Taking Care of your Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are opportunistic omnivores. They are native to the deserts of Australia, where food may be hard to find, so bearded dragons are not finicky eaters. Their stomachs are large to accommodate large quantities of plant matter, insects, and the occasional small rodent or lizard. They get their name from the spiny projections under their necks that resemble a man’s beard. When they feel threatened or excited, they puff out their beards and open their mouths to make themselves look bigger. They also develop unique behaviours such as “waving” or bobbing their heads. These behaviours are most often observed when they are being territorial or during mating season. With proper care, they can live more than 10 years.

It is recommended that you have your dragon vet checked within the first week of ownership for a general check-up and to answer as many doubts you may have about their habitat requirements (humidity, temperature, heat source etc.)

After that, every 6-12 months even if it seems healthy. Wildlife tends to hide their symptoms in order to survive, so when you notice something is not ok, it might be too late. A parasite check is needed prior to brumation.

What is brumation?

Brumation is a dormant period for reptiles. As with hibernation in mammals, their bodies shut down and conserve energy for the coming year. During the period of brumation, a reptile may not eat, drink, defecate, or move for several weeks. It may bury itself completely underground or go to the darkest, coolest part of its enclosure. It can scare you when your pet doesn’t respond to normal stimuli such as poking and prodding. Both males and females can go into this type of hibernation, with males usually emerging from their deep sleep before the females. They may also brumate at any time throughout the year, so this isn’t a seasonal behaviour.

Can I get sick from my bearded dragon?

As long as a proper hygiene practice is followed, this is highly unlikely. In other words, wash your hands before and after handling your beardie. Make sure their feces is cleaned out of their enclosure ASAP. Do these two things and you should be okay!

Can my bearded dragon get sick from me?

As with the above question, proper hygiene is key. Washing your hands both before and after you handle your bearded dragon should become a deeply ingrained habit. But no, your beardie cannot typically catch your ailments.

For an appointment with Dr Julia Abarca Zama call the clinic on 27500150 / 79501505 or email us on vetsonwheelsmalta@gmail.com


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