Bearded Dragon Toys: Because Our Favourite Reptiles Can Get Bored...
I'll hold my hand up, my dragons are spoilt. We're forever trying to come up with new ways to entertain them, and here's how you can have more fun with your lizards too!
Pingpong Balls: Sounds simple, is simple. Brightly coloured balls are fun to lick, shove about, hide in corners, sit on - all manners of entertainment. Cat toy versions are always the prettiest, with stripes and patterns. My dragons have a big red one, and a small purple one they like to shove about occasionally.
Climbing Frames: Again, a cheap, easy and thorougly entertaining graft! If you know someone with a fruit tree, grab a few sturdy branches when they trim it back. Scrub them down, bake them, then enjoy cutting to size and tying firmly with garden string. You can design all kinds of frames for your lizard to climb and explore - and you can take it apart and make a whole new one when they get bored! Try incorporating some thick cardboard to make interesting platforms to sit and hide under - my dragons can't get enough of it. For the REALLY creative, try this link: http://www.lizard-landscapes.com/Fake-rock-wall-beginner.html
Food Digs: Get a shallow bowl/plate, some brown paper roughly torn into large chunks, and some tasty treat food - waxworms work wonderfully for this, they're the equivalent of lizard candy. Do note they are quite fatty, so try adding bits of fruit too. Simply shuffle them together, leave some tasty bits on the top, and let your dragon hunt!
Swings: Creativity can run wild on this one, just be careful of sharp edges. Personally, I like the ones made for rabbits/guinea pigs; you can pick them up very cheaply, they're made of natural wood (safe for licking/chewing) and easy to set up. I've also made some out of old tablemats and string, they work just as effectively. Bamboo ones can have splinters, so again, be careful - you don't want the dragons to get hurt/stuck. Swings are fun places to bask in the heatlamps, as well as to jump off, hide under, run round and peep from behind - Kuleana (my biggest dragon) likes to do circuits of her tank, leaping off her swing to the hut...
Another "Lizard": Toy lizards can create some spectacular responses. As always, make sure they won't fall apart. See also the next section on Beardie Body Language (coming soon) for a whole range of reactions.
Springy Toys: Ceiling hung spring toys can be hours of entertainment. Make sure the spring is a tight one, so they can't trap claws, tails (and occasionally tongues) in it, and then show them how it bounces. I have a giant cricket and a giant cockroach in my tanks, the wiggly legs have often been the target for all-out attacks!
Mirrors: Only good for short periods, most effective if you have a few minutes every few days. Again, see Beardie Body Language.
Rainbows: You need one of those big glass crystals, or a bunch of suncatchers. A laserpen might work just as well, we have yet to get one. Anyway, on a sunny day, wiggle your crystals round to catch the light and watch as your dragon goes mental trying to eat the "pretty bugs" scuttling around your floor/wall/bed/etc...
"Hide-N-Seek": Dinnerstyle! Hide favourite treats on top of "plates" made from tinfoil around the tank (or room, if your lizards are allowed out-time, they LOVE to explore, so keep a close eye on them) and let them go "hunting". This keeps fidgety Tsam entertained during the day - he never knows where he might discover some more grape bits.
The Ultimate Toy: A bell on a string. You can go for any kind of small bell, but beware of the "jinglebell" type, they can have sharp edges - always test toys for sharp bits or bits that might be swallowed. As with a cat toy, you need to tie your chosen small bell onto a good peice of string or ribbon, then just scootch and drag it along the floor. The jerky bounce and the tinkle noise is enough to captivate even the most ADHD dragon into throwing him/herself at it and trying to kill/eat it...!
Photos and Body Language coming soon, so Watch This Space!