Land of the Dragon

By Meredith Pruden | Photography by Samantha Shal

Winter is coming, and “Game of Thrones” fans are wishing they had their very own dragons. One Ball Ground family of four already does!

Meet the MacLean family (mom Lara, dad Don, son Callum and daughter Siobhan), caretakers of Fred — a 4-year-old bearded dragon named for a dragon in the film Nim’s Island.

“I really wanted a lizard, and bearded dragons were pretty popular at the time,” 10-year-old Callum said. “I really like his personality, and he’s really nice.”
Much like other domesticated animals, bearded dragons, if loved and touched, are friendly, docile pets with a lot of character, according to Lara, but they do require some special TLC.

Although Fred calls a 40-gallon tank home, Callum takes him outside to see the sun five days a week, bathes him at least once a week and spritzes him with a water bottle several times each day. When he’s out of his tank, Fred likes to ride on Callum’s shoulder to and from activities and often sits in Callum’s lap to eat his meals of mustard greens, kale, fruit, carrots, meal worms and super worms (his favorite).

Inside his tank, Fred has two kinds of lights to simulate day and night environments and several unique habitats, including a hammock and a cave, to provide plenty of options for Fred to play, rest and relax.

Bearded dragons can live up to 15 or more years in captivity with proper care and can grow up to about two feet long head to tail. In the summer months, they eat a lot, shed their skin and go through growth spurts. In the winter, they go dormant but still need to be fed once a week.

It may not be a flying dragon like in Game of Thrones, but at least these guys get along with your furry four-legged friends!


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