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Caring for a Bearded Dragon

Are you looking for a cute exotic pet that’s a bit unique? A bearded dragon may be a great choice for you. As your Marion, IA vet, I’m happy to offer excellent veterinary care for reptiles, including bearded dragons. Read on to learn more about these pretty lizards.

Habitat

If you get a baby beardie, your little dinosaur will need a tank that is at least 20 gallons. Adult beardies require 75-gallon tanks or larger. You’ll need to add a suitable substrate, such as reptile carpet. Avoid using sand-based substrates for young lizards, as it isn’t safe for them. Your pet will also need food dishes, a water bowl, and a few hidey-holes. To make your scaled buddy’s home more comfortable and attractive, add some hammocks, branches to climb, rocks, and plants.

Environment

Bearded dragons do have some specific environmental needs, so you’ll need to get some special equipment. These cute lizards require both UVB and UVA lighting. A basking light should also be on your shopping list. Beardies love to relax and sunbathe! Keeping your pet’s cage at the proper temperatures is also important. One end of the cage should be about 95-105 during the day, while the rest of the cage can be about 80. You can set it up so the cage is a bit cooler at night. Ask your vet for specific recommendations, including equipment placement and setup.

Menu

Bearded dragons don’t eat canned food or kibble. Your reptilian buddy will need live bugs. Before feeding your pet, you’ll need to dust his creepy-crawly dinner with nutritional powder. Beardies can also have a little fresh fruit. Ask your vet for more information, including supplements, snacks, and safe and unsafe foods.

Health

Just like any other pet, beardies are susceptible to illness and injury. Watch for warning signs, such as lethargy, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and discharge from the eyes, nose, or mouth. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.

Handling

Beardies are typically quite calm and docile, as long as they have been properly socialized. You will need to handle your lizard regularly to keep him friendly and tame. Your lizard may enjoy hanging out on you while you watch TV. Just take care to never pick him up by the tail.

Please contact me, your Marion, IA vet, with any questions about bearded dragon care. I’m here to help!

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