Australian Bearded Dragon – The Most Popular Exotic Pet

Australian Bearded Dragon Australian Bearded Dragon – The Most Popular Exotic Pet. Australian Bearded Dragon Lizards turn out ideal pets for first time owners and children alike. As you may well have guessed the bearded dragon lizard takes its name from its look. Additionally, Australian Bearded Dragon Lizards are calm to handle and will not cause any difficulty even if they are moved from place to place. The Bearded Dragon lizard is capable of living a healthy and dynamic life in captivity. Captive dragons tend to be healthier than the wild-caught bearded dragon lizards and are often free of pesticides. If you mean to keep a lizard in your house, you at least have to know its diet and the methods of feeding them.

Australian Bearded Dragon lizards are very much a daytime creature and become sedentary very quickly as soon as the sun goes down. They are well-liked exotic pets, most commonly Pogona Vitticeps, the Inland or Central Bearded Dragon who bask most of the day, absorbing the warmth they need to digest their food.

These beautiful lizards are well known for their beard display and other fascinating behaviour. They have a fantastic temperament, will happily climb on you voluntary if you want. Beardies are independent lizards that fend for themselves but do not mind being handled. When you are handling them ensure all of its body is being supported.

Bearded dragons are found all over Australia; they are hardy creatures and can stay alive as well in the desert as they can in the bush; and they are just as contented in urban or populated areas. When the bearded dragon lizard sits upright and cocks its head towards the heavens, Australian Aborigines know that rain will fall the next day. Lovingly called ‘beardiess’ by their fans, these lizards are not just tame around humans, but many also seem to get pleasure from the contact.

Many lizards have native habitats that are dry and lightly vegetated, so food may often be hard to obtain in the wild. As a consequence, Beardies are omnivorous, capable of subsisting on a widespread variety of food sources. Fireflies and all other animals with bioluminescence chemicals are fatal to Bearded lizards. They are hardy hunters and you will have to provide them with sufficient food so that they can remain satiated.

Beardies adore grasshoppers, meal worms, and other bugs. Dark green and leafy vegetables are also ideal for bearded dragon lizards. Feeding supplies, enclosures and accessories are obtainable to purchase from specialist pet and lizard supply stores.

The vital thing to remember when using sand as substrate is to sift it to start with to get any gravel out to keep your dragon from impacting, clean it on a daily basis to keep a fresh and hygienic ecosystem for the lizard. Thought should certainly be taken to emulate their natural setting to reduce stress to the creature.

The estimated life span of a Australian bearded dragon is probably about 10 years when cared for correctly, although longer life spans have been reported. When provided with the proper environment, temperatures, and UVB lighting, juvenile they are capable of growing up to an inch or more per week. The nearer the lizard is to the light source, the better. In keeping a bearded dragon lizard, it is imperative that you employ a temperature gradient inside their housing. Kitchen paper towels make excellent substrates for baby lizards. Optional habitat accessories can be placed inside your lizard’s habitat to imitate their natural ecosystem.

Beardies are becoming the most fashionable exotic pet to own in the 21st century. Exotic pets might not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you knew anything concerning the bearded dragon lizard then you might change your mind.

Types of Australian Bearded Dragons

Eight types of Australian bearded dragons can be found thriving throughout Australia’s outback. However, because of strict laws against collecting any natural wildlife in Australia, only a few of these species can be found throughout the pet trade today. Currently, the Pogona vitticeps, P. henrilawsoni, and P. barbata are being bred and sold at ever-increasing rates all over North America and Europe. Let’s take a closer look at each of these species.

Pogona vitticeps – Central or Inland Bearded Dragon (Ahl, 1926)

Also known as the Yellow-Headed Dragon, this is the most common type of beardie found within pet stores and amongst breeders today. These dragons are native to Central Australia, although they are found in nearly every state. Colors of this type vary greatly, ranging from brown and grey to red, oranges, whites and yellows.

The Inland dragons are the largest among all the species and an adult can grow to around 2 feet in length. An even larger version of this species is being selectively bred in Germany, earning them the moniker German Giants.

Pogona henrylawsoni – Black Soil Bearded Dragon (Wells and Wellington, 1985)

This attractive species is commonly known as the Lawson’s dragon in honor of the famous Australian author and poet Henry Lawson, but is also referred to as Rankin’s bearded dragon or P. brevis.

These dragons are the second most popular species of beardies to be kept as pets. Most of them are native to Queensland, and some can be found in the Northern Territory. They have a khaki/sand like color and have virtually no beard. As captive breeding success rates increase, so does the popularity of this specific dragon within the pet trade.

Pogona barbata – Eastern or Common Bearded Dragon (Cuvier, 1829)

The eastern Australian bearded dragon is most common in the wooded parts of Eastern Australia, south of the Cape York Peninsula. Barbata (Latin for bearded), were the first species of beardie discovered. They resemble a smaller central dragon and are generally more aggressive.

They are a dark grey-black in color and is at times yellowish-brown, reddish-brown, or dark brown. Baby eastern dragons are paler in color than the adults and have patterns that fade as they mature. As it matures it develops a subtle pale yellow, blue, or green tinge on the forepart of its head. The adult males have a dark grey to black “beard”.

In the past few years breeders have honed their skills to the point of creating some fairly out of the ordinary looking lizards. You can find cross-breeds such as a Vitikin (vitticeps and rankins), or wonderful color combinations that are produced through morphing. These “morphs” will cost you a few extra bucks, but having a bright neon yellow, or blood-red beardie is pretty cool and quite the conversation piece.There are also what is known as a “leather-back” dragon, which is another selectively bred beardie that has virtually no spines. They look pretty neat, but I prefer the normal, dinosaur-spike look of your average bearded dragon.

What to Feed Your Australian Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragon’s natural habitat is the Australian desert. Food in that region is rather scarce; therefore, this species is omnivorous and can survive on a number of dietary items. But once you bring one home, you are looking for more than survival – you want your beardie to thrive. So the biggest question is what to feed your bearded dragon?

An Australian bearded dragon in captivity will typically consume vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, as well as insects. To take the best care of your pet bearded dragon, you need to know what their nutritional needs, and which food sources should be avoided, in order to keep them active and healthy while in your home.

When looking at which insects are best for your beardie, there are a number of choices that are adequate. It’s important to remember that your bearded dragon’s diet should consist mainly of animal matter, with only around 25% fruits and vegetables. The animal foods which are considered ideal are: crickets, mealworms, king worms, wax worms, earthworms, cockroaches, and pinky mice (but only for adults). The insects you choose should be freshly molted, and coated with a calcium supplement a few times a week (every day for young dragons). These insects should also have been fed nutritious foods beforehand, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and legumes, which is called “gut loading”. There are also a variety of products on the market today that are calcium and vitamin enriched that can be used to “gut load” the insects. You can find these insects in some pet stores, but be sure that they have not had contact with pesticides. Wild caught insects are always questionable and should always be avoided.

Your beardie could survive on insects alone, but most owners choose to feed them fruits and vegetables, as well as certain leafy plants. Fruit should comprise 10% or less of its diet. A few of the ideal fruits are: figs, kiwi, apples, grapes, peaches, apricots, plums, and peeled bananas. You can also give them strawberries, but you must remove the seeds beforehand. There are a number of vegetables that are also suitable for your bearded dragon, these include: broccoli, okra, zucchini, green beans, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, carrots (grated), and even frozen mixed vegetables.

As for leafy greens, it’s never recommended that you give your Australian bearded dragon iceberg lettuce, so avoid feeding them premixed salad mixes that you find in the produce section of your local grocery store, if it contains that type of lettuce. Leafy greens that are a good choice for your bearded dragon’s diet include: clover, kale, escarole, mustard and turnip greens, as well as parsley. You may also feed them spinach and beet greens, but only occasionally. Before feeding, you should always tear the fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens into rather small pieces and mix them together, so that your dragon will eat a bit of everything, rather than just what he prefers.

Read: Adult Bearded Dragon Diet – Healthy Diet For Your Beardie

Now the next time you hear the question – what to feed your Australian bearded dragon, you’ll have some answers. By ensuring that your beardie gets a balanced diet, you lower the risk of potential health problems and increase his chances of a long, happy life. So, remember to be choosy when picking out your dragon’s food, it will show in his health and happiness.

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