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  • Bearded Dragon Husbandry Guide.

    Bearded Dragon
    Pogona vitticeps and Pagona barbata.
    Bearded dragons make a great pet lizard. They don’t get too large, eat a wide variety of foods, are active during the day, and are gentle animals. Bearded dragons in New Zealand are captive bred, have limited care requirements, readily available, and now fairly inexpensive.

    Pogona vitticeps– Central (or Inland) Bearded Dragon,
    IMG_20170718_101614 (2).jpgMales are larger than females, up to 22" a stocky lizard with prominent spines along its sides and a large, triangle-shaped head. Around the snout is a spiny jaw pouch which, when swollen, looks like a beard, mature males have dark "beards". The general colour can range from shades of brown, gray, and reddish-brown to bright orange.
    RANGE AND HABITAT: Central Australia, semi-arid to arid woodland, on the ground and in trees.






    Pogona barbata – Eastern bearded dragon,

    closely reIMG_20170908_141357 (3).jpgsembles the vitticeps but is slightly larger. Usually a  grey-black colour but can be found in brown or dark brown colouration The adult males grow to about 24 inches (60 cm), and females up to 20 inches (50 cm). The adult males display a dark grey or black beard also.
    RANGE AND HABITAT: most common in eastern Australia around the Cape York area but has been found further inland, semi-arid to arid woodland, on the ground and in trees.






    HOUSING: A large aquarium or terrarium with a ventilated lid. Minimum of 1.2 metres x 50cm wide for 1 bearded dragon, though bigger is better. Floor space is more important than height for indoor setups, though Pogona barbata are more arboreal, than vitticeps.
    A UVB fluorescent bulb or tube a maximum 30cm away from lizard, an under floor heat pad and or a ceramic heat emitter.
    A good Temperature range is 30 - 40c at the basking spot and the low 20 - 25c at the cool end, night time temps best not to drop below 15C. Barbata’s prefer a slightly lower temperature range.
    Substrate for the bottom of the tank, grass carpet, tiling (for young Dragons), bark or fine sand can be used for adults.
    A cave or hiding area for your bearded dragon and a branch, log, driftwood or rocks for a basking or vantage spot.
    Food bowl, a smooth insect and vegetable bowl, and a water dish.
    Aggression issues can arise when housing 2 males together as they mature, housing a pair can also present problems with the male hassling the female too much when wanting to breed.
    If housing indoors, during summer you can have an enclosure outside for your lizard to have access to natural sunlight. A Rabbit hutch or similar will suffice so long as it is cat or dog proof, just make sure they can get out of the direct sun if need be, and provide a water dish as per normal.
    DIET: They are omnivorous and in the wild eat many types of insects, small vertebrates, vegetation, fruits and flowers. In captivity they can be fed Crickets, mealworms, Locusts, Slaters, Grasshoppers Etc, Frozen mixed vegetables: beans, carrots, peas, fresh vegetables: carrots, Grated pumpkin, dandelion greens, rock melon, Pawpaw, strawberries, Kitten cat food (rabbit or chicken) once or twice a week and Calcium & vitamin D3 supplement powder can be lightly sprinkled once or twice a week on food.
    Salad tip; make enough for 3-4days, store in ziplock bag in fridge. Feed out as needed, Its good practice to take the salad out at night.
    Good site for greens http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html
    Also the balance between phosphate and calcium intake is important
    Care must be taken to provide your reptile with a well-balanced diet, over feeding or feeding too much of one type or a rich food can lead to obesity and possibly metabolic bone disease.
    Feeding baby dragons
    IMG_20171223_104428.jpgYoung dragons need a lot of live food, but in smaller frequent meals, basically what they will eat within 15 minutes. Put in a bug or 2, if they eat them add more, if not offer some more later in the day. It is best not to leave live food roaming with your pet, Crickets at night especially, as they can nibble the toes/tails/eyes of your dragon, having a water source for the crickets, i.e. salad or even just the BDs water bowl will help minimise this.
    No live food bigger than the space between their eyes. Good food will be small crickets, small mealworms, and wax worms. The insects can be gut loaded and dusted with vitamin, calcium and mineral powder every second day. Chopped up vegetables should be offered every day, the vegetables should be finely chopped and in small quantities. You will have to be careful not to overfeed the baby bearded dragons. Large mealworms are capable of biting young beardies and too many can cause constipation as they are harder to digest and full of phosphates.
    As they get older Juvenile bearded dragons can eat more vegetables and fewer insects. They should be offered vegetables every day. Once they are around nine months old insects can be fed only 2 – 3 times per week and calcium supplements can be reduced to every other day and vitamin supplements to once a week.
    Calcium – 5 days a week for young, 3 days a week for adults, 5 days for laying females
    Multi vitamins once a week, less if feeding a good varied diet?
    Supplements can be dusted onto salads and or live food.
    Try not to feed anything 2 hours prior to lights out, this just gives them time to digest what’s in their stomach prior to lights out/temps cool off.
    General care and handling:
    Please remember that your Reptile has the potential to carry Salmonella.
    WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER HANDLING YOUR REPTILE, or when cleaning the enclosure or feed dishes.
    Keeping your dragons skin healthy is important for when they shed, which should be approximately every six weeks for a healthy animal, misting with a spray bottle of water can help this, mist every day for young, mist every few days for adults, A bath once a month (not essential), warm water about 25-30C an inch or 2 deep is enough for young, increase with age. ALWAYS supervise when they are in the water. Bathing also helps stimulate number 2's and is a good way to hydrate a lizard.
    Sexual maturity is reached at 1 – 2 years of age. Clutch size 7-16 long leathery eggs, the eggs are laid in sandy soil, incubation 3 months.
    Getting your Lizard used to being handled is important for visits to the vet or examination etc. but always be aware too much interaction can be stressful for some reptiles.
    Illness and health problems
    Calcium & Vitamin D3 Deficiencies can cause seizures, stunted growth, deformities, poor bone growth, and brittle bones. Vitamin D3 and calcium problems can be solved by making sure your bearded dragon receives proper lighting and dietary supplements.
    Overfeeding baby and juvenile bearded dragons can cause paralysis in the hind quarters and is usually fatal. It results from the pressure of the food ball on the spinal nerves. Bearded dragons have no discs in their spinal column and prolonged pressure can cause a break or bend in the joints. Therefore, do not overfeed the young lizards and do not give them insects that are too large.
    Respiratory Infection
    Signs of respiratory infection are gaping, noisy breathing, and mucus discharge from the nose and mouth. It is usually caused by low temperatures, high humidity, or both. You should keep your bearded dragon warm and at a relatively low humidity. See a veterinarian.
    Gastrointestinal Infections
    Signs of gastrointestinal infection are weight loss, lack of appetite, and foul smelling diarrhoea. See a veterinarian.
    Constipation can some times be dealt with by a good feed of greens or a nice warm bath.
    Fungal Infections
    Fungal infections are caused by a warm, damp environment. The infection occurs in a cut or scrape on your bearded dragon Use an anti-fungal ointment.
    Impaction is caused by a blockage in the dragons’ digestive tract, this can be caused by various things. Hard or too large food items, too low an enclosure temperature slowing down digestion, a warm bath can help get things going again. Seek Veterinary help.
    http://pets-lovers.com/blog/2010/04/bea ... -avoid-it/
    Egg Binding
    Can be caused by calcium deficiency, being under or overweight, or the bearded dragon can’t find a suitable egg site. Have a deep, soil substrate for your lizard to dig a nest. If egg binding is caused by a different reason, you will need to take the animal to the veterinarian. If your female stops eating for days and keeps running around the enclosure it maybe looking for a place to lay its eggs.
    Metabolic bone disease – there are a number of conditions that fall under this name but usually caused by imbalances of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, or vitamin D3 leading to bone problems that can be reversed in mild cases once the animal is treated. This is mostly caused by an inadequate or unbalanced diet and incorrect lighting,
    A website on the subject - http://www.anapsid.org/mbd.html
    Vets recommended by forum members for treating reptiles
    Auckland - Lynfield vets
    Palmerston North - Brett Gartrell at Massey University
    Wellington - Seaton Butler at Kelburn Vet Practise
    Christchurch - Shirley Vets in Marshlands Road, Hornby Vets specialise in Turtles and do other reps as well

    orange beardy.jpg
    A state of hibernation that worries most reptile keepers, some reptiles go into this when food supplies dwindle in the wild, at the onset of autumn or winter your lizard may refuse to eat for long periods of time, or become increasingly inactive and lethargic, how and where they brumate can be varied for different individual reptiles within a species. Brumation can last anything from one week to 4 or more months, during this period their metabolism slows right down and some may wake have a drink and go back to sleep again. Don’t try to force water or food on the reptile during this period and try to minimise disturbing it also, though a quick check to ensure it is alright is okay. Let your animal decide what it wants and needs, youngsters often times do not brumate the first year but adults do,, once they wake up they may take a couple of days to get back to their normal behaviour and eating.

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