When it comes to taking care of bearded dragons, there are a lot of myths and misinformation out there. Some people believe that bearded dragons don’t need much care, while others think they’re very high maintenance. But despite their popularity among reptile pet lovers, many parents are against adopting bearded dragons for their kids, thanks to the wrong information.
So, what’s the truth? Let’s look at some of the most common myths about bearded dragon care and see what the facts are. We can help new beardie owners give their pets the best possible care by dispelling these myths.
What are Bearded Dragons?
Just like a dragon, this creature lives up to its name; unlike other lizard species, the bearded dragon comes with an armor of scales that includes a spike below its chin, which puffs depending on its moods. Currently, there are 8 bearded dragon species that are referred to as “beardies,” with the most common pet species being Pogona vitticeps.
The bearded dragon is one of the most popular reptile pets available that tends to be active, gentle, and curious. Unfortunately, adopting any lizard legally is not an easy thing; after all, you can’t just go to their habitat and pick one; you have to prepare your home for their arrival and visit a certified adoption center.
Luckily, differentiating a female bearded dragon from a male bearded dragon is relatively easy, and it can help you adopt the right pet for your home. And to make it easier for you to live with your new pet, here are some facts and myths about bearded dragon care.
8 Facts and Myths about Bearded Dragon Care:
1. Bearded Dragons Don’t Need Uvb Lighting to Survive.
One of the most common myths about bearded dragons is that they do not need UVB lighting to survive. This is not true! Bearded dragons need vitamin D3 to survive; in fact, it’s essential for their health.
Without UVB light, bearded dragons can develop health problems such as metabolic bone disease. Luckily, they don’t need to be exposed to UVB light for as many hours as most pet owners think.
Experts recommend that you expose them to about 14 hours per day in summer and spring. But in winter and fall, they only require 8 hours of UVB light per day. Avoid leaving the UVB light on overnight.
2. Bearded Dragons Don’t Require a Lot of Care.
Well, this is actually not the truth; bearded dragons require a lot of attention and regular care in order to stay healthy. They need a spacious tank with plenty of climbing objects and hiding spots and a varied diet, including live insects and appropriate vegetables.
While bearded dragons enjoy some space to roam, they can be happy in an enclosure that is just a few square feet. Many people keep their bearded dragons in cages or tanks less than five square feet. Therefore, understanding lizards’ life cycle can help you prepare your home for the new pet and determine the amount of roaming room they need.
3. Bearded Dragons Are Picky Eaters.
This myth is far from the truth. A considerable percentage of these creatures feed on a wide range of foods. You might have come across older creatures that are very picky eaters, but they are scarce. So, you should train your pet to eat a wide range of veggies and fruits. If you give them different foods from the start, they will get accustomed to different types of foods. Avoid giving them too much of a particular kind of food.
Bearded dragons have strong jaws that can help them crush hard-shelled insects such as beetles. Plus, being omnivorous, they can also feed on rodents, small lizards, fruit, flowers, and leaves.
4. Bearded Dragons Don’t Need a Heat Source
Another common myth is that bearded dragons do not need a heat source. This is also false! Bearded dragons require a basking area that reaches temperatures of around 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. If the room’s ambient temperature is below 70 degrees, you will also need to provide a supplemental heat source.
5. Bearded Dragons Don’t Need to Be Bathed
Some people believe that bearded dragons do not need to be bathed. This is also false – bearded dragons need to be washed at least once a week in order to stay healthy. Cleaning them once per week can help keep them disease-free and even increase their lifespan. Plus, you have to keep their tanks clean.
6. Bearded Dragons Carry Diseases
It’s a known fact that some illnesses like salmonella can be easily contracted from other pets. But the likelihood of getting these illnesses from your bearded dragon is very low, and with proper care and cleanliness, you can keep your pet disease-free. But it’s always a good idea to disinfect your hands after cleaning their tank and avoid touching your face.
7. They Can’t Live in Cold Areas
Bearded dragons can’t live in cold environments. This is not true – bearded dragons can live in a wide range of temperatures, from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Bearded dragons are cold-blooded creatures that rely on other heat sources to maintain their temperature.
8. Bearded Dragons Are Expensive to Take Care Off
Like with other pets, there are many costs associated with keeping a bearded dragon, but they are cheaper than cats and dogs. Keeping reptiles can end up being reasonable in the long run. But you may have to spend more when introducing it in your home. But once you have purchased the substrate, lighting, and other enclosures, the other things you will have to buy are supplements and food, which are a few dollars every week.
So, are bearded dragons the perfect pet for you? Probably not. But they can make great companions for people who are willing to put in the time and effort to care for them properly. As with any animal, there is a lot of misinformation about how to best take care of bearded dragons, but hopefully, this article has cleared some things up for you. But before you adopt a bearded dragon, make sure you find out if you need a permit. Some states like Arkansas and Delaware allow folks to own these pets without a permit.