|A||Bobs Farm |
New South Wales 2316
|M||0422 323 724|
I have had many years of keeping and breeding dragons including Dwarf bearded dragons, Eastern water dragons and the Central bearded dragons.
I have kept Painted Dragons and Netted dragons and the Southern Angle headed dragon which I no longer Keep. I am retired and have the time to ensure that my dragon’s needs are met on a daily basis and I sell young healthy dragons when I do breed them.
After many years of selling dragons to customers I am constantly frustrated by the lack of correct information given to a prospective buyer of a dragon especially by some pet stores. Over the past 12 months I have had many people call me to ask for advice regarding the health of their dragon even though they have not purchased them from me. I am more than happy to spend the time to help with the setup and feeding of the dragons even if they have not purchased their dragon from me.
Customers that have bought from me in the past have had access to my Lizard breeding room to observe how my lizards are housed and advice given and questions answered. However, this method as not proved to be useful as the customer does not remember all the details of the set up that I have. Another problem I have found is that customers usually have already purchased their enclosure and lights before they come to purchase a lizard (as it should be). It can be a problem if they have bought the wrong equipment and bought it second hand from a private buyer and are not able to return it.
Dragon Well Being
Reptiles are increasingly being kept as pets especially Bearded dragons. Husbandry of dragons is complex and signs of pain and disease can be challenging to recognize and behaviour is not always well understood. Therefore assessment of reptile welfare may be difficult.
The following information may help you understand your dragon a little better by observing its behaviour.
If your dragon is not fed enough it will indicate a persistent food-seeking behaviour. This behaviour replaces normal behaviour such as basking, relaxed exploration, etc.
If food intake is adequate the dragons will be observed relaxed when eating or recording food left indicating the dragon is eating when given the appropriate diet. Appropriate diet should consist of 50% vegetable 25% fruit and 25% invertebrates.
It is important to observe absence of prolonged thirst and the signs of dehydration can be sunken eyes and /or multiple skin folds. A normal maintenance behaviour would be observed as unhurried or relaxed drinking .
You should supply an appropriate quantity of water that is replaced at appropriate frequency and provided in appropriate presentation. Variation in methods of providing water can be spraying vegetation and regular bathing.
Mimium enclosure requirements must be met to ensure movement of ease. 1000 X500 X500mm is appropriate for one Central Bearded Dragon.
An inappropriate environment can result in stress induced behaviours such as;
i) Hyperactivity- abnormal high levels of physical or redundant activity.
ii) Flattened body posture against a surface sometimes associated with hyperalertness
iii) Deliberate hiding of head including under objects
iv) Persistant attempts to push against, clawing up, digging under or pacing the transparent barriers of the enclosure demonstrates a disturbance in welfare.
Unhygiene conditions within the enclosure can lead to disease and stress. To ensure the dragon is comfortable while resting it should be free of fecal staining due to scat piling. Scat piles should be removed regularly.
An abnormal gait or stance may be attributed to injury casused by inappropriate substrate or to Metabolic Bone disease. Nasal discharge may reflect inappropriate hygiene, climate conditions or inappropriate dusty substrate.
Basking presents as relaxed and stretching out with the head oriented to the heat source. Dragons usually bask in the morning, retreat midday and bask again in late afternoon.
Behavioural indications that may be, in part, indicative of inappropriate thermal range could include some or all of the following;
i) Hypoactivity, unalert and abnormal physical activity
ii) Anorexia, refusing to eat available and appropriate food
iii) Slow open-mouth respiration or gasping – sporadic slow breathing, rapid open mouth breathing.
Ease of shedding is a regular, healthy maintenance behaviour of dragons and depends on the environment, diet and hydration of dragons. The skin sheds in stages and comes off flexible and transparent.
Retained dry/brown skin should not be present.
They can consume their own shed skin
To ensure the appropriate thermal range is provided the thermostat needs to be monitored and adequate maintenance of heat and UVB lights help provide the appropriate thermal range.
Appropriate thermal range is 32 degrees in the centre of the enclosure.
Exploratory behaviour promotes positive experiences such as a relaxed interest in novel objects and furnishings in the enclosure by calmly smelling and tasting objects with their tongue and unhurried body movements.
PURCHASNG A HEALTHY DRAGON
YES......Sitting up on the on the log with its head and chest off the log.
YES......Nice full stomach area and tight skin around its body
YES......Bright eyes and alert
NO......Laying down on the log or in a corner or up the side of the enclosure.
NO......Saggy skin on its body.
NO......Half closed eyes when all others are awake.
YES......GLASS ENCLOSURE ...(900mm /or 1 meter wide and no more than 500mm or ˝ m high) these are suitable as they are easy to clean completly and have no joins which can be hard to clean. A mesh top will ensure that the whole enclosure will not be kept at a constant temperature and there will be a cool end and a very hot end. Heat and UVB lights are able to sit on top of the mesh outside the enclosure which ensure that the dragon is able to climb very close to the heat light without comng into contact with the light or the mesh around the light if t is inside the enclosure.
NO.....WOODEN ENCLOSURE... these are usually used for snakes and do not have a mesh top therefore the whole enclosure tends to be heated. The dragon will not be able to cool down if the whole enclosure is heated. Lights have to be mounted inside the enclosure with a mesh cage around them. In time as the dragon grows it will jump onto this mesh around the lights with the chance of overheating and burning itself. If they cannot reach the lights because they are too high their heat spot may not be hot enough for the lizard to heat up to a suitable body heat to digest food.
YES......White/ incardecent spotlight globe for heat.
NO.......Red globe for heat
NO.......Blue or purple heat globe
NO.......Ceramic heat globe that gives off heat only and no light.
ENCLOSURE FLOOR COVERING
YES......Matting, newspaper, any flat material they cannot get their claws caught in and heavy enough so the crickets cannot hide under. I use canvas and cheap felt doormats you can buy at the reject shop. They have felt on top and a thin layer of rubber underneath.
NO.......Artifical grass. They will pull out the strands and try to eat it.
NO.......Sand..They will eat it and it is difficult to keep clean.
NO.......Red sand.. it turns the lizards red
NO ......Large amounts of Bark or rocks. Too many places for the crickets to hide.
YES......Water bowl suitable size for the size of the lizard to be able to get their whole body wet. Heavy enough so they cannot knock it over if they run over the top of it.
YES......large branch with bark that does not rub off and ideally it would be long enough so it reaches from the bottom corner of the enclosure to the top corner under the heat light. This will allow the dragon to regulate its own body temperature by moving up or down the log.
NO.......smooth logs or drift wood found on the beach. The dragons will have difficulty climbing on them especially as they reach maturity.
YES......Maggots (washes and drained)
I have often been asked by my customers that buy bearded dragons “how many crickets do I feed them each day”. If they are babies they need to eat as much as they can at each feed time. Like all babies they need a small but constant foot supply. They like to be fed as soon as they wake up and also in the late afternoon.
GREENS, VEGATABLES AND FRUIT
YES......Endive, Kale, and many other green leaf vegetables
YES......Carrots and other orange vegetables
YES......Fruit, whatever they will eat
NO.......Iceberg lettuce...It may cause soft watery droppings and result in dehydration.