Trying to convince my wife! HELP!!!

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Trying to convince my wife! HELP!!!

Postby Pawfessor » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:48 pm

Hey,

I have never had a bearded dragon as a pet before & am looking to learn the proper information before buying one. I’m a professional animal trainer, feed my dogs a raw diet & even use the most up to date methods to train so I need 100% the best information.

What size tank/cage should I get?
How old should should the BD be when I adopt/purchase him/her?
Does sex matter?
Where should I adopt from?
What is the best diet for them?
How often do they need to be fed?
I read somewhere that veggies are bad. Is that true?
What kind of lamps do I need?
What kind of terrain do I need?
How much money should I plan to spend for BD, cage/tank, lamps, etc?

Specific links from amazon would be greatly appreciated for the cage/tank, lamps, terrain, etc.

Also anything else I need to know, please tell me.

THANK YOU!!!
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Re: Trying to convince my wife! HELP!!!

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:55 am

Bearded dragons make great pets and if you have the resources to care for one I think it's a great idea.

I would start off with a large tank. It's usually most cost effective to build your own. An adult should have at least 4'x2'x2' of space. A younger dragon can get along with less space for a while but can do well in a large tank too. It's very helpful to have front opening doors to access the tank rather than having to lift the top and move lighting around.

A dragon should probably be at least a couple of months old when you adopt them. A young dragon will require more food an attention than an adult dragon.

Gender is up to you. Males can be more rambunctious sometimes while females can (don't always) lay infertile eggs.

I would adopt from a reputable breeder or a reptile rescue.

Young dragons need a lot of protein, usually in the form of live bugs such as crickets, dubia roaches, black soldier fly larvae, and silk worms. They should also get salads but may ignore them for a while in favor of a protein rich diet. As they get older they become more vegetarian and adult diets should be around 80% or so veges (vs 80% or so bugs for young dragons). I like to reference this list for salad ideas http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html and just rotate what I offer based on what looks fresh at the store.

Young dragons should get a small salad every day and 2-3 bug meals all they can eat in about a 10 minute window each day. As they approach full size (12-18 months) their bug meals should slowly be reduced to once per day and then once or twice per week as adults as the focus shifts more toward veges. Bugs should be dusted in a light, even coat of calcium powder at each feed.

Veges are very good for them and a variety in their diet will give them the nutrients they need.

You need a basking light that produces bright white light and heat. There are reptile specific basking lights available. I've found that PAR38 or BR40 halogen flood lights tend to work well too. It is very important to use a high quality UVB light set at an appropriate distance too. This varies depending on the size of the tank and which light you have. A good 22'' T5 UVB light is a good bet in most cases. I like this one a lot http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/22-t-5-ho-fixture-high-output-with-arcadia-d3-12-ho-bulb/

You want the tank to have a solid surface that is easy to clean and sanitize. Non adhesive shelf liner or tile/stone works well. Add some places to hide (habba huts work well) and some places to climb like branches or driftwood. You can check out the DIY and Enclosures section of the forum for some ideas but you can get pretty creative with this.

Good lighting and equipment will cost several hundred dollars to get started. Food for young dragons costs anywhere from $30-80+ per month depending on what you are offering. It's helpful to start a dubia roach colony ahead of time to keep up with the needs of a young dragon. Otherwise you can order them or order crickets in bulk (1,000 per month is what I recall ordering). It's also good to have money set aside for vet care and to find a local vet who has experience treating reptiles. You can check their rates ahead of time in most cases but being able to absorb emergency bills of up to several hundred dollars is helpful. Most routine visits to my vet cost about $40 for an exam so routine care isn't so bad. Once you have everything set up the ongoing costs are pretty minimal, especially as your dragon gets older and requires fewer bugs.
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Re: Trying to convince my wife! HELP!!!

Postby IvoryNatalia » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:33 pm

Pawfessor wrote:Hey,

I have never had a bearded dragon as a pet before & am looking to learn the proper information before buying one. I’m a professional animal trainer, feed my dogs a raw diet & even use the most up to date methods to train so I need 100% the best information.

What size tank/cage should I get?
How old should should the BD be when I adopt/purchase him/her?
Does sex matter?
Where should I adopt from?
What is the best diet for them?
How often do they need to be fed?
I read somewhere that veggies are bad. Is that true?
What kind of lamps do I need?
What kind of terrain do I need?
How much money should I plan to spend for BD, cage/tank, lamps, etc?

Specific links from amazon would be greatly appreciated for the cage/tank, lamps, terrain, etc.

Also anything else I need to know, please tell me.

THANK YOU!!!


Okay, first off, CooperDragon is pretty much one of the Top Authorities on Dragons, from what I've seen. I've even seen threads where people have said "wait for Cooper to chime in"! So I doubt I can provide much more detailed information than he's able to provide. However, as we've recently gotten our little Vash the Stampede, I still have all the receipts nearby! So, if you're not handy and have no qualms spending money on something because you think that XYZ item is better than you could possibly make/find and repurpose safely... Well, here's what we spent. Please note, we got almost everything from PetCo, you may be able to find things cheaper online/other stores:

Tank, 20gal, will need to be replaced before Christmas, possibly before Halloween at this rate: $20.00 (PetCo had a $1/gallon sale) (I expect to spend closer to $250 for his Big Boy Tank.) (Don't buy glass products online if you can help it. You don't want to get a broken thing, and they don't ship well from my experience. Used to keep fish.)
Repti Carpet: $9.99
Hide / Basking Rock (note, he's already too big to hide in it): $19.99
Food Bowl: $5.99
Water Bowl / Pool / Toilet: $22.99
Decoration (already trashed, didn't like it, too plastic and too stiff): $9.75
Hammock: $13.28
Tank Background (to keep the cats from freaking him out so much): $21.99
Bamboo Tweezers (I'm not touch insects, sorry): $7.99
Breakout Blocker Screen: $19.99
Thermometers x 2, Humidity Gauge: $19.98 ($11.99 + $7.99) (Ended up using a different thermometer gun we already had to regularly check the tank for better accuracy.... Lesson to learn, don't by the stick-on kind, they're inaccurate.)
Calcium: $7.99
Multi-vitamin: $7.99
Basking Bulb: $22.99
UVB Bulb (WARNING, I bought the wrong kind, I should have bought the tube but we bought the coil because that's what we were told to get by the "expert" breeder we spoke to at the reptile rally thing): $19.99
Ceramic Heater: $34.99
More Decoration, fake plant that we kept: $9.99 (He can hide behind it from the cats.)
This Food for when we can't get to the grocery store for fresh kale: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/reptile/reptile-food/t-rex-bearded-dragon-gourmet-food-blend $12.99 (This is Extreme Emergency backup.)
Cricket Food: $2.99
This Food which he won't touch https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/flukers-buffet-blend-food-for-juvenile-bearded-dragons: $7.99 (I was trying to help him get even more protein in his diet. But he won't touch it, or the kale or squash if it touches it.)
Cricket Carrier: $12.99

Vash the Stampede: Priceless, but PetCo says $59.99.

This list does not include the live / fresh foods. We're spending $8-9 every other day on crickets, and $15 every week or so on super worms. The last time, the lady tried to refuse to sell us super worms because we were buying other their entire supply (all whopping three things of them), to which I told her if she could keep food in stock, she wouldn't have customers stock piling when they could.

We haven't really paid attention to the cost of the kale or squash during grocery run trips. I guess it's maybe an added $15/week? Granted, I am buying organic, local sourced, etc. I'm not being uppity, I just don't like the vegetable section enough to go past the first few rows. There might be cheaper stuff back in there. I'm a pizza and Chinese food gal - my pets eat better than I do.

We will need to upgrade the tank before Christmas at the latest, but preferably in the next couple months. We will need to get a new table for the larger tank, too - the old dresser we cleaned up a bit for it to sit on is just big enough for the 20L. Gotta keep it away from those danged cats! (I'm not worried about the dragon, I'm worried the cats will get hurt. They're not bright.)

Estimated cost for new tank: $244.99

We're also using the wrong UVB. That will be fixed WAY sooner than the tank issue.
Estimated cost for fixed lighting: $40-60 for the fixture, $20-25 for the bulb. (At least we'll be able to stop switching the UVB bulb and ceramic heater at bed time / wake up time!)

We also want to get his lights and heater on a timer. Cost varies. Still doing research - really want a smart timer, but not sure that's the best option for three items. (Two lights, one heater.)


So. Yeah. I probably spent way more than I needed to, but I've never kept reptiles before and have no idea what can be re-fashioned into what. I'm also not very handy, at all.

Oh, and as for what you can and can't feed them, I've been working from this list:
http://www.thebeardeddragon.org/bearded-dragon-nutrition-data.php#veg (This link, while it looks similar, is not necessarily related to this forum. Though, it is why I found this forum!)
I'm sure some folks will be happy to argue any list all day long. This is just the one I'm working from.

As for the title of your thread, how to convince your wife.... Well, you're on your own. We don't know her, so we don't know what aspects of a beardie would appeal and repulse her. They're sweet, generally calm, low maintenance compared to other reptiles, don't require rodents for food, and are adorable. We got ours because of my husband begging for one for years, and me getting tired of saying no so trying my best to do research for half a year, still getting things wrong, and ending up with a wonderful little boy who I can't leave alone when we're home. Seriously, I thought I'd be creeped out by him, but he knows me better than he knows my husband!
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Re: Trying to convince my wife! HELP!!!

Postby dezismom » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:47 pm

Hello!

I agree with above posts; Cooperdragon actually is one of our best experts, so I have little to add there. I do not know Ivorynatalia yet, but that is some fantastic info about cost she provided! However, I may be able to help some with convincing the wife...

I am a female of a certain maturity, and did not ever consider having any sort of reptilian pet. I thought they were dunb, emotionless and rather boring critters. And with no soft fur to pet, why would anyone want one? Well, I was so wrong! I became a beardy mom by accident, and I am so grateful that I did. DeziLu is smart, gentle, sweet, funny, adorable, and he cuddles enthusiastically. He has an amazing ability to express himself, now that I have learned his body language, smiles, frowns, little huffs and sighs. He has big emotions! And did I mention the snuggles and cuddles?? He and I are never apart. He comes with us on vacations. I take him everywhere in his cute designer dog carrier. Shop owners love him. Children adore him. He is a super star, locally. He never barks, has fleas, or sheds hair to trigger my allergies. He is potty trained. He does sometimes have a little (atomic size) lizard fart, but hey, no one is perfect...but in my opinion, beardies are the closest thing to a perfect pet. I know, I Would never have believed it, before I owned one. A reptile? with emotions and intellect and affection? Yep. Beardies are very special creatures, and anyone who is lucky enough to be owned by one, is very lucky, indeed. I now have two...my first, Dezi, is a big beautiful male, nearly four years old. He is my love--my hubby calls him my familiar, because we are so much alike, and never very far apart. One time, when camping in our RV, we lost power and it was a chilly night. I brought Dezi in to sleep with us! On my chest, with blankets and a warm water bottle...That is the depth of my love and commitment to this boy. I never allowed any of our pups to sleep with us, and I adored them.

My newest baby, a rescue girl named Penny Lane, is also as charasmatic and emotional as Dezi. She is her own person, not identical to Dezi. She is a bit more nervous, and hesitant to trust, but some of that is due to her youth (they typically have short attention spans, and focus on food until about six months or more, and then start to become the loving, sweet companion I have described) Also, her background experience of neglect and possible abuse have made her a bit less trusting. These intelligent creatures do not give their hearts to us quickly; we msut earn that, over time. But it makes their devotion all the more wonderful, once given. If your spouse has any questions that I can address, please feel free to ask! She can ask on this thread, or PM me on this site. I can enthusiastically recommend a Beardie as a delightful pet. They are work to keep them in good health, as are all exotics, but they are well worth the effort and money.

I do not think it matters as to if you get a male or female, since they each have such different personalities. A younger one may be more prone to imprinting on you as you feed him, but a more mature one has the advantage of already having a well developed personality, so you will know what you are getting. Regardless of his or her age, he will grow very affectionate and love you with no expectations. You may however find yourself the willing servant. We had our entire RV rewired to accommodate our dragons.

Oh, and they like to watch TV with their owners! Dezi has a preference for sports, football especially--I think it is the bright uniforms and motion. My husband and I have spent many a pleasant day watching our games with a lizard on our knees. Dezi also loves opera singing., tenors turn him on. :)

I hope I have not come off like a bit of a nutter, ha, ha! I have become quite the fan of beardies.Here are my two:

DeziLu, the big guy with a bigger heart...
[Click image to enlarge]


Penny Lane, the beautiful little princess...
[Click image to enlarge]


Dezi in snuggle mode...
[Click image to enlarge]


Penny is learning to snuggle...
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Trying to convince my wife! HELP!!!

Postby Lorilyn » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:23 pm

As far as convincing your wife..... I was petrified of them UNTIL.... I held my girl. Then they weren’t so scary and when they convinced me that she was only licking me and not trying to eat me she started to look cute. 6 months later and I can honestly say she has bought more joy and laughter to me and everyone in my house. She even comes when you call her name. Before Miss Biggs I couldn’t understand how a reptile could have personality. Now I can say she has just as much personality as a dog. She just shows it in different ways. She loves to cuddle and watches everything I do. I think I amuse her.
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