I recently acquired a juvenile bearded dragon here in Buffalo. I decided I wanted to try raising a dragon as it may fare better under my care than did my leopard geckos. In any case, I got it, and at first, it was as calm as could be – probably frightened out of its mind.
Anyway, we’re getting him settled in, and now that he’s got a little grasp of what is his – I’m not allowed in it! My hand entering the cage, well, that’s just out of the question. The little dragon will leap halfway across the cage to bite me(but my fingers are bigger than his mouth). I spent all of the weekend trying to figure out the best methodology to tame the dragon. I finally settled on a plan.
Whenever he hisses, I simply put a “green” into his mouth – he eats green onions, parsley, blackberries, etc – stuff high in calcium. It surprises him. And he can’t leap at my hand if there’s something in his mouth. So he closes his mouth. Tears off the piece. Calms down.
On Saturday, it took me three hours before I could get him to stay in my hand without wriggling or hissing. On Sunday, he let me pet him a bit after about twenty minutes.
The Bearded Dragon is a desert animal. Desert animals have a wide set of lessons from which we can draw. The first is that of timing. Knowing when to stay perfectly still and soak up the sun, and knowing when to sit in the shade can mean the difference of life and death for desert animals. Similarly, knowing how to balance ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually can mean the difference of life and death.
Desert animals also learn how to find alternative sources of water: mist and dew drops after a rain, certain plants, certain spots. We can take this knowledge from desert animals and apply it to our own lives: and start looking in different places for spiritual knowledge.
The dragon can be fierce, and makes an impressive display when needed. But they can also be calm and still and gentle companions. Similarly, we must have the same sort of convictions: calm until our habitat – our home, our family – is threatened, and then voracious, daring, and protecftive.
The dragon, to me, seems to be about balance. A lesson we could all take into consideration.