Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets? (Pros and Cons)

Bearded Dragons Make Great Pets

When people are looking for a pet, a common question asked is are bearded dragons good pets?

It’s an understandable question because most people don’t have experience owning reptiles.

The quick answer is: yes, bearded dragons do make good pets for many reasons. To help you know more about these wonderful creatures before you make your decision, we’ll tell you all there is to know about what it’s like to own a bearded dragon as a pet.

The Pros

There are, of course, many positives to keeping bearded dragons as pets. In this section, we’ll talk through them all.

Bearded Dragon Temperament

Bearded dragons make good pets as they’re typically nice and peaceful reptiles. Bearded dragons tend to be very passive with juvenile bearded dragons becoming calmer with age.

Unlike some other reptiles, bearded dragons actually enjoy interacting with their owners.

They can be taken out of their enclosure for interaction – and you can even let them roam free (with supervision).

If you feel so inclined, you can even invest in an appropriately-sized leash to take them for a walk!

Their Life Expectancy Is Good

With good care and attention, bearded dragons can live up to fifteen years, which makes them great pets.

If you want to make sure they live a long and healthy life, you need to take very good care to provide them with everything they need like proper care, a well-designed and maintained enclosure, a nutritional and balanced diet, and regular veterinary care.

Bearded Dragon Eating out of a Bowl

They’re Simple to Look After

It’s actually pretty simple to care for bearded dragon pets. As long as you have created the right living environment for them with an appropriate enclosure, proper lighting, and heat lamps, for example, their day-to-day care is relatively low maintenance.

Adult bearded dragons need an enclosure that’s between 55 and 75 gallons. It should have a secure screen top so your beardie can’t escape.

Young dragons can have a smaller tank but they will need a larger enclosure as they grow.

Your dragon needs lots of clean water and a good diet. Bearded dragons thrive with a diet of insects, vegetables, and fruit, so they’re pretty inexpensive to feed.

For the best health, you’ll need to keep to the right ratios of insects, vegetables like leafy greens, and fruit. It’s also important not to feed them wild insects as these could harbor parasites.

Like all pets, bearded dragons need a clean living environment. It’s quite easy to clean a terrarium. Each day, it will take just a few minutes to clean their water bowl, and clean up droppings and unwanted food.

A thorough clean can be done once a week. If you compare this cleaning regime with other reptiles and pets, it’s not all that time-consuming at all, which makes them a great pet.

Bearded Dragons Are Intelligent

Unless you’ve owned a bearded dragon in the past, you probably won’t realize just how intelligent these creatures are.

Bearded dragons can learn to recognize people and will develop strong bonds with their owners.

It’s even possible to train a bearded dragon if you have time and patience. If you’re consistent, it’s possible for them to come to you when you call them and even walk with a leash.

They Can Be Affectionate Pets

Though you can’t expect as much affection as you’d get with a dog or cat, bearded dragons still can display affectionate behavior.

This surprises lots of people as many assume these reptiles can’t show love. Their ability to show affection, however, makes them great pets.

Since bearded dragons are cold-blooded creatures, they often seek out a warm environment. This means you might find them snuggled up around their owner’s chest or neck if they’re not in their enclosure.

You might even find them falling asleep and you’ll be stuck underneath them for an hour or two!

It’s important to realize, though, that this sort of bond will take a while to establish. It is worth persevering though. Simply allow your dragon to adjust to you and its new home.

To build this sort of bond, you need to talk (or even sing) to your bearded dragon as soon as you enter the room.

Doing this will mean that they start recognizing your voice and will know that you bring the food and fun, and aren’t threatening.

It’s important to build handling your dragon gradually so that they have time to acclimatize to you.

Make sure to handle your bearded dragon regularly.

Feeding a Beardie Is Easy

As mentioned above, bearded dragons are easy to feed. They’re not picky and so you can have a lot of fun feeding them.

Since bearded dragons eat both animals and plants, they’re omnivores.

Young bearded dragons need a simple feeding schedule and should be given food 1-2 times daily.

Adult bearded dragons should be fed once a day. If you stick to the same times and routine, your dragon will begin to recognize when it’s feeding time.

Bearded dragons love leafy greens like mustard greens, collard greens, chard, broccoli, green beans, dandelions, parsley, cilantro, kale, green or red cabbage, bok choy, watercress, and bell peppers.

You can also give them fruits like apples, kiwis, mangoes, pears, melons, guavas, star fruit, tomatoes, grapes, peaches, and bananas (with/without peel).

As mentioned above, bearded dragons also love live insects and other creatures. You can feed your bearded dragon crickets, mealworms, superworms, spiders, wax worms, grasshoppers, earthworms, silkworms, slugs, and moths.

However, you mustn’t feed a dragon animals from the wild due to them containing parasites that might make your pet sick. Instead, make sure you buy them from a local pet shop or any reputable pet store.

They’re Not Too Big as Pets Go

As a medium-sized lizard, a bearded dragon is the best of both worlds. They’re big enough to be exciting and easy to handle for young children but small enough to be a convenient pet in the home, no matter its size.

You can have a bearded dragon as a pet whether you live in a small apartment or a larger house.

An adult bearded dragon will range from between 12 and 24 inches long head to tail. Their tail makes up around a third of their total length.

Male bearded dragons are usually bigger than adults. Even though bearded dragons are quite big, they’re surprisingly light and, therefore, easy to snuggle.

Finally, by the time they’re one year old, your bearded dragon will have pretty much become fully grown so if you get a baby bearded dragon, expect to see rapid growth until their first birthday.

Bearded Dragons Are Affordable

If you compare bearded dragons to other pets, they are very affordable. Of course, there will be initial investments like a good terrarium, light source, and thermometer, for example. The initial setup might cost somewhere between $200 and $600.

After everything is set up, keeping a bearded dragon is quite inexpensive. You’ll need substrate, food, and the occasional veterinary checks.

Checkups are important so make sure you see a specialist reptile veterinarian. Even so, your vet bills won’t be as expensive as having a dog or a cat.

You should still get pet insurance though just in case.

They’re Fun!

Bearded dragons make good pets simply because they’re so fun. If you stick to a routine, they’ll learn to expect your visits and will know when it’s dinnertime, etc.

Bearded dragons also enjoy being outside of their enclosures to explore. They even enjoy going for walks outside – but you’ll need a leash.

Your bearded dragon might also enjoy taking a swim! Using a plastic container or kids’ paddling pool is ideal.

You need to make sure that the water is warm and that it goes no deeper than the lizard’s elbows or knees.

Bearded dragons love playtime – you can even provide toys for entertainment too. Ping pong balls are fun for them, as are balls designed for cats or even crinkled paper.

It never gets boring to watch these creatures!

They Make Good Pets for Children

Bearded dragons are brilliant for children. They have a great temperament and are gentle and docile. When kids handle them properly, they’ll have a great bond.

With a pet bearded dragon, kids will learn basic animal care skills and how to be responsible for a pet.

Since beardies like routine, it’s really simple to get your kids into a routine with caring for them, which makes it great for their own time management.

The bearded dragon will need feeding, attention, and cleaning on a regular schedule and these are all things that children can help with.

They Have a Unique Appearance

Compared to usual pets, these medium-sized lizards are unique in appearance. So, if you want something quirky, a bearded dragon is a good choice.

There are also different bearded dragon species too and they come in different shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Their quirkiness is demonstrated by their wedge-shaped head and a throat that puffs up to look like a beard (hence their name). Bearded dragons even have the ability to make their beards turn black.

The bearded dragon’s body is flat and they have four stubby little legs. Unlike some other lizards, if a bearded dragon loses its tail, it’s gone forever and won’t regrow.

Good with Other Animals

If you already have other pets, you can still have a bearded dragon at home! This doesn’t mean that your other smaller animals can be with your bearded dragon.

Things like hamsters, mice, and small birds might end up being a tasty snack for your beardie! They also display signs of aggression towards other bearded dragons or other reptiles.

Dogs and cats, however, would be fine but you should still never leave them together unattended in case one of them decides to attack the other.

Once bearded dragons have got used to larger animals in the household, they’re generally docile around them.

They’re Diurnal

What’s great about these creatures is that they sleep at night. If you had another reptile like a gecko, for example, they’d be sleeping during the day.

The fact they follow the same routine as humans means you and your children can enjoy them when you’re awake.

The Cons of Pet Bearded Dragons

No matter what animal you’re considering for a new pet, there will be some cons that need taking into consideration. Let’s take a look at what these might be for bearded dragons.

Bearded Dragons Can Bite

When a bearded dragon feels scared or threatened, he might bite. You need to watch how younger children handle them in particular as they might not be aware of how to handle them properly.

Bearded Dragon Showing Off His Teeth.

As long as you’re handling this reptile gently, this won’t be an issue. It’s fine to keep bearded dragons as pets. If you do get bitten, you’ll probably be more surprised than anything else. A bearded dragon’s bite won’t hurt a lot and there’s rarely any blood.

Health Problems

In the right environment and with a proper diet and care, bearded dragons can live over a decade. Bearded dragons don’t live as long in the wild as they do in captivity. This is because there aren’t as many risks.

Even in a good habitat, bearded dragons are prone to respiratory infections. It’s also quite easy for them to have a calcium deficiency, which can lead to metabolic bone disease.

To keep your beardie at the best health possible, you’ll need a basking spot with special fluorescent bulbs that emit both uva and uvb rays.

You’ll also need to keep it clean. Most owners do spot cleaning each day where they pick up the poop. This is pretty easy, especially with smaller tanks.

You Can’t Have More than One

Lots of people who love animals want lots of them around.

If you love bearded dragons, you generally have to keep them separate, which makes them take up more space and cost more money.

Most pet stores recommend keep a single adult bearded dragon per enclosure.

Their Waste Smells Bad!

Bearded dragons’ poop smells! This is why many reptile owners do spot cleaning as soon as their pet defecates.

Since these pets eat live insects, this can cause a bad smell. Adult beardies have better smelling poop than juvenile bearded dragons so once you’ve got past their first year, things will smell better!

Aside from the poop, bearded dragons don’t have a bad smell at all – and you can even bath them. They might, however, poop in the water so it’s important to remove it and clean it.

Another thing that can make cleaning easier is the substrate.

A loose substrate like washed play sand or wood shavings isn’t recommended as this can make cleaning more difficult. It can also encourage bacteria to grow, which can make smells worse.

Some bearded dragons even eat loose substrate, which can make them sick. A good alternative is a reptile carpet.

Final Thoughts

As exotic pets go, bearded dragons are good pets. Most people who choose to own one of these lizards say that bearded dragons make wonderful housemates.

If you’re considering a pet reptile, a central bearded dragon is ideal. All in all, bearded dragons’ easy-care means you don’t have a hard time looking after them.

As well as this, these lizards are so fun and can make a wonderful bond. A bearded dragon’s personality is so unique, which makes them a quirky little thing to have around.

Though this reptile is prone to metabolic bone disease and respiratory infections, as long as you provide adequate care, it’ll lead a long and healthy life with you.

If you’re new to owning reptiles, a bearded dragon’s care can be hard to get your heard around at first. But once you’re in a routine, you’ll find it so easy.

All in all, they’re excellent pets!

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