In some way, bearded dragons are like dinosaurs. From their wedge shaped heads, long tongues and big eyes to their movement, these small creatures resemble cute dinosaurs that will never grow up to eat you.
But beneath their prehensile tails and innocent looks is an animal that needs special care. Beardies require specific body temperatures and proper humidity to survive. Discover 6 ways to help take care of a bearded dragon if you want him to live long and healthy.
You have several choices when choosing proper housing for a bearded dragon. A baby beardie should be housed in a small reptile tank, preferably a 10 gallon sized tank. The housing should have a screen for easy monitoring and access to the outside world. Adult bearded dragons can grow to be 7 inches long. Find a 20-gallon glass tank for your adult bearded dragon. If you have more than one beardie, don’t keep two males in one tank. They fight, especially in the presence of females.
Beardies have bodies that change temperature depending environmental temperature. During warm months, your pet beardie could get as warm as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a cold night, the same pet could have its body temperature drop to -65 degrees Fahrenheit. To provide your pet the warmth he needs, place a low watt bulb on one side of his tank. Preferably, place the bulb near your beardie’s favorite basking place.
As an alternative to a light bulb, a ceramic heat emitter set at the right temperatures will help keep your pet warm irrespective of the external temperatures. A heat pad next to your beardie’s favorite plant will also provide the heat needed.
Get a hygrometer and keep your pet beardie at a humidity of between 20 and 40 percent. Regular misting with warm water will keep the pet at the right bearded dragon humidity without exposing him to health vulnerabilities. Since your beloved pet is most active at night, ensure that humidity levels in his cage are optimum. If you live in a relatively humid area, you should also check the beardie often to ensure that the excess moisture isn’t affecting him or her.
Bearded dragons love to eat fruits and insects. When buying any commercial beardie food ensure that fruits and insects are important ingredients. The ideal balanced food for your beardie pet should have a mix of silk worms, crickets, dried bananas, coconuts and watermelons.
These ingredients must be naturally dried and flavored to attract your pet’s scent. Most beardies savor good-tasting food-look the best food for them. If you know a guy who can provide crickets for your pet, order some regularly. Some bearded dragons love fresh insects and fruits a lot.
Once you have the food, learn how to feed your pet. Beardies can’t chew pellets or swallow large chunks of food. They can only swallow food smaller than the space between their eyes. Reptile nutritionists recommend that you mix the food with vitamin supplements and little amounts of water. You can also provide you pet with pure, low water in a small dish. But naturally, beardies are trained to suck water from the succulent leaves they sometimes lay on.
5. Health and Sanitation
One advantage of having a beardie pet is that you only get to take him to the vet once in a year. You can take him more often, but bearded dragons experience fewer health problems when properly maintained. When properly fed with naturally sourced ingredient, when housed at the right temperatures and lighting, you almost will never see a reptile pet get sick.
Your beloved bearded dragon could actually live up to 20 years when well-kept. However, keep in mind that bearded dragons are really soft reptile. Always handle your pet with care and protect him from common predators such as snakes.