Keeping dogs or cats as a pet is a general practice, but not many people can keep reptiles as pets. Those who wish to keep everything unique in their life can seek such an option. Regarding the choice of pets, two reptiles have become trendy recently. Bearded dragon and iguana both are commonly loved and adored by people who need a companion in their homes.
Similarities between Bearded Dragon and Iguana
We know that both the creatures belong to the reptile family, but their similarities do not end there. If you think and research about their nature and behaviour, you will find quite a few other resemblances, here we go:
Docile in nature:
The reason that these two lizards have become so popular is their docile nature. They are not ferocious and aggressive. You can keep them in the house, without worrying about the safety of other family members or other pets that may have been present at your residence.
They are much suited to the captivated lifestyle. You can keep them in the adequate sized enclosure and not worry about taking them out every day. Though sometimes you can take them for a walk which will encourage them to be social and also it will let them bask in the natural sunlight.
Easy to maintain:
These two are pretty low maintenance creature. You can easily keep them healthy by giving them regular herbs and vegetables. In the case of bearded dragon some amount of insects and various other forms of animal protein. But mostly the food and maintenance of both bearded dragon and iguana are simple and economic.
Bonding with the owner:
In regard to the relationship with the owner, both these pets are somehow shy. They do not bond immediately like a cat or dog. But when it comes to showing emotions they are quite fluent in it. While you are becoming an iguana or bearded dragon parent, you must know that they will open up but slowly. Once they know you and recognize you as their owner, they will allow you to touch them or will sit on your body. These are some signs that you have been accepted by the pet.
However, both these species are much intelligent and can be trained. They can identify their owner by the voice or appearance and will show signs of affection, even respond to their respective names accordingly.
This feature is common in iguana and bearded dragons. Both these reptiles are pretty territorial in nature and do not like to share the space with even creature of same species.
Two male matured bearded dragon or iguana should never be kept together in one enclosure, as the dominant one may start threatening the other one. Other than a mating period, even a male and female iguana should not be kept in one enclosure.
Both iguana and bearded dragon live in a hot and humid area. So when keeping them in an enclosure, you need to arrange for a high level of heat. You can get that by adding heat emitter or powerful light which emits heat with light. As both these creatures are from the wild region, you need to keep substrate or another kind of bedding option in the enclosure.
The similarities between bearded dragon and iguana do not end so soon. You will get both iguanas as well as a bearded dragon is almost the same price. Only if you go for fancy bearded dragon or such other morphed kind of creature, then the budget can go higher.
So far we have jotted down all the similarities between an iguana and a bearded dragon. But it may confuse you if you are yet to decide which one you will adopt in near future.
How Bearded Dragon is different than Iguana?
There are some differences which we have stated below, that may have helped you to have a better idea of which pet will suit you. The differences between these two reptiles are quite distinct and you will find them quite contrary to each other.
Size different of iguana and the bearded dragon:
Iguanas are always the bigger reptiles than bearded dragons. Bearded dragons can go maximum 25 inches of length while matured, and some species are even smaller. They weigh much lighter than the iguana that is 1.5 pounds at the heaviest. You can easily carry them on your body or hold them on your arms while walking out in the afternoon.
Thus easy handling is a pro for the bearded dragons, which is not applicable to iguanas. They are of large sizes generally; the mature one can be 4.5 to 6 ft. long. Their weight also can be something from 20 to 30 pounds, which means you will not be able to lift it unless you are a heavyweight boxer.
Adaptation with circumstances:
In terms of adjustment with the new environment, iguanas are much behind bearded dragons. They are agitated with most subtle things.
They also need more time to get suited to the new environment while brought home or adopted. Some specific colours, aroma or little difference in the environment is enough to initiate irritation in the iguana.
Bearded dragons do not show their agitation in such small issues. They get adjusted to the new enclosure or new owner much easier and within lesser time.
Thus it can be said, that you will be able to manage a bearded dragon more easily than an iguana.
This feature is not at all seen in the iguana. Brumation or a different type of hibernation is seen among bearded dragon. Due to this condition, the dragon stays inactive for a few weeks, specifically in the months of winter. Though this is not seen in all bearded dragons, some of them surely do practice this. During this period the dragons are usually seen sleeping through the day or days.
Iguanas do not brumate at all in any season.
Bearded dragons are usually laid back creature by nature and they get tamed much quicker in respect to the iguana. They are pretty lazy when it comes to daily interaction so you need to initiate the process and make it active by various activities.
Iguanas are slow in the taming process, as they take longer to get adapted. Once you can tame and train it, it will be an exceptional pet with funny reactions to your daily chores. They seem to be more intelligent and interactive than bearded dragons and often take interest in incidents that are happening around them.
How dangerous they are?
As bearded dragons are much docile in nature, there is less chance of getting bitten or scratched by them. They can get offensive only if they see another bearded dragon within their territory but they are not generally aggressive to their owners. However, if any other pet in the house or any kid present there tries to irritate them, they get scared most of the time. Attacking is not commonly found naturally in bearded dragons.
However, if you put a finger inside their cage and they are not used to with this behaviour, they can misunderstand your finger to be the food and bite it.
Iguanas can become offensive, or defensive, depending upon the situation. As a result, they can scratch the hand or any body part of the owner. They seldom bite, but when they do, it can be vital enough to be stitched.
Being an owner of the iguana comes with the risk of getting harmed once in a while by the pet. So it is advised not to handle or go near the iguana when it is showing signs of agitation and irritation.
Iguanas behave in a systematic manner and they follow this schedule throughout the day. They take their food in time, defecate and sleep all in a regular way. You can train the iguana for potty and it will follow the manners properly.
They need more water than a bearded dragon, as you need to bath it daily, and mist it twice (if it is not winter). The adequate amount of hydration will keep them in good health.
Bearded dragons need more care and day to day checking, as they often leave some food uneaten. You need to clear the poop and the remnants of food particles from the cage.
They need to be bathed once in a week, and you can mist them if you find them dehydrated.
Life expectancy rate:
There is a vast difference in life expectancy rate of bearded dragon and iguana. These two reptiles live for different length of time while they are in the wild. Their life span increase when they are taken care of and are fed with a balanced and proper diet.
A healthy pet bearded dragon lives for 8 to 14 years if it does not fall sick or get fatally injured. The commonest breed of iguana, the green one, lives for 10 to 12 years maximum when taken care of at the owner’s house.
However, in both cases, they can live longer than mentioned in this article, but those are the exceptions.
As we have already stated, bearded dragons are much smaller in size, and thus the terrarium or vivarium you need for them should be smaller in size. To keep a matured bearded dragon, you do not need larger than 65-gallon tank, that is, if the dragon is of the largest size and species. The cage of bearded dragon needs lesser equipment as they do not love to climb up on different items as much as iguanas do,
To keep an iguana, you need a cage which will be as high 7 feet high, 9 feet long, and 6 feet wide at the maximum. The cage should be a vertical one to allow the iguana to pass through it and also climb upon the various accessories that will be present.
The appearance of Iguana and the Bearded Dragon:
Bearded dragons are much smaller and cuter than an iguana. They are lightweight too and thus are easy to be carried. They are spiky on the chin, which looks similar to the beards and thus they are named so.
Iguanas are much larger in shape and thus cannot be handled so easily like the bearded dragons. They look more like dragons than the bearded dragons.
They have a huge body with a long tail and visible scales all over their body. They have spikes all through the spine as well as tail. They have large eyes too, which seem to be bulging, unlike small deep-set eyes of the bearded dragon.
Difference in foods
There are certain misconceptions regarding the food of iguana, while the truth is, they are purely herbivorous. They live strictly on vegetables and greens when left on their own in wild, but when you keep them as a pet, you can feed some amount of protein. Protein makes them grow fast but there can be certain ailments caused by protein diet.
Bearded dragon, on the other hand, eats protein and live insects once they are mature. According to some owners, they prefer to have live insects more than vegetables, if given a choice. But they should be fed on 60% vegetables and 20% protein diet, while a juvenile. They can digest more protein once they get matured.
However, the fruit is prohibited for both iguana and a bearded dragon as the staple food. You can offer them small pieces of juicy and tasty fruits as treats.
Suitability of owners:
For beginner pet owners, bearded dragons are much easy and manageable. This reptile does not usually get agitated for negligible reasons and they do not suddenly bite or scratch. For the kids, bearded dragons are much more comfortable to be with.
Also, they can be handled or pet when the proximity develops. They will move around in the house happily without bothering anything or anyone.
Iguanas are not that easy to handle, primarily due to their huge size. Not only that, they have the unpredictable temperament, which is hard to be handled by the first time pet owners. They have various parts like claws and teeth, which they use while attacking. These can cause a serious problem if the owner is not experienced previously.
The type of pet depends upon the nature of the pet owners and their expectation. For the first-timers or the nervous ones, a bearded dragon will make a good pet. Those who are adventurous and do not stay away from keeping weird animals as their pets can definitely try their luck with an iguana. It is better to have experience before keeping iguana as a pet.