The Mysterious Charm of Bearded Dragons

More on PawNation: Lifestyle, Reptiles
As you may have noticed, lately we're giving a little attention to not so common-but-loved-nonetheless pets. It's not that the cuddlies aren't still at the top of everyone's list -- it's just that sometimes it's important to remember that pets come in many forms.

Even though you probably won't meet many at the park the summer, or on a stroll around your neighborhood, fans of the Bearded Dragon are friendly bunch who are proud of their unusual pets and are eager to share helpful information. I first learned about this creature-as-pet at the Philadelphia Repticon Expo in February from a young woman who cradled her newly purchased pet in her arms like someone else would swaddle a kitten. When I asked what she liked about the Bearded Lizard, she blushed a little and said, "I always wanted one. They're just so sweet."

At first glance, sweet was not the first adjective that came to my mind. But after holding him for a moment, and spending a little time with him, I did see the appeal.

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The Bearded Dragon combines the calm demeanor of the rabbit, the cool lizardiness of the snake, and the 4-footedness of a dog or a cat. This is another one that's good for allergy sufferers because the eponymous beard is a not made of fur, but rather a section of skin the puffs up when they're agitated.

Beardies, as their fans call them, can be a good pet for children as young as 10 because they require very little in the way of daily care and, if properly socialized, are quite gentle. They will eat just about anything, but are happy to live on a diet of produce and crickets, which makes feeding time for your Beardy more like a meal, and less like an episode of "When Animals Attack"(remember what snakes eat?).

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If you find yourself sweetly surrendering to the pet-possibilities of a Beardy, is loaded with information about all of this pet's needs. Going to a reputable breeder to purchase a Beardy is still your best bet, but most pet stores will carry all of the supplies you need to care for one.

-- Shannon Dunn

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