The bearded dragon is a lizard that is native to Australia, but they have found their way in the United States. They are cute and friendly, making them one of the most popular choices amongst people who are looking for reptiles as pets. Handling them is also fairly straightforward as you will learn in the rest of this post. Even if you have no prior experience in taking care of reptiles, the bearded dragon should be on the top of your list if you want to have a docile pet.
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The stunning physical appearance of the bearded dragon is sure to captivate anyone’s attention. Its color usually ranges from tan to yellow. It has a beard of spikes that wrap around its neck, which is usually a display of its mood. When it feels threatened, the beard can inflate, and the colors may also change.
Meanwhile, the body of the bearded dragon is flat. It becomes even flatter when it becomes alarmed. The color or morphs of the bearded dragon will vary, although they are often orange, yellow, or red. One of the most popular breeds is the sandfire bearded dragon, which has an attractive red hue.
The average weight of bearded dragons is from 350 to 600 grams. The length, on the other hand, usually ranges from 16 to 24 inches, which is already inclusive of the tail. In the wild, the average lifespan is 10 to 15 years and up to 29 years in captivity.
Often, bearded dragons are well-behaved and even-tempered, making them a great choice for reptile pets. They will easily respond to the touch and voice of the owner. Even children can handle them without a problem, but it is always best to keep an eye.
To know if the bearded dragon feels threatened, watch the beard. If it lies flat on the ground, it is at peace. On the other hand, when it begins to inflate, which will make the dragon appear as if it has a beard, this is an indication that it feels threatened.
With the housing for the bearded dragon, one of the most important is the size, Make sure that there is enough room for it to move around. For one adult bearded dragon, the average size of the tank that you will need is 55 to 75 gallons. They grow quite fast, so there is no sense in investing in a small tank.
There should be branches and décor that will help for climbing. The
Exo Terra Forest Branch
will be a nice addition in the terrarium. If you want to give it a place to lounge on while also serving as a décor, the
Penn Plax Reptology Lizard Lounger
will be good.
Like with other reptiles, lighting will also be an important component of the captive habitat of bearded dragons. A fluorescent full-spectrum light with UVB will be great, which will mimic the sunlight in an indoor environment. It will be good to use a product like the
Exo Terra Intense Basking Spot Lamp
. It is also important to make sure of a consistent light and dark cycle. Ideally, the light should be on for about 12 to 14 hours in a day.
To make them comfortable in their enclosure, it is important to monitor the temperature in the tank with the use of a top-rated thermometer. With this, one product that you might want to have is the
Exo Terra Thermometer
. An ideal environment for a bearded dragon will have a temperature of 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, their basking spot could go as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the bedding, avoid sand or any other type of loose substrate when the bearded dragon is young. It can be ingested accidentally and will result in intestinal impaction. Even when they are already adults, it is important to avoid substrate with small particles. Carpets and newspapers will be great choices.
Food and Vitamins
The health of the bearded gecko will be heavily influenced by its diet. When they are in the wild, they are omnivores and will feast on insects, small animals, and plant matter. When they are in captivity, on the other hand, their diet often includes crickets, locusts, mealworms, peas, turnip greens, plums, apricots, peeled bananas, green beans, kale, grapes, seedless strawberries, blueberries, and broccoli.
In terms of their vitamin requirements, it is important to dust their food with calcium powder. One of the best to use is the
Zoo Med Repti-Calcium
It is also critical to provide fresh drinking water nearby. The tank should contain a container like the Exo Terra Water Dish
, providing an assurance that the bearded dragon will not suffer from dehydration.
Metabolic bone disease is one of the most common problems in lizards and geckos, including the bearded dragon. This is a result of the unbalanced calcium and phosphorus in their diet. Their bones will become softer and this will make them easily prone to fractures. They can also often suffer from respiratory infections.
Other Tips for Taking Care of Bearded Dragon
Pay attention to the tips that are briefly mentioned below to keep the bearded dragon in its tip-top condition:
- Add smooth rocks in the flat-bottomed tank, which will help for the toenails to wear down. This will make it easier to handle them.
- Clean the food and water bowls regularly. Use 1-part bleach with 10 parts of water for a household cleaner. Make sure that they are properly rinsed.
- Although bearded dragons are well-behaved, care must be observed when they are handled. If you need to pick the dragon, gently place your hand under the abdomen and scoop it. When the dragon is already on the top of your palm, have your hand curved lightly.
- Generally, you can keep more than one bearded dragon in a cage. A female and male bearded dragon can live together harmoniously. However, during the mating season, the aggressiveness of the male dragon will make it a threat, so it will be best to have it isolated.