eat small insects. But once your dragon is a bit more mature. He will enjoy vegetables, too. Thus, make sure to clean his water and food bowl regularly.
Therefore, here are what bearded dragons commonly eat:
- mealworms and
- wax worms. Also, dust with a calcium supplement twice weekly
- bananas, and
- Prepared diets: pelleted blend once daily
- Water: Change daily and provide it at all times!
How to Keep Your Bearded Dragon Healthy
Try not to handle your new reptile for three or four days. This is because they need a chance to adapt to their new home. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, it might be a good time to visit the vet:
- More hiding time than usual
- Less eating and drinking, and maybe even weight loss
- Swollen joints
- Skin is discolored and shedding
- Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
- Droppings that look runny for more than two days
Personal Safety Tips
- All animals can potentially carry
- fungal, and
- parasitic diseases, contagious to humans.
- Wash your hands very well with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
- Adults ought to assist children with handwashing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water