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Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 9397
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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This might be silly but I just got a 3 month old bearded dragon

Resolved Question:

This might be silly but I just got a 3 month old bearded dragon and he has been such a sweet heart to me. Today he jumped out of my hands onto my shirt and climbed up to my shoulder. I want him to do this when he id older but I almost had a heart attack when he did it today. I read about other people's dragon jumping onto the floor do I need to worry about that? I just dont want him to get hurt.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'd like to help you with your question tonight.

You do need to be concerned about such falls. We see it regularly. Beardies fall off shoulders and tables and other furniture. Injuries range from the minor to brain or spinal damage. When you want to hold him, it's best to stay low, for example, sit on the floor, and actually keep your hands on him if he's above floor level.

If you have other questions about him, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I'll check back in the morning to see if you need anything else.

Just because you're a new dragon owner, and pet stores often give out incorrect information, I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. Joan has many years experience keeping and rescuing beardies. You can use the care sheet as a check list to provide the best possible care for your beardie. I hope you enjoy many years with your new companion.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!


Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

* Bearded dragons should be housed alone.

* Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:

1. 0-3 months- baby
2. 3-12 months-juvenile
3. 12-18 months- sub adult
4. 18 months + -adult

* Bearded dragons live as much as 10-12 years if well cared for properly.
* Bearded dragons have a very good temperament as long as they are cared for and handled.
* When you bring your baby home, it may be quite stressful to him/her to get use to new home. May not eat well the first 2-3 days. They may not need to be handled the first 2-3 days if skittish and nervous.
* Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate: Loose substrates can cause impaction (not being able to go Poop) in all ages of bearded dragons- they lick their environment to explore .It is difficult to keep germ free and clean. Ceramic tile, newspaper, non adhesive shelf liner and reptile carpet is what is most recommended. Use paper towels for the little one and as they get bigger you can change to something else.
* Be sure you keep your beardies home as clean as you can. Clean up by spot cleaning when needed. Clean & sanitize entire tank every 10-14 days. A good cleaning solution is a 20% bleach solution. If you choose to use wood climbing branches etc, these should be soaked in the bleach solution and rinsed well. Then bake in 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.
* Need a climbing accessory: to bask and to warm up under basking heat light and lower branches or platforms to come down and cool off.
* A hide of some sort like a cave.
* A food dish and water dish.
* Plastic spray bottle
* Can use artificial plants when they get older- 3 months or so.
* Digital thermostat and/or temp gun
* Tank size: Minimal size tank for this age is 20 gallon long
* Minimal size for older beardie: 4 months of age: 40 gallon breeder is the minimal tank size for older dragon. Can divide a 40 gallon breeder for a smaller dragon. Must have two lights for your beardie.

1. A UVB light source-best is 10.0 Reptisun that runs the length of your tank. Your dragon must have this light to metabolize calcium. If not he will get metabolic bone disease, a serious condition. You can also take your beardie outside to bask in the sun for 15 minutes each day if your temps are 80 degrees or above outside. You can purchase cages or reptariums from your pet store. Never leave a beardie outside unattended.
2. A basking type light that puts out heat and warmth above basking spot. Your beardie must have warmth to digest food & thrive.

* Lights should be on for 12-14 hours each day. Follow the seasons and light timers are a great luxury if you can get them. 6 dollars at Lowe's. No lights or warmth needed at night unless your temperatures get below 62 degrees. If they do, there are ceramic heat emitters that put out no light, only heat. Use these at night if temperatures fall below 62 degrees.



* Temperatures have to be kept at the following ranges during the day:

Babies: Warm basking log: 110-125 degrees F (43.5* to 51.5*C)
Cool side: 85-90 (29.5* to 32*C)
Adults: Warm basking spot: 105-115F (40.5*C to 46*C)

Cool side: 80-85F (27*C to 29*C)

Measure temperatures with a digital probe type thermometer or a temp gun-these are most accurate. Stick on thermometers unreliable.

* Feeding a Beardie: Beardies eat live prey consisting of crickets, roaches and/or silkworms. Never feed any size of mice to your beardie. Never feed mealworms. They also must be given greens/veggies everyday. The younger they are the more live prey they should have. As they grow older the live prey decreases and the veggies/greens should be the major part of diet. Never feed anything bigger, than the space between your beardie's eyes. This includes both live prey and pieces of veggies/greens,
* A chopper or food processor is a huge help when your beardie is small. Always offer greens and veggies: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, red cabbage, fresh green beans, yellow summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, cactus pad. Apricots, strawberries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe- fruits are treats only.
* What is live prey? The easiest and less expensive live prey is crickets when you have a young or first beardie. The other live preys you can feed are silkworms, and special types of roaches. You can learn to raise your own live prey. Treats can be waxworms, super worms, and tomato/goliath worms. You may find that ordering live prey from the internet is the way to go..... Never leave live prey or greens/veggies in tank overnight. . Crickets can bite your beardie when sleeping.
* Babies should get 80% live prey, and 20 % greens/veggies. But since the greens/veggies are a must when they are older, get them eating their greens/veggies very early. Give greens/veggies in small pieces everyday. You should eventually start decreasing your older dragon's protein intake when they are about a year to 15 months old. Their protein intake decreases to 20 % live prey and 80% veggies/greens.
* A baby can eat 50-75 crix a day. Never feed crix or veggies bigger than the space between your beardie's eyes. Use this guide when buying crix or chopping your greens/veggies.
* You must provide calcium dust without D3 and multivitamin dust for your beardie. You should dust the live prey with calcium one time a day, and vitamins 3 times a week. Just collect your live prey into baggie and add enough calcium and vitamin to dust them. Then pour a few at a time into your tank. Some people feed their beardie in a separate tank so that no crickets can hide. Or some take out "furniture" from tank and feed this way. As they get older, 4-5 months or so dust live prey with calcium 3 times a week.
* Feed the veggies/ greens 1st thing in morning after lights on for one hour at least. Then after 2-3 hours offer crix. Then freshen green/veggies. Then give more crix. Make sure after last crix feeding there is at least 1-2 hours of lights so that they can digest their food before night time.

*Beardies over the age of one year old during the winter months will go into a Brumation like most Reptiles and Herps. It is a form of hibernation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights should be on a shorter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available during this period. Do not feed live prey during Brumation.

Water: Mist your little one with the spray bottle 3-4 times a day. You can also offer a small dish of water in your enclosure but be sure your dragon is not too small to drown in it. It is recommended that when your beardie is 2 months old you can bathe your baby in a small plastic container with warm water- not hot. It will help them to stay hydrated. As they get older you can move up to the bathroom sink and then to the bathtub. Very important for bath enclosure to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to bath time. Clean between dragons too if bathing more than one.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

50-70 crickets a day? My dragon eats around 5-8 a meal and is feed twice a day. I have to pull crickets out after 30minutes of him ignoring them. The rest I was informed about because the petsmart sales person actually owned 2, 4 year old dragons. I was also told that a 20 gallon tank would be ok for his life time, that I can go bigger if I want which I already planned too. My dragon loves romaine hearts (organic) are these good for him or should I get a different type of green? Im getting a little stressed because this "low mantaince" hunny bunny is getting a little confusing to me because all this different information.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I understand your confusion. There is a lot of misinformation available online, in outdated books, and from pet stores. It's possible to maintain a bearded dragon in less than optimal conditions for a number of years, and that is the source of much of this misinformation. The dragons will survive, but not thrive. Being in kept in too small of a cage will lead to boredom (they aren't stupid lizards), and lack of exercise. But it won't kill them. Joan's (who wrote the care sheet) beardies typically live into their mid-teens in excellent health.

As for the crickets, the amount Joan gave is for a young dragon kept at the proper temperatures and fed the little pinhead crickets. A beardie that isn't quite warm enough won't eat enough. If the crickets are bigger, they won't eat as many, but crickets that are larger than the space between the beardie's eyes can cause choking and digestive upset. You are smart to take out any uneaten crickets. They will bite a sleeping dragon. while the bites are tiny, they are very probe to infection.

Romaine lettuce is an OK food, but others are better. Variety is important. I'm going to give you a link to a color-coded feeding chart that clearly shows the bets foods and gives the reasons. I recommend it to all new beardie owners:

http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html


If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.

Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 9397
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
Anna and 2 other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hi Aryn,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Jedi The Bearded Dragon. How is everything going?

MsAM

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