The first thought that may have crossed your mind when you read the title would probably have been, “Whaaat? I have to groom my bearded dragon?”
Well, worry not. You won’t have to paint his nails or comb his fur but there are a few basic things that are required of a beardie owner. It might be argued that in the wild, nobody looks after bearded dragons the way you can.
That is true but in the wild most beardies live to only about 6 to 8 years. A beardie raised in captivity and well-taken care of can live up to 10 or 12 years. Most beardie owners grow so attached to these docile little fellas that they will do whatever it takes to ensure that their little dragon lives to his full potential.
You should be providing a bath for your beardie at least once or twice a month. The interesting thing to note is that bearded dragons love bathing. Ain’t that cute?!! Fill a container – tub, sink, storage container, any vessel with warm water and let him play around in it. Do ensure that the water level is not too high or he could become panic stricken or even drown. I like to keep it so he can touch bottom without his head (from the neck up) going under.
You need to check the water temperature with a thermometer to ensure it is between 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. You should bath him for about 20 minutes, then dry him completely, and immediately place him back in his vivarium so he can regulate his temperature.
There is much debate about whether you should trim the nails of a beardie. This depends on your preference. His nails can become quite sharp, as noted in the picture to the left. If you don’t mind his nails being long and sharp (his nails do allow him to grip better when hanging from things – like your shirt), then don’t clip. Do note that there is a blood vein that runs through the nail, which if you cut too deep, will bleed. If you are concerned about this, you can try using rocks or rough tiles in his vivarium, so over time his nails will wear down on their own.
That’s pretty much it for grooming. Only one must grooming habit and one only if you prefer. Easy huh?
You need patience for your dragon to get accustomed to you. A beardie hardly ever bites you out of aggression. Usually he only bites if he feels threatened. In the beginning, be calm and patient with your little dragon. Try and feed him by hand. Over time he will grow accustomed to you and eat from your hand.
Once he doesn’t feel threatened or doesn’t run away, you’re ready to scoop him up and place him on the palm of your hand. Always approach your beardie from the front and never try to pick him up by lowering your hands from above. This triggers a threat response that may cause him to bite you.
Approach the dragon with your palms up and hands below the dragon’s body line. In this manner, you can lift him up safely while supporting him comfortably. Ensure that the dragon doesn’t try to suddenly dart off.
Try not to be standing because if he jumps off from any kind of height, he might die. Use two hands to keep him safe. Use good judgment to see if he is struggling or if he is comfy.
That’s all there is to handling a beardie. Bearded dragons are simple to handle and rarely cause problems. An ideal pet for people who do not want high maintenance combined with an affectionate companion.
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 guides available. 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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