Bearded dragons are native reptiles found in the deserts of Australia. They have been transported into the United States in the 1990s. It is now one of the most popular pet reptile in the United States.
Body length: 40-50 cm
It is a diurnal and terrestrial animal that spends much of the day taking the sun to warm up.
How should I keep it?
The size of the terrarium must be proportional to the size of the animal and wider than it is high. It is advisable to put some trunks and pines so you can sunbathe and hide.
Like all reptiles, pogona are ectothermic animals; they can not regulate the temperature of their body and they depend on the external temperature. For this reason, it is necessary to condition the terrarium so that we can offer a temperature gradient of 26-32ºC during the day and 18-22ºC at night. It is also essential for them the ultraviolet radiation (UVB) that gives them the sun because with it they can correctly calcify their bones. So it would be interesting to have a terrarium outdoors during the hot months and, if it is not possible and during the cold months, we will have to offer this radiation in an artificial way with UVB radiation fluorescents special for reptiles or with light bulbs. mercury vapor. It is important to remember that the fluorescent lamp should be changed every 6-8 months even if it continues to give light and that both can not be protected by any plastic or glass.
As substrate for the terrarium we can choose some smooth material like newspaper that, although it is not very aesthetic, is very hygienic or some commercial substrate considering that the size of the particle must be large enough so that the animal does not It can be swallowed or small enough so that it can travel through the digestive tract without causing retentions or obstructions.
It is convenient that they have a container with water inside the terrarium so they can drink and soak. In addition, it is good management practice to bathe the pogona routinely 1-2 times a week in a bowl of warm water for 20-30 minutes. With this we will get the animal to hydrate and stimulate the motility of its intestinal transit.
Pogona are mainly insectivorous animals, so the basis of their diet will be insects such as crickets, locusts, cockroaches, grasshoppers, mealworms, worms of honey … Worms should always be offered in moderation because they have too much fat. It is also very good to provide them with mice, fruits and vegetables. Because most insects have a very unbalanced ratio of calcium phosphorus in favor of phosphorus, it is recommended to add a calcium supplement in food 2-3 times per week.
Do you have to vaccinate or deworm?
There is no vaccine for pogona, however, it is highly recommended to deworm them once a year against internal parasites. It is best to do a coprological examination (of excrement) and determine which parasites have to be able to provide the most correct treatment.
They can also have external parasites such as mites or ticks. In this case it is only necessary to deworm if the animal is infected. Mites are usually taken from the trunks that are put to decorate the terrarium, so it is advisable to always buy the trunks in specialized stores and not to acquire them from nature. Even so, it is better to wash them well with water and bleach before introducing them into the terrarium.
Can a disease happen to me?
Reptiles can be carriers of some bacteria and parasites that can pass to people without the animal showing signs of disease. The most important and known disease is Salmonellosis. Young children, older people and those who are very immunocompromised are more at risk of infection. If there are people at risk in contact with the animal, an analysis can be performed to confirm or rule out the presence of this microorganism. If yes, we can establish a treatment to eliminate the bacteria.
In any case, with normal hygiene the possibilities of contagion are minimized; we should wash our hands after handling the animal, we should not let it walk around the kitchen or places where food is prepared and throw the cleaning water from the terrarium and the animal’s feces into the water. We should not kiss the reptile and periodically disinfect the terrarium with water and bleach.