A Regina pet shop is hoping to find loving new homes for five bearded dragons that were either abandoned or surrendered by previous owners.
Prairie Aquatics and Exotics does take in the occasional bearded dragon from the Regina Humane Society, but since this summer they've taken in eight — three of which have already found new homes.
The co-owner of the pet store, Stuart Cook, said bearded dragons are easy to care for pets and are considered very social.
"They're often referred to as a lap lizard," Cook told Afternoon Edition host Garth Materie. "You take them out, you throw them on your shoulder, or if you're watching TV you set them down on your chest, set them down on your lap, and they're just content to spend time with you."
According to Cook, many of the marketed bearded dragon starter kits simply don't come with all the necessary information or equipment to care for them. Something he thinks is part of the reason he's ended up caring for the surrendered and abandoned dragons.
For example, bearded dragons require a sizeable tank kept at about 40 C. The little reptiles also need a UV lamp so they get an adequate dose of vitamin D.
They are also omnivores, who require a mix of protein — mostly crickets and beetles — and vegetables. And they require a fair bit of space.
"They're not a hard animal to care for, but adults do need a four foot long enclosure so you do need some space for them," Cook said.
Bearded dragons can grow up to about 60 centimetres, he added.
Still, bearded dragons are an excellent beginner reptile, according to Cook, who said he has sold them to families with young children, as well as to seniors in their 60s and 70s. Cook said bearded dragons love to be held and get very attached to their owners.
"When they don't get as much handling as they're used to they'll actually rub their chin on the glass of their tanks trying to get out to see their owner."
Cook has been able to find homes for three of the bearded dragons so far. Three are ready for adoption now, and two more will be ready in a few weeks. He figures the animals are about three years old, so expect them to live for about another seven.
Cook said he would be happy to help anyone interested in taking a bearded dragon with getting all the appropriate equipment and knowledge necessary.