Are you considering adopting a reptile? If so, you may want to consider getting a bearded dragon. These pretty lizards are beautiful and fun pets, and can make great animal companions. Here, a Las Vegas, NV vet discusses bearded dragon care.
Reptile tanks can make very attractive centerpieces! Baby dragons need a tank that’s at least 20 gallons. Full-grown beardies need more space: we recommend at least a 75-gallon tank for adults. You’ll need to add a good substrate. Sand is fine for adults, but not for younger lizards. Reptile carpet or butcher paper will also work. Add dishes, a water bowl, and some hidey-holes. Your tiny dinosaur will also appreciate having some climbing branches, rocks, plants, and hammocks.
Beardies have some very specific light and heat requirements. Your little buddy will need both UVB and UVA lighting, so you’ll need some special equipment. Your pet will also require a basking light, so he can sunbathe. You’ll need to set the cage up so that it has two different temperature zones. Your dragon will regulate his temperature by moving between the two zones. One end of the cage should be about 95-105, while the other end can be about 80. You can lower the temperature at night. Ask your vet for specific advice on proper cage setup.
Your pet lizard will need regular veterinary care to stay healthy. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule. Between appointments, keep an eye out for signs of illness. Some common ones are diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, and discharge from the eyes, ears, or mouth. Contact your vet immediately if you see any of these warning signs.
One thing to consider before adopting a lizard is their dietary needs. Although beardies can have some fresh fruit, these guys mostly eat live insects. (This is of course a dealbreaker for many people.) You’ll need to dust the creepy-crawlies with nutritional powder, which is called gut-loading. Ask your vet for more information.
Beardies are generally quite gentle, as long as they’re handled gently and regularly. Some are even sort of cuddly. You may enjoy watching TV with your dragon on your lap or shoulder! Just don’t pick him up by the tail!
Please feel free to contact us, your Las Vegas, NV vet clinic, for your lizard’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!