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Re: Bearded Dragon... help needed

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Beginner Lizard Forum ]

Posted by glenn bartley on August 31, 2002 at 08:29:03:

In Reply to: Bearded Dragon... help needed posted by Tik on August 26, 2002 at 19:49:27:


When it comes to buying any type of reptile or amphibian I recommend the following listed by order of preference:

1) Buy from a local breeder whom you meet at a local herp society. This way you get to see the animal before buying, get to speak to the breeder in person, can find the breeder easily again, and get the benefit of membership in the herp society (such as plenty of others from whom to get info).

2) Buy one at a local or nearby herpetological show. Chances are the dealer will not be local, but there is still a good chance the person you are buying from is also the breeder (ask and make sure - there are lots of beardies available at shows). At a show you should be able to compare lots of different beardies and get your pick. Trouble is that if you do not buy right away, you may not see the dealer or the animal until the next show - that is if the bearded dragon is yet available.

3) Buy from someone over the internet or through a classified ad in a magazine or newspaper. Now it is getting more risky. Unless the seller winds up being a local: You do not see the actual animal before you buy, you do not meet the seller, you have to rely on references from others (yes you should definitely ask for references), over the internet someone can give you other email addresses that they themselves use as references so when you think you are getting a reference from another person it is actually the seller who is contacting you (there is a much bigger chance of fraud over the internet). You also have to get the creature mailed to you by overnight delivery and this costs anywhere from about $25 to $65 in the USA depending on the service used and the distance shipped. Still there are lots of breeders selling over the net, and it is easy to find them there. Prices are good if you shop around. Most people on the net seem to be honest sellers, but as I said you have to be careful. Some things to do to make internet purchasing safer are: making an inquiry on the net about the buyer. Another site: offers a BOI (board of inquiry) where you can post to inquire about different sellers. Don't do that here at - I am pretty sure it is a violation of user rules. You can also only buy from someone ho accepts credit cards directly. This is apparently the safest method as you can later contest the charges if ripped off.

4) Adopt an animal from a herp rescue or herp society. Sometimes healthy bearded dragons are given up for adoption; however beware as animals that are given up are often none to healthy when first arriving at an adoption center - or may have lousy dispositions. People who take the time to care for them correctly usually don't give up an animal for adoption, but it does happen and you can get lucky. The thing is they are usually adult animals, and it is more fun to start with a young one so you get the satisfaction of raising it.

5) Herp Specialty stores are next. You get all the benefits of buying at a local show, but I try to keep away from pet shop animals (even specialty shops) as conditions often seem none to great in my opinion...

6) A small mom and pop pet shop where the business is run by mama, papa, and their kids and maybe they have hired help who has been with them for years. These folks are a bit more likely to better care for the animals than is a chain pet store. Go in look around. Are the tanks clean, if yes come back three days later. Are they now clean or getting full of turds. Come back again in another two days, are they dirtier still - if so get outta there and buy elsewhere.

7) A large chain pet shop, in my opinion, is the worst place to buy, Please suffice it to say that in these stores the help is usually inexperienced and does not give a hoot about the animals. Many are youngsters without experience who like to give out information as if they have PHDs in herpetology. This of course is not always the case, and some pet shops in a large chain have great healthy animals.

Buyer beware are words of wisdom. Buy after looking at the animal if possible to make sure it LOOKS healthy. Eyes bright, no mucous or crust around eyes or nostrils or mouth or cloaca (the anus for all practical purposes). Good body weight should be evident. The lizard should be alert. It should have all body parts such as complete tail, all toes etc... Clean cages. There should be no evidence of mites or ticks. Food should be available in the cages (in a pet shop), lighting should be set up properly, etc....

The above info was just where to get the Bearded dragon. The below is in answer to your other two questions and is much shorter:

Buy the larger tank as these guys grow fast. A 20 gal. size will soon be outgrown.

By the tank and accessories where you can get it at the lowest price - but buy NEW not used. Such a place is often the large chain pet store, but know what you need before you go to the pet store. They stay in business by selling stuff and the more they sell you the better for them so they may try to sell you extras you do not need.

If you are a child or even a teenager, bring a parent along when you buy the lizard (some dealers will not sell to minors) and the tank and accessories. By the way get the whole setup first, and set it up before buying the lizard. Make sure everything is in working order. Then get you new friend.

I guess that was a lot I just typed, but I hope it is helpful.

Best regards,


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