Cute Bearded dragons have soared in popularity as pet reptiles over the last couple of decades, and it’s easy to understand why. With their endearing flat bodies, sweet expressions, and people-friendly personalities, they make for delightful companions. Those new to reptile keeping may find their laid-back nature and manageable care requirements ideal as a first pet lizard. Even experienced helpers can appreciate their endless appeal.
If you’re charmed by images of these cute reptiles perched on their owners’ shoulders or snuggled up asleep in their laps, then sharing your home with a bearded dragon just might make an excellent addition. However, as with any pet, becoming properly prepared before acquiring one is key. This guide will walk through everything you need to know about keeping healthy, happy cute bearded dragons.
Setting Up the Perfect Habitat
Making sure your bearded dragon’s home meets all its needs is your first responsibility as a keeper. An adult dragon will require a minimum enclosure size of 40 gallons long, but bigger is always better. The most common housing options include long glass terrariums or wood enclosures. Custom-built wood caging allows for plenty of room to create specific temperature and light gradients.
Essential elements in any bearded dragon habitat include basking and ambient temperature zones, UVB overhead lighting, and proper substrates. Creating a thermal gradient from warmer to cooler allows self-regulation of body temperature. The basking zone at one end should offer a hot spot ranging from 95-105°F. Ambient temps on the cooler end can sit around 80°F.
Exposure to UVB rays is crucial for the absorption of vitamin D3 to prevent metabolic bone disease. Options for providing UVB include linear fluorescent or mercury vapor bulbs. For substrates, Good choices include non-particle substrates like reptile carpets or slate tiles to prevent accidental ingestion.
Make sure to include plenty of accessories as well for your cute lizard! Artificial foliage, branches, hammocks, and hides allow enrichment. Live plants can also add beauty to their home, just opt for non-toxic varieties.
Feeding Your Cute Companion
A balanced, varied diet will keep your bearded dragon both healthy and happy. As omnivores, they require adequate vegetable matter along with protein sources. Their live prey instinct also provides mental stimulation.
Some good staple vegetables to offer include leafy greens like kale, mustard greens, and collard greens along with squash. Some fruits make nice supplements too, like berries and melon. Appropriately sized feeder insects like crickets, dubia roaches, and worms should comprise 20-30% of adult diets and up to 80% of juveniles.
Making sure to “gut-load” any feeders by providing them nutritious foods beforehand passes those nutrients onto your dragon. Light supplements of calcium and multivitamins directly on salads also help prevent deficiencies. Keep fresh drinking water easily accessible at all times as well.
Handling and Bonding
While cute bearded dragons seem soft and cuddle-ready, they are still exotic animals we must approach respectfully. Allow at least a couple of weeks for an animal to settle into their new habitat stress-free before trying to handle them. Begin hand-feeding favorite veggies and insects to build positive associations.
When they appear comfortable eating from your hand, you can start gently scooping them up. Make sure to support the abdomen when lifting and restraint very light. Sitting together in a small enclosed space brings security and keeps early sessions short and positive. Reading body language tells you when your cute friend has had enough or feels stressed. Signs include black beard displays, puffing up, jerky movements, or trying to scramble away.
In time, gentle handling builds trust and your bearded dragon will look forward to climbing onto you for safe snuggles! Establishing a predictable, consistent routine makes a world of difference in bonding with these cute companions.
Keeping Your Bearded Dragon Happy and Healthy
While bearded dragons tend to be quite hardy when cared for properly, health issues can still arise on occasion. Getting established with an exotic vet you trust ensures quick access if problems occur. Some signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight changes, and changes in bowel movements.
Basic upkeep like nail trimming if they grow too long helps prevent snags. Regular baths in shallow warm water keep them hydrated and promote shedding. Being attentive to subtle changes in normal behavior helps catch problems early on as well.
Understanding natural behaviors like arm-waving, head-bobbing (not related to respiratory issues) and even beard display makes decoding their body language much clearer. For example, black beard displays communicate different messages depending on context, sometimes even submission! Learning their intriguing behaviors and communications is all part of the fun of sharing life with these captivatingly cute lizards!
How big do cute bearded dragons get?
Cute Bearded dragons grow to an average length of 18-24 inches. Some may surpass 2 feet long from head to tail tip.
What’s the proper temperature range for bearded dragons?
Ideal temps range from about 95°F on the warm end down to 80°F on the cooler side to allow self-thermoregulation. A 105°F hot basking area is crucial.
Can I hold my bearded dragon every day?
Yes, in fact, daily gentle handling helps build trust and bonding. Limit sessions to under 10 minutes for juveniles and under 30 minutes for adults at a time.
How often do I need to feed my bearded dragon insects?
Babies require several small insect feedings daily while juveniles still need insects multiple times daily too. Adults usually eat insects every 2-3 days along with their salads.
Why might my bearded dragon wave one arm and what does it mean?
Arm-waving is a common territorial display to indicate dominance or ownership of desired territories or resources. Females may also arm-wave to show receptiveness during breeding.
What fresh vegetables can I feed my cute bearded dragon?
Great staple veggies include leafy greens like collard, mustard turnip greens, green beans, squash, and sweet bell peppers.
Why might my bearded dragon puff up and turn black?
The full black “beard” display indicates feeling threatened and defensive, trying to look scary. They also use it while posturing toward competitors.
How often does my bearded dragon need its habitat cleaned?
A quick daily spot cleaning maintains sanitation along with a thorough monthly cleaning changing substrates, disinfecting decor, and clearing waste buildup.
Can a Cute bearded dragon live alone or do they need friends?
Cute Bearded dragons thrive just fine solo as cagemates often compete for resources and can stress one another. They bond strongly with human companions instead.
What fresh fruits can bearded dragons eat?
Some favorite sweet treats to offer may include raspberries, melon, peaches, apples, and bananas – but fruits only moderately in amounts less than vegetables.
With their charming faces, calm personalities, and manageable care needs, keeping a bearded dragon certainly brings joy other pet options may not. Their reputation for bonding closely with owners makes them ideal for someone seeking more than just a decorative terrarium piece. Despite occasional healthy shedding reminding folks, that these are still reptiles, their total lovability wins out!
If their endearing appearance and engaging ways have you now considering opening your home to one of these little characters, hopefully, this guide has shown you how to give them the life they deserve. By providing the proper habitat setup, nutrition, and handling methods, your cute bearded dragon can thrive for years to come as a treasured friend. With all their positives and the delight they bring, you may even find yourself smitten by your bearded buddy before you know it!