Indigenous to Australia, bearded dragons are very common in the pet trade. At 16 to 20 inches long, they are small and docile enough for first-time lizard keepers. Thus, with proper care, most bearded dragons flourish in captivity.
How do you get your bearded dragon to like you? When you own a dragon, it is so natural to want to love your pet. Likewise, your bearded dragon can have affection for you if you take care of him. Therefore, learn how to
- hold him appropriately,
- bathe, and
- house him. Thus, by providing a good and safe home for your pet, you show your love.
The following information will be addressing ways of getting a bearded dragon to like you:
- Providing a good home
- get a high quality vivarium for your dragon
- make use of aquarium
- make provision for a vivarium and a heater
- installing a good substrate
- making provision for appropriate furniture
- Holding your bearded dragon
- recognize good practices
- pick up the bearded dragon
- calm your bearded dragon
- Bonding with your dragon through care
- feed your bearded dragon by hand
- bath your dragon
- aim for a stress-free environment for your dragon
- take your bearded dragon to the veterinarian
Whether you’ve just brought home a precious little baby dragon or a full-blown senior bearded dragon. It can really take some time for them to not only acclimate to their new home but you as well.
You don’t just dive hands first into their vivarium and think you can scoop them right up from the get-go. Likewise, it is vital to remember that all bearded dragons are different.
You could have a bearded dragon that wasn’t handled lovingly and often by the previous owner and breeder. Which means they may take even longer to warm up to you. Just be patient with it and don’t rush any handling.
Like all creatures, bearded dragons often need to feel safe. Also, before handling her, wash your hands thoroughly with scent-free soap to remove any threatening smells.
Importantly, approach her in an horizontal way rather than from above. Then pick her up gently, supporting her legs and feet firmly in your hands at all times.
Also, keep her away from anything that makes loud noises or is visually intimidating. If your dragon begins squirming or fighting, lightly cover her head to block out stimuli.
Use slow, steady movements and a soft, calm tone of voice.
It is good to reward your pet for socializing with you. Depending on your bearded dragon’s personality, he might enjoy hand-fed treats or lukewarm soaks.
However, be careful not to reward bad behavior. For example, if your bearded dragon fights to be put down, do not let go of him until he is calm. Otherwise, you’ll unknowingly teach him that struggling gives him freedom.
Bearded dragons communicate with one another in different ways. Generally, head bobs and arm waves are the most visible means of communication.
If you have two bearded dragons, watch their interactions. Try to pay attention to the behaviors that each demonstrates after a series of communications to determine their meanings.
Thus, learning what your dragon is trying to say can help you respect his desire to
- sleep or simply relax, and
- identify when he feels playful and wants to socialize.
Providing a Good Home for Your Bearded Dragon
Purchase a high quality vivarium for your dragon
A vivarium is known to be a wooden tank with a glass front. Things to look out for while getting a vivarium are:
- it should have a tight lid and very smooth sides to prevent the bearded dragon from hurting his nose
- look for a vivarium that will be not be hard to clean
- vivariums should have a waterproof sealing
- make sure the joints are caulked as well
- if you waterproof a vivarium yourself, be sure to allow the vivarium to dry for a week before putting your bearded dragon in his home.
- make sure your bearded dragon has enough space to run around, climb, and sit on branches.
Use an aquarium
You can also purchase an aquarium for your bearded dragon. Baby bearded dragons can live in a 10–15 gallon (37.9–56.8 L) aquarium, while adults need a larger 55-60 gallon space.
Therefore, aquariums are a better short-term solution because it is difficult to regulate the temperature in them.
Provide a vivarium and a heater
Wooden vivariums absorb heat better than glass or metal does. Thus, it aim to provide a less warm area (30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit) and a warmer section (45 degrees Celsius/113 degrees Fahrenheit).
Install a good substrate
A substrate is a material that fills the bottom side of the vivarium. Your dragon will dig into the substrate. Thus, aim for a substrate that looks natural and makes your dragon feel at home.
The substrate you use should be absorbent. Otherwise, your dragon might eat parts of it unconsciously. Likewise, try to find a substrate that is non-toxic and safely digestible.
Provide appropriate furniture
Equip your bearded dragon’s space with a “reptile hide,” which is an enclosed area in which your dragon can hide from you. Your bearded dragon will also use this space for long periods of sleep.
Also, place a “basking platform” in the habitat. This can be in form of a rock or another surface within six to eight inches of the basking light source. Here a bearded dragon can warm himself.
Holding Your Bearded Dragon
Discover good practices
Bearded dragons actually like to be held. Wait three to four days after the bearded dragon’s arrival to start holding him.
- Wash your hands before and after handling the dragon
- start by holding him for short periods multiple times a day as this helps build trust slowly
- When holding your bearded dragon, strive to have a quiet setting
- Babies, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be careful about touching the dragon
Pick up the bearded dragon
Gather your bearded dragon from underneath his body in a slow, yet self-assured, scooping motion. Support his whole body and also his legs and tail. Also, avoid holding or pulling your dragon by his tail as it can come off.
Calm your bearded dragon
It is important to tame your bearded dragon from the beginning. If your bearded dragon appears aggressive, hold him tightly with both of your hands and pet him.
If your dragon appears particularly agitated, release him for a short moment. And then try holding him again until he calms himself.
Bonding With Your Bearded Dragon Through Care
Feed your bearded dragon by hand
Thus, one way to bond with your dragon is to feed him directly. You should do this occasionally but not so often that your bearded dragon becomes reliant upon you.
Instinctually, bearded dragons hunt for their food so you should still give your dragon his food in a bowl most of the time. You can place the food on the tip of your fingers. Your bearded dragon will use his tongue to take the food from you.
Implement a regular feeding plan for your dragon
Whether feeding by hand or putting the food in your dragon’s home, your bearded dragon will anticipate feeding time. Then he will form a positive experience with you.
You should feed your young bearded dragon once daily and your adults once per day or every second day.
On the other hand, juvenile dragons require a mainly live food diet. Bearded dragons are able to transition into a vegetarian diet as they mature.
Bathe your dragon
By giving your bearded dragon a bath, you will help him stay hydrated. Also, bearded dragons absorb water through their pores. Particularly, this is important because dragons do not love to drink from a water bowl.
Likewise, to bathe your dragon, fill a sink, bathtub, or other clean containers with warm water. Your bearded dragon might enjoy this activity and again associate pleasure with you.
Make sure to clean the bathing container very well after use.
Also, mist your pet with water every second day. This will help your dragon also to stay hydrated. Try to bathe your pet at least every four to eight days although you can bathe him every day as well.
Target a stress-free environment
In order for your bearded dragon to be happy, you should try to reduce his stress levels. Generally, high stress can lead to aggression.
When your bearded dragon sleeps, keep the noise levels in your house down. When your dragon decides to hide under something, this is him signaling to you that he wants to be alone.
Likewise, try to respond appropriately to your dragon’s behavior and avoid disturbances unless there is a pressing need.
It’s good to let your dragon roam a bit outside his habitat. However, just be sure to keep him from the kitchen or other rooms where you eat or prepare food.
Take your bearded dragon to the veterinarian
Like any pet, bearded dragons ought to be exposed to yearly check-ups.
Also, if you sense that your bearded dragon is acting differently than normal, immediately schedule an appointment with the vet. Particularly, mites are a common issue that dragons experience, they literarily suck the reptile’s blood.
Thus, only a vet can determine, though, through testing whether your pet is truly ill.