Are you planning to adopt a bearded dragon? They are some of the most popular reptiles, and they make really good pets. However, they are not as easy to adopt as cats and dogs. There are a lot of things you’ll need to fulfill before bringing a bearded dragon home. Let’s review some of the crucial ones.
1. They Need a Special Room
First of all, if you thought you were going to live with your little dragon in the house as you do with your cat or dog, you’re wrong. You will need to build them a home, also known as a vivarium. A fully grown bearded dragon can range from 16 to 14 inches in size. So the vivarium will have to be at least 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall. Ensure you have a room that’s large enough to place this vivarium.
A spacious room is only one part of the equation when building these pets, a habitat. Bearded dragons thermo-regulate. Sometimes they need to heat their bodies, and other times they need to cool down. This helps in their digestion and contributes to their healthy wellbeing.
You need to create areas for your pet to heat and cool down within the vivarium. The hot section should range between 105 F (450C) and 110F (43.50C). This means that you’ll have to heat the vivarium with artificial sources such as UV bulbs and heat lamps. Ensure the lamps are switched off at night since they don’t need hot temperatures at night.
The cool section should range between 75F (230C) and 85F (29.50C). You will also need thermometers, temperature guns, and thermostats to monitor and regulate the vivarium’s temperature.
3. They Are Loners
It’s fair to say bearded dragons can’t stand each other and are better off housed alone. Avoid placing them in the same cage with other lizards or with a lizard of the same species. They will either end up fighting for food or basking areas. And some will even feed on their cage mates.
But this doesn’t mean they’re hostile to humans. They love and respond to affection like most pets.
4. They Need Regular Vet Trips
For some reason, some pet owners thought bearded dragons don’t fall sick. They can come down with adenovirus infection, mouth rot, or metabolic bone disease. You need to take them to the vet regularly, and these trips aren’t cheap. Bearded dragons are considered exotic pets, and the veterinary has to be specialized in dealing with them. They are also known as herp vets. Make sure you know where you can find one and the average cost of their services before adopting one of these pets.
5. They Eat Live Feeders
During their active growth stage, bearded dragons have to feed on live food. They love cockroaches, locusts, mealworms, wax worms, crickets, and calci worms. These insects should also be gut-loaded, meaning they should be fed with nutritious food before being fed to the dragons.
You can consider having habitat for the live food too. But if that’s not possible, there are many places to purchase live food for bearded dragons and other reptiles. However, adult bearded dragons don’t have to rely on live food. You can alternate with vegetables like carrots, lettuce, or mustard greens.
6. Setup and Maintenance Cost
You need to set aside at least $500 to purchase and keep a bearded dragon. As mentioned earlier, the vivarium needs to be large, and it needs items like thermometers, thermometers, and setting up the heating and cooling areas. A single vet trip can also cost as little as $75 or as much as $150.
7. They Need Regular Baths and Grooming
Just like any other pet, you need to devote time to clean and groom your bearded pet. It’s not just to keep them clean, baths help them shed easily, and sometimes they can even drink the water.
Besides bathing, you also need to cut their nails often. They grow long and sharp, and they could easily injure you. A simple nail cutter will help you trim them to the ideal size.
Cleaning after them is also crucial. You need to clean the poop, clean the feeding items, clean the vivarium, and disinfect the walls at least once every three months.