How to Play With a Baby Bearded Dragon

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A bearded dragon of any age must be mentally and physically stimulated to be happy. You can't just put your bearded dragon in a glass terrarium or enclosure, talk to him a few times a day and expect him to thrive. Caring for a baby bearded dragon means ensuring he eats right, socializes with family members, and has plenty to do to keep his mind and body active including playing with bearded dragon toys.

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Bearded dragons need socialization time.
Image Credit: By Eve Livesey/Moment/GettyImages

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Bearded baby energy

A baby bearded dragon can be a rambunctious little ball of energy. But, he likely will be nervous until the two of you develop a friendship. Before you can enjoy playing with your baby bearded dragon, build trust by handling the bearded baby frequently. Hold him over a soft place, such as a couch, a bed or carpeted floor.

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A baby who falls on a hard surface, such as concrete, can suffer a spinal injury or even die. If he struggles when you hold him, don't let him down until he is calm. To calm him, put your hand over his eyes or stroke his head in the direction of his scales. To further build trust, hand feed him.

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Bearded dragon toys

Even reptiles need mental stimulation and some attention. Keep your baby dragon's enclosure in a busy area in the home. Frequently talk to the dragon when he's in his enclosure. But take him out at least a few times a week to get him used to being handled and picked up. Bearded dragons are one of the few reptiles that don't mind being handled.

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Before handling your baby bearded dragon, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Do not use any kind of hand sanitizer as it can make your dragon sick. Also wash any toys with water before putting them in the cage. Yes, toys. However, don't expect your little reptile to chase a ball like a dog. But, some bearded dragons enjoy playing with a brightly colored ping pong ball or a small cat toy, pushing it with their nose.

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Playing with a bearded baby

Once your baby dragon trusts you, the real fun begins. It's play time. In the summer, start outdoors — purchase a kiddie swimming pool or a fairly large storage bin. Fill it with some water, which should be a minimum of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and be no deeper than your lizard's elbows, and make it safe by adding a reptile-safe water conditioner. Add a few toys, such as a small beach ball or a rubber duck, and watch your baby dragon have fun.

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Or allow him to enjoy a run on the lawn. There's nothing better than a run through the grass, especially for a bearded dragon. Be sure to put a harness and leash on your dragon or put him in a pen or an enclosure so he cannot escape. Bearded dragons can run faster than you think. Only allow him to play in grass that has not been chemically treated.

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Bonding with a bearded dragon

If the weather outside is frightful, interact with your bearded dragon indoors — remember, they are cold blooded. Watch TV or play on the computer together. When you bond with your bearded dragon, he may happily sit in your hand or lap or on your shoulder. He might even become engaged with the screen, putting his tongue out to touch it.

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Take a ride. Dogs aren't the only pets who enjoy going for rides in the car. Put a leash on your baby dragon or put him in a carrier and take him for a ride for a change of scenery. Snuggle with him. Wrap your baby dragon in a small blanket or a towel, leaving only his head free, and stroke his head. He may just fall asleep, especially if he is warm.

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