Keeping lizards as pets

Bearded dragons as pets

Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons originate in Australia and can be found in light forests and grasslands, they enjoy climbing and prefer to be on sand and rock surfaces. They will keep their body temperature around 35ºC and as they cool their skin will become darker. The air humidity should not exceed 30-40%. During the winter months, reptiles will enter brumation, this is hibernation-like state that cold-blooded animals enter during colder periods - due to not being in the wild your pet bearded dragon may or may not experience this. Beared dragons are diurnal, this means they will venture out during the day in order to benefit from the sun's UV. Bearded dragons are helioterms, which means they use the warmth from the sun which is why they bask, and they are also thigmotherms (getting warmth from surfaces).

Males are very territorial and in the wild will mark out large areas, the females and juveniles have smaller areas within the males territory. The males will protect their territories against other lizards, and will create displays by showing their beards, although they prefer to hide if under threat, if they must they will also fight and defend should they need to. They do not shed their tails but they can be easily damaged.

Bearded dragons become sexually mature between 6 - 15 months, usually they will be approximately 30cm long, and they will mate in spring.

Wild bearded dragons look for higher protein  when they are young and so are mainly insectivorous, but as they grow their needs change and they start taking leafy material, fruits and even flowers. Eventually as adults they are up to 90% herbivores. For pet bearded dragons we recommend:

Juveniles: feed them crickets 2-3 times a day, and also offer chopped fruit and vegetables

Adults: feed them dark green leafy vegetables eg. lettuce, collard, endive and spinach, plus carrots and fruit

Most exotic species require supplements to avoid nutriitional deficiencies. We recommend Nutrobal for use in younger animals and ArkVits for adults.

Leopard gecko

Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos originate from the desert areas of Iran, Pakistan and India, living in temperatures around 25-29ºC. Their appearance is spotted, they have eyelids and their tail is a fat store. However they can shed their tail (called autotomy: the casting off of a part of the body). They are very territotial and will fight off any intruders untuil death.

They are nocturnal and do not bask in the sun, because of this they do not need a UV light in captivity and rely on dietary vitamin D3 supplements to maintain health. They require shelter during the day and are best heated from below. Geckos are docile and easy to handle, and can also be kept alone. Pay close attention to the noises your gecko makes, it is reported that during times of stress or illness they will squeak.

Leopard geckos are active foragers that like to climb. They like to feed on mealworms, waxworms and pinkies (but these are high in fat). We recommend the use of Nutrobal dusted onto crickets (a staple for juveniles who consume around 5 a day, adults will consume around 10 crickets three times a week)

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