If you’re considering adding a scaly friend to your family, you might be asking yourself the question: “Are bearded dragons good pets?” Generally speaking, they are good pets. However, they do require a bit of a specialized care, and they aren’t nearly as cuddly as dogs or cats.
Bearded dragons are not your average pet, but they are definitely worth considering. These fascinating creatures have a lot to offer and make fantastic pets for a variety of reasons. To help you make an informed decision we have compiled a list of the top pros and cons of owning a bearded dragon.
At the end of the article, you will be able to decide for yourself if a bearded dragon is the right pet for you.
Pros of Owning a Pet Bearded Dragon
1. Peaceful And Calm Temperament
Bearded dragons make good pets because of their calm and gentle nature. They tend to be passive, and as they age, they usually become calmer.
While not true of all pet reptiles, bearded dragons like interacting with their owners. You can take your beardie out of its enclosure and let it roam around your house under your supervision. You may even take it for walks outside if you have the proper leash.
When threatened or afraid, bearded dragons may bite, but as long as you treat them with kindness and gentleness, this normally won’t be an issue. Since they rarely cause significant pain or cause bleeding, their bites usually catch people off guard.
2. They’re Good Pets For Kids and Easy to Handle
Bearded dragons make excellent pets for kids. Due to their docile and gentle nature, kids will be able to learn how to handle them and develop a strong bond in no time.
They typically don’t bite, scratch, or otherwise harm people. Once socialized, they are gentle, fun, and extremely easy pets to handle even for kids.
3. Available in a Variety of Colors and Morphs
Bearded dragons are available in a vast variety of colors and morphs. You can get pure white, orange, red, and many other colors which are done through selective breeding.
4. Ease of care
Bearded dragons make good pets both for children and adults alike. They are typically really easy to care for. The main aspect of their care is setting the habitat right. Once you correctly set up their habitat, the daily maintenance is an easy and fairly low-maintenance task.
You will need a 120 gallon tank with a secure screen top for an adult bearded dragon. Baby bearded dragons can be kept in smaller tanks, but they will eventually outgrow them. So, it’s best to get a bigger tank from the beginning.
Inside the tank, you will need UVB lights, a substrate, a basking light, a water dish, and a few hides. Dragons need UVB light and heat equipment to be able to absorb calcium properly.
5. Their Size Is Very House-Friendly
Bearded dragons are medium-sized lizards, making them ideal pets for most owners. They are small enough to be kept in your home or apartment, yet large enough for young children to easily handle. They will be happy to spend most of their time under a basking light soaking up UVB rays in their enclosure, but it is nice to be able to let them out to roam around your living room floor.
Beardies can reach lengths of between 12 and 24 inches from head to tail. Their tails account for around one-third of the total length. Males typically grow bigger than females.
Pro Tip: Bearded dragons grow very quickly. Most of their growth occurs in the first few months after their birth.
6. Bearded Dragons are not Very Costly
Compared to other pets, bearded dragons are pretty inexpensive to care for. A bearded dragon costs somewhere between $50 to $100 in the US, but of course, this can be higher depending on the color and morph you choose. However, the initial setup (one time) might get a bit expensive.
You will need a large tank ideally 120 gallon which will cost you around $300. Then you will have to buy different equipment such as UVB light, basking light, water and food dishes, furniture, and some branches that will cost around $200 – $1000 depending on what company you go with.
Once you set up the enclosure, maintenance becomes fairly inexpensive.
Read More >>> How Much Do Bearded Dragons Cost?
7. They Have a Longer Lifespan
One of the reasons why bearded dragons make good pets is their relatively long lifespan. They live between 8 to 14 years and raising one up from a baby/juvenile can be a pleasant experience. You can get a three- or four-month-old and expect to keep it for the next ten years.
A bearded dragon’s lifespan depends on its care, diet, proper lighting, and general husbandry.
8. Thir Diet is Pretty Straightforward
Bearded dragons are omnivores. This means that they can eat vegetables, fruits, and live insects. The large variety of food they can eat makes feeding time very easy. Young bearded dragons can be fed once or twice a day, whereas mature beardies should be fed only once per day.
You can feed them insects such as crickets, spiders, mealworms, wax worms, earthworms, grasshoppers, moths, silkworms, and slugs.
Beardies also enjoy eating veggies such as collard greens, chard, mustard greens, broccoli, green beans, parsley, dandelion greens, kale, cilantro, red or green cabbage, watercress, bell peppers, and even bok choy.
9. They’re Intelligent
Many potential owners don’t realize this, but bearded dragons are quite intelligent lizards. They have the ability to recognize their owners accurately and form a lasting bond with them.
With the right approach, bearded dragons can be trained to come when called, get ready for food, and even walk on a leash.
10. Bearded Dragons Can Show Affection
Bearded dragons are the only known pet reptiles to show affection for their human keepers, which is why they make great exotic pets. Beardies are not lazy pets. They enjoy cuddling up with their owners, and it is not uncommon for them to snuggle into their owners’ necks or chests when they are taken out of their tanks.
Developing a relationship with your lizard and reaching this point may take some time, but it’s well worth it. You will need to give your beardie time to adjust to its new environment and to you.
11. Not Noisy
Bearded dragons are relatively quiet animals. They don’t make any vocalizations at all.
12. Not Smelly
Bearded dragons are not smelly creatures. Like any other animal, if you do spot cleaning on a regular basis, they won’t smell. If you don’t spot-clean them, it could lead to nasty infections and really bad health.
Cons of Owning a Pet Bearded Dragon
1. Lighting Could be a Challenge
Properly setting up lighting for bearded dragons could be challenging for many new owners. Beardies require a constant source of UVB light with a day/night cycle that matches their wild habitat. Not getting enough UVB can lead to Vitamin D deficiency.
2. They Are Voracious Eaters
Bearded dragons eat a lot, especially in their growth stage. They are fairly easy to feed but expect to buy a lot of insects and veggies regularly. They will eat anything you place in front of them but not all food are safe for them. You will need to monitor what and how much you feed your beardie because they can easily get obese.
Read More >>> Bearded Dragon Diet
3. They Need Regular Cleaning
As bearded dragons eat a lot, then they poop a lot. The enclosure can get quite messy if you don’t clean it and change the substrate on regular basis. This means you will have to clean their tank once or twice a week and spot-clean it at least once a month. Besides the regular cleaning and maintenance, it could also get a bit expensive to swap out substrates regularly.
4. They May Carry Salmonella
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. This harmful microbe can not only be found in contaminated food, but it can also be passed from reptiles to humans, making life a bit tricky for those who own pet lizards or snakes.
The most common way to contract Salmonella is through touching feces, but there’s no way to know if your pet reptile is carrying the bacteria. The symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, which can be severe enough to land a person in the hospital.
It’s important to take extra precautions, especially for children and those with weaker immune systems. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any reptiles, and it’s best to avoid having reptiles in households with young kids or people with compromised health. Don’t let Salmonella catch you off guard, stay protected and informed.
Bearded dragons make fantastic pets. They’re perfect for children as well. Like with any animal you should supervise them when they’re around children just to make sure that a child can handle them correctly.
The only downside I would say is the cost of all of the equipment and enclosures, but the bearded dragon itself is normally not very costly. But overall I would recommend this as the best pet reptile.