How fun would it be to be able to tell people that you had your very own live dragon?
That has been my thought every time I’ve found a pet store that sells bearded dragons, so I did a little reading to see how viable an option they might be. Sadly, it looks like I won’t be able to fit a dragon into my life any time soon, but I’ve noted a few pros and cons in case you’ve ever wondered the same thing.
- The temperament: Beardies, as many affectionately call them, sound like they’re pretty relaxed animals. They like to climb, but they’re not particularly active and will sit still when you hold them. As a general rule, they won’t bite, scratch, or slap you with their tail like other lizards do.
- The hand-waving: I learned something new in my reading—bearded dragons will actually move their front legs as though they’re waving their arms. Nobody has figured out exactly what their wave means, but it looks like the human greeting. Now I really want to see this happen!
- The dragon factor: Lizards are neat, and fierce-looking buddies like these little Australians would be fun to have around. And even though they don’t breathe fire or fly, they’re still dragons and can still impress people.
- The space: Bearded dragons can grow up to two feet long, and require an aquarium up to 60 gallons or six feet long. I know that I won’t have that kind of space in the near future, and I’m wondering how many people easily do.
- The money: If you want your own beardie, you’ll need to pay for the aquarium, the light, the heater, the substrate (bedding), other cage supplies, and up to ten years’ worth of fresh food—ranging from veggies to live insects. For a pet that doesn’t do much besides eat, sleep, and look impressive, that quickly becomes a big commitment.
- The upkeep: Speaking of big commitments, these lizards cost more than the money. Bearded dragons take time and effort, too. You need to keep the cage clean of waste, leftover food, and uneaten crickets. You need to make sure the right balance of food is purchased, prepared, and given to your pet, and you need to make sure lights and heaters keep your beardie happy, healthy, and warm enough.
In short: Bearded dragons sound like they make calm, relaxed pets, but are a big commitment in terms of time, space and money.
Have you ever owned a beardie or known anybody who owned one? Do dragons really make good pets, or should people stick with furry friends? For all the reading I just did, I still don’t pretend to know much about them, and I would still love to learn more.