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Are Bearded Dragons Safe to Own?

Bearded dragons, also known as “beardies,” are one of the most popular pet reptiles in the world. They are docile, friendly, and relatively easy to care for, making them a popular choice for first-time reptile owners. However, many people wonder if bearded dragons are safe to own, both for the owner and the animal. In this article, we will explore the safety of owning bearded dragons and discuss some important factors to consider before bringing one into your home.

What are Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons are a type of lizard that are native to Australia. They are named for the “beard” of spiky scales on their throat, which they puff out when they are threatened or displaying dominance. Bearded dragons are diurnal, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. They are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. In captivity, bearded dragons typically live for 10-15 years.

Are Bearded Dragons Safe?

In general, bearded dragons are safe to own as pets. They are not venomous, and they are not known to carry any diseases that can be transmitted to humans. However, like any animal, bearded dragons can bite or scratch if they feel threatened or are handled improperly. Additionally, there are some potential health risks to owning a bearded dragon that owners should be aware of.

Handling and Temperament

Bearded dragons are generally friendly and docile animals. They are known for their calm demeanor and willingness to be handled. However, it is important to remember that every animal is different, and some bearded dragons may be more aggressive or skittish than others. Additionally, they can become stressed if they are not handled properly or if they are kept in an environment that is too small or too cold. This can lead to health problems, such as a weakened immune system, digestive issues, and respiratory infections.

Health Risks

There are some health risks associated with owning a bearded dragon that owners should be aware of. One of the most common health issues in bearded dragons is metabolic bone disease, which is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in their diet. This can lead to weak bones, muscle weakness, and deformities. Additionally, bearded dragons are susceptible to a variety of bacterial and parasitic infections, such as salmonella and coccidia, which can be transmitted to humans. To minimize these risks, it is important to provide your bearded dragon with a balanced diet, clean living environment, and regular veterinary care.

Factors to Consider Before Owning a Bearded Dragon

Before bringing a bearded dragon into your home, there are several factors to consider. These include:

Space and Housing

Bearded dragons require a relatively large living space, as they can grow up to 24 inches in length. They also need a heat source, such as a heat lamp, to maintain their body temperature. It is important to provide your bearded dragon with a suitable habitat that includes a heat source, hiding spots, and a place to bask in the sun.

Diet and Nutrition

Bearded dragons require a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter. They need calcium and vitamin D3 to prevent metabolic bone disease, and they also need access to fresh water at all times.

Veterinary Care

Like any pet, bearded dragons require regular veterinary care. They should receive a check-up once a year, and any signs of illness or injury should be addressed immediately.

Commitment

Owning a bearded dragon is a long-term commitment. They can live for up to 15 years in captivity, and they require daily care and attention.

Care and Maintenance

Bearded dragons require daily care and maintenance to stay healthy and happy. This includes:

Feeding

Bearded dragons should be fed a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter. They need a source of calcium and vitamin D3, such as calcium powder or UVB lighting, to prevent metabolic bone disease. Bearded dragons should be fed daily when they are young, and their diet can be reduced to every other day when they are adults.

Housing

Bearded dragons require a large, well-ventilated habitat with plenty of space to move around. They also need a heat source, such as a heat lamp, to maintain their body temperature. The habitat should be cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria and parasites.

Handling

Bearded dragons are generally friendly and docile, but they can become stressed or aggressive if they are handled improperly. Always support your bearded dragon’s body when you pick it up, and avoid holding it by the tail or limbs. If your bearded dragon appears stressed or agitated, put it back in its habitat and try again later.

Conclusion

In general, bearded dragons are safe to own as pets, but they do require proper care and attention to stay healthy and happy. Before bringing a bearded dragon into your home, it is important to consider the space and housing requirements, diet and nutrition, veterinary care, and long-term commitment required. With proper care and attention, bearded dragons can make great pets for reptile enthusiasts of all ages.

FAQs

  1. Are bearded dragons good pets for children?

They can make great pets for children, but they require proper care and attention. Children should always be supervised when handling them, and they should be taught how to handle them properly to avoid injury.

  1. Can they transmit diseases to humans?

They can carry bacteria and parasites, such as salmonella and coccidia, which can be transmitted to humans. It is important to practice good hygiene and wash your hands after handling your dragon or cleaning its habitat.

  1. How often do they need to be fed?

They should be fed daily when they are young, and their diet can be reduced to every other day when they are adults. Their diet should include a variety of plant and animal matter, and they should have access to fresh water at all times.

  1. What is metabolic bone disease?

Metabolic bone disease is a common health issue in bearded dragons that is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in their diet. It can lead to weak bones, muscle weakness, and deformities.

  1. How long do they live?

They can live for up to 15 years in captivity with proper care and attention.