While some TCU students have pet dogs and cats, Kiefer Hazard dares to be different by housing a pet bearded dragon named Wink.
Hazard, a senior biology major, said he decided he wanted a bearded dragon in high school, but did not get one until his sophomore year of college.
Hazard has had his bearded dragon Wink for two-and-a-half years. When he was living on campus, he hid her in his dorm room.
“I would say it was the fist time I was allowed to have one, but it actually wasn't because I had to sneak her in,” he said.
Hazard said that reptiles are relatively low-maintenance and easy to handle while still in college. He said they require food and water daily and a clean cage, but that they are sometimes difficult to socialize with people.
“Most people, including myself, enjoy hanging out with their ‘beardies’,” he said. His favorite part of having a bearded dragon is that he always has company.
“They look at you when you talk to them, beg for food, watch you when you're in the room, get angry when you wake them up and cuddle against you for warmth, just to name a few of their charming qualities,” he said.
Hazard said that when a friend of his brought another lizard over, Wink and the other lizard had a courtship and Wink ended up laying eggs. With 34 hatchlings and about 3,000 crickets for food, he said he was lucky they hatched over the summer so that he could take care of them all.
He said his roommates have been indifferent to the bearded dragons.
“Kiefer loves his lizards the way a child cares about a puppy – he would do anything for them,” Grant Bessac, senior engineering major and Hazard's roommate, said. He said Wink is a great pet and easy to take care of when Hazard is away.
“The only time my roommates aren’t happy about them is if they see a stray cricket hopping around the house,” Hazard said. “Reptile husbandry is most certainly a niche community and I can see how it is unappealing to most people.”
Hazard has gotten a few of his friends to join him in his love for reptiles though.
Jessica Hayes, a senior business major, bought a bearded dragon from Hazard in October.
“My lizard is an easy pet to take care of during school,” Hayes said.
Hazard said the lizards sometimes live to be decades old. He said he recommends bearded dragons as pets for students because they provide company and are low-maintenance.