Recently on group, many have asked if bearded dragons are right for them.. so.. I decided to write an article on what I feel are important aspects to considering when trying to figure out if bearded dragons are the right pet for you.
1) The first and least popular thing to think about is money. Keeping Bearded Dragons are not an inexpensive hobby, but it also is not super expensive. There are substantial monetary requirements at first though. Before even buying your dragon many things need to be prepared.
- Enclosure
- Lighting
- Heating
- Furniture
- Substrate
I know it doesn't seem like much, but this can get rather expensive. The first thing to buy is the enclosure itself. Take in mind, that while your dragon is young, he is small.. but he can get much larger. As a general rule, an adult male bearded dragon needs atleast 50 gallons of space to adequately define its territory. So while that 20 long, or 30 gallon enclosure seems large now, be prepared for a much larger dragon. It is a good idea though, if you have a small hatchling or juvenile, to keep them in a 10 gallon enclosure until he gets larger. Luckily, you can find most 10 gallon glass enclosure for under 15 dollars, so its not a big problem in getting one. Shop around for the best prices of course, but I would say stay away from big chain petstores, I saw my enclosure for 300 dollars over what I paid for it at a local family owned pet store. The rest of the list has a more detailed description in other various articles on this site. Please do a search for them and I am sure all questions will be answered by the authors on this site!
2) Space. Will you have the room for a bearded dragon? As mentioned above, the enclosure can get rather larger. Also to be taken into consideration, is that bearded dragons are not solitary reptiles. This does not mean that they absolutely need a companion, what I am referring to is more geared to the placement of the enclosure. They are very inquisitive and like to explore and be an active part of their environment. They should be placed in a visible area, so don't put the enclosure in the back facing a corner where they really can't see much. Put them in a nice moderate traffic area. Its not a great idea to put on in the heavist traffic part of your house, but put them somewhere that allows them to be seen, and for them to see things. Both of my dragons love to watch the TV (we have seen the new Godzilla movie and Jurassic Park more times then I will ever readily admit to).
3) Time. Are you going to have the time for bearded dragons? While they are considered easy reptiles to take care for, you still need to spend a good amount of time with them, especially watching them at a young age. Hatchling and small growing dragons need around 3 feedings a day. Also, while dragons have great composure and are known as great handling reptiles, you still need to tame them. Meaning, you need to get them used to being handled. This takes some time, and really must be done in the best possible way, to avoid giving bad human experiences to dragons. While they are nicely tempered, they still can get mean if treated poorly.
4) Feeding. As mentioned above, hatchling and growing dragons can need up to 3 feedings a day. So you will need to either have a nearby petstore or do your own cricket breeding. Make sure you have a reliable source for food.
5) Time. Yes, I know its the same topic as number three.. but.... in another sense. Bearded Dragons can live in upwards of 10 years. Unlike what many people think, it is rare for a zoo to take unwanted reptiles. So, you need to ask yourself if you think you will be still interested in Bearded Dragons as your beardie gets older..
I hope this has helped you out in any way. By far, this is not a complete list. All that is to me, is the top 5 things I ask people to consider when they ask me about bearded dragons being right for them.
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