I have two children and a husband who is allergic to furry animals. I'd like to get a pet for the kids and am reading and looking into the possibility of adopting a bearded dragon. Any experience of this pet? Pros and cons? Can the children handle it safely? Is it a nice pet to have? Thanks!
Pros: Can turn into sociable entertaining little pets About the right size for children to handle and not too fragile Very interesting biology and good learning experience for them Cons: Like all reptiles they carry salmonella so all your children need to be old enough and sensible enough to wash your hands every time they do anything with him/her Its really easy to get the nutrition or environment wrong and end up with a very poorly pet The initial set up of the tank can be very costly and there are ongoing costs for UV lighting which needs replacing every 6mths, and other heating/electricity A portion of their diet has to be live insects! (this is the main thing that stops me - I am phobic lol)
I think they can be a good pet for older children but only if you are really interested in them yourself as they will need lots of adult supervision.
We have one, Gary. Gary is a great pet who is extremely friendly and docile. He belongs to my 7 yr old daughter. He is handled daily and seems to enjoy it. Setting up the viv takes a bit of care to make sure you get it right and they do eat live bugs but that is fine once you get used to it. The only problem I have with Gary is that he is very smelly! His poop needs to be cleaned out as soon as he does it or it stinks out the whole room! Apart from that, he is a great pet!
The only con is the fact they eat crickets, so you need to make sure that a) somewhere near you sells them in large quantities and b) that you're prepared to have a box of crickets sitting round the house - their chirping used to drive me mad, although you can get silent ones. Once their tank is set up correctly with a hot spot at one end (use a thermostat to make sure the tank doesn't overheat), a UV lamp and things to climb on, they're pretty straightforward. They eat a mix of crickets and veg, there are a few vegetables they can't eat (spinach, iceberg lettuce among others) do make sure you read up on those.
I have a bearded dragon, my 2 year old loves him we handle him daily & is very chilled. I would recommend buying a second hand vivarium they are half the price! You need a heat/basking light & a uv light which will stay on 12hrs a day so bare in mind this can be costy. As a baby their diet is live crickets or locust (never feed a live bug bigger than the gap between their eyes) but once fully grown their diet consists of 80% veg! Great pet but smelly poop xx