Last weekend, my son had a declaration to make on the dinner table to the entire family. His best pal in the neighborhood had a pet dragon (apparently), and so he couldn’t for the life of him figure out why he wasn’t allowed pets of any kind, dragons or otherwise. We’ve had a strict ‘no pets’ policy at our place since the beginning, due to various factors. However, as the little tyke said, it was high time we ‘changed our policy’. As for me, I was more interested in what type of ‘dragon’ the neighborhood friend had as a pet.
When I first heard of it, I was pretty sure it must be one of the following: either a dragon toy car or animal which could be pulled by a rope behind you (we played with these types of rope toy steam engines back as a kid), a tortoise which looked like a dragon (since I couldn’t imagine any other domesticated pet which would resemble a dragon even remotely), one of the dragon-like animals from the pet games that are the rage with children of all ages these days, or simply a non-existent, make-believe creature which held pride of place only in their imaginations. Little did I know that the ‘dragon’ being referred to was actually a real pet. What’s more, it was a dragon, in the literal sense of the word. A bearded dragon at that.
Image courtesy: Shieldsink
For those of you who still didn’t get it, let me throw some more light on the neighborhood dragon pet. I did some research on the creature and here’s the gist of it all. A bearded dragon is nothing but a lizard species. These ‘beardies’, as they are lovingly called (though why in this whole wide world would someone refer to lizards lovingly at all escapes me), are supposed to be low-maintenance, easy-to-nurture pets, especially for kids. Originating from the Australian subcontinent, they get their names from the flat spines on their throat area.
Reasons why bearded dragons are ideal for a pet, according to the neighborhood mum who, I now learnt, was also averse to pets of any shape or size till the recent past: First and foremost, they stay awake when humans do and sleep at night, unlike certain other species of lizards. Two, they are known to live for at least a good 8-10 years, under normal circumstances. Three (which was a very important factor for her kid while choosing his pet), they come in a variety of colors – brown, red, yellow, orange. All in all, they are hardy yet docile creatures which are good for the purpose of companionship (which I assume meant that if you just wished to say no to your child for a high-maintenance puppy, go for this bearded dragon).
I admit I’m still not fully convinced welcoming a beardie or anything else within the four walls of my house. One, I don’t think a pet lizard is cute from any angle whatsoever. Two, I’m convinced that my son will simply grow bored of his pet sooner rather than later and then the responsibility of looking after it will automatically be transferred to his lizard-fearing mum. Last but not the least, there are tons of things I would rather do instead of looking lovingly into the eyes of a supposedly adorable lizard.
Thankfully, there are lots of like-minded people like me out there. For instance, have a look at this article which talks about destruction and pets combined. Amen.