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Who’s Who in the Folsom Zoo; Meet Mushu, a bearded dragon

By: Telegraph Staff
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Editor’s note: This is a weekly feature in the Folsom Telegraph where readers will get the opportunity to meet Folsom’s furriest. This week’s “Who’s Who in Folsom Zoo” is Mushu, a bearded dragon.

A bearded dragon’s native habitat is in the arid woodlands and desert of Australia. However, there is now a bearded dragon residing in the reptile house of the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary named Mushu.

A bearded dragon is a handsome, medium-sized lizard 16-to-22 inches long. The dragon is tan to yellow in color with the ability to regulate his or her own body temperature and change colors when threatened. The “beard” refers to the underside of the lizard’s throat area, which, when stressed or threatened, enlarges and can turn black. With a triangular shaped head, their body has a flattened appearance, with spiny scales in rows and clusters on the sides of the body, head and throat. These spiny scales can expand when threatened.

In the wild, the bearded dragon is active during the day (diurnal) spending much of its time foraging for food; insects, fruit, flowers, greens and even smaller lizards and mammals. However, the lizard is sometimes spotted basking on a rock in the warm sunshine. When the weather becomes hot the bearded dragon will burrow underground away from the heat of the sun.

Mushu spends his days in his aquarium designed just for him with a heat lamp to bask under, litter to burrow in and a constant water supply. His zookeeper will sometimes treat him to a soak in a pool of fresh water and maybe add a treat of a few mealworms.

Three-year-old Mushu has joined the other critters of the zoo sanctuary’s educational outreach program, ZootoYou. This outreach program shares some of the behind-the-scene zoo sanctuary residents with groups at club meetings, schools, zoo sanctuary story times and birthday parties.

When you visit the zoo sanctuary, open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., ask about the ZootoYou Outreach Program so you can meet some of the special outreach zoo sanctuary residents.

For more information, go to folsom.ca.us.