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TCBeardies
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Number of posts : 84
Location : Minneapolis, MN
Registration date : 2008-08-29

PostSubject: Bearded Dragon   Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:38 pm

Bearded Dragon
(Pogona vitticeps)
Native to: Australia
Adult Size: 14”- 24”
Life Span: Up to 15 years



General Information:

The Bearded Dragon also known as the "Inland Bearded Dragon" earns it's name by the very pronounced beard that is sometimes shown in defensive displays as well as during mating behavior. Adult bearded dragons average 14 to 24 inches in length, while hatchlings are between 3 to 4 inches at birth.

A bearded dragons gentle disposition makes them a good pet for responsible children. Newly acquired bearded dragons should be allowed to get acclimated to their new enclosures and feeding schedules before attempting to handle them. Once acclimated, short periods of handling and hand feeding will quickly tame most dragons. They will be content to sit on a shoulder or lap for hours while watching TV or using the computer. Be sure to wash your hands before eating or smoking after handling any reptile.

Housing & Feeding:


Bearded dragons can be housed in a variety of enclosures as long as their basic requirements are met. All glass aquariums with wire tops are commonly used and are inexpensive. Custom built enclosures can also be used and sized appropriately for your needs.

Bearded dragons in the wild get their water from the morning dew on plants and afternoon rains. In captivity they get a majority of their water from their greens but appreciate a good soak in a shallow tub every now and then as well. Juveniles should be given water with an eye dropper daily if under dry conditions such as when using air conditioning or every other day otherwise.

Adults:

One or two adult bearded dragons would be well suited to a 75g aquarium. The enclosure should have a basking spot with temperatures ranging from 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be provided by an overhead light in a reflective hood. A tree branch or log should be supplied for climbing and basking. The enclosure should be large enough to allow the lizard to retreat to the cooler area (known as thermoregulation) as needed. This “cool” area of the enclosure should be around 80 degrees. At night temperatures should range between 70 to 75 degrees.

Ideal substrates for bearded dragons can greatly differ with who you talk to. Some options are newspaper, paper towel, calci-sand, sifted play sand, linoleum tile, and wheat bran. Of these options the safest are newspaper, paper towel, and linoleum. Dragons often like to “taste” their environment which can cause impaction in the case of using sand. While many people warn against this, I believe that dragons over 12” can be housed on sand. Calci-sand poses a risk of over dosing on calcium. Substrates such as mulch, shredded tree bark, or corn cob should not be used as they can hold moisture and promote bacterial growth.

If you plan to house dragons together, your best bet is to house two females. Two males will fight and a male and female will often readily breed. Dragons must be of similar size.



Adults diets can consist of crickets, superworms, mealworms, roaches, pinky or fuzzy mice as well as a mix of greens and vegetables. Suitable greens and veggies include Kale, collard greens, mustard greens, yellow squash, carrotts, romaine lettuce, apples and bananas. Crickets should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement once or twice a week. More often for gravid females.

Juveniles:

Juvenile dragons can be housed in a 20g Long style aquarium. The enclosure should have a basking spot with temperatures ranging from 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be provided by an overhead light in a reflective hood. A tree branch or log should be supplied for climbing and basking. The enclosure should be large enough to allow the lizard to retreat to the cooler area (known as thermoregulation) as needed. This “cool” area of the enclosure should be around 80 degrees. At night temperatures should range between 70 to 75 degrees.

Ideal substrate for dragons under 12” is newspaper, paper towel, or linoleum tile.



When housing juvenile dragons together, it is important to keep them well fed. Hungry dragons will not hesitate to nip toes, legs, and tails of their cage mates. It is best to feed 2-3 times daily and provide mixed greens all day.

Juveniles diets can consist of crickets, dried mealworms, phoenix worms, small roaches as well as a mix of greens and vegetables. Suitable greens and veggies include Kale, collard greens, mustard greens, yellow squash, carrots, romaine lettuce, apples and bananas. A rule of thumb for size of food is that it should not be larger than the space between the dragons eyes. Large meals have been associated with partial paralysis and hind leg extension. Crickets should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement every other day for up to three months, then reducing supplementation to twice a week.

Lighting:

Bearded dragons (if kept indoors) will require full spectrum lighting with UV-B and UV-A, which helps in synthesizing vitamin D-3 which is required for calcium absorption. (ex. Zoo-med (Reptisun 10.0)). Bearded dragons which are kept outdoors or are allowed at least 30 minutes of natural sunlight every other day will not require any special lighting as long as a basking spot with an incandescent bulb is supplied.

Breeding:


Breeding bearded dragons is relatively easy. Rearing the young is a little more difficult. All that is needed is an adult pair of dragons in good health, a large enough enclosure to allow for breeding activity, and a suitable place for the female to lay her eggs. Successful breeding usually follow a short rest period (known as brumation), where the temperatures and daylight hours are reduced for a period of two to three months. Although most bearded dragons will breed without any type of brumation period, low fertility rates have been reported in both males and females which were not allowed a rest period.



Sexually mature males will darken there beards, bob their heads and stamp their front feet during the courtship of the female. He will chase her around the enclosure and attempt to mount the female. Males often bite the fleshy skin at the base of the females neck when attempting to position her for breeding.

Egg laying generally occurs anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks after a successful breeding. Females will dig a burrow approximately 12" - 16" deep to deposit her eggs. The eggs are carefully excavated and placed in a moist perilite/vermiculite medium for incubation.



The eggs are incubated at 82 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of 65-75 days, at which time the eggs will begin to collapse, and usually hatch within 24 hours. Newly hatched dragons are left in the incubator for a period of 24 hours to allow the yolksac to be absorbed. Young bearded dragons will usually start to feed within 72 hours of hatching.


Some of this information is from:
http://www.kingsnake.com/gladescs/bearded/ and The Bearded Dragon Manual
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