The information on the BambooZoo site is as much as 10 years old and in the hobby much has been learned. Though, I believe there is merit in keeping the site open. There are many controversial issues presented in these pages. Please view BambooZoo as a starting point in your research.
These beings are as complicated as we are and deserve more than a basic 5 paragraph care sheet to maintain their health and well being.
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"After the passing of a hatchling beardie, my family was upset so I got a juvie bearded dragon and a baby ig. We Figured They would be alright in the same enclosure for a few days till my paycheck came and we could buy another enclosure. Everything was fine for a few days and on the third or fourth day we came home to find The beardie snacking on the ig. This was most unfortunate, after the incident we noticed that Ben (the beardie) would try to eat ANYTHING that was green and we also found out that these guys eat small lizards in the wild so I guess that was a deadly combo... live and learn." Justin Rescorl
"Hibiscus flowers are good for dragons that are having trouble adjusting to new homes and not eating well. the scent and taste entices them to gobble down greens when mixed into a salad. another benefit that I've heard of is they promote vivid colors in morphs much like green peppers. Only offer them as a treat not as a staple with every feeding."
What are my thoughts on Bearded Dragons? I have had a few pass through here over the years. They have passed through here because they are not for everyone and are quite often rehomed. They are personable and handlable. But they have no respect for their homes...slobs. And while I love their personalities I get frustrated cleaning up after them. Though I don't think I would ever be without one. Currently we have 4. Mouse will live out his life here. Mouse came with another dragon, also undersized ~ Bent, about 9 inches in length. Tangerine, is back in my care after 2 years elsewhere. The last is another undersized female, housed with an assertive cage mate until they came here, she has grown alot since being with us, but is still on the small side.
Have I stressed yet that everyone is to be kept adequately fed? In the case of the skinks they often basked with the dragons and on top of them. This was like their king of the castle move. The beardies objected occasionally and would just wriggle until they dislodged them and the skinks would scurry off or settle in beside them. They are very quick and bold and perhaps that helped their confidence level. I find when putting species together that they are curious, cautious and a little intimidated.
Kuani and Big Boy Kel were my first reptiles. Kuani was a gift from my son and Kel followed less than 2 months later. Their personalities were completely opposite. Kuani was adventurous, loved swimming, assertive and brave. Kel was a BIG BOY...the largest many had seen. But his size belied his character and he was submissive, cowardly, gentle and tolerant.
Kuani got very sick shortly after coming here. The stress and new situation overwhelmed him. He was 2. He was a Christmas gift, so it was December. About 2 weeks after his arrival he started to become listless and depressed looking and lost his appetite. He would eat a little but the amount declined. I thought it was brumation. After 2 months I took him into the vet. It was internal parasites. He was given a dewormer and an antibiotic and was on the mend in a few days. Until the week he died, it was the only health problem he had.
Kuani was the reason that I put water tubs in with the dragons. Kuani loved to play in water. Kel was terrified of it. Kuani would spend hours in the outdoor enclosure diving into the little pond...circling...climbing out and starting all over again. Or in the indoor pond, he would start on the bridge, dive in, swim for a minute and back to the bridge repeated for an hour or so at a time. We watched from the table overlooking the pond.
Kel absolutely flipped out when put in the water...though he did learn to enjoy it in his last couple of years...when I got it right....Kel liked to dive into the water and be able to find footing immediately to get back out. They used the water about once a week and will stay in for about 20 minutes. For this reason I like being able to offer a larger water space or give them the weekly bath in warm water. Keep it shallow for small dragons, they should be able to touch bottom. Kelly also came here at 2 years of age. He was one of the ones that you see in a store that didn't have room to turn around in. Kel died suddenly at about 8 years of age. Again, my error. He did not like or eat veggies and I let him get away with it. His weight and activity level were extremes of high and low. Now I recommend an electrolyte for a few days and no bugs! The electrolyte is great for getting a feeding response and they cave before you do, usually. You do have to work at trying to get them to change their diets.
Tangerine was purchased at an expo, probably going on 10 years ago. (I have only been one other time since. :C). My husband purchased her through Capitol Dragons. She is some kind of orange phase. We raised Tangerine here but sold her to a friend interested in breeding. Kel was never interested in her and Kuani was very rough on her. So, I housed her separately. Her return here coincided with Mouse and Bent. Tangerine was here for about 2 years and was passed to a responsible young man.
Two weeks after her arrival, she laid a clutch. I managed to capture a few pictures.
Beardies are also good about sharing their space with other species if introduced prior to adulthood. (Do not introduce hatchlings EVER. Hatchlings are notorious for taking the tails and toes of relatives.) I have never had to remove anyone from a space shared with a dragon. The smaller desert iguanas make good cage mates for dragons. For both the iguanas and agamas and other more cautious reptiles the beardies act as a very calming influence. Bearded dragons can fit into active homes and acclimate easily. If you want a pet that is handlable place him in a common area of the house. The more activity around him, the more he will learn to live within the midst of it without being stressed but be sensitive to his needs, watch the level of stress and or relaxation/basking and adjust the environment to provide for his needs.
One last thought ...if you are new to reptiles, and the bearded dragon has been recommended to you...another option I would suggest would be: leopard geckos. Leopards need less room, are potty trained and deficate in a small area consistantly, can be tamed and handlable...and there are other advantages as well. Give me some time and I will find an excellent resource to pin here.
I should have known to fill the food bowl and sit patiently to catch a picture of Cactus. Placing Cactus in this environment has managed to improve his situation. It gave him an extra foot of space, running water, natural substrate for digging, heat and I have finally managed to completely change his diet to insects. Cactus is also very good at finding escaped superworms. This situation lasted for a year until the hedgehog died at 41/2 years of age. A brother had died approximately 6 months earlier. Cactus was not very active during the day though he did curl up out in the open sometimes. His exercise wheel is in the environment but one of the beardies has taken to sleeping there, so he uses it during the day. He did not share well with the beardies and the first bowl of food would go to him but he would wander off and back to bed a few minutes later and the beardies got the second bowl. If they run into each other the hedgehog snuffles. He is on the ground floor and they stay elevated for the most part. My dragons have (with the exception of Kelly) slept off the ground when given the opportunity. I encouraged this behaviour because I had living soils.
Living soils are harder to acheive in a dry space and harder to maintain. I used a bottom layer of dirt, with leaves that I gather in the fall. This allows for a quick turn over of feces in the environments and allows the soil dwellers access. Depending on the environment and traffic I would do this on a monthly or biweekly basis. I also buried small amounts of vegetable waste into the soils to keep the worm diets healthier.
What are the negatives for the lizards? you're asking...hmmm.....just give me a minute...I'm thinking...still thinking...sometimes they have to wait in line for the food dish and I am sure it took a few days for them to adjust to the wheel squeaking. In the upper left hand corner amongst the leaves you can barely see the back legs and tail of the iggi that shares the space.
MOUSE'S HOUSE ~ Mouse is the king of this castle. The leopards are rarely out during the day and the Girdled lizards are also shy and stay out for an hour or so and then disappear.
Mouse is new here, a friend needed space for his kids and decided to get out of the hobby. Mouse had been born with the egg sac wrapped tightly around his middle. Just around his rib cage area there remains an indentation still. (Can be seen in the picture.) Although, fully 2 years of age, Mouse is only 2 inches snout to vent. (Bent did not come along until Mouse was a year old. He was not the cause of the lack of growth.) He is a little shy and flghty like you would see in a baby beardie. He eats well, about 3 crickets at a time. Just a couple of pieces of veggies. He will be a concern, for me and will need a close eye kept on him. Mouse is currently living with a leopard gecko and 2 girdled lizards. He and Bent have always lived together without any indication of problems between them but the little guy was regularly being stepped on so I separated them quickly. The leopards stay at ground level in this set up. Leopards will climb rock but have a harder time with rounded wood. Mouse has tripled in size. Different room mate, good food and electrolytes. He is now approximately 7? And the only bearded we have currently.
He does live alone now. He is having a difficult time living on his own. For 2 years he lived just 3 feet away from the African Grey. When I moved her and put the green wing in that spot it was toooo much for Mouse. We have been struggling with keeping his stress levels down since. Though I removed him from the area quickly.
About Bent. I haven't located a photo of Bent who was hatched with a strange lower torso and had some digestive issues. He had no eating issues but I found he didn't like to keep up the hydration ratio he was not getting by refusing veggies. The ratio of urates was often low no matter what form of water I used in the environment. Weekly baths were necessary as this was his preferred drinking water. I liked this because I would always be able to determine his hydration levels. Electrolytes would bring him to water fairly quickly and he would then take over for himself for a while.
Excellent Beardie Resources
AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE INFORMATION
Building a Cage: http://708designs.netfirms.com/customcage/customcage.htm
Going green: http://www.kricketskritters.com/home.html