My son and daughter in law have new pets: bearded dragons. They bring them to visit, and when they started with them, I didn’t know anything about them. The more I learn, the more I’m fascinated with some things about them. My son keeps asking me if I’m sure I don’t want one. I don’t, cos they are a little high maintenance for me. (My cat has me spoiled, cos cats are easy, and food comes from the grocery store, lol.) But I’m enjoying learning about them.
They originated in Australia and are now bred here, and are very popular. There are reptile shows all around here within an hour or so’s drive, selling these dragons, snakes, other types of reptiles and even tarantulas. !! (Why anybody would want a pet tarantula is beyond me, but to each their own.) The kids have gotten their dragons from a great lady who breeds several types of reptiles: https://www.facebook.com/glamchams/
They are omnivores; eating bugs, fresh fruit and greens. They get crickets for them, and several kinds of worms, from our local pet store. In the wild, they burrow down into sand to avoid the heat of the day, but people here don’t use sand in their tanks. They would get some sand in their mouths and into their digestive tract, which is a problem when it’s your pet reptile rather than one in the wild. So they use paper towels on the bottom of the enclosures for easy clean up. And they use short feeding dishes that the dragons can reach into but the worms they give them can’t get out of. The crickets run loose in the tanks and give the dragons the opportunity to hunt, the way they would in the wild. They have various things in the tanks that they can climb up on and get under to hide/sleep. They give them an environment as close to natural as they can. Both of them have asked their breeder a lot of questions and watched a lot of videos to be fully aware of how to make the best lives for their unique pets.
They’re very territorial in their natural habitat. They have evolved ways to protect their territory and themselves, and that’s the stuff that I find most fascinating. They also have ways to communicate what they want and need: aggression and submission being the things I’ve come to most understand.
They can puff out their beards and make them black, to show aggression. Below is a picture of their older male with his beard blackened, but not puffed out yet.
That happened a couple days ago when they brought home a new male. For just a few minutes, the two males could see each other thru the ends of their tanks, before a barrier was put up so they couldn’t look into the other tank any more. This one blackened his beard: aggressive, this is my territory, you don’t belong here. The other wanted to show that he was submissive: I mean you no harm, I don’t want any trouble, I’ll stay over here. The submissive dragon waves. Really, raises his body up and puts one hand in the air and waves it up and down slowly, to say: I don’t want to fight with you. It’s amazing to see. There are multiple videos available where you can see that amazing communication, if you just search bearded dragon waving.
Communication, without words, from a distance. They can also tell the sex of another at a distance even tho there are no external sex characteristics that show. The males both knew there was another male, and needed to take aggressive and submissive procedures. The new male also got a quick look into another tank where there is a female. He immediately began to puff his beard and bob his head: hey, I see a chick over there, I like this new neighborhood!
Such interesting animals. Some of them like different fruit than the others, and some like some kinds of bugs more than the others. Personal choices, just like people. I never knew reptiles had individual and type-specific personalities and actions, but these sure do.
I still don’t want one, but I enjoy learning about them.