Reptile Maniac

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Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets? Here's The Truth..

Compared to having a cat or a dog, owning a reptile is not the typical pet situation. As a result, people interested in purchasing a bearded dragon tend to ask the question. “Are bearded dragons’ good pets?”  Well, if you want to own a bearded dragon for the first time but doubt is holding you back, the answer is a big yes!

Bearded dragons tick all the boxes for a good pet, even beating cats and dogs in certain areas. Here is a list of why owning a bearded dragon will give you one of the best non-human companions you can find.

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1. They are peaceful and calm creatures


The reputation of reptiles as aggressive untamable creatures is perhaps the reason why many people are wary of the idea of owning one. And while many reptiles tend to lash out or bite, bearded dragons are generally calm and peaceful. This character trait becomes more evident as they age, making them good pets.

Therefore, you can snuggle with your reptile as you would with any other typical pet. In fact, they enjoy interacting with their owners, and you can even take them outside for a walk (you need a comfortable leash) or let them explore your home as you watch.

The only time a bearded dragon will exhibit aggressive behavior towards you, or anyone else is if they feel threatened. They may bite in such situations, but the bite is usually more of a scrape and won’t hurt as much. To prevent this kind of behavior, be gentle any time you handle your bearded dragon.

2. They are easy to care for

Whether a bearded dragon is juvenile or mature, they generally require minimal care and attention.  They don’t need regular grooming or shampooing; once their habitat is set up, you only have the food to worry about.

Bearded dragons usually live in an enclosure with a secure screen (a 65-gallon tank is generally ideal for an adult bearded dragon). In their natural habitat, beardies thrive in 78 to 85 degrees F during the day and 65 to 70 degrees F at night. Therefore, you will need to provide the appropriate lighting and heating conditions.

To provide both heating and lighting, you can use a great heat lamp. This allows the dragon to bask just like they would out in the sun. You can also use an under-tank heater to warm the habitat at night, but make sure to leave a section unheated to give the beardie a place to cool off.  Generally, setting up this habitat will be the first and only challenging task you will face as a reptile owner.

Once the tank is set, cleaning it will only take a few minutes of your day. All you need to do is pick out any droppings or unwanted food every evening. For cleaner conditions, try to give it a thorough cleaning once a week. Besides that, feeding them daily and providing fresh and clean water is all the care a bearded dragon needs.

Therefore, caring for one is a pretty easy experience that anyone can handle, even children. This also makes a bearded dragon the ideal pet for busy people.

3. They are not picky eaters


When it comes to feeding a bearded dragon, you won’t have to scratch your head wondering what to feed them; they eat various foods. They are omnivores, meaning you can provide your reptile anything from juicy insects to delicious vegetables. You can treat your bearded dragon to nutritious veggies like broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, watercress, bell pepper, chard, and a lot more. They also eat fruits like bananas, mangoes, tomatoes, grapes, guavas, melons, peaches, apples, and pears. From a nutritional standpoint, feeding your reptile these fruits and vegetables come with a lot of benefits.

As a protein source, bearded dragons enjoy eating insects like grasshoppers, crickets, earthworms, spiders, silkworms, moths, wax worms, and even slugs. Of these, crickets will form the bigger part of your animal’s diet, but the requirements vary depending on age.

Given this variety, it is pretty clear that you won’t run out of food to feed your beardie. For the best value, make sure to change the contents of your reptile’s menu once in a while.

4. They have a fairly long-life expectancy

When you buy a pet, you want to spend the longest time possible with them. You want to watch them grow from restless younglings to mature adults, and finally, age into slow and disinterested veterans. A bearded dragon can stay with you for up to a decade. With a reasonably long life expectancy of 8-15 years (the average is 12 years), a beardie will give you enough time to bond, play, and go on exciting per-owner adventures.

Remember when we said bearded dragons eat a wide variety of food? Well, this works to their advantage. With a balanced combination of the right nutrients, you will be able to maximize the lifespan of your pet! Imagine a full 15 years next to your best non-human friend. Complementing the diet with proper housing and regular health checkups will make this easier to achieve.

5. They are intelligent and can show affection


While cats are praised for their independence and dogs for intelligence, bearded dragons rarely make the conversation, although they are also quite intelligent. With enough patience and the right approach, you can train your beardie to react to calls, walk on a leash, and get ready for food and water. Like any good pet, a bearded dragon can recognize its owner and form a strong bond with them. They also have the ability to observe and learn specific behaviors from other bearded dragons.

Another overlooked trait of bearded dragons is their ability to show affection for their owners, mostly due to the belief that all reptiles are aggressive. Once again, these beautiful lizards break free of a negative stereotype by displaying signs of affection for their owner. A common sign is their tendency to snuggle into someone’s neck or chest for warmth. They will even fall asleep in this position for a couple of hours, making for an excellent bonding session outside their terrariums.

Reaching this level where your lizard recognizes your voice and is comfortable enough to sleep on you will take some time. You can begin by talking to them, engaging in some play time, and holding them gently in order to breed familiarity. Once your bearded dragon has adjusted to you, the two of you will form a perfect pair. 

6. They are perfectly sized

The length of a mature bearded dragon from head to tail ranges from 12 to 14 inches, although males generally grow to be larger than females. Most of the bearded dragon’s growth occurs in the first year of their life, so by the time they are two, you should have a good idea of how much space they will need. Given that a third of this length is the tail, their size is convenient for most owners, and they are not too small as to make it difficult for children to handle.

Keeping a bearded dragon in your home will also not take up a lot of space. Their terrariums are generally compact, making it easy to accommodate one even in a relatively small house. The terrarium can be placed anywhere in your home as long as it is well lit and heated.

7. They make excellent pets for kids

Many of the things that make a bearded dragon a good pet for you also makes it suitable for your child;

  •         They are perfectly sized, so kids can handle them, comfortably
  •         They are gentle creatures, making it safe for a kid to play and take care of them
  •         Although caring for a bearded dragon is easy, they require regular maintenance and feeding, making them an effective way to teach responsible behaviour to your kids
  •         Their long-life expectancy also means that children can have a pet in the family for a long time
  •         Taking care of a calm and gentle pet like a bearded dragon helps children develop skills useful in learning how to care for others

8. They have a neat appearance


Bearded dragons look like miniature dragons, giving them a unique appearance that many consider attractive and neat. When still, they look like a fascinating prehistoric creature you would find in a museum. These reptiles are available in different species with many beautiful morphs and colors like yellow, red, and orange.

The defining look of a bearded dragon is its beard. This is a flap of skin around its throat that flares out whenever it feels threatened, territorial, or ready to mate. Even so, every bearded dragon is unique; the reptiles come in different shapes and sizes and have different markings on their bodies.

9. They are affordable

Compared to conventional pets like cats and dogs, taking care of bearded dragons is more affordable in every aspect. They don’t really require special diets, making it relatively cheap to feed one. Depending on the types of food you feed to your reptile, it will cost you between $15 and $40 a month. Medical care is also more cost-effective when compared to other pets. Although you will need to take your reptile for regular veterinary checkups, it will cost less than it does for cats and dogs.

However, getting started will require a substantial investment on your part. You will need to invest in a good habitat, as this will directly impact your beardie’s health. A good terrarium can cost you anywhere between $200 and $600, but once set up, the costs of maintenance drop significantly.

Make sure to invest in a good heating and lighting setup if you want to add life to your beardie’s life. If you own a juvenile dragon, buy an enclosure that will still be big enough to accommodate them when they grow into adults. With the right enclosure, your lizard’s health is ensured, saving you the money you would otherwise have spent on regular treatments.

10. Bearded dragons are fun to observe


Owning a bearded dragon also gives you a pet that you can watch for your amusement. These dragons have certain behavioral traits that can be very entertaining to observe. Arm waving, the billowing beard, and head bobbing are some of the most assuming things to watch. Once a dragon gets used to you, they will sometimes run back and forth and hurry up and down the glass in an attempt to get your attention.  They will also demand to be fed if you are a bit late on their meal.

They are also generally well behaved. Therefore, you can take them out of their terrarium and let them explore their home. Nonetheless, keep them under supervision at all times so that they don’t get lost or hurt themselves in the process. With the proper leash, you can take your bearded dragon for a little street walk, which bearded dragons are known to enjoy.  

11. Bearded dragons don’t cause allergies

A lot of people don’t get to have a pet because they have allergies. But unlike cats and dogs who leave fur everywhere and trigger allergies, bearded dragons are rarely the primary cause of an allergic reaction. However, some people are allergic to certain insect foods of bearded dragons, e.g., grasshoppers. For such people, getting the reptile is not a great idea.

In Conclusion

Bearded dragons make excellent pets for a large number of reasons. There is a lot to love about these wonderful creatures, even for those who have never thought of owning a pet reptile. They don’t require too much on your part, they are friendly, interesting to watch, and don’t cost too much. All these reasons make it easy to bond with a bearded dragon, and you can be sure that this bond will last over a decade.

Therefore, there is no need to be scared of bringing a pet reptile to your home; owning one will be one of the best decisions you ever made.