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Thread: Pygmy dragon or bearded dragon?
Pygmy dragon or bearded dragon?
We've decided that we want to get a dragon, just not sure about which sort. Is there much difference between pygmys and bearded dragons? Apart from size obviously. And also, I'd like to get 2, do they live well together?
ve done alot of reseach in the hope to get my two pygmies very soon, I found a general caresheet for whichever one you decide to buy.
Can I just say though, Pymies would be my choice as they are somewhat more docile, smaller (taking up muchless space) and have littler poops and feeding costs that easterns/centrals.
There are three types of bearded dragons commonly kept by enthusiasts in Australia; the Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona Barbata), the Pygmy Bearded Dragon (P. henrylawsoni) and the Central(inland/western) Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) - also known as the 'Centralian' . The Eastern Bearded Dragon occurs along the length of the Great Dividing Range and is replaced in more arid areas by the Central Bearded Dragon. Pygmy Bearded Dragons are native to the black soil plains of Central Queensland.
Bearded dragons are terrestrial, sun-loving species and it is not uncommon to see them basking on the road side, on fence posts or logs. Of all the reptiles commonly kept, bearded dragons are amongst the most popular, due to their availability and relative ease of care.
Bearded dragons are named for the distinctive flap of skin which lies below their jaw. When threatened, these lizards assume a defensive posture, opening their mouths and pushing their throat skin forward to make this 'beard'. This, combined with the strong spikes which line the lizard's throat and the side of its body serve as a deterrent to would-be predators.
Of the three species, the pygmy dragon's beard is less pronounced. Measuring 10 -15 cm from head to vent (the anus), it is roughly half the size of the central and eastern bearded dragons (each of which can grow up to 30 cm from head to vent). The tail of each of these species is about the same length as their body. Thus the larger lizards may grow as long as 60 cm. Compared to the pygmy bearded dragon, the head of the central and eastern bearded dragon is much broader in relation to its body.
All three are predominantly grey in colour with some variation towards orange, fawn, brown and black. This variation is largely dependant on locality, temperature, and in the case of the central and eastern bearded dragons, selective breeding. Bearded dragons regulate their body temperature through subtle changes in shades of colour, from light to dark; becoming darker in cooler weather and vice-versa. Colour change can also depend on emotional state, with colouration becoming more obvious when startled or in an aggressive posture. Selective breeding, especially amongst United States based herpetologists, has influenced colour variation such that distinctive oranges, blues, reds, apricot and tiger stripes are apparent in the central bearded dragons and white is known to occur in the eastern bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons are pretty docile and gentle animals, especially the centralian and pygmy. All three species will however be flighty and wary of handling unless they are hand raised and treated with care. Be mindful of open doors, windows or other pets if you choose to let you lizard roam the room.
Dragons are omnivores, and as such, will take a wide variety of foods. The size of the food should be no larger than the space between the dragon's eye-sockets, as too large a portion can cause impaction and may be fatal.
Bearded dragons should have their food supplemented with calcium and vitamin D powder. This can easily be added to minced meat, canned dog food or other such food, or sprinkled on their meals. If using just calcium powder, the dragons must be exposed to adequate UV light for the calcium to metabolise.
Some of the items dragons enjoy include: crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, worms, snails, pet mince, clover, lettuce (this is best chopped, not ‘iceberg’ lettuce) bananas, clover. Also try green beans, peas, carrots, corn and broccoli. Commercially bred, live wood cockroaches called 'woodies' are available at many pet stores catering for reptiles or ordered online. Live crickets are also commercially available in different sizes. Both cockroaches and crickets cost about $6.50 per container.
Dragons like to drink water which is running down their faces in preference to that in a bowl, so you may need to mist them quite often. They also like to run through shallow water. Approximately 2-3 cm deep should be sufficient. They are also good swimmers, and enjoy diving in and sitting underwater if put out to play near a fish pond.
Hygiene is a critically important factor when keeping bearded dragons. It is very important to ensure that food and water are clean and not soiled by faeces and detritus. Provide clean water daily. Bearded dragons, like most lizards, will naturally drink from water droplets or dew.
One of the most common problems associated with bearded dragons is parasitic mites. The mites resemble very small black dots and if allowed to grow to large numbers, will cause the lizard enough distress and possible blood loss that it may become susceptible to other diseases. A product called ‘top of decent’ can be used and is safe to use while the animal is in the enclosure after the water bowl has been removed.
Around 8 -15 years. As the young bearded dragon grows, it will shed constantly. Once reaching maturity, the bearded dragon will shed every six to eight weeks. Shedding skin is lost in flakes rather than one long sleeve, as with snakes. In their natural environment, bearded dragons will enter a state of brumation during the colder months. Pet dragons will also slow down over these colder months, but possibly not to the same extent, depending on provision of heating lamps and food. Body fat is the primary source of energy at this time and the lizard may still go off its food. It is important to provide a secluded place for the lizard to rest.
Depending on species and age, bearded dragons will cost from $50 up to $200. Pygmy bearded dragons are most expensive, though strong colour variations could fetch up to $400. Enclosure set-up, including heating lamps, UV lights, thermostats, thermometers, shelter, ornaments and surface material can cost up to $300 to start.
Breeding and maintenance
One reason for their popularity is the relative ease of breeding. Bearded dragons settle well into their environment, producing eggs and sperm during the colder months. During the warmer months, when the lizards become sexually active, females may lay a batch of eggs every four weeks, ranging from seven to 21 eggs. Once laid, remove the eggs to a specially prepared incubator. Hatching rates may be as high as 100%. Once hatched, the babies are totally independent and can be fed straight away.
Bearded dragons are a relatively low maintenance animal. Although you need to change their water and remove faeces and damp surface material daily, this is a quick and simple process taking very little time. Feed regularly and just enjoy their company.
Environment and space
Bearded dragons can be housed in a variety of enclosures as long as their basic requirements are met. All glass aquaria with wire tops are commonly used and are inexpensive to obtain. Custom built enclosures are also very popular and can be sized appropriately.
Initially a relatively bare enclosure is preferred, either glass aquarium or large plastic enclosure. A screen cover is recommended, primarily to protect the lizard from children and / or other pets. Within the first year the dragon will grow to almost its full length. As adults, a 3ft tank (or larger) is preferable, especially if two or more animals are to be housed together. As adults bearded dragons love to climb branches and bask, be sure if several animals are housed in one large enclosure to provide multiple basking sites. They also benefit from having hiding spots. Females especially appreciate having a safe place to escape from the male's attentions during breeding season.
Cage furnishings should include perching logs and branches to climb on, bask on and sleep on at night. They will also spend a lot of their time on the ground, so provide suitable hiding places such as pieces of bark. Substrates that can used include: course sand, gravel, paper type kitty litter, marine carpet, newspaper or clay kitty litter for ease of cleaning.As with other reptiles, bearded dragons are cold blooded animals and require heat to digest their food. Dragons require heating during the day with an overhead spotlight globe providing a basking area. It is very important to position the lamp at one end of vivarium to obtain a temperature gradient with a hot spot of about 35°C. The dragons can then seek a cooler area at the other end of the cage when they need to. A heat mat can be used for heating at night as the light globe will disturb their sleep or alternatively a red or ceramic spot globe can be used for day and night heating..
Exposure to natural sunlight, whenever possible is beneficial as ultra violet light is very important for calcium absorbtion. Make sure the enclosure you provide outside for your bearded dragon allows for good ventilation so that the animal is not overheated while being exposed to sunlight. You should also provide a shade area inside the enclosure. Ideally exposure to the sun should be three times weekly with a minimum of thirty minutes each exposure.
Indoor enclosures should have a high quality full spectrum (10) UV light. These full spectrum lights have a limited life of approx 3-6 mths, so need to be changed a few times a year. These should be placed near the heat source where the dragon spends most of its time basking.
This equipment can be purchased from either pet shops or online which is usually cheaper. I find going to a pet shop and finding out what you need then ordering it online is cheaper.
Simple Setup for Bearded Dragons using a Fish Tank.
Below is a drawing of a simple setup using a fish tank.
· Fish tank (2-3ft)
· Fish tank fluorescent light holder + UV fluro tube.
· Heat mat or heat cord.
· Spot light
- UV light: Fish tank fluro light holder (the type that stretches across the top of the tank). The fluro tube (globe) should be one suitable for bearded dragons with all UVA & UVB spectrum. You can also buy UV lights similar to ‘energy saver’ globes which have a screw fitting so you will need a suitable fitting for these. If you use these smaller energy saver globes, they must be positioned near the heat lamp where the dragon spends most of its time. The most important thing to remember is that these fluros don’t give off much heat therefore they can stay on even when the heating has been switched off by the thermostat.
- Heat Mat: This is mainly for night time heat when the spotlight is switched off. Position it under one end of the tank, shouldn’t take up more than a quarter of the tank base. The tank can be raised up on timber legs or styrene pieces to allow the mat to slip under, depending on the type. Heat cord can also be used, just curl it up under the base. Low wattage is probably all you will need. From $20 depending on size and wattage. Night heat isn't mandatory especially if the dragons are older and are kept inside.
- Spotlight: This only needs to be a standard light to supply heat during the day. A spot light will direct the heat better than a standard light globe. It only needs to be a table lamp or small spotlight that clips or screws onto the side of the tank or sits on top of the tank (if the tank has a fly screen lid). These can be purchased from Ikea relatively cheaply. $10-$20 each.
- Thermostat: This is an essential piece of equipment to keep the temperature constant in the enclosure. Plug the spotlight and the heat matt into it (use a double adaptor). Just plug the spotlight into a timer so it only comes on during the day. $60-$120 depending on brand/model.
A fly screen lid can be purchased but is not essential to keep your dragon in as long as no cage decorations allow them to climb near the top. Don’t use glass lids, these don’t allow enough air circulation and UV light doesn’t penetrate glass to full strength.
Placement of decorations.
- Plant: Can be purchased from $2 shops etc (plastic). Or a live plant as long as it’s not poisonous, the lizards will eat it. Sometimes they like to sit out of the direct light but still near the heat.
- Rock: Place a rock or something they can climb onto under the spotlight. They like being up high. A rock will also heat up.
- Water: Place near cage centre so they don’t have to go too far to find it.
- Branch: Place across the cage with high end near the heater. They like climbing and sitting above the ground. They will also sit/sleep on branches placed vertically.
Leave the unheated end free of clutter so they can be fed without the food hiding under decorations.
This has been written as a guide only and should be tailored to your needs. This method has been tried and used by us as per our observations after years of breeding and raising these dragons.
Enjoy your bearded dragon!Some cats are like slinkies, Not good for much but bring a smile to you face when pushed down the stairs.
CENTRAL, CENTRAL, CENTRAL!!!!!!
I just bought my third and fourth central bearded dragon hatching and all of my four( i have two older ones as well) have their own little personalities, watching what you do and i don't think that i could have got more friendly and docile animals. They are great, mine will sit with me for hours and hours while doing homework or watching tv. i highly recommend them to any one who wants to own reptiles
- 23-Apr-12, 11:34 AM #4
pygmy!! i have 2 pogona henrylawsoni that live with a central netted dragon in a 3 foot tank. they have so much personality, are fairly easy to look after, and you can keep a few of them in a much smaller space than you need for a few centrals or easterns.1 Diamond Python (Heidi), 1 Darwin Carpet Python (Blaze), 3 Children's Pythons (Charlie, Eleanor & Boo Radley), 3 Black Soil Dragons (Icarus, Calypso & Rocket), 2 Central Netted Dragons (Triton & Sally), and 1 Corgidor (Bonnie).
Both are great. I chose a Downs Bearded Dragon (henrylawsoni) as I wanted my girl to have a bit more room in a 3ft tank as opposed to a central which grow bigger.
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