Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets? The Good, The Bad, & Expert Tips

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“Should I get a bearded dragon?” and “Will bearded dragons make good pets?” are top-tier praiseworthy questions anyone should ask before setting out to adopt a beardie- and we love to answer them! The answers to these questions revolve around the pros & cons, everything relating to the adoption process, and the dragon itself.

Firstly, you deserve a pat on the back for taking the time to do the research.

Bearded dragons make amazing pets. They’re docile, well-behaved, and laid-back lizards who have thrilled the home of exotic pet owners for decades and are personally known to be highly adaptable, easy to manage, and safe to pair with children.

The answer to whether a bearded dragon will make a good pet for you relies on if you’d make a good parent match for them. I know, it’s a little ‘fore-frontish’, but that’s the best way to sizzle out your concerns. In a situation where there is a mismatch between parent and dragon, both parties suffer. But of course, the beardies take the rotten end of the deal!

Nevertheless, anyone can adopt a bearded dragon if they can provide a comfortable and safe environment for them to thrive.

In this article, I’ll be listing 7 pros and 6 cons of owning a bearded dragon, including 4 expert tips on how to begin your journey. Leggo!

reasons to get a bearded dragon

7 Amazing Pros Of Owning A Bearded Dragon

Keeping a bearded dragon as a pet is no easy business, but it sure is generously rewarding. Here are the 7 good reasons why beardies make terrific scaly friends:

1. They Are Easy To Find For Adoption

Bearded dragons are one of the simplest reptile pets to find and adopt. While they don’t import them from their natural habitat in Australia anymore, they have been bred for decades and are now quite habituated in the USA, Western Europe, and Canada. Since there are no strict laws that prohibit them from getting transported, you can easily adopt one to the majority of the places on the globe.

2. They Don’t Mind Handling (Safe for kids)

Unlike other reptiles, some bearded dragons specifically love to be handled (with care). They are cold-blooded creatures that sometimes need an extra source of warmth, and what’s a better way to stay cozy other than snuggling with their warm-bodied giant friends?
Sometimes, when they get really comfy with their humans, they can snuggle into crevices like necks, armpits, and even belly rolls for a power nap.

If you have kids around and are a little bothered about how that will play out with your bearded dragon, I suggest you take things a little slower to build trust. Children can be bundles of excitement, and although we wouldn’t want them any other way, it could throw off the tranquil nature of your beardie, perhaps frighten them, and complicate the situation.

3. They Live Long, Happy Lives

Like their cuddly nature and docility weren’t enough, you get to grow through life with your beardie for 12 to 15 years! The oldest bearded dragon to live, Sebastien, garnered 18 good healthy years. Who knows? Your beardie might outlive that age and set a new record.

4. They’re Fairly Neat & Tidy (No foul odor)

Keeping pets comes with every sort of odor imaginable– it’s something you just can’t avoid. Cats and dogs will pee and poop on anything they decide to mark leaving us with the consequences. With bearded dragons, you don’t have to worry about stinky scenarios. They don’t sweat or produce urine (they excrete urates instead to preserve moisture) like other animals, so the chances of a stink show up are little to none.

However, poor living conditions and inadequate hygiene like failure to remove uneaten food or to change the substrate will induce bacteria that excrete odourful gases, and thus, stink up your space.

5. Bearded Dragons Have Different Personalities

Who said bearded dragons have no emotions? Someone without any experience whatsoever with beardies! Just like other pets, your dragon will have a unique personality; they may prefer a particular diet to another, prefer to be lazy and sleep through the whole day in their enclosure, be highly active, be a little more friendly, or be a feisty little pancake in comparison to another bearded dragon.

I find the process of bonding with my pet highly rewarding. It may need extra patience in some cases, but in the long run, it will leave a positive mark on you and your beardie’s experience in general.

6. There Is A Variety Of Dragons To Choose From

Beardies come in all sorts of colors and shapes; this category is known as morphs. This allows uniqueness to thrive for you as an individual. However, morphs do cost an extra handful of cash, but they’re worth every dime.

7. They’re Not Noisy

While this might pass as nothing to consider, some people prefer to relax in solitude but still enjoy the company of their pets. In cases where a parrot, wailing cat, or barking dog doesn’t suit, the bearded dragon is your best bet.

cons of keeping bearded dragon as a pet

6 Major Cons Of Owning A Bearded Dragon

Every pet has pros and cons to keeping them, and bearded dragons are no exception. While the proportion of cons experienced is relative, here are the most generalized and prominent downsides of keeping pet beardies:

1. The Crippling Expense Of Housing

The cost of providing a miniature arid habitat for bearded dragons is not too exciting. First, you have to deal with the enclosure itself which costs about $200 – $600 depending on the size and quality. Then you have other bits and pieces like the flooring (substrate), beardie furniture (includes props, rocks, basking spots, water pans, etc), thermometers, hydrometers, lighting, feeding costs, vitamins, and vet visits. All in all, you should be looking at $900 – $1,500 for a start-up plan. It’s brow-raising, right?

Note that although some people (might) boast of housing a beardie with less than that amount. It is possible, just certainly not the best standard for the bearded dragon. The dragon will just have to make do with what they have.

2. Setting Up The Right Temperature And Humidity Is Tedious

Bearded dragons’ natural habitat is warm and dry. The reason why they pass urate instead of urine is due to the series of evolution that allows them to adapt to their dry habitat, which is why it’s important to get this aspect flawlessly right.

The environmental temperature for enclosed bearded dragons is 38 – 42°c in the lighted area and 22 – 26°c in the shaded area. Depending on where you live, ceramic heating plates or mesh panels placed in the vivarium can help you achieve the required temperatures.

3. They Require Regular Sanitation

Bearded dragons, like many other pets, require to have their environment tidy to prevent bacteria from comfortably thriving. However, it might be tedious to do so since you’d need to clean a fairly huge tank and then reassemble the whole scene weekly.

4. The Juveniles Eat Like Fantasy-Sized Dragons

A lot of your time and money will go into the bellies of the juvenile beardies. They eat thrice a day and can consume 250 bugs in five days! Although it gets favorable as they add a couple of years (as good as once daily), it’s still a duration to dread before then. You can skip this stage and go for an adult bearded dragon, however, you’d be missing out on the crucial bonding step for you and your pet.

5. They May Carry Salmonella

Bearded dragons do carry parasites that can cause us to fall ill. Still, this rarely occurs especially if they are raised in captivity. Usually, it is mostly experienced in beardies caught from the wild and domesticated directly.

6. They’ll Need Extra Care To Cohabitate With Other Animals

If you have pets in your environment, you’ll need to create proper boundaries to ensure that your carnivorous or omnivorous darlings don’t find your dragon delicious or reachable. It’s a tiny problem to solve, but still something to consider.

4 Crucial Expert Tips For Beginner Bearded Dragon Parents

Never Adopt A Pet-Store Beardie

Unless the situation is dire or you’re trying to save the dragon, run away from pet stores entirely! Most of the time, the dragons are not kept in suitable conditions for healthy living and are often sold off sickly or malnourished. The best places to get a beardie are from breeders; since their livelihood mostly depends on breeding the dragons, you’ll be sure to get a healthy pet for even less money.
Added to that, you can get first-hand tips for free on how to keep your pet safe and healthy!

Get The Adult Sized Enclosure

I understand that it’s tempting to start from scratch and go for the beginner vivariums, but beardies grow with every passing minute. Before you know it, you’re out seeking a new enclosure at another expense. Instead, seek an adult-sized enclosure to save you stress, time, and money.

Choose The Biggest Dragon, Not The Prettiest

The biggest dragon is usually the healthiest. They will have better resistance to the changes they might have to adapt to in their new environment and will live longer under the right conditions.

Unless You’re A Breeder, Select A Male Dragon Instead

If you’re a beginner, you would want little to no surprises, which is not guaranteed with female bearded dragons. Females lay eggs with or without fertilization and can display an array of troubling symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, and even anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bearded Dragons

Do bearded dragons bite?

Beardies will bite when intimidated or defensive. They’re not aggressive pets at all, so they will attack and bite when they feel threatened. If your bearded dragon bites at you, it probably thinks you’re terrifying and is trying to protect itself. They pack quite the sting to their bite, too, but it’s nothing too serious.

Are Bearded Dragons venomous or poisonous?

Bearded dragons are slightly venomous, but the venom is not toxic to humans. They also are not poisonous. When they bite, the venom in their saliva will cause a stinging sensation to the area in contact with the open wound. However, it will wear off in a couple of hours when you wash and treat the wound properly.

How many eggs do bearded dragons lay?

Female beardies lay about 20 eggs per sitting and the eggs in groups are called clutches. The female will find a sandy warm spot, dig up, and bury her clutch leaving the eggs to hatch.

Do bearded dragons like to play?

Beardies do like to play, especially with their food. You can stimulate them by teasing them with live worms in your hands and watching them run around. Just don’t do this when they’re starving!

Photo of author

Medi

EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles. He is a pet lover who loves to discuss about bearded dragons and share the knowledge he gained over time about pet reptiles.