Bearded dragons are quickly becoming one of the most sought after pet lizards available today. When making the decision to buy a bearded dragon as your own pet, there are a few things you must consider. Here are a few tips on how to buy a healthy bearded dragon.
Although you can find juvenile and adult bearded dragons for sale most of the time, babies are what you find for sale from most breeders or pet stores.
Babies are typically three to five inches long, including the tail. When selecting a baby bearded dragon, make sure it is at least four to six weeks old, and eats insect and vegetables regularly.
One of those decisions is buying a healthy bearded dragon. It is extremely important to buy a healthy specimen right off the bat. Buying a sick, or unhealthy, bearded dragon can end up being a frustrating and sometimes expensive endeavor in the long run.
It is also important to have your new bearded dragon’s housing completely set up and functional before bringing it home. Make sure all lighting, heating and habitat furnishings are in place and operational.
Also, have a supply of food on hand so that you can begin offering foods as needed.
Here’s what you need to know to make sure you are buying a healthy bearded dragon.
Observe The Pet Store
The most common place for most people to buy a bearded dragon is the local pet store. When arriving at the pet store, observe the cleanliness of the store itself. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Is the store clean, neat, and orderly?
- Are the pet cages and tanks clean and well-maintained?
- Do the pets offered look healthy and well-presented?
You want to make sure that the pet store takes care of the pets they offer. Many times a dirty, unorganized, and eyesore-looking pet store can be a sign that the pets they offer are sub-standard.
If the store itself is not taken care of it’s a good sign the pets aren’t taken care of properly either.
Observe the Bearded Dragon Habitat
Once you come to the bearded dragons that the store has for sale, immediately observe the habitat. Again, ask yourself a few questions:
- Is the enclosure in good shape?
- Is it clean and well maintained?
- Are there too many bearded dragons kept in one habitat?
- Is the habitat have feces laying everywhere?
- Is there food offered?
The habitat should be clean and well maintained. There should be clean substrate and no feces left sitting around, and there should be food offered to the bearded dragons.
It is important that the pet store does not have too many bearded dragons crammed into one enclosure. If there are 15 babies in a 10-gallon enclosure, then it’s way over-populated.
Generally, if the habitat looks like its being taken care of then most times the pets offered will be healthy.
Observe The Bearded Dragon Itself
Once you have found a bearded dragon you like, take a few minutes to closely observe him. Ask yourself some questions:
- Is the bearded dragon active and alert?
- Does it appear plump and look like it has been eating?
- Do the eyes appear clear and alert?
- Does it react to any movement outside the enclosure?
When observing the bearded dragon you like it is important to pay attention to its behavior. You want a bearded dragon that is active, alert and acts “chipper”. Avoid one that is sluggish, lethargic, and puny.
Signs of a Healthy Bearded Dragon
- Good appetite for both insects and vegetables
- Eyes are alert and clear
- Normal coloration
- Good skin texture with no lumps or lacerations
- Clean anal region
- Healthy mouth and jaw
- Complete tail
- Has all five toes, with claws, on each foot
Once you have found one that meets your criteria, ask someone at the pet store to take him out of the enclosure so you can have a closer look.
Take a look at the eyes, they should be clear and move around. The bearded dragon should be checking out you and its surroundings. It should act lively and not lifeless.
Check to make sure there’s no crust around the eyes or mouth, and that the jaw is in good shape, not sagging.
Make sure it has all its toes (five toes on each foot) and claws, and that the tail is complete.
Check the skin to make sure there are no lumps or lacerations.
Flip the bearded dragon over and check the belly. It should be whitish in color. Also, check the anal region, it should be clean and have no fecal residues stuck to it.
If the specimen you picked out meets all of your requirements, you have chosen a healthy bearded dragon!