If you're looking for a fun and interactive pet, then you might want to consider a bearded dragon. With its friendly personality and spikey appearance, this reptile is quite docile and responds well to gentle handling, they are an increasingly popular choice as a pet. Before taking the plunge and investing in one, however, it's important to understand what kind of care beared dragons require and if they really are the right pet for you.
What Species of Bearded Dragons Can be Kept as Pets in Australia?
All Australian lizards are protected species. To keep a Bearded Dragon as a pet, you will need to obtain a Reptile Keepers Licence. It is illegal to collect Bearded Dragons from the wild. These home grown natives can only be purchased through a licences outlet, such as We Know Pets.
- Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
- Pygmy Bearded Dragon (Pogona henrylawsoni)
Bearded dragons, scientifically known as Pogona vitticeps, are typically easy to care for in captivity and have a long lifespan of up to 10 years when given proper attention and food. Besides requiring regular terrarium cleaning and access to UV lights, some basic knowledge of their behavior and diet is also useful in order to ensure owners are keeping them healthy. Bearded Dragons are a popular pet reptile and can grow up to 30cm (Cenral Beardies) in length, making them a great option for those looking for a medium-sized, friendly lizard.
Learn About their Behaviour and Needs of Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are naturally gentle and friendly creatures, but they do require attention and companionship in order to thrive. When handled properly, bearded dragons make excellent family pets. It’s important to learn about their behaviour and needs so that you can provide the correct environment for them. This will help ensure a long and happy life for your pet.
Understand their Care Requirements.
Bearded dragons require specific care to remain healthy. Be sure to research what they need before you bring one into your home. This includes an appropriate enclosure, such as a purpose designed enclosure with sufficient space as well as the right type of substrate, lighting, furniture, and temperature. Our expert staff can guide you through setup requirements in store. Also note that bearded dragons require daily food and water and may need a multivitamin supplement from time to time.
Have the Best Habitat Set Up for Your Lizard.
A key to caring for a bearded dragon is having the right habitat set up. Consider the size and age of your pet as well as their individual dietary needs when choosing an appropriate enclosure. It should be large enough to accommodate a heat light, an area for basking, hiding places, and other items that may make your beardie comfortable. Providing furniture like branches or rocks promoting climbing can help keep your lizard active, while also providing an enriching environment. Make sure that you add a hide for your lizard, this is essential for them to fell safe if they need to retreat. The Get Your Pet Right Medium Lizard Setup is ideal for Beardies.
Additionally, you'll need to have the correct type of substrate, like reptile safe
Bearded Dragon Substrate
Bearded Dragons thrive when their environments mimic their natural habitat. When setting up a home for your beardie, it is important to ensure the enclosure has substrate that is safe if ingested such as washed reptile sand (to mimic the central Australian Desert). Sand will allow them to dig and burrow just like they would in the wild making them happy and healthy!
What are the Heating Requirements for a Bearded Dragons Enclosure?
Bearded dragons require a heat gradient in their enclosure. This gradient should range in temperature from 24 - 34 degrees. They require a basking area that heats to about 32 degrees by a specific basking lamp. The other end of your lizards enclosure should be a lower temperature of between 24-26 degrees. You may also require a heat mat to warm the substrate if you live in cool regions. Properly providing this temperature gradient is essential for their health and wellbeing.
Lighting Requirements for Bearded Dragons
Beardies need the right amount of full-spectrum light, with plenty of UVB included. providing UVB lighting creates an environment that is suitable for their dietary needs, giving them the opportunity to produce Vitamin D3 which is essential for proper bodily functions. A fluorescent reptile light 10.0 should sit above their enclosure. UVB lights installed over the enclosure to mimic the natural light spectrum from the sun. With this care, bearded dragons can live up to 10 years or more!
Do Bearded Dragons need Humidity?
Beardies are usually easy to care for. The key is to create a habitat that mimics their natural environment as best you can. This includes providing them with the correct temperatures and humidity levels. A bearded dragon's ideal humidity level should be between 35% and 40%. To maintain this level, use a hygrometer to monitor the tank humidity, and mist if needed.
What Diet do Bearded Dragons eat?
Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and small animals. They naturally hunt for their food in the wild. It is important to give them a varied diet consisting of leafy greens, vegetables, and an occasional insect or cricket. They may also enjoy consuming other live worms, small roaches, pinkie mice, and Bearded Dragon Pellets. Commercially made foods like pellets should be offered in conjunctions with other fresh foods such as leafy greens chopped up, consider, kale, Asian greens, dandelions, broccoli, and berries.
You can also feed your beardie live food such as crickets. Be sure to dust any supplemantary food with a calcium powder like Vetafarms Multical dust. Ensure that you always have a supply of fresh drinking water and another dish that you can use as a bath. Bearded dragons enjoy having a warm water. Baths help them absorb water to stay hydrated and will assist with shedding.
Recognise Signs of Health Problems in Your Pet Bearded Dragon
To keep your bearded dragon healthy, it’s important to recognise any signs of possible illness. These can include lethargy, lack of appetite, swollen eyes or toes, weight loss or gain, changes in skin color and texture, respiratory issues or parasites. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Ensure you monitor how soon after a meal your beardie expells their waste! Impaction is a serious condition that can affect pet lizards, especially those that are kept in captivity. It occurs when the lizard is unable to pass stool or other waste material, which can lead to a blockage in the digestive system.
Some of the symptoms of impaction in pet lizards include:
- Loss of appetite or decreased food intake
- Swelling in the abdomen or lower part of the body
- Straining or difficulty in defecating
- Lethargy or lack of energy
- Reduced activity or movement
- Vomiting or regurgitation
- Inability to use hind legs
If you suspect that your pet lizard is impacted, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.
When considering bearded dragons as pets, it is important to be aware of their risks. Bearded dragons are vulnerable to developing metabolic bone disease, which comes from an imbalance between calcium and phosphorus in their diets. This can cause weakened bones that may be prone to fractures. Bearded dragons may still make good pets for those willing to commit the necessary time and resources for care.
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