There is nothing like a pet that will teach you or your child about the intricacies of everyday life. Sure, a puppy or cat might seem more appealing, but when you look at everything that the bearded dragon has to offer it isn’t hard to see why they are becoming more and more popular pets. The babies are extremely cute and when the species grow older they become even tamer and more placid. These little creatures are readily available just about anywhere and very affordable. Of course, this doesn’t mean that caring for them throughout the lifespan will be affordable or particularly easy. In fact, it won’t be, but with the following information, you can not only raise a healthy dragon but a happy dragon.
Know That They Grow Fast
The first thing you need to know about bearded dragons is that they grow extremely fast. Why is this important? This is important because you will want to accommodate when choosing a cage. In fact, you will probably want to go ahead and choose an adult cage that will house your dragon for its lifespan because your baby will be grown before you know it. Babies might start out at just 5 to 6 inches in length, but by the time they are 12 months old they can grow to be anywhere from 18 to 22 inches long with a weight of 700 grams. To comfortably suite a dragon of this stature, you will need a cage of 4 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft. There is nothing wrong with starting out with smaller cages, but you will save yourself a bundle if you just go ahead and get an adult-sized cage.
Bearded dragons are not picky eaters. However, they need a diet that consists of vegetables, insects, and fruits. While some people opt to feed their bearded dragon over-the-counter foods, experts believe that fresh produce and live insects are the better options. Of course, it is up to you to choose a diet for your pet. But, if you want your pet to meet or exceed the life expectancy, a diet with the necessities will be required.
Contrary to belief bearded dragons need exercise. While these animals have extremely short legs, it is believed that they can run nine miles per hour. If you have other animals, you will need to keep your bearded dragon separate and in a safe location when exercising. A harness and leash will offer more security than letting her/him run freely.
Don’t House Together
Ultimately, most bearded dragons should not be housed together. Doing so will result in big problems in many situations. For instance, bearded dragons may be aggressive when kept in the same terrarium. Simultaneously, you need to make sure that you provide the animal with plenty of space. You can start with a small cage but you should make the switch to another one once the bearded dragon gets bigger. Unless they have been housed together from an early age, you shouldn’t house them together now.
Babies can start in a 20-gallon tank. Once they reach the juvenile stage, you should upgrade to a 40-gallon tank. Finally, adults will need 60 to 90 gallons to thrive.
While you’re at it, you should know that bearded dragons are not going to live forever. How long do bearded dragons live? Well, it is going to depend on numerous factors including the animal’s health. And, you have to make sure that you provide him or her with the right foods. Nevertheless, bearded dragons can live as long as many dogs. When kept in the right situations and given a good diet, it is possible for a bearded dragon to live up to 12 years. The average lifespan of a German giant bearded dragon is five to eight years. With that being said, you should not bring one home unless you’re positive that you’re going to be in it for the long haul.
It is common for bearded dragons to dig. Simultaneously, they’re going to be eating off of the floor. Therefore, they may eat their sand from time to time. This can be dangerous for baby bearded dragons. Their bodies are not able to digest the sand and this can cause compaction. With that being said, you need to make sure that you choose the right substrate for your dragon. You’ll want to choose something that is cheap and edible. It is wise to choose a material that can absorb liquids well too. This will make keeping the cage much easier.
One of the best options is reptile carpet. You can buy it online or at your local pet store. This substrate is safe and very easy to clean. Think outside of the box and you’ll be able to find a good substrate that will prove to be safe for your dragon.
You need to recreate the bearded dragon’s natural habitat. To do that, you’re going to need several lights. First and foremost, you’ll need UVB lighting. This type of lighting will help prevent metabolic bone disease. You’ll also need a basking lamp. Make sure that the bearded dragon can bask under the light without problems. You need to position it correctly though. Make sure that one side of the terrarium is hot and the other one is cold. Otherwise, you might cause additional problems.