The bearded dragon, known by the scientific name of Pogona vitticeps, is a reptile native to the desert regions of Australia. It is an omnivorous animal whose diet is based mainly on insects, small rodents, fruits and vegetables. If you are thinking of having one of these animals as a pet you should know that some reach a length of up to 50 cm, so you should bear in mind that you will need a large terrarium for the adult bearded dragon.
If you want to enjoy the company of this friendly reptile, we will teach you how to care for a bearded dragon, so that you can provide all the care you need.
The character of the bearded dragon
One of the aspects to take into account when it comes to inform you about the care of a bearded dragon is its character. In general, this animal is reputed to be docile and friendly adapting well to coexistence with people. The social character of the bearded dragon makes him an animal that is loved, and lovers of this type of pets will enjoy their company.
Characteristics of the bearded dragon
The name of this reptile is due to the scales that surround its neck, similar in appearance to a beard, whose main function is to scare off possible predators. When this happens, his beard expands by opening his mouth and revealing a row of black scales. Therefore, if the animal reacts in this way you will already know that it feels threatened and it will be better not to disturb it. The head of the bearded dragon is triangular and its back is full of spots.
We can find the red, brown, green, gray and brown bearded dragon, although we must bear in mind that the color of your skin may vary depending on your mood or to regulate its temperature.
How tall is the bearded dragon?
The adult bearded dragon can reach up to 60 cm in length, and its weight can reach 450 g. The male is larger than the female, and we can differentiate its sex if we look at the two protuberances that the male has on both sides of the tail.
Care of a bearded dragon
Now that we know what the appearance of a bearded dragon looks like, let's explain the necessary care that we must take into account if it is going to be part of our home.
The terrarium of the bearded dragon must maintain a temperature between 21 and 26ºC at night and between 25 and 31ºC during the day. For this you must use incandescent bulbs located in the upper part of the terrarium; some are designed specifically for this. Bearded dragons like to have different sources of heat with temperatures that vary between them. For this reason it is advisable to provide your space with a second heat source.
These animals need ultraviolet light to absorb vitamin D, and an insufficiency can lead to health problems. You can get mercury vapor bulbs or fluorescent bulbs to provide ultraviolet light.
Feeding the bearded dragon
This reptile is omnivorous, that is, it feeds on both animals and plants . The first thing to keep in mind is to provide food of the right size. Therefore remember not to give any food whose size is greater than the space between your eyes. The diet of the bearded dragon is formed mainly by insects, especially crickets, and leafy vegetables.
- Feeding an adult bearded dragon . Your diet should consist of 60% plants and 40% insects and small rodents. You can give it endive, watercress, cabbage, dandelions, peas, turnips. Less frequently you can also give them carrots, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, broccoli, spinach and cabbage.
- Feeding a young bearded dragon . Feed them on small insects for about 10 minutes. If they stop eating, do not give them more food. When they are smaller their diet should be composed of 80% insects and 20% vegetables, in turns of 2 or 3 times each day.
IMPORTANT: When the bearded dragon changes skin it is normal to stop eating. However, if this period extends for more than three days, go to the veterinarian.
You can leave a shallow bowl of water for the reptile to drink and change it once or twice a day. Keep in mind that it is possible to defecate inside, so you will have to change the water. In case the animal does not drink from the container, try to gently throw water on the muzzle.
Make sure the habitat in which the animal lives is the right size. The bearded dragons climb and can move quickly, so an adult bearded dragon will need a space of 200 liters, at least, being preferable one of 400 . Do not forget that these animals are climbers, so you should include branches, plants, stones, and other suitable objects where you can climb and feel protected.
In order for the reptile to feel comfortable, we must clean its space at least once a week . This includes changing the water, cleaning the terrarium, removing the remains of food, etc. You can use a mixture of water with a few drops of bleach to clean the space, always removing the pogona while you do this process so as not to disturb you. If you notice that after cleaning it smells of bleach, wash only with water until the smell disappears.
You may also be interested in this article about how to care for an iguana.
Can several bearded dragons live together?
The bearded dragons usually live alone, so introducing more than one in the same terrarium can make the smallest adapt an aggressive attitude with the smallest. These animals are territorial, especially males, and until they are adults it is difficult to determine their sex.
How to choose a bearded dragon?
Baby bearded dragons are very delicate and it is easy for them to fall sick or suffer from a health problem. Therefore it is recommended to choose one that measures more than 15 cm . Make sure the animal looks good, has no signs of malnutrition, skin sores or deformities. Remember that if you detect that any animal is in poor condition and does not live in good conditions you must report to the relevant authorities.
Interact with your bearded dragon
Bearded dragons are friendly and sociable reptiles that enjoy our company. Therefore, it is recommended to establish contact with the animal at least once a day. The best way to do it is to raise it gently by introducing your hand under your belly. Do not squeeze or exert on the animal, simply close your fingers slightly so that it does not wobble.
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