Exotic Pets - Bearded Dragon

Geo Beats
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Exotic Pets - Bearded Dragon - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. I am Beth Randall, and I am the director of Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. And this is a bearded dragon. They are native to Australia. They are a very mild, gentle, friendly animal. Their name, bearded dragon, comes from the fact that underneath their chin they have this skin that turns dark when they get excited. It can get dark when they are excited, when they are angry, when they are happy, when they are mating. So, that is where the name comes from. They live about seven to nine years. They are probably your best pet lizard, very sturdy, very friendly, very calm. They do not bite, as long as they are well fed and well taken care of. They do need to have heat from above, like a heat light, never a heated rock. Because for any lizard a heated rock can actually cause death because their little brain cannot pick up those heat waves from their stomach fast enough, and their stomach can start to cook before it registers in their brain. So, heated rocks are never a good idea for any lizard, but heat from above is very important because they are cold-blooded and they cannot make their own heat. They need that warmth to digest their food. If they get too cold their food will sit in their stomach and rot. So, that is very important. Also, they do need a UVB light, a full-spectrum light. That helps them absorb their calcium. They need that Vitamin D from that light to help them get all their nutrients and stay healthy. These little spines on here are not sharp, they are very rubbery. They are more for show so that predators do not eat them in the wild. Like I said, they are very friendly and will just sit on your lap. The substrate you can use in a cage for a bearded dragon. They need a large tank. About a 75 to 100 gallon tank is appropriate for a full grown bearded dragon. They do need to be by themselves, they are solitary. If you do have more than one adult, they will try to attack each other. As with Zed, here, his cage mate had started to chew his foot off before he got to us. So, it is very important to always keep them alone. But you can use just newspaper as a substrate. Some people will use sand, however, the animal can actually ingest some of that sand and it can cause impaction. So, we prefer to encourage people to use just newspaper or something smooth like that. They do need a hideout, so they can hide, that is away from the heat, so if they feel to hot, they will go to where it is cool. They have a small bowl for water. Because they are a desert animal, they do not need a lot of water. You can give your bearded dragon a bath every so often. They will enjoy that, just soaking in a warm little bit of water. They do shed their skin when they are growing. That will help them shed their skin, if they have a little bath. Do not ever try to pull the skin off, that can actually hurt them quite a bit. Sometimes they will need their nails cut, just like a cat or dog. You just trim them very carefully, not too deep, because it will hit the quick and they will bleed. They do eat greens and fruits and vegetables. A dark fruit or vegetable, like a sweet potato, is good for them. They do need calcium dust on that. They also do eat live, they do need live bugs. They need either super-worms or crickets, and they do need to be dusted with the calcium dust, as well. The adults do not need as many as the youngsters do. All lizards do have salmonella in their system, as do all reptiles and amphibians. It is not dangerous to you, as long as you do not ingest their waste, as long as you use proper hand sanitation when you are handling them and afterward. So, they are a very safe pet. They are not dangerous at all in that way. Do not use hand sanitizer, though, on your hands before you handle them. That can get on their sensitive skin and it can cause harm to them. But a bearded dragon will just sit on your lap or on your shoulder, just like that, and just enjoy you. They will look at you when you are talking to them and just really enjoy your company. They make a really good little pet.

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