Exotic pets may not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you knew anything about the bearded dragon lizard then you might change your mind. If you are not averse to reptiles then you will find that the bearded dragon makes a good pet. Bearded dragons are found all over Australia; they are hardy creatures and can survive as well in the desert as they can in the bush; and they are just as happy in urban or populated areas.
The bearded lizard is gentle, docile and loyal and some people tote these pets around with them as they are small enough for even a child to carry. Unlike many other reptiles the bearded dragon is not easily agitated and so it is far less likely that any accidental damage will occur. As you may have guessed the bearded dragon lizard takes its name from its appearance. Beneath the lizard’s jaws lies and inflatable flap of skin – this is inflated when the bearded dragon becomes agitated and this makes it look like a beard. In some cases the flap will turn black when inflated making even more reminiscent of a beard.
The bearded dragon does not feel itself easily threatened and so it is slow to become agitated and this makes it an easy pet to care for. This lizard measures about three inches long when it is first hatched; it grows at a weekly rate until it reaches a length of about two feet – so it is not too big to be carried around. A bearded lizard does not need a lot of looking after and easily adapts to most environments.
It is fairly easy to tell whether or not your pet is sick because the bearded dragon’s state of health is evident in its tail. When it is unwell, underfed or dehydrated then its tail has a bony feel and its fat stores are soon depleted. You should always make sure that your lizard’s eyes are clear; if they are unwell then the eyes can become sunken – this may mean that your pet is becoming dehydrated.
Plastic cages are probably the most economical and easily cleaned method of housing your pet, but sometime not the best for growing beardies. We prefer the reptile screened cages called Reptariums. They are lightweight and won’t go to waste if you upgrade to a more lavish, full-size glass bearded dragon enclosure; as you can use it as an outdoor cage when you take your beardie outside to catch some natural rays.
Bearded lizards are pretty easy to feed and will require a diet of worms and little bugs mixed in with veggies – use the cultivated bugs that are available in most pet stores to feed you lizard as they are not contaminated by insecticides. Dark green, leafy vegetables cut small are also good for your pet.
The other thing that this lizard needs is a lot of light so you might want to consider adding a UV light to its cage as this helps its digestion and its disposition. Feed your bearded dragon daily and keep its housing clean and you will have a contented pet.