Many people who are interested in owning a bearded dragon may hear many reasons why not to own one as a pet.
There are a bunch of common myths of owning a bearded dragon; some true, some not so true.
Here are seven common myths you may hear about pertaining to owning a bearded dragon.
Bearded Dragons are Smelly
Most pets will begin emitting a foul odor if you do not properly take care of its hygiene and use sanitary practices while raising the animal.
If you neglect to clean out the bearded dragon’s habitat, then yes, it will begin to smell.
All in all, if you keep the enclosure clean, remove fecal matter and left over food pieces, and use common sense when it comes to good husbandry practices, the bearded dragon, and its habitat, will not smell.
As a matter of fact, you will never even notice a smell at all.
Bearded Dragons Carry Diseases
It’s true that some diseases, such as salmonella, can be contracted from bearded dragons and other reptiles. But do not fret, the chances of you becoming ill from a bearded dragon are very slim.
The salmonella bacteria is generally spread through the fecal matter of the bearded dragon.
Imagine this – You are cleaning out your bearded dragon’s home, removing fecal matter. During this time you use your hand and wipe across your nose or mouth.
If the poo contains the salmonella bacteria, it gets on your hand while removing the poo, then gets inside your nose or mouth, you could inadvertently become ill. It’s not particularly a guarantee that you will get sick, but you could get sick. There is a small chance.
The majority of people who have become ill due to salmonella contracted from a reptile most likely got it because they did not use good hygiene and sanitary practices.
ALWAYS thoroughly wash your hands with a good anti-bacterial soap after cleaning the habitat, and any time after handling the bearded dragon. Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, eyes or nostrils, while holding your pet or after touching anything within its home.
As long as you follow good personal hygiene and keep your pet’s home clean you will not have anything to worry about.
Bearded Dragons are Expensive to Keep
As with any pet, there are some costs associated with owning a bearded dragon, but they are much cheaper than a dog or cat.
As a matter of fact, a reptile pet is probably one of the cheapest pets to maintain over the long term.
The largest bulk of the expenses will come initially when purchasing a suitable enclosure, lighting, substrate, and other necessities. Once you have those things covered, there are just routine expenses like food and supplements, but these items are just a few dollars a week at most.
The only other large expense will be routine veterinarian visits and check-ups. Feeding your pet the right foods in the right amounts, and taking good care of it will help tremendously towards these expenses.
There are many things you can do to help reduce costs, such as build your own enclosure, or grow your own leafy greens and vegetables to feed your bearded dragon.
Bearded Dragons are Mean and Aggressive
This myth is far from the truth. Bearded dragons are one of the most docile, well-behaved lizards you will ever find. Their friendly behavior is one of the many traits that have made them a very popular pet in recent years.
All you need to do is spend just a few minutes of time with your bearded dragon each day, and it will be almost like having a dog.
Bearded Dragons Become Too Large
This can really depend on your perception of what too large is, but compared to most pets, bearded dragon are an ideal size.
Most adults range in size from 18 to about 24 inches in length, including the tail. Bearded dragons are not large at all when you compare them to an iguana, which can grow to over six feet in length.
The moderate size of a bearded dragon means it is easier to handle and hold, they take up far less room for housing, and are much easier to care for.
Bearded Dragons are Very Picky Eaters
This myth is actually very far from the truth. The majority of bearded dragons like a large variety of different foods. You may come across an older bearded dragon that may be a little picky, but this is very rare.
It’s important to remember that training your bearded dragon to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and quality feeder insects is important from the moment you bring it home.
If you start out offering different foods it will get accustom to that and actually desire different foods. You always want to offer as wide a variety of foods as possible. Avoid getting in the habit of just offering one or two types of food.
If you acquire an adult bearded dragon, it could be a bit picky at first depending on how the previous owner feed it. With a little patience it will not take long for your new pet to break his picky habits.
Bearded Dragons Should Always Stay In Their Enclosure
This is another false myth. Bearded dragons have one of the most compatible demeanors of any pet lizard available on the market today. Most love attention, and actually like to be held and petted.
Once you bring your new bearded dragon home it is highly encouraged that you begin taking it out of its home and hold it at least once per day once it has acclimated to its new surroundings.
While taking certain precautions, bearded dragons can be taken out of their enclosure and allowed to roam around a room, under watchful supervision.
It’s even a good idea to take your bearded dragon outside on very warm days. This gives the beardie a chance to soak up some natural rays, and enjoy the fresh air.
Just make sure you keep a close eye on your pet while outdoors, and never leave it unattended.
This is an excellent list, however, I highly disagree with the expenses section. Substrate and lighting are far from a one time cost, as you must switch out the substrate at least three times a year, and I find myself entirely replacing lighting about every two months. Also, beardies are voracious eaters and in their younger stages engorge themselves on crickets. I recollect spending about 25 dollars a week when my Roxy was little, and about ten now that she is primarily vegetarian. I just worry people buy these creatures and are unable to pay for all that is neccesary to keep them happy
Shannon Toccaline says
I agree that this is a great list. The cost of feeding a young beardie is actually not that bad if you order crickets from the farm directly and have them delivered. Fluker Farms is actually really inexpensive to have crickets and worms shipped right to your door. They don’t have the same markups that local pet shops do.
This is a helpful site, but it didn’t really answer my question. I need to see what a health poo is compared to unhealthy don’t just want to take him through the stress of going to the vets for no reason
Experience: I have helped care for animals since a child, aided in rehabilitation, helped in training of unique animals, and worked for a veterinary clinic…I am a current owner of a sub-adult bearded dragon, he is the beloved pet of my daughter 🙂 I find the above information to be mostly accurate. Just as each human being is different, the same goes for animals, and in this case–reptiles/bearded dragons. Our bearded dragon, named “Toothless” by my daughter enjoys a variety of activities. He loves car rides (watching scenery and vehicles pass by) and adores socialization. He is a bit of a picky eater, actually. I do try a variety of veggies and fruits with him, but thus far he will only eat mustard/collard greens and broccoli from time to time. He also eats crickets (regularly), mealworms, and a very small bit of an egg (on occasion). I am actually giving a speech this Friday and am glad to now have this resource to include. Thank you!!
(Experience of commenter: I have helped care for animals since a child, have aided in rehabilitation, have helped in training unique animals, and worked for a veterinary clinic. I am a current owner of a sub-adult male bearded dragon; he is my daughter’s best friend 🙂 ) Just as every human being is different, every animal is different, in this case–reptiles/bearded dragons. I find this information to be very accurate overall with a few exceptions. Our “Toothless”, as named by my 4 yr old, is a rather picky eater. Although, I try and have tried a variety of veggies and fruits, he currently will only eat the following: Veggies: mustard/collard greens-regularly, broccoli-occasionally…other–insects: crickets (regularly), mealworms, and a small bit of a cooked egg (occasionally). I am hoping that he shall grow fonder of carrots, squash, etc in the future, but as of right now–nope…As stated above, bearded dragons are more social. “Toothless” would not be happy with only minutes of attention. He will mope at the glass of his tetarium if the case lol. He enjoys being out and visiting with us in the evening. He likes sightseeing during car rides and enjoys socialization in meeting others. More recently I have come to discover that he enjoys watching music videos on the ipad! lol He is hilarious!! Anyway, I am very pleased with this site and am glad to have another resource of information for a speech I am giving on Friday. Thank you!!
Amanda Robinson says
Toothless is a name of a dragon in the movie how to train your dragon
I find that funny! It is a good name?
Dragon lover says
is salmonella anything to worry about when we might get a bearded dragon and i have a 5 year old brother and 7 year old sister and i am rather young myself?
Dragon lover says
is salmonella anything to worry about when i have a 5 year old brother and 7 year old sister and I’m quite young
My husband is dumb and kisses Godzilla on the mouth! He has never gotten sick. However, I do not recommend that. I do keep Godzilla and his cage very clean!
Cheekeymonkey Chavez says
Hi im sick right now and i was wondering can i hold my bearded dragon or will i get him sick
I found a typo
ALWAYS hands your hand several times with a good anti-bacterial soap when cleaning the habitat…
“ALWAYS wash your hands” you mean
I keep breaking out with hives everytime I clean my beardies cage could i be allergic to his feces
Ive even went as far as showering and changing clothes when I finish cleaning the enclosure but within 24 hours im covered in hives
Toni in AK says
It’s possible but I’d say your chances are much higher that you’re having an allergic reaction to one of the chemicals you clean with. We can develop new allergies at any time, too, so it could be a reaction to something you were previously fine with. So fear I think my lizards and their tanks are the only things I’m not allergic to. For me it’s usually…
Me: Yes, life.
Amy Winters says
I love reptiles and have been doing research into the best kinds of reptiles to own and how to care for them. I really loved reading about how they need suitable living spaces and veterinary visits. Thank you for teaching me that bearded dragons are not expensive when it comes to reptile care.
Franklin White says
Thanks for explaining how it is very unlikely for someone to get sick from a bearded dragon. My son wants to get a bearded dragon for his birthday. I was afraid he could get diseases from it but now I might let him get one because I know he’ll be safe.