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Bearded Dragons

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18 Reviews

Animal Species: Reptiles / Amphibians

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    18 Reviews
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      23.08.2012 13:46
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      A lovely pet to own

      My review is all about Bearded Dragons and I want to try and explain more about them but also how you need to do certain things before making that purchase.


      ~~ The first question to most people is what is a bearded dragon? ~~

      Well a bearded dragon is a lizard which originate in the in the deserts of and woodland of Australia. The males and females are usually the same size but the males can have a longer head.

      They love to bask in high temperatures as this enables them to grow and keep them healthy. If they get to warm they love to bury themselves to make sure they have shade to release that heat put on them.
      They are small but grow sometimes to be very big on average the size can be between 14-27 inches which is very big. They eat plants and also live animals such as crickets and locusts.

      They also come in many colours which are great and more about how they look can be found on my pictures.

      ~~ Selecting and Research ~~

      The majority of people who visit pet centres may have noticed Bearded Dragons and to be honest they seem to be everywhere at the moment. I first had one about 6 years ago but it was never really mine it belonged to my brother and I was always there to appreciate them and understand them.

      You have to be careful where you get the bearded dragons from because this is where you can either make an excellent choice or potentially make a very silly one.

      I have found when I was getting my two before Christmas that you need to pick up the bearded dragon you want. An example might be inside a pet store and discovering it does not want your attention at all it just wants down and away.

      This indicates it is not used to being picked up and in theory you do not want that. You need the bearded dragon to be able to appreciate human contact so that is one aspect I looked for. The other is to do a health check find out about the pet. Ask for the date of birth, history of any problems and if you notice a problem ask. If you do not get good enough answers then walk away even if the price of the animal is excellent.

      Do plenty of research I went and spent over £20 on books, seeking advice from experts online and never belief one person over another. If you ask one person and believe there advice only you're not doing yourself any favours. Compare notes by 2 or 3 people and then see what they say and get a better understanding about the pet your about to purchase.


      ~~ The Setup ~~

      Now comes the expensive part to this whole process and this is the vivarium. I was trying for weeks to find the best vivarium but my problem was size and also how safe it was. I was told by experts that you need to have a big vivarium and mine is 4 foot by 2 foot and this is big enough to hold 2 bearded dragons.

      You have to do plenty of work here because you need to make sure the glass doors are safe and sound but also make sure you have a solid base to the vivarium. I found one vivarium for £185 and this looked excellent when it came to seeing it in person I could push it over very easily and that is poor.

      You also have to take into consideration the equipment inside and this costs plenty of money regardless if you go online or a local store the price is very similar.

      You have to buy a log for your bearded dragon to bask on. This is basically there for them to lie on throughout the day to gain heat but also gain the UV rays as well. You need a very long UV light if you have a vivarium size I went for. This is critical to have as they bask next to this and it helps there bones grow and keeps them healthy.

      You need to have plants at the back because they need to know about where they are but have things to climb as well. You need to have a food bowl for the plants you put out but also a water bowl.

      Besides all this you need a place for them to rest and relax like logs and rocks to hide under and then finally more bulbs. I have two 40 watts bulbs which help keep the heat going to the right temperature for them. I also have a night time bulb so when the temperature drops to 80 degrees this bulb kicks in to keep the temperature exactly 80 degrees.

      The final part to the vivarium setup is the temperature gauge at the back and a thermometer to keep an eye on temperatures inside. All this and my solid oak vivarium cost me £675 and this could have been higher.

      You also need substrate at the bottom like litter in a cat's dirt box and this substrate needs to be either newspaper or wood chip, please do not use sand as they could eat this and it might cause them a painful blockage.

      ~~ Food and Temperatures ~~

      I think the food part confuses people and it did with me because everywhere I went I was told not to include some foods but other places said I can. I am going to let people know what my bearded dragons eat so people can see what they can eat.

      In the morning I give my two little creatures some watercress and coriander and I usually pull it apart until it is kind of tiny in pieces but not too small. The bearded dragons love to bite through this stuff and eat it themselves. I have also given them parsnip, carrot, rocket, parsley, lambs lettuce, kale and a red pepper.
      I was told NEVER to give them tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, spinach or iceberg lettuce as this makes them ill.

      In terms of live food well I feed mine between 15-20 crickets a day and if they are not quite in the mood for them I give them locusts instead which are very tricky customers to control. I have a pair of tweezers from the pet store grab them out of the box and put them in some calcium powder which your bearded dragons need for them own growth.

      You also have temperature issues to deal with as well and this is where you need to keep an eye on things. The temperature during the day needs to be between 90-100 degrees and this is done via the two lights and the UV light. You need to leave these lights on for 12 hours a day and then they need to go off so the dragons can rest.

      During the night the temperatures need to be at the lowest 80 degrees and this is to make sure they are warm enough to be okay but enough to make them sleep at the same time. You need to work out the setup yourself but ask the people you buy your equipment from and they should assist you further.


      ~~ My Bearded Dragons ~~

      I got two bearded dragons aged 4 months old before Christmas and we had some issues because they were not happy about being moved. They were friendly to touch and pick up but it takes a few weeks for your bearded dragons to gain trust.

      I created a vivarium to make sure they had plenty of places to go, eat and relax and bask of course and after a few nervous days they began to understand the layout and understand one another.

      At this age you do not know the gender I was told you need to wait until they are around 9-12 months old for this to be determined but I am fairly sure one is a lady and the other a gentlemen.

      They love to have their greens in the morning and this consists usually of grated carrot and watercress crushed up with some rocket leaves as well. They usually eat this slowly and unfortunately for you as the owner when they are little they take a while to eat the green salad stuff because they are more interested in live food.

      With me I try to give them a balanced diet and nothing is the same each day as this would bore them like it would me. I give them crickets with locusts and I usually tipped them into the vivarium and my two little friends run after them and eat them.

      People are nervous about doing this part but my advice is do it quickly because locusts when they escape they are difficult to catch but also the crickets are slippery customers also.
      Once they have had roughly between 8-10 of those a day each I do not feed them anymore until the next day. I keep watering the vegetables so they do not go all horrible due to the heat inside the vivarium and make sure they have their poop cleaned up each day as well.

      Every 3 days I will spray the vivarium and this includes the leaves in the back hanging up, the log the bearded dragons themselves completely with luke warm water so they are cooled down but also gives them water to drink.

      They cannot see still water so it means the water bowl you have is kind of pointless but I change mine daily and lately they have been taking sips out of the water bowl.

      Every 4 weeks I go and changed the entire substrate to new material and makes sure the glass is cleaned with this very good disinfectant you get from pet stores. They are easy to keep and when you are in a routine they are super easy to look after.

      Recently my bearded dragons have had their skin shred and this means they are growing and you can see it ready to come off due to the way it looks all horrible but this is just them growing and will happen regularly.

      At night time is when I love to see them go to work they see the lights go out and for them it is time for bed they literally go to the back of the vivarium and dig a hole and go to bed eyes closed and time for nap. The lights come on the next morning they wake up slowly like we all do and stretch and they are ready for the day ahead.

      I take mine out every day for about 30 minutes and hold them and let them run around my bed and this to me lets them get used to me and gain my trust but also lets them have some freedom as well.
      They have no teeth so if they try to bite it is just gums they have and it doesn't hurt at all.

      Overall I love them to pieces and find new characteristic with them all the time.
      I have insurance with me and for these two bearded dragons each month costs just £11 which is fantastic if that is the option you choose to take with them.

      ~~ Final Notes and Things to Remember ~~


      Always research and listen to those who have had or have got bearded dragons and make sure you're prepared for the prices of everything.Do not believe everything you hear first-hand ask around various locations and see what people are saying in general and then you have a better understanding.

      Never be afraid to ask questions to the place you have got them from and also take your time and have patience the first few weeks.Each person will find a suitable setup for food, layout of items inside the vivarium and no one is perfect in how they approach this subject.

      You can have insurance for these animals and they are so well known that people will find a vet very easily if a problem should arise.They are awesome creatures and they can make you smile with their mannerisms and they can make you feel sorry for them as well.

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        01.01.2012 17:59
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        Keeping A Beardie

        Bearded Dragons (often affectionately called Beardies) are often referred to as being easy to keep. This is true to a certain extent as they do not need such specialist care as some of the other reptiles (such a Chameleons) but you still need to do plenty of research, especially about their diet and vitamin supplements.

        Price
        I paid £60 for my Bearded Dragon when he was about 2 months old. I find that locally adult Bearded Dragons are more expensive and can cost up to £120. I always like to get my animals from young and watch them grow into adults.

        Housing
        Bearded Dragons are kept in vivariums. My Bearded Dragon is kept in a vivarium made totally of wood, which has glass sliding doors at the front. If you buy a Beardy from a young age then it can be better to keep them in a smaller viv as they will look lost in a larger viv and also it will cost a lot more to heat the viv when it isn't really necessary to keep them in such a large tank. This is a matter of personal choice really as it does seem a bit pointless buying to different sized vivariums when in the end; you will only be using one. I was lucky in the fact that I have several reptiles and several spare tanks so I used a spare tank.

        Adult Bearded Dragon should be kept in a viv that is at least 3 feet wide by 2 feet deep. My Bearded Dragon's viv is 3.5 feet wide, 18 inches deep and 2 foot high. I always think bigger is better so basically get the biggest viv that your house can accommodate.

        Substrate
        There are many differing opinions on what substrate should be used with Bearded Dragons. Substrate is what you choose to use as the flooring of the viv. Many people use sand but I heard that this can cause impactation (where the Beardy chases the live food, catches it, and also gets a mouthful of sand). The sand can not be digested and over time it will build up inside your reptile and eventually kill it. Other substrate that people use are things such as alfalfa pellets which are slightly safer than sand but still poses the risk of impactation. My chosen substrate is newspaper. It doesn't look anywhere near as attractive as sand but I believe the health of my reptiles is far more important that how their viv looks. The other advantage to newspaper is that it's free (or at least very cheap) and can be replaced very easily when it gets dirty.

        The Nature Of A Bearded Dragon
        Bearded dragons have a very laid back nature and are fascinating to watch, my mine is a right little character. They are easy to tame as they are so laid back and don't mid being handled. My only advice is to make sure that you support your Beardie's tail whenever you pick them up - they use their tails to balance and if you pick them up without supporting their tail them they get panicky as they are unable to balance. Many people with young children choose a Beardy as they have such lovely temperaments.
        Beardies are very active so should be provided with various objects in the viv to amuse them.

        Inside The Vivarium
        In my viv I have a ramp leads up to a small ledge (please see pics), my beardy loves sliding up and down his ramp and when he is chilling out, he normally sits on his shelf which is at the top of the ramp! I also have a large rock in the middle of the viv, this is there so he is able to bask on it to soak up some heat. He has all his heat in one end of his tank allowing him to go to either his 'hot end' or 'cool end ' depending on his temperature and where he feels most comfortable. Most Beardy keepers do not keep a water bowl in the viv, this is because Beardies can be prone to respiratory disease from being in too moist an environment and this is one of the reasons people tend not to put a water dish in the viv as it can create a moist atmosphere with the constant heat in the viv. Personally I keep a water dish in my viv as I change the newspaper at the bottom every couple of days so it is never allowed to get wet and I also get my Beardy out most days and leave the doors open so ensure that the atmosphere does not get too moist. Most people bath their Beardies every other day to allow them to soak up water through their skin (they are the only reptile that can do this, they regulate their temperature through evaporation through their skin) I personally bath my Beardy 3 times a week, just put a small amount of water in the bath, enough so it covers theirs legs and half their body but not their head! Make sure the water is not too hot, it is better for it to be too cold then too hot as you do not want to burn your Beardy. Let them have a splash around for 10-15 mins. My Beardy always has a swim and goes to the toilet when I bath him! Make sure you always dry your Beardy thoroughly and place them back in the hot end of their tank after a bath, again this stops them getting any sort of respiratory disease and ensure they totally dry.

        Temperatures
        I have a thermostat on my viv which ensures daytime temperature stays at 80-85 and the night time temperature can drop to 70. Bearded Dragons need to have UVB light as this provides them with vitamin D. The UVB light does not provide any heat, it basically acts like the sun and I keep the UVB light on during day time hours and then a red light bulb comes on during darkness. Beardies cannot process red light so to them it seems dark but you can still see them. The red light also provides the heat throughout the night. The heat can be provided through various sources, I have a heat lamp as we as a normal 60 watt household bulb - a white one for daytime use and a red one for night.
        The lights should resemble normal day time hours for the time of year, so my daytime lights come on as the sun comes up, and the red light comes on when darkness falls. This needs to be changed as the evening get longer. All my lights are on timers which is much easier for me as I work shifts and having them all on timers allows the lights to switch at the same time every day.

        Diet
        Your Bearded Dragon will have a varied diet; they can eat all sorts of fruit and vegetables and as they grow into adults around 80% of their diet will be made up from fresh fruit and veg. One item of their diet that they MUST have is vitamin supplements. I use Nutrobol and a Vitamin C supplement. You need to make it three parts vitamin C to one part Nutrobol and I either dust the live food with this or sprinkle it over his fresh fruit and veg. I prefer dusting the live food as you can see them eat it there and then rather than leaving it on their fruit and veg and not knowing if they are eating it or walking through it (as mine tends to do) If you do not provide your Bearded Dragon with these supplements then it can lead to poor bone structure and can leave them with brittle bones and eventually they will die from malnutrition.
        Feeding a young Bearded Dragon can be expensive as they literally eat and eat. While mine was growing up he ate 170 crickets in one day. As they get older they need less live food and more fruit and veg as I mentioned earlier. I offer my Beardy a variety of live food every day and he also has different fresh fruit and veg on offer in his viv every day. They eat crickets, locusts, superworms and waxworms. Pinkies can be fed as a very occasional treat but very occasional as they are quite fattening and do not offer very much nutritional value. The fresh fruit and veg list is almost endless and you can find these lists on most reptile websites. I feed mine blackberries, raspberries; dandelions, apple, banana, strawberries, orange and cress just to name a few.

        Size
        Although small when they are babies, Beardies can grow up to 2 feet in length so when buying, you must take into consideration that your Beardy will get this big and you will need a viv big enough to house them. They are 2 foot from head to tail (bearing in mind their tail is quite long!!)

        Shedding
        As your Beardy gets bigger, it will shed to account for the growth rate. My Beardy shed's in sections, for example, at the moment his tail is shedding, and in a couple of weeks his body will shed. When they shed, they become extremely agitated as obviously their skin is very itchy and my Beardy runs around his tank, rubbing himself up against anything he can to try and help in shedding his skin.

        Morphs
        Morphs are basically the different varieties of Beardie's that are available.
        You can a few different morphs of Beardie's and there really are some very striking colours available. My Bearded Dragon is just a normal but you can get one that are Sand fire (which are yellow) and also red varieties.

        Can Beardie's Be Kept Together?
        Bearded Dragons are very sociable animals and can be kept together very easily. Currently I keep mine alone as I have quite a few reptiles and I don't really have the room to get a bigger viv and it is always better to get a bigger viv if you are housing two together. You must never keep two males together though as they will fight. My Beardie quite often sits at the front of his tank watching everything going on in the house. I let him out most days and give him a bit of a run around the house, I don't keep him out for too long though as I don't like him to get cold. Always ensure that if you let your Beardy out, you pick up any loose objects that could be eaten. As I previously said, they are very inquisitive animals and will pick up almost anything and try to eat it.

        Summary
        On the whole these animals are easy to look after as long as you understand the commitment you are making when you buy them. Sometimes it can be a pain cutting up the fruit and veg every single day but this is vital to your animal's good health. As long as you do your research and understand the time and costs involved, keeping a Bearded Dragon is a very enjoyable experience.

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          15.03.2011 12:49
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          fab!

          I have always had pets, the quirkier the better. As a young child i remember having an iguana, and as an adult i have had dogs, fish and ferrets.

          My curiosity for the hu,ble lizard finally got the better of me, and after a few weeks of trawling around the reptile shops and chatting to the guys, i did some research on the ideal 'starter lizard'.

          I had my mind set on a leopard Gecko, their cute little faces, beautiful pure black eyes, and soft skin. My usband took a look at the bearded dragons, the adults at a whopping 26 inches and siad, i want one of them.

          Initally i looked at these creatures and thought, no way! My first impression, these very energetic lizards, greeny, orange in colour with spikes all around their heads, chins and down their sides, no thankyou. They looked frightening to me, and waching them chow down and demolish dozens of crickets and locusts, i was initially horrified. After all, my Iguana was a vegetarian!

          My husbands quest for me to choose a Bearded dragon continued until i finally gave in. I bought a few books, joined a reptile forum and began researching these lizards.

          The Bearded dragon, you may think came from the middle or far east, and in fact originated in Australia. Therefore they like a dry, warm environment. They like thier vivariums to be at least 4x4x2 (feet that is) to have a roam around!

          They like to bask and therefore it is important to have a warm end (with a heat lamp), and a cooler end for their food and water, although amazingly they will rarely drink the water as Beardies as they are often called having trouble seeing still water. I mainly keep my Dragon hydrated through her vegeables and regular baths.

          I found out that Beadies can live for 10+ years, so decided to go for a baby in the hope that i wouldnt notice it grow and the look of the spikes wouldnt scare me too much.

          We kind of rescued out beadie, although the owners we got her from may not agree. We were told that she was about 5 months old, but when asking the forum about her weight and legnth, they couldnt believe that she was that old!

          When we picked her up, her vivarium base was building sand and her UV light (which is really important for food digestion) was a lamp in one corner rather than a strip covering the whole of the viv.

          In reflection, this was very probably why she was so small and the building sand i was also told was a big no no as these lovely little creatures can easily become compacted if they ingest it, which unfortunatley can lead to death :(

          I like to think we saved her and rescued her.

          When we picked her up, we were told that she didnt like carrot (which she always eats now), and that she was a girl. We took her to our local reptile shop and asked the guy to do a mini assessment on her to make sure she wasnt lacking at all. He also said she was small for her age and that it was nearly impossible to tell her sex as she was so small!! Thus we named her Frankie (to save confudion, a nice unisex name for our toddler to remember would be useful). I always refer to her as a she, although i have seen no evidence of eggs being laid as yet?!

          Frankie is now 3-4 times the size she was when we got her and is thriving. I made a point of getting her out of her viv on a daily basis to handle her and get her used to me. She is currently sitting on my shoulder while i write this. Every look at her, giving me inspiration to write more about her. She enjoys cuddles every day often takes a little snooze.

          Frankie is like a chameleon, constantly changing colour as she is shedding all of the time. Not yet at the final size, she sheds roughly once a month in little bits, limbs at a time.

          She enjoys a diet of vegetables (avoiding spinach - as the iron content can be very dangerous for bearded dragons) and crickets, locusts and mealworms. Fear not though, if like me you dont like the idea of handling live food, see my review for the kricket keeper, fabulous contraption. It is advisable to feed these beauties at least once a day, twice for live food while they are growing,a nd replace the water daily too, even if they are not interested in taking anything.

          Her weekly bath keeps her hydrated and she has even come to like baths, dipping her head underneath for a quick facial wash!!

          My honest opinion of bearded dragons blows my initial impressions out of the water. These lizards are not nocturnal and therefore are awake when we are. They only need light and heat for 12 hours in the daytime and are easy to feed and look after.

          I have seen no signs of agression from my Beardie since i have had her. She may puff her beard occasionally when she has eaten ( a sign of not being too happy), but never when i have had her out or when i have my hands roaming around her Viv.

          My toddler thinks it is fabulous having a dragon as a pet and is the first one for a cuddle with her. He is amazed at how soft her spikes really are. They are dry to the touch and their skin is certainly bumpy. With their patchy body and stripey tail, very interesting creatures to look at and observe.

          A great addition to our family that needs to be researched before thinking of having one. They are harder to keep than your cat, for one they need attention every day and the environment they are kept in can drastically change the way that these dragons live and as to whenther they thrive, or in fact end up poorly.

          One thing that is important to mention though, is that at least 50% of bearded dragons have salmonella and therefore it is imprtnat to wash your hands after handling, especially if you have children that may stick their hands in their mouths.

          In conclusion, a fabulous pet, even as a beginners lizard.

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            29.08.2010 10:28
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            It is imperative you do your research-pet shops are not always the experts they claim to be.

            As I mentioned before on my profile we own Bearded Dragons as pets. The male is called Derek- my little girl got the name wrong as it was supposed to be Draco but I think Derek is much more personal anyway. The femail is called Pork Pie- I think you can guess why!

            They are both approx 1yr old now , we got them last October when they were about 8wks old. At first I have to admit that I wasn't keen on the idea at all , but as it was all my son wanted for Xmas we kind of didn't have many options.I think we went into the whole thing pretty naively and should have done a lot more research before buying them. So I would like to point out a few important things and crucial needs that you must have when caring for these fantastic reptiles derived from my own experiences.

            Habitat:
            Firstly they need a vivarium which should be at least 4ft especially if you have a pair- they will seem tiny at 8wks but they grow very quickly. They originate from the inland desserts of Australia so cannot survive without a controlled climate and enviroment.
            The vivarium should be arround 98-104 degrees farenheight, but they also need a cooler end of arround 84 degrees, so a decent thermometor is required to maintain the tank temperature.Basically they need a basking end and a cooling off end. So you will need a heat mat, heat lamp and a UV strip to maintain their health, and it's really important to also buy a thermostat controller so you always have the correct temperature. Reptile carpet is also recommended- not chippings as they may cause a choking hazard .

            Food:
            They are not carnivores they also need vegetables to maintain a healthy diet. Our Beardies love mange tout, curly kale and brocolli - this is the type of veg they should be eating- green and leafy not fruit as they need phosphorus- I have consulted a reputable zoo vet about this.
            They also eat live prey such as crickets , locusts,meal worms and morio worms- depending on the age of your dragon. You should gut load the crickets or locusts with the same veg mixed with calcium paste in a seperate cricket keeper tank- this does not have to be huge , but as was pointed out to me "healthy critters mean healthy dragons" so its a good idea to clean out the cricket keeper on a regular basis also . Its also a good idea to dust the crickets or locusts with extra calcium and vitamin powder before giving them to your dragon.Dragons shed their skin and if they are not recieving enough calcium they will have poor bone structure and health all round.

            Well thats all the important stuff! - which we had to find out the hard way!
            It is crucial you do your research and speak to an expert before taking on Beardies or any type of reptile . I say this because Derek got really poorley and we thought he was going to die. Luckily enough I found a local Zoo Vet in our area and he was diagnosed with worms. This meant we had to treat both dragons, and hand feed Derek with a syringe which is not the easiest thing to do as they do have a strong jaw. The fees were expensive £200 plus - but worth every penny ! The vet I saw was such an expert and the info she gave me was invaluable. For instance most people think that dragons dont drink or very rarely as you never see them - but did you know that when they bathe they take up moisture through their anuses ! So I was given a special bathing solution for Derek to bathe in twice a day to re-hydrate him.

            Anyway needless to say I have completely fallen in love with them both. On a really hot day I take them outside with me (they cling onto each shoulder)they love a good bask in the real sunshine.

            In the evening they sit on me and watch tv and have a general roam about , its important to keep them stimulated.If you have a pair as we do you will notice that the mail goes very dark under his neck and bobs his head when arroused, in return the femail waves her arms in submission.
            I would say that in length from head to tip of tail they are approx 20cm long now. They are full of character and very loving pets.They can live up to 15yrs.

            The whole mating thing is another path we have to cross - if or when it happens I will update !
            I highly recommend them as pets - my children and their friends and anyone who comes to our house falls in love with them.

            They cost anything from £30 to £70 plus, but please dont go into buying Exotic Pets clueless like we did because the only thing that will suffer is your pet- Also on a more serious note they do carry the salmonella bug in their stomachs so you do need to wash hands when you have been touching them.

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              30.11.2009 19:20
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              well worth the work has give so much back

              I have had Mozambique for nearly two years now, Mozzie is a bearded dragon who i have had since he was 6-weeks old. I never had any trouble with him and he by far my best companion. Our favourite thing to do being both lazy individuals is to have aftenoon nap downstairs whilst watching tv, Mozzie is great character and makes me laugh everyday with how silly he can be.

              I never had a problem with him at all no vet trips or so and is appetite is spot on both eating is livefeed and veg without any fuss or hassle. To handle he causes no problems due to the fact he to lazy to move half the time. So if looking for bit of a character who i think is miniature version of dog then bearded-dragons are the pet for you.

              Care- Bearded dragons originate from inland or central australia and live in a desert setting, It is therefore recommended that we copy this environment into is captive home. Tempratures in is vivarium should be 90-95 f at the spot light end and 75-80f on the cool end, basking spot of 100f is needed for healthy digestive tract along with the help of proper uv lighting of 10% of rays..

              Diet- should consist of gut-loaded livefeed such as crickets,locusts and wax worms as a treat, These will then need to be dusted with good calcium based product. Vegetables should also be given has these will provide the bulk of vitamins and minerals, things like dandelion leaves, collard greens, mustard greens and parsley can be used.

              Vivarium- should be at least 4 ftx 2ft x 2ft big for adults beardies but if can offer more space then that will benefit you dragon greatly, If you housing juvenile or baby beardie then half the 4ft tank intill couple months old because they struggle to catch they food when they are young. You should look to decorate the tank to closesly resemble there natural environment and also by adding logs and rocks to there enclosure this will then stimulate natural curiosity to explore and hunt.

              Handling- Whilst youn gbearded dragons will be very skittish and so you should build up your trust with eachother before regular handling. To pickup you should place both you hands under there belly and lift carefully making sure to support there legs as theny tend to freak-out if you dont. After lifting can either rest him on you fore-arm or place him on you chest whilst supporting him.

              Water- This is rarely needed has they get most of there moisture from there food. offering him water wont hurt mind and giving him bath once week is great way offe him drink and to give him a little clean to.

              Not forgetting this is only brief summary and various bearded dragon manuals and care-sheets online are advised to research. Also make sure spot check beardie every now and then for any signs of illness and check stool samples.

              Highly recommended pet thats very rewarding and amusing. Great for kids and will give them chance to have some responsibilty.

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                10.02.2009 07:15
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                Highly recommended for the amateur lizard keeper

                We have a bearded dragon, or "beardie", as they are known. His name is... Alexander William Henry VIII, and he is nearly 2 years old. They are incredibly easy to take care of, providing you have access to the right kind of meat (crickets or worms) and have a good heat source. There is all sorts of information on the web about how to care for them, so I'll just provide a summary of what it has been like for us to care for one. This is more a review of *our* little dinosaur!

                - Temperament

                They are gentle lizards if raised with kind humans from a young age. They can be extensively handled, and you can have hours of fun trying to communicate face to face with one and deciding whether s/he actually likes to be pet. They have soft underbellies and a spiky top and are interesting to handle. Sometimes lazy, sometimes excitable, they love to bask under a heat lamp ("the sun") and so always remember this when you are with your little guy. They are slow when cold and fast when warm. If it gets too cold they will sleep and it's best not to disturb them when they are. They are rarely known to bite (ours never has) and are more likely to just get angry and tell you off if you do something they don't like. However, we did hear of someone who had a beardie that would run up to people and bite their toes.

                - Relationships to Other Animals

                Our cats love Alex. The eldest has a strong bond with him, while the other two kittens want to play with him. He does not like this and shows them the characteristic "i'm scary" face. This involves his beard puffing out, turning black or dark blue/purple and his mouth opening very wide. This is usually enough to scare them off. Our dogs don't know what to make of him and stay the hell away!

                - Food & Water

                Alex is a hard one to encourage to eat. Some people tell us that theirs will eat like a banqueting king, consuming 60 crickets in 5 minutes. Ours nibbles a few then rests. To get him to eat is vegetables is even harder. However, he seems healthy and alert and that just seems to be the way his body works. To get him to drink water, we have to drop it onto his nose, where he senses it and starts licking. Water in a dish doesn't work, he just flings it everywhere and makes a mess.

                We buy our crickets from the local pet store, but you can also get them online in bulk for cheap. They eat live food and don't touch anything meaty that's not moving. Worms are a special treat, but he eats the body, leaving the heads all over the place - it's a graveyard!

                - Around the house

                Alex loves to run at top speed around the house, climbing on furniture and hiding behind things. We have to watch out, as he will often jump from up high and take too big of a risk! However he seems to be bulletproof. He is very fun to watch.

                If you decide to get one, remember that they live 8-15 years and will need appropriate lighting, heat, food, stimulation and interaction to maintain their health and personality. They'll need their house cleaning occasionally too.

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                  12.10.2008 21:06
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                  ideal family pet

                  It never entered my head to be honest to ever get a bearded dragon. I have had a water dragon in the past but never really appealed to me to get another reptile.
                  My mum bought by brother one a few months back and she was shocked to how big the tank was and decided that she had no room for it. She then practically made me have him so I had to rearrange the whole of my living room to accommodate him. I must admit I have fell in love with him now.
                  They usually retail for about £75 and you can get a decent tank for about £100. I have found out that normal pet stores refuse to sell reptile food etc as they do not think it is right to keep them.
                  He is so friendly and my daughters think he is great. Bearded dragons are relatively easy to look after. You can feed them any sort of fruit or veg and I have found he like chicken too. He also needs to eat crickets and for a treat we give ours mealworms. I have found him to be very clean and we just sieve the sand once every two days to keep him clean and change the whole lot once every two weeks. He likes to be handled and will quite happily let you pick him up. You have to make sure that he had minerals in his food twice a week and they require a heated bulb to stay on at all times and uv light for 12 hours a day.
                  If anyone is thinking of getting a bearded dragon as a pet then you should. They are the ideal pet for children and are very interesting to watch.

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                    11.09.2008 13:40
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                    Lovely natured, easy to handle and care for

                    Bearded dragons make great first reptile pets for the inexperienced owner. We had our beardie, Barney, for 3 years until we had to make space for our baby new arrival so we gave him to our friend much to our sadness.

                    We had him from a newborn and as we were inexperienced owners ourselves we did a lot of research on them to make sure we could give him the best possible care.

                    The beardie needs at least a 4 foot vivarium, most of them are made from wood with a glass front - we made our own. A heat lamp and UV tube, thermometer to regulate the temp. These items are to enable the dragon to digest its food through heat (they originate from Australia so have no problem with heat and being able to digest food) and to absorb the rays from the sun which keep the beardie healthy.
                    A selection of wood and fake plants should be used to enable the beardie to bask in the light/heat and to also be able to shelter in the shade of the vivaruim if too hot. Our vivarium rarely got above 100 degrees in summer due to temp regulater.

                    Woodchip is apparently the best base for the vivarium as it doesnt get too hot and the dragon cant get any in its mouth when trying to catch live food.

                    Water should be available at all times and changed at least once daily and fresh fruit and veg should be changed daily this should be things like tomatoes, cucumber, orange, lettuce. Barney's favourite was watercress and rocket leaves.

                    Live foods such as meal worms, locusts and crickets should be fed every other day.

                    Bearded dragons are lovely natured and very rarely bite, they will normally warn you before they bite though so they are ideal. They seem to love being handled and will quite happily sit on your shoulder for a period of time.

                    They really are great pets.

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                      02.09.2008 17:22
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                      a great introductory pet into the world of reptiles

                      Bearded dragons are the dog of the reptile world, they are very good with being handled and and very rarely bite, you would seriously have to piss one off to get it to bite you which is hard to do so they make good pets for children. they are easy to look after although by no means are they the easiest lizard to keep. they need specific heating and feeding requirements to keep them healthy. they need a 4 foot long tank minimum as an adult, as a baby, a 2 foot tank will be good but it is best to get it a full 4 foot one and section it off as it will save you money in the long run. most people use wooden viv's for beardies although you can get some plastic ones but they are more expensive. they need UV lighting to run accross the lenght of the viv and you will need a starter unit to operate the lighting, a basking bulb will be a good source of heat as they sence heat from light as they have a sort of light sensor in the top of thier heads. a 60watt bulb will suffice, no need to get the expensive reptile specific ones, a normal household bulb will do, just dont get an energy efficient one as these wont heat up enough, beadies need high heat coming from austratia

                      they need their hot side to be about 110F and the cool side about 80F so getting a good thermomitor is a good idea so you can measure this acurately, the stick on the wall dials are not worth your money, they are rubbish and often up to 20F out anyway, a good digital one will be good.

                      a thermostat is essential for controling the heat of the light bulb to make sure they dont over heat as this can and will kill them.

                      beardies need a few things to climbs on such as grape vine but not too high up as they are not brilliant climbers, putting a large flat stone under the heat lamp is a good idea as it retains heat well when the lights go out at night, they need about 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness, they are diurnal so the light should be during the day, i set mine to come on at 10am and go off a 10pm as those times suit me well. you can set yours to whatever you like though. they need to warm up for about 30 minutes before you feed them as they cannot digest food when they are cold so only feed them when they have over an hour before bed time too else the food will ferment and rot in thier stomachs.

                      they eat a range of livefood including locusts, crickets, cockroaches, morio worms, calcium worms, silk worms etc etc.. and they need fresh vegetables and salad, staples include things such as spring greens, cabage, dandilion leaves, butternut squash, certain types of lettuce, never give iceburg as it is just water and will give them an upset tummy, there are lists online of what are good foods and what shoulnt be fed (such as spinich as it is a calcium binder). feed them fresh vegetables every morning, cut them up to bite sized pieces. mine likes blueberries and mango as a treat. dont feed meal worms too often as they contain alot of chitin and can cause impaction. beardies should be fed livefood twice a day, morning and night, feed them as many as they will eat in 15 minutes, beardies are bottomless pits so they will eat alot, be warned.

                      Never house a baby on sand as they are not good aims and will eat mouthfuls of it when eating thier bugs and again can get impacted and die.

                      Provide a small dish of water in the cool side although beardies rarely recognise it as water so also bathe them twice a week and they will have a nice big drink in the bath, only put the water up to thier shoulders so they dont drown and never leave them unattended in the bath, bath them for 10-20 minutes and then dry them and put them back.

                      beardies tollerate being handled alot so make great pets and they are very animated charators. they have lots of fun quirks and really are a very good beginner reptile :)

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                        26.07.2008 22:10
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                        A different kind of pet thats easy to look after and fun to watch.

                        We have a bearded dragon in our family, although he is never called that, he is just purely 'Harvey' and everyone knows who Harvey is. We got him given to use when my partners father no longer had the time for him and to start off with I was scared of him, huge mouth, beady eyes but boy how much do I love him now??

                        Bearded dragons are one of the easiest pets to keep, the require a heated vivarium and a diet of locusts, crickets, pinkies and vegetables. Harvey is a typical male though, very stubborn and isn't overly fond of vegetables unless its brocolli!

                        They also love to climb and will climb anything, currently we have a plastic plant in his vivarium, a log and a wooden ladder, he also sleeps in his hammock where he is now.

                        They love to have a good run around the house to stretch their legs, they are very affectionate too and will quite happily sit watching tv with you whilst you tickle their heads.

                        The cost of a bearded dragon isn't cheap or expensive, borderline, we spend weekly around £10, thats for his meals and also bedding. Harvey has a mixture of wood chippings and smallers bits of wood which are soft and squidgy. A lot of people use calcium sand for their bearded dragons but I don't like to as Harvey loves running around and I would hate for it to get in his eyes, every bearded dragon keeper is different though. For instance many don't put water in their bearded dragons vivarium but Harvey has a pot bowl, not deep with some water in which he either drinks or poops in. We also bath him occasionally in the bath to keep his skin hydrated.

                        Bearded dragons need a heat lamp in their vivarium which will keep the temperature at a steady heat of around 95F, you will also need a UV light for daytime use.

                        There are a wide range of books available online and instore which I would recommend getting before your beardie so you know what to expect.

                        All bearded dragons have their own personalities and it is essential you let them shine through, for instance Harvey can be very grumpy if woken up but loves to play and will happily let you chase after him, when hes had enough if tells you.

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                          23.03.2008 17:37
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                          a great pet if you can tolerate the bugs

                          If some one had told me a few years ago that I would have a bearded dragon in my house let alone sharing my bedroom I would not have believed them.

                          Reptiles were not my thing, I didnt mind cats, dogs and small furys but I drew the line at scales, oh yuk.

                          My kid brother is a bit weird, well if truth be told he is very weird, Shaun decided he wanted a bearded dragon and after much arguing with mum she gave in and brought him one.

                          They are intially quite expensive to set up, It cost my mum £50 for a baby bearded dragon which shaun has named Harvey, I have no idea why. Mum payed £95 for a 3 foot wooden vivarium which should last him his life as he has only grow to 12 inches top whack, so wont turn into a monster or anything. She also had to buy a thermostat to controll the temperature in his tank and a light bulb and fitment which came to £60 plus a ultra violet light with balast which cost her another £35.

                          Harvey has sand in the bottom of his cage and a rock to climb on, he eats some vegitables like carrots and beans, a bit of fruit like bananas, apple and strawberries but his main diet is bugs, yes i said bugs, creepy little crickets and hoppers that jump everywhere and scare me half to death and if that isnt bad enough they eat worms aswell but not just your average garden worms he eats wax and meal worms which bite me when i pick them up so i use tweezers now to handle them. These we buy from a pet shop and get a box of them for £3 each so he costs £9 a week on live food.

                          Harvey has been in our house almost 2 years now, he was a lovely little baby when we had him but is now fully grown.

                          As with most children my kid brother soon lost interest and I have ended up looking after Harvey, they are quite easy to look after and not at all like I thought they would be, they have a personality all of there own, when I come in from work at night Harvey is sitting at the front of the vivarium waiting for me to get him out and if I dont he gets very upset, you can tell very easily when a bearded dragon is upset as there beard turns black, then they inflate it like a baloon to try to scare you but if I just pick Harvey up he soon stops this,

                          I would never have gone out and picked harvey as a pet for me but have grown to love him all the same, he is relatively easy to care for and lots of fun.

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                            10.02.2008 18:45
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                            These are excellent pets for your first reptile - easy to tame and very entertaining!

                            Bearded Dragons are great little pets. They are very cool-looking and are very entertaining and fun to look after. Their highlight which makes them rather unique is their large beard below their head, which can go black and inflate if they are angry, or warning away a predator. They are quite crazy, as I have had mine jump off the hall walkway upstairs through the banisters to land around 4 metres below! He survived, and didn't even seem to be hurt at all! He just carried on walking straight away into the kitchen.

                            They are greyish lizards and have a rough texture to them. Their skin has loads of little spikes on it, but these are very soft. They have quite a large sized head with two eyes that are ever so slightly raised from their head along with a big mouth that comes right round their head and a little white tongue that they use when eating. They also have a strong tail that is very flexible and comes to a pointy end. They look really cool and unique with their little spikes and big beards! Don't worry, it doesn't need shaving!

                            As for diet, they are omnivores and eat pretty much anything really. Their diet should mostly be of live insects or meat. My Bearded Dragon seems to love locusts, so he gets them on a regular basis. It is quite funny watching him eat them, but I do feel sorry for the locusts. They are great at catching them and very fast. If you pour a few into their tank, they will be gone within a couple of minutes. They can also eat other insects like crickets, which are best for smaller Bearded Dragons as crickets can be bought at small sizes. They also eat mealworms and wax worms according to what size they are. A good backup to always have in their tank for when they are peckish is fruit or vegetables. They do eat it, and it is good for them to have as part of their diet. One thing that mine seems to love is nasturtium leaves and flowers, or Dandelions. These are good for them and are common in most gardens anyway! Make sure they don't have any pesticides on them though, but I don't think you spray Dandelions with pesticides anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem. Another thing that mine loves is watercress. You can dangle some in their tank, and they will get up high and munch on it. They seem to eat their food quite quickly and get excited about more. They seem to have a very good appetite and will eat quite a lot, so the insects and live food can cost quite a bit. They can eat any fruit really from apple to orange and strawberries. Something like cucumber is pointless for them although they seem to like it, and should not be given on a regular basis.

                            To start off, they will set you back around £60 to get a baby Bearded Dragon. They can live up to 20 years, so that's not bad. At £60, they make excellent pets and are really fun to look after and they don't grow to such a large size. They are very tame, curious but outgoing animals and love to be taken out their tanks. Mine will sit on my shoulder and watch TV with me for hours and probably go to sleep. He loves to explore, and will go around licking everything, as this is how they smell stuff and explore their surroundings. They make great pets but grow to adult size very quickly, but only to around 45cm long.

                            Tank-wise, they will need a big enough aquarium tank, which is best for them to grow into. This may cost up to £200, but anything over that and you are being ripped off. As for decoration and other necessities, they will need some kind of basking object, whether it is a log or a rock. This should be placed under the heat lamp, which is a must with Bearded Dragons. The heat lamp will need to provide power of at least 80 watts, and 100 watts is even better. The substrate that they should have as grounding for their tanks is sand. They are desert lizards although some are from woody land. The sand should be quite deep, so that they can burrow and dig, which they tend to do a lot. The females will also bury their eggs this way, but don't worry if they do because they have nothing in them apart from a bit of solution, which is a natural happening with the females. They should have a normal sized feeding bowl, but a water bowl that is large and shallow - big enough for them to sit in. These should be placed at the cooler end of their tanks. The total cost for the equipment and tank that you will need can cost up to £300, but shouldn't cost much more than that with a standard size tank.

                            Any faeces that they excrete should be taken out from their tank daily to keep it clean. Apart from that, they aren't hard to look after. They should exercise weekly, but this can be achieved by letting them loose on a run around a room, making sure they can't escape or go missing. They will normally just find their favourite place or somewhere comfortable to go to sleep in. They will need a bath or shower every month to keep them clean. You can just put them in a running shower, and they will be fine. They seem to like the humidity and also drink the water sometimes - make sure it's ok for them to drink your water!

                            Overall, they make great pets and are very entertaining. If you buy more than two, it is hard to put two males in a tank together and this shouldn't really be done unless they are babies and roughly the same age. They tend to wave at each other, which is quite funny and they will do this at other reptiles and animals sometimes. It's just a way of communicating or making themselves seen. However, if they are angry then they may inflate their beard. They make great pets and are quite easy to look after. Their diet may cost you quite a bit of money, but a box of live insects can last a while if you give them a few each day along with some fruit/vegetables.

                            Thanks for reading,

                            - Recon -

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                            06.02.2008 23:40
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                            i would recomend these as a first lizard as they are so easy to look after

                            Bearded dragons are one of my favorite lizards, we have had a few over the years but spikey as i have nick named him is here to stay.

                            Bearded dragons are easy to house as they only grow to 18 to 24 inches, spikey is 19 inches nose to tip of tail and is 4 years old.

                            If they feel threatened they puff there bodys up with air to make them selves larger, inflate there beard and this turns from its usuall beige to a jet black colour so you definatley know when they are unhappy.

                            The males are generaly larger than the females in length and height but the female will usually carry more weight.

                            There are a few different types of bearded dragon, the lawsons being the most popular but bearded dragons colours range from creams and yellows to beige and browns.

                            They can live for around 20 years if looked after properly.

                            Coming originaly from a dry arid climate beardies are opportunist feeders and mine will often play up to share your dinner with you.

                            Try to keep there diet to one part meat and 4 parts veg.

                            Crickets, meal worms, wax worms, hoppers, locusts, fruit, veg and salad are all good for beardies except avocado, rhubarb and ice burg lettuce as these are poisonus to them.

                            A 4 foot viv will be more than adequate space for a bearded dragon, you will need a heat bulb, basking light, sand is the best substrate i have found for them and you wil need a uv light other wise they suffer from metobolic bone deficiencys because they need uv to digest food and absorb nutrients.

                            Your viv will need to be at 95 to 110'f at its hot end where your basking light is and 10'f lower the other end during the day and at night you can turn your basking light and uv light off but need to keep your heat bulb on to maintain a temperature of 60'f to 80'f

                            Bearded dragons are an easy animal to keep, they are hardy, docile and trusting.

                            Spikey can be found most nights ling on my lap wholst i am watching tv, also watching tv with me.

                            They love human company but cant be kept in pairs as even a male and female will fight.

                            some bearded dragons have trouble seeing still water but if you use the same bowl and show them the bowl a few times a day by dipping your finger into the water and rubbing it on there mouths they will soon associate the bowl with water and drink for them selves.

                            You will know if your beardy is dehydrated, the top of his head and eyes will sink into the skin

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                              16.01.2008 15:33
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                              Always a great pet to tell people you have!

                              You can really grow to love and adore these reptiles.

                              My dad owned a pair (a male and a female) which he got for £60 each from a local exotic pet shop. Bought from tiny babies I was still unsure as I'm not really a fan of reptiles of any sort. Left to look after them myself for six weeks and I fell completely in love with them and would recommend them to any pet lover.

                              They grow rather quickly in size but you hardly notice until you look back at a picture. Easy to handle, these creatures follow the rule that the more time you spend playing with them, handling them etc, the more dorsile and human friendly they become. I have experienced a few nips as you expect same from any animal to be honest but its not in the slightest bit painful or shocking.

                              They basically spend all their day sitting on a log looking out of their tank at you! Sounds very dull but it is oddly quite comforting. They mainly eat small live crickets which is the only thing I don't like as you first have to buy them and then get them in the tank - not as hard as it sounds!! Then the lizards dart about and chomp up the insects! Not to be done while you are eating as you will very quickly lose your appetite!! Yummy! They also enjoy fruits and cold vegetables such as apples and lettuce chopped up into tiny pieces.

                              To clean out its simply plop the lizards in another tank - a small plastic one (just make sure it has air holes!) and scoop everyhing up and re-lay it down with clean stuff - sawdust! And re-fill the water bowl. Voila - Clean lizard tank.

                              As I said I would recommend these lizards to people of all ages but have time occasionally to handle them. Kids are fasinated with them and adults think they are great!

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                                05.12.2007 18:21
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                                Much like Pac-man, they are small and yellow and never stop eating!

                                The bearded dragon is one of the most commonly kept species of lizard. Bearded dragons are native to Australia, although Australia bans the export of its wildlife so almost all the bearded dragons you see will be captive bred, not trapped in the wild.

                                Bearded dragons are comical, cute and fun pets if you have the time for them.

                                Reaching a maximum of about two foot in length (including the tail) bearded dragons stay reasonable small compared to many lizards. Having said this, they can be very active and an adult dragon will need a tank a minimum of four foot long, with six foot being preferable. They also like to climb so extra height is good for them. Custom made reptile cages can be expensive, however you can make your own with glass cut to size and wood, if you're good with DIY. Always make sure the tank is secure, reptiles are great escape artists! The tank should also be well-ventilated, as dragons prefer a dry environment.

                                Dragons, being desert lizards, require hot temperatures. Most keepers supply this by use of a basking spotlight (a regular incandescant bulb or spotlight attached to a special fixture bought from the reptile shop will do fine, you can buy specific reptile spotlights but they are just the same thing as an ordinary bulb with a bigger price tag) attached to a thermostat (an essential...and expensive piece of kit unless you want fried dragon for dinner) with a heatmat used for back-up heat and for use at night (the heat-mat will also need a thermostat if it is located on the bottom of the tank, as reptiles sense heat from above and a lizard can literally get cooked without realising its too warm). Alongside the tank, the heating and thermostat equipment is the biggest cost for the dragon. The spotlight should be setup in one corner of the tank, pointed directly at a basking site (a rock or branch of some sort). The basking site should reach around 100 degrees F, and the other side of the tank should be left unheated. This gives the lizard a choice of how much heat it needs. At night, the tank lights can be switched off (this can be done by means of a simple plug-in timer) and the heatmat can provide a lower nighttime temperature of around 70-80 degrees F.

                                Aside from heat, UV light is essential for a healthy dragon...without it, they can develop serious illnesses. Choose a UV light with 5-10 UVB, as well as UVA, designed specifically for reptiles (fish and plant bulbs are not suitable for them). You will also need a starter unit for this. UV bulbs should be replaced every six months, even if they are still giving off light because the UV they produce over time reduces.

                                Young dragons are easiest kept on plain newspaper or kitchen towel...they poo more frequently than adults and this is easier to clean, also they are more likely to eat a sandy substrate as babies, resulting in blockages in the gut. When they get older, sand can be used. The tank furniture can be as simple or elaborate as you like. However, there should be a minimum of two hiding places in the tank, one at the hot end and one at the cool end, and at least one basking sight under the heat lamp (which should be covered to prevent the lizard getting burned by touching it). Dragons do like to climb, so adding more sterilised branches and rocks from the garden (this can be done by stripping the bark and boiling, or using a weak bleach solution and rinsing well), or special reptile ornaments from the shop, which of course cost more.

                                Feeding dragons is one of the biggest problems with them. Young beardies need three feeds a day until they are about six months old, then two feeds a day until they are adult. The mainstay of the dragons diet is (wait for it) bugs. So keeping a lizard means you not only to keep the lizard healthy, but you need to keep its food healthy. This involves buying in various bugs, keeping them at the temperatures best for them, and feeding them (if you feed them well you are feeding your dragon healthy food). Crickets, mealworms and waxworms make up a good diet for a dragon. Personally I prefer phoenix worms, which are more nutritious, but they usually have to be bought online (yes you can get bugs through the mail). Locusts are prettier and less creepy than the disgusting, smelly crickets, but much pricier.

                                When feeding a dragon, never feed food bigger than the space between the eyes, as they can end up with gut problems. Dragons often become addicted to one type of food, so be careful with fattier foods like waxworms, or when introducing expensive foods they might like to eat all the time...such as locusts. Baby dragons should have their food dusted with reptile calcium powder five times a week, and a reptile multivitamin twice a week...this is VERY important as nutritional difficulties can cause huge problems.

                                Dragons should also be feed greenery such as kale and swiss chard, although babies will often ignore it, adults will usually eat it. Adults can also be fed pinkie (day old) mice which can be bought frozen from the reptile shop once or twice a week.

                                Water can be provided to your dragon for a few hours a day. Its best not to give them too much as they are used to such a dry environment. Alternatively you can mist them once a day with a plant sprayer.

                                Well, thats how to care for them, so now on to how it is to actually keep them.

                                On the plus side, bearded dragons are much like the dogs of the lizard world. They are tame, don't bite and don't mind being handled, although they may be skittish at first. Like most lizards, they spend a lot of time sitting "doing nothing" (known to them as basking), however, they are very, very cute and have some comical behaviours, and they just love to cling to you with their little claws when you pick them up (their claws dont hurt by the way) If you are into reptiles as pets, a dragon is one of the best you can get.

                                As far as lizards go, they are easy to care for...this is not to say you wont have problems, but they tend to be greedy (if sometimes fussy) eaters, and as reptiles that refuse to eat are a big problem for a lot of owners, you will come to cherish this if you end up with more species of reptile.

                                Bearded dragons are readily available...you will be able to find them anywhere that sells reptiles. This has many advantages. Firstly, they are all captive bred babies, with none of the problems of imported wild individuals. This also means there is a wealth of information on their care, and if you have problems with your pet, anybody who has kept lizards knows how to keep a bearded dragon.

                                On the other side of the coin, bearded dragons are expensive to set up and babies are expensive to keep. A three foot tank will set you back about £80, heating equipment from about £50 (for the thermostats, heat mat and light) and UV lighting about £30. A young dragon can eat hundreds of insects in a week...two tubs of live insects will cost you arpimd £5.00 and probably not last long. A lot of keepers breed their own food but it may not be worth it unless you have several insectivores in your house. You will also find your power bill goes up...however this wont be significant unless you have several dragons.

                                The fact that dragons eat insects is disadvantage enough for most people...personally I HATE insects and feeding my dragon always makes me shudder (although the way he chases and dives after his food is hilarious). Keeping crickets in the house, you are always running the risks of them escaping, and waxworms and mealworms turn into moths and flying beetles if not kept cold!

                                Young dragons also demand a lot of attention. You need to be around at three intervals a few hours apart during the day to feed them, and make sure there are no problems (crickets have been known to bite back). When they are big enough, dragons will need to be allowed to run around outside their cages for a little while daily.

                                One of the big problems with lizards as pets is that they dont "do" much. A lot of people dont see the point of them, because for most of the day they just sit there. This is less of a problem with bearded dragons because they do have endearing personalities and they can be very funny, but its worth thinking of a pet reptile less as being like, say, a bunny rabbit and more like say, a very expensive type of fish. They will be happy to be handled and will amuse you no end, but they wont interact with you the way many pets will, if thats what your after, you want a dog.

                                All in all, you are either a reptile person or you aren't, and if you are a reptile person, the bearded dragon is one of the cutest, friendliest and most interesting species you can keep as a pet. If you are new to reptiles, they are about the best type you can start with!

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