Have you been hunting for a pet that is your soul animal? Did you check out innumerable pet stores and websites in a bid to know which one it is and Voila! You realize one day that the bearded dragon is the one that is for you!
More and more people have the penchant for the most exotic pet!
With an increasing number of people rearing reptiles and having them as pets, it has become so much easier for you to know everything that you want to know. We’ve figured out that this is one of the primary ways pet owners around the world learn how to take the best care of their pets and also get support from a community of likeminded people.
A little about the reptile first:
Pogona that is commonly referred to as the Bearded Dragon belongs to a genus of reptiles that consists of eight lizards in all. Some zoologists think that Pogona Henrylawsoni or the popularly called Rankins is more popular than Pogona vitticeps. However, Rankins and Pogona Vitticeps are now commonly interbred to have a very hardy quality of pet called the Vittikins.
Vittikins are popular and often in demand at pet stores. Breeders who regularly cross the two breeds are often overwhelmed with the number of requests they get for such crossbreeds in a year. One thing is sure and that is that they are sure, not complaining!!
Now coming back to the list, here are the names of the eight lizards in the genus Pogona:
- Pogona Vitticeps
- Pogona Barbata
- Pogona microlepidota
- Pogona Minima
- Pogona Mino
- Pogona Mitchelli
- Pogona Nullarbor
- Pogona Henrylawsoni or Rankins
Of the eight, the Central Bearded Dragon or the Pogona Vitticeps is the one that people keep as pets and is exhibited in zoos. The lizards have a hardy nature and are easy to care when they are compared to other exotic reptiles.
The Singapore Zoo has them roaming in the open. Visitors to the zoo remember seeing them wading in and out of bushes art will. Some are casually seen basking on large rocks where they are also fed and looked after by the dedicated staff.
Most of the Pogonas are more or less the same. They are all very easy to maintain but do not mistake that for low maintenance. A mid-size or a fully grown adult will need to be fed a balanced diet of leaves and live insects.
A growing-up Pogona needs to feed on a lot of proteins and a major part of their diet will consist of feeding them with live insects. If you are someone that freaks out at that, wait till you adopt a cute little beardie and then your fear and reservation of handling live worms will go flying out of the window!
How big will your bearded dragon grow?
We know how exciting it is to have a big lizard crawling up and down on you; one that you can show off to your friends. In the wild bearded dragons grow up to a maximum of 60 centimeters or 24 inches and females grown up to 51 centimeters or 20 inches at the most.
However, in captivity, male bearded dragons do not grow longer than 18 to 22 inches. Very rarely would you find an adult bearded dragon that is close to 24 inches in length.
Why is there so much difference in sizes in wild and captivity?
It is understood that there is some difference in the sizes between the captive Pogona and the wild ones. The difference is largely due to inbreeding of species by those folks that are involved in their husbandry. The intention ins never to make them smaller than what they are in the wild.
It may sound contradictory to common sense that bearded dragons that are bred solely for the purpose of becoming pets or zoo exhibits are less hardy than their counterparts in the wild.
So is captivity making them less immune or reducing their life in years?
Fortunately, this is not the case.
A bearded dragon that lives in wild habitat survives anywhere between 3 and 5 years and in captivity, it is healthy and kicking on an average 7 to 10 years! The allowance of almost five years on the highest side of the spectrum is because breeders are inter alia looking for more and more advanced ways of taking better care of them.
Putting such care into practice translates into more number of years for the cute beardie’!
How to measure the bearded dragon:
The measurement of the length of the bearded dragon is from tip to tip. Therefore, when you attempt to measure your pet, you must begin from the tip of its triangular head right down to the last part of its tail.
For the convenience of the breeders and pet owners, the bearded dragon’s life cycle has been divided into 4 major groups
- 0 to 2 months – they are called hatchlings
- 2 to 7 months – also called as juveniles
- 7 to 18 months – sub adults
- Above 18 months adults
By the time your bearded dragon has reached a year and a few months, it may have reached its maximum adult size. This is the time that you can safely measure your pet and then broadcast to the whole world how wonderfully lucky you are to be the proud owner of the world’s cutest pet bearded dragon. The magic is palpable! You must try.
Ah, and we almost forgot to let you on some fun facts on our favorite coochy-coo beardie:
No matter what age, a bearded dragon’s tail will make up exactly half of its body measurement! Whoa!!
Did you know that the average age of a bearded dragon can be approximately measured using its length as a parameter? It is the easiest way to approximate its age and to determine the time that it will reach its sexual maturity. A breeder is the next best person if you are confused about the age of your pet.