Your Bearded Dragon Likes to Watch TV - and Other Friendly Facts about Beardies
Bearded Dragons are the only known reptile to show affection for their human companions, which is why they make great exotic pets if a reptile is the kind of animal you are looking for. Bearded Dragons, or “Beardies” as some like to call them, aren't lazy pets. It's just that they are known to enjoy cuddling up with their owners while they watch TV.
Another reason that Beardies have become an increasingly popular pet is because of the common (mis)conception that they are easy to take care of. Yes, relative to other reptiles, they are. But before you bring one into your home, it’s important to do some research and know what proper Bearded Dragon care entails. (Check out our complete beardie care sheet here.)
Here’s your chance to learn all about bearded dragons so you can be a pro before you buy one, or to help you get to know your pet even better.
Like my mother said, “Don’t take a beardie from a stranger.”
Maybe it’s not that your Beardie isn’t friendly. Could he be ill? Too often, owners bring in their pet because he is behaving strangely and we quickly learn that they did not obtain their Bearded Dragon from a reputable source. After some research, we realize that the beardie was probably sick before he ever came home with the new owners. When raised in poor living conditions, a beardie can contract parasites or other communicable diseases. This is why it's so important to purchase a bearded dragon from a reliable seller and ask a lot of questions before taking one home.
Beardies are movie stars.
Since they are easy to handle and come in a variety of colors, Bearded Dragons are popular reptilian guest stars in Hollywood films. Maybe you remember seeing one in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? Perhaps their popularity on set is due to their good nature, or maybe it’s their aesthetically majestic appearance. Like real celebs, beardies have both those qualities.
They prefer human company over Beardie company.
In nature, Bearded Dragons live solitary lives and have a tendency to be aggressively territorial when it comes to other Beardies. You should never put more than one bearded dragon in a cage otherwise things could get bloody.
Luckily, it’s a different story when it comes to humans. Beardies are known to enjoy sitting perched up on their owner's shoulders as they go out for walks around town. You can also carry them in a harness and then let them play in the grass or soil (as long as its pesticide-free.) How many reptiles can you count that enjoy things like that? Not many, I assure you.
They like their salads (and insects) fresh.
Who wants to eat an old salad? Probably no one. Beardies enjoy salads composed of dark leafy greens, peppers, carrots and broccoli, but don’t leave any old salad lingering in their tanks. In addition to being unhealthy, it’s also kinda gross.
Baby Beardies eat lots of insects, but they need to learn to eat fresh greens early on so that it can be easier for them to transition to a mostly herbivorous diet in adulthood. If they eat too many insects, they can be at risk for obesity. Think of your average cockroach like chocolate cake. The younger ones enjoy it and want to eat it all day long, while adults will have a slice once in awhile or on special occasions.
Learning to speak Beardie isn’t like learning Klingonese.
It’s nice to know that in the wild, Bearded Dragons usually live in close proximity to humans. But as close as we feel to our Bearded Dragons, it does not mean we can speak Beardie. If you’re unfamiliar with normal Dragon behavior, it may be difficult to figure out whether your Beardie is A-okay, or actually in need of help.
For example, Bearded Dragons will wave their hands when they feel unsafe and submissive. Some people think this is a good sign, “Look, he’s waving!” But when you understand what it really means, it’s not so cute anymore.
The same goes for when they seem to be chilling with their mouth open. If they are basking under their warm lamp, it’s normal. But if your Beardie has his mouth hanging open and he’s on the cool side of the tank, or if he’s acting lethargic, this could be a sign of labored breathing. If your Beardie starts acting a bit unusual, you should take them to the closest Bearded Dragon vet near you.
Because health is everything.
At the end of the day, Beardies are reptiles and without proper care neither you nor your new roomie will be happy. As with any exotic pet, you need to understand what it means to care for a your bearded dragon. And if you do take one home with you, be sure to take her right away to an exotic vet so we can give her a clean bill of health!
Want to learn more about how to care for a pet Beardie?
Check out our complete Bearded Dragon Care Guide.