Discover The Unique Beauty of The Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragon looks like miniature, spiky dinosaurs, and have a variety of skin colors and patterns. They are named for the beard-like, spiky collars around their throats. When they are upset, they puff up and open their mouths wide, hoping to intimidate other Dragons or other creatures.
Beardies, as they are affectionately known, originally come from Australia, and were introduced to the pet market in the 1990s. By 2008 they had surpassed dogs and cats as the most popular pets in the United Kingdom. Their scientific name is pogona vitticeps. They can be found in a variety of biomes, including desert, subtropical, ocean, shrublands, and woodlands. But they all enjoy heat and light.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded or ectothermic, which means their body temperature is regulated by environmental heat and cold. They are mostly awake during the daytime and they sleep in the cooler nighttime hours, which means they will be awake and active at the same time as their humans. Correct regulation of heat in their environment is a vital part of keeping your bearded dragon healthy.
Types of Bearded Dragon
There are four main types, which include central bearded dragon, eastern bearded dragon, Rankin’s dragon, and Pogona Minor.
Bearded Dragon Colors:
Their original color was primarily a sandy color, shading over into black or charcoal gray when they are upset. But breeders have selected these mini-dragons for their colors, creating a variety of colorations and markings.
Preferred colors can include albino, cremino, leucistic, white black eyes, Red bearded dragon, White, and colorful bearded dragons in various hues and marking patterns.
Bearded Dragon Location
Originating in Australia, thanks to their popularity as pets they can now be found all over the world, including in Indonesia, Papua, New Guinea, United Kingdom, United States, and many other locations. They are not legal for import to all areas, so check local regulations before purchasing a bearded dragon.
How Long is a Bearded Dragon Lifespan?
A well-cared-for, healthy dragon can live up to fifteen years, so plan for a lengthy commitment to your lizard friend.
How Do You Know If a Bearded Dragon is Male or Female?
To tell the sex of your bearded dragon, count the bumps. Males have two hemipenal bumps beneath their tail, females have only one. If in doubt, consult your small animal veterinarian.
Bearded Dragon Good Pet?
Bearded dragon can be a good pet, but are probably not a good choice as a first pet or as a pet for a child. They are extremely intelligent, can be affectionate, and can offer a variety of antics and behaviors that their human friends will find endearing.
With that said, they can be an expensive pet. The expenses begin with the purchase price and is quickly followed up by the purchase of a large, plexiglass reptile case with a stout lid. These guys are dedicated, escape artists.
They have specific heating/cooling requirements. Many bearded dragon keepers find that it is best to provide a warm area and a cool area in their friend’s enclosure, giving him the opportunity to choose whether he needs to warm up or cool down. A good thermostat with automatic regulators is a must for any bearded dragon’s optimal health.
They need a basking place during the day and are happiest if all lights are dimmed or shut completely off at night. They get bored easily, so their environment needs variety. This can be provided with found objects such as rocks or driftwood, or even a pair of their owner’s old shoes.
Is it Advisable to Let the Bearded Dragon Out of its Cage?
Yes, as long as you can control his environment. A playpen large is an excellent choice, providing a secondary home for times when you need to disturb the primary container, such as for weekly cleaning.
They can even be walked on a lead as long as you keep an eye out for birds. Beardies are a food source for many desert avian, so the shadow of something flying overhead puts their instincts into overdrive.
What Should Be In The Bearded Dragon Tank?
A bearded dragon tank needs, as mentioned, a variety of environmental objects. Rocks, large pieces of cleaned driftwood, even old shoes give these big fellows something to explore. They need a hidey place where they can retreat if the household becomes too noisy or busy. (They are not fond of loud sounds.) They should be provided a shallow soaking pool, especially during their molting time, as well as a container for foodstuffs such as fruits and vegetables. However, the bulk of their diet should be protein from live insects or worms, and they prefer getting their drinks from moisture beading on plants.
What is the Best Tank Setup for a Bearded Dragon?
The best setup is a large tank such as a 55 to 75-gallon aquarium for a full-grown adult. Plexiglass is a better choice than real glass because it is less likely to create a reflection. Beardies are solitary except for mating times and often regard a reflection as a rival bearded dragon that is trying to move into their territory.
How do You Clean The Bearded Dragon Cage?
Each day the large tank needs to have uneaten food removed and the droppings cleaned up. Once a week, remove the beardie from the tank. Give the enclosure a thorough cleaning by washing everything with a mild soap, such as baby shampoo, then giving it a thorough rinse with vinegar and water.
How Do you Clean the Bearded Dragon?
To give your beardie a bath, put enough lukewarm water in a sink or a pan to come up to just below his earholes. Gently dribble some water on his head and back. Once he is wet all over, use a soft toothbrush to gently brush him in the direction of his scales. Brush each foot, making sure to get any crud out of his claws, and brush the area under his tail, checking for any signs of abnormality. If something does not look quite right, call your vet. Usually, this will simply be a routine glance while making sure your beardie is clean. Put him back in the water to splash around for a few minutes, then put him back in his freshly cleaned container. Bathing should happen about once every two weeks, especially for baby dragons.
Where Should the Bearded Dragon Tank Location?
The tank needs to be in an area that is warm and relatively free of drafts. You might need to add a U V B bulb for added heat as they are desert creatures and they like to bask in the warmth. They enjoy daytime temperatures between 100- and 105-degrees Fahrenheit. Baby dragons need temperatures around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating light bulbs should be left on during the day and turned off at night. Your beardie should have a safe retreat spot for nighttime snoozing. The location should allow your dragon to retreat to his hidey for a variety of reasons, including self-regulating his temperature as well as retreating from too many curious eyes.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
They eat a wide variety of things, including insects, fresh fruit, and vegetables. The best bearded dragon diet is around 75% protein, such as crickets, mealworms, King worms, and similar creatures. If you do not have a local pet store that has insects for sale, bait shops are a good place to get suitable creatures or you can try to find bearded dragon food on online shops like Amazon. It is not a good idea to catch wild crickets, grasshoppers, or roaches because these creatures might have been exposed to pesticides or fertilizers. These substances would then be passed on to your pet with unfortunate results. The other 20 to 25% of their diet should be greens, vegetables, and fruit. They like sweet potatoes, peppers, and nutritious green leafy vegetables. Avoid iceberg lettuce.
You can buy Bearded dragon food from pet stores bait shops or grow your own. Never feed fireflies to your dragon because they contain a toxin that can be fatal. But you can feed pinky feeder mice in limited quality quantities to older dragons, especially the big varieties. You can even feed your bearded dragon tofu. Baby Dragons and even some older Dragons might need a mineral supplement but check with your veterinarian before giving one. Improper or imprecise use of supplements can be fatal.
What Diseases Can Bearded Dragons Get?
One of the problems that they can develop is inappropriate supplementations This is why it is important to check with your veterinarian before sprinkling anything on their food. They can also get metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, parasites, infectious stomatitis, also known as mouth rot, and adino virus. With that said, if they have the right food and a good environment, they are hardy and are rarely ill. If you suspect that your beardie is not feeling well, don’t wait. Call your veterinarian for timely advice.
Bearded Dragon Training: Can Bearded Dragons Be Trained?
Yes, they can be trained to simple things such as coming when called or sitting on your shoulder. Just keep in mind that these little dinosaurs are incredibly intelligent. There might be some question as to whether you are training the dragon, or the dragon is training you!
What Should You Know About Breeding Bearded Dragons?
Females should be around 2 years of age, and weigh at least 350 grams, and be in good health. Males can be younger and lighter but should be showing signs of wanting to mate, which includes a darkening beard and head bobbing. Before breeding, talk to your vet about the best calcium supplements for your female. Creating eggs consumes her bodily resources, especially calcium. But you want to have the right supplement, given in the right amounts. Remember, when it comes to supplements, some is good but more is not always better.
When it is time for your pair to mate, they will manage very well without help. Essentially, the male will head bob, dance around, and then grab the female by the back of the neck to hold her firmly while they are getting busy. When it is all over, she is likely to head butt him, and try to drive him away.
It Is a Good Idea To Separate Your Beardies at This Time.
Meanwhile, your little female will need some extra TLC while gestating, especially those supplements. She also will need an excellent diet and as close to an ideal environment as you can manage. While in most cases, all will proceed naturally, it is a good idea to have a good relationship with a small animal vet who specializes in reptiles – just in case something does not go as planned.
After she lays her eggs, it is a good idea to place the clutch in a reptile egg incubator for an optimal hatch.
Other Interesting Facts About Bearded Dragons To Know:
Always wash your hands before and after handling bearded Dragons because they can have parasites and bacteria, which while not harmful to them, can be transmitted to humans. They have primitive venom glands, although the venom has little effect on humans. Another reason for good handwashing habits is to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria to your beardie.
Threats to Bearded Dragon
In the wild, these tiny dinosaurs are affected by the loss of habitat through land clearing and cattle grazing. There are many predators that think these amusing lizards are tasty dinner treats. Large birds, goannas, snakes, dingoes, and foxes all love bearded dragon for dinner. Feral cats can be another threat.
In addition, they can get several kinds of mites and internal parasites.
They are also frequently captured and sold for the pet industry. Therefore, for the sake of these ancient creatures being able to continue in the wild, always know your supplier and make sure they are licensed to handle bearded dragons.
Breeders have experimented with several different types, which might mean that hybridized bearded dragons sold in pet stores would not have a good chance of surviving in the wild.
Bearded Dragon Conservation.
Although they do meet some challenges, these little dinosaurs are still plentiful in their native habitat, and are not considered to be endangered. They are, however, classified as an exotic pet and are considered to be an invasive species in some areas. Always check with your local conservation agency before obtaining an unusual or exotic animal.
Where to Get Bearded Dragons.
As previously mentioned, if you want a beardie as a pet, it is best to get yours from a licensed provider or from someone you know who has a clutch of babies to share.
Another possible source is to get a beardie from a bearded dragon rescue. Not everyone who gets a pet understands how much work they are going to be or how expensive. You can help a beardie who wound up with a confused human by taking him or her into your home.
Bearded dragons are intelligent exotic animals, affectionate, and interesting. They can be a good alternative for people who would love to have a pet, but are unable to tolerate cat or dog fur.
With that said, they require some specialized care and an environmentally protected area in which to spend most of their time. They can be skittish, and they are dedicated, escape artists. They need a diet that includes live prey, such as crickets, and while they might need a supplement occasionally, caution needs to be used when giving them.
If you are getting a beardie for the first time, locate a good small animal vet who specializes in reptiles. Both you and your beardie will benefit from your vet’s expertise.
Always know the source when getting yourbest exotic pets. Licensed sellers or rescues good sources.