Winter 2024

Bringing home a pet dragon

In honor of the Year of the Dragon, meet the little dragons that reptile parents love to love.

2024 is a Year of the Dragon on the lunar calendar, considered to be one of the more favorable years in the zodiac. To celebrate the exciting year ahead, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite pet dragons.

Finding the right dragon for your family

Reptile owners know it takes a lot of patience to make a scaly sidekick happy, but the rewards of having a herp hombre make the effort well worth it.

Different reptile species have different care needs and personalities—some are friendlier and more affectionate, while others tend to be jumpy around humans—so finding the right one for your family is important (especially because reptiles tend to live long, happy lives as pets).

Here are a few of the most popular choices:

Up close bearded dragon in a terrariumBearded dragon

Why they're popular: Beardies are good reptiles for beginners. They are hardy, relatively easy to care for (by reptile standards) and active during the day—it’s no surprise that they’re one of the most sought-after lizard pets available. Bearded dragons are also known for their calm, docile behavior, and they love being picked up and handled once they get used to their owners.

Lifespan: 8-15 years

Special equipment needed: 55–75-gallon tank for one adult bearded dragon. Enclosure should have hiding spots, climbing branches and a basking area with UVB lighting.

Health considerations: A common health hazard for bearded dragons comes from using a poor substrate—often loose material like sand or pellets—that can lead to impaction if eaten. Ingested substrate can lead to serious digestive complications if untreated.

Frilled dragon displays its neck frillFrilled dragon

Why they’re popular: Also known as frilled neck lizards, the frilled dragon is a rare but increasingly popular pet, due to the unique frill around their neck. Like their Jurassic forebearers, they will even frill and spit if feeling threatened.

Frilled dragons are best for intermediate lizard owners, due to their calm nature and reasonable care needs. They are fun to observe, but usually don’t do well being handled and can be high-strung. If startled, they often default to their unique defense mechanism: Running as fast as possible on their hind legs.

Lifespan: 10-15 years

Special equipment needed: 55-gallon tank is suitable for one adult frilled dragon. Include branches for climbing and foliage for hiding, as this pet is most comfortable clinging to tree trunks. Provide a spot for basking and UVB lighting.

Health considerations: Frilled dragons are susceptible to metabolic bone disease, which can be prevented by procuring the correct temperature and UVB lighting in their enclosure, as well as providing a balanced diet.

9769A_Img5Chinese water dragon

Why they’re popular: Known for their stunning looks and friendly nature, Chinese water dragons are relatively tame and can be handled by pet parents—in fact, regular handing is essential to prevent them from becoming aggressive. These reptiles stay active by climbing and swimming.

However, they are ultimately an intermediate-to-advanced level pet, due to the specific care requirements of their enclosure.

Lifespan: 10-20 years

Special equipment needed: A large enclosure containing enough water for swimming, as well as rocks, branches and plants for climbing. Water dragon enclosures must be spot cleaned daily, and the swimming area in enclosure should be changed daily or every other day. Provide a spot for basking and UVB lighting.

Health considerations: Enclosures must be large, typically requiring a custom build, to help prevent lizards from running into the walls (as they don’t understand they can’t pass through glass). Pets in enclosures that are too small may develop sores on their snouts or impact damage from rubbing/running into the walls.

While some people may view reptiles as “easy” pets, it’s very important to learn how to care for them properly prior to adding one to your family.

Reptiles are commonly seen by veterinarians for medical conditions related to an environment or diet that is doesn't meet the needs of the particular species of reptile, so ask lots of questions and do some homework to ensure you provide them with everything they need to thrive. And of course, make sure you have access to a veterinarian who treats exotic animals like reptiles.

Did you know that Nationwide offers protection for dragons, not to mention snakes, tortoises, birds and other exotic pets? Call 844-397-8937 for a quote on your pet!

Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet

Check out some of our other posts!

Why you should consider cruise travel insurance

Despite best efforts to plan the perfect cruise, unexpected incidents can turn vacation ...

Meet Petco CEO Ron Coughlin and his pup, Yogi

Loving pets is part of the job at Petco. For Ron Coughlin, being the top dog means ...

Top 10 Black-owned pet brands

When it comes to eats, treats and stylish looks, your pets get only the best. However, ...

Bigger! Fluffier! Now with felines!

By now, we hope you’ve had a chance to visit the Nationwide® Pet HealthZone®, a free ...