Bearded Dragon Care Guide

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by Cammy, Sep 27, 2012.

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  1. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Introduction to Bearded Dragons
    Published: June 18, 2008

    As a child, I used to imagine wonderful dragon creatures that were my friends and would display certain charms and personalities. As I got older, I realized dragons did not exist. Then, as an adult, I found them again. This information area is the accumulation of our experience with these unique creatures and information gathered from others that have found the simple magic in these most personable of all lizards. Beardies are considered the most social to humans of all the reptiles and can display many personality traits not common in reptiles, but rather that of mammals. Their natural calmness and ease when handled have made them the most popular of the lizard family today.

    There are several species of Bearded Dragons; the most common one is the Inland Bearded Dragon, Pogona Vitticeps.

    Other Species are:
    Coastal Bearded Dragon, Pogona Barbata
    Lawson's Dragon, Pogona Henry-lawsonii a.k.a. Rankin Dragons
    Dwarf bearded Dragon, Pogona Minor
    Western Bearded Dragon, Pogona Minima
    Mitchell's Beaded Dragon, Pogona Mitchelli
    Banded Bearded Dragon, Pogona Nullarbor
    Drysdale River Bearded Dragon, Pogona Micropidota

    These can come in a variety of colors and morphs, with some carrying the name of the breeders that first developed these variations.

    The first known line of these Dragons outside of their native Australia was introduced to Germany and England, through The Netherlands, thought to come there from Papua, New Guinea. German Giant lines trace back to a brown female from those first dragons. These are commonly referred to as hardy or high disease resistant Beardies and are a few inches larger than most Inland Bearded Dragons with higher clutch counts.

    When thinking about adopting a Bearded Dragon, understand that this is a long relationship. Their lifespan is actually unknown at this time. As more is learned of their health and diets, the lifespans of these wonderful reptiles are increasing. There are many known now to be over ten years of age.

    Also, the initial setup cost is not inexpensive as they need a tank or enclosure, heat lights with ceramic fixtures, UV light with fixture, basking logs in the hot area and a cave or platform to move under to cool off. They grow a lot the first year and will soon outgrow a small 10-20 gallon tank.

    From experience, I can tell you there is nothing like the bond that can develop from these most remarkable of reptiles with such distinct personalities and traits.

    Article by Cheri Smith
    Copyright Cheri Smith, The Reptile Rooms ©2003
    All images Copyright The Reptile Rooms ©2004 Unless otherwise noted.
     
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  2. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Bearded Dragon Age & Size Classifications
    Published: June 18, 2008

    This is what we use for the age/size classifications and why we think they are accurate. (These are our own opinions and may not align with others’ thoughts. These are also averages; some perfectly healthy dragons are more or less weight and length.)

    Hatchling to Juvie: between 2-3 months, 6-7 inches, and 20-30 grams—This one for me is easy as the babies show a noticeable change, their eating changes, they start having growth spurts and their POO changes! They go from fragile hatchlings with little bitty poos to little bruisers and big poos.

    Juvie: can range from 2-3 months to 7 months, weight is usually up to 200-250 grams, length up to 12 inches—Prior to becoming sexually mature we call them Juvies.

    Subadults: average 8-18 months, weights of 200-400 grams, and lengths of 13-18 inches –They are sexually mature, but not physically mature; they can and will breed at this stage, but we do not think they should as there may be repercussions on their long term health and lifespan.

    Adults: Mostly grown to their adult size and ready to breed, a healthy normal size dragon at this stage should weigh in between 400 and 600 grams, 18-22 inches. Under that we do not think a female should be bred.

    Article by Cheri Smith
    Copyright Cheri Smith, The Reptile Rooms ©2004
    All images Copyright The Reptile Rooms ©2004 Unless otherwise noted.
     
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  3. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Humidity - Setting the Myths Aside
    Published: June 18, 2008

    The average humidity level in Australia where p. vitticeps come from is around 45%. Even in an arid area like Alice Springs, sitting right in the middle of Australia, the low is almost 30% and the high is 55%. There are not a lot of dragons there; they are more to the south around the Coober Pedy, close by where the red dragons occur in the wild and the humidity is 30% low in peak afternoon to 50% in the morning and much higher at night. As you move in closer to the Lake Eyre area, which has an abundance of p. vitticeps, it becomes low of 45% and high of 70%.

    These are the perfect conditions for reptiles as it is extremely rare for any mold/fungus to develop under 70% humidity, yet they still get the needed optimum RH zone for the well-being of its occupants, which is between 30 and 55 % relative humidity. If you look at the overall humidity of Australia, you will see humidity rarely exceeds 70%. Where it does, the changing lows control the mold/fungus. This is probably why so many species of reptiles have thrived there for so long. You have to soak down a tank pretty badly to reach 70% humidity for fungal problems to develop.

    Bearded dragons do get most of the moisture they need from their foods, for cells, organs and overall health, but areas that are exposed to air directly (such as skin, scales and membranes like the ear and nose) will suffer from problems when humidity is under 40% for prolonged period of time. At 40-55% you do not have fungus living or growing; under that you do have dried membranes and shed problems that create skin tags, which are breeding grounds for fungi. Contrary to what some will advise, you are creating the problems you’re trying to avoid by completely depriving them of water and humidity.

    The area that p. vitticeps come from is not arid or desert; this is a huge myth that keeps getting repeated from one person parroting another that does not really know the reality. The area they are from is mostly grasslands, along rain corridors and peppered with many small lakes and several very large ones.

    P. vitticeps come from the area of Australia that starts at the southern shores near Adelaide, circling around Cooper Creek and Lake Eyre, up to the Alice Springs and Tennent Creek area, and back down to the Nullarbor Plains area. It includes most of South Australia, Northeast area of New South Wales, lower Southwest Queensland, and about 1/3 of the Northern Territory. When looking at a map, you will see this area has many lakes and rivers—the most found in Australia.

    http://www.worldtravelguide.net/data/aus/ausmap.asp
    Article by Cheri Smith
    Copyright Cheri Smith, The Reptile Rooms ©2003
    All images Copyright The Reptile Rooms ©2004 Unless otherwise noted.
     
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