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bearded dragons
fingers and toes
bearded dragon
different foods
feeding time
many different types
new pet
dragons
greens
chase
Bearded Dragons
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Bearded Dragons

Beardies can make wonderful pets! Despite their spikiness, they are social and docile creatures. When purchasing a dragon for the first time, make sure you count his fingers and toes just as you would a real baby. You children can help to pick out the perfect addition to your family. With the appropriate supervision, a child can help in the care of the bearded dragon. Involve your child by allowing him to pick out the cage and furniture. Children can also help with feeding time by tearing greens for the dragon to eat during the day. Kids may also enjoy watching the dragon chase their breakfast and dinner of crickets.

What is a Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragons are lizards that are native to Australia. More than likely, the dragon that you purchase will be bread within the United States because of the strict exportation laws Australia has for its wildlife. The dragons that are born here can often be a mixed breed since there are many different types of bearded dragons. The most common type is the Yellow-headed Bearded Dragon. Regardless of the breed, each dragon definitely has its own personality. Some are more social and may event be a bit of a picky eater. It is important to get to know your new pet and try different foods, lighting, heating, and furniture.

Purchasing your Bearded Dragon

Purchasing your dragon is a big step. You have the option to buy a baby or an older dragon. The older dragons do tend to be more expensive. When you are ready to pick out your first dragon be sure to inspect the dragon closely for any damage or possible infections. These could be signs of an unhealthy dragon. Count their fingers and toes as well as the length of their tail. These can help you ensure a healthy baby bearded dragon. Just because a dragon may have a shorter tail or a crooked toe does not necessarily mean they are unhealthy; however, it is a good idea to take a look at all of you options.

Children & Bearded Dragons

Many children love the idea of a pet whether it is soft and cuddly or cold blooded and spiky. In today's society, where both parents may be working, the average cat or dog may be too much extra work for the parents when their son or daughter said they would help take care of the new pet. Baby bearded dragons sleep when we do and they do not make much vocalizations. The loudest I have heard is nothing more than a small hiss. In most cases a bearded dragon may be the perfect fit! A child will not solely be able to care of the pet and will require hands on attention from an adult. Be sure this is the type of animal everyone in the household wants to enjoy so there is no interruption in the care of the dragon. The children will need supervision during socialization, feeding, and bathing of the dragon. The empathy a child can develop from caring for an animal will last them a lifetime.

Cages for Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons do require specific habitats. They do like to climb and are pretty good jumpers. I have found the cages that have a door on the front makes it much easier to clean the cage and handle the dragon. Baby dragons can have a smaller environment, but be prepared as they can grow quickly as it will need a bigger cage. I prefer to use newspaper at the bottom of the cage rather than the sand. The newspaper is inexpensive and provides for easy clean up. If sand is used, be sure that your dragon does not ingest to much sand because it can lead to digestion problems. Dragons do like to lick their environment. When you are ready to decorate the habitat make sure you provide branches to climb and bask on as well as a hiding spot in case they are too warm. It may take some time to get the temperature just right for your dragon. Most dragons prefer the cage to range any where form 80 to 100 degrees. The cooler temperature at the bottom and the higher temperature under the spot light where he will bask. The basking light is to help with with digestion. The cage will also need a UVB (ultra-violate) light over the rest of the cage. I have provided a separate heater for my dragons which has helped to regulate the temperature of the cage. If I see he is hiding more often, I will turn off the heater to see if he will come out and bask.

Food for the Bearded Dragon

A baby bearded dragon will need a source of protein everyday to make sure he will grow to his full potential. I fed our baby dragons as many crickets as they could eat twice a day. They love to see their food move. Do not hand feed your dragon because he may accidentally bite your finger that has the food on it. Trust, me it does hurt to have a dragon latch on to your finger. What I found worked best was to have a separate feeding cage. This served 2 purposes: 1. It allowed the dragons to get used to being handled and 2. the crickets were not in the dragon's habitat after they were done eating. The crickets will actually bite the dragon when they are sleeping which can lead to health problems. If you do not have an extra fish tank or box to use as a feeder cage, be sure to get all of the uneaten crickets from the habitat after feeding time is over.

In between protein meals they can eat different types of greens. Please no iceberg lettuce as it has no nutritional value. Before purchasing any new foods make sure you research it to verify that it is okay for the dragon to eat. After about a year, your dragon will be almost full grown and you can cut back on the protein and just give it as an occasional treat. There are many more types of protein than just crickets. You can check with your local pet store to see what they may have available. Adding a supplement of calcium to their diet is vital. The calcium helps to make their bones form correctly. You can get a powdered form of the supplement and coat the crickets in them and/or sprinkle it on the greens. The dragon should not mind the taste and may actually like it.

Overall, I think a bearded dragon could be the perfect fit for your family. Make sure to select the healthiest looking dragon of the bunch when you go to the pet store. The dragon will grow quickly so be sure you get a good sized cage and furniture for him. He will want to climb to his favorite basking spot. Adult supervision is important during feeding and socialization times and will be a great learning experience for kids as well. A dragons diet will mostly consist of greens, feel free to experiment with new foods after you have done some research to verify they can eat it without consequences. Hopefully with these tips you will be able to enjoy your bearded dragon as much as I do my 3 dragons!


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