Baby bearded dragons make wonderful starter pets for children because of their hardiness and very calm personalities. These gentle Australian animals have very tame dispositions and are typically very tolerant of humans, making them ideal for those wanting a reptile that doesn't mind being held once in a while. Taming baby beardies is not difficult, though it does require dedication and patience, as most babies will be skittish at first. Constantly work with your baby and follow a few steps to ensure your dragon grows up to be a gentle adult.
- Skill level:
Hold the lizard often. This is the most important step in taming a baby dragon. Younger babies will be skittish and may attempt to run, so lock yourself in a room with no exits just in case it tries to flee. Holding the baby several times a day is the most important step toward ensuring it becomes used to being held.
Feed it greens every other day. Feeding it greens may calm it down, as it does not always have to go into hunt mode whenever it wants to eat. The animals are omnivorous by nature and enjoy vegetables, including lettuce, tomatoes and zucchini. The vegetables must be diced into pieces tiny enough for the lizards to swallow, however.
Feed the baby its live food, such as crickets or meal worms, in a separate "feeding tank." A feeding tank can be a completely blank ten-gallon aquarium with no decor and no substrate. Feeding the animal in a separate tank will ensure that it will not be conditioned into thinking crickets are about to drop down whenever the tank is opened, and it won't go into an aggressive attack mode. On the contrary, your baby lizard will know it is about to be picked up and will calm down for the occasion.
Do not put the baby on the ground if it decides to squirm in your hands. Grasp it firmly, yet gently to avoid hurting it. If you allow it to go free whenever it squirms, it will be conditioned into thinking that all it has to do is squirm around for you to let it go.
Pet the lizard by approaching it with your hand from a horizontal direction. If you reach down above your dragon's head to pet it, it may believe that your hand is a predator swooping down from above and either bite or flee.
Cup your palm over its eyes if it becomes too wiggly and skittish while you're holding it. The darkness will calm your lizard down and help it destress.
Tips and warnings
- Taming takes patience and will depend on the individual dragon's personality. There is no time table for taming the baby beardie, so don't get discouraged or impatient.
- Start with short handling sessions, and then gradually increase their duration the more your dragon gets to know you and trust you.
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