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A bearded dragon can make an unusual and interesting pet, but these animals require special care. Owning one of these dragons could mean having to locate a veterinarian who specializes in treating exotic pets. For people who do not live in a large city, this may be an inconvenience. Bearded dragons require a diet that includes live insects, which some owners might find unpleasant. Unlike a dog, however, pet lizards do not need to be taken outside for daily walks, and these small pets are suitable for those who live in apartments.
Many individuals who wish to own a pet live in an apartment with a no-pets rule. Apartment dwellers are often allowed to keep fish, birds, reptiles, and other small animals, however. For children who are not allowed to have a dog or cat, choosing a bearded dragon as a pet can offer the satisfaction of a companion animal and the opportunity to learn responsibility.
When choosing a bearded dragon as a pet for a child, however, adult supervision will be necessary. These exotic pets require gentle handling, and may not be suitable for a very young child. The bearded dragon could make an excellent pet for an older child, however, as these reptiles tend to be more docile than other species.
Bearded dragons require daily maintenance, so this responsibility may be better left to an older child or adult. People who consider keeping a bearded dragon as a pet also must consider the cost of supplies for the animal. A lizard will require a relatively large tank, as an adult could reach up to 20 inches (61 centimeters) or longer. The dragon will require full-spectrum lighting, as well as branches, twigs, and hiding boxes. Some type of heating element is also necessary for a bearded dragon's environment.
The potential owner of a bearded dragon should consider feeding requirements. Live crickets could become noisy, especially at night, and this could be an unfavorable aspect. While it is recommended to feed a bearded dragon mealworms for a protein source, some pet owners may not like handling these and other insects.
Although moderate care and maintenance is needed for these reptiles, selecting a bearded dragon as a pet can be a positive experience for many pet owners. Obtaining a bearded dragon from a breeder can offer options, such as various colors, not found in pet stores. For those who are interested, these reptiles are also relatively easy to breed with few requirements.
While owning a reptile like the bearded dragon is very interesting, anyone thinking about getting this type of pet must be prepared for its special needs. From housing to lighting to food, the care of any type of reptile can become quite involved and costly.