Bearded Dragons – Should A Beardie Be Your First Reptile?
Bearded Dragons have established a strong reputation as being ideal first reptiles. They are fairly easy to care for and have a great disposition.
Bearded Dragons are not a large lizard. They grow to approximately two feet long making them tiny compared to the staggering 6 feet lengths of Iguanas and Monitor Lizards. With a life expectancy of around 10 years you will be enjoying your new pet for a long time.
One aspect of the Bearded Dragons most owners appreciate is their diet. Instead of needing to worry about mice, smaller lizards, or other animals you can feed them live crickets. Crickets are available at most pet stores and are very inexpensive. If you feel really energetic you can even setup to raise your own colonies of crickets for feeding your Beardies. Bearded Dragons also need vegetables in their diet. 50 percent of an adult Beardies diet is vegetables. Green vegetables, carrots, and zucchini are great for your Bearded Dragon.
One important fact to keep in mind when buying your first Bearded Dragons, getting a pair is great, but only if you do it right. Never buy two males and put them in the same habitat. They will fight and one or both will end up injured. Two females work well together if they are both about the same size. The ideal combination is one male and one female.
Your Bearded Dragon’s habitat is very easy, also. They are a desert creature so do not require the intense setup of plants and humidity control of rain forest lizards. You will need to setup a desert habitat for them which should start off with a 40 gallon tank. Make sure you include a nice area for them to bask in the heat in the same area as your reptile heating system. The temperature of the daylight hours needs to stay between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The basking area should be approximately 100 degrees. For the night time allow the temperature to drop to around 65 to 75 degrees.
Adult Bearded Dragons need a good calcium sand in the bottom of the terrarium. It is recommended to make the sand at least 3 inches deep and can be as deep as 6 inches. Tank cleanliness is important. You should be removing any reptile waste at least once per week, if not more often. Plan on replacing the sand every 4 to 6 weeks.
If you have children in your home they are going to love the Bearded Dragons. They are easy to handle and safe. The biggest concern is making sure your kids wash before and after handling the Dragon. They could transfer bacteria or chemicals which are harmful to the Beardie, or the Bearded Dragon could transfer bacteria to them. Teaching your children great handling techniques is an important lesson. With a little care and preparation the Bearded Dragon is going to be a great part of your family.