What You Need To Know About #ReptileCare

bearded dragon, reptile care

This post is sponsored by petMD® Reptile Center, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but My Divas Dish only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. petMD and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article.

“What’s in your zoo right now?” is a question many of my friends and family ask. I have never turned away a pet in bearded dragon, reptile careneed. I am also open to getting to know new pets and new species. Thankfully my parents were okay with that because growing up I’d had bunnies, a pony (with asthma!), a horse, guinea pigs, gerbils, anoles, indoor and outdoor cats (you live on a farmette and everyone drops off pregnant cats), dogs, ferrets, geckos, a turtle, parakeets, finches, a cockatiel, salt and fresh water fish, my son’s boa, and an iguana the kids won at a county fair. The “what’s in your zoo” question is valid, right?

In my house, right now, are two ferrets, two dogs, four cats and a bearded dragon named Alice. We don’t really know if Alice is a female but we liked the name and it stuck. Alice is our second bearded dragon. We had our first dragon, Charles, for about seven years until he went over the Rainbow Bridge and so enjoyed his personality that we knew we wanted a second one.

Before I owned my first dragon I never considered the fact that they might have unique personalities. I surely never thought they would be happy to see us — you know, like the dogs do. Alice and her tank is in the back family room; when she’s been alone for a few hours and we walk into the back room she will pace the tank and run up and down the log until we talk to her, spray her with some water and give her some lettuce. Once we’ve done that, she either hangs out on the top of her log or on the top of her heated cave, content.

When the cats are otherwise occupied we will bring her out of the tank. She either sits on our shoulders or lounges along the back of the couch. Henrietta is never too fond of that turn of events. It’s mutual because Alice will arch her back, puff out her beard and generally make herself look big and scary.

When the nephews visit they love to reach in and feed and pet her and she will submit to a bit of handling from them (we make sure the nephews wash their hands when they’re done because some reptiles can carry salmonella — something we learned when we researched #reptilecare.)

While we had the boa in the house, it wasn’t quite my favorite reptile, but my son enjoys it. Why do I enjoy reptiles as pets?250x90PMReptile

  • They are unique
  • They have individual personalities
  • They are a great way for kids to learn about how to care for a different kind of pet
  • The research that goes into determining the type of reptile pet you want to own is interesting and necessary. You don’t want to get a pet, for example, that you will have to feed live food (aka mice) to if that isn’t something you can tolerate. I have only ever owned reptiles that eat crickets and meal worms.
  • Truly, a nicely landscaped reptile habitat can lend itself to your overall home decorating. For example we have had reptiles that needed lush environments and the greenery was beautiful in the tank. The dragon’s habitat is desert-like so we now have sand, stones, a rock cave and a log for her to climb on. You can “decorate” the outer wall of the tank with a terrarium background.

alice handThe one reptile I have never owned, but have always been intrigued by is a chameleon and I believe that is what we are going to bring into the house next month! I love that petMD has a Reptile Care Center where I can go and find out what I need to know before I make a final decision on a chameleon. and PetSmart, celebrating Reptile Mega Month, has a fantastic area on its reptile purchase center available so I can read all about my potential new reptile pet before I even head out to drive to the store! have the new I have to begin clearing off space on my bookshelf! Can’t wait to write about my journey!

Note: I took the “Are you a bearded dragon expert” quiz and the only one I got wrong was how to tell if your beardie is male or female! I’m all right with that, though because everything else was more important to me because it all related to the care and health of my dragon and I aced those!

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36 replies to this post
  1. I have also never turned down an animal in need, which is how I ended up with my Sulcata tortoise and my Ball Python. Reptiles do make great pets, but they are a serious commitment. It’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting into. They are a long term commitment.

    • I agree! I don’t think some people realize how long they live. My son has had his ball python for more than 10 years now!

  2. Great post thanks for sharing, and Alice is adorable! I’ve never owned reptiles other than many different kinds of turtles over the years – I love turtles! My brother in law actually has a red eared slider turtle that is nearly 50 years old!! He got it as a tiny greet turtle when he was a child. That turtle has moved with him to about 5 different places over 50 years! How cool is that? Pet MD’s Reptile Care Center and PetSmart’s Reptile Purchase Center both sound like great resources of information if you are thinking about adding a reptile to your family!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • I had no idea turtles lived that long — that truly is a lifetime commitment in a pet! Thank you for commenting!

  3. You sound like you have a very interesting household. I’ve never had a reptile, although I do remember trying to convince my mother to let me keep a toad I found in our yard once. BTW I think Alice, male or female, is a beauty.

    • They are interesting and, Amy, they offer the cats endless opportunities to hop up and slap at the cage — full days of entertainment for them!

  4. I’ve never owned a reptile; I’ve always found myself intimidated by the humidity & environmental needs. Now that I’m older I think I could finally handle it – and if I do end up with a reptile in the future it wouldn’t be a snake – I’d love a bearded dragon. They are so fascinating; and it really is quite a learning experience. (and I have to say I absolutely love the name Alice)

    • I think the dragons are easy because they live in a desert environment — much easier for me than the humidity required by others — I totally agree. Thanks for loving the name!

  5. I used to play with a blue tongue lizard growing up. It would happily snooze on my chest when it felt warm and loved lettuce treats. I even took it to school under my sweater when I was about 6 or 7 and scared the other girls as it looked like a snake and flicked its tongue. I am happy with just Kilo the rescue Pug for now as he is a lot of work. However, I was with a group called Reptilia a few weeks ago and inspired to develop a TV kids sit com about a little girl growing up at a reptile park Lily and Lizzie. Maybe Alice can be a star. X Susie

  6. I had a bearded dragon! They are wonderful reptiles and pets. You really DID have a zoo growing up! That is too cool. I want a “zoo” someday 🙂 The Twitter chat about reptiles was fun the other day – I learned so much!

    • My parents were certainly very open minded about our getting pets and now my daughter is the same — she has a houseful. I’ve started a zoo-trend!

  7. Aw Alice is cute!! When my brother lived here, we had a Bearded Dragon too. He moved out with my bro several years ago though, and just recently passed away this year. He was probably about 7 years old too. They really are such nice lizards. Your house sounds about like mine sometimes with the whole zoo thing. 🙂

    • LOL, yeah it is zoo at my house all the time! Thanks for commenting and saying Alice is cute — she appreciates that!

  8. Reptiles are very cool! I have had a lot of different pets, just like you. Oddly, the closest thing I’ve ever had to a reptile was a newt. My husband has had iguanas before. I may get a reptile someday when my living situation can bear it.

    • I agree. We learned the hard way with the iguana that we won at a county fair that they get very large and can be aggressive. Thankfully we had a friend who had experience with them and was able to take ours when he became too much for me to handle. Had I known about petMD way back then I would have known that winning an iguana was not the best bet for me!

  9. Much like you, growing up my brother and I had all kinds of pets, now that I’m own I’m not quite so adventurous.

    But we were able experience owning, rabbits, guinea pigs, fancy mice, anoles, hermit crabs, iguanas, cats, dogs, turtles, goldfish, cockatiels, parakeets, and a senegal parrot. If we had the space for it, my mom said yes, the only thing that she ever said no to was any time of snake.

    I still wouldn’t mind one, but my husband isn’t a fan of snakes.

    • I have to admit that my son’s snake was not my favorite. I had nightmares of it getting loose and squeezing our cats or something! EEep.

  10. Interesting post! Whilst reptiles are not my pet of choice, we do find them fascinating and certainly have our share incl. bearded dragons in surrounding parks and occasionally the back garden!

    • Thanks! I love that I passed the petMD quiz about dragon. I guess I do know my stuff! petMD is such a great resource.

  11. I’ve had dogs, cats, fish, birds, a snake, a turtle, and a goat, but not a bearded dragon… yet! I’ve not had a chameleon as a pet but do live in Florida, so I have them on my deck! I think it’s great there are places like petMD online where we can research information before bringing an unusual pet into our home.

    • I was first introduced to reptiles by my Grandpa when we’d go visit him in Florida and there were just lizards all over the house and we played with them — if we could catch them! I love petMD’s reptile center — so helpful for new and long-time pet owners.

  12. I love hearing how she gets excited to see you guys. Its easy to spend all of my time, energy, and love on the dogs and cats because they need me so much but also give so much. Its really cool to hear that reptiles can give you that feedback as well. While reptiles might not be right for me, I love hearing how their people love them and care for them! She sounds like a cool lady!

    • I never imagined that a reptile would really ever respond to its humans but both of our dragons have. It might be because we handle them so often and they’re right in the family room so in the midst of all of the action all of the time!

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