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Bearded Dragons Care Kit
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Bearded dragons as pets. What are the interesting character and behaviour traits? How exactly do you house them? What tank substrate do they require? What temperatures and humidity do they require? What are their dietary requirements? How should you handle them at any time? What are the species specific diseases you must be aware of?

Over recent years there has been an increase in the popularity of the bearded dragon. From the perspective of the pet owner it is one of the most undemanding pets to care for or maintain. Endemic to the arid scrublands and forests of the interior of Australia, it is as unique as any species can be.

Our bearded dragon has dull grey coloured rough skin marked with and covered by numerous tubercles and prickles. As they have elongated back legs, slender elongated tails, marked rows of spines along the neck, back, spine their appearance is both distinctive and prehistoric. While threatened, our bearded dragon inflates itself with air.

One unique characteristic of bearded dragons is that they inflate themselves with air. So much so that its throat prickles now resemble a beard. Another reason the bearded dragon inflates itself with air is so that it appears much larger in size to any predators. Also, by inflating itself with air the bearded dragon can remain afloat while it swims across rivers in its natural wild habitat.

Unlike most other exotic pets, bearded dragons are active during the daylight hours. At this stage of the day they can be black in colour but this can easily change. As their body temperature warms up during the heat of the day they become active and start to forage.

With skin colour changing from black to grey as temperatures become warmer our bearded dragon is adept at being camouflaged by blending in with the background during intense heat.

Allthough bearded dragons are diurnal they have to survive in temperatures which exceed 100 degrees fahrenheit at mid-day and mid-afternoon by hiding in excavated burrows. If they can't hide in burrows, they stand on tiptoes upright to prevent body exposure to scorching temperatures.

As always when keeping exotic pets, purchase them at less than 4 weeks old so they can be reared and trained to be tame and docile. Upon reaching maturity our bearded dragons should average 18 inches in length. Some bearded dragons have been recorded as reaching 24 inches in length. Allthough you may want to keep pairs of bearded dragons this is only wise whenever there are male-female pairs.

To house your pet bearded dragon there should be two 20 gallon aquarium tanks. One tank should be for one pair while the other tank should be for same gender groups of females. Once your female has mated you require this second tank for the female to excavate her burrow amid the substrate where she will lay clutches of 2-3 eggs. For one month she will lie there between emerging to feed where she feeds, protects and nurtures her brood of infants.

When building and arranging the layers of substrate you should start with the bottom layer of smooth pebbles below layers of gravel with about three inches of sand as the topsoil below layers of cardboard and paper. For your 20 gallon aquarium tank scenery above the tank substrate there should be an abundance of rocks, weeds, green foliage with tank temperatures set at 100 degrees fahrenheit.

Amid the rocks and weeds in your glass aquarium tank there should be bowls of fresh water for your bearded dragon to rehydrate. Since they are active in high temperatures this is an essential requirement. Every day there should be fresh water. Each bearded dragon must rehydrate every day.

Almost all the dietary requirements of the bearded dragon can be provided by the nutrition provided by crickets, mice, rats, shrews, skinks, ants, cockroaches. In their native habitat, bearded dragons sit and wait for passing prey as they only expend energy when strike at prey. By stocking your glass aquarium tank with crickets, mice, rats, ants, insects your bearded dragon will have its appetite satisfied.

Allthough your female bearded dragons are ready for mating between March-April you have to know when to recognise the signs when your pair of male and female bearded dragons are ready for mating by watching out for vigorous head shaking and nodding by the male with prolonged head dipping and claw waving by the female. After mating, your female bearded dragon typically lays 2-3 eggs per clutch amid multiple clutches during any breeding season. Have them speyed at the end of the first year.

Until you know the signs of when your bearded dragon has an ailment or disease your pet is always at risk. Be aware that if your pet bearded dragon remains sedentary for long periods and has dull colours then it is likely that some virus or bacterial infection or parasite is present. Also be aware that when your bearded dragon is not eating then there is some ailment or disease clearly evident.

Since you are keeping your bearded dragons in glass aquarium tanks you have to be responsible for their well being and hygiene. Even though you can shower spray your bearded dragon to clean them free from mites and parasites you have to clean out the tank every week. By eliminating faeces and bacteria you are keeping the tank hygienic and your pet healthy.

On the subject of cleaning the tank, you should keep another identical tank to keep them in while you are engaged in this. So therefore you will have to handle your pet. By stroking and fondling your pet it will become attached to you. Some bearded dragons even sleep in their owners beds.

Always wash and dry your hands before and after you handle your bearded dragon. Always remember to wear gloves while you handle your bearded dragons as they have an abundance of salmonella toxins spread throughout their skins which they secrete as mucus as one of their innate defences against predators. Besides this, any residue from food on your skin can contain toxins which infect them.

Whether you follow these guidelines on keeping bearded dragons as pets is up to you. They make loyal and fascinating pets. Many dedicated bearded dragons community groups will help you further.


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