Bearded Dragons:             

These reptiles have become one of the most popular lizards in recent years. Bearded dragons have outgoing personalities, they may be handled and have a friendly disposition. This popular pet is easy to care for, is quite beautiful and can grow at an astounding rate, eventually reaching as much as 14" to 20"..With a little training your dragon will sit on your hand or perch on your shoulder for short periods of time.

Housing:  Your housing options may change as your reptile grows.  You can start with 10 gal. plastic tub or fish tank but will eventually graduate to an enclosure much larger.  Exoterra's glass terrariums are an excellent choice.  The important considerations in the enclosure you provide are that they must provide room for rocks, wood and plants to provide exercise and it must allow for sufficient light and heat.

Substrate: There are a variety of substrates that are suitable for  bearded dragons. Personal preference, price, ease of cleaning and water retention usually determine what is used.  Aspen bedding, Millet, Lizard litter brand, Vita-Sand or Jungle litter are all suitable.  Regardless of the substrate used, daily cleaning is necessary to ensure a healthy environment.  We would recommend the use of Millet or Vita-Sand gravel as they have a tendancy not bind up the reptile and is easily cleaned with a reptile litter scoop.

Lighting:: You need to provide two types of lighting for your Bearded Dragon. One is an incandescent spot bulb, that allows a basking area for your pet.  The other is full spectrum Florescent.  Full Spectrum or Reptile Fluorescents allow you to provide UVA/UVB ultraviolet rays which  are especially important for vitamin D synthesis and calcium metabolism. UV rays will also increase your reptile's appetite, activity level and general health. Therefore, it is essential that you use a bulb capable of producing 6400 Kelvin emission.  Remember: the full-spectrum fluorescent tube should be placed no further than 18-24" from Bearded Dragon..Placing your Dragon, especially babies in full sunlight for short periods of time, is very helpful to health.

Heating:  Heating if very dependant on where you have located your enclosure and the ambient room temperature. Ideally, you want to provide temperatures of about 90 degrees not to exceed 100 degrees in a basking area of the enclosure.  The wattage of the spot light will vary with the enclosure size, basking location, and again the room temperature. Keep in mind the purpose of a basking site is to allow the lizard to reach an optimal body temperature. It is just as important to provide a "cool" area as well.  Ideally you should place your basking spot near one end of the enclosure and allow the far end of the enclosure to be cooler.  The cooler area of the enclosure should not be allowed to dip below 75 degrees.  In most living situations you will probably need a radiant heater applied under the enclosure to retain a constant temperature of 75-80 degrees throughout the housing unit.. If your enclosure allows provide more than one basking area.  There are many different ways to heat your enclosure.  Speak to our reptile staff for further information.

Water: Drinking water should be offered daily in the form of a small water dish within the enclosure and/or through periodic spraying. Bearded dragon hatchlings need to be sprayed a few times a  day, directly on their head/nose, the reason being they may not adapt to drinking from a water dish. Water quality is an essential component of good husbandry. Always keep your water source clean.  If your reptile soils the water, it needs to be changed.

Feeding: Adult Dragons need to be fed once a day and baby bearded dragons need to be fed at least twice  a day to maintain optimum growth and maintenance. Probably the best feed for babies is Pin head crickets (small). Also you can feed baby meal worms, small grasshoppers and waxworms.  Babies need about 80% protein derived from bugs, which is the exact opposite of a fully grown adult.  Adults will eat regular size crickets (gut-loaded), King worms and pinkies..  Regardless of the insect, make sure you sprinkle with a supplement like Rep-Cal's calcium or Jurassic Calcium, at least one feeding per day for the prevention of calcium deficiency. There are also prepared Bearded Dragon foods. It is a good idea to also finely chop vegetables such as kale, collard, turnip greens and canned mixed vegetables and feed several times a week.  Greens are an important source of water for your reptile.  Your Dragon will also appreciate fruits regularly, such as melon, strawberries, bananas and more. And last but not least, don't forget the water, they may not drink a lot but it need to be there when needed.

Decor:  Bearded Dragons come from a wide arid area of Australia.  They need rocks, plants, and vines in their enclosure to provide exercise and resting places.  Plant leaves also provide a drinking source when sprayed with water.  As your Dragon  grows you may have to replace its enclosure with a larger one.  Dragons will grow to about a foot and a half, so take this into consideration when placing branches and plants in the enclosure. Consult our list of poisonous plants at the education tab on our web site.  Keep branches in the basking area so the reptile can self regulate its own temperature.  Dragons shed about every two to three months and babies more frequently.  Placement of rocks in the enclosure will aid in shedding.

This basic care sheet is not meant to be substituted for a good book or Veterinary care.  Learn as much as you can about your new pet. We carry books on Bearded Dragons.