The bearded dragon is arguably the commonest lizard saved within the pet commerce as we speak. Bearded dragon is the widespread identify utilized to a couple several types of lizards, all within the Pogona household, the commonest kind of which is the inland bearded dragon, which additionally goes by the nickname “beardie.”
There aren’t any formally acknowledged subspecies of the inland bearded dragon, however there are two associated species of bearded dragon referred to as Japanese bearded dragons and Lawson’s bearded dragons.
See more: Why is my bearded dragon twitching
There are a number of totally different sorts of bearded dragon morphs, animals which can be bred to attain sure appearances or traits not present in nature. The kinds of bearded dragon morphs embody the traditional brown and tan dragons, German large dragon morphs, vivid orange-red sandfire morphs, pale hypomelanistic pastel morphs and snow/ghost dragon morphs.
Inland Bearded Dragon Measurement
Inland beardies are normally slightly below 4 inches in size when born and may develop to a size between 19 and 23 inches, with a weight of at the least .75 kilos (250 grams). The exception to this estimate is the German large morph, which might attain a size of 26 inches.
Inland Bearded Dragon Lifespan
The common captive-bred inland bearded dragon can have a lifespan between 5 and eight years, with some dwelling to the ripe previous age of 10 years when raised in optimum circumstances. There have been studies of a twelve-year previous specimen, however they have been unauthenticated.
Inland Bearded Dragon Look
Bearded dragons have triangular formed heads, lengthy tails, and plump spherical our bodies that look barely flattened, changing into much more pronounced when the animals are alarmed. They’re coated with spiky spines working alongside the pinnacle, throat, and physique. They bought the nickname “bearded dragon” from their means to puff out their throats when threatened, giving the looks of a full grown beard of pointed spikes. In a state of agitation bearded dragons can look fairly fierce. However concern not—in contrast to porcupines, the spikes are stiff however not harmful.
The unique inland bearded dragon is a brown and tan/yellow, with small quantities of yellow and purple discovered totally on the pinnacle.
German large morphs are available in browns and tans and have smaller heads than typical dragons. German giants sometimes have silvery-gold irises and will be extra aggressive than “regular” inland beardies.
Pink/gold morphs are a kind of German bearded dragon that has been bred to indicate extra purple, orange, and yellow colours. They began appearing within the early Nineties and have a tendency to have intensive quantities of purple and orange, with various quantities of yellow.
Hyperxanthic bearded dragons are bred for intensive saturation of purple/orange or yellow colours. The primary established hyperxanthic line of bearded dragon known as the sandfire line, or morph. Sandfire dragons are characterised by vivid orange to orange-red coloration all through the higher physique and limbs, a lot in order that it masks a lot of the typical bearded dragon patterning.
Tiger dragon morphs are comparatively new and are characterised by a barred sample that runs the width of the beardie’s physique.
Hypomelanistic beardies exhibit a bleached look, with clear-colored nail bases. In contrast to true albino animals, nonetheless, the hypomelanistic dragons retain regular coloured irises. Because of its excessive reputation, you may count on many extra dragon morphs to be bred sooner or later.
Inland Bearded Dragon Care Stage
Most reptile specialists rank bearded dragons as top-of-the-line reptile pets round. They’re engaging, energetic, entertaining, reasonably sized and simple to deal with, and comparatively simple to maintain. Bearded dragons even have, for essentially the most half, a naturally tame temperament, making them an amazing pet—for learners as much as superior herpetoculturists.
They’re hardy and sturdy, but protected sufficient for youngsters to deal with—so long as correct hand washing is practiced (which works for all ages).
Bearded dragons specifically have to have their nails clipped to stop overgrowth, which might result in unnaturally, and uncomfortably, bent toes. If you don’t really feel comfy clipping your beardie’s nails by yourself, speak to your veterinarian about it.
Inland Bearded Dragon Food regimen
Feeding Your Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are comparatively simple to feed, with one exception: younger beardies require stay meals. With out an satisfactory quantity of stay prey, a younger beardie can endure from malnutrition, stunted progress, and even loss of life from hunger.
There are business diets that exist for bearded dragons, normally within the type of pelleted meals. Nonetheless, even when a meals is marketed particularly for bearded dragons, it is best to at all times complement a dragon’s business weight-reduction plan with bugs, produce, and different naturally sourced dietary supplements.
Bearded dragons are wholesome eaters that get pleasure from selection. So far as stay meals goes, bearded dragons favor the non-flying kind of bugs, like crickets, mealworms, large mealworms, superworms, wax worms, and juvenile Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Bigger beardies additionally relish consuming small stay lizards on occasion, and these may also help present vitamins like calcium and different hint nutritional vitamins and minerals not available by means of bugs and greens.
A superb rule of thumb is to feed your dragon as many crickets as it may well eat in ten minutes. Word that when feeding your dragon stay prey like crickets, by no means feed it a cricket that’s longer than the width of its head. In actual fact, by no means feed your dragon something that’s longer than the width of its head. Beardies have died from trying to eat prey animals which can be too giant.
One other essential notice: By no means depart stay prey within the cage together with your dragon in a single day. An understandably frightened prey animal could cause harm to your dragon, generally extreme sufficient for emergency care.
Younger dragons can have greater appetites than older dragons. Whereas younger bearded dragons are fed principally insect matter, they need to be supplied plant based mostly meals as nicely. As they get older, bearded dragons’ diets are inclined to shift to principally plant matter, however they are going to nonetheless require some quantities of stay meals. As they age, the quantity of salads ought to enhance as stay insect matter decreases.
Greens and produce needs to be fed to your bearded dragon in appropriately sized items, normally advantageous chopped. All the time make sure the greenery you feed your pet has been untreated by pesticides and herbicides. Bearded dragons benefit from the leaves and blossoms of clover, dandelions, and mustard, in addition to rose petals, hibiscus flowers, and calendula. Fruits and, particularly, greens will be fed to them as nicely, however preserve the sugary fruits minimal.
Feed your bearded dragon through the daytime, when it’s energetic, providing the majority of its meals within the morning. Bearded dragons get a second meal, too, which it is best to feed about 1-2 hours earlier than lights-out.
Grownup dragons might solely have to be fed as soon as per day or as soon as each different day. Observe and comply with your dragon’s lead and report any abrupt modifications in urge for food to your veterinarian.
Do Bearded Dragons Require Additional Diet?
Bearded dragons require reptile dietary supplements; particularly, supplementation with a powdered vitamin/mineral complement and calcium. There are many reptile dietary supplements obtainable at your native pet store, simply be certain that to fastidiously study the labels to decide on one which has the appropriate formulation.
Ideally, it is best to choose a supply of calcium, like calcium carbonate powder, plus a complement with nutritional vitamins and minerals. The dietary supplements needs to be dusted often over the beardie’s meals, whether or not that’s the salad portion of its meal, and even the bugs (shake the powder within the bag with the crickets).
Inland Bearded Dragon Well being
Frequent Well being Points in Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are an especially hardy species—as soon as regarded as “bulletproof,”—however no pet is invincible. Parasites, dietary problems, kidney illness, prolapses, egg binding, and respiratory infections are some widespread well being issues to be looking out for in your bearded dragons.
The next is a brief abstract of bearded dragon ailments and problems.
Infectious Illnesses and Parasites
Parasites will be fairly troublesome and may multiply shortly, so in the event you suspect your dragon is contaminated you must search veterinary assist instantly.
Coccidia is the commonest parasite dysfunction in beardies and manifests itself within the small gut. Different widespread parasites your dragon might appeal to are pinworms, tapeworms, microsporudua and pentastomids. You possibly can hardly ever spot these and most different parasites in your dragon’s stool as they’re microscopic.
Exterior parasites like mites are much less widespread and sometimes come from different contaminated reptiles, most frequently snakes. Remedying a mite infestation begins with a whole cage cleansing mixed with an ivermectin-based spray. In case your dragon seems listless or has white shifting dots throughout its physique, take it to the vet to examine for a mite infestation.
Dietary & Metabolic Issues
Dietary problems in bearded dragons mostly stem from calcium and D3 deficiencies, referred to as metabolic bone illness. This may occur when beardies are fed extreme quantities of meat.
Feeding your dragon a weight-reduction plan heavy with crickets could seem good, however many crickets purchased from pet shops aren’t “intestine loaded,” which means they haven’t been fed the correct vitamins or dusted with dietary dietary supplements previous to being fed to dragons.
One other reason behind metabolic bone illness is because of improper ultraviolet lighting. Nearly all non-carnivorous reptiles want UV lighting both naturally from the solar or artificially from particular reptile lighting. With out the correct UV, your lizard might not have the ability to take in the calcium and vitamin d even when the weight-reduction plan is acceptable.
The primary signal that your beardie is affected by an absence of calcium or D3 is twitching and muscle tremors. In case your dragon begins to twitch, it most likely wants calcium instantly.
Generally an absence of calcium can even trigger dragons to change into constipated. If so, they are often given a delicate enema by your vet. All the time seek the advice of a veterinarian in the event you imagine your dragon is affected by an absence of vitamin or in any other case.
However, an excessive amount of calcium or D3 could cause a dragon to develop gout or kidney illness. That is one more reason why it’s extraordinarily essential to take care of correct vitamin ranges and to at all times have clear ingesting water obtainable.
Feminine bearded dragons can lay eggs even when there isn’t any male dragon current. In fact, these eggs aren’t fertile however they nonetheless can create well being issues. If a dragon produces eggs, she will be able to burn up her reservoirs of calcium, so weight-reduction plan, uv lighting, and supplementation change into much more essential. Additionally, eggs can get caught inside, and if left for too lengthy could cause an egg-bound situation. In case your feminine dragon seems bloated and is dropping urge for food and vitality, see your reptile vet directly.
In case your male dragon has a prolapse—a darkish purple mass protruding from its vent, search veterinarian assist directly. Prolapses are inflammations of the “beard,” and whereas not widespread they need to be handled as an emergency.
Inland Bearded Dragon Habits
Bearded dragons are pleasant, alert, and animated creatures. They have an inclination to differ in character; some are extra responsive and clever than others, and some are rambunctious their complete lives, which might result in aggression.
They often do nicely on their very own or when saved in teams and should even present proprietor recognition, particularly when approached with a tasty deal with. As with different pets, it’s essential to judge the bearded dragons earlier than choosing which one to convey residence. Having a wholesome, blissful pet begins with the best-fit choice, in any case.
Many grownup bearded dragons enter a winter shutdown interval as soon as per yr, which might final from anyplace between a number of weeks to 5 months. Extra particulars are within the subsection for Warmth and Mild, beneath.
Provides for the Inland Bearded Dragon’s Atmosphere
Aquarium Tank or Terrarium Setup
Bearded dragons are reasonably sized lizards that require giant enclosures. You could have the selection of shopping for a smaller enclosure that you’ll improve because the lizard grows, or you should buy a full-sized enclosure from the soar. Regardless, you’ll need at the least a 55-gallon enclosure for a single grownup dragon and 6-foot by 18-inch vivarium for a pair of dragons.
As for the kind of substrate, you’ve a number of selections. Some breeders select to make use of no substrate, which is nice for keeping track of stool and prey animals, plus it’s less-intensive so far as upkeep is anxious. Nonetheless, the arduous easy floor can result in overgrown nails and bent toes in older dragons.
Newspaper or brown butcher paper makes an amazing second possibility, particularly for quarantine and when treating sick dragons. It’s low-cost, available, and simple to exchange, to not point out it’s good for monitoring progress in addition to for analyzing a sick dragons’ stool.
Sand makes a superb substrate, too, however there may be the danger that younger dragons can endure from sand impaction on account of incidental ingestion. A superb rule of thumb is to make use of brown paper or newspaper for dragons lower than 8 inches in size, then transfer to a silica-based dust-free sand substrate when the dragon reaches maturity.
Avoid alfalfa pellets, cedar, wooden shavings, and gravel.
Branches and Shelters
Bearded dragons completely want logs, thick branches, and/or rocks to climb on. They’re semi-arboreal and luxuriate in this exercise, plus, it’s enjoyable to observe! Additionally they have to have a spot to cover inside, whether or not it’s a smallish “cave” formed construction or a comfortable cardboard field; be certain that it’s simply large enough in your beardie to suit itself inside snugly. Strive several types of shelters till you discover one which your dragon prefers, and substitute with new ones as your dragon outgrows them or loses curiosity in them.
Your beardie can also get pleasure from having stay vegetation in its enclosure. In the event you’re planning on combining grownup bearded dragons with vegetation, you’ll want an enclosure of at the least 6 toes in size.
The vegetation you select, together with the soil they’re planted in, needs to be freed from any form of chemical, together with fertilizers. Clear any incoming vegetation totally with recent water.
That being mentioned, beardies are fairly abusive to vegetation and we’ve solely discovered two sorts of plant that may stand as much as them: ponytail palms and snake vegetation. There are different vegetation that may be positioned within the enclosure, in fact, however be ready to exchange them if they’re destroyed.
Warmth and Mild
Like different reptiles, bearded dragons don’t produce their very own physique warmth; they require an exterior supply of warmth, which will be mixed with a light-weight supply. Correct heating and lighting is important to a cheerful, wholesome bearded dragon. With out them, your dragon gained’t have the ability to correctly metabolize meals and can die.
Preserve a thermometer for monitoring air temperature always. The temperature measured on the web site needs to be a gradual 90 – 100 levels Fahrenheit.
To correctly warmth your lizard’s habitat, use a white (not purple) incandescent bulb or highlight in a reflector-type fixture that may deal with the wattage and warmth output. Place the bulb above the organized basking web site(s), exterior of the enclosure to stop unintended pores and skin burns.
You might select to make use of a “sizzling rock” heater as a secondary supply of warmth with bearded dragons, but it surely needs to be positioned away from the highlight to stop overheating, except deliberately mixed with a decrease wattage basking bulb.
A heating pad positioned beneath the enclosure is one other methodology for creating heat areas in your bearded dragon. Having a couple of place to search out heat, particularly if the warmth sources are at various ranges of warmth, will enable your dragon to thermoregulate on the ideally suited physique temperature.
As for lighting necessities, lizards just like the bearded dragon thrive beneath UV-B lights. Full spectrum or excessive UV-B reptile bulbs are really useful; not solely to assist the lizard’s metabolism, but additionally to supply the required D3 vitamin that they in any other case can not produce on their very own. Keep in mind, bearded dragons are gentle loving desert-dwellers. Typically, the extra gentle they obtain, the happier and extra energetic they are going to be.
Bearded dragons, as soon as mature, enter a winter shutdown interval as soon as per yr after they can stay inactive and hidden. It’s utterly regular through the shutdown interval for the dragon to eat little or no, if something in any respect. Throughout this era, cage temperatures needs to be maintained barely cooler—between 60-70 levels Fahrenheit.
The winter shutdown can final from anyplace between a number of weeks to 5 months. Keep alert because the winter nears; about one week earlier than the onset of cooler temperatures, cut back after which progressively remove meals in your dragon. Alternatively, you may wait and observe the dragon carefully, initiating shutdown circumstances as quickly because the dragon reveals lowered exercise and meals consumption. This can be preferable, since not all bearded expertise a winter shutdown. Some dragons will keep energetic year-round, particularly when ambient temperatures are saved within the 80s-90s on a regular basis.
Water for Your Bearded Dragon
Two faculties of thought exist in relation to watering bearded dragons and offering water bowls: 1. to supply one or the opposite, and a couple of. to supply no water and as an alternative take away the dragon from its enclosure and soak it in a pan of shallow water 2-3 occasions per week.
If selecting to supply a water dish within the enclosure, preserve it shallow. Be sure that it’s not more than half the dragon’s physique peak—its peak when at relaxation—however large sufficient for it to suit its complete physique width inside. Beardies prefer to enter their water dishes after which decrease their heads to drink. Nonetheless, beardies aren’t the brightest and should have hassle recognizing standing water, so the water should be seen when the animal is standing on all fours.
Inland Bearded Dragon Habitat and Historical past
All bearded dragons originate from Australia. The inland bearded dragon is native to the arid woodlands and deserts of central Australia, the place it spends the vast majority of its days basking on rocks and roaming round bushes and timber. When the Australian warmth is an excessive amount of, the dragons burrow underground to maintain themselves cool.
Bearded dragons didn’t come to america till the Nineties however have since change into one of the crucial in style lizard pets. Lately, beardies will be present in practically each pet store and are bred to attain many alternative colours and morphs.
This text was verified and edited for accuracy by Dr. Adam Denish, VMD.