Bearded Dragons: A Guide to Intelligent and Loveable Reptilian Companions
Bearded Dragons, also known as Beardies, are a species of lizard native to Australia. They inhabit desert and arid regions, where they primarily feed on insects and vegetation. While there are numerous species and subspecies of Bearded Dragons, it is the Central Bearded Dragon that is most commonly kept as a pet. Despite being illegal to export from Australia, millions of them are bred and traded legally as pets in countries all around the world. They are popular due to their low maintenance, ease of care, and tolerance of handling, while being difficult to injure. They are also known to be intelligent lizards. Although you cannot teach them tricks like playing fetch, training them to come on command or litter training them is possible.
About Bearded Dragons
Bearded Dragons have become one of the most popular pets worldwide, specifically, the most popular pet reptile or lizard. They are big enough to be easily handled and small enough to be easy to care for. While they can tolerate handling, it is important to note that a Bearded Dragon needs to get used to being picked up and handled to be comfortable with the process. They require live feeding, but most species only need to be fed insects such as roaches and mealworms. However, some do benefit from being fed pinkies (baby mice) as well, but they might not take frozen mice. Additionally, owners need to make sure that their Bearded Dragons have suitable living conditions, including providing appropriate heating, lighting, and a suitable enclosure.
Are Beardies Smart?
Beardies are considered social by reptilian standards. They do not only tolerate human company, they seem to seek it out. But, are they intelligent? Beardies are considered intelligent compared to other reptiles. They can learn patterns and routines, and even actions by watching other reptiles and mimicking their movements. They can learn to recognize individuals and react to stimuli such as positive and negative experiences, making them one of the more intelligent species of reptile. It is important to note that different Bearded Dragons have different levels of intelligence, and a study suggests that those exposed to higher temperatures after birth tend to be less intelligent than others.
How to Potty Train Your Bearded Dragon
It is possible to litter train a Bearded Dragon, although not all owners will have success with it. The following steps can help you litter train your Bearded Dragon and make it easier to keep its enclosure clean:
1. Identify the toilet spot: Observe your Beardie for a few days or a week to see where it prefers to poop regularly.
2. Lay Paper: After a week or so, add a piece of paper to the area where it poops regularly. You should find that it continues to poop on the paper.
3. Add a Litter Tray: After a couple of weeks, add a small litter tray where you placed the paper, but leave the paper in the tray. Don’t add anything else to the tray at this point.
4. Add Chips: After another two weeks, start adding some litter chips to the tray, but still leaving the paper at the bottom. Initially, the litter should not completely cover the paper. Gradually add more litter until it is entirely covered.
5. Gradually Move the Tray: Once the paper is completely covered, and your Beardie is still using the litter tray, you can remove the paper. At this point, you can also start moving the tray an inch or so every day until it is in the area of the enclosure you want it.
Do Bearded Dragons Know Their Owners?
Bearded Dragons usually recognize the voice and smell of their owner and react positively when they hear their voice or approach their enclosure. This is especially true as they associate their owner’s voice with being fed and receiving other treats.
Do Bearded Dragons Get Attached to Humans?
While Bearded Dragons do not become emotionally attached to their humans, they recognize them and associate them with positive actions.
Do Bearded Dragons Want Attention?
Bearded Dragons are happy spending time alone and require solitary time daily. However, some also enjoy spending time with their owners and may seek attention, approaching the enclosure door, waiting to be let out, or even trying to hop on their owners’ hands when they open the enclosure to put food in or change the water.
Is It Ok to Kiss Your Bearded Dragon?
While handling your Bearded Dragon, it is essential to take precautions. Wash your hands before and after handling, and avoid cuddling or kissing it, as they carry Salmonella and can make you sick. Even if you put your hands near your mouth after handling, it may be enough to transfer the bacteria if not appropriately cleaned.
Bearded Dragons make excellent pets, even for those who have never owned reptiles. They are relatively low maintenance, and they tolerate handling more than other reptile species. They are also known to be intelligent and can learn routines as well as hop on your hand and approach the door of its enclosure when they anticipate being fed. Many owners have reported success in potty training their pets. Bearded Dragons can recognize and associate their owners with positive actions, and although they do not become emotionally attached to them, they seek their attention and usually tolerate their handling.