Friday, October 26, 2012

Dragons as Pets

This is a 13 minute instruction video

uploaded by on Jul 17, 2011

I discuss bearded dragons and some info on caring for them and other pets.


License:  Standard YouTube License

Earthling's RC & Pets!

Bearded Dragons As Pets - YouTube


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Making fake rocks, your own hide

Building False Rocks for your Enclosure
Written by Stuart McDougall on December 10, 2006

This article is about how I built my false rock to fit my enclosure. Having a standard 4ft x 2ft x 2ft enclosure, I decided to give it a facelift. I had a piece of faux rock made from molded resin which looked great in the tank. I wanted to make the new enclosure look along the lines of the faux rock without costing me the fortune that a pre-molded rock would cost. So I started to investigate how to make false rock. The following is how I made it and what I used to do it with. This is only meant to be a guide to help you.
First I went out and purchased the following:
- 3 Polystyrene sheets, 4ft x 1ft-10" at 2" thick sheeting
- 1 Polystyrene sheet, 4ft x 1ft-10" at 1" thick sheeting
- Floor tile grout
- Poly-expandable foam
- "No Nails" for Polystyrene / or similar contact adhesive
- Appx. 500ml of water-resistant PVA (non-toxic children's version)
- Paints (non-toxic acrylic paint)
- Plastic artists pallet knifes (6 piece set)
- ½" Paint Brush PART 1 - Getting funky with the poly!
After measuring the dimensions of the vivarium I cut the poly sheeting using the 1ft-10" as height. When cutting the length to size, remembering to subtract twice the thickness from the overall length as I was making sides as well as a back. So my 47" internal measurement went to 43", which allowed me the 2" that each side would take up. The sides were cut to the internal front to back dimension, which worked out to be 1ft-11". So I ended up with 3 pieces 43" x 1ft-10" and 2 at 1ft-11" x 1ft-10" (if you where just making a back only then use the full internal dimension in this case it would be 47")
I had a piece of poly printer packing which was 'L' shaped 1" thick and I used one side to create the hide and another to help make the ramp (if you don't have this use the sheet of 1" poly to make this shape)
Mark the outline of the hide onto the back poly. I used a pencil mark both the outside and inside of the poly, then cut a grove using a craft knife along the marks so that the hide fits snugly and the poly will hold it.
Once you have your basic hide sorted, it is time to make some basic shapes and ramps.
A ramp can be made from some of your leftover 1" and 2" poly. Cut a 2" x 2" piece of poly approximately 10" long, then cut a piece of 1" poly 12" x 7 ½" stick the 2" x 2" to the inch poly ½" in from the edge. The ½" will be used to attach the ramp to the background by once again by placing it on the polly marking the shape and cutting a groove.
Now use the craft knife open the knife to 1" of blade showing. I made several cuts into the 2" foam up to 1" deep and ½ inch to 2" wide into the foam then literally pulled it out with my fingers giving a rough undulating effect before covering it with grout. This will give you a great uneven surface and a better look for the finished project.
Now cut the first shelf and fit like before by cutting a snug groove into the poly then add a second shorter shelf above the first using the same process. Then make a central support column where the ramp joins the shelf. I made mine from larger to smaller as I went up.
In retrospect I think I would of preferred an hourglass shape. Those I have seen since in this shape tend to look more realistic.
Once all the shapes are cut, it's time to get funky with glue and poly expandable foam. I also added some bits to the shelves just by ripping apart off-cuts of poly.

This was then left for 12 hours to dry.  At this point, I carved in some detail to the central column using a craft knife, to make it stepped. I also removed any extra expandable foam and did more detailing in to it. Lastly, I removed the square edges and arched the bottom edges of the horizontal shelving and the ramp. After which, a I gave it a quick rub with a good medium grade sand paper. This finished off rounding the edges of the shapes.

PART 2 - Layering The Grout
Day 1
The 1st layer was brushed on using a thin paste grout making sure I covered the whole thing.
The 2nd layer was done once the first had partly dried. I repeated the steps of the first layer but slightly thicker and some places were stippled (mostly the vertical ones). Then I left it overnight to dry.
Remember to cover all of the structure including the inside of the hide.
Day 2
For the 3rd layer, I used the larger flat artists pallet knife. I used this knife for all the flats so as to apply a good thick coat to walking areas. I also carved some basic features into the grout.
For the 4th layer, stippled the vertical areas with a thick paste grout. About 2 hours later, I went over any thin looking areas. Then I again left it overnight to dry.
Day 3
The 5th layer was the most important for me, as this is the main detail layer where I applied grout to all the bulges and flats.
Apply a thick coat of grout to an area to be detailed. Allow the grout to set for a while without letting it go to hard. 20 minutes or so should do it. It will look a little lighter in colour with a sandy sort of texture. At this point I started to carve details. I used the side and the rounded points of the smaller artists tools, dragging, cutting or pressing the desired strata shapes into the grout.
Once you have it looking the way you want, leave it again for a few minutes. Then brush very lightly over the top with a soft 1" paint brush. This will remove harsh edges giving it a more sandstone look of being worn and weathered.
If timed correctly, you can apply the thick coat of grout to an area, and as this is setting, you can be detailing somewhere else.

PART 3 - Colour and Seal
Once it was dry, I then proceeded to spray the base colour using acrylic paints. I choose burnt umber to spray the whole project as a base colour. This made a great base colour.
Once the base colour had been applied, I then continued to spray the different colours, allowing them to overlap. I had mixing tones and shades as I went along. If I made a mistake or put to much of one tone to an area, I left it for a while and resprayed that area using the base tone to lighten the effect.
The paints I used are all Acrylic children's liquid paints (non-toxic) thinned with water.
Burnt Umber had been used the most and I have gone through 250ml of a 500ml bottle.
The following are all 59ml bottles:
Brilliant orange, Leaf green, Christmas red, Brilliant blue, Yellow, Black, and White.
Mixing the orange with a small amount of green makes a great mustard colour. The burnt umber was mixed with small amounts of either blue, black, red, white, and/or yellow to alter the colour cast base umber tone, making the resulting colours more suited what I was looking for. Black and white were mixed to make grey tones for added shade. The grey was mixed with the burnt umber to make sort of a dirty brown tone. I started with a base colour of burnt umber all over then changed the tones as I went along.
The Rule of Thumb that I used
Work from darkest to lightest tones. I laid the background down flat on a table. I then sprayed the "undersides" at roughly a 30 degree angle with the dark tones. Then I turned the background around 180 degrees to then spray the lighter tones over the "top" surfaces. The sand tones and subsequently the mustard tone were then sprayed with the background stood upright. The result was that the dark tones added a shadow effect on the undersides of the features, while the lighter tones highlighted the top surfaces.
In retrospect, I think I would of liked more brown tones rather than having to mix colours. Some extra tones I would have included would have been a dark brown, brown, or light brown sandy sort of colour, and a light green or olive colour.
Once the spraying was done, I added a small amounts of extra tones using a sponge.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bearded Dragon Habitats

Bearded Dragon Habitats, How to Create

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Your Bearded Dragon has unique requirements to stay healthy and happy. The following tips can help you provide your pet with a proper, hospitable home.
An appropriately sized aquarium with a tight-fitting lid will make a wonderful home for your Bearded Dragon. Hatchlings may be kept in a 10-15 gallon aquarium; adults require at least a 55-60 gallon aquarium. Wire cages are not ideal enclosures, because they do not retain heat and also can cause foot and nose trauma. If you must use a wire cage, make sure the wire is coated with plastic to lessen the possibility of injury.
Cages should be simple in design to facilitate easy, thorough cleaning. If you use a cage made of wood, seal it with polyurethane or a similar waterproofing agent, and caulk joints to enable cleaning and disinfection. Allow polyurethane or other sealant to dry several days, and air the cage out thoroughly prior to putting your pet in it to prevent toxicity.
The substrate lining the bottom of your Dragon's cage should be aesthetically pleasing, easy to clean, absorbent, and digestible if swallowed. Substrate can be flat newspaper, sheets of brown wrapping paper (the kind that comes in rolls), AstroTurf, or indoor/outdoor carpet. Do NOT use cedar shavings, gravel, crushed corn cob, kitty litter, wood shavings, or potting soil that contains vermiculite, pesticides, fertilizer, or wetting agents.
Landscaping, "Furniture," and Plants
Your Bearded Dragon will enjoy an assortment of branches for climbing and basking. Make sure branches are secure, of various sizes, and free of pitch and sap - oak works very well. The branches should be at least as wide as your Bearded Dragon to ensure your pet's comfort and safety. Boards covered with indoor/outdoor carpet also make good climbing posts. Flat-bottomed, smooth rocks are also a welcome addition to your dragon's habitat, because they can help wear down toenails, which in captivity, must be clipped often. Your dragon will also enjoy having a place to hide. Whether you use an empty cardboard box, cardboard tube, or flower pot, the hiding place should provide a snug fit and should be located high in the enclosure. If your Bearded Dragon does not use its hiding place, try a different one or move it to a different location within the enclosure.
Plants are a beneficial addition to your dragon's home. In addition to providing humidity, shade, and a sense of security, they also beautify the enclosure. Be sure the plants you choose are nontoxic. Dracaena, Ficus benjamina, and hibiscus are all good choices. Be sure the plants have not been treated with pesticides and the potting soil does not contain vermiculite, pesticides, fertilizer, or wetting agents. Wash real plants with a water spray and water them thoroughly several times to the point where water runs out of the bottom of the pot to help remove any toxic chemicals that may be present. It's also a good idea to keep new live plants in a different part of your house for a while before putting them in your dragon's enclosure.
Because your Bearded Dragon is a cold-blooded animal from arid woodland and desert environments, he requires supplemental heat for proper digestion. Keep your dragon's enclosure at 78-88°F during the day and in the 70s at night. If your Dragon is cold, he cannot properly digest his food and is increasingly prone to illness. Lizards like a temperature gradient, so if they are cold, they can move to a warmer part of the cage and vice versa. Place 2 thermometers in the enclosure, one at the basking level and one closer to the floor of the enclosure.
Secondary heat source: A secondary heat source creates additional heat in specific areas of the enclosure to provide your Dragon with an essential temperature gradient. To best supply this gradient, the secondary heat source should cover only 25-30% of the enclosure's surface. For adult Dragons, the secondary heat source could be a 30-75 watt incandescent bulb in a ceramic base, securely mounted where the animal cannot touch it. Special "basking lights" are also ideal. Either type of light should shine down on a particular basking area from outside the cage. The temperature under the light in the basking area should be 90-100°F. Hatchlings housed in smaller aquariums will require lights of lower wattage, or the aquarium temperature may become too warm very quickly.
Primary heat source: A primary heat source is necessary to keep the temperature of the entire enclosure within the proper range. A series of incandescent lights over the cage is one of the best heat sources. At night, these lights will need to be turned off and another heat source may be needed depending on the ambient temperature. A heating pad placed under the cage or nocturnal reptile incandescent light bulbs which produce heat, but little visible light, can be used. For larger enclosures, a space heater or separate room thermostat can be used to keep the room at the appropriate temperature. Be sure to place smoke detectors/fire alarms in rooms with lights or other artificial heat sources.
Your Bearded Dragon requires different types of light to maintain good health.
Visible white light: In addition to heat, incandescent bulbs also provide visible white light. A combination of fluorescent and incandescent light fixtures can be used to provide visible light to all areas of the enclosure.
Glass enclosures, even those with a screen top, should NEVER be used when providing access to natural sunlight. Glass cages will trap heat and can cause fatally high temperatures.
Ultraviolet light: In addition to heat and white light, your Bearded Dragon must have access to natural sunlight for good health - it requires a certain spectrum of ultraviolet (UV) light called UVB. UVB is necessary for your Bearded Dragon to make Vitamin D. No artificial light is as good as natural sunlight when it comes to providing UVB, so when the outside temperature on a sunny day is over 70°F, place your Bearded Dragon outside in a secure screen or wire cage with a locking door. Provide some shade and a hiding place within the enclosure. UV rays do not penetrate window glass so Bearded Dragons placed in a sunny window will not receive UV light.
If you cannot provide your Bearded Dragon with easy access to bright sunlight, use a special light to provide the necessary UVB light. Fish/aquarium and plant "grow" lights, either incandescent or fluorescent, are not sufficient, since they do NOT produce UVB. You will need a light that emits light in the 290-320 nanometer range. Lights producing only UVB, and lights that produce a combination of UVB and white lights are available. Replace UVB light sources every 6 months.
Second to the sun, the best light source is a combination of visible light from fluorescent or incandescent lights, and UVB light from special reptile lights or combination lights.
Remember, since UV light cannot penetrate glass, the top of your dragon's enclosure must be a relatively wide wire mesh (not so tightly woven that the mesh blocks light) when you use overhead UVB light sources. Ideally, place the UVB light source no more than 18 inches from the spot where your dragon spends most of his time; 10"-12" is optimal.
The areas illuminated by the incandescent basking light and the UV light should overlap. If your Bearded Dragon spends almost all his time basking under the incandescent light, while the UV light is at the other end of the cage, the UV light will offer no benefits.
Water and Humidity
Although your Bearded Dragon will receive most of his water from his food, fresh drinking water should be available at all times in a shallow bowl that cannot be tipped over. Water in your dragon's environment is also a requirement, since proper humidity is necessary for proper shedding. When humidity is low (especially during winter months), mist your Bearded Dragon with water several times a week. Your dragon may also enjoy soaking in a tub of water; however, be sure the water tub allows easy entrance and exit. You will need to clean your dragon's tub and replace the water regularly, since your dragon may urinate or defecate in the water. In fact, water usually stimulates elimination, so immersing your dragon in water is a part of the treatment for constipation.
Clean your dragon's cage, food bowl, and water bowl routinely with a specially formulated sanitation product or a solution of one part household bleach to 10 parts water. Rinse all items thoroughly after cleaning and allow them to dry thoroughly before reassembling the cage and introducing your Bearded Dragon. Since your dragon can harbor the bacteria Salmonella, wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly after handling your pet or his cage (this is a good idea even if you wear rubber gloves during cleaning).
Housing More Than One Dragon
Reptiles are instinctively territorial and may fight when caged together. A male and female Bearded Dragon can generally be kept together; however, the male may become extremely aggressive during the breeding season and require removal. Also be aware that larger Bearded Dragons may keep smaller cage mates away from food and heat sources, and may even see them as an appetizer. If you plan to house Bearded Dragons together, use a larger cage to decrease the possibility of aggression and monitor your dragons closely.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dragon Exercise

Bearded Dragon Running On A Treadmill

This could be listened to without sound as the song is irrelevant to the video and goes on forever once the video is over!   The video though is worth watching.  A great way to exercise your bearded dragon as long as you are there to scoop him up so he doesn't get caught in the machinery!

License:  Standard YouTube license

Male.....or Female?

PictureBearded Dragons are somewhat difficult to sex, but there are ways.  First off, you can't tell from the size of the head or the size of the body.  The Bearded Dragon I saw with the largest of both was a proud mother, not the male that those attributes supposedly signal.  It is also hard to tell before around 6 months of age.  Not impossible, but hard.  Here is what you are looking for:
a) Femoral pores.  This is on the left picture.  While both sexes have these, the male has much larger ones.  The picture shows a male.
b) bumps around the vent area.  One bump is female, two bumps is a male.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Great Photos

Happy Bearded Dragon Stamp

Pacific NW Reptiles

Good Sites:

Great Rock pics

Squirrel Does the Cactusleap


Jeckyl and Hyde is a two-headed, six-legged bearded dragon belonging to Todd Ray, who has the largest collection of multi-domed and multi-limbed animals in the world. Jeckyl eats, but Hyde only drinks.

Todd Ray's Two-headed Animals

Ray spent around $5,000 for Pancho and Lefty after they were born in May, 2010. He believes they are the rarest animals in the world and is proud he's been able to keep them alive for a year since most people didn't think they'd survive a month.


Bearded+Dragons.JPG (JPEG Image, 640 × 399 pixels)


Dusk over Joshua Tree.

The term bearded dragons can refer to a number of different lizards in the genus Pogona.  This genus contains seven species who all originates in Australia. Several different species of bearded dragons are kept as pet, but the by far most commonly kept one is the Inland bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), also known as Central bearded dragon. This is the species commonly referred to when saying just Bearded dragon. Bearded dragons are also lovingly referred to as beardies.

The bearded dragons get their name from the spiny pouch located under their jaw. When threatened, they will expand the pouch and it will look a bit like a beard. The males also inflate the pouch the impress females.

Bearded dragons have quickly become very popular pets and are today common place while only 10 years ago they were a somewhat rare sight. The popularity of the animal has led to large quantities now being breed in captivity. A long row of different colour morphs has also been developed and introduced to the market. Bearded dragons are today available in most pet stores but particular colour morphs can be hard to get a hold of and may be quite expensive. There are many likely reasons behind the rapid growth in beardie popularity. These reasons include that bearded dragons are hardy and easy to care for animals that are suitable for children. They are also hypoallergenic which makes them ideal for families containing allergic members. The animals are also very docile, easy to breed in captivity and can become very, very tame if handled enough as young. Some owners compare their bearded dragons to dogs longing for attention.

Most bearded dragons grow to between 15 to 17 inches / 37 – 43 cm but they can grow larger and there are rapports of 23 inch / 57 cm long bearded dragons in captivity.

Bearded dragon taxonomy


Order: Squamata
Family: Agamidae
Genus/species: Pogona vitticeps (usually)

Bearded dragon care

A bearded dragon will require a 70 gallon / 250L terrarium or larger. It should be at least 18W x 18H x 48L (inches) or 45W x 45H x 120L (cm). Young bearded dragons can be kept in smaller 20 gallon / 80 L terrariums but they grow fast and will soon require a larger environment so it is often cheaper to get a large enough terrarium to house the adult right from the start. You should only keep one Bearded dragon per terrarium. They are solitary animals and might injury each other. This is especially true for adult dragons.
Beardies should be kept in terrariums that mimic the hot arid regions they originate from. Ideally choose substrate and decorations that mimic their natural habitat as accurately as possible. Avoid using calcium sand as the beardies will ingest it one way or another which can cause health problems if they consume too much. Aquarium and pea sand is other non-suitable substrates as they can cause problem if ingested. You should also avoid substrates that can retain moist. Young dragons are usually best kept in a less realistic setup with paper towels as substrate to allow for easy cleaning. It also reduces the risk of an unskilled hunter swallowing large amounts of sand when trying to catch and devour prey.
The terrarium should ideally contain a number of decorations that stimulate the bearded dragons by allowing them to climb on them and hide under them. Examples of such decorations include driftwood, cork bark and rock piles. If you use rock piles you should make sure that they are stable and that the lizard can’t shift rocks to create a potential harmful rock slide that can hurt the beardie and damage the terrarium. None toxic silica can be used to secure the rocks to one and another.

Bearded dragons are so called “cold blooded” animals from a hot sunny environment. The terrarium should mimic this and allow the dragons to thermoregulate by moving around in the terrarium. This means that there should be hot spots under heat lights as well as colder areas that the lizard can move between to regulate its body heat. A good way to achieve this is to create a shaded area on one side of the terrarium and put a heating lamp on the other. The basking spot under the heat lamp should reach 35-40° C / 95 - 105° F. The basking lamp should produce both heat and UVB light which the dragon needs to produce vitamin D3. Dragons need this vitamin to be able to absorb calcium and use it to form strong bones. The rest of the terrarium should ideally be 25 - 28 ° C / 78° - 82° F.

Bearded dragon feeding

Bearded dragons are omnivores and eat both meat and vegetables. It is therefore best to give them a varied diet including both fruits and vegetables and insects. Younger bearded dragons require a larger part insects in their diet than adult animals that can be fed mainly vegetables. Adult animals can be fed 80% vegetables or more; juvenile bearded dragons can be given a diet that consists of equal parts insects and vegetables. There are a long row of different feeder insects available on the market but one of them, meal worms, should generally be avoided as they contain little nutrition for their size. Other feeder insects have much better nutritional value and are better options for your dragon. Wax worms and super worms should only be given as treats as they contain too much fat to be used as a regular food item. They can be good to fatten up undernourished dragons. Choose feeder insects that are smaller than the distance between the eyes of your bearded dragon. Dust the insects with vitamin/mineral supplement before serving them. Juvenile dragons should also be given calcium supplements.

It is recommendable that the vegetable part of the diet contains finely chopped fruits to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need. They should be fed vegetables every day.

Bearded dragon breeding

Bearded dragons are easy to bred and well cared for animals often start breeding at 2 years of age. Sexing bearded dragons are easy once they reach 3 months of age. In males hemipenal bulges can be seen of each side of the tail just below the cloaca (towards the tail end). The bulges are separated by an intention in the centre of the tail. Only males have these bulges.
If you want to breed bearded dragons you will need a healthy sexually mature pair, a large enough terrarium to allow for the mating behaviour, and a suitable place for the female to lay the eggs. Simulate winter to get your dragons in breeding condition by lowering the temperature for 2-3 months before returning it to normal and starting to feed the animals more heavily than normal. It can also be good to give the lizards extra vitamin and mineral supplements during this time.
The males will start displaying breeding behaviour by bobbing their heads and stamp their feet and starting to chase females down and bite them in the neck to immobilize them to allow for mating. Once a successfully mating has taken place the male can be removed from the terrarium.
The female lay her eggs 4-5 weeks after mating and will need a suitable place to deposit her eggs. This place should be moist but not wet. Suitable places can be created by adding piles of damp soil or sand. The pile should be large enough to allow the female to dig a pit for the eggs. Once the eggs are laid it is best to move them to an incubation container or alternatively remove the female from the terrarium and hatch the eggs where they were laid. The former is an easier and better solution. An incubation container should be filled with moist sand and peat moss mixed in equal proportions. The mixture should be moist but not wet. Water should not drip from it if you put it in your hand and squeeze lightly. Create small pits in the substrate in the container. Place on egg in each pit making sure not to rotate the egg as this can kill the embryo inside. Once the eggs are put in the container substrate should be carefully pushed against the eggs to help keep them moist. Incubation takes about 60 days in 29,5°C / 85°F

Bearded dragon Facts

Bearded dragon fact #1 You should avoid holding your bearded dragon around the chest and stomach. If you have to, use a soft grip not to interfere with or preventing the dragon’s breathing.
Bearded dragon fact #2 Male bearded dragons have a set of pre-anal pores between the back legs and have hemipenal bulges at the vent area. Females do not have these pores.
Bearded dragon fact #3 A lot of different colour morphs have been developed during the 21st century. These include “Blood Red”, “High Orange”, “Peach”, Tiger-striped”, “Hypomelanistic”, “Lemon Yellow”, “White”,  “Sandfire” , “Fire”,  “Ice” and “Red-gold” to mention just a few. Different color morphs attain different prices in the pet trade.
Bearded dragon fact #4 You should not feed your beardies insects from the wild as this might introduce disease to your terrarium. Another possible problem is that the insects might contain pesticides that are harmful for the lizards.
Bearded dragon fact #5 A number of common fruits and vegetables can be toxic for your bearded dragon. These include avocado and different vegetables that are rich in oxalates such as rhubarb, spinach, kale and cabbage.

Bearded dragon lifespan

Bearded dragons can live to be quite old. Everything above 10 years is to be considered normal but they can live to be 20. Some sources will tell you that bearded dragons live for 7-10 years and that only a few specimens live longer than that. But almost all bearded dragons have it in them to live longer than 10 years with the proper care.