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Family Pet Contest winners: Reveling in their reptiles

Sophie and Miles Lee proudly handle their bearded dragons Spike and Bandit.


Congratulations to Spike the Bearded Dragon, the winner of the Seattle’s Child Family Pet Cover Photo contest!

Spike is a rescue “beardie” and the beloved family pet of the Lee family — Shirley, Derek, 7-year-old Sophie and 12-year-old Miles, who saved up his money from his job delivering the Queen Anne & Magnolia News to buy Spike off of Craigslist three years ago. Sophie was so taken with Spike that she had to have her own dragon, Bandit. The Lee household is now its own little ecosystem; The beardies survive on live roaches and worms coated in talcum powder (for vitamin D) and the bugs are raised on a diet of arugula, kale, pea sprouts and potatoes grown in the Lees’ garden.

“I use tongs to feed Spike, but Sophie is brave and feeds them by hand,” says Shirley.

Spike is 22 inches long and nearly double the size of Bandit. He loves being held, enjoys sun baths by the window, and sleeps a solid 12 hours per night (better than a sleep-trained infant). Bandit is more reserved, preferring to hang out in her tank while Spike has his moment in the sun. As Spike’s personality began to emerge, Shirley started documenting moments from his lizard life and posting them to an Instagram account (@spikedays). The beardies now have nearly 12,000 followers and have received fan art from all over the country.

Whether dressed up as the Cowardly Lion to Sophie’s Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz or relaxing in a Groovy Girls toy doll bed, Spike’s Instagram provides an excellent excuse to check out at work. The family once took a road trip down the coast and let Spike ride on the dashboard of the car, where he could bask in the heat. “We had to stay on the highway and be careful not to make abrupt stops,” says Shirley. “He loved it.”

The family has formed a deep bond with the reptiles. Each year, they celebrate the beardies’ birthdays, dress them up for Halloween and take photos with them for their family Christmas card.

“You can’t cuddle with them, but they have shockingly big personalities,” says Shirley.

If you want a lizard you can love for life, bearded dragons may be the family pet for you.


More winning pets: Pocket is a Labradoodle full of love | At the shelter just to look? Ha! 

And more on pets and the people who love them: Does your family have what it takes to raise a guide dog puppy? | Not sure you're ready for a pet? Try one out! Here's how


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