Holli Friedland: I am Holli Friedland, Program Director at the Mid-Atlantic Reptile Show and this is How to Care for a Bearded Dragon. Now we are going to talk about how to choose, if a Bearded Dragon is the right pet for you.
When you get one from a breeder, which is recommended, you probably get a baby bearded dragon, they are about this big. And if you are looking at adults or a baby, you want to look and see that their eyes are bright and not crusty. That their mouth doesn't have anything stuck on it or they are not sitting with their mouth hanging open. That they have all their toes and their tail because a lot of times, when they are babies they are kept in groups and they'll mistake a wiggling tail for food and they'll bite each others tails or toes off, so you want to try to find one that's completely intact.
Bearded dragons make good pets because they are very dorsal, they are easy to handle and they are hardy. They live about 15 years and so if you get one as a pet you have to think about what you are going to do in the next 15 years and if it's going to fit into lifestyle. You should also get a book and read about them and get the cage setup before you actually get the animal and just know what you are getting into before you get it. And sexing bearded dragons is pretty easy when they are adults. Underneath, on their legs, they have bumps and they are called femoral pores and if they have these bumps, they are generally a male. Also when you hold them upside down their tail will have a lump right here, if they are males. So if they have the femoral pores which are right here and the bulge on the tail, that's generally a male. When they are babies it's pretty much impossible to sex them.
Bearded dragons come from Australia, in warm areas of Australia. They live in areas where there are a lot of places for them to sit out in the sun and they like to sit almost vertically in the sun. When you keep the bearded dragon, you need to keep it really warm because in Australia, where they come from, they don't hibernate, they stay warm all year round. They live in areas with sandy soil and their color pretty much matches the habitat where they live. So they have a sandy color, like their habitat. Bearded dragons are omnivores and that means that they eat everything, they eat vegetables, they eat berries, they eat insects and some of them will even eat small mammals like baby mice. So when you feed them, the best thing to do is give them a varied diet which matches their diet in the wild and that's how to decide that if the Bearded Dragon is the right pet for you. Next we will talk about setting up the enclosure for a bearded dragon.