Rio Reptiles
Rio Reptiles - A Rescue Resort


Your New Baby Dragons Care

  When your new babybearded dragon comes, it is good to know what kind of enviromnent and care has been given prior to arrival so that you can provide similar surroundings to make the transition as easy and comfortable as possible.  
  Your new baby has been with at least several clutch mates since the day he or she was hatched. Very young dragons find security in numbers and spend the first weeks of life in small groups until they reach new their forever homes. Depending on the size, age and particular dragons personality, some may feel more stress than others in their new and different surroundings and take longer to settle in. You may find them hiding or refusing to eat for several days to a couple weeks until they are comfortable with their new home.  
  We keep our babies in small groups of five to ten in a large bin using bar mop towels for substrate and natural marble tile under the light along with a piece of egg crate for furniture. We use Reptisun 10 linear fluorescent bulbs at a distance of 12 inches along with 50 watt halogen spot bulbs so that their basking temps are right around 107ºF at all times. The bins are inside with air conditioning so that humidity levels are never above 50 percent and ambient air temps hover at 80ºF during the day and go down a couple of degrees at night.  
  The lights go on at 8:30 am when they are offered their dish of greens and butternut squash. At about 10:00 am they are given small crickets dusted with calcium powder and fed until they are full. All poops at this time are cleaned up immediately. Smaller dragons are fed crickets again after lunch time and then again at 6:00 pm. We handle them mornings and evenings as often as possible. Bigger babies get a bigger salad in the morning and crickets after lunch and in the evening.  
  Upon arrival, most babies are very thirsty and we recommend warming them up gradually in your hand for ten to fifteen minutes before filling a small dish with warm water for a bath. You want it to be warm to the touch not too hot, usually 90ºF to 95ºF is just right. Fill the container to about 1/2" deep, or about shoulder deep depending on the size of your baby. With your dragon in your hand, slowly lower them into the water and gradually slide them out of your hand. Make sure the container is shallow or see through so that the dragon doesn't feel contained and want to jump out. I usually put my hand in front of their face to contain them and it only takes a moment for them to relax and sit still in the water. Using your finger, dip it in the water and drip some on the dragons nose. Once he or she realizes it is water, most of them will start to drink or lick the drops of their nose.  
  On the morning of delivery turn the lights on in your dragons enclosure to allow it to warm up for when your new dragon arrives. Remember to double check that the surface temps under the light are between 100ºF and 110ºF using a probe or laser thermometer. After the bath, gently towel dry your baby and place them in their basking area and allow them to warm up for at least an hour before offering any live food. Place a bowl of misted greens topped with butternut squash for contrast so that they are more appealing to your dragon. Always allow ample time for your dragon to eat its greens in the morning before offering bugs. This will create a healtier eating habit if it knows it isn't going to get bugs right away every day. Once you give in, your dragon will learn that it doesn't have to eat it's salad.  
  After a couple hours, your new dragon should be warmed up and very hungry. He or she may have already pooped during basking so will be ready for live prey. In a small container, dust about 10 to 20 appropriately sized crickets with calcium and offer them only two or three at a time. Most dragons will not chase the crickets, but wait for them to run in front of them before they will try to catch them. If you dump in more than a few, the dragon will become distracted and confused, not knowing which one to go after, and probably just sit there, especially if the enclosure is large. If your baby is smaller, you may want to section off part of it's cage for the first couple weeks so that it feels more secure and doesn't lose sight of its prey too quickly. Hand feeding is another option, grab one cricket at a time with your feeding tongs and hold it in front of their face. Most will not be able to resist a wiggling bug right in front of them and all of our babies know how to eat off of tongs when they leave. Allow your dragon to eat until it stops or after about 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on size, they may eat anywhere from 5 to 50 crickets. Remember, only feed meal worms as a treat and only give to dragons over 3 months of age.  
  If your dragon doesn't eat right away, this is normal, so just leave them alone for a while to settle in and try again later. Most dragons do not readily eat upon arrival, or will eat very little, but almost always end up having a meal later on the first day. On the second and third day, offer food at the regular intervals and see how it goes. Some dragons will eat the first day and then decide not to eat the next day or the day after that. Be sure to keep a bowl of fresh greens available at all times and keep offering food on schedule. If your dragon is experiencing relocation stress, it may take a few days for it to decide to eat. When they do start eating, it usually starts slowly and gradually increases over the next few days to two weeks until they are back to normal. Smaller dragons in big enclosures will lose interest if they have to chase their food. Before feeding, place crickets in the fridge for about ten minutes and this will make them move very slowly so that dragons can catch them easier. As long as your dragon is active and acting normally, not eating or eating as much for a short time will not hurt them. Just be sure they stay hydrated.  
  Handling your new dragon should be part of the settling in process but may or may not be the best idea right away. Every dragon's personality is different and how they react to their new home will be dependent on thier individuality. If you spend the first day or two observing your dragon in its new home and how it reacts to you and other outside stimuli, your common sense will lead you in the right direction when it comes to handling. Younger dragons are always more aprehensive and insecure because they don't have as much experience but it doesn't take long for them to know who feeds them and who loves them. Older dragons can usually be handled right away and love spending time on your shoulder or chest. Either way, after a day or two of settling in, handling is the best way to get to know your dragon and for your dragon to get to know you best.  
  The first week or two is best spent observing and getting to know your new dragon while your dragon observes and gets to know you. If you are a new owner, every day will be a new experience so there will be lots of learning and many questions until everyone is settled in. Whether you buy a dragon from us (hopefully) or another quality breeder, any time you have questions or need reassurance, be sure to email us and make sure everything is normal. No two dragons are the same and no two owners will have the same experience, but most of the basic care and behavior questions in the beginning are very similar. Most breeders are happy to answer questions and let you know when your concerns are normal or if something is wrong. Communication gives us the peace of mind of knowing that our dragons new homes are going to be the best possible.  
  After settling in, you and your dragon should know each other quite well and you can look forward to a rewarding and very enjoyable experience together. The first year is filled with energy and appetite as your dragon spends the majority of time eating and growing. Every new shed will be exciting as your dragon transforms in front of your eyes, becoming more beautiful with each new skin. You will be amazed at the bond you create with this truly personal pet, you will be more attached than you could ever imagine finding any excuse to spend every free moment together. These animals are incredible and will hopefully continue to be one of lifes little rewards that you cherish for as long as possible.  





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