Elmhurst Exotic Vets: Bearded Dragon Basics
At Elmhurst Animal Care Center, we love your exotic pets as much as you do, and we want to help you offer them the best care possible. Bearded dragons are great exotic pets to bring into your home, but they do require specific care considerations. Your Elmhurst exotic vets are here with some basic care tips so you can ensure your bearded dragon has a happy and healthy life:
The term “bearded dragon” is actually used for eight different species of the genus Pogona. In the United States, we typically see the Pogona vitticeps, which is generally a friendlier species that requires less attention than the other species. These bearded dragons are active during the day (and not at night like some other lizards) and adapt easily to captivity.
These exotic pets usually grow between fifteen and twenty inches in length and like to alternate between the ground and higher surfaces. They typically live 7-12 years and like a diet of leafy greens and some hearty insects.
Elmhurst Exotic Vets Enclosure Tips
It is important to set your bearded dragon up with a proper enclosure to ensure that he or she has the necessary environment in which to thrive. Purchase a glass tank that is at least four feet long, two feet wide, and two feet high. Set up a UV lamp and a light with a 40-75 watt bulb so your reptile can get plenty of heat. These lamps let you designate one side of the tank as the warm side and one as the cool side so your bearded dragon can always enjoy the perfect temperature.
Fill the tank with some rocks and branches that give your bearded dragon ways to climb and provide some shade spots when he or she gets tired of warming under the UV lamp. Ideally, the tank should have 35-40% humidity, which you can achieve with a mister. Use paper towels or reptile carpet at the bottom of the tank to help maintain the humidity level.
Bearded Dragon Eating and Drinking Habits
When you keep a bearded dragon in captivity, he or she can safely live off of a diet of vegetables and insects. Younger ones can eat up to three times a day, but it is important to ensure your bearded dragon eats at least once every twenty-four hours.
Baby bearded dragons can eat small crickets, and once they reach adulthood, you can add other insects into their diet like waxworms, silkworms, earthworms, and mealworms. Combine the insects with leafy greens, vegetables, and fruit. Talk to your veterinarian about the best way to feed your bearded dragon. The vet will also help you figure out the best way to ensure your reptile gets vitamin D and calcium to prevent metabolic bone disease.
The exotic vets at Elmhurst Animal Care Center are always here to help your exotic pets get the proper care. To learn more about our services or to schedule your next wellness visit, visit our website.
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