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When the team at RetailMeNot asked for someone to write about how bearded dragons make the perfect family pet, I jumped at the chance. That’s because after my older kid and I spent a few weeks babysitting (a.k.a. “dragon sitting”) Mushu, our neighbor’s bearded dragon, I went from dragon skeptic to dragon convert. 

Mushu
Image: Mushu the Bearded Dragon

Here’s why these cute reptiles make such ideal family pets, and why Zoo Med products from PetSmart are perfect for your bearded dragon. Bonus: Right now you can get $50 Off Zoo Med’s 40 Gallon Bearded Dragon Terrarium Kit — the perfect all-in-one starter kit for your new bearded buddy.

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3 Reasons to Own a Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons Have Great Personalities

Bearded Dragon Personality
Image: Getty Images

Don’t let their pre-historic looking dragon face scare you off. Bearded dragons are not aggressive creatures. In fact, bearded dragons are friendly, sweet, generally quite chill and will grow to care about their pet parents. Mushu, for example, was happy to snuggle up against our neighbor, Nabil, while Nabil explained how to take care of Mushu. Cute! 

Not only are they good-natured, but bearded dragons are hilarious and playful when they’re in the mood. (If you haven’t watched the TikToks of bearded dragon owner Em and her spirited dragon Lenny, you need to. Lenny is really something.)

Bearded Dragons Are the Best Beginner-Friendly Reptiles

Bearded Dragon First-Time Pet
Image: Getty Images

Bearded dragons are considered among the most social of reptiles and make ideal beginner-friendly pets. They, like any living thing that you’re responsible for, certainly require care and attention: gentle handling, the right food, drink, and vitamin supplements, safe climate for their body’s needs, a roomy and secure habitat and annual vet checkups. An older, responsible kid can absolutely take on a lot of the duties of caring for their pet dragon — with a grown-up’s supervision. 

Unlike cats, beardies won’t shred your furniture, and unlike dogs, they don’t require multiple walks outside (I love our dog but those early morning walks in the dead of winter aren’t the most enjoyable). 

Meanwhile, bearded dragons basically want to hang out with you around the house or in their habitat, snacking and sunning themselves.

Bearded Dragons Are Fascinating

Bearded Dragon Fascinating
Image: Getty Images

There’s so much you’ll learn about reptiles when you bring home a bearded dragon, including that the bearded dragon lives an average of 10 years and can grow up to 24 inches long. Another cool fact is that both the male and female bearded dragons can puff out their “beards” — a maneuver designed to scare off any predators. A dragon eats a mix of plants and small insects, and goes through a period of brumation (like a hibernation) each year.


What to Buy for Your Bearded Dragon

Here are 7 essential Zoo Med items available at PetSmart to purchase before you bring home your new buddy!

Zoo Med 40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Terrarium Kit

Zoo Med 40-Gallon Bearded Dragon Terrarium Kit
Image: PetSmart

Zoo Med ReptiHabitat Bearded Dragon Kit has everything your bearded dragon needs for its own cozy, secure little home, including the below. Bonus: It’s currently $50 off!

  • 40-gallon terrarium with a sliding screen top
  • ReptiSand for digging fun 
  • Plastic faux-rock food and water bowls 
  • Terrarium thermometer/humidity gauge to make sure their space is the ideal temp and has the correct humidity levels for their needs 
  • A compact fluorescent lamp
  • Combo lamp fixture to hold both a daytime and nighttime bulb. That’s because during the day they’ll bask in warmer light and then require slightly cooler temps at night. 
  • A food sampler and instruction manual about bearded dragons 

Price: $209.99, $259.99

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Zoo Med Eco Carpet Reptile Terrarium Carpet

Zoo Med Eco Carpet Reptile Terrarium Carpet
Image: PetSmart

PetSmart advises placing reptile carpeting down on the bottom of your bearded dragon’s terrarium, like this Zoo Med Eco Carpet. It’s especially great for younger dragons because it can’t be accidentally ingested. 

Price: $12.49, $24.99

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Zoo Med Repti Hammock Reptile Hammock

Zoo Med Repti Hammock Reptile Hammock
Image: PetSmart

A soft, nylon hammock that attaches to the side of the terrarium is the perfect place for your bearded dragon to hang out and live the good life. 

Price: $12.99

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Zoo Med Creatures Feeding Tongs

Zoo Med Creatures Feeding Tongs
Image: PetSmart

Taking care of a bearded dragon means feeding them live insects. These glow-in-the-dark tongs make it simple to grab the bug and offer it to your dragon. 

Price: $4.19, $4.99

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Zoo Med Reptisafe Instant Terrarium Water Conditioner

Zoo Med Reptisafe Instant Terrarium Water Conditioner
Image: PetSmart

The Reptisafe Terrarium Water Conditioner helps remove chlorine, chloramines, and ammonia and add electrolytes to habitat water and drinking water.

Price: $4.99, $9.99

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Zoo Med Wipe Out 1 Terrarium and Small Animal Cage Disinfectant

Zoo Med Wipe Out 1 Terrarium and Small Animal Cage Disinfectant
Image: PetSmart

This spray bottle contains a cleanser to keep your beardie’s terrarium clean. Before you use it, you need to remove everything from their terrarium, including (obviously) your bearded dragon, their food and water bowls, and any flooring, hammocks and other items. Then you spray the terrarium, let the disinfectant work for five minutes, and wipe it off. Note: Your dragon’s habitat must be fully dry before you return them or any objects back into it.  

Price: $4.97, $9.99

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Zoo Med Repti Calcium With D3 Reptile Supplement

Zoo Med Repti Calcium With D3 Reptile Supplement
Image: PetSmart

Juvenile bearded dragons require calcium with vitamin D3 4-5 times each week and adult dragons need calcium with vitamin D3 2-3 times each week, so you can sprinkle this powder onto their food for the appropriate intake for their age. Bearded dragons also require a multivitamin, so speak with your vet about the best way to feed and care for your bearded buddy! 

Price: $5.69, $9.99

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The post This Fascinating Reptile Makes the Perfect Family Pet appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.