A bearded dragon is a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts, known for its unique appearance and docile nature. One particular species, the Rankin bearded dragon, is gaining popularity as a pet due to its smaller size and charming personality.
This species is characterized by its sandy-colored skin, spiky scales, and, of course, the distinct “beard” that gives it its name. Just like other bearded dragons, Rankins have a flap of skin under their chin which they can puff out when threatened or excited. This display is accompanied by a darkening of the beard, creating an intimidating yet fascinating sight.
A balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for the well-being of Rankin bearded dragons. These lizards are omnivores, enjoying a mix of insects, leafy greens, and vegetables. A variety of feeder insects, such as crickets, dubia roaches, and mealworms, should be offered regularly along with a selection of fresh greens, including dandelion greens, kale, and collard greens.
Rankin Bearded Dragon Care
- Rankin Bearded Dragons require a spacious enclosure to live comfortably. A glass tank or a custom-built wooden enclosure with proper ventilation is recommended.
- The size of the enclosure should be at least 3 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall to provide ample space for your Rankin Bearded Dragon to move around and explore.
- Use a reptile UVB light to provide the necessary UVB rays for your Rankin Bearded Dragon’s overall health and to prevent metabolic bone disease.
- Ensure that the enclosure has a substrate that is safe and easy to clean, such as reptile carpet or ceramic tiles.
- The diet of a Rankin Bearded Dragon consists mainly of insects, vegetables, and fruits.
- Crickets, mealworms, and small roaches can be offered as staple insect feeders. These should be gut-loaded with nutritious food and dusted with calcium and vitamin D3 powder before feeding.
- Dark leafy greens, such as collard greens and mustard greens, should make up the majority of the vegetable portion of the diet. Other safe vegetables and fruits, such as squash, bell peppers, and berries, can also be offered in moderation.
- Offer food in appropriate sizes for your pet to avoid choking hazards. Young dragons will require smaller prey items compared to adults.
Diet and Feeding
Rankin bearded dragons have specific dietary needs that must be met in order to keep them healthy and thriving. Their diet should consist of a variety of vegetables, fruits, and insects.
Vegetables: Leafy greens, such as kale, collard greens, and mustard greens, should make up a significant portion of a Rankin bearded dragon’s diet. These vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals. Other vegetables, like bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini, can also be included in their diet.
Fruits: While fruits should be given in moderation due to their high sugar content, they can still be offered as occasional treats. Good options include berries, melons, and apples.
Supplements: Calcium and vitamin D3 supplements are essential for Rankin bearded dragons. These supplements help prevent metabolic bone disease, which is common in reptiles. Dusting the insects with calcium powder before feeding them to the bearded dragon is recommended.
Feeding should take place in a separate feeding enclosure to minimize substrate ingestion; this helps prevent digestive problems. Fresh water should also be provided daily, and the water dish should be shallow to prevent drowning.
Habitat Requirements for Rankin Bearded Dragon
When keeping a Rankin bearded dragon as a pet, it is essential to provide them with a suitable habitat that mimics their natural environment. Creating an optimal habitat is crucial for the overall health and well-being of your Rankin bearded dragon.
Enclosure: The size of the enclosure should be large enough to accommodate the rankin bearded dragon comfortably. A 40-gallon terrarium is usually sufficient for one adult rankin bearded dragon. Ensure that the enclosure has a secure lid to prevent escape and keep out other household pets.
Heating and Lighting: Rankin bearded dragons require a basking spot where they can adequately absorb heat and UVB light. Providing a basking bulb or a heat lamp along with a UVB light source is essential. The basking spot should maintain a temperature of around 95-100°F (35-38°C), while the cooler side of the enclosure should be around 80°F (27°C).
Decorations: Adding natural decor such as rocks, branches, and hides to the enclosure will provide hiding spots and opportunities for climbing, which is essential for their physical and mental stimulation.
Temperature and Humidity: A temperature gradient is vital to allow your rankin bearded dragon to regulate its body temperature effectively. Maintain a gradient from the basking spot to the cooler side of the enclosure. The humidity level should be kept between 30-40%. Misting the enclosure once or twice a day can help maintain appropriate humidity levels.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Regularly clean the enclosure to ensure a healthy environment for your rankin bearded dragon. Remove any uneaten food, feces, and shed skin promptly. Disinfect the enclosure using reptile-safe cleaners to prevent bacterial or fungal growth.
Providing a suitable habitat for your rankin bearded dragon is crucial for their overall health and well-being. By meeting their habitat requirements, you can ensure that your pet thrives and lives a happy and healthy life.