Bearded dragons can be great pet for lizard beginners and experienced reptile hobbyists, but they do require some specialized care.
Pet lizard bearded dragons are very docile reptiles that breed well in captivity. This pet would be one of the best choices for any pet owner that would a like pet lizard. We will try to cover some of the main keeping requirements in this care sheet.
Cage and Housing
There are some simple guidelines in housing a bearded dragon you may need to know. There are different types of housing options that you can use to make a sweet home for the pet
dragons, each has its pros and cons. There are many criteria’s that you need to justify, such as budget, maintenance time, and space availability. One of the most basic in housing, yet being ignored, is the setting up of your reptile lizard cage for your bearded dragon before bringing them home.
The enclosure should be set up and operating correctly. Make sure the minimum requirements such as basking spots, temperature gradient, lighting, decors, substrate and a water bowl is provided. Bearded dragons in the wild need space, as they do in captivity. Ample space of the enclosure is one of the most important factors in a good bearded dragon cage, basically the bigger the better. They are doing well if a sufficient place is provided. A minimum reptile enclosure size for an adult bearded dragon would be 36″ x 18″ x 18″.
If you are building or buying an enclosure for your bearded dragons, then try to plan for a large reptile cage for your pet. Keep in mind, bearded dragons need floor space and vertical space to climb. A 48″ x 24″ x 24″ (120 x 60 x 60cm High) or larger pet dragon cage is recommended.
The main source of bearded dragon heating equipment in captivity would be the basking lamp in most reptile cage settings. It can provide a gradient of warmth throughout the enclosure with certain basking spots where bearded dragons like to spend their time. If your home is very cold at night 12 Celsius or lower, a second source of heating is required which does not produce visible light such as a ceramic heat emitter.
Thermostats are highly recommended to keep control of the temperature. An ideal gradient of temperature for bearded dragons is 40c to 45c for the high temp area, and cooler side with 23c to 26c. At least a basking spot with 40c is needed. Positioning a piece of wood so that your lizard can climb close to the heat lamp will easily achieve this.
Day Basking Lamps are our preferred options for enclosures her in Victoria as unlike most other areas its gets very cold here and these heat lamps can not be used through the night time. In Southern Victoria we recommend providing a 24 hours heat source for Bearded Dragons up to the age of at least 4 months. After this time heat lamps can be put onto a timer and turned off overnight for the warmer months.
Leave you heat lamps on for 12 hours in conjunction with your UVB light is recommend in these warmer months. In the cooler months 16 hours on and 8 hours off can be done for Bearded Dragons older than 4 months but ensure you are monitoring your low night time temp as if temperature is getting below 12 degrees you will need to add a ceramic night time heat source as stated below
Day Basking Globes (White Lights) are a popular option with keepers and are a great choice but keep in mind that in Victoria your tank can get below 12 degrees at night time and supplementary heating will be required (At night). We have easy to connect separate fitting should you need to add to your enclosure and a ceramic lamp is the preferred option for your night heating
Although Infra Red Globes have been used for decades with no problems at all they are not always the preferred option for many keepers these days
Thermometers are a must and need to be placed at high, low temperature spots for temperature monitoring. Weather permitting, placing your lizard into some natural sunlight once or twice a week is also recommended. Although the globes we sell are of the highest quality, nothing is as good as the sun!
The two most common types of lighting options on the market today are required to be used for the bearded dragon cage are UV-A and UV-B lights. As diurnal animal, bearded dragons need the UV-A and UV-B rays. The UV-B light is brighter and it can help stimulate the appetite of the bearded dragons.
Another advantage of the UV-B light is it provides energy for the formation of vitamin D, which is necessary for metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. It increases the calcium dissolve and utilization of the calcium that bearded dragons consume, and reduces the risk of metabolic bone disease. It is a MUST for all Beardies.
A 10.0 UVB or Arcadia 12% lamp is recommended. These globes will need to be replaced EVERY 6-12 months depending on the type as the UVB output will become diminished after this time. Please we urge people to be very careful of some cheap China Made UVB globes, as although their UVB reading may be OK, some can have dangerous levels of UVA and UVC being omitted also.
UVB lights should be on for around 12 hours per day in conjunction with your heat source. If you heating is on for longer than 12 hours the UVB light should still only be left on for 12 hours per day
Although bearded dragons live in dry habitat, it is good practice to provide them water in the enclosure. Try to prepare fresh water daily to avoid bacteria growing. The other options in providing the bearded dragon with water is to mist the decors and wall of the enclosure, spray on the pets, or drop the water at the tip of their mouth. They will more likely to drink from the droplets. This is especially important with juveniles as they are not as interested in veggie matter at a young age, and can easily Dehydrate. 3 or more times per day juveniles should be sprayed with water.
Vegetation is the main source for water once your bearded dragon starts eating. Cos lettuce, Broccoli and peas are good options with some Exo Terra Dragon Food placed in the same bowl. Crickets and or Cockroaches should be fed Daily, and should be dusted with Calcium powder at least 3 times per week, also a multivitamin powder once per week. Silkworms and Giant Mealworms (ZOPHOBAS MORIO) are also recommended, as this particular species of mealworm has a soft shell which insures in will be dead before reaching your lizards stomach.
Feeding insects that are too large can also be dangerous for Bearded Dragons, so keep food on the smaller side. Crickets in smaller containers are sold by weight and not by numbers, so buying bigger is no more economical then buying smaller. The Exo Terra Canned food range are also great for some variety but you may need to use some feeding tongs to dangle the food in front of them so they think it is alive.
Breeding your own bearded dragons is easily done if you know how to do it properly because they breed very well in captivity. There are success stories you may hear from your friends and amongst the hobbyists community. Obviously at least one male and one female is needed. Providing your enclosure is large enough, one male can be kept with up to three females.
Housing adult males together can cause fighting, especially if the females are also present. Make sure that your female dragon is sexually matured and healthy, at least 18 month-old, active and without disease.
During the mating, the male will bite the neck of the female to position itself for sexing. If the biting is too serious, please remove the female to avoid injuries. Remember to feed the female calcium, as laying eggs may need high calcium. If the bearded dragons are successfully mated, the female will lay the eggs within 6 weeks. You will need to prepare an egg laying box. The substrate used for the box should be a mixture of moist sand which is easy for bearded dragons to dig for holes as a nest for laying eggs. Keep in mind that the substrate should be deep enough to place the eggs, at least 4 times height of a normal egg.
Normally a clutch of eggs is about 15 to 40 eggs. Remove eggs after laying and place in an Incubator. Try not to turn the eggs when removing. We use and recommend the Exo Terra Incubator. She will be thinner or skinny once she has done the laying. Within 55-70 days at 28-30 celsius, you may expect the eggs to hatch.
All in all, Bearded Dragons are a simple pet to keep, as long as all housing and feeding requirements are met. Avoid buying very young Dragons as they can be quite fragile. We only sell Bearded Dragons at a minimum of 4 weeks of age, and if we have them available, 3-4 months old is even a better choice. Bearded Dragons have been known to live for 15 years and can grow to 500mm.
A basic wildlife license is required to own one in Victoria, and we have the application forms available at the bottom of our home page. We have given you a basic overview of Bearded Dragon Care, and for more detailed information we recommend the Bearded Dragon Manual book. This book has more descriptive information of the above categories covered in this care sheet. Your pet Bearded Dragon will quickly become part of the family!
Feel free to contact our expert staff should you require anymore assistance
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