The Koa Chronicles

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I've seen some other folks doing this, and I thought it'd be fun to keep a sort of blog of what's going on with my new beardie.
His name is Koa, he's a two-year-old male I got on Craigslist from a couple who couldn't take care of him. I only got him on Sunday, but he's already settled in. He's energetic and alert, and I've heard he likes exploring. (Although I'm not gonna let him out of his tank until he's warmed up to the idea of me holding him.)
Yesterday, I tried handling him for the first time, since he seems savvy with his new surroundings. (Probably because it's his old tank he's always had, so it's not entirely new to him.) He lets me pet him and even hand-feed him, but when I picked him up he freaked out and started scratching and kicking. I put him down, and I guess I'll keep working with him. (I may try the Beardie Burrito today, any opinions on how that works?) His old owner said he liked being handled with them, so I guess he'll just have to warm up to me.
I've read that when your new beardie doesn't like you at first, you should just keep trying. Is that just something bogus I read? I don't want him to hate me...
Other than that, Koa's pretty cute. Whenever I talk to him, he keeps cocking his head at me, like "What? What are you talking about?" He also has an odd habit of flaring his beard continually while basking. Since I've done literally nothing to provoke him, I'm guessing it's just a habitual thing. I told him his beard looked awesome, and that seemed to satisfy him and he stopped. (Probably a coincidence, but still funny.)
Today I'm going to start feeding him his new diet of superworms and see how he likes that. (He's never getting live crickets, I hate them.) He likes cabbage, but I heard his fave was dark leafy greens, so I'm gonna try some chopped up arugula. I know this is probably mundane and normal for all of you, but I think it's adorable the way he eats! He sticks his tongue out like a little Yoshi and the food sticks to his tongue, how awesome is that?
I'm sorry if that bored all you beardie veterans who see this stuff every day. I'm new to this, so everything he does is exciting to me for now. XD Any advice on how to get a beardie to like you? Is there anything I'm doing horribly wrong so far that you can call me out on?
Elise out


Sub-Adult Member
Superworms can cause fatty liver disease, they have quite a lot of fat. If you dont want to do crickets you can do dubia roaches, turkish roaches, silkworms, or calci/repti/phoenix worms. Theres no escaping live feed, you got to get over your fears eventually to keep this beardie healthy. On the bright side at this age he only needs to eat every other day to every two days for insects.

As for taming him down just take your time, if hes inside his viv and you try to handle him and he doesnt like it dont force it. However once he gets more used to you and allows you to handle him more, if hes outside his viv and he freaks out a bit but not overly I'd just let him run in your hands. This can work for multiple reptiles, in fact it really worked for my tegu as reptiles somewhat feel threatened when held down. So letting them run in your hands tires them down and eventually they calm down.


Original Poster
That's odd, on all the sites I visited it said superworms were a good staple. I'll look into roaches and other worms, definitely, if they'll cause disease, thanks for pointing that out. As for live feed, I'm fine with it as long as it's not crickets...
Thanks for the advice for handling, I'll try that. Hopefully he'll learn to like me with time. :)


Sub-Adult Member
I can sort of understand the crickets, they can be noisy (Oddly mine never chirp), they can smell and do die fast if kept in certain conditions. They also have a really short lifespan compared to other bugs.

Yeah I thought the same thing about superworms before, most sites said they were okay staples, so I switched my beardies over to them from crickets because of their longer lifespan but then it turned into a nightmare of thats all they wanted to eat, they would eat a hornworm if you offered it but they ignored roaches, crickets, calciworms, silkworms any food that was actually healthy. Before that my female actually ate her salads occasionally but now she doesn't even acknowledge it as food which sucks, it also made her quite chunky which has been hard to get her to a proper good weight.

Only back in August did I finally get my adult bearded dragons off of them, so it took around 8-10 months to actually get them off of it.


Original Poster
Wow! It just turns out that the package of superworms I got DID NOT HAVE ANY IN IT! I'm going to go and get a refund, and while I'm at it, I'll get a healthier type of worm.
I tried handling Koa again, and I realized an important truth: He doesn't like being held aloft! I tried placing him on my shoulder, and he totally relaxed. It was really cute and kind of funny. He tried crawling on my back, but I was able to stop him, and he seemed to warm right up to my shoulder! I even walked around a bit (with my hand securing him of course), and he was totally chill. :D I'm glad I persisted, or I would've thought he just didn't like me!
I tried feeding him arugula on a half of a paper plate (he has trouble eating it from the rep carpet) and he LOVED it. Probably his new favorite veggie. He amusingly tried eating the paper plate, to no avail. I should find a better feeding dish, lol.
I ordered a leash on Amazon that got good reviews, and it should come on Feb 1. I'd like to try to take him on walks when warm weather comes around, and it'll be good for trips to the vet.


Original Poster
Koa is very perky and energetic. I took him around "exploring" my bedroom, him perched on my chest. He seemed fascinated with everything, which was cute. I've found out the hard way that I should always wear a sweatshirt or jean jacket when holding him! :lol: His nails are very long and I'll have to clip them as soon as possible. He's growing more and more chill with me, and I'm amazed at how quickly he's settling in with his new surroundings.

The cats aren't allowed in the room that he's in, and they seem surprisingly disinterested. I think the only reason they occasionally scratch at the door is because now the bedroom is several degrees warmer due to the heat lamps, and feels like a heater vent. I think they'll get used to the idea that they can't go in there anymore, though. :roll:

As for health, Koa seems to be really healthy. There's a tiny kink at the tip of his tail, but I think it's natural. In the evenings before going to bed, I've been spending time just sitting at my desk in front of him and reading. I tried reading aloud "Treasure Island" to him. It went something like this:

Me: (reading aloud) "The expression of his face as he said these words was not at all pleasant and I had my own reasons for thinking that the stranger was mistaken, even supposing he meant what he said. But it was no affair of mine-"

Koa: Oh my gosh, shut up already! (starts squirming)

Me: What, don't you like Robert Louis Stevenson?

Koa: I hate old English.

Me: But! But it's great literature!! *shocked*

Koa: Do I look like I care?

Me: *sighhhh*

My dad, whenever he gets the chance, refers to Koa only as "Bruce" and talks to him in an Australian accent. My mother, on the other hand, only refers to Koa as "Steve Irwin". Neither will call him Koa, and I'm trying to sort out how I feel about this. :wink: So far, though, I think Koa is going to have a good life here, and I hope I'll be able to give him really good care.


Original Poster
I just had quite the adventure, for a newbie dragon owner.

Koa had pooped earlier today, and his tank was stinky, AND I wanted to replace his substrate with newspaper. So I decided to clean it for the first time, and give Koa a bath. I took him downstairs (He had never been there before and was like "Whoooaaa the world is so freaking big!" and sat still in my arms, it was kind of funny.) and put him in my big utility sink, which I had recently cleaned. I plugged it and filled it with warm water, and put him in.

He freaked out, it was like he had never had a bath before! I splashed water over him, and tried to clean his belly, where he had gotten poo on him, but he thought I was going to kill him or something, and freaked out and puffed. I pretty much ignored that, and kept splashing, but left his belly alone out of sympathy. (I know I probably spoil him, but I just hate to see him agitated!)

After he was done soaking in his bath, I clipped his nails and then put him in one of the cat carriers while I cleaned his tank for the first time since I'd gotten him. Mind you, he's a Craigslist dragon that came with his tank, so I've never cleaned it before.

The discovery that his reptile carpet was disgustingly soiled through, so much so that it would be plausible it hadn't been cleaned in months, made me kind of furious. It was horrible how dirty it was and that he had been living in it. I thoroughly cleaned his tank and replaced his substrate with newspapers, still mad. I wonder if he'd ever really had a bath before...

He also tried worms for the first time, which was incredibly fun to watch. I used chopsticks to pick them up, has anyone else tried that before? I had to leave with a carpool before I was done, unfortunately, so my mom had to feed him the rest! She was NOT THRILLED about that, but (bravely) fed him the other seven worms.

I tried making a harness for him out of a shoelace, which was surprisingly useful. I "figure-eight" tied it around his legs, chest, and back, and tied the short end a couple times on the top. It was comfortable on him, secure, and sort of elastic, which helped with taking it off. It was rather amusing to see him try to kamikaze-jump off furniture and fail from the "invisible forcefield thing" tied to him. I would suggest making (or buying) a harness for your beardie, it's been giving me a lot of peace of mind and keeping Koa safe.
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