Has your child been begging for a pet reptile?
Are you thinking about getting your children a bearded dragon for a present?
If you are considering a bearded dragon for a pet for your kids but are concerned about safety, you might wonder:
Are bearded dragons good with children?
Because these animals have a mild temperament, bearded dragons are good with children. They are easy to care for and easily handled, making bearded dragons amazing pets for kids. Many kids also find them appealing because they look like mini dragons.
To find out why bearded dragons make excellent pets for children, continue reading.
Are Bearded Dragons Good With Children?
Whether you aren’t interested in bringing home a dog or cat, or you already have those and are looking for something different, a bearded dragon may be the pet for your family.
But you might have some concerns about bringing one of these reptiles into your home, especially when you have children.
Bearded dragons are considered among the top pets for children and one of the best in the reptile category because they have a nice temperament.
Bearded dragons are known for their friendly nature and their high tolerance for being handled.
They get along with people, where other reptiles might be skittish and never want to be held.
These animals are straightforward to tame and have no problems with humans when they are properly cared for.
Bearded dragons even recognize and respond positively to their owners’ voices.
Being held doesn’t stress them out, as you might see with other reptiles.
Your kids will be able to take the bearded dragon out of the cage and interact with the animal regularly.
While they can bite and leave a mark, they rarely do.
This is because, for them, biting is an absolute last resort.
They need their teeth for eating, but it isn’t their main line of defense when feeling threatened.
When they are upset, they puff up their beards and may hiss, giving you or your kids a warning.
Related: Why do bearded dragons puff up?
Handling the animal gently and avoiding startling them will help them not to feel like there is a threat.
These animals are known for their laid-back personalities and enjoy humans.
If you choose, they may roam about your house with supervision, and some owners even purchase a leash to walk them outside.
Why Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets?
A bearded dragon is an excellent option for kids when you are thinking about getting them a pet.
These animals will help teach kids responsibility but don’t require specialized care to frustrate or overwhelm kids.
In this section, we will discuss in-depth why bearded dragons are great for kids who are interested in owning a reptile.
Caring For Them Is Easy
Bearded dragons are a great first reptile pet.
If you want to dip your toe in owning a reptile but aren’t ready for some of the reptiles requiring specialized care, a bearded dragon is a great option.
For children, this is perfect as they will take ownership of this animal’s care.
Some reptiles need exact care and aren’t hearty enough to endure even the smallest thing going wrong.
The most challenging part of caring for a bearded dragon is setting up their enclosure and purchasing everything you need to start.
After the initial setup, costs for maintaining these animals is relatively low.
A bearded dragon needs a tank, proper lighting, a gradient temperature with a hot basking area and a cool side, some hides, and other furnishings.
This is achieved through lighting and heating mats.
A UV light ensures a bearded dragon gets the vitamin D they need to absorb calcium and phosphorus.
If you are starting with a baby bearded dragon, you could go with a small tank, but juvenile and adult beardies need a tank of at least 50 to 55 gallons.
They do like having some room to move around, so you might look into a 75 or 100-gallon tank for the long term.
This enclosure needs a secure screen top.
Additionally, these animals are not too picky when it comes to food and water.
They are omnivores who eat insects and fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens.
Keep a variety of food and dust their food with supplements to ensure they are getting the best nutrition possible.
Many insects such as crickets, wax worms, or dubia roaches are a must for a healthy life.
They’ll also need vitamin supplements, specifically calcium supplements to keep up their health.
Vegetables such as collard greens, green beans, kale, and other dark leafy refuse are ideal.
Daily upkeep and regular checks are minimal when it comes to these animals.
In fact, most owners find upkeep takes about 15 minutes a day.
Between feedings and regular tank spot cleaning, you or the kids won’t have to spend hours on end each day caring for these animals.
Being easy to care for and hardy means these animals have a higher life expectancy than some other reptiles you might see kept as pets.
Bearded dragons in captivity live, on average, 10 to 15 years.
Some live even longer.
This is very much dependent on the level of care they receive from their owners.
With proper care, a varied and nutritional diet, and regular care from a reptile veterinarian, your bearded dragon should have a long and happy life.
Children will have plenty of time to grow up with their pet and developing a relationship throughout their long lifetime.
If your child is interested in reptiles, odds are they have shown you various options, and some might get a little too big for your comfort.
Bearded dragons are ideal for kids, as their size does not get so big to require a ton of space or feel overwhelming, but they are a good size to interact with.
Bearded dragons grow anywhere from 12 to 24″ inches (61 cm), from the tip of their tail to their head.
The tail on the bearded dragon is long, measuring about a third of their total length.
Healthy and well-fed animals will grow to their full size, where underfed and sickly ones will stay small, having their growth stunted.
This is where vegetables, feeder insects, greens, and the occasional fruit will help.
The balanced diet also avoids metabolic bone disease in your pet.
Males of this species will get larger than their female counterparts.
In addition to not growing to excessive lengths, these animals don’t usually weigh very much.
A healthy bearded dragon usually weighs between10 and 18 ounces, but this is variable depending on the specific animal.
Because they don’t grow too large and don’t require a ton of space, they live well in even small homes or apartments.
Their Unique Appearance
Many people love the idea of a bearded dragon because of how they look without the danger of bites a snake may have.
Kids will be entranced with these reptiles’ look, which resembles the dragons in their fairy tale books.
Their unique look will give your child something to marvel over.
Besides resembling mini dragons, these animals come in several different colors.
Bearded dragons often come in different shades of reds, oranges, and yellows, so each one is a little different.
These reptiles are covered in scales and puff up their namesake beard when they want to intimidate something they see as a threat or feel territorial.
The beard is a flap of skin located around their throat.
Your child is sure to be telling everyone about how cool their bearded dragon looks, making the animal’s appearance just one more reason why your child will enjoy having it.
They Have Personality
We touched on their calm attitude above, but these animals do have a calm temperament for kids.
They like humans, and they are willing to interact with them.
The whole family will get a kick out of watching your bearded dragon running around exploring their enclosures.
And when you let them out of the tank, these curious reptiles will enjoy exploring the room they are in.
Bearded dragons also behave in a way making many owners feel they are showing affection.
They snuggle into warm parts of your body like your neck or chest and will nap on you for hours.
Once they get to know your voice, these animals respond to it, knowing you aren’t a threat and associating their owners with good things like food and fun.
Reptiles don’t always appear to have such outgoing personalities, but beardies do, and this makes them ideal for kids.
How To Buy A Bearded Dragon
The demand for bearded dragons has dramatically risen in recent years, making them a popular pet for children.
Because they are so popular, bearded dragons are not hard to find, but some places are better than others when you think about making a purchase.
Bearded dragons are available at local or big box pet shops, but for a very healthy and captive-bred bearded dragon, we recommend finding a qualified breeder.
Since your child will get attached to the animal, a qualified breeder will offer a better stock of bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons bred in captivity, rather than wild-caught, are less likely to come to you with diseases or other issues.
Breeders will also offer some exciting morphs and will have given the animal proper care before your purchase.
Remember, the start-up costs for this animal may reach upwards of $450 or more, but after this, your costs will be relatively minimal.
Before you purchase the beardie, make sure you buy everything you will need to properly set up the enclosure.
You don’t want to bring the animal into your home and not have a place to house it.
This will not be healthy for the animal and will cause unnecessary stress to the bearded dragon.
It is also not a bad idea to purchase a tank large enough to house an adult bearded dragon, even if you are purchasing the animal when it small.
Younger, smaller beardies don’t need the same size tank as an adult, but they can live in the larger tank, if you only want to buy one for each stage of life.
Buying the larger habitat to start will save you money and some headache as you won’t have to switch everything out as the animal grows.
You should also be sure to completely research how to care for the animal before making your purchase.
There is a learning curve, but if you don’t know anything about what you are doing, the animal is likely to suffer.
It isn’t all perfect as bearded dragon owners.
Bearded dragons do come with some issues, and as their parent, it’s your job to fix them.
Like most pet reptiles, bearded dragons carry diseases and potential worms or parasites on their bodies.
This is why we recommend you wash your hands after handling the bearded dragon.
One such disease is salmonella.
Some strains of salmonella cause serious illness in young children, as well as those with compromised immune systems and the elderly.
Use soap and water, washing thoroughly after handling or caring for your bearded dragon or any reptile.
Because they do carry disease, young children should be supervised so as not to put the animal near their mouth.
Ensure your child is old enough or mature enough to understand proper handling and what to do after a handling session.
As we also touched on, bearded dragons have teeth and can bite.
Even though they do so only as a last resort, it is possible, and children will need to be taught how to handle the animal.
And sometimes the beardie just doesn’t want to be messed with.
Younger bearded dragons are much more skittish and are more easily afraid than a tame adult bearded dragon used to be handled.
Kids might have to wait for a little until the bearded dragon grows and becomes less delicate to interact and play with the creature.
Developing a relationship with the animal takes time.
Make sure your child is ready for the responsibility of this animal before you decide to bring it into your home.
Fortunately, there is little chance of a child having allergies related to pet reptiles.
Are bearded dragons good with kids?
Hopefully, you see the answer is a resounding: yes!
Bearded dragons are a great first pet for kids because of their low maintenance and even temperament.
Children will develop so many skills, including responsibility, if given the opportunity to have a bearded dragon.
With proper care, safety is not a problem with these animals, and they are great with children.
If you are looking to get your child their first reptile, a bearded dragon is a great option.