Bearded Dragons make excellent pets and are suitable for both adults and children alike. However, do you begin by raising a baby bearded dragon or do you get an adult as a first time owner?
Despite their appearance, which might take a little getting used to, these are actually docile, attention-loving creatures. They love interaction, happily sitting on your palm while you stroke them, and even playing dress-up.
Raising bearded dragons is not difficult, but requires you to be diligent. They are relatively fuss-free creatures and once you have performed the most important jobs of setting up their vivarium and learning when and how to feed them, the rest is pretty easy. You still have to ensure they are healthy (disease free and parasite free).
First Time Owners – Know the Pitfalls of Raising a Baby Bearded Dragon!
Raising a baby bearded dragon requires special care in order to have a healthy, well-formed adult one.
If you are a first time owner, it’s usually best to buy an adult bearded dragon because, most importantly, he requires less diligence to dietary needs. Baby bearded dragons need more care and proper feeding knowledge so they grow up healthy and strong.
5 Things You Must Know About and Do When Raising a Baby Bearded Dragon
1. Growth Rate and Size
A baby bearded dragon may take up to 12 months to reach adult size which can range from 18 to 24 inches. The size the beardie grows to depends on the size of the vivarium and how well you follow correct feeding. The bigger the vivarium, the bigger your beardie will be. However, most male bearded dragons do not get bigger than 24 inches. By following correct feeding guidelines you ensure your beardie grows up healthy and reaches appropriate size.
2. Correct Housing Environment is Necessary
The most important thing to do is to create a nice lair for your dragon. You can choose to buy a vivarium from a shop or build one yourself. Of course, it’s a lot more convenient to just buy a “setup” since it has all the necessary fixtures from UV lighting to substrate to a temperature gradient (a warm area and a cool area) within the tank.
3. Correct Lighting
Baby beardies require strong UV light for 8 to 12 hours a day. This is essential to their well-being since these are creatures that were originally from the arid and extremely hot regions of Australia. You must have a UV light. If you’re building your own housing or not buying a “kit” for your beardie, you MUST purchase correct lighting. Refer to Creating a Dragon’s Lair – Make Your Dragon Feel At Home.
4. Know the Appropriate Timeframe to Start Handling
Initially, try not to over handle your beardie. It’s best to just leave him be without touching him for the first week or two. Let him grow accustomed to you and his new environment.
Slowly try feeding him by hand and be patient. Some acclimate quicker than others, just as we do. Observe your new friend and determine by his actions when is a good time to start slowly and quietly interacting. Let him see you often. Talk to him through the cage. Let him know you are his!
5. Understand Feeding Requirements – This is Important!
You need to feed your baby beardie live food and you need to feed him often. Feed hatchling and juvenile Bearded Dragons primarily small feeder insects, like crickets, two or three times a day. Do not provide a large amount of crickets. And when your Beardie is done eating remove all crickets from the cage since they over-run the tank and bite your baby bearded dragon. Also, dust the crickets with a calcium supplement. Crickets do not have all the nutritional requirements that a growing Bearded Dragon needs.
Start feeding greens as early as possible. This provides additional nutrition your baby beardie needs plus gives added hydration. It’s important to cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. And offer quality pellets at an early stage. This is beneficial until mature age, at which time you can stop providing as they are not need by adults to maintain health.
Be Prepared Ahead of Time
Whether raising a baby bearded dragon or choosing to start with an adult, it’s a great idea to set everything up all nice and cozy before bringing your beardie home. Moving can be stressful and it may take a week or two before your beardie begins to show signs of acclimation and to eat normally. This is no cause for panic. Take your time and allow enough time for your beardie to recover.
Do keep in mind that a pet is a responsibility that lasts for years. Do not buy a bearded dragon as a gift for someone. And especially do not buy on impulse. These lovable little creatures deserve a nice home and an owner that is going to consistently look after them. If you think you fit the bill, then be assured you will have many years of fun with your beardie.
Keep In Mind Interesting Things about Bearded Dragons
There are many interesting and important facts about beardies that a responsible owner should know. The best way to learn everything is to purchase a guide on bearded dragons and actually read it. As a beardie owner, you need reference guides. Learn as much as you can to successfully keep your beardie around for optimal time. It is such a rewarding experience! Responsibility and knowledge are key to successful Bearded Dragon management.
There are several excellent bearded dragon guides available online. This is a small investment that will benefit you and your precious pet immensely.
The list to the left provides you with several choices. They are a great investment for both you and your pet, taking the guess-work out of the equation.
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