A bearded dragon can be a fantastic pet, providing the owner years of satisfying companionship. But how do you care for a bearded dragon that is still in its early months? Here are a few tips for first-time owners.
What to Consider When Buying a Bearded Dragon
First of all, be sure to get your bearded dragon from a reputable source. This is not a difficult animal to care for, but you want one that is healthy and has been treated properly from birth to the time when you take over the role of caregiver. If the bearded dragon is less than a month old, it’s really not ready for you to bring home yet. In fact, buying a full-grown bearded dragon can help ensure that it is a strong and healthy pet.
One thing to keep in mind is that bearded dragons are pretty solitary in the wild. They often interact only for the purpose of mating. So unless you intend to become a breeder, you really don’t want to have more than one in a tank. Even if they grew up in the same tank, you would want separate tanks for your pets as they reach adulthood.
How to Take Care of Your Pet
If you do happen to get a one-month-old bearded dragon, you are going to want your terrarium to be a minimum of 20 gallons. Keep in mind that by six months you will need to upgrade the tank size, so you may want to skip the tiny tank and go straight to an adult-sized tank. Be sure that the substrate of your tank is the right material. Sand mats or slate tile are perfect for bearded dragons. You can also use paper towels, which are a better option than things like play sand or cedar shavings, commonly mistaken as acceptable substrates.
Other considerations are the need for a light bulb that provides the proper basking temperature; include proper tank structures for both climbing and hiding (remember, these guys are introverts); and have the proper supply of water and food. A young bearded dragon will eat anywhere between 20 and 60 crickets or roaches per day.
Finally, don’t forget to locate a veterinarian in your area who has experience in dealing with reptiles. Most vets are more experienced with cats and dogs, so only take your pet to a vet that knows reptiles.