While it’s not the same as having a real dragon to call your own, a Bearded Dragon can provide you with companionship and entertainment. They require a little bit more care than some pets, so we sat down with local “Mother of Dragons,” Jessie.
You can learn more about Bearded Dragons, and other fun pet options with the “Ask Me Anything | Pet Ownership ” series on Wagging Around. Inspired by a cute little local pig named Evie, that I just had to get to know! We figured our readers had pet options they were curious about too, and we were right! You can read all about Evie on last week’s installment in the series.
WAG: How did you decide to have a Bearded Dragon as a pet?
My 17-year-old daughter was going through a reptile phase. We already had an albino milk snake, a ball python, and a leopard gecko. A bearded dragon seemed like a good addition.
WAG: Where did you get your Bearded Dragon from?
We got our bearded dragon at the local PetSmart store. If we had to purchase again, we would probably use a breeder called Phantom Dragons.
WAG: What do they eat? Is the food hard to find?
Adult bearded dragons, which is considered a bearded dragon over a year old, is easy to feed. They love greens and veggies! Turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, and spinach are some favorites. They can also eat chopped up bell peppers, squash, zucchini, broccoli, and green beans. Adult bearded dragons need to eat live feeders a couple times a week. These include dubia roaches, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, crickets, and black fly larva.
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons have much greater dietary needs. 80% of their diet must be live feeders and they need to be fed multiple times a day. The other 20% of their diet can be vegetables and greens. This makes having a juvenile bearded dragon harder to care for and more expensive to feed. They can eat up to 50 live bugs a day spread out over several feeding times. They also need their food dipped in a calcium powder and sprinkled with a vitamin powder.
Most pet store chains carry crickets and superworms. Roaches and specialty worms are harder to find. Because these live feeders are not very hardy, you must either go out and buy your supplies twice a week from a local store, or choose to get regular subscription shipments from an online reptile store.
WAG: What is the hardest part of caring for the Bearded Dragon?
The hardest part about having a juvenile bearded dragon is making time for its feeding schedule. It is also difficult to create the correct habitat for them with the right lighting and substrate.
WAG: When you travel, what special accommodations do you need to make?
An adult bearded dragon can be left alone for 24 to 48 hours without a supervised caregiver. A juvenile bearded dragon needs to still eat live bugs multiple times a day. It is not safe to leave the bugs roaming in the enclosure when you are not there to supervise. If you are going out of town for more than a day, a pet sitter is recommended.
WAG: What would you tell someone who wants to keep a Bearded Dragon as a pet?
Do your research! There are many great groups on Facebook for bearded dragon owners. A proper habitat set up and diet are crucial to your bearded dragon’s health.
WAG: What has surprised you about ownership of these pets?
I never expected to bond with a reptile. Yet, bearded dragons are responsive to different caregivers and like to be handled. I was surprised that our bearded dragon had such a unique personality.
WAG: What do love about them? What do you dislike about them?
I have really enjoyed watching our bearded dragon go from a tiny 4-week-old lizard to 6-month-old dragon. They grow so fast! I love that he responds to the sound of my voice and shows me how comfortable he is when I am handling him.
I dislike having to constantly worry about getting live feeders for him during the pandemic. For some reason, there has been a roach and cricket shortage, even online. My daughter and I have thought about starting our own roach colony so we do not have to worry about our food supply for our bearded dragon.
WAG: What do they do for fun?
Bearded dragons go through periods of activity, but are mainly sedentary. Our beardie likes to explore our house, supervised, a few times a week.
WAG: Where do they sleep?
Bearded dragons are captive exotic animals and must sleep in enclosures that are at least 40 gallons in size. They do not require any heat at night, unless your house gets below 60°.
WAG: Can bearded dragons be house trained?
Some bearded dragons are very predictable when they eliminate their food. Many bearded dragons will only go in their daily/ weekly bath. However, any kind of stress will make the bearded dragon want to eliminate because of a fear response, so if you let your bearded dragon roam around, be prepared to clean up after it!
WAG: Do they have any sibling pets and do they get along?
Bearded dragons can not be kept in the same enclosure with other bearded dragons, and it is also recommended if you have more than one bearded dragon, that they can’t see each other from their enclosures. Bearded dragons fear other animals and pets as predators. It is best to keep them in a room by themselves.
We hope this information helped you decide if owning a bearded dragon is right for your family!
Stay tuned to see what unique pet option we introduce to readers next week! What animal are you hoping to learn about?