bearded dragon or leopard gecko? - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2004, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2004
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Question bearded dragon or leopard gecko?

Hi All!

I'm about to get my 8 year old son his first lizard. (i.e., MY first lizard). I've narrowed it down to a bearded dragon or leopard gecko. I figured before I took the plunge I'd ask all of you what you recommend. I'm sure there are people on this board that love both - so I'd like to hear your opinions!

So.... I'm wondering a few things:

Which would you choose for an 8 year old: bearded dragon or leopard gecko?

Do they really live as long as they say? (translation: am I going to be still taking care of it when my son goes to college? )

If we go away on vacation, do we have to have someone come in a couple of times per day to feed it, or has anyone found an easier way?

Any significant tips on what to put on the bottom of the habitat? The store says special sand, the web pages I've read say newspaper or paper bags, a friend of mine uses a couple of pieces of green carpet she just swaps out & washes. What has worked best for you?

And... if I'm allowed to ask... does anyone know any good breeders in the NY/NJ area?

My son thanks you !

Lizard_Mom is offline  
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2004, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Lizard_Mom, welcome to PT. You came to the right place and I am glad that you are doing research prior to just buying your son a lizard.

Melissa Kaplan provides some good basic information about many different kinds of lizards. The address for her website is:

I own a Bearded Dragon and he is fairly low maintenance. He is 4 years old. I am not sure what his life span is supposed to be. Most colleges allow pets in aquariums or cages, so maybe the lizard can leave with him when he goes to college.

When you go on vacation it is good to have someone come in once a day to check on your lizard. You can put the lights and heaters on a timer so they are on for a set amount of time each day.

We all have varying thoughts on substrate, so you might want to read thsi thread:

I personally don't know of any breeders in the NJ/NY area, but you can check out Kinsnake's classifieds to find some breeders.

I hope that you don't get lost with my advice. I'm sure others will show up soon and put in their
Lizgirl is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 12:00 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 69
i personally use calicum sand and reptile bark its actually called bedabeast it hold moisture and its easy cleaned as suggested timers for the light heating pads like i use is on 24 /7 ,asfor vacation having some one come in once a day to water would be the best you can feed them crickets every other day in my case my gecko has gone a week with out food but i did put in 24 crickets with lettuce and things for the crickets to eat and not on the geckos. asfor now my mom has to comeand baby sit her grand kids lol . ok the birds all 25 and all 9 geckos thats her grand kids , ifeed them and all she does is water , a leapard gecko can live up to 20 years plus if given the proper care , im not sure abouta breaded dragon i dont own one , i do own 6 african stripped fattails and 3 leapards and i love them heres where you can see them

Last edited by sunshine; 05-20-2004 at 12:01 AM. Reason: missspelled my geckos picture site
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 02:04 AM
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Personally, I like both lizards ... but most everyone tends to agree that Bearded Dragons are the best starter lizards. They get to a decent size ... they are very tame ... and are pretty easy to care for compared to other lizards.

I,too, would recommend going to a reputed breeder when you do decide to get a lizard. Check for reptile shows near your area -- things are much cheaper at shows. should have a list for this, too.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2004, 10:35 AM
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I'm more attached to bearded dragons myself. They seem to have a little bit more personality than geckos. I worked at a petstore where a man had dropped off two adults that were very friendly they used to eat off of a spoon for me. I would recommend one thing though. Try to get one that is not a baby. You may have to pay a little bit more money for an adolescent but it may be worth it in the long run. Babies are not as easy to care for, for first timers. That goes for pretty much any lizard.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2004, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2004
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Hey Everyone -

We got 2 baby/juvenile bearded dragons this weekend. A Mango and a sunburst. They're adorable and we've been enjoying them much.

The adults are enjoying them even more than the kids. We've been sitting in front of the tank for hours watching them like it was a tv. They're really entertaining.

So far, they have adapted very well. Eating great... seem to welcome our company. One of them even ate collard greens out of my hand this morning!

Here's hoping we can keep them healthy because we're in love with them already!

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2004, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2004
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Me again.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone for your responses.

Dena - the ones we got were not really babies... but still young. About 4 weeks old, I think. (not sure when they're considered juveniles). But they seem very capable of doing what they need to and seem to have adapted without stress, so I hope we'll be okay.

We decided on the bearded dragon for a couple of reasons:

1) One of the biggest ones is that the leopard geckos seem to want to hide all day (noctural). Vs. the bearded dragons are very active during the day. Much more enjoyable for kids, IMO.

2) The second is, we visited a lot of pet stores and held quite a few of each. As a new lizard owner, I personally was attracted to the bearded dragons because they were very interested in ME. They had a lot of personality and were very willing (and seemingly very happy) to hang out on my hand, shoulder, etc... The leopard geckos we held all just wanted to squirm away and hide. Again, this made the beardeds seemed much more enjoyable for kids.

Don't know if this is a fair assessment of leopard geckos or not, but it's what drove our choice.

thanks again -
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2004, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
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I'm glad you're enjoying them. We were like that with our collared lizards. Now the fun begins.

Cage size is an important factor especially when you have two to keep happy. Be sure to read up on how much space they need. Also keep a close eye on them. Once you know the gender of both, you might need to seperate them. Males generally do not house well together.

If you can post pics, we'd love to see them.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2004, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2004
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Pretty sure the Mango is a girl and the Sunburst is a boy. The breeder seemed certain, and they seem to match exactly everything we've read about telling male from female. They certainly seem very accepting of eachother so far. So hopefully we're okay.

The male keeps waving at his reflection in the glass. At first I thought -"I thought girls were supposed to do that more often" - but then I read that younger beardeds tend to do that a lot. It's hilarious.

Not exactly sure how to do pictures, but I may figure it out and post some eventually.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2004, 10:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Congrats on your new babies!!!

I'm glad you got a pair together ... I forgot to mention that they can be territorial when introduced to other dragons later.
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bearded dragon, bearded dragons, collard greens, heating pad, leopard gecko, pet store, pet stores

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