Do you want to know what lizards make the best pets. We have ranked the bearded dragon, already, as one of the five best pet reptiles for a brand new reptile keeper. So let’s start with our first category handleability. For handleability we have given these animals a 4 out of 5. And really really the only reason they didn’t get a 5 out of 5 is because you’ve got to be careful that they don’t poop on you. Which, I mean, that could be a big deal for some people. It’s kind of a big deal for me. I have learned how to get around this and that is because bearded dragons come straight from nature basically potty trained. If you give them a little bath before you handle them they will do their business in there. You give them a little rinse off no worries. But that is a serious concern and I don’t ever want it to happen to me.
It hasn’t happened yet – because I’m careful. Other than that they’re just unbelievable. I mean you can see how they are they’re just happy to just hang out with you. They like to be in the highest place they can get to. So if you put them on your arm they’ll climb up on your shoulder they’ll hangout – they’re good to go. I’ve been places before where I set a bearded dragon on a table and it just sat there for an hour, hour and a half, during a class or or a seminar and just looked at people. And just looked around. And for a while people like “is that real” and then it turns its head and they just” whoa!” It’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen in their lives – they love him. They’re unlikely to bite you.
I have accidentally been nipped as part of a feeding response by a bearded dragon but I’ve never been bitten by a dragon while I was holding it. They’re unlikely to scratch you, I mean superficial little cuts. They do have nails but they’re not going to break the skin or anything you’re not going to bleed because they scratched you. Something I adore about the Agamid lizards, which are the group that the bearded dragons belong to, is that they don’t lose their tails! I love that they don’t lose their tails! It’s the greatest thing ever that a lizard could have as an attribute is it doesn’t drop its tail! Because it’s the scariest thing in the world when they might.
And you don’t have to worry about that with a bearded dragon. A bearded dragon is no more likely to lose its tail than your cat is. Additionally they’re big enough that they can handle a little bit of rough handling. Not too rough, you always want to be careful with them. But you can hand them to a relatively small child and as long as they’re well supervised you make sure they’re not going to drop them or kick them or squeeze them really hard something like that. With normal handling they’re just going to do great and they’re going to be mellow and they’re going to hangout. I adore bearded dragon – you can tell.
When it comes to care we give them a 3 out of 5. There are actually a lot of drawbacks to bearded dragon care. One of them, and a big one, is that their diet is somewhat complex. These guys are omnivores, which means they meat and plants and they need a lot of variety when it comes to meat and plants. So you’re going to need various different kinds of insect feeders – which could mean things like dubia roaches, crickets, super worms and we’ve actually got links to where you can get those things down in the [description].
You can find them relatively affordably. I buy them in bulk online – I didn’t have to start doing that until I started keeping bearded dragons because man they can go through the insects. You’re also going to need really good plants and a variety of them. Things like mustard greens, collard greens, kaleThese things are excellent. Baby spring mix can be very good for them. Try to avoid things like spinach and broccoli which bind calcium you don’t need to stress too much about why but don’t give them these sorts of plants and just research – there are a million places online.
They’re going to need calcium supplements and other vitamin supplements in addition to the variety of both insect feeders and plants. They need to be kept at relatively high temperatures and you’re going to achieve this with basking lights. You need an ambient temperature of you know 78 to 80 degrees with a basking area 90 to 100 degrees. And then in addition to just heat, they also need UV bulbs. UVB is very important to them. They’re going to need this UV exposure and those lamps can be fairly expensive – we’ll get to that later. But that is something you’re going to need to keep up with.
You’re going to need to replace that bulb every six months to a year. Also, a common complaint about bearded dragons is that they can be kind of stinky and I will be honest – they have a distinct bearded dragon-ly aroma. It’s not necessarily a terrible smell but you usually can tell at least when you walk into a room that this is a room that has had bearded dragons in it recently. When it comes to hardiness, we’re giving these guys a 4out of 5 and that’s a that’s a high score. They are a very hardy animal. They can tolerate a lot of little mistakes. One of the easiest ways to kill them would be to get them too cold for a long time or way hot.
You know, that can be one of the hard things about needing a really hot basking area is it’s hard to achieve a really hot basking area in a very small enclosure. So they need a fairly large enclosure so that they can have a good temperature gradient. So they can decide what temperature do I want to be at and you don’t accidentally cook your lizard. If you’re not giving them UVB radiation from a UV light source. If you’re not giving them things like calcium powder then you’re going to run the risk of them getting metabolic bone disease – which can kill them off, not as quickly as heat or cold but fairly quickly. When it comes to availability these guys are everywhere – we give them a 5 out of 5. You go into a pet shop that sells reptiles they sell bearded dragons guaranteed.
If not they’re out and they will have more next week. What would be better would be to go to a breeder and there are lots of breeders because bearded dragons are easy to breed. This one here she’s got kind of the traditional bearded dragon coloration and texture. Bearded dragons are a little bit spiky in nature, but not always. This one’s got a smooth back it’s called a leatherback. And there are all kinds of different texture and color morphs out there for bearded dragons. So if you’re willing to look a little bit you can find some really neat looking bearded dragons. The last thing is upfront cost. We give them a score of3 out of 5.
And this really, I mean the reason they don’t get a 5 out of 5comes exclusively to their enclosure. The cost of a bearded dragon is very reasonable. You can pick up a bearded dragon very cheap and for this reason a lot of people buy them and then they don’t how is them appropriately. Housing is going to be essential if you want a happy long-lived bearded dragon. They need a fairly large enclosure and fairly expensive lighting. These are going to be your big expensive upfront costs.
Once you’ve paid for that, you’re still going to need to replace that bulb periodically. Food gets kind of expensive for them. So they can be an expensive pet but they are very rewarding. Really excellent. For something with as much personality as they have, that is handleable and hardy and just fun as a bearded dragon – they’re hard to beat for any price. Once again, our overall score for the bearded dragon is 3.8 out of 5 and we are so grateful that you’ve been here.