Lizards as pets

Bearded dragon

The two species below make very good pets

Bearded dragons Pogona vitticeps

  • Australia, found in light forest, scrub and grasslands
  • Good pets that handle well
  • They DON’T shed tails (caudal autotomy) but the tails are easily damaged
  • Territorial, males stake out big areas. Females and juveniles have smaller areas within these
  • Sand & rocks preferred substrate – they don’t like high humidity (max 30-40%)
  • Males display beards and fight
  • They will threaten when under threat although usually prefer to hide
  • Sexually mature at 6-15 months, usually when they reach 30cm. Mate in the spring
  • Preferred Body Temp is 35ºC approx, they darken as they cool
  • Brumation in the winter (torpor, sort of halfway to hibernation)
  • Diurnal – out during the day, so benefit from UV
  • They are both helioterms (warmth from the sun) so they bask, and thigmotherms (warmth from contact with surfaces)
  • Like to climb

Feeding dragons:

  • Wild dragons look for higher protein 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
  • Juveniles - crickets   2-3 times a day, also offer chopped vegetables & fruit
  • Adults - dark green leafy vegetables eg. lettuce, collard, endive, spinach plus carrots, fruit
  • Complete diets not more than 50% of daily ration
  • Supplements such as Nutrobal for younger animals and ArkVits for adults

Leopard gecko

Leopard geckos  Eublepharis macularis

  • Spotted with eyelids
  • Tail is a fat store BUT they can do AUTOTOMY!
  • From the desert areas of Iran, Pakistan and Western India
  • Nocturnal! So no basking - Rely on dietary vitamin D3 supplements
  • Need a shelter for the daytime
  • Best heated from below
  • Active forager that likes to climb
  • Docile & handleable
  • Territorial and males will fight to the death
  • Can be kept alone
  • Temp gradient 25ºC - warm spots at 29ºC
  • Reported to squeak when stressed or ill!
  • Sand and small stones substrates are a good substrate BUT CAN IMPACT, the only really safe one is paper – but not nice!

Feeding leopard geckos:

  • No UV, rely on dietary vitamin D3
  • Nutrobal dusted crickets are the staple with juveniles taking about 5 a day, adults will take 9-10 three times a week.
  • Mealworms, waxworms etc even pinkies provide some variety but are high fat
  • Colour varieties are becoming popular for hobbyists in a wide range of reptiles

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