A day after we picked up his new ‘beardie’, Luke (our 9 year-old son) decided to long-form it’s name from Toby to Tobias. He thought it sounded like a better, more sophisticated fit.
I say ‘it’ because apparently you don’t know if it is a guy or a gal until it hits puberty and then the reptile will get either two bulges — one on either side of the tail on the underside — or one bulge down the middle.
“Then”, Luke said, “I can change it to Tobina if I need to”.
We’ve never had a reptile or an amphibian so this is all new ground for us to discover. As previously mentioned, our neighbour’s son has these types of animals and between that reality and National Geographic Kids mags, Luke decided he wanted to get one of those creatures too.
After getting all the pamphlets, researching the care, flip-flopping between the pros and cons of geckos, chameleons and lizards, it was decided that a bearded dragon would be
the best fit for our family.
There was one beardie left out of all the pet stores we check out and Luke was determined to take it home. Having already named it while casually perusing the store, I knew that we would soon have Tobias (Toby) living in our home.
If you are looking (rather…if you are persuaded into owning one by a cute, eager, relentless under 10 year-old), here are a few things I can share of what I’ve learned about rearing a bearded dragon over the last few days:
- They are indeed very social. Toby LOVES hanging out with Luke. It doesn’t want to go back in it’s tank even. It loves snuggling and as you can see in the photo…prefers to nap in the caring hands of his attentive owner.
- They eat salad. I’ve learned that I’m supposed to give it a mix of kale or other certain greens, sweet potato, apples, bell peppers and berries, for example.
- They eat upwards of 10–20 crickets per day.
- It’s really fun to watch Tobias eat it’s cricket breakfast. Not only does our Morkie Daisy find it interesting, the circle of life display that happens when our beardie is hunting down the bugs is something I think many humans find intriguing…right?
- Apparently I should be feeding it water via syringe or dropper as the animals don’t get quite enough fluid via the salad alone and it won’t just drink from it’s water dish. Can anyone confirm this and how the heck do I do such a thing? I’ve tried putting the dropper near it’s mouth but Toby isn’t all that keen to take it that way. I’m not into prying it’s mouth open nor would that be nice so I’m stuck as to what I should do? Open to all suggestions! Thanks!
- I have to make the crickets look like Marv and the bag of cement incident from Home Alone 2. Yes, I need to take white calcium powder (which I haven’t learned why yet) and dust the crickets in them before they get put in the tank.
- Tobias really likes this braided rope hammock thing that suctions to the sides of the tank.
- Their poop is actually quite big…and white-ish.
- They don’t pee separately from their poop, it all comes out in one.
- You need to wash your hands after every interaction as they can spread salmonella.
- I’m not sure when I will need a bigger tank, not sure how to use the vitamin powder, I’m still unsure of how many crickets it should be getting and I don’t know how big it will grow.
- Lastly, they are truly really cute and we are all glad Toby is now part of our family.
Welp, there’s Newbie Bearded Dragon Rearing 101 for ya’…and if anyone has ideas about the water thing, I’m all ears!