Do Snakes Show Affection? My Ball Python Rescue Convinced Me

do snakes show affection

The same question pops up again and again. Do snakes show affection? This article is about how my Ball Python Rescue convinced me that they absolutely do. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but they are more intelligent and complex than most people give them credit for. Read on and you will see what I mean.

do snakes show affection

August 20, 2019

This is a date I will never forget. My family and I already had our Bearded Dragon, Leopard Gecko, Corn Snake and a Male Ball Python. We were not looking for any more reptiles. We walked into our local Petco to buy food for our friends. As is our habit we always look at the reptiles they have in stock. On this particular day we saw that they had a Ball Python. The Ball Python was out roaming and when I saw it my heart broke.

 

Ball Python Rescue

This snake was so thin that it was a triangle instead of a nice round shape. When I looked closer there was an open wound on its neck that looked like it hurt. When she saw us she lay on the log and just looked out at us. I have never seen an animal at this Petco in such a bad condition. We went to this store often and the people there care a great deal about the animals. I know Petco as a company has stores that are not good to their animals. This store cared.

I Immediately spoke to one of the ladies we knew about it. She told us they had just got it in from another store and that they were as appalled as we were. Unfortunately, Petco’s policies on feeding snakes made it difficult for them to get any weight on it. I decided right then I was bringing it home. I picked up the few things I would need. I already had a tote to house it in I just needed a couple of hides and a heat mat.

When they finally got it out and put it in the box for us to take home I was relieved. I brought it home and got it settled in. The next day I took it to our local reptile store and found out that it was a girl. We named her princess and set about getting her fixed up. I started putting Neosporin on her wound daily. I fed her an appropriate size rat the next day and then let her acclimate to her new home.

Princess Captured My Heart Quickly

ball python rescue

After the first week, we started handling her. She had always been docile when I was applying her treatments but I had only handled her long enough to apply it and then returned her to her enclosure. I wanted to keep her stress to a minimum and let her get used to her new home. Now I was handling her for longer and even letting my kids hold her so she could get used to us all. She was always very curious and super tame. For that I was thankful. Finally, after a few days of handling, she started to become even sweeter.

She was showing signs of not just tolerating it but actually looking forward to coming out. We would try to return her to her enclosure and she would coil her tail around our arms and not let go. This was when I started questioning the theory that snakes don’t show affection.

Over the next month, we fed her once every 5 days. Trying to bring her back up to where she should be. She began to fill out and eventually we backed off to once a week. Handling her became more frequent and she always showed a preference for being held so we started a nightly ritual. We would still take her out at times during the day just to see her and love on her. But every night before bed we would take her out and have what we now call our “Princess Cuddles” She loved giving kisses (That is what we call it she extends herself towards our faces and touches us gently on the nose or mouth) She explored all around our hands and even crawled on our heads.

I never thought in a million years that I could love a snake that much but I love her as one of my own kids.

Do Snakes Show Affection?

You bet they do! I have seen many answers to this question. From those who say that the best you can hope for is to be considered not a threat. To those who swear that

do snakes show affectionsnakes are the most loving creatures on planet earth. Here is my two cents. I have seen a lot of evidence with Princess that proves to me that she loves us. Especially me. She has bonded with me most of all. When we have our Princess Cuddles I will take her out and get my cuddles. She always likes to be next to my face or roaming through my hands. After a few minutes I hand her to my daughter or my wife and they love on her too. I will get up and go get a drink or check something online then after a few minutes come back.

The second I lay down and call her name she comes “running” to me. Now I know what you are thinking. Snakes don’t have ears so she can’t possibly hear me. Well, you are right. Snakes can’t “hear” in the traditional sense but they are highly sensitive to vibrations and so I believe they can sense the vibrations in our voices to distinguish patterns. Whatever the explanation she definitely knows me either by my voice or my scent it doesn’t matter. What matters is she knows when I am there and she comes right to me every time.

She also knows the schedule of events. We take her out every night and we turn out the lights and just lay there with her and cuddle. After that, she goes back to her enclosure and we go to bed. The other night we changed that routine and she was not happy. She tried to open her screen top and wiggle out. When I heard the screen sliding I turned on the light. She was half out of the cage. I pulled the top out and the minute I put my hand near her she crawled onto it and wrapped around my wrist. I held her for a few minutes and then put her back and got the second clip to secure the top. As I was getting that she kept trying to get out I had to keep pushing her back down till I could safely slide the top closed.

Does She Really Love Me? Maybe she is just used to me…

Well here is something for everyone to think about. No one has ever questioned whether snakes can experience fear. In fact, everyone admits that snakes coil up and hiss or strike defensively because they are scared. We know they experience stress and fear. So why do we question if they feel love or happiness? Do they feel the same way we do? Probably not. Their feelings aren’t as complex as ours. To me, that is a good thing. Animals love unconditionally. They don’t stop loving you if you make a mistake. It takes a lot for an animal to stop loving. Think about this for a second. If a snake could not bond with people or be affectionate. Then why is it that snakes can sense when something is bothering their owner and try to comfort them. I have heard of many examples of this behavior and witnessed it in my own reptiles.

Many people say that snakes do not enjoy handling they simply tolerate it (Some more than others) I do not feel like that is true. Princess actually enjoys being handled. In fact, she is the only snake that I have that I will handle when she is still digesting. I do try to wait a full day before handling her. But there are times whn I will pick her up for brief moments before the 24 hours is up. The other 2 I give a full 48 hours.

 

My Conclusions Require Further Testing…

There are several species of snakes and lizards that are deemed “aggressive” or not handlable. There are also those which people say are very temperamental and while you can handle them they must be watched closely as they could turn on you in a second. I do not believe that for a second. I have stated my opinion before that all a reptile needs to be happy and healthy is Food, Heat & Humidity, Water, and Love. The key ingredient being love. So I will be adding some of these “display” reptiles to my collection and attempting to prove my theory that any animal can bond with and show affection to their human companions given the right conditions.

Now there are some animals that can’t be handled because it is dangerous for them. Our skin causes them harm. But I don’t think any of them are reptiles. I have heard of a few amphibians and some fish. Anyway, I got off track a bit.

A Call to Action for all of you.

I want you all to do me a couple of favors. First, follow all of my social media the buttons are up top or at the end of this article. Second, subscribe to my youtube there will be a video of me and princess up there within the next few days. Third, tell us about your loving snakes. Post in the comments below let everyone know about your snakes and how they show their love. Let’s make everyone a believer.

Finally, I want your help spreading the word about how awesome reptiles are, so help me out by sharing my posts and commenting on my social media. Together we can teach the world how much we love reptiles.

Do Snakes Make Good Pets? – Pros & Cons

do snakes make good pets

This is a question many people have asked me. Do snakes make good pets? What are the Pros & Cons of owning a snake? It is time for me to answer these questions.

As with all pets the answer to the question ‘Do snakes make good pets’ is complex.

The question really should be will a snake be a good pet for me. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to answer that question for yourself. So how do you know if a snake is right for you? Well, let’s look at a bit of info about snakes.

Snakes, in general, are a very complex animal. There are many varieties of snakes but in general, there are two types of snakes suitable for most pet owners, Colubrids and Constrictors. Within these two categories there are multiple varieties from Corn Snakes to King Snakes, and Ball Pythons to Boa Constrictors and everything in between. Each species has its own unique qualities. Some are more active, some are more chill. The main thing they all have in common is they are all highly intelligent and have quite interesting habits.

Let’s look at a few common species in a little more detail.

Corn Snakes – Corn Snakes are smaller in girth but can get up to 6 feet long. They are really docile and easily tamed. Corn Snakes have lower temperature requirements than a lot of snakes because they come from a temperate environment. In general Corn Snakes are pretty active but they still like to hide as all snakes do.

Ball Pythons – Ball Pythons are probably one of the most popular pet snakes. They are very chill choosing to sit calmly for the most part when handled. Ball Pythons only grow to about 3 to 5 feet in length but can get pretty big around. Most of the time Ball Pythons are easily tamed and don’t tend to strike a lot. Some individuals can be a bit defensive but with consistent handling, they can usually be tamed. The one major characteristic about Ball Pythons that make them a bit challenging sometimes is that they are picky eaters. Sometimes refusing food for months at a time which can be nerve-racking for their keepers.

Boa Constrictors – Boas are among the most popular of the large snakes. Like Ball Pythons Boas tend to be docile and calm. Boas grow to be about 6 to 12 feet in length. So they are not super large like the Burmese or Reticulated Pythons. Boas are usually easily handled and don’t get stressed out by it. There are several types of Boas some large some smaller.

Reticulated Pythons – Retics, as they are nicknamed, are one of my favorite species. This is my dream snake. Retics can grow to 20 feet plus and weigh over 200 lbs. They are the longest snake in the world. Keeping a Retic is a very big commitment and you should only choose to do so if you know that you have the space as well as someone to help you handle this large snake. They are mostly docile but very active and some can be a bit temperamental.

So how do you know if snakes are right for you?

First make sure you know what you are getting into. All snakes are going to require room to grow as well as special heat and humidity. They will also need consistent care. Feeding usually isn’t a problem as snakes only eat once a week as babies and once every 10 to 14 days as adults. The main thing they need is love and enrichment. Please don’t buy a snake to be cool and then never give it attention.

Some people say that snakes only tolerate handling and that it is not necessary. I beg to differ. My snakes all enjoy time outside their enclosure. Princess actually looks for us to take her out and snuggles with us when we handle her. The one caution I have for you is don’t handle your snake too much. Most snakes enjoy coming out once in a while but not 5 times a day. I usually take mine out once a day. If you want to know about the care requirements for your snake check out my care guides. I have one up for Ball Pythons and I am working on more.

If you feel you can meet these requirements then, by all means, find a snake and get everything to set them up. Then enjoy these fantastic creatures. Let me tell you that as long as you can meet the care requirements then snakes make fantastic pets. Below I will go over some pros and cons for you and let you know why I feel that snakes are so incredible.

Pros ✅

  • Pretty easy maintenance as long as you change their substrate once a month and keep upgrading their enclosure as they grow. The only other things they need are 1 mouse or rat per week and a lot of love
  • Because most snakes move slowly unless scared they are very calming. They are great for anxiety. My snakes always help me relax.
  • There is nothing better than to have a strong and beautiful creature like a snake trust you and bond with you.
  • Snakes tend to inspire fear in people almost instinctively and as a snake owner seeing someone overcome that fear is incredible. My mom has been utterly terrified of snakes her whole life but she agreed to meet Princess and she touched her. Now she tells me that Princess captured her heart. That is the power of a snake.

Cons ❌

There really aren’t many but here are a few that can make things complicated.

  • Ball Pythons are picky eaters and sometimes don’t eat for months which can be frustrating.
  • Snakes tend to instill fear so you take some flak from people who don’t understand snakes
  • Snakes are by nature solitary animals so sometimes bonding with them can take time and patience

Why do I feel snakes are one of the best pets ever?

I got my first Ball Python Snickers in April. I can’t tell you why or how but Snickers even in his defense mode just melts my heart. He is so cute I can’t help but love him. People say snakes don’t feel affection. I can’t prove that one way or another but I know they act as they do. Like I said before Princess wants to be handled. She is even reluctant to let go of us when we return her to her enclosure.

Snakes have been known to calm people. I read about one python whose owner has seizures. This snake can warn him when a seizure is about to happen. This gives him time to prepare. Some people may think of snakes as slimy and disgusting but nothing could be further from the truth. A Snake’s scales are soft to the touch and snakes are just so cute it isn’t even funny.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this article and that it has given you some perspective about snakes. As always if you have something to say comment below. I answer all of my comments. If you have a question ask below and I will answer it as best as I can.

Argentine Tegu Care Guide

Argentine Tegu Care Sheet

The Argentine Tegu is quite possibly one of the most intelligent and companionable species of lizard. They are also among the larger lizards. A Tegu can make a great companion for those who love reptiles as I do. As a baby they should be handled regularly and when they grow, they become like a “Scaly Dog”.

Scientific Details:

  • Common Name: Argentine Black & White Tegu
  • Scientific Name: Tupinambis merianae
  • Habitat: Argentina, S. America
  • Size: 3′ – 4′ (Average male can reach 4’ while females are a bit smaller)

Enclosure Size:

A juvenile Tegu will be at home in a 36” x 18” enclosure such as the 40-gallon breeder tanks. As they grow you can house them in a 90-gallon tank for a while but ultimately you will need a custom enclosure about 6’ long by 3’ wide. height is not a big issue as the tegu spends most of its time on the ground.

Lighting/Heat:

Lighting can be difficult especially in the larger enclosures. Make sure your tegu has basking temps between 95F – 110F warm side should be around 85F – 95F and the cool side should get to about 75F – 85F. At night be sure all lights are off and keep the temperature around 70F – 75F. If your house gets cooler a heat pad can be used. In fact you can use it during the day as well to help the heat lamps. Make sure your lights are on a 12h on 12h off time frame as it helps them cycle day/night.

Humidity:

Tegus prefer a humidity range between 60% – 80%. Misting 2wice a day as well as having a waterfall feature will help with this. Make sure you have a hygrometer to keep track.

Substrate:

Cypress Mulch is a good option. However, as Tegus are natural burrowers then a combination of Sand and Organic topsoil is even better. Sand mixed with 30% to 50% Organic Topsoil or Coconut Coir. This mixture allows the tegu to naturally burrow. One side of the enclosure must be at least a couple feet deep to allow natural burrowing.

Feeding:

Tegus are omnivores however they do eat manly meat. Adding some vegetables to their diet though is preferred as it helps keep their diet balanced. Any of the food choices below will work but I would recommend a good variety. Make sure to feed in a bowl or on a plate both to prevent accidental substrate ingestion as well as to keep your hand out of harms way. A feeding animal is rarely rational and may mistake your hand for food. Not intentionally of course but the result is the same. If using live insects, I suggest feeding in a separate enclosure. You can then remove uneaten feeders, so they do not bug (pardon the pun) your Tegu.

Suggested Foods:

Proteins: 

  • Live bugs: crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms, hornworms, etc.
  • Canned insects, snails
  • Shrimp
  • Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
  • Chicken (cooked)
  • Ground turkey (cooked)
  • Lean ground beef (cooked)
  • Boiled organ meats
  • Mice of appropriate size (live or frozen/thawed)

Fruits and Veggies:  

  • Peas
  • Squashes
  • Banana (in moderation)
  •  Apricots
  • Mango
  • Raspberries
  • Figs
  • Papaya
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Apple
  • Kiwi
  • Pear
  • Pumpkin
  •  Melons

Hydration:

Tegus will drink from a bowl every day so make sure you have plenty of water available. I recommend changing the water daily and scrubbing with a disinfectant every other day.

Decor Selection:

As with most reptiles make sure you provide a big enough hide or your tegu. I would also suggest adding some damp moss to the hide to provide a higher humidity environment for hem to go into. Other than the hide and the water dish I would suggest a few plants if you use live plants make sure they are safe. Also, some branches and maybe a large log or rock for basking. Tegus are not natural climbers so climbing branches are not necessary however they may provide more enrichment.

Personality:

Tegus are naturally docile reptiles. There is a rescue in Florida that removes them from the wild and sells them to help reduce the population in Florida where they were accidently introduced. The fact that they can be removed from the wild as adults and still make docile and gentle pets tells me that they are probably one of the friendliest reptiles. However, always interact with your tegu. The more contact they have with you the more they will trust you.

Leopard Gecko Care Guide

Leopard Gecko Care Guide

The Leopard Gecko has been captive bred in the United States for more than 30 years and is one of the most popular lizards today. They come in many colors, patterns and sizes. This is a great pet to have due to the ease of care and the natural docile nature of the species

Scientific Details:

  • Scientific Name: Eublepharis macularius
  • Native Habitat: Middle East and into India
  • Lifespan: 6-10 years is the norm in captivity, but some can live up to 27+ years.
  • Size: Males 7”-10” Females 7”-8”
  • Expert Level: Beginner and Kid Friendly

Enclosure Size:

A 10 – 20-gallon aquarium houses one or two Leopard Geckos whether they are babies or adults. Larger tanks will make the geckos stray away from their proper heat and their hide boxes and could make them stressed and nervous. Although not great for visibility, a lot of people use plastic storage boxes as housing. Whichever path you choose make sure the enclosure is at least 1 foot tall. You should have a hide box filled with moist moss on the warm side so your leopard gecko can shed its skin properly. If you plan on breeding your leopard gecko, this is also good for laying eggs. You can put artificial plants to add a decorative touch.

Lighting/Heat:

The best way to heat your leopard gecko is with an under-tank heating pad. These are available at any pet store or online. Make sure your heating pad covers only one side of your tank. This allows for temperature variation that they need. Do not use heat rocks as they are likely to cause burns. For viewing, a simple low wattage light can be placed on the screen top and left on for 12 hours a day. Because leopard geckos are nocturnal, they do not need UVB light. Ideal temperature for leopard geckos is 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The room they are housed in should not be below 73 degrees.

Humidity:

Leopard Geckos only need 20% – 40% humidity. You should use a Hygrometer (humidity sensor) to monitor the humidity levels in the tank.

Substrate:

Never use Sand. Safe substrates include Paper Towels, Shelf Liners, Newspaper, or Tile. You can use moss, but it should only be in the humidity hide box

Food:

Live insects are a must for your gecko, they do not eat plants or veggies. The best to use is mealworms or crickets, but you can treat your pet to waxworms or super worms once a week if you wish. Dusting your insects is one way to deliver important vitamins and minerals to your leopard gecko. Insects and the dusting powder can be placed in a bag and shook gently to coat the insects’ bodies. When adding the dusted insects to the cage make sure not to get the powder in the cage or on the leopard geckos’ eyes.

Hydration:

A shallow water dish with fresh water must be available at all times for your leopard gecko. It should also be stable, so it doesn’t spill. The substrate in the tank should be kept dry so be careful of spillage. Make sure that young and adult leopard geckos can climb easily out of the dish you use. Vitamin drops should not be added to the water.

Decor Selection:

Leopard geckos need at least two hides: a dry warm hide, and a moist cool hide. Preferably three hides are ideal with two on the cool side one moist and one dry. You can add fake plants but don’t use real ones as they can raise humidity. You can add rocks for them to climb on as well. If you’re using a glass tank, you can add a naturalistic backdrop to the back of the tank.

Personality:

Leopard geckos are nocturnal, ground dwelling geckos that are generally docile and easy to tame. They are not prone to biting and are usually slow – moving. They have perky personalities and are known to be very vocal, especially when they are hungry. If you have more than one leopard gecko in a tank, watch out for tail waving. This is a sign that they feel threatened and are about to attack. You will need to separate them right away. Tail rattling means your leopard gecko is excited, with either eating or mating on its mind.

Ball Python Care Guide

Ball Pythons are one of the most popular pet sankes because they are so naturally docile. This guide is to help people take proper care of their new friend.

Ball Python Facts

  • Ball Pythons are also known as Royal Pythons because ancient royalty used to wear them as jewelry
  • Ball pythons come from West and Central Africa
  • Ball Pythons average around 3 to 5 feet in length
  • Ball Pythons can live 20 – 30 years the record lifespan of a ball python in captivity is 45 years
  • Ball Pythons are naturally docile and usually respond well to handling
  • Ball Pythons are so named because when threatened they curl into a ball with their head near the center

Ball Python Housing

Baby ball pythons can be housed in a 10-gallon terrarium but only for a short time. I recommend a 20-gallon long minimum. As they grow they will need more space. I recommend keeping your python in an enclosure that they can fully stretch out in without having to stretch over more than 2 sides. So a 4 ft ball python can be housed in a 48″ enclosure or a 36″x18″ it is up to you. Don’t make the enclosure too big or the python may not feel secure enough. Pythons can also be housed in rack systems as most breeders do or simple plastic totes. If you go this route follow the rules above for size and make sure you still provide enrichment for your snake. Don’t just put it in a plastic tub with no hides.

Ball Python Decor

Make sure you provide your Ball Python with at least 2 hides one on the warm side and the other on the cool side. Always have fresh water available and a log or tree to climb on provides enrichment. Even though they are more terrestrial (They stay on the ground more) some climbing is fun for them.

Ball Python Heating/Lighting

Ball Pythons do not need light in fact too much light is stressful for them. Instead I use under tank heaters controlled by a thermostat to provide heat. You will need a warm side and a cool side so your snake can thermoregulate. Being cold blooded snakes require different outside temps to regulate their internal temps. The warm side should be around 85 to 90 degrees fahrenheit with a hot spot of 88-95 degrees fahrenheit. The cool side should be between 75 degrees and 80 degrees. If you chose to use a light make sure it isn’t super bright and turn it off at night.

Ball Python Humidity

Ball Pythons don’t need a lot of humidity. A good range for them is between 50% – 60%. Durring shed you should bump that to 60% – 70%. All in all humidity is not that difficult for a Ball Python. If the humidity is too low or high for a longer period you could have repritory problems so make sure you have a good Digital Hygrometer.

Ball Python Substrate

Cypress mulch is the most common recommendation for Ball Python substrate. You can also use Aspen Shavings like in most pet shops as it cleans well but it doesn’t hold humidity well. You can also do a bioactive setup using a substrate like the bio dude. It is up to you. Just don’t use sand or pine or ceader. The sand isn’t good for them especially dry as it can cause respritory infections. The Ceder and Pine are both toxic.

Ball Python Feeding

This gets to be tricky. Ball Pythons are notoriously picky eaters. They can go off feed for sometimes months. I have heard of them not eating for up to a year. So you have to watch them carefully. Get yourself a gram scale and check their weight once a week. If they are not eating but are maintaining their weight then there is nothing to worry about and you can try once a week till they eat again. However if they start losing weight take them to see a reptile vet.

As for what they eat, they eat rats or mice. You can buy frozen and thaw them out or you can get live. Be very careful feeding live as the larger mice and rats may try to fight back and injure your snake. That is why I always recommend frozen/thawed. Some pythons however refuse to eat frozen/thawed. My male is such a snake. I monitor very closely and if there is a danger to him I’ll remove the rat.

The size is tricky but as a general rule you want prey that is as big around or a little bigger than your snake. Too small and they won’t get enough nutrition, too big and they could choke or regergitate. You only need to feed a baby or juvenile once a week. Adults can eat once every 10 to 14 days.

Final Thoughts

Ball Pythons are fantastic pets. My female Princess is one of my favorite reptiles. She is super sweet and loves to be handled. I am sure with lots of love your Ball Python will make a great addition to your family. If you have a Ball Python and want to share your experience comment below. Also if you have questions ask them below as well.

Bearded Dragon Care Guide

Bearded Dragons are from quite a wide range in Australia. They live in the desert and some temperate locations. Bearded Dragons are among the most popular pet lizards in the hobby. They are naturally docile and some actually enjoy human contact. Below I am going to go through the care requirements for Bearded Dragons and help you learn how to take care of these beautiful and fascinating creatures.

Housing

Baby Bearded Dragons can be housed in a 10 to 20-gallon enclosure but I Recommend starting with a 40 gallon because he/she will need the space as they grow fast. Once your dragon reaches about 6 months I recommend moving them into their forever home which will be a minimum of 75-gallon Terrarium or more. As for furnishings, they will need something to bask on preferably a rock or log. They will also need an appropriate size hide and something for climbing. Make sure you don’t clutter their home too much as they need space to roam

Heating/Lighting

As for lights you will need to have a heat lamp for basking the wattage will depend on the size of the tank 75 to 100 watts for the 20-gallon (if you go that route) or 100 to 160 watts for the 40-gallon or 75-gallon. You will also need a fluorescent UVB light to provide UVB to your dragon so they can metabolize the calcium in their food. If you do not use a UVB light your dragon could get MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease) which is painful and could become fatal. The UVB light should span about 3/4 to 2/3 of the tank. The only exception to this is if you get a mercury vapor build which provides heat and UVB directly over the basking spot. You should always keep your lights on a 12h on 12h off cycle so your dragon can sleep at night. You should not need heat at night unless your room temps fall below 65 degrees.

Humidity

Humidity levels are a big deal for a Bearded Dragon. They do not need high humidity in fact high humidity could cause a nasty Respiratory Infection. Levels between 20% and 50% should be okay. You can monitor the humidity by installing a Humidity Gauge or Hygrometer. Place this in the middle or on the cool side of the enclosure putting it directly under the heat lamp could cause false readings as the heat dries out the air.

Substrate

This is a really controversial subject. Most of the community opt for Paper Towels, Tile or Newspaper. They feel that a loose substrate is too dangerous as accidental ingestion of sand or soil could cause impaction. This is a valid concern and I will not disagree with their sentiment however there are other more natural options and you can always feed your dragon insects outside their enclosure to minimize the risk. I personally use a bioactive soil mixture I get at my local reptile store. You could also use Coconut Fiber, Sand and coconut Fiber Mixture, or even Organic Potting soil. I wouldn’t use straight Sand as the dust it kicks up when dry can cause respiratory issues. I would recommend doing your research on this and find what works for you.

Feeding/Hydration

First let’s talk hydration. Bearded Dragons normally do not associate standing water with a source of hydration as in the desert there isn’t much water around. In the wild, they normally get all the water they need from their food or from morning dew on plants. For this reason, a water dish in their enclosure is not necessary and actually could bring the humidity up. So how do you keep your dragon hydrated? Well, you could offer water from a syringe, or you could give them a soak and hope they drink, or you could simply wet their greens when you give them to your dragon. There are other methods but I’ll let you check those out for yourself.

Now on to Feeding. Feed baby dragons 2 to 3 times a day as much as they will eat in a 15-minute period. Don’t worry about overfeeding your dragon most will stop on their own when they are full. As they grow go to once a day insects and when they reach adulthood give them a salad daily and insects every other day. Dust at least once a day with a calcium supplement and throw in vitamin supplements once or twice a week. Your dragon will change what it eats over time. Baby dragons eat about 80% insects and 20% greens and veggies. As they grow they slowly switch to the opposite. Adult dragons eat 80% greens and 20% insects. Below I list some of the most widely used foods you can find a more comprehensive list HERE

Insects

Crickets, Dubia Roaches, Superworms, Butter Worms, Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Phoenix Worms), Wax Worms, Hornworms

Vegetables

Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Parsley, Cilantro, Carrots, Squash, Bell Peppers, etc

make sure all the veggies you buy are organic and wash them before feeding them to your dragon

Fruits

Fruit should only make up about 10% of your dragon’s diet but it is a good treat. They love Strawberries, Blueberries, Watermelon, Tomatoes, Raspberries, Bananas, etc

Please check out the comprehensive list I linked as it has a ton of useful info.

Enjoy your dragon and remember if you have any questions leave a comment or email me and I will get back to you ASAP

About The Getchell Family

Welcome to Getchell Family Reptiles. We are all about the love of reptiles. As such we decided to create this site to help inform people about reptile care, setups, and articles about a range of subjects

OUR STORY

We started out with a single Bearded Dragon 7 months ago. His name is Jumper and he captured our hearts completely. We made a few rookie mistakes but corrected them quickly. We now have 5 scaley friends. Jumper of course, Snickers a 7-month-old Ball Python, Princess a 5-month-old Ball Python, Sprinkle a 6-month-old Leopard Gecko, and Ember a 5-month-old Albino Corn Snake.

We love them all. They are our family. Now to introduce you to the Full Getchell Family

Patrick Getchell

Patrick grew up loving all animals. He recently developed a passion for reptiles. He used to teach skiing and loves helping others learn. He is our main writer.

Theresa Getchell


Theresa has a heart of gold. Theresa is passionate about helping people and kind-hearted. She loves reptiles so much she can’t imagine anyone not loving them.

Sarah Getchell

Sarah is always smiling. She is a kind-hearted person like her mom that loves to teach people the best things about reptiles. Sarah is always positive and ready to spread joy and love.

Hunter Getchell


Hunter is one special boy. He is crazy like his dad and loves to have fun. A fun ball of energy that has tons of love in his heart. He loves all animals but especially reptiles.

Jumper Getchell


Jumper is cute, loves cuddles, and would eat strawberries every day. He is our sweet cuddle bug and melts our hearts every time we hold him.

Snickers


Snickers is the grumpy one (although we are working to correct that problem) He usually likes to be left alone. However, once he is out of his enclosure he can be a little affectionate.

Sprinkle

Sprinkle is a bit of a skiddish fellow. He gets a bit jumpy when we handle him. But he is so darn cute. We love this little guy.


Ember is a sweet little cutie. She loves to be handled and is quite the explorer. Maybe we should have named her Dora. She has quite the personality and loves to tangle herself in my glasses.

Princess

Princess is our cuddly snake. She disproves the theory that snakes just ‘tolerate’ handling. She actively seeks it. She even tries to stay with us when we try to put her back in her enclosure. As you can see in the picture she is quite content to snuggle with Sarah.

Why did we create this website?

Now that you have met us all. I guess you are wondering why we created this site. Well, honestly our goal is to spread our love of reptiles. So we will be sharing Care Guides, Setup Suggestions, and Articles that highlight our love of reptiles. We may also recommend products from time to time. I hope you find our posts useful. Also, If you wish to join the discussions feel free we welcome comments.

What is the Goal of Getchell Family Reptiles?

Our primary goal is to educate others about reptiles. How to care for them, enrichment ideas, enclosures, as well as our experience with these beautiful creatures. Stay tuned because you are about to fall in love with reptiles (if you haven’t already)

All the best,

Patrick Getchell
getchellfamilyreptiles.com