My review is all about Bearded Dragons and I want to try and explain more about them but also how you need to do certain things before making that purchase. The first question to most people is what is a bearded dragon?
Well a bearded dragon is a lizard which originate in the in the deserts of and woodland of Australia. The males and females are usually the same size but the males can have a longer head.
They love to bask in high temperatures as this enables them to grow and keep them healthy. If they get to warm they love to bury themselves to make sure they have shade to release that heat put on them.
They are small but grow sometimes to be very big on average the size can be between 14-27 inches which is very big. They eat plants and also live animals such as crickets and locusts.
They also come in many colours which are great and more about how they look can be found on my pictures.
Selecting and Research
The majority of people who visit pet centres may have noticed Bearded Dragons and to be honest they seem to be everywhere at the moment. I first had one about 6 years ago but it was never really mine it belonged to my brother and I was always there to appreciate them and understand them.
You have to be careful where you get the bearded dragons from because this is where you can either make an excellent choice or potentially make a very silly one.
I have found when I was getting my two before Christmas that you need to pick up the bearded dragon you want. An example might be inside a pet store and discovering it does not want your attention at all it just wants down and away.
This indicates it is not used to being picked up and in theory you do not want that. You need the bearded dragon to be able to appreciate human contact so that is one aspect I looked for. The other is to do a health check find out about the pet. Ask for the date of birth, history of any problems and if you notice a problem ask. If you do not get good enough answers then walk away even if the price of the animal is excellent.
Do plenty of research I went and spent over £20 on books, seeking advice from experts online and never belief one person over another. If you ask one person and believe there advice only you’re not doing yourself any favours. Compare notes by 2 or 3 people and then see what they say and get a better understanding about the pet your about to purchase.
Now comes the expensive part to this whole process and this is the vivarium. I was trying for weeks to find the best vivarium but my problem was size and also how safe it was. I was told by experts that you need to have a big vivarium and mine is 4 foot by 2 foot and this is big enough to hold 2 bearded dragons.
You have to do plenty of work here because you need to make sure the glass doors are safe and sound but also make sure you have a solid base to the vivarium. I found one vivarium for £185 and this looked excellent when it came to seeing it in person I could push it over very easily and that is poor.
You also have to take into consideration the equipment inside and this costs plenty of money regardless if you go online or a local store the price is very similar.
You have to buy a log for your bearded dragon to bask on. This is basically there for them to lie on throughout the day to gain heat but also gain the UV rays as well. You need a very long UV light if you have a vivarium size I went for. This is critical to have as they bask next to this and it helps there bones grow and keeps them healthy.
You need to have plants at the back because they need to know about where they are but have things to climb as well. You need to have a food bowl for the plants you put out but also a water bowl.
Besides all this you need a place for them to rest and relax like logs and rocks to hide under and then finally more bulbs. I have two 40 watts bulbs which help keep the heat going to the right temperature for them. I also have a night time bulb so when the temperature drops to 80 degrees this bulb kicks in to keep the temperature exactly 80 degrees.
The final part to the vivarium setup is the temperature gauge at the back and a thermometer to keep an eye on temperatures inside. All this and my solid oak vivarium cost me £675 and this could have been higher.
You also need substrate at the bottom like litter in a cat’s dirt box and this substrate needs to be either newspaper or wood chip, please do not use sand as they could eat this and it might cause them a painful blockage.
My Bearded Dragons
Food and Temperatures
I think the food part confuses people and it did with me because everywhere I went I was told not to include some foods but other places said I can. I am going to let people know what my bearded dragons eat so people can see what they can eat.
In the morning I give my two little creatures some watercress and coriander and I usually pull it apart until it is kind of tiny in pieces but not too small. The bearded dragons love to bite through this stuff and eat it themselves. I have also given them parsnip, carrot, rocket, parsley, lambs lettuce, kale and a red pepper.
I was told NEVER to give them tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, spinach or iceberg lettuce as this makes them ill.
In terms of live food well I feed mine between 15-20 crickets a day and if they are not quite in the mood for them I give them locusts instead which are very tricky customers to control. I have a pair of tweezers from the pet store grab them out of the box and put them in some calcium powder which your bearded dragons need for them own growth.
You also have temperature issues to deal with as well and this is where you need to keep an eye on things. The temperature during the day needs to be between 90-100 degrees and this is done via the two lights and the UV light. You need to leave these lights on for 12 hours a day and then they need to go off so the dragons can rest.
During the night the temperatures need to be at the lowest 80 degrees and this is to make sure they are warm enough to be okay but enough to make them sleep at the same time. You need to work out the setup yourself but ask the people you buy your equipment from and they should assist you further.
I got two bearded dragons aged 4 months old before Christmas and we had some issues because they were not happy about being moved. They were friendly to touch and pick up but it takes a few weeks for your bearded dragons to gain trust.
I created a vivarium to make sure they had plenty of places to go, eat and relax and bask of course and after a few nervous days they began to understand the layout and understand one another.
At this age you do not know the gender I was told you need to wait until they are around 9-12 months old for this to be determined but I am fairly sure one is a lady and the other a gentlemen.
They love to have their greens in the morning and this consists usually of grated carrot and watercress crushed up with some rocket leaves as well. They usually eat this slowly and unfortunately for you as the owner when they are little they take a while to eat the green salad stuff because they are more interested in live food.
With me I try to give them a balanced diet and nothing is the same each day as this would bore them like it would me. I give them crickets with locusts and I usually tipped them into the vivarium and my two little friends run after them and eat them.
People are nervous about doing this part but my advice is do it quickly because locusts when they escape they are difficult to catch but also the crickets are slippery customers also.
Once they have had roughly between 8-10 of those a day each I do not feed them anymore until the next day. I keep watering the vegetables so they do not go all horrible due to the heat inside the vivarium and make sure they have their poop cleaned up each day as well.
Every 3 days I will spray the vivarium and this includes the leaves in the back hanging up, the log the bearded dragons themselves completely with luke warm water so they are cooled down but also gives them water to drink.
They cannot see still water so it means the water bowl you have is kind of pointless but I change mine daily and lately they have been taking sips out of the water bowl.
Every 4 weeks I go and changed the entire substrate to new material and makes sure the glass is cleaned with this very good disinfectant you get from pet stores. They are easy to keep and when you are in a routine they are super easy to look after.
Recently my bearded dragons have had their skin shred and this means they are growing and you can see it ready to come off due to the way it looks all horrible but this is just them growing and will happen regularly.
At night time is when I love to see them go to work they see the lights go out and for them it is time for bed they literally go to the back of the vivarium and dig a hole and go to bed eyes closed and time for nap. The lights come on the next morning they wake up slowly like we all do and stretch and they are ready for the day ahead.
I take mine out every day for about 30 minutes and hold them and let them run around my bed and this to me lets them get used to me and gain my trust but also lets them have some freedom as well.
They have no teeth so if they try to bite it is just gums they have and it doesn’t hurt at all.
Overall I love them to pieces and find new characteristic with them all the time.
I have insurance with me and for these two bearded dragons each month costs just £11 which is fantastic if that is the option you choose to take with them.
Final Notes and Things to Remember
Always research and listen to those who have had or have got bearded dragons and make sure you’re prepared for the prices of everything.Do not believe everything you hear first-hand ask around various locations and see what people are saying in general and then you have a better understanding.
Never be afraid to ask questions to the place you have got them from and also take your time and have patience the first few weeks.Each person will find a suitable setup for food, layout of items inside the vivarium and no one is perfect in how they approach this subject.
You can have insurance for these animals and they are so well known that people will find a vet very easily if a problem should arise.They are awesome creatures and they can make you smile with their mannerisms and they can make you feel sorry for them as well.