Reptile Advice Centre

Fish are such a relaxing pet but they don’t communicate their needs very well – until it is too late often. There are some good tips to keeping your aquarium in good shape, your fish fed correctly and managing the work involved.
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When it comes to reptile pets for beginners, several species are known to be relatively low-maintenance and easier to care for. Here are a few popular choices:

Leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius): Leopard geckos are small, docile, and have relatively simple care requirements. They are nocturnal, which means they are more active during the evening and night. Leopard geckos are insectivores and primarily eat live insects such as crickets and mealworms.

Bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps): Bearded dragons are larger reptiles but are known for their docile and friendly nature. They have specific habitat requirements, including a basking spot and UVB lighting. Their diet consists of a mix of live insects and plant matter.

Corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus): Corn snakes are a popular choice among snake enthusiasts. They are generally docile, relatively small, and have straightforward care requirements. Corn snakes are carnivorous and primarily eat appropriately sized mice or rats.

Crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus): Crested geckos are arboreal reptiles with a unique appearance. They are generally easy to handle and have simple care needs. Crested geckos feed on a diet of fruit-based powdered diets and occasionally small insects.

Russian tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii): Russian tortoises are small to medium-sized tortoises known for their hardiness and adaptability. They have specific temperature and habitat requirements, including a basking area and UVB lighting. Their diet mainly consists of a variety of leafy greens and occasional fruits.

When considering a reptile pet, it's important to thoroughly research the specific care requirements of the species you are interested in. Factors such as habitat setup, temperature and humidity control, diet, and potential lifespan should be taken into account. It's also a good idea to consult with experienced reptile keepers or veterinarians to ensure you provide the best care for your reptile companion.

The average lifespan of a bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) can vary depending on various factors such as genetics, diet, husbandry, and overall health care. With proper care and attention, bearded dragons can live anywhere between 10 to 15 years on average. However, some individuals have been known to live even longer, with reported lifespans of up to 20 years or more.

It's important to note that providing appropriate housing, temperature gradients, UVB lighting, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups are essential for ensuring the health and longevity of a bearded dragon. Proper care and a suitable environment contribute significantly to their overall well-being and can help maximize their lifespan.

Additionally, the lifespan of a bearded dragon can also be influenced by factors such as genetic predispositions, individual health conditions, and environmental factors. By being attentive to their specific needs and providing a well-rounded care routine, you can help promote a healthy and fulfilling life for your bearded dragon.

The feeding schedule for a bearded dragon can vary depending on its age and dietary needs. Here's a general guideline for a recommended feeding schedule:

Hatchlings (0-3 months old)

Offer small, appropriately sized live insects (e.g., pinhead crickets, small dubia roaches) multiple times a day, usually 2-3 times.

Ensure the insects are gut-loaded (fed nutritious food) and properly dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements.

Juveniles (3-12 months old)

Offer a mix of live insects and fresh vegetables daily.

Insects can be provided 1-2 times a day, with the portion size based on the dragon's appetite.

Vegetables should be offered daily and can include a variety of leafy greens, such as collard greens, mustard greens, and dandelion greens, as well as other vegetables like squash, bell peppers, and carrots.

Calcium and vitamin supplements should be used according to the product instructions.

Adults (1 year and older)

Offer a mix of live insects and fresh vegetables.

Insects can be provided every other day or a few times a week, depending on the individual's appetite and activity level.

Vegetables should be offered daily and should make up a significant portion of the diet.

Adjust the portion sizes of insects and vegetables based on the dragon's appetite and overall body condition.

Continue using calcium and vitamin supplements as directed.

It's important to provide a varied and balanced diet to meet a bearded dragon's nutritional requirements. The ratio of insects to vegetables will shift as they grow older, with vegetables becoming a more prominent part of their diet. Always ensure that the insects and vegetables are appropriately sized, fresh, and free from pesticides or harmful additives.

Remember to monitor your bearded dragon's weight and overall health, as individual dragons may have different feeding needs and preferences. Consulting with a reptile veterinarian or experienced reptile keeper can provide additional guidance specific to your bearded dragon's needs.

There can be several reasons why a bearded dragon may stop eating. Here are some possible explanations:

Environmental factors: Bearded dragons require specific temperature gradients and lighting conditions to support their appetite and digestion. If the temperature in their enclosure is too cold or too hot, or if they are not receiving adequate UVB lighting, it can affect their appetite. Ensure that the temperature and lighting setup in their enclosure is appropriate and meets their needs.

Stress or adjustment period: Changes in their environment, such as a recent relocation or introduction to a new enclosure, can cause temporary stress and appetite suppression. Give your bearded dragon some time to adjust and provide a comfortable, stress-free environment.

Brumation: Bearded dragons, especially adult males, may enter a natural state of brumation, which is similar to hibernation. During this period, their appetite can decrease, and they may appear less active. If your bearded dragon is exhibiting signs of brumation, such as reduced appetite and increased sleepiness, it's important to provide a quiet and cool environment for them to go through this natural cycle.

Illness or health issues: Loss of appetite can be a sign of underlying health problems or illness in bearded dragons. Infections, parasites, metabolic disorders, and organ issues can all impact their appetite. If your bearded dragon's loss of appetite is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, changes in behaviour, or abnormal stool, it is advisable to consult a reptile veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Seasonal changes: Bearded dragons may experience fluctuations in their appetite during different seasons. They may naturally reduce their food intake during cooler months or in preparation for brumation. Adjusting their feeding schedule and providing appropriate environmental conditions can help manage these natural changes.

If your bearded dragon's loss of appetite persists for more than a few days or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is recommended to seek veterinary advice. A reptile veterinarian can perform a thorough examination and provide appropriate guidance and treatment for your bearded dragon's specific situation.

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