How to look after a Bearded Dragon

How to look after a Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are very easy to look after providing you have the right set up for them to live in.
Here are some simple tips for looking after a bearded dragon that has worked well to keep ours healthy at PB Animal Adventures.
These are the questions we often get asked by our customers when at birthday parties and other events.

 

 

How big do bearded dragons get?
Bearded dragons generally grow between 40 to 60cms in length.
How long do they live?

With good care bearded dragons can live for up to 6 – 10 years in captivity.
Do bearded dragons mind being handled?

With regular handling bearded dragons become accustomed to their owner. Our bearded dragon will sit on any of our handlers for a long time quite contently while we are on the computers etc.
What type of housing does the bearded dragon need?

This very much depends on how many you get. We don’t advise two male beardys live together as they can fight, so if you want more than one a male and female would be suggested.

Most recommend a vivarium with a minimum size of 4ft x 2ft x 2ft for one bearded dragon. It would be suggested the more space the better and if you have more than one you will definitely need a bigger vivarium than that.

Bearded dragons like a place to hide and places to climb, so you will need to provide both in the vivarium also.

You can also decorate with plastic plants to make the vivarium more attractive.

We use beach chip substrate as it is easy to identify any unwanted mess (poo) to remove it and does no harm to the beardy.

Vinnie blog

 

How do I keep my Bearded Dragon warm?

Bearded Dragons are not able to maintain their own body temperature so we have to help them with this in captivity.
It is important to provide a heated part of the vivarium and a cooler part, to enable the bearded dragon to choose what it wants.
We use a basking lamp on a thermostat linked to a temperature gage that sits within the vivarium to maintain a good temperature.
Most people recommend a temperature of around 45°c for the basking area and around 30°c for the cooler end of the vivarium.
Night time temperatures should be around 26°c.

 

What lighting will I need?

Bearded dragons require UV light and therefore you will need a UV light in the vivarium. These need to be changed every 6-8 months as although the light still works the UV coming from the light dulls over time.
The UV light is really important to help prevent metabolic bone disease.

 

How do I provide water to my bearded dragon?

It is important to provide your dragon with fresh water every day, in a shallow bowl. Although bearded dragons are from arid regions of Australia they are prone to dehydration. To prevent this, it is important to spray your dragon with water as this is how they would normally drink in the wild. You can also give a warm water bath once or twice weekly/as required. Don’t spray your beardy more than once a day as this will raise the humidity and can cause respiratory problems.

 

What do I feed my bearded dragon?

Juvenile beardys under a year old require more protein so their diet will consist of around 80% bugs and insects such a crickets, locusts, meal worms and grubs (As a treat) and 20% leafy greens / salads. Adult beardys require the opposite of 20% bugs and insects and 80% leafy greens / salads.
We use regular supplements of vitamin/mineral to help prevent metabolic bone disease.

http://www.backwaterreptiles.com/images/feeders/feeder-crickets-for-sale.jpg
What happens when bearded dragons shed?

Bearded dragons shed several times throughout the year. This will be noticed when the scales on the beardy become greyish.
Although it is tempting, you must not peel the skin of for the beardy as this could do damage to the new skin that is forming.
Shedding can be irritating for the bearded dragon so as you can imagine they can become a bit grumpy and may go off their food during this time.
You can help your beardy by bathing them in water as this not only helps them to feel better but helps the skin to come off of its own accord.

http://www.uvguide.co.uk/images/beardeddragonshedding.jpg

 

So there we are our suggestions on how to keep a Bearded Dragon. We hope this has been helpful to you. If you decide keeping a pet isn’t suitable right now why not book an encounter with our animals at PB Animal Adventures.

How to look after a Redfoot tortoise

How to look after a Redfoot tortoise

Red Foot Tortoises are the more curious personalities of the various types of tortoise and are a joy to keep as pets.
They do however require proper housing to meet their needs and a good stable diet.
It is important to do your research before deciding if the Red Foot tortoise is the right pet for you, so we at PB Animal Adventures would like to offer you our advice on this to help you out by answering the most frequently asked questions we have from our customers that book us for birthday parties etc.

Tortoises

How big do Red Foot Tortoises get?
They tend to grow to about 12-18” which is approximately the size of a dinner plate.

 

How long do they live?
Red Foot Tortoise can live for up to 50 years, if not a bit longer in captivity.

 

How can you tell the difference between a male and a female?
Females have much shorter tails and the males have a concave plastron. Red Foot Tortoises can’t be sexed until they reach 6-7” as it can be difficult to do this accurately before they reach this size.
Check out the picture below so you can see visually what we are talking about.

refoot_tortoise_sexing

 

What type of housing is best for my tortoise?
Most people recommend a vivarium so that the humidity can be easily maintained.
The most recommended size of vivarium is (48″x24″x24″) as this enable the tortoise enough room to explore and move around. We often have the tortoises out exploring our HQ to enable them to be stimulated and exercise providing it’s not too cold in the office.
The tortoise should have a shallow water bowel for them to maintain hydration. (Must be shallow to prevent them from drowning).
There should be a UVB light which synthesises sun rays and therefore Vitamin D, enabling the tortoises to metabolise calcium (helping them to grow). Without the UVB light the tortoise will develop serious disease problems. The bulb needs changing every 6-8 months, as although they look like they are doing their job, the UV is less effective after this time.
Tortoises like to have shelter in their vivarium so they have a place to hide and relax. There are lots of inventive ways you can do this; we use bricks as you can see in the photo below as the tortoises can’t move them as they are too heavy.

Set Up

 

What humidity would is best for my tortoise?
Redfoot tortoises come from South America with their habitats being anything from grasslands to humid rainforests.
When we first got our Red Foot Tortoises we found lots of conflicting advice about the humidity levels and housing for them on the internet and from vets we asked.
The best advice we can give you is try the basic recommendations that are about to follow and adapt them to what your tortoise responds to better, meaning remaining healthy and active. This has worked well for us and we have really healthy tortoises.
Most people recommend a vivarium so that the humidity can be controlled with a bit more ease. Most also recommend a humidity level of 70-80% which can be measured with a hydrometer.
We found that a couple of shallow water bowls and a spray of the enclosure 2-3 times a week maintain the humidity well.
It is important to ensure you don’t go overboard with trying to keep the vivarium humid as this can cause the tortoise respiratory problems.

 

What Substrate do we use?

We use orchid bark as we find this helps with the humidity and is easy to keep clean.

 

What temperature should I keep my Red Foot Tortoises Vivarium?
We use a basking lamp on a thermostat linked to a temperature gauge that sits within the vivarium to maintain a good temperature. The Vivarium should be big enough to enable the tortoise to choose to warm itself in the warm end where the basking lamp is or the cooler end.
It is recommended that during the day the temperature is maintained at 29-32 °c and at night around 20 – 27°c. The thermostat will help you achieve this with ease.

We also have a thermometer at each end of the vivarium as a back up to gauge the temperature just in case the thermostat is not working correctly.

Thermometer

What do I feed a Red Foot Tortoise?
Red Foot Tortoises like any other animal like a variety of foods and will get bored if fed the same old things all of the time.
Red foot tortoises are omnivorous and will occasionally feed on small animals such as mice, rats and chicks (Usually found dead on the ground their travels). They eat vegetables including dandelion, clover, honeysuckle, leafy salads, watercress, brussel tops, spring greens, coriander, parsley, rocket, carrot, parsnip, courgette, peppers. They eat non-citric fruits such as papaya, mango, apples, strawberries, blackberries, cactus fruit and tomatoes. Ones to avoid include cabbage, spinach, onion, tomato, buttercup, citric fruits and iceberg lettuce. Also dust the vegetables with Nutrobal before putting them in a food dish.
Tortoise pellet foods can be used as a treat for your tortoise; however we would not recommend this as a regular substitution for fresh foods.

We also use a cuttlefish bone as another source of calcium and also helps their mouths.

Does a Red Foot Tortoise need to hibernate?
The simple answer is no.
Red foot tortoises are one of the few types of tortoise that do not need to hibernate.

 

Where do I buy my tortoise from?
There are many reputable breeders around the UK that will ensure you are sold tortoises that are captive bred and not wild caught, come with the correct documentation needed, ensure all perspective owners are ready to receive their tortoises and offer you good advice on how to look after your tortoise.
WARNING – A reputable breeder will NOT send you tortoises via a carrier as this is not ethical.