If you’re thinking about getting a bearded dragon, there are some important things you should know before making your purchase. These fascinating creatures can make great pets, but they require specific care to thrive.
Before you bring a bearded dragon into your home, it’s important to understand their needs and how to properly care for them. From their diet to their environment, there are many critical factors to consider to ensure your new pet is healthy and happy. In this article, we’ll cover 18 of the most important things you need to know before buying a bearded dragon.
Before buying a bearded dragon, there are 18 critical things you should know. These include the size of the enclosure, proper lighting and heating, the type and amount of food they need, and potential health issues. It’s important to research and prepare before bringing a bearded dragon into your home to ensure they have a happy and healthy life.
18 Critical Things to Know Before Buying a Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are fascinating pets that have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are gentle and easy to care for, making them a great choice for both experienced and first-time reptile owners. However, before getting a bearded dragon, there are several things you need to know. In this article, we will discuss 18 critical things to know before buying a bearded dragon.
1. Bearded Dragon Basics
Bearded dragons are medium-sized lizards that can grow up to 2 feet in length. They are native to Australia and are known for their distinctive “beard” of spiny scales around their throat that they puff out when threatened or displaying dominance. Bearded dragons are omnivores and require a balanced diet of both insects and vegetables. They are also diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night.
When it comes to housing, bearded dragons require a spacious enclosure with plenty of room to move around. A 40-gallon tank is the minimum size for one adult bearded dragon, but larger is always better. The enclosure should be equipped with a basking spot, a UVB light, and a temperature gradient to allow for proper thermoregulation.
2. The Cost of Owning a Bearded Dragon
While bearded dragons are relatively inexpensive compared to other reptiles, the cost of owning one can add up quickly. The initial cost of the animal, enclosure, and equipment can easily exceed $500. In addition, ongoing costs such as food, bedding, and veterinary care can add up to several hundred dollars per year.
It’s essential to factor in these costs before deciding to get a bearded dragon. While they are relatively easy to care for, they still require regular upkeep and attention.
3. Bearded Dragons Require Regular Handling
Bearded dragons are social creatures and enjoy interaction with their owners. Regular handling is essential to keep them tame and prevent aggression. However, it’s important to handle them correctly to avoid causing injury or stress.
Always support their body and avoid picking them up by the tail or limbs. Hold them close to your body and let them feel secure. Also, never force them to interact if they don’t want to. Respect their boundaries and let them approach you on their own terms.
4. Bearded Dragons Can Live up to 20 Years
Bearded dragons have a relatively long lifespan compared to other reptiles. They can live up to 20 years in captivity with proper care. This is a significant commitment, and potential owners should be prepared to care for their pet for many years.
5. Bearded Dragons Require UVB Lighting
Bearded dragons require UVB lighting to maintain proper health. UVB lighting helps them produce vitamin D3, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Without UVB lighting, bearded dragons can develop metabolic bone disease, a severe condition that can lead to deformities and even death.
It’s essential to provide a high-quality UVB light source and replace it every 6-12 months to ensure proper functioning.
6. Bearded Dragons Have Specific Nutritional Requirements
Bearded dragons require a balanced diet of both insects and vegetables to maintain proper health. Insects such as crickets, roaches, and mealworms should make up the majority of their diet, with vegetables such as collard greens, kale, and squash providing additional nutrition.
It’s essential to provide a variety of foods to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Also, avoid feeding them insects caught in the wild, as they can carry parasites and diseases.
7. Bearded Dragons Are Prone to Health Issues
Like all animals, bearded dragons are prone to health issues. Some common health problems include respiratory infections, metabolic bone disease, and parasitic infections. It’s important to monitor your bearded dragon’s health regularly and seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of illness.
8. Bearded Dragons Require a Specific Temperature Range
Bearded dragons require a specific temperature range to regulate their body temperature properly. The basking spot should be around 100-110°F, with the cooler end of the enclosure around 75-85°F. It’s essential to provide a temperature gradient to allow for proper thermoregulation.
9. Bearded Dragons Shed Their Skin
Bearded dragons shed their skin regularly as they grow. This is a natural process, but it’s important to ensure they have a humid hide in their enclosure to facilitate shedding. If the shed does not come off completely, it can lead to health issues such as infection.
It’s also important to avoid handling your bearded dragon during shedding, as their skin can be sensitive and easily damaged.
10. Bearded Dragons Can Be Kept in Pairs
Bearded dragons can be kept in pairs, but it’s important to ensure they are of similar size and temperament. It’s also essential to provide a spacious enclosure to prevent territorial disputes. However, breeding bearded dragons can be challenging and requires specialized knowledge and experience.
In conclusion, bearded dragons are fascinating pets that require specific care and attention. Before getting a bearded dragon, it’s essential to understand their needs and requirements to ensure a happy and healthy life. With proper care and attention, a bearded dragon can make a great addition to any household.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about the essential things you need to know before purchasing a bearded dragon with these frequently asked questions.
What are the basic requirements for a bearded dragon’s habitat?
A bearded dragon’s enclosure should be at least 40 gallons in size, with a basking area that reaches 100-110°F and a cooler area that stays around 80°F. The enclosure should also have UVB lighting and a substrate that is safe for the dragon to walk on and won’t cause digestive issues if ingested.
Bearded dragons also need a consistent day/night cycle of 12 hours each, with access to fresh water and a varied diet of insects and vegetables.
What should I look for when choosing a bearded dragon?
When selecting a bearded dragon, observe its behavior to ensure it is active, alert, and not lethargic. Check its eyes for signs of infection or discharge, and examine its skin for any wounds or parasites. A healthy bearded dragon should also have a full belly and firm body.
It’s also important to research the breeders or pet stores you’re considering purchasing from to ensure they have a good reputation and provide proper care for their animals.
What health issues should I watch out for in bearded dragons?
Bearded dragons are prone to health issues such as metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and impaction. Signs of these issues include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, and abnormal behavior.
If you notice any concerning symptoms in your bearded dragon, seek veterinary care immediately to ensure proper treatment and recovery.
How can I ensure my bearded dragon is comfortable and well-cared for?
In addition to providing a suitable habitat and diet, spend time interacting with your bearded dragon to help it feel comfortable and socialized. This can include hand-feeding, gentle handling, and providing toys or climbing structures.
Regularly clean your bearded dragon’s enclosure to ensure it is free from waste and bacteria, and schedule routine veterinary check-ups to ensure your dragon is healthy and receiving proper care.
What are some common misconceptions about bearded dragons?
Some misconceptions about bearded dragons include that they are easy to care for and don’t require much attention, that they can live on a diet of just insects or vegetables, and that they don’t need UVB lighting. These misconceptions can lead to inadequate care and health issues for the dragon.
It’s important to do thorough research and consult with a knowledgeable veterinarian or experienced bearded dragon owner before bringing one into your home.
In conclusion, owning a bearded dragon can be a rewarding experience, but it requires proper care and attention. Before bringing one home, be sure to research their needs and requirements thoroughly. From housing and diet to temperature and lighting, there are many critical things to consider.
Remember that bearded dragons can live up to 20 years, so this is a long-term commitment. It’s important to have a plan in place for their care and to ensure you’re ready for the responsibility.
By following these 18 critical things to know before buying a bearded dragon, you’ll be well-prepared to provide a happy and healthy life for your new pet. With proper care and attention, your bearded dragon can become a beloved member of your family for years to come.