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Bearded Dragons Make Good Pets

Bearded Dragons may be considered an exotic pet but they are friendly and fairly low-maintenance!
Bearded Dragons may be considered an exotic pet but they are friendly and fairly low-maintenance!

When you think of a pet, you might immediately think of a dog or cat, or a bird -even fish.  I had a friend who kept snakes as pets - he just enjoyed their company.

     Another group of reptiles often kept as pets are lizards.  One lizard, the Bearded Dragon, has become quite popular as a pet.  Bearded dragons got their name because of the spiny projections under their necks that look a bit like a man’s beard. 

Native to Australia, Beardies are docile, pretty easy to care for and live ten years or more.  They can make good pets, especially for school-age kids – but a bearded dragon does require maintenance, such as feeding, and cleaning the cage or tank.  Generally an adult bearded dragon will need a 50-to-70-gallon tank, with a screen on top that can be secured.  The tank should contain some landscaping, like branches, twigs and rocks and even a good hiding spot.

     Beardies need exposure to UV light, so check your local pet store for a fluorescent bulb that will provide that UV light.  Like all pets, access to water and regular feeding is a must.  They eat insects and plant materials – again, your local pet supply store can help you find something to feed your new friend.

     One major concern about bearded dragons is that they can carry salmonella in their droppings, and those germs could spread to their bodies and their tank area.  Always wash your hands after touching your Beardie or its tank (which needs regular cleaning).  Don’t kiss your pet or snuggle with it, and don’t keep it in any part of the house where you might have food.  Because of the risk of exposure to salmonella, bearded dragons are not recommended as pets for very young children, senior adults or anyone with a weak immune system.

     One of the reasons Bearded Dragons are popular as pets is that they like to interact with humans.  As long as you are careful, and take good care of your bearded friend, you can enjoy years of fascinating fun, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.