Cohabitation with Beardies?

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Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:05 pm

I have heard some people cohabitate beardies with blueys. Is this true, or just a rumor? Is there any success in this? If okay, would you want both animals as babies, and raise them together, or introduce them as adults? Does it stress either or both animals, and how much space is reccommended if it is a viable option? I have heard of it done in similar sizes to what I have (4 x 2) but that seems unrealistic, that each animal would need more space than that.

I ask out of curiosity, if it's possible I would like to do it and create a little aussie house... but only if it is safe for both animals. It makes sense that it would be as they both need about the same care, but stress factors in hugely with reptiles.

Any stories? Opinions? Have you done it yourself? Any aussies wanna chime in with specific info to what they have observed in the wild?
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:12 pm

I should add, one of the problems I immediately see with that would be- skinks prefer some kind of substrate, and beardies arent that safe on it, and probably wouldn't do well in aspen to begin with! :doh: In fact, skinks are the only lizards I have ever heard of doing better on dry substrate! Hm!
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Fatal_S » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:36 pm

Large exhibits in zoos and outdoor pits can house multiple species, but anything confined is likely to result in major damage to the inhabitants. Even in large area there are issues, but at least they can escape from each other. Personally I would need at least an 8x8 (10x10?) area with lots of climables, hides, and burrows to feel okay that my animals wouldn't easily corner and kill each other.
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:12 pm

Fatal_S wrote:Large exhibits in zoos and outdoor pits can house multiple species, but anything confined is likely to result in major damage to the inhabitants. Even in large area there are issues, but at least they can escape from each other. Personally I would need at least an 8x8 (10x10?) area with lots of climables, hides, and burrows to feel okay that my animals wouldn't easily corner and kill each other.


Yes, and I think it would need enough space to have alternating, miniature climates as well! It would be interesting to see something with a beardie, bluey, and a frill(y????) in the same habitat, but it would be massive, and the inhabitants would be more observational animals than pets. Clearly, if I have room for an 8x8 area at any time in the near future, a tegu's going in there ;) but who knows, it would be neat to see in the future.

I also think that, for cohabitation, you have to be 'okay' with losing an animal, and distance yourself from them as pets, while still giving them the best of care- like you said, they could corner and kill each other! :cry:
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Fatal_S » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:21 pm

If you wanted to see cohabitation, ask some of the aussie members. Some have huge outdoor areas where they'll have blueys, beardies, aussie dragons, and other skinks/lizards all living together. Some have pictures of several species eating together. They have the space and climate, so I live vicariously through them.
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:25 pm

Fatal_S wrote:If you wanted to see cohabitation, ask some of the aussie members. Some have huge outdoor areas where they'll have blueys, beardies, aussie dragons, and other skinks/lizards all living together. Some have pictures of several species eating together. They have the space and climate, so I live vicariously through them.


If it weren't for the inability to keep non-native species in Australia, I'd move there in an instant! I'd love to see some of those photos (HAY AUSSIES, ROLL CALL! :D), I can only imagine how awesome it is.

Any large space I have available will be monopolized by monitors and tegus as soon as I am able, so I don't think I can ever live that particular dream, but maybe a smaller version of that with dart frogs and other littler critters. :) But all the same... co habitating skinks... wow!
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Fatal_S » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:33 pm

Keep in mind it is often frowned upon, especially for newbies. There are many cases of people who leave the "best friends" alone in a tiny tank for years, and come home to find them mauled and dead. BTS in general are not social (some species may be exceptions) and are very powerful little beasts.
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby LarissaLurid » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:50 pm

Fatal_S wrote:Keep in mind it is often frowned upon, especially for newbies. There are many cases of people who leave the "best friends" alone in a tiny tank for years, and come home to find them mauled and dead. BTS in general are not social (some species may be exceptions) and are very powerful little beasts.



I would not recommend co-habitation either. I have heard many stories like that as well too. Just because it might work and the owner thinks it would be "cool" isn't a good enough reason in my opinion to put different species together that could attack or kill each other.


Also the problem with co-habitation is not only if one animal might kill or maul another, but they come from different places and have different parasites and such in their bodies. They can get other animals they live with very ill or kill them (which I've heard this happening many times) just due to parasites or diseases that the others body got infected with from a mate they lived with. (even in a very 10x10 type area)
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:55 pm

I can't imagine that someone who has the skills, know how and money is going to create a setup like this only to lose it all by not quarantining! haha!

Yes, it's definitely not an option for me, at least not with skinks and other larger lizards (though more due to space and not know-how. I've been in the reptile game awhile, just not with skinks ;) ), but it certainly is an interesting thought. As I've said, co habitating animals are not ones I think can be thought of as 'beloved pets', simply because bad things CAN happen and you have to deal with that as it comes, even in large enclosures. I'd hate to think of someone keeping two species, skinks or otherwise, in a tank only large enough for one! >< That's just asking for trouble!
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby LarissaLurid » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:02 pm

Even when animals are quarantined there is still the risk, I've heard of animals living together a long time then one will get sick from another or hurt/killed by another. :[
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:07 pm

I can't see why parasites or disease would be a risk with quarantines... I do get the killed and hurt thing, that's always a risk with animals living together. But would two animals living together not be exposed to the exact same things anyway? They would both get sick at the same time, more likely than one from the other, or at least that's how I'd imagine it to be! I have no personal experience with that in particular mind you, but that just seems odd to me, that an animal would get sick off of another when both have been quarantined and tested for parasites before hand. :O
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Fatal_S » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:15 pm

I believe what Larissa is talking about is more species-specific parasites/viruses. As in something that one species is not effected by (it's naturally immune for example) but that can hit another species extremely hard, especially if the animal has a lowered immune system (stress, cold, other illness). Since the host wouldn't be affected, quarantine wouldn't catch it.

It is a risk, but IMO not a big risk. There is much more risk from simply going into a pet shop and then back home to your pet, which most of us do regularly. In reality there are tons of risks that we just tend to ignore, either because they are hard to negate, unlikely to occur, or unlikely to cause much damage. With co-habitation the big dangers are aggression and inability to maintain the correct environment. There are infinite other dangers, but the first two cause the most concern.
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:23 pm

Fatal_S wrote:I believe what Larissa is talking about is more species-specific parasites/viruses. As in something that one species is not effected by (it's naturally immune for example) but that can hit another species extremely hard, especially if the animal has a lowered immune system (stress, cold, other illness). Since the host wouldn't be affected, quarantine wouldn't catch it.

It is a risk, but IMO not a big risk. There is much more risk from simply going into a pet shop and then back home to your pet, which most of us do regularly. In reality there are tons of risks that we just tend to ignore, either because they are hard to negate, unlikely to occur, or unlikely to cause much damage. With co-habitation the big dangers are aggression and inability to maintain the correct environment. There are infinite other dangers, but the first two cause the most concern.


Ah, that makes more sense to me! :) I agree with you, Mel. My main concerns in cohabitation would be aggression, space, stress, and environmental control. Doing it properly without living in that specific environment and having outdoor space would take a LOT of time, money, knowledge and concentration. I think it would be very rewarding if done well, but I don't think it's something I would want to (or anyone should) do without having lots of experience with each species and money to spend!
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby LarissaLurid » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:46 pm

Fatal_S wrote:I believe what Larissa is talking about is more species-specific parasites/viruses. As in something that one species is not effected by (it's naturally immune for example) but that can hit another species extremely hard, especially if the animal has a lowered immune system (stress, cold, other illness). Since the host wouldn't be affected, quarantine wouldn't catch it.

It is a risk, but IMO not a big risk. There is much more risk from simply going into a pet shop and then back home to your pet, which most of us do regularly. In reality there are tons of risks that we just tend to ignore, either because they are hard to negate, unlikely to occur, or unlikely to cause much damage. With co-habitation the big dangers are aggression and inability to maintain the correct environment. There are infinite other dangers, but the first two cause the most concern.



Yes that is what I was trying to bring up, thanks :]
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Lea » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:31 pm

I have kept and still do, a number of shinglebacks in with one or two easterns and a blotched, but you need a BIG space, or there are territory issues. Shinglebacks seem to just go with the flow on most things and even in a large enclosure, 8x8m, they all congregated together anyway and slept in a big pile. Easterns and blotchies are less predictable and I wouldn't recommend cohabitation in any less then the space I had for them.

As for beardies, I haven't kept many, just a couple of short term rescues, but I did not let them cohabitate. As noted before, they are vastly different to skinks and just the differences in diet poses the problems of ensuring they are getting adequate nutrition. They climb, too, which can pose as a perceived threat to the ground dwelling skinks and scuffles could easy turn into nasty bar brawls! Both skinks and beardies have a good jaw with a generous amount of teeth and the damage inflicted could be fatal on either side, should there be a falling out.

A lot of zoos and wildlife parks to keep them together, but most have huge enclosures where chance encounters would usually just instigate a flight response, rather than territorial and the risks are lessened.

Even the docile shinglebacks have their off days, too and in spring, when hormone levels are high, displays and hissy fits are not uncommon when another just strolls into their patch of sunlight, so even the most calm and sweet little skinks, can turn and start and argument.

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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Rachael t » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:37 am

I have both Blue Tongues and Beardeds. I wouldn't want them living together, they have different needs. Especially if they are Central Beardeds and Eastern skinks. These areas of Aus are extremely different and create different habitats that the species are acclimated to. Where I live, my skinks are housed outside, but not in a pit, too much risk of cane toads and predators. But I am on the east coast and my skinks are both easterns. By Beardies are centrals and are nt suited to outdoor housing here. In comment to aggression, I was wondering why Tripod was getting scratched up until one day I lifted up the grass matting and found his head inside Lizzies mouth! They were instantly separated haha :p
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby El Lobo » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:20 am

I observed three wild blotchies living together from when they were born until they were around ten months old, but I haven't seen any from the age of sub-adult onwards repeating that behaviour. As they mature they become more solitary and it would be rare to find even two together apart from mating season. At different times there have been several in our backyard at the same time, but not together as a group. If they choose this lifestyle with members of their own sub-species I would think they are not likely to want to co-habit with a different species.

Unfortunately, humans at times intervene and place incompatible animals together without considering any physical or psychological damage it may incur. When they don't fight or hide from each other it is claimed they are "good friends" but many of those forced into such relationships die before their reasonable life expectancy. From that grows the belief that it is an acceptable practice. Rabbits and Guinea Pigs living together is a good example; even though each is a social species they are fundamentally incompatible.
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Ellie_A » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:10 am

I just wanted to mention that one of my rescue bluey was kept with a bearded dragon by the previous owner. They were kept on sand (arguably one of the best substrates for adult beardies) which resulted in the bluey having some major shedding problems and losing almost all of her toes. Having dealt with the outcome of this, it is not something that I would recommend. They have different requirements and behaviors and it just doesn't seem like a good idea.
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby tylociraptor » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:31 am

Ellie_A wrote:I just wanted to mention that one of my rescue bluey was kept with a bearded dragon by the previous owner. They were kept on sand (arguably one of the best substrates for adult beardies) which resulted in the bluey having some major shedding problems and losing almost all of her toes. Having dealt with the outcome of this, it is not something that I would recommend. They have different requirements and behaviors and it just doesn't seem like a good idea.


I DEFINATELY do not agree with keeping beardies on sand. It's very dangerous and can quickly lead to impaction in even adult animals. For both animals, sand is soooo not a good idea. If someone was keeping not only a beardie but a bluey on sand, I can't imagine they had the knowledge of the animals enough to properly allow for cohabitation, especially with two different species. It's a good example of why you shouldn't do it without knowing what you are doing, that's for sure.
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Re: Cohabitation with Beardies?

Postby Lea » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:38 pm

Actually, if it's good sand, ie straight from the dunes of Australia, then there wouldn't be many reasons not to give it to them as substrate. Shinglebacks, easterns and bearded dragon, all live happily within the dunes along the SA beaches. As far as I am aware, the blotched blue tongues have some coastal habitat in Victoria and NSW, too, although el lobo and scotts1au would be better to confirm this.

The shinglebacks and eastern are numerous, photo along city beaches and the more remotes dunes and salt plains, along the coorong, where the ground is primarily sandy.

The sand in pet shops tends to pose a risk as most would put a feeding dish straight on top of it, hence dropped food would be picked up along with a good mouthful of sand. Using a large feeding dish or placing a slate or tile under the dish, would help prevent ingestion and all the problems that go with using it. Sand in dunes also tends to have plant matter and other bits and pieces and therefore the chances of food being covered in it, are lessened.

But, as far as captive lizards go, I would say a big no to sand, purely because of the risks posed with ingestion. Having a little bit won't hurt though, and mixing a small area with a bit of bark/ coconut and something like care fresh or condensed wood pellets, gives different textures and scents, to keep the area interesting.
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