Bearded Dragon

Enter the Dragons!


Safari West is home to over 90 fascinating species and nearly 900 individual animals. Not long ago, the number of creatures calling this place home went up by 2. Safari West recently adopted two bearded dragons; Reptar, a male, and Misha (also called Pancake), a female. If you’ve never seen a bearded dragon, the name says it all. They are large, sand colored lizards with spiky scales running across their heads and down their wide, flattened sides. They sport prickly beards of pointed scales and in spite of their fierce appearance, are generally fairly amiable creatures.

For this reason, the Safari West keeper department has added the bearded dragons to the Jr. Keeper curriculum. The Jr. Keeper program is a product of the Safari West Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit foundation associated with the Safari West Wildlife Preserve. Kids in the Jr. Keeper program comes to Safari West to experience what it’s like to work with exotic wildlife. They learn general husbandry and how to feed and care for many of the species in our collection. Before the arrival of these two beardies, the Jr. Keepers were dealing mostly with small mammals and birds. Thanks to Reptar and Misha, we can now include reptile care in their curriculum!

Each day that the Jr. Keepers work with the two lizards, they carefully prepare diets, keeping a close eye on maintaining a nutritional balance and appropriate intake. They’re also learning to keep the daily records that professional zookeepers rely on to maintain the health and vitality of their charges. Our Jr. Keepers don’t just learn to care for the creatures though, they are also gaining experience in what we call “interpretation”. Like keepers and guides throughout the world, the Jr. Keepers are discovering the joy that comes from teaching others what you know. Several days a week, visitors to Safari West get to see our young up-and-comers strolling the property with one or both bearded dragons on their shoulders. If you see them on the property, please feel free to approach them. They’re excited to show off their new charges as well as answer any questions you may have.

The Jr. Keeper program is a valuable ongoing project at Safari West. Not only does it add to the experience of guests on property, it is also a critical resource in the development of future advocates for wildlife education. The Jr. Keeper program is open to children ages 12-16. For further details or to submit an application, please visit or contact Corrine Freitas at (707) 566-3613.