Bearded dragons are a species of lizards that have become very well-loved in a lot of homes today. A lot of people wonder what it would take them to have one. How much work they require and if they are expensive to maintain. If you are wondering whether to get a versed dragon as a pet is simple.
Yes. Bearded dragons make good pets. Especially when they have been captive-bred. They are sweet animals and make good companions for a lot of people.
Below is a detailed explanation of what to expect when you choose to own a bearded dragon.
Pogona vitticeps Brief overview
The inland bearded dragon is believed to be one of the all-time best lizard pets. It is usually alert, hardy and tame. Bearded dragon owners love watching these lizards. Whether during a feeding frenzy, while chasing crickets or simply interacting with each other.
Bearded dragons are interesting animals. They often do things that amuse humans. Some of such things are “arm-waving,” in which a female (and occasionally males) may lift a front leg in the air and “wave” it as a submissive gesture.
Then there is the fact that their spiny “beard” from which they get their common name may also be extended. It even changes color sometimes.
How available are they?
Bearded dragons are commonly found at pet stores. But there are other places where they can be found. Some of such places are reptile expos and breeders’ websites. Captive-bred specimens are often better pets because they are usually healthier and more domesticated than wild-caught animals.
Bearded dragons come in various colors. The colorful ones are however more expensive than the usual ones.
How big do they get?
Bearded dragons measure about 4 inches at the point of hatching. Large adults can be nearly 2 feet in length. This size may vary depending on feeding and space. It can also depend on the gender of your dragon.
How long do they live?
The average captive bearded dragon lives for about six to ten years. Some have however been to live for twice as long
What do I need before I got one?
You need a cage.
This may be the single most valuable item that you will get for your needed dragon because it will determine a lot of things. The cage is important to their growth and development. Fixtures like heat lights, UV lights, and basking spots are super important too.
Getting the right size of tank for the right dragon is also crucial. Don’t get a baby dragon a tank that is too big. It will make him tired all the time and can make him sick. Also, don’t get a tank that is too small for an adult dragon. It could injure him and hamper his growth.
A hatchling dragon could live in a 20-gallon aquarium for a short time. it will quickly need a larger enclosure. A 75-gallon aquarium or equal-sized enclosure is good for an adult dragon. Use screens for proper ventilation. Bearded dragons can live in outdoor cages during warm weather. Make sure that the outdoor tank has good sunny basking areas and cool shady retreats. It should also have shelter from the rain. Having access to the sun outdoors provides healthy UV. You can out some branches in their enclosure. They love to climb.
Bearded Dragon Lighting and Temperature
Hot weather is good for Bearded dragons. Their basking site should be about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can put the basking site by a spotlight (such as a mercury vapor bulb). It can be positioned over a rock, branch, etc. at one end of the enclosure. Keep the spotlight at one end of the cage. This will allow your dragon to thermoregulate (move between a cooler end of the enclosure and the hotter end with the basking area). The cooler end of the enclosure can be kept at about 80 degrees.
Another important feature is the full-spectrum UVB (ultraviolet) lighting over the rest of the enclosure. This light is critically important for dragons that are kept indoors. It helps them in synthesizing vitamin D3, which aids in calcium absorption. There are many types of lights available at pet stores; consult with store employees and read the packaging to determine the best for your setup. You need to change this bulb at least once in six months.
What sort of food do they eat?
Bearded dragons are omnivorous. This means that they eat both animal and plant matter. They are not usually picky and eat with gusto. You should dust food such as crickets and mealworms with a vitamin/mineral supplement and calcium. You can do this by placing the insects in a plastic bag with some of the powder, and shaking the bag to lightly coat the insects just before you offer them to your lizards.
Offer bearded dragons finely chopped veggies (such as romaine lettuce, zucchini, carrots, etc.), greens (collard, mustard, dandelion, etc.) and fruit (kiwi, banana, mango, etc.). Use healthy, vitamin-rich items; sprinkle the appropriate amount of powdered supplements on these foods, too. Avoid iceberg lettuce because it is not nutritious.
Bearded dragons will almost anything. They will also eat pinky mice. A wide variety of nutritionally balanced manufactured diets are available at pet stores. Don’t use sand substrate for your dragon. Avoid putting their food on the sand if you insist on using a sand substrate. Use some flat surface or bowl to serve their food instead.
Keeping them hydrated.
Bearded dragons rarely drink water from a water bowl. Mist their tank with a spray bottle instead.
They’ll lick water droplets off cage walls, rocks, etc., as well as themselves. Avoid spraying too much water to prevent too much humidity and bacterial buildup. You can put a water bowl with water in it in their tank. The water and bowl must be clean. They will walk through or even soak in it.
Bearded Dragon Handling and Temperament
Bearded dragons are generally quite docile. They usually tolerate handling better than other lizard species. They need a lot of handling to get used to handling though and there is that occasional dragon who refuses to be handled no matter what.
So… can you have a bearded dragon as a pet?
I don’t know. Can you?
A bearded dragon is no dog. But it will entertain you in its own way. It is no cat, but it will love you the way it knows how. However, the bulk of work rests on you. Will you be able to give this beautiful creature a good life?
Having a bearded dragon requires a lot of education and patience. They do live for a bit too. This means that they’ll be in your life for quite a bit. Do you think you will be able to consistently love them and be devoted to them for that long? These are all things to consider before you choose to get one.