The Ultimate Caresheet For Your Bearded Dragon

Alright before you go out and purchase a bearded dragon you need a care sheet for your new lizard.

This will make it easier for you to take care of your pet.  There are a number of things you need to consider before you go out and purchase your first bearded dragon.

First, let me start off by saying that these interesting lizards might look intimidating to some.  But, really they are very docile lizards.  Therefore, they are perfect for small children.  Not to mention they really do make great pets!

The article is going to cover the following:

Bearded Dragon Housing

Bearded Dragons SleepingHousing for your bearded dragon is the first thing you have to consider.   You want to make sure that your dragon will be happy right?   They will need to have enough room to move around. When you get a baby bearded dragon it’s going to be fairly small.  But, when it gets full grown it can be almost 24 inches long.

First, when you get a baby bearded dragon your pet could be 7 to 10 inches long.  So, you could start with a 20-gallon tank.  But, as it reaches its adulthood it will more than double its size.  Therefore, your bearded dragon will outgrow its 20-gallon tank.

You could get away with a 40-gallon breeder tank, but I would suggest getting a bigger tank.  You want to provide your bearded dragon with a nice habitat, don’t you?

So, I would suggest getting a tank that is 50 gallons or more.   This will give your bearded dragon plenty of room to move around.

Females can be housed together.  But, never house males together because they will fight.  Please see this article on bearded dragon behavior.  For every bearded dragon you have in the same cage I would add 10 gallons to the size of tank you should need.  The exception would be after 2 bearded dragons.  Meaning, 2 bearded dragons for a 50-gallon tank.  Here is a chart which shows the breakdown depending on how many bearded dragons you have in the same enclosure:

1-2 50 gallon.
3 60 gallons.
4 70 gallons.
5 80 gallons.
6 90 gallons.
7 100 gallons.

Bearded Dragon Lighting

You have to use full spectrum lighting to house your bearded dragon.  They need anywhere from 12 to 14 hours of light each day. You need to make sure that there is heavy light coverage throughout the tank.  Meaning the entire enclosure should be well lit.

You need to have a UVB light.  I recommend the Reptisun 10.0.  This is a tube light that covers a larger area than your a traditional dome light.  I prefer to mount the tube light in the enclosure rather than using a mesh top.  The mesh tops will restrict the UV rays.  Coil bulbs are not recommended because they have been known to cause eye problems and can reduce the bearded dragon’s appetite.

Unlike leopard geckos, bearded dragons do require UVB light.  Meaning these bulbs mimic the sun and give off UV rays.  Without UVB bulbs bearded dragons will get sick and die.

Next, bearded dragons need a basking light.  They are a basking lizard which means they like to sit on a rock and sunbathe.  This is a light that puts off heat depending based on how far away from the light the bearded dragon is.

There are combo bulbs that put off UVB and heat.  These lights are called mercury bulbs.  Typically, these kinds of bulbs can be rather expensive, though.  They usually are over $50 to $60.

Make sure you change your UVB bulb every 6 months.  These bulbs can quit giving the necessary amount of UV rays that a bearded dragon needs.

Bearded Dragon Heating

TemperatureThe lights in the tank are going to put off a lot of heat.  Bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals so their body adapts to the environment. but that is not the only place where you are going to get heat. You need to have heat in the tank that is at least 95 degrees because they live in that environment in Australia.

There are a lot of people who do not realize that they need to have the heat high in the tank because it could go up to about 105. That is the real temperature in the places where bearded dragons live. They are very docile, and they just relax in that heat a lot of the time. However, you are not going to be able to use the heated rocks that you might have been told to use because it could burn them.

The bearded dragons that you have in the tank need to have cool spots for them, and then they need to have the heat coming from overhead. Those two things together make a world of difference.

Bearded Dragon Substrate

For baby bearded dragons I would recommend shredded newspaper, paper towels, or reptile carpet.   Reptile carpet is easy to clean and comes in either green or brown.  Certainly do not go with sand for juveniles at all.

However, there is a lot of debate on the sand.  Personally, I would never use calcium sand for your bearded dragon.  There are shards in it which can cause impaction.  Here is a good article on the dangers of sand for bearded dragons. Instead, I would recommend washed play sand which you can get from Home Depot for fairly cheap.  I believe it was $5 for 50 pounds of sand.  Do you make sure your bearded dragon is full-grown if you decide to use washed play sand?  Meaning, they need to be at least 14 inches before you put them in a sand enclosure.

Lastly, I would highly recommend you don’t use any wood chips. These might Look attractive but it puts your bearded dragon in high-risk for impaction if they swallow any of it.  They can be kind of wild when they eat and sometimes they can eat the substrate.

Bearded Dragon Feeding

Remember the golden rule when feeding your bearded dragon.  They shouldn’t eat anything that is bigger than the space between their eyes. Otherwise, they could end up choking. Also, they would be at high risk for impaction or their hind legs can become paralyzed and they will die a slow painful death.

For juvenile bearded dragons I would feed them a steady diet of crickets.  These should be dusted with calcium with D3 at least 4 to 5 times per week.  You can feed them 20 to 30 crickets per day.  They can’t overeat like fish can, though.  I wouldn’t suggest feeding them worms are super worms when they are juveniles.  These kind of worms are kind of hard for your bearded dragon to digest.  Also, you can offer them collard greens and turnip greens.

When your bearded dragon grows up their diet needs to change.  When they are juveniles they require a lot more protein but when they reach adulthood they require more turnip greens and collard greens.  Also, you don’t have to dust their crickets as often. You could do it to three times a week. Then you can give your bearded dragon superworms for treats.  Just make sure you don’t give them superworms daily because then they will lose interest in eating their turnip greens and collard greens.

Lastly, make sure you never feed them bugs that you got outside or in your garden.   Bugs can have pesticides on them.  If your bearded dragon eats these they could get sick and die.

Also, make sure you’re using a spray bottle to spray the tank once or twice a week.  That is how bearded dragons drink water.   Therefore you don’t need to put a bowl in there for them to drink out of.

Bearded Dragon Bathing

A lot of people actually don’t bathe their bearded dragon as often as they should.  You should do it once a week.  Bathing your bearded dragon is good for them in a number of ways.  First, it helps them shed skin.  Secondly, it helps them digest their food.  Third, it helps them stay hydrated.

When you give them a bath you want to use a plastic bucket.  Make sure the water is lukewarm.  Meaning not so hot that you can’t keep your own hand in there.  Fill the plastic bucket up and gently lower your bearded dragon in the water.  Make sure the water isn’t over their heads.  Never leave your bearded dragon by itself and let them sit in there for 15 to 20 minutes.  You might have to add some hot water at the halfway mark.  Also, don’t be surprised if your bearded dragon poops in the bath.

Conclusion

So, hopefully, this bearded dragon caresheet helped you take care of your bearded dragon.  As a recap, you need to make sure you have a big enough tank for them, the correct lighting, proper heating, the correct substrate, bathing, and last but not least the correct diet.

Bearded dragons really do make an excellent pet.  However, you need to make sure you’re taking care of them properly.  Otherwise, you put your bearded dragon’s health at risk and they could end up dying.

Hopefully, I have addressed everything you need to know about keeping a bearded dragon as a pet.  So, please if you have any questions please leave your comments down below.

15 thoughts to “The Ultimate Caresheet For Your Bearded Dragon”

  1. My wife wants to get a bearded dragon. We were not aware that they needed to be bathed weekly. Do they just need to soak in the water or do you actually have to wash them?

    1. It’s great to see that you’re interested in getting a bearded dragon. It is one of the best pets you will ever own! When you give them a bath you don’t need to scrub them or wash them or anything really. Just let them sit there. They might move around a little and paw at the container. Really, I believe they kind of like it.

  2. An old childhood friend of mine had a bearded dragon and this brings back a lot of fond memories, his name was gordon and he was great with us kids! many people wouldn’t think of getting a bearded dragon as a pet but they are actually a great option, particularly as they are quite low maintenance to look after.
    I never actually realised you needed to give them baths! great post, extremely informative 🙂

    1. Yeah, a lot of bearded dragon owners actually neglect to give their pets baths at least once a week. If you fail to do this they can actually get sick and die. Holding onto your poop is actually toxic to humans and yes bearded dragons, too.

      They do make great pets!

  3. I don’t have a bearded dragon but they are so cute. I like the clip you added of the baby eating. Good to know what size food you must give them to avoid choking. I never knew this. Maybe I’ll get one in the future. Thank you for all the info 🙂

    1. Sweet glad you enjoyed it. Baby bearded dragons are so cute when they are young! Seriously, you should get a bearded dragon!

  4. I had no idea bearded dragons ate bugs. Years ago, I had an iguana (herbivore). I think because of her, I always think of lizards as herbivores and get surprised when one eats other creatures. I also see a lot of similarities, such as bathing your lizard and pooping in the water. haha

    This post brings back wonderful memories. We pulled off the sliding doors to a closet in our office and converted it into a habitat for our lizard. The larger lizards are the best!

    1. Iguanas do make great pets, but they can be kind of temperamental. Bearded dragons, on the other hand, are pretty docile towards people. Females, seem to be super easy going to everyone, though.

      Yep, when they are young they prefer insects. However, as they get older they need to eat a lot more vegetables. True, they might prefer superworms over their vegetables, but make sure you don’t spoil them otherwise they won’t want to eat their veggies.

  5. Well I just read this out loud to my three grandchildren and we watched the video on the bearded dragon eating crickets and they were sold, I now believe that my son and daughter-in-law will have to get at least one bearded dragon. They already have= 2 bunnies, 1 dog, 2 cats and 9 chickens. I think that a bearded dragon will fit right in. Great post and I just have one question, do you cover the top of the tank, so that the other animals in my sons house won’t try to get the bearded dragon ?

    1. Great to hear. Make sure you get a baby bearded dragon so your kids can grow with it.

      Yes, certainly cover the top of the tank You don’t want other animals to mess with your bearded dragon. Specifically, cats can annoy bearded dragons.

  6. One of my coworkers just showed me pics of her new bearded dragon..and he’s adorable! It’s funny that I happened across your site cuz we were just talking about her new baby. I believe she has 3 or 4 total and loves going to all the reptile shows. I really enjoyed your write up and super liked the video you included. I had no idea they could eat so many crickets in a day! I like how you’re like, “want some water?” And then gave him a nice little spray. lol. He seems a lot more personable than I’d expect a reptile to be, looking up at you with those cute little lizzy eyes. What is that white packet that’s in the feeding tank with him?
    Thanks again for the great info!

  7. One of my good friends has a bearded dragon. The dragon actually just lays around all day, but she is so proud to have him as her pet. I wonder if the dragons would be so popular if it weren’t for dragon movies. Everyone wants a dragon now. 

    She has so much lighting for her bearded dragon, but I have not seen any UV ray ones, will have to mention this site to her. She once ordered food for her dragon and ended up getting about 6 boxes, but she had order only 2, they were delivered to her accidentally, there were crickets everywhere. 

    1. Bearded dragons are very docile reptiles. They spend their day basking on a rock or stick. They even don’t mind being held either.

      Got to love getting free food though! Bearded dragons love to hunt around for crickets. Mine always get excited when crickets get dropped in their tank!

  8. I’ve actually been thinking about buying a pet, an unconventional one. I’m really not a dog or a cat person. I’ve been considering a turtle, but a friend of mine suggested to look into bearded dragons. And I totally get his point now. They’re awesome.

    The insights you provided were really, really helpful in assessing what need to be taken care of so that the creature doesn’t die. What would you say are the approximate expenses for setting up the environment for two of them? I’m a big believer in having animals in numbers and on top of that I bet having at least two would be the most fun thing. 🙂

    Either way, I absolutely loved the video. Loved the creature.

    Cheers and have a Great One!

    Matiss

    1. Lots of people have cats and dogs. Don’t get me wrong they are alright pets. But, bearded dragons are awesome pets and not everyone can say they have a bearded dragon!

      Typically, you can get a good starter set for around $275. However, you can always save money by getting a 50-75 gallon tank off someone on Craigslist for $25-50 dollars. Then, you can purchase your lights, rocks, basking sticks, etc. If you go the cheaper route it will probably end up costing around $125.

      I agree it’s better to have animals together. However, if you go that route make sure you get two females or a female and a male. They will mate and you will have lots of little babies, though. Certainly don’t get two males. They cannot be housed together.

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