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 Dragon Lighting
- Bearded Dragon Heating
- Bearded Dragon Substrate
- Bearded Dragon Bathing
- Bearded Dragon Feeding
Housing 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.