Are bearded dragons the right pet for you?
Bearded dragons make great family pets as they are docile creatures that can be easily tamed with frequent delicate handling. While they are relatively small pets (usually growing to around 16 - 24 inches), it's still a big decision to bring one of these reptiles home, so take a look at the sections below.
Bearded dragons eat a lot so you should expect to spot clean their cage regularly. You'll also need to allow time each week to wipe down the glass and to carry out a full clean every month. They enjoy a lot of attention, so you'll need to have time to handle them regularly.
Bearded dragons need special homes and equipment to create the correct environment for them, you will need to budget for the start-up costs to buy all of the equipment necessary. It's also a good idea to take out a pet insurance policy to help you handle any vet bills that you may need to deal with. For more on both of these issues, take a look at our sections entitled Shopping list for bearded dragons, and Taking care of your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons do not have the same needs for companionship as most mammals do, so are happily kept on their own. Once they are comfortable around their owner, they seem to enjoy being handled and will quite happily sit on your knee or shoulder.
It is not always possible to sex them when they are small. It is important to note that males tend to fight when they mature, whereas females may live peacefully together. A male who is housed with one or more females will form a fairly natural social group, although breeding is almost inevitable. Bearded dragons lay eggs which need to be incubated at the right temperature and when hatched these need to be raised for several weeks away from their parents before they are allowed to go to new homes. It is important to note that it is often very difficult to find homes for babies.
When they are properly cared for, bearded dragons can live for around ten years, so bear this in mind when considering them as a pet.