Hi! I am new to this site and bearded dragons all together.
My 6 year old son has wanted a bearded dragon for a couple of years now and we are thinking about making one a part of our family soon.
I love animals and new to reptiles but based on what we have read, bearded dragons are a great pet for kids. We have read books and have done a ton of online searches and I’m not sure exactly what we should get (species,age,etc) or where we should buy from.
Any suggestions for first timers?
Hi! I am new to this site and bearded dragons all together.
In my opinion 6 yrs old is just a little young for a bearded dragon, but as long as very closely supervised it should be alright. Just accept that you are the care taker and are teaching the child as you learn. I actually think that blue tongue skinks make a better beginner species; the animal its self is a bit more expensive but care is a little easier and they are a bit easier for kids to handle when young as they aren’t fast enough to run away lol. However if a bearded dragon is what you want its what you want and the morphmarket ads have lots of good options for bearded dragons. For a first time dragon owner and a kid I would recommend starting with a male at least 9-10 inches should be around 90-100 grams in weight: this gets them well started and mostly past the fragile baby stage while still allowing the animal to grow with you. I say start with a male so you won’t have to worry about a female who will lay infertile eggs and can become egg bound if they don’t have a nesting spot. As far as species I think you mean morph and I wouldn’t be overly concerned with that for a first dragon just pick one you like as long as its not a silky which has special needs.
Thanks! This is helpful. We are also going to look into recommendation for blue tongue skinks.
I think that maybe a blue tongue skink might be better as they are better for handling but they will be most comfortable in a 70 gallon full grown or atleast a Indonesia one but I think 6 is really young for a reptile
What age is appropriate?
Is it excessive or rough handling that is the concern? I wouldn’t expect him to be the one caring for it but wouldn’t want to put the animal at risk either.
The safety of the child and the animal are the concerns. Larger species of calm reptiles are good for children 5 and up for short supervised handling sessions. Any smaller species should probably be left for kids 8 and up due to them being delicate animals that can die from injuries of a rough child. Even if you think your kid is gentle for their age, it only takes one mistake for that animal to be injured or dead.
Beardies are not the easiest or cheapest in terms of care/space needed/food, but a lot of people think just because the lizard is cheap that everything else will be cheap. They eat a tonne, poop a lot, smell pretty bad unless you clean all the time, and need a large enclosure despite their small size. They also need high heat of course. They can also mistake fingers for food, and an adult getting a bite from them can be pretty bloody, but a small child could need stitches/medical care. Adults that have experience with them know what to look for when they are potentially going to bite for any reason. Children don’t know and beardies move quickly, so even if you are watching them you may not be able to react quick enough.
Check out reptile mountain on YouTube. He has some of the best care information out there on BTS. https://youtu.be/4nw_VFX30wA
I don’t think 6 is too young to start interacting with reptiles as long as you realize you are the animal’s caretaker until the child is old enough to understand a bit more about their care. This is another reason I reccomend something like a blue tongue which is a little slower growing.
They also don’t eat you out of house and home in the form of bugs, so that is another plus. I have heard some can be mean and bitey though, so they would need to check with the breeder to make sure the one they get is tame.
absolutely. They are thick but they don’t have the high metabolism that a dragon has so they don’t eat nearly as much. Also @boymom waiting until you can go to an expo might be a good idea to once you decide for sure what you want to get you cwn generally get everything you need to set the animal up at the show cheaper than any shop and the animal it’s self. The other benefit to this is that you can pick the animal out in person and get a feel for their personality before you purchase.
We bought my six year old daughter a beardie after SHE did significant research.
Flokei, the dragon, is still going strong six years later. Sure, you can’t expect a six year old to be a reliable caregiver. Even now that she is a twelve year old, I’m still the responsible one. But, w some prodding, she gets it done.
The bearded dragon couldn’t have been a better choice, too. Calm and patient. Fun to watch, and you can sit ‘em on your shoulder for most of an hour before curiosity really kicks in.
Every bearded dragon has a different temperament, and many beardies I have interacted with haven’t been that calm. You probably just got lucky with yours. Still would recommend a BTS of some sort over a beardie for a beginner or someone that wants a lizard for a small child.
Yes some beardies are definitely naturally calmer than others and some times they just adjust to their people people better, but my thing is that young beardies or those who haven’t been worked with any still have the ability to jump off a shoulder and run like a bolt of lightning. A blue tongue skink simply is not built to do that which makes them a better candidate for small children who are not used to handling reptiles. The other thing is that as people we are all different as well and what is one person’s best beginner species may not be another’s. I just say give blue tongues a look if you haven’t already because in my experience they are a little easier.
Thank you all for the advise!