Which Is Easier for Beginners? Bearded Dragons vs. Iguana


Reptiles are gaining popularity and extending their lifespans as breeders gain knowledge about them. Adopting a captive-bred reptile species is better than keeping a wild-caught one. However, selecting the correct type of reptile species for your house can be difficult.

One of the most common challenges you’ll encounter is jade plants dropping their leaves; it happens for various reasons, like incorrect watering patterns, poor drainage, incorrect humidity and temperature, and low-quality soil.

You’re probably considering having a pet lizard in your collection — a new buddy. Bearded and iguana dragons are obvious choices, but which is better? We’ll compare the bearded dragon to the iguana as a pet, their advantages and disadvantages of each.

How Do Bearded Dragons and Iguanas Differ?

Particular distinctions listed below might help you decide which pet is best for you. The distinctions between beardies and iguanas are exceedingly apparent and opposed.

Their Size 

Iguanas are typically more giant reptiles in comparison to bearded dragons. Bearded dragons mature to a maximum length of 25 inches, although some are considerably smaller. They are far lighter than the iguana, which may weigh up to 1.5 pounds at its maximum. You may comfortably carry bearded dragons on your body or arms when you are out for an afternoon stroll.

Iguanas are usually giant, and a mature iguana may reach 4.5 to 6 feet. A typical green iguana is amongst the giant lizards within the Americas, measuring roughly 6.5 feet in length. Additionally, their weight might range between 20 and 30 pounds, implying that you will find it very hard to carry your iguana around.

Bearded dragons have an advantage over iguanas in terms of handling.

Adaptation with Surroundings

The iguanas trail far behind bearded dragons in acclimating to their new habitat. Iguanas become irritated by even the most trivial events. Additionally, they require more time to adjust to their new environment when adopted or brought home. Specific colors, aromas, or subtle changes in the surroundings are enough to irritate your iguana.

On the other hand, beardies do not express their rage over trivial matters, and they adapt more quickly and easily to a new habitat or owner. Therefore, one might assert that a bearded dragon is easier to handle than an iguana.

Brumation 

Bearded dragons above the age of one year often brumate, lasting 2-3 months, most commonly during the winter. However, some bearded dragons do not brumate. Brumating beardies will either be sleeping for extended periods yet be somewhat active or sleeping and becoming inactive.

On the contrary, iguanas don’t brumate at all.

Bite and Scratch Risks

Iguanas can bite and scratch, resulting in serious injuries requiring stitching. It would help if you did not approach an iguana exhibiting aggressive behavior. Occasionally, when taming your iguana, you will have to wear heavy gloves.

On the other hand, bearded dragons are pretty unlikely to bite or scratch, except if they mistake your fingers for food.

Docility and Taming

Iguanas take long to tame, and you’ll have to handle it for 15-20 minutes every day for roughly a month or so. Some iguanas take considerably longer – approximately six months, while some might not become tame at all.

However, if you find a tranquil iguana to work with, your chances are substantially greater. Once domesticated, iguanas make great curious pets.

Bearded dragons can be tamed quickly and become quite relaxed with daily contact. Iguanas need more interactions and bonding efforts to assist them in becoming less aggressive.

Caging

A bearded dragon doesn’t always require a giant terrarium — one adult may survive happily inside a 40-65 gallon tank. However, because iguanas are significantly more giant, a mature iguana will require a specialized enclosure around 7.5-9 feet long, 5-7 feet high, and 5-6 feet broad.

Iguanas require huge vertical cages due to their propensity for climbing and basking on structures. Bearded dragons require wider cages because they don’t climb or move very high. 

Cost

Bearded dragons and Iguanas are frequently sold at comparable prices. The budget can only go up if you want a fancy beardie or other transformed morphs.

If you’re thinking of owning an iguana, please consider adopting one rather than purchasing one. Numerous iguanas are given away due to their owners’ inability to care for them, and most abandoned iguanas are housed at rescue facilities.

Bonding with the Owner

Bearded dragons and iguanas do not form an instant relationship like dogs and cats. However, they are highly adept at expressing emotions. While you are training to become an iguana or bearded dragon owner, you should understand that they will gradually open up. 

These reptiles will allow you to approach, touch, or perch them on your body once they identify you as their owner. 

Both of these species, however, are very clever and trainable. They can recognize their owner based on their voice or look and display affectionate behavior, even responding to their respective names.

Prerequisites for Humidity

Since bearded dragons originate in deserts, they require low levels of humidity (25-40 percent). On the contrary, green iguanas are native to tropical rain forests and require a high level of enclosure humidity (65-70 percent). Most of the time, a humidifier might come in handy. 

A Quick Overview: Bearded Dragons Vs. Iguanas

Bearded DragonIguana
Adult average length: 16–24 inchesAdult height ranges between 4 and 6 feet.
7 – 12 years of life10 – 15 years of life
OmnivoreHerbivore
Moderate grooming requirementsModerate grooming requirements
Suitable for childrenNot suitable for children

Now that you’re familiar with some of the fundamentals of a bearded dragon. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of owning one. 

The advantage of owning a beardie as a pet include the following:

  • Simple to care for and maintain
  • Easygoing
  • Safe, friendly, and intelligent.

The disadvantages of owning a bearded dragon include;

  • They are fragile 
  • Diet is costly.

Here are some of the advantages of owning an iguana;

  • Herbivore
  • They have a long lifespan
  • Strong and smart.

The following are some downsides of owning an iguana.

  • Aggressive
  • Requires a great deal of area
  • Not suitable for children or pets
  • Not ideal for first-time homeowners
  • Claws and fangs that are razor-sharp.

Are Bearded Dragons Good for Beginners?

Due to their popularity among reptile owners, beardies are excellent beginner pets. Even though bearded dragon morphs come in many exciting variants, they’re a fundamental pet choice on a significant portion of herpetoculture.

Although bearded dragons are well-known for their friendly behavior, this trait does not develop spontaneously. Establishing a trusting relationship requires a great deal of time and expertise, and it would be best if you understood your beardie’s socializing techniques.

A baby dragon is naturally brimming with energy, and as a result, it may be difficult to restrain them long enough to complete the tasks necessary to tame them. When combating a baby dragon’s innate fear of being approached, the pace and angle you approach it are vital factors to consider. 

While you have your hand in the enclosure, proceed cautiously and never approach the beardie from above. Because bearded dragons are natural ground dwellers, they might mistake your hand for a predator. Ensure that you always approach your newborn dragon horizontally and support its limbs properly. 

For instance, gently taking it up by the tail and placing it into your hand would prevent the beardie from becoming alarmed, causing fear. If your baby beardie begins to struggle or squirm, cover it with the other hand to allow it time to calm down in the dim lighting. 

Taming a bearded dragon does not have to be a challenging task. As with most animals, when they detect your irritation, they get scared and puff up. It would be best to approach your beardie calmly and interact with it every time you visit the enclosure. 

Place your beardie at the heart of your family’s routines so they become accustomed to your presence and your voices. With patience and subtle movements ahead, you’ll soon have a cuddly spiny companion that you and the guests will appreciate.

Bearded Dragons vs. Iguana: Which Breed Is Suitable for You?

Both reptiles are renowned for their tranquil demeanor and capacity for bonding with humans. However, their unique development patterns and inherent defenses are the essential factors in determining which breed would fit in best with your family.

Bearded dragons are regarded as the ideal ‘starter’ reptile because of their low maintenance requirements and temperament. They are among the most gentle lizard breeds that identify their owners and wave arms in a motion that researchers believe implies submission. 

Bearded dragons socialized early on often become permanent friends for their owners, cuddling in their shirts or riding on their shoulders. Some beardies may even accept an excellent petting session if you have earned their trust. 

Bearded dragons require less upkeep than Iguanas or more giant reptiles. Compared to the iguana, you will not need to upgrade its enclosure as it grows. A male beardie can reach a maximum length of under two feet, so plan to dedicate at least a 55-70 gallon tank equipped with lighting and heating equipment. 

Iguanas can become aggressive when you don’t handle them regularly. Moreover, male iguanas can be aggressive toward females, particularly during the mating season. 

Female iguanas have the unusual ability to lay eggs without a partner. As a result, it’s best to leave female iguanas alone as they prepare to lay eggs to avoid scaring them. On the contrary, bearded dragons are oblivious to the mating season. 

Iguanas’ long, sharp teeth and claws might result in a severe bite or scratch. Additionally, their tails feature spines that function like jagged whips when irritated. Whereas, because bearded dragons have little fangs, they hardly scratch or bite.

FAQ’s about pet Reptiles

Conclusion 

Bearded dragons are superior first pets and are considerably more straightforward. Iguanas demand expert keepers willing to spend time daily engaging with them and comprehending their emotions and anger. Bearded dragons make excellent family pets because they appreciate both handling and solitude.

On the other hand, if you are a professional lizard keeper looking for a giant reptile resembling a tiny dragon, an iguana may make an excellent pet if you are ready to put in the time and effort. Tame iguanas can spend time with humans and even bond with them.

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