Popular Exotic Pets – Bearded DragonPetmania Pet Care Advisor
Choosing a Exotic Pet: What You Need to Know About Bearded Dragons
Bearded Dragons are wonderfully interesting pets, but there are many different things to consider when finding the newest member to your family, so how do you know that a Bearded Dragon is right for yours? Like any pet, a Bearded Dragon will require lots of love and care to help keep them healthy and well, so in this blog we are taking a look at Bearded Dragons, and what you can expect if you were to have a one as a pet.
Bearded dragon lizards are native to Australia; living in rocky and dry regions of the country and are skilled climbers. Therefore, you will need to recreate this climate in your Bearded Dragon’s vivarium.
Bearded Dragons have large triangular heads and flat bodies with pointed ridges along the sides. They are omnivorous, eating both insects and plants. Bearded Dragons can grow to be quite large, sometimes reaching 2ft long, so it’s important to keep this in mind when you are thinking about getting one.
Inland Bearded dragon
The Inland Bearded Dragon is the type of lizard most commonly kept as a pet. They are also known as Central Bearded Dragon. This lizard has two distinctive spots on the base of its neck. This dragon is very popular as they are docile and friendly, and make a great pet for children.
Bearded dragons live on average for about 5-8 years however some have been known to live up to 12 years.
Company for your Bearded Dragon
A male and a female dragon should not be kept together until they’re at least 2 years old, and then only if you intend to breed. Before the age of two years a female dragon’s bones are not developed enough to lose the calcium and pass the eggs easily.
Where Bearded Dragons Like to Live
Bearded Dragons live in a vivarium with plenty of climbing rocks and branches to keep them occupied. Your Beardie will leap and climb around so choose a vivarium with plenty of space. Additional accessories, background or artificial plants help make the habitat look more natural and make the bearded dragon feel at home. A hiding area is also recommended for bearded dragons.
Like all pets, Bearded Dragons need daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. They enjoy a walk so you could choose to block off a secure area of a room and let your Bearded Dragon out for about 30-60 minutes. This will help keep them fit and stretch out their muscles – but do make sure that you are there to supervise them on their daily walk!
A good activity that stimulates brain power is a food hunt. Hide crickets around a secure area and make your bearded dragon look for them. They will feel they are hunting for food in a dessert.
Diet & Nutrition
Bearded Dragons should be fed a combination of live insects and vegetables along with some fruit. Adult dragons will also eat mice but they tend to thrive on a varied diet based on vegetables and insects.
- Always chop up food for a bearded dragon where possible
- Common insects available for reptiles are crickets, mealworms, super-worms, and wax worms
- As a rule, live food should be no larger than the half the size of your Bearded Dragon’s head
Your Bearded Dragon will need a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement. If your lizard is lacking D3 and calcium it can get metabolic bone disease which can be fatal. Breeding females, babies, and juveniles will need supplements more frequently.
Health & Hygiene
Shedding occurs often and is perfectly normal; this process allows bearded dragons to grow. During this time bearded dragons are susceptible to illness and infection, so it is important to keep a high standard of cleanliness.
Prior to the shedding period, you will notice some obvious physical and behavioural changes. Your dragon may have changed texture or colour. Usually, markings and colour will begin to fade days before shedding. Your pet will take on a greyish hue. Your bearded dragons may become irritable or even aggressive during this stage.
Bathing your Beardie once a week will help keep them hydrated and will also aid shedding. Bath water should be warm on your wrist but never hot. Make the water only as deep as your Bearded Dragons chest or half way up their front arms. Never leave your bearded dragon unattended in the bath. It’s also a good idea to disinfect your bath after.
Cleaning the Habitat
Bearded Dragons eat a lot and in return create a lot of waste. The lizard droppings and leftover vegetables must be cleaned daily. The water bowl, food bowl, and substrate must be checked and cleaned. The easiest way to clean the substrate is to use an aquarium fish net to scoop out the waste. The cage decorations, decor, and glass should also be cleaned often.
Hand washing is very important when owning any reptile. Washing your hands before and after handling your bearded dragon will help keep you and your new pet healthy. If you wash your hands before handling you reduce the risk of passing anything on to your Bearded Dragon.
As with all reptiles, Bearded Dragons have the to potential to carry pathogens such as salmonella; so children under five should not handle them and hands should be thoroughly washed before and after handling.
Take Me Home Checklist
Before you take your Bearded Dragon home, it is important that you have a habitat set up for him to move straight into. This list will help you identify what you need, and if you have any questions, our Pet Care Advisors in-store will be only to happy to assist.
- A large vivarium
- Full spectrum lighting i.e. UVA and UVB
- Heat mat
- Water dish
- Basking area such as a flat rock
- Substrate i.e. sand
- Suitable food