Information on Bearded Dragons
The Pogona vitticeps, or inland bearded dragon, is a great choice for beginner reptile owners, because the ease in which they can adapt to new habitat conditions and environments. Also, unlike other types of reptiles that have been domesticated, the inland beardies are easily tamed. These lizards do not grow to be a gigantic size; therefore they are great even for children to handle.
However, before you go out and purchase one, make sure you understand how these Lizards survive in the wild, so that you can understand certain behaviors in captivity.
The first question that people tend to ask when contemplating to get a bearded dragon or not is “why do they need separate lighting and heating?”
Well, here is the answer: reptiles do not have the ability to regulate their body temperature naturally. Mammals can do this, but reptiles are unable. So, what exactly does this mean? That’s simple: they become cold as their environment cools. On the other hand, if the environment heats up, their body temperature and metabolism also begins to heat up. While being held in captivity,these lizards are not able to bask in the direct sunlight for heat.
Therefore, they must learn to adapt to an environment that does not offer sunlight from the natural source. Coping with this problem requires the reptile owner to install separate heating and lighting systems.
The heating system will make sure the reptile’s complete enclosure will have temperatures that are consistent during both night and day cycles. On the other hand, the lighting system will provide ultraviolet or UVB radiation for the dragon.
If you can consistently provide high enough doses of vitamin D via daily meals, you can skip a UVB lighting system. However, if you cannot, you will definitely need to install sufficient UVB lighting for the lizard. The UVB light should not be considered the only source of warmth though, as it will not be adequate. If you can, install ceramic heating elements that are great for heating the entire enclosure.
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The second inquiry of all new reptile owners regards food. The most common questions refer to if bearded dragons should have diets that consist of plant or animal matter. The answer is a combination of both.These lizards are considered omnivorous creatures that require nutrients provided from both plant and animal sources in their diet.
Insects, worms and various fruits and vegetables should be included in a reptile’s daily meal. Though this may sound like a lot, in the wild these reptiles will forage for long periods of time to collect plant matter from many types of edible plants. Bearded dragons require a balanced diet to live a long, healthy life while in captivity. If you want to avoid many of the most common ailments, it is a good idea to supplement your lizard’s meals.
For example, for those bearded dragons that do not spend enough time outdoors will be at a higher risk of developing metabolic bone disease. To reduce this risk, give your lizard a vitamin D supplement to make sure the lizard’s own body won’t cannibalize the bones for calcium.
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