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Hi from the Whole Family

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Dragonflies, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    First of all, sorry about this being so long, but it'll give you people a chance to get to know us a little. I've also included details about the experience we had when purchasing our new pet, and what led up to our purchase. Hopefully it may be of help to other prospective reptile owners.

    Hi there, my family became the proud carers of a juvenile Bearded Dragon four days ago. The name we have chosen is 'Bernie'.
    Bernie lives in our daughters room, it's the warmest room in the house, and we have other pets, dogs, cats, birds so it is obviously safer until Bernie grows.
    Background of acquiring Bernie is that, when in England a few months ago, our daughter was fascinated with fish in an aquarium, she was about 14 months old then (she's 20 months now). Up until now we hadn't done anything about the aquarium. Anyway, things came to a head last week when one of our cats brought in an alligator lizard, alive luckily but it had shed it's tail. We kept the lizard for a few days until the weather warmed up before releasing. We live in the SF bay area BTW.
    This experience made me recall the Leopard Geckos that I kept back in England 10 year and it suddenly hit me, having an aquarium might not be fair to the fish because our daughter could only look at them and would tap on the glass whenever she had a chance. The right lizard would be something she could look at, but also interact with (under supervision of course).
    Research led me to Bearded Dragons, the size and temperament were right, as was feeding and care requirements (once my wife gets over the cricket part). So, early last week, we visited Berkeley Vivarium to see what was available. The place had a huge selection of reptiles and snakes, and our daughter really enjoyed looking. There was quite a selection of BDs from juveniles to adults, and we decided on a juvenile to get us started, partly based on space requirement, but also for the experience of seeing the BD grow up.
    We chose Bernie, and gathered together all the necessities, cage (10 gallons to start), furniture, lighting, supplements. We had said at the outset that we were going to take everything home and set it up to get everything ready (temperatures, layout etc.), and would return in a few days to take Bernie home.
    This decision turned out to be a good one (prospective purchasers take note, do your research and get as many opinions as you can).
    The assistant didn't know as much as he thought, he initially talked us into a ceramic heater, but fortunately one of the other assistants spotted this and the concensus of other members of staff was that juvenile BDs required the white light of a bulb to know where to bask, so the ceramic heater was changed to a bulb.
    After setting everything up I soon discovered that even then, the bulb he sold me was way too much. A 100 watt bulb in a ten gallon tank will cook your lizard in no time, it certainly cooked the thermometer. The temperature went way over 120º and the 'cool' side was 103º. By using a normal incandescent I established that about 60 watts was about right.
    On Friday, I went to collect Bernie armed with the killer bulb and the blown thermometer. Bulb and thermometer were replaced along with reassurance that words would be had with the original assistant who had 'helped' us, First batch of crickets was also free of charge. They didn't have 60 watt bulbs, 50 or 75, I figured 50 might be too low so I took the 75 watt with the intention of using a dimmer for safety. As it turns out, the 75 watt with the dimmer on the lowest setting gives us a few degrees leeway which will be useful to compensate for fluctuations in our daughter's bedroom (it's at about the warmest it gets right now).
    Not much more now, promise.
    Bernie has settled in really well, we're not handling to allow some time to settle in. Bernie started eating crickets straight away, even took a couple of dying ones from my fingers, some greens were also nibbled at we think. This morning when I was giving food, Bernie even took a couple of pieces of dandelion leaf from my fingers. We are all very happy with the state of things so far.
    One final thing before a portrait of Bernie. Something we hadn't considered, but is proving to be a BIG PLUS. Our daughter seems to be taking the responsibility (perceived of course) of having her own pet in her room. The benefit is that nap time and bed time are so much easier. Preparations are made, diaper is changed, "night, night" and a wave our directed at Bernie, then it's off to bed contentedly without the usual screaming bout.

    I will be the main poster for this account, but my wife may occasionally use it, probably for asking questions like "how can I pick up a cricket without screaming. LOL She has been pretty good though, she captured her first escapee (cricket) today and I didn't hear a thing.

    Thanks for reading, and here's a first look at Bernie.

    Attached Files:

  2. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    Bernie is soooooo cute!!

    I didn't see you mention if your bulb is a UVB bulb? Lizards don't really need to see where to bask, they can feel the heat.. but they need special UVB lighting to keep them healthy! Some people use ceramic heat emitters if the tank gets too cold at night(doesn't disturb their sleep)

    What a fun pet to start life out with, a bearded dragon friend! :)

    and don't worry, I hate crickets too, LOL! Most people here do..
  3. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Hi Kat, nice to meet you.
    There is a Reptisun 10.0 for the UVB as well as the heat lamp. As for the ceramic heater, the consensus in the store (it's a large store with a big staff) was that babies and juveniles want the white light to go bask under, that was based on their observations over a long period. Who was I to argue?:) The guy who helped me wanted to sell me a 150 watt heater and a dimmer because they didn't have any 100 watt ones. Based on my experience with a 100 watt bulb, the 150 watt heater (even with dimmer) wouldn't have just cooked Bernie, it would have been a cremation.
    I'm so glad I made the choice of setting up first before bringing Bernie home.
    As for crickets, I don't mind them, I used to have them years ago and the sound didn't bother me (reminded me of vacations in the Mediterranean actually). The smell as a bit of an acquired taste though. LOL
    Where we live now, we hear crickets outside all the time.
  4. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Bernie is also pooping well, before anyone asks. LOL
  5. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    Ugh cricket smell! :p ! lol! This is why I'm getting ready to breed dubia and turkistan roaches! hehe, at least with them there will be no escapees!

    Alright, I just wanted to make sure on the UVB, some people don't realize they need them!
  6. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    Welcome to HC and congrats on Bernie, he is adorable!
    There is something to be said about the calming feeling of being around a reptile, I keep some of my babies in my bedroom and sleep better than I have in years LOL My kids say it's because I am getting old and just practicing for the retirement home, but when I threaten to trade them in for snakes, they change their tune LOL
  7. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Thanks for your welcome missabrat.
    Quite a collection of companions you have going by your list.
    We have two dogs, three cats, and two birds. Bernie is the first cool blooded companion in the family.
  8. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to Herp Center.
    Glad to have you join us.
  9. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to HC!
  10. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Hello there! Welcome to the site!
    Bernie is a real cutie!
    He looks more like a Hatchling than a juvenile!
    Good luck, glad to hear that he is doing well, they are eating and pooping machines!:p
  11. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    Welcome to HCN! I can't help with your beardie, but I can say I love crickets...they are nice and crunchy AND you can use their hind legs ti pick your teeth! Lol. Yes, I have eaten crickets though, but I have never picked my teeth with the legs. Sorry Kat.
  12. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Hi Mike, Rich, David, and Michele, thanks for the "Welcome".

    Michele, I hope Bernie is not a hatchling, 9 inches seems a bit long for that. I don't want to end up with one of those 24 foot Dragons.:p
  13. gapeachkatie

    gapeachkatie Elite Member

    Welcome to the site and hope you enjoy it. Bernie is a cutie pie! I wish I could of had a Bearded Dragon as a kid, your daughter is lucky!
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to HC! And no need to apologize for the length of your post! I would much rather see such things than the old "Help! My lizard won't eat! Why?" that we get far too often.
    A couple of quick questions.
    What are the temperatures in the tank currently?
    Are your thermometers digital, strips or the circular guages and where are they located in the tank.
    As far as day time heating bulbs go, you do not have to use the petstore brands. A regular incandescent such as you use in your house will work just fine.
    A CHE would also have worked. They can sense the heat.
    Instead of a dimmer, use a thermostat. A dimmer is just a high low type of setting while the thermostat will control the temperature and keep it at a steady level.
  15. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Hi Katie, thanks for the welcome.
  16. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Hi Merlin, thanks for the questions and suggestions. Things are looking pretty good at the moment (I know, tempting fate LOL). It won't be long until Bernie needs a bigger home, I've got a couple of months to research and decide exactly how I want the final setup to look.
  17. Boa

    Boa Elite Member

    Welcome to the site
  18. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    So Bernie is 9" long, is that snout to vent or snout to tip of tail?
  19. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    welcome to the site

    Bernie will do best with a source of UVB (these being fluorescents, or MVB bulbs only. Incandescents do NOT produce it.) As mentioned - for just light and heat (since you already provide fluorescent UVB) you can use standard household bulbs. Just be sure to change your tubes every 6 months.

    It sounds like he has a long, happy, healthy life ahead of him. If you are looking into his next cage, check out or construction forums - we have some pretty creative members here, who have made some amazing cages. If you have a creative bone in your body, you can do the same, for a fraction of the cost of buying such a cage.
  20. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Thanks for the welcome Chris

    Snout to tip of tail Jen, that's a guestimate, don't want to cause any stress by trying to measure exactly. :)

    Hi Jen, thanks for the welcome. I think for this cage, the heat bulb is probably working better because the beam is more focused, I think a normal incandescent would make it harder to get a decent temp gradient.

    Yes, I've been studying the construction forums, and am considering attempting to make the next one myself. We've also been looking at Showcase Cages, they're very nice looking and the prices aren't too bad in comparison to some of the 'furniture' style **** in some pet stores.
    Here's a link to them in case anyone hasn't come across them before and is interested - Showcase Cages - Reptile Cages - Reptile Cage - Cage Locks - Snake cages - Iguana Cages - Bearded Dragon Cage - Plastic Cage - Reptile Supplies - Reptile Accessories - Reptiles - Snake Cage - Animal Cages - cage - cages - Plastic cages

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