The first time at home

Tiny Teo The first couple of days I left Teo alone in her new home. Everything was new to her and the last thing she needed was a big monster (me!) leaning over her, lifting her up etc. Most of the time Teo just sat there, looking. She didn't do much at all.

It is not easy to leave the new family member alone. But do so. And don't stand close to the glass, staring at your lizard. Staring is a big threat for the beardie. That are what predators do before they catch their prey and in the beardies eyes you are a predator until it gets used to you.

Give the newly arrived beardie at least a couple of days to get used to the new environment and leave it alone. Don't pick him up. Give him fresh water and vegetables every day and don't worry if he doesn't eat. It is common that they don't eat the first days at a new home.

Never walk up to a lizard from above. In their world a threat comes from above so always avoid that. Show your beardie that you are coming by showing up from the front, where he can see you. Stay close to the terrarium without touching the beardie and talk calmly too show that you won't hurt him. Don't do any rush movements and don't keep the volume of your stereo too high..! Remember that everything is new to your beardie the first time! Maybe he has moved at least three times already in his life. First from the breeder, to a wholesale dealer, to the petstore and then home to you. That is a lot of new experiences for a little dragon. Remember that it is a reptile you bought and if it is afraid it doesn't need to be cuddled like a kitten, it needs to be left alone.

Start to handle the dragon
After a couple of days you can start to pick him up and hold him for a couple of minutes. Make sure you make him feel safe by putting a hand under his feet and belly. Put him down when YOU decide - not if he struggles to get loose. Hold him gently but show him that you are the one making the rules and you are not going to hurt him. If he struggles or bites and you immediately put him down - he knows that struggling and biting will work in the future too. Talk calmly and hold him until he calms down and then put him down. Only handle your beardie for very short periods in the beginning. It is better to do it often for short periods than rarely for long periods.

Afraid or nervous beardie?
If you haven't handled your dragon much in the beginning or buy an adult beardie it is not used to being handled as a pet.

It is rare that beardies are very frightened and aggressive - but it happens - if so, don't give up. If the beardie is very nervous or aggressive you have to be patient - don't show that you are afraid (even if you are!). IF he should bite you try to stay calm, don't pull back, and don't scream. That would scare him even more. Don't let him "win". If the beardie finds out that his tactic of biting works (you move away) he will keep doing it. You'll have to show the lizard that you have control and that you are nothing to be afraid of. Never ever punish the beardie if he bites you - he won't understand it anyway. And don't use gloves if you are afraid of getting bitten. That is scaring the dragon. If you are patient the beardie will most certainly calm down. Then you'll get your reward - beardies are wonderful pets!

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