In the last ten years, bearded dragons have increasingly appeared in families. These reptiles live in Australia, but in their content, they are not whimsical. They have been bred in captivity for a long time, so it will not be difficult to buy a reptile and everything you need for its maintenance, care, and feeding.
It well suits this animal for beginners. If you do not have experience in keeping reptiles, then you can start with a bearded dragon. Experienced breeders claim that this animal is very easy to maintain because it is not whimsical. This article will show you how to care for, maintain, and feed it.
Basic facts about the bearded dragon
The Australian Bearded Agama is an attractive lizard. If you love reptiles, then we advise you to purchase this one as an option.
The bearded dragon is unpretentious. You can have one animal of any gender or buy several animals. If you decide to buy 3 or more pets, it is worth considering the fact that there should be only one male in the family. A glass or plastic terrarium is used to keep a bearded dragon. Wall heights should be more than 3-40 inches. The width and length of the terrarium should be one and a half, and sometimes twice the length of the lizard. We can find mesh cages in pet stores. Such a terrarium is not suitable for keeping a bearded agama. Agama can easily get hurt in such a terrarium, get entangled in its paws.
The terrarium needs to be kept at the correct temperature because the bearded dragon is a thermophilic animal. The temperature of the content is 25-30 degrees.
Although the homeland of these reptiles is Australia, and as we know there is a dry climate, the bearded dragon loves water and enjoys drinking it and bathing. A saucer, a shallow plate, is well suited as a cup. You can buy a specially decorated drinker in the store. Alternatively, you can simply spray the bearded dragon with water several times a week using a spray bottle. We do not recommend doing this as it can increase the humidity in the enclosure.
Try to buy bearded dragons whose diet is as varied as possible. Some owners of bearded agamas do not care little about the diversity of the reptile’s diet and can feed them either only with plants or only with insects. The most common food insects are mealworms, crickets, the Turkmen cockroach, zoophobes, and the marble cockroach. Do not buy adults who have only crickets in their diet. Such a diet is more suitable for inferior animals, but adults should mainly eat plant foods and only 20% of animal food.
Be careful when buying animals and always find out what you fed your pet and in what conditions.
We should also remember that a bearded dragon cannot get some substances from food. Vitamin D3 is vital for the agama. It forms this vitamin under the skin of all living organisms under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium and build bone tissue. Vitamin D3 deficiency leads to the development of a disease such as rickets. In animals, bones become weak, the skeleton becomes fragile, they can lose their color, and much more.
How can you avoid this? There are several ways. The most common way to saturate a reptile’s body with ultraviolet light is by using an ultraviolet lamp. Replace the lamp every half a year because it wears out quickly. In addition to the lamp, you need to use fortified supplements that are freely available in pet stores.
Do I need to use a substrate and what?
To make the reptile habitat most similar to that in the wild, you need to use a substrate. Sandy soil is best suited for this. Add decorative stones, some pebbles to the sandy soil, and place them in the terrarium in a layer of 1-2 inches. Some breeders use corn cob filler as a substrate.
Although this is how bearded dragons live in the wild, they can swallow substrate elements. Because of this, there is a risk of blockage of the lizard’s gastrointestinal tract, which can often be fatal. If this is your first time covering the bottom of the cage with such substances, pay attention to the behavior of the bearded dragon. If the lizard doesn’t react in any way, then you can leave everything as it is. If the lizard tries the stones and touches them with its tongue, tries to swallow the substrate, then you should pay attention to this. Transfer her to the finished shelter.
Also, some pet stores offer rubber mats to customers as a backing. We do not recommend using them. Thin fibers wrapped around the fingers of the agama cause necrosis (death) in them.
The most common and safest way to set up a bearded dragon terrarium is to use natural decor. Most often, the terrarium is decorated using natural tree spines, large boulders, stones, and special wooden shelves. The shelter can also be very diverse. These can be boxes, plastic covers, etc. You should pay attention if the pet likes this place and if he likes to rest there from prying eyes. It is also important to consider the width of the shelter entrance. It should be easy to get there and get out of it.
Feeder and drinker. For feeding the reptile, it is better to use a separate terrarium or a special feeder. It is not advisable to place food on a pad, because the bearded dragon can swallow it with food.
A special feeder is also used for water. Here it is worth paying attention to the fact that bearded dragons often go to the toilet in the drinking cup. In this case, you need to regularly change the water.
What is the best to choose for food?
The diet of a bearded dragon should not differ significantly from what they had in natural conditions. If you took a bearded dragon for education, then you must organize its diet as correctly as possible. In nature, agamas eat insects, feed on small rodents and reptiles. We understand it is difficult to provide bearded agama with just such a protein diet at home. But you can always replace reptiles with worms and zoophobes, and add crickets to their diet.
You shouldn’t feed the bearded dragon any way you like. Some feed only on insects, others only on plant foods. You remember that the nutrition of a bearded dragon should be balanced and largely depend on the age of your pet. If we are talking about protein food, then these are the Turkmen cockroach, crickets, mealworms, Argentine cockroaches, those insects that are specially grown for feeding a bearded dragon and are not caught in the street or the garden.
If you have an adult who has reached puberty, then increase her plant diet. Prepare her a mixture of lettuce leaves, grated apple, carrot, dandelion leaves. You can also add bananas, pears, tomatoes, and cucumbers to your diet.
If you find information that we should use only live food as food for bearded lizards, then you are very mistaken. The diet of these reptiles primarily depends on their age. If you have a young individual, then its diet should be about 60-70% of animal origin and the remaining 40% of plant origin. In adult reptiles, everything happens exactly the opposite. Most of their diet should contain vegetables and herbs, and only 20% is animal feed. Thus, we can safely say that bearded agamas are omnivorous reptiles.
Such a diet of a bearded agama simplifies the life of the owners. You can diversify your pet’s diet as much as possible. Of course, like any animal, bearded agamas have their own eating habits. An attentive owner will highlight his pet’s favorite treats. It is also worth noting that there are foods that are strictly forbidden for use as food for bearded dragons. We strictly forbid it to feed the bearded agama with insects that were not purchased in special stores. It often happens that the owners decide to save money on feed and catch insects in the garden. Do not make such mistakes, because you can infect your pet with pesticides, various parasites, and poisons.
We can use deciduous crops as plant food. Bearded dragons enjoy parsley and celery, grated vegetable salads and dandelion leaves. If you are feeding a bearded dragon with fresh food, use special feeders. Try to provide clean, washed food so that your pet does not eat dirt and dirt.
Most likely, they paid attention to the fact that there is a vast selection of insects in pet stores. Among them, the most delicious for a bearded agama will be crickets, zofobuses, worms. Keep in mind, however, that they are not always grown on high-calorie and nutrient-rich foods. Before giving animal food to a bearded agama, it is worth placing it in a flask with calcium and useful trace elements. Shake the jar several times to evenly cover the insects. After that, you can give the animal feed to the bearded agama. She will definitely receive all the trace elements necessary for healthy growth and development.
Crickets are one of the bearded agama’s favorite treats. This is exactly the food that experienced reptile breeders love to use. We can breed crickets at home. To do this, you will need a 40-liter aquarium with a transparent lid. In the aquarium, you need to regularly maintain a temperature of 30 degrees during the day and about 25 at night. You also need to ensure that the humidity in such an aquarium does not exceed 40-50%. To do this, spray the walls of the aquarium 2-3 times a week. At the bottom of the aquarium, scatter the sand in layers about 4 fingers, add twigs, bark, or an egg box. Crickets will feel comfortable here. The crickets need to be fed the same plants as the bearded dragon. Add some meat once a week to keep the crickets from eating each other. When properly kept, female crickets lay their eggs in the sand. Hatched bugs reach sexual maturity within a month. After hatching, it is better to move them to another aquarium so that older individuals do not eat them.
When feeding these reptiles, also adhere to the following rules
It is better to feed your pet only after the terrarium has warmed up for several hours. We recommend young individuals be fed every day. If you have an individual over 5 years old, then it is better to feed it once every 2-4 days. Every reptile breeder knows his pet better, and such a process as feeding may differ from the one we give in our article. If you feed your pet with large insects, then there are two feeding options. The first is when you drop one insect at a time into the aquarium. The second option is feeding the bearded dragon with tweezers.
After the bearded dragon finishes eating, it is better not to touch it. Let her sit under the lamp for about 5 hours. This promotes good assimilation and digestion of food. Also, try to regulate the amount of food that the reptile eats. Try to choose such an amount of food so that your pet does not go hungry and, on the contrary, does not overeat. Naturally, it is unacceptable to feed the reptile with what you eat, as well as special food for cats, dogs, and birds.
Make sure that the bearded agama’s diet does not include plants that are deadly to her. Among them are avocado, sage, mushrooms, jasmine, resinous needles, tomato leaves.
The bearded dragon is so easy to care for that you will very quickly understand her digestive habits. Using tips for keeping and feeding your reptile can help ensure a long and healthy life. This reptile will become your favorite pet and live up to 20 years.
And a couple more tips to take care of your pet
If you are sure that you can create proper living conditions for a bearded dragon and high-quality and healthy food, then feel free to buy it at a pet store or from reptile breeders. Play with the agama, talk to her, be affectionate and attentive.
When taking something other to the terrarium, watch the reaction, avoid troublesome conditions for the lizard.
When in contact with a reptile, remember to wash your hands to avoid contamination. Also, keep an eye on the hygiene of the reptile. The bearded dragon is very fond of swimming. Do water treatments 3 times a week.
Monitor the health of the animal. Do not treat your pet without the help of specialists. If you notice it has lost its appetite, it has become lethargic and drowsy – we advise you to immediately contact the veterinarian.
If you still read our article and decide to buy a bearded dragon as a pet, then you will make a good choice. These lizards are large enough and can reach up to 30 inches in length in adulthood and weigh about a pound or more. You should also remember that with proper maintenance and care, your beloved bearded dragon can live from 15-25 years. If you keep in mind all that useful information your pet will enjoy living a long and happy life.
The bearded dragon is one of the best reptiles for those who decide to get such a pet. These reptiles are quite socialized. Bearded agamas recognize their owners not only by smell but also by sight and touch. The lizard loves to sit on its arms, hug, look at its master interestingly, taste it with its tongue, and tilts his head to the side.
A person who has decided on an exotic animal in his home should understand that care, medical care, accommodation, and feeding can be much more expensive than for all the rodents, cats, and dogs we are used to. But if you properly organize the accommodation and meals of the animal until the moment of purchase, you will be able to appreciate this exotic animal at its true worth. That’s when keeping a bearded dragon will bring you tons of fun. You will understand the habits of the lizard better in the future and its maintenance will not burden you either financially or in terms of time.