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Rankin's or Lawson's Dragon
Pogona brevis or Pogona henrylawsoni 


Rankin
Owner: Bonnie's Beardeds


Baby Rankin


Nesting Rankin
Owner: Bonnie's Beardeds

The Smaller Alternative to a Bearded! 
The Rankin's Dragon or Pogona brevis, is a rising star  amongst herpetologists. It originates from central and western Queensland, Australia. Dragons are usually docile, but some may require some taming. Although they can be costly, beardeds are a wonderful choice for everyone from beginners to long time collectors alike. They are easy to maintain in captivity as long as their basic needs are met. Rankin's Dragons are a medium sized lizard obtaining a length of 12" to 13".
Rankin's Dragon-Pogona brevis
Origin-Central and western Queensland, Australia.
Size-12" to 13"
Temperment/Handling-Usually docile.  A few may require taming.
Hardiness-Fairly easy to breed and maintain in captivity as long as needs are met.  Beginners should purchase Rankin's 6weeks and older because they may be a little easier to care for than new borns.
Life Span-Not sure, I would guess much like beardeds being 5-8 years.
Housing-Baby Rankin's dragons should be kept in smaller enclosures about the size of a 10 gallon aquarium.  Young Rankin's may nip each others tail and limbs if enough food is not provided.  A 20 or 30gal long aquarium is adequate for 1 male and a couple lady friends. Substrate-Layers of newspaper, sand, or a sand/soil mix can be used as substrate. We prefer to use washed play sand. At night or when temperatures are a little cooler the Rankin's will dig a bed in the corner of their cage.  Sand does look nice but baby Rankin's should always be kept on newspaper to avoid sand impaction.  Impaction is when the lizard eats the substrate causing it to get lodged inside the animals body. This can cause serious health problems.  Decoration-Secure branches should be added for the Rankin's to climb, preferably under the basking light and within 12" of the UVA and UVB strip. Finally add a few pieces of drift wood, cork bark, chollawood,  and well secured rocks to help keep them occupied. Many plastic and fiber glass rocks and caves are available and are much easier to clean and sterilize. The larger the enclosure, the more entertaining your new pet will be. Who In a Cage-Always house lizards of equal size together.  Smaller animals may not compete as well for food and basking spots.  Never house males together because they will harm and possibly kill each other.  Housing one male and two females is a good combination.
Enclosure maintenance-Rankin's enclosures may get a little messy.  Papers should be changed as often as possible, removing fecal matter daily.  Sand substrates can be changed once a month making sure to remove fecal (poop) matter daily.  Water should always be fresh.  All cage items should be thoroughly cleaned with a dilution of 1part bleach to 30parts water once a month making sure to thoroughly rinse.  Check all electrical devices as often as possible to help prevent fire hazards. 
Lighting-Rankin's Dragons are diurnal, day lovers, that enjoy basking much of the day. Lights should be left on 14hrs a day in the summer months and 10hrs a day in the winter. A good basking light is essential to the health and well being of this species. Keep in mind the lizard should never be allowed to touch the bulb. This may cause severe burns and possibly death. Many brands are available, research for yourself to find out which one is best for you. Natural sunlight is best for Rankin's, but outdoor enclosures are not practical in most parts of the U.S.  So Rankin's kept indoors should have full spectrum lighting such as the ReptiSun5.0 or ESU7%.  Both are thought to offer  the best levels of UVA and UVB trying to mimic natural sunlight.  UVB produces vitiman/D3 which is important in the metabolizing of calcium and phosporous. It is also believed to help reverse the effects of Metabolic Bone Disease, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle making it difficult for the animal to eat and perform normal functions.  UVA helps Rankin's to act natural as in eating habits and mating. The bulb should be within 12" of the basking spot for the lizard to get the full effect.  Remember glass filters out the beneficial beams of the bulb. These bulbs loose effectiveness after about 6 months and should be replaced. Light is still produced, but the beneficial rays are reduced if not non-existant.  All lights should be on a timer so the Rankin's get the same day/night cycle every day.
Heat/Temp-The basking temp should be 100-110F. Daytime temps should be about 90-95F and 75-80F on the opposite end of the enclosure.  Nighttime temps can drop to about 70F. Temps should be slightly cooler in the wintertime. Rankin's can withstand an occasional drop to the mid 60's. Some keepers use under tank heaters covering about 1/2 to 1/3 the length of the tank; others only use the over head lighting. Do not use hot rocks. The lizards will lay on them for long periods of time causing severe burns and even death.
Humidity/Water-Rankin's Dragons are a species that prefer a semi-dry environment. Mist once every other day to help facilitate with shedding. Babies should be misted atleast once daily. A water dish should be offered at least three times a week. Rankin's get most of there liquids from the veggies they eat.
Diet/Food-Rankin's accept and require a wide range of food. Staple food items include, insects, vegetables, and bearded pellets. Younger Rankin's desire a lot more insects than veggies. With time they will prefer mostly veggies and very few insects. We keep fresh vegetables, pellets, and a small water dish in the enclosure as often as possible, and offer insects according to individual appetites.  Veggies-Many veggies are suitable for Rankin's.  Some of the best include dandelions (probably the best), collard, mustard, and turnip greens, kale, and other dark greens.  Many different types of veggies should be offered to help maintain a balanced diet.  All vegetables should be thoroughly washed.  Bugs-As a general rule, insects should be no larger than the width of the head. Commonly used food items include crickets, meal worms, and wax worms.  Wild insects are readily accepted,  (not fire flys) but make sure they haven't come in contact with any pesticides.  Gut Loading-Food items should be gut loaded (fed a rich and varied diet of greens, fruits, potatoes, and commercially bought gut load products) for at least 24hrs prior to feeding. Supplements-Bugs should be supplemented or lightly coated (the easiest way is in a plastic bag) with vitamins and minerals.  The proper use of supplements will lead to a happier, healthier lizard, and will reduce the risk of metabolic bone disease. I use Rep-cal Calcium/vitD3, Herptivite, and  Miner-All.  All can be found at any pet store.  Babies-should be fed insects 2-3 times daily with greens and pellets available at all times.  This is the age to start introducing a variety of new items as baby Rankin's are very curious.    Baby Rankin's should also be sprayed with water daily to assure against dehydration.  Baby Rankin's should be monitored at feeding time to make sure everyone gets their fair share.  Juveniles-should be fed insects 1-2 times daily, with greens and pellets available at all times.   Adults-should be fed insects daily or every other day, with greens and pellets available at all times. Adults eat a lot fewer insects so more veggies should be offered to accommodate the change in appetite.    Remove all free roaming food items if not eaten within 15-20min.  Insects will foul water and stress the beardeds.                     
Sexing-Sexing baby Rankin's is difficult if not impossible for the few months.  To sex look on the underside of the Rankin's. Males have a V-shaped row of enlarged pre-anal pores (small holes) and hemipenal bulges (little bumps) at the base of the tail. Females have pre-anal pores that are less obvious and are lacking the hemipenal bulges.
Behaviors-Males often engage in head bobbing, trying to show dominance over other beardeds and to get mating responses from females. Females, babies, and sub-dominate males will often be seen engaging in arm waving. Standing on three legs waving one of the fore arms in a circular motion. It is believed to be an appeasement to the dominate male.  Dragons run around licking everything to get a good taste of what's to eat in their surroundings.
Diseases/Ailments-The best treatment is prevention but not even the best keepers can protect against the occasional illness.  Signs of illness include long periods of inactivity, reduced or no feeding, diarrhea, runny nose, etc.  I will go much more into depth in the near future.
Other-Basically like a Bearded Dragon, but smaller.  Babies are a blast to watch at dinner time.
Phases/Morphs-
Disclaimer-Everything on this page is a matter of my personal opinion.  This care sheet is merely meant to help get you started.  Always do lots of other research and do what is in the best interest of you and your pet.
Last Updated-03/13/03 Aaron Downing            ReptileAaron@aol.com  http://www.angelfire.com/me4/pets
Suggested Reading
*The Bearded Dragon Manual
De Vosjoli, Mailloux, Donoghue, Klingenberg, Cole
2001 Advance Vivarium Systems
*Success With a Reptile Pet -Bearded Dragon
Mazorlig
T.F.H. (RD-104)
*Agamid Lizards
Manthey, Schuster
1996 T.F.H. (LR-103)