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Bearded dragon or chameleon?

(25 Posts)
5inthebed Fri 21-Aug-09 13:21:57

DS1 is after a pet, and as we live in a flat, it has to be caged/tank/vivarium kind. He already has a guinea pig which he is great at looking after.

We went to the pet shop today to have a look, and they had baby bearded dragons and baby chameleons which I think would make a good pet for him. Anyone had exerience of either, and how much work they ential. The lovely lady at the pet shop said they are both as nice and both as easy to look after.

OrmIrian Fri 21-Aug-09 13:34:06

No experience of either. I would have assumed they'd need a lot of kit though. Don't they need to be kept very warm?

I'd go for the bearded dragon personally. I think they are beautiful. I don't like chameleon's eyes.

5inthebed Fri 21-Aug-09 13:36:25

The pet shop do the whole package thing including a lamp. I would prefer a chameleon, because they can't run very fast. They are babies, so really tiny, and so very cute.

Iklboo Fri 21-Aug-09 13:37:34

I love chameleons' feet. They look like they're wearing mittens grin

Wallace Fri 21-Aug-09 13:43:36

How old is ds1? We have a Royal Python and he is fabulous

5inthebed Fri 21-Aug-09 13:48:40

He is 6 going on 16. Don't think I could handle a snake!

GentleOtter Fri 21-Aug-09 13:54:28

We have a rescue chameleon and I would not recommend them as a pet.
The diet and supplement balance is tricky, vivariums and good lighting/ heating are very expensive plus they are extremely territorial creatures and detest handling or even being observed when eating.
They are very high maintainance, needing water (sprayed) twice a day, more in summer, you must get used to handling maggots, weevils or locusts etc and the chameleon puffing up and hissing at you or even trying to bite....

ninedragons Fri 21-Aug-09 13:56:25

Is he meticulous? A lot of reptiles carry salmonella, IIRC, so you have to be very thorough about hand-washing after handling them.

GentleOtter Fri 21-Aug-09 17:15:00

It can also be difficult to find a specialist vet should anything go wrong. Sorry to paint such a bleak picture but chameleons are not pets.(agree with ninedragons re salmonella)

chameleons online for info

GentleOtter Fri 21-Aug-09 17:25:04

Oh they will grow pretty quickly and yes they are fast! They are slow if they are feeling cold/ miserable/ stressed or are about to shed their skin.
Our one lives in the sunroom in summer then goes into a huge viv in winter (7ftx 4ft x 3ft)
There is a right faff getting the basking area/ climbing area/ temperature and humidity right and it needs constant adjustment.
They eat a fair bit too when they get bigger and it is not advisable to have a pair unless you want to breed them. (You will need a separate vivarium for the female).
About a gazillion things can go wrong with them and I am constantly fussing over the grumpiest chameleon in the world. We have had him about four years now.

beckysharp Fri 21-Aug-09 17:29:02

Bearded dragons are lovely. Very sociable and interested and easy to handle. My son's lives in a vivarium in his room but gets out for run around from time to time when it's warm. Easy to feed (mostly veg after their first year). Once they are one they bromate in winter (form of hibernation) if there is natural light in the room, so he won't be terribly fun from November - March. The heat/light stuff is not complicated though - they are desert animals so very tolerant and we find him pretty low maintenance.

Agree about handwashing. We have never had any problems though.

5inthebed Fri 21-Aug-09 18:36:08

Hmm, maybe a bearded dragon would be better then. Wouldn't want an animal that can get ill at the slightest thing.

Thank you all for your help and insight!

lazydog Fri 21-Aug-09 20:22:00

Hi there,

Agree with Gentle Otter about chams not being beginner's pets at all. They are really sensitive creatures and even experienced herpers can have a hard time keeping everything just right.

Beardies are great, but do you realise their heating, UV lighting (high requirements for both) and large space requirement when adult?

Pet stores are notorious for making things sound far easier than they are, either to make a sale or just through shear ignorance (from a pet store employee? Heaven forbid! wink ) and for under-emphasising space requirements as they know that many people would baulk at the thought that they're looking at a minimum 4' long viv for an adult.

Also, diet gets easier when they mature and become predominantly vegetarian, but as babies they can consume hundreds of tiny crickets a week! This can be pretty expensive, although mail order sources of livefood are way cheaper than pet stores, as you can buy in bulk.

I am a total beardie fan, but a much better first time pet reptile would be a leopard gecko, imho. They're still handleable as long as he's willing to put the time into hand taming it when it's young (which applies equally to a bearded dragon anyway), they're smaller so they need less space (and eat less!) and they don't need UV lighting

lazydog Fri 21-Aug-09 20:24:30

Re-reading my last post. Their heating and UVB requirements are high from day one...I can see it could be read that I was saying "when adult" for those, too...

5inthebed Fri 21-Aug-09 20:26:12

Oh I totally trust the pet shop woman, she is lovely, very into animals. She brings her lovebird to work every day smile

Will look into getting a gecko, they had a few there. What do you keep them in?

lazydog Fri 21-Aug-09 20:48:52

Ok, she does sound nice so she falls into the "shear ignorance" category then, as telling you that chams would make a good pet is insane, LOL!

A single leopard gecko would do fine in a 30" long aquarium/tank with a screen top. You could start smaller for a hatchling/juvenile if you already have something smaller, or know of someone giving away an old fish tank. You definitely need the screen to, though. These are these sort of things: but I'll have to search and see where you can get them in the UK (I emigrated to Canada in 2005, but they used to sell them in the likes of Pets At Home, PetsMart, etc.)

lazydog Fri 21-Aug-09 20:51:35

Oops - should read:

The leopard geckos aren't the type that can climb smooth surfaces, so the screen isn't to keep them in - it will stop the feeder-crickets from pinging out and escaping all over your apartment!

5inthebed Fri 21-Aug-09 21:37:04

I wonder if I can pursuade him to get a gecko instead then. Definitely want one of those screens, don't want crickets pinging all over my living room!

GentleOtter Fri 21-Aug-09 21:38:40

The escapee crickets sing at night sad

beckysharp Fri 21-Aug-09 21:45:29

I don't mind the crickets .... it's like being somewhere exciting on holiday without leaving your own home grin

DD wasn't too thrilled when she found one in her bed one night though!

lazydog Fri 21-Aug-09 21:48:27

Extreme longshot, but are you anywhere near Poole, Dorset, as this: is an absolutely amazing price for this viv., and it'd be perfect!

5inthebed Fri 21-Aug-09 21:52:25

Nope, I'm oop north. Will keep my eyes peeled for one going near me, might even put a cheeky wanted on freecycle.

dmo Fri 18-Sep-09 21:14:10

bearded dragons are the best we have had ours since 1st sept and i love him to bits (he is 18mths old) so calm when you hold him he stays still but when he goes down he likes to explore smile

didnt know bout them sleeping most of nov-march please tell me more

lazydog Mon 21-Sep-09 02:16:15

Hi dmo,

Don't worry about it. If you're not breeding them then you don't need to brumate them. It is what they would naturally experience in the wild, though, so it probably has physical and psychological benefits. You just have to weigh that up against the risks of the possibility of allowing a beardie that may not be in optimal health to brumate.

If you decide not to allow it, you need to keep the temps up in his habitat and keep the daylight hours that he experiences to mimic Summer length days (around 12-14 hours of good, intense UVB lighting per day.) You also need to ensure that the vivarium or tank is not located next to a window, or they can sense the shortening daylight hours outside, LOL!

If you want to allow him to brumate, have a read of this first:

dmo Mon 21-Sep-09 17:56:54

thanks so much that is so helpful smile

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