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Unlike some other reptiles, bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are often very tame lizards that endure regular interaction with their keepers. Although they will never chase a ball or play tug-of-war with you, you can interact with them in several enjoyable ways. However, you must remember that your bearded dragon is a living, breathing animal -- not a toy. Always be mindful of his well-being, avoid injuring him and limit his stress level.
Seek to keep your bearded dragon's stress level low during interactions. If you notice him getting lethargic, defensive or panicky, return him to his cage immediately. Do not handle a young bearded dragon unless necessary. Once your lizard is 6 to 8 inches in length, you can begin playing with him, but keep the interactions very short. Once he is about 14 inches or more in length, he is mature enough to go for walks or pose for pictures. Always handle your lizard carefully, and support his whole body -- never lift him by the tail.
Go For a Walk
Equipped with a snug-fitting harness, you can take your bearded dragon outside for a stroll. Your bearded will not want to walk very far, and he will spend more time looking around than walking, but you will both enjoy the excursion. Be sure your lizard is comfortable during your outing; the temperatures should be in the 80s, and he should have access to shade if he desires. Limit such trips to controlled environments, without other pets, children or predators lurking about. Avoid letting your lizard walk anywhere that may have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.
Bearded Dragon Media
The stoic nature of bearded dragons makes them great subjects for humorous photographs and videos. For example, you could construct a scene with dolls or action figures, and insert your dragon into unlikely scenarios, like a beauty salon or a commando mission. Properly framed and adorned with a snappy caption, such photos can be very funny. You could also construct sets reminiscent of exotic locations, such as New York City, the North Pole or the surface of the moon, in which to place your lizard. Alternatively, you could film your bearded dragon eating some greens, while you provide the voice-over in the style of a local restaurant review.
Lizard Water Colors
Bearded dragons display different colors depending on a variety of circumstances, and over the course of a few days, your pet likely displays a spectrum of different colors and combinations. You can document these changes by taking photographs, painting or filming your dragon in different situations. Because of his soft and diffuse colors, watercolor paints are an excellent choice. Document the conditions when you create each image, including the time of day and temperature. After accumulating several different images, see if you can draw conclusions about what factors most determine his color.
Hygiene and Human Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caution that reptiles can harbor salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness in humans. This is particularly true for young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. As when you handle any pet, wash your hands with soap and water after touching your lizard. Never place your lizard on counters, sinks or in areas where human food is prepared.
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