We welcomed a new, as-yet-unnamed, member of the family this weekend: a bearded dragon. Evan really wanted a lizard for his birthday, and although I had my reservations about another pet, Amy's kind heart prevailed. As she will be the one who will have to pick up any slack if Evan does not follow through on his stated intention to take care of his new charge, who was I to say "no"?
Easing our entry into the world of lizardry was Josh (shown above), an extraordinarily enthusiastic, knowledgable and helpful employee at the Petsmart in Woodinville. Lacey was also a great help when we first arrived at the store, taking us to the back and showing the bearded dragons that had just arrived but had not yet been put in the display case. Josh is the expert on bearded dragons, though -- having one of his own -- and helped both inform us and allay our concerns over the magnitude of this new undertaking ... particulary with respect to the diet: the bearded dragon eats fresh vegetables and live insects. Josh assured us that caring for a bearded dragon is relatively straightforward -- once you get used to it -- and well within the capabilities of an eleven-year-old. Of course, someone will still need to drive to Petsmart about once a week to pick up a fresh supply of live crickets (the lizard's daily recommended allowance is between 10 and 15 per day, and Petsmart sells bags of 100 crickets in "bulk" ... and they only last about 7-10 days).
The bearded dragon grows to a length of about two feet, and can live for 10 years or more ... assuming it is fed and cared for properly. We haven't quite achieved an ideal solution to heating the terrarium, but have managed to keep the lizard's new home within the range of acceptable temperatures (75 - 85 degrees F) ... and stocked with an appropriate supply of crickets. I'll post an update, with more photos, and perhaps a video of the lizard eating a cricket, once it has a name.