I sure do!
- If you’re EVER unsure of something, ask around before investing time, energy, and money. Beardeddragonforum.com is pretty good, but I started out on beardeddragon.org. The (informed) hive mind will give you many helpful ideas and other resources. Always double-check info, too.
- Regarding housing: the basic setup is a properly sized enclosure, safe substrate (meaning NO sand/woodchips/bark/mulch) such as reptile carpet, some climbable furniture that can also be used as a hiding place, a UVB bulb, and a heat bulb. I’m sure I’ve gone into more detail in the Q&A tag somewhere, but if not, message me again and I’ll ramble a bit more. Having a timer for the lights is really useful, too, and is relatively inexpensive.
- Regarding food: dietary needs will change depending on the age of the beardie you choose as your companion for the next 7-10 years, but basically: gut-load prey if possible, keep fatty foods to a minimum once they’ve stopped growing in length, offer a variety of vegetation, keep feeding time consistent if possible, and clear away uneaten food. There are a few links to some good fruit and vegetable charts in the Links&Guides section.
- Regarding handling: be calm, be gentle, and don’t abuse your new companion’s trust. I’ve had my girl for almost 5 years now, and she’ll happily fall asleep under my sweater while I wander around. But in the beginning she was very skittish. When you first bring them home, give them about a week to adjust to their new environment before trying to make skin contact. Then, when they look calm and responsive, scoop them up from the front and hold them gently, supporting their tail. Do this for short periods at first, building up the time as they become more comfortable. Some supervised free-roaming can be fun, too!
- Taking the time to make contact with a vet that specializes in exotics is worth the time and money. Even if you never end up going in for check-ups (though I would recommend one at least once a year, if not 6 months), having that contact will mean a world of difference if/when disaster strikes. From swallowed gravel (it’s happened) to pinworm infections (also happened) or reproductive health, having a vet with whom you can discuss these issues will reduce stress on your part and increase chances of recovery for your pet. Vets are also often a good source for dietary or enclosure information.
- Enjoy yourself! Invest in some tiny hats. Document their growth. And keep learning! I still learn new techniques and info every day.