There is no denying or avoiding the fact that Australian bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) have made their mark on American herpeteculture, and that they are here to stay. Combine a calm demeanor, dragon-like appearance, a handful of fancy color variants, and a reproductive strategy that would make most rabbits jealous, and you get the bearded dragon, perhaps the perfect lizard pet. FEEDING Bearded dragons are fast growing creatures with equally speedy metabolisms. To ensure proper growth, and to reduce the risk of digit and tail nipping among cage mates, baby bearded dragons should be fed frequently. Appetites will vary from specimen to specimen, but the average growing bearded dragon will eagerly eat 3 times a day, with each feeding consisting of however many crickets the animal consumes in a 15 minute period. This is an optimal feeding regimen, one often used by breeders and advanced hobbyists to get their animals up to size as quickly as possible. In some cases, offering crickets 3 times daily is not practical for the keeper. Fortunately, animals will still thrive on a less intensive feeding schedule, the only side-effect being a slightly slower growth rate. More often than not, baby bearded dragons can be offered live prey once or twice a day (along with fresh greens) with no problems. Food items should be no longer than the distance between the lizards eyes. Feeding too large of prey is a frequent problem, and can lead to serious health problems. When in doubt, always offer a larger quantity of small prey items instead of a small number of larger ones. Furthermore, do not feed mealworms to bearded dragons less than 4 months of age. Smaller animals sometimes, though not always, have trouble digesting the tough, chitinous shell of the worms. All foods, both live and otherwise, should be lightly dusted with a high quality calcium and vitamin supplement. The calcium supplement chosen should be one complete with vitamin D3. This vitamin, in conjunction with proper heat and light, will aid greatly is preventing metabolic disorders. This calcium/D3 supplement should be used at every feeding until the animal has reached maturity, at which time itÍs use may be safely reduced. A reptile multivitamin should be used as well, although is only necessary once or twice a week. The wide variety of vitamins and minerals found in the fresh vegetables being eaten will provide for much of the animals needs. The use of an additional supplement is simply a fail safe, should the selection of produce be deficient in one or more essential nutrients.