As a new bearded dragon owner, it’s not uncommon to make some mistakes. You can’t know everything off the bat, which is why we’ve put a list together of some of the most common bearded dragon owner mistakes that new owners face, helping you ensure you give your bearded dragon the best care and attention they deserve from the start.
As a bearded dragon owner, you are responsible for providing a healthy and well-balanced diet with comfortable and natural living spaces and all the heating they need to make your beardie feel as though they are back in the wild, in the deserts of Australia.
The first most common bearded dragon mistake made by new owners is not carrying out enough research before you decide on your new pet. There are a number of important things you need to learn about bearded dragons, they are not a dog or cat and they have strict living requirements to ensure they remain healthy for years. Doing research can ensure you have your finger on the pulse, so you can make an informed decision on whether a beardie is the right choice for you in the long run.
Another common bearded dragon mistake made by new owners is that they don’t take their dragon off to the vet as often as they should. A bearded dragon needs routine vet checks to ensure that they remain healthy, the same as any other pet. Regular trips to the vet can give you peace of mind that you are doing everything right to care for your dragon.
Heating is one of the most important things when it comes to owning a bearded dragon and probably one of the most common issues that new owners experience. Getting the heating right may take some time and testing. It’s recommended that you get the enclosure to the right temperature before bringing your dragon home. Too cold and your dragon could lose its appetite, become lethargic and its immune system could be weakened.
Along with heating, UV lighting is essential to the overall health of your bearded dragon. Poor quality UV lighting can result in you experiencing a very sick dragon that could require immediate veterinary care. Avoid this by ensuring you provide ample UV lighting to promote a healthy dragon in the long run.
What many new dragon owners don’t realize is the exponential rate of growth their beardie will experience in the first few months of its life. This can often result in the owner not having an enclosure big enough to house their dragon. The right tank size is imperative to ensure a happy and healthy bearded dragon.
In addition to the common mistakes listed above, another of the common bearded dragon mistakes is choosing a substrate such as sand. Loose particle substrate can be dangerous for dragons. It’s not uncommon for this substrate to attach to food and dragons to eat it.
A baby dragon will require eighty percent insects and bugs and twenty percent greens in their diet. As they age their requirements change with adult bearded dragons only needing twenty percent of their diet to be insect and the remainder to be greens. Add a variety of greens to ensure your dragon gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy moving forward.
Bearded dragons are naturally inquisitive and friendly and regular interaction with humans can promote a healthy dragon. Ignoring your dragon, not playing with it regularly or not providing interaction can lead to an unfriendly dragon.
A very common mistake made by first time bearded dragon owners is not providing a good hide box inside the enclosure for their new reptile. Your dragon will need somewhere to go and sleep where it feels safe. If you have an all glass enclosure, then there is no where your dragon can hide, he/she will always be on display. Give them a hide box, so they have somewhere private they can go to hide when they feel overexposed.
Supplementing your dragon’s diet with calcium is important. Dragons struggle to absorb calcium and as a result dragon owners dust their food with supplements to ensure that they grow up to be strong and healthy.
Food too Big
You need to remember that your dragon doesn’t chew and therefore you need to take great care when preparing bearded dragon foods to ensure that they can eat it with ease. Harder foods such as carrots, strawberries, sweet potato and more should be cut into small bite sized pieces.
So many dragon owners don’t realize how often they really need to clean their bearded dragon enclosures. Failing to carry out regular cleaning can result in your dragon having to live with its own filth, winch can breed dangerous bacteria and parasites. When you feed your dragon in the day, look around for any droppings and remove them immediately. Check the enclosure every time you handle your pet with a thorough cleaning being carried out at least once a week.
The final common mistake made by bearded dragon owners is wanting to make their enclosure look beautiful. So often a bearded dragon owner will run outside and grab some real plants to put in the enclosure to make it look inviting and natural. The problem is that these plants could be toxic to dragons and your dragon is likely to eat them. This means you are going to need to change your tank design again and you could have a sick dragon on your hands.
Learn as much about bearded dragons as possible before you decide on taking one on as a pet. They require a lot of care, time and dedication. Wanting to give your dragon the best life in captivity, it’s recommended you learn the most common mistakes and research the best care tips to ensure you provide your dragon with the great life it deserves.
Robin Lee is an avid pet owner with more than ten years of experience with amphibians and reptiles. He blogs over at The Pet Enthusiast.