The bearded dragon lizard, a native of Australia, is one of the most popular choices when choosing a reptile as a house pet. Mainly due to its docile and friendly disposition, this sociable reptile has been gracing pet stores and houses at an increasing rate.
Adopting the bearded dragon lizard as part of the family requires planning and care. Below are some guidelines that can be used in caring for the baby bearded dragon that will become the newest member of your family.
1. Baby bearded dragons require a lot o food to support their rapid growth rate. Between the first 3-6 weeks, feed your baby dragon about 2-3 times a day. Cricket, veggies, and greens can be used while watering can be done once or twice daily. It is rule of thumb that the food you will feed them must be about half the size as the distance between his eyes. This is to ensure that your dragon will not suffer from terminal indigestion.
2. Check for parasites regularly. Although they are parasite-free upon purchase, being bred in captivity, there is always the danger of parasite infestation once your baby dragon has been exposed to the elements, especially to the bugs, worms, and crickets he will be fed with.
3. Provide ample space for your dragon to grow in. The recommended size is a 10 gallon aquarium for a newly hatched dragon, while a 20 gallon tank is needed in the next six months due to your baby dragon's speedy growth. When your bearded dragon reaches adulthood, the size should be changed to a 50 gallon tank to provide enough space for basking, exercise and growth.
4. Clean the baby dragon's house regularly. Since bearded dragons are messy creatures, their homes must be cleaned twice a day. It is a danger for a baby dragon's health if their surroundings are not kept clean because their young age makes them more susceptible to fleas and diseases. The highest mortality rate of bearded dragons take place during their first month.
5. Provide temperature control in your baby dragon's tank. This can be done by using a temperature gradient. There should a spot warm enough for the baby dragon to bask and lie in and there should be a spot humid enough to answer to the dragon's need for water. Baby bearded dragons need water both as a drink and in the air to aid their growth in the first months of their life. Lack of humidity in the air can actually cause your baby dragon to shed.
6. Provide UV light. The light should imitate the one given off by the sun as this helps in your baby dragon's digestion. Working in a way much like photosynthesis, UV light encourages healthy digestion in your dragon. This is especially important for baby dragons as they are always in danger of indigestion due to your young age and reduced capacity to absorb food in large sizes.
7. It is recommended to use paper towels as your baby dragon's substrate. Its is clean, easy to replace when dirty, and inedible.
8. Handle your dragon daily. This will develop their trust towards humans and build their bond with you. Just make sure that you are gentle in handling them and that you never pick them up them up with their tail. They dislike this and will make them thrash about, which is harmful for your baby dragon. You may choose to scoop them up with your cupped hands.