Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

Caroline Cravens

Science building gets new “mascot”

Bearded dragon finds a new home as the Biology lab class pet

September 18, 2014

Class pets are usually pretty simple – goldfish, hermit crabs and the like. In the new science building, Dr. Rasmussen’s bearded dragon named Spyro isn’t just unusual for LHS, he’s also got a recessive trait that make him a unique shade of yellow. While most bearded dragons are brown, his yellow shade represents his perky, friendly personality.

If you visit Dr. R’s classroom and Spyro’s tank is open, he’s available for petting. During the weekends and long breaks, Dr. R takes him home in a cat carrier. While Spyro is at school though, he hangs out in a glass tank in her biology classroom as the class pet.

Dr. Rasmussen holds Spyro in her classroom.

Bearded dragons like Spyro use their tongue to lick up food. In one flicking motion of his tongue, Spyro can gobble down a cricket. He likes to eat freeze dried crickets, and once a week she feeds him live crickets.

“He loves to eat; his favorite thing to do is chase crickets,” Dr. R said. “I usually put in about a dozen at a time, and he’ll run all over the tank and eat all of them in about 10 seconds. It’s just this huge cricket massacre.”

Spyro enjoys both live and freeze-dried crickets for his meals.

The spikes on Spyro’s body look intimidating, but he’s not prickly feeling. His skin doesn’t quite feel like sandpaper, it has more of a rubbery texture. In the wild, bearded dragons puff up their spikes to avoid being eaten, or to attract females.

“If he is actively feeling threatened, he will sometimes poof out his beard and get a really dark color,” Dr. R said. “Sometimes he’ll see his reflection and think it’s another lizard and he’ll start to poof up. And then if I say, ‘Spyro what are you doing?’, he’ll just slowly start to deflate and relax. It’s funny.”

Yellow is the perfect color for Spyro because of his friendly nature. He doesn’t show any signs of aggression, and doesn’t bite. Spyro is a gentle pet, just as lovable as a cat or dog.

“When I got him he fit in my hand, like nose to tail, he was really tiny,” Dr. R says. “He’s about two years old, I think around now is when they kind of stop growing. He’s definitely a little chunkier than other bearded dragons, because he is really spoiled.”



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