A spiky lizard isn’t usually the first animal people associate with being cuddly — but this little guy is as snuggly as they come.
Meet Kayto, a 1-year-old bearded dragon from Scotland. He was raised as a newborn by his mom, Chanel Law, and her partner Jamie after the two spotted the little hatchling alone at a pet store last year.
“He was extremely tiny,” Law told The Dodo. “He was smaller than the rest of the bearded dragons there [in other tanks], so we checked online what newborns look like. He was that exact size; he was likely being sold too early.”
In general, young bearded dragons should only be rehomed after around 6 weeks old — but little Kayto was much younger. The couple took him home without another thought, determined to help him grow big and strong.
It was clear that Kayto was stressed, but Law worked every day to help him come out of his shell.
“Kayto was very scared and jumpy,” Law said. “He would always hide and would only come out to eat. Every time we went to touch him, he would back away … One day, instead of moving my hand away, I continued to go and pet him. He sat there and let me pet him for a while. Then I picked him up, and he just instantly cuddled right into me!”
It was the start of a very special bond — and even now, Kayto is still the biggest snuggle-bug.
He has fuzzy blankets that he loves being wrapped up in, and sometimes he’ll lie there for hours just snoozing.
Law usually keeps a warm water bottle in there, too, to make sure he stays extra comfortable.
“He absolutely loves napping and sleeping in our bed,” Law said. “He’s one of the most cuddly and clingy beardies you could ever meet. As soon as you lift him, he cuddles into your chest, and when you’re sitting [in the room] with him, he will run back and forth all happy.”
When cuddly Kayto isn’t napping, he’s watching TV with the family or listening to music. He’s especially curious about his dad’s guitar.
In addition to having the freedom to roam over any blanket in sight, Kayto has a 6-foot-long, custom-built vivarium where he can bask under warm lights and hunt all the crickets he’d like.
“Anyone that comes to our house, Kayto will instantly get off his rock under his basking light and run towards the visitor as he’s always so curious,” Law said. «Everyone always says he’s the happiest bearded dragon you will ever meet.”
Clearly, Kayto is very loved — and it’s been wonderful for his parents to see him transform from a tiny, timid lizard to an outgoing and affectionate family member.
He’s taught them a lot about these often misunderstood reptiles, too.
“It took a bit longer than any other animal I’ve dealt with to help Kayto get comfortable with us, but we got there in the end so it was definitely worth it,” Law said. “I’ve seen so many articles or posts about people (especially children) giving up their beardies because they ‘aren’t interactive’ and ‘just sit there and do nothing.’ I completely disagree with this.”
“Bearded dragons do sit there and bask and aren’t as active as dogs, but if you love them and take them out of their vivarium, they will climb things and they’ll sit on your shoulder and be there for you,” Law added. “As long as you love them, they’ll love you back.”