Program Host: Hi and welcome to our new show, Exotic Animal Kingdom, a program geared toward introducing animals to the young and old. In today's show, our young, but experienced, guest will introduce us to the fantastic world of bearded dragons. Welcome, Joshua. [Thank you very much.] Now, Joshua, I must admit that a bearded dragon sounds something like out of a fantasy book. What exactly is a bearded dragon?
Guest: Well, here. Why don't you hold on to Bert, [Oh . . . Wow!] while I talk about him. [Okay] Bearded dragons actually originated from the deserts of Australia, and this is one of several species that survived in that climate. Today, beardies like this one are bred in captivity here in the US.
Program Host: Okay. And, so what are some of the essential things to know when getting a bearded dragon? I mean, can you raise one as a family pet?
Guest: Bearded dragons make a great family pet and are very docile creatures.
Program Host: Yeah, this one seems quite friendly.
Guest: You just need to know how to care for them.
Program Host: Well, what are some of the things you should keep in mind?
Guest: First, you need to have the right supplies: some kind of enclosure . . .
Program Host: Like, like a cage or something like that.
Guest: Yeah. [Okay] A full spectrum fluorescent light bulb and a basking lamp [Okay] , branches and rocks to climb on and bask on, a food or water dish, and something to line bottom of the cage.
Program Host: Okay, well, let's get down to some the basics. What are the dietary needs of a bearded dragon? It sounds like a very carnivorous beast. Perhaps, uh, they eat fiery Mexican tacos or something like that.
Guest: No, bearded dragons are omnivores. . .
Program Host: Now, Omnivores? What exactly is that?
Guest: Uh, creatures that eat insects, vegetable, and greens, the leafy parts of plants and their stems.
Program Host: Okay. You mean like, for example, carrots or something like that for example. [Yeah] Okay.
Guest: Young dragons like Bert can be fed small crickets twice a day, along with some greens and shredded vegetables. [Okay.] And then as your dragon grows, you can increase the amount of greens and vegetables. [Alright.] And you can also dust the vegetables and insects with a calcium supplement to promote bone growth.
Program Host: Okay, and what about water? Uh, what kind of needs do they have for that?
Guest: Well, since bearded dragons traditionally live in arid regions, they obtain most of their water naturally from what they eat, so you have to be sure to feed them plenty of vegetables that serve as good carriers of water. [Okay.] You also spray them occasionally with a water bottle or provide them with a shallow water dish. Whatever you do, but sure to keep the cage dry, [Okay.] or else mold and bacteria can grow that could make your dragon sick.
Guest: [Okay.], and finally, you mentioned about lighting earlier. What do you need exactly to keep your beardie happy and healthy?
Guest: Having a full spectrum light and basking lamp are pretty key to raising healthy beardies. First, they need the simulated sunlight from the ultraviolet (UV) bulb . . .
Program Host: Now, is that the full spectrum light that you mentioned? Okay.
Guest: . . . to absorb rays [Okay.], vital to the production of certain vitamins, [Okay.] and the high body temperatures of a basking light to aid in the digestive process.
Program Host: Now, what kinds of temperatures are you referring to when you talk about the basking area?
Guest: Like ninety to a hundred degrees.
Program Host: Okay, and I don't think they need sun tan lotion, right? [No].
Program Host: Okay, uh, so, perhaps then, I could put my beardie in an aquarium and just set him by the window which gets direct sunlight? Would that work?
Guest: Well, actually, you can even take them outside two or three times a week in the direct sunlight; however, putting them in a glass aquarium
with exposure to sunlight won't be viewed as a replacement for direct light or a UV bulb because the glass only filters out the sunlight they need.
Program Host: Wow! I didn't know there was so much to know about raising a pet like that. Well, thanks very much for joining us today, Joshua.
Guest: My pleasure.