Bearded Dragon Owners Care Guide
- Custom-built enclosures are better than glass terrariums and should be
used if possible. The minimum size we suggest for a custom-built
enclosure is 48"W X 24"D x 24"H.
- Glass terrariums come in various sizes. We recommend using a 20 gallon
for one baby Bearded Dragon and a 40 gallon for one juvenile or adult Bearded Dragon.
For adults, anything bigger than a 40 gallon is better.
- In the wild, Bearded Dragons are territorial and live solitary lives. In captivity, Bearded
Dragons should not be housed together regardless of age or sex. In summary, housing Bearded
Dragons together is dangerous and detrimental to their mental health.
- Bearded Dragons require heat for their bodies to function properly, their
terrarium must have a cool side and a hot side. For the hot side, the temperature
should be around 100F. On the cool side, the temperature should be around 80F. To
achieve this temperature gradient, use an appropriate heat bulb.
- Not only does a Bearded Dragon require heat, but they also require UVB to thrive. A
Bearded Dragon's enclosure should have a tube UVB bulb that spans two-thirds of the
enclosure's length. We suggest using the Reptisun 10.0 T5 HO or
the Arcadia 12%. In contrast, we do not recommend using small compact or coil UVB
bulbs as they do not provide the best UVB exposure.
- During the day, a Bearded Dragon's heat and UVB bulb should be on for 12-14 hours. After
12-14 hours, both the heat and UVB bulb should be off. At night, do not leave any lights on
as light at night can disturb their sleep. Although, if the temperature within the Bearded
Dragon's enclosure falls below 65F, then use a ceramic heat emitter bulb to provide heat
(do not use a colored bulb). In short, the nighttime temperature should be in the 70s.
- Since Bearded Dragons require UVB to thrive, they will benefit from natural sunlight.
In other words, if you live in an area that has an outdoor temperature of at least 80F
(the closer to 95F the better), then taking your Bearded Dragon outside to soak up natural
UVB is a good idea. However, use caution and take preventative measures to avoid losing
your Bearded Dragon or allowing it to eat anything from outside.
- Loose substrate should not be used for a pet Bearded Dragon, loose substrate is
a substrate that contains many small moving parts such as wood chips, ground walnut
shells, sand, or dirt. Overall, loose substrate is dangerous if consumed. In addition,
these types of substrates tend to be unsanitary (think of a litter box).
- Instead of loose substrate, a solid substrate should be used. For example, non-adhesive
shelf liner, slate tile, reptile carpet, or even paper towels. In brief, solid substrates
are much safer and of course cleaner.
- A Bearded Dragon's enclosure should have objects for climbing, basking, and
hiding. For example, a Bearded Dragon will enjoy a nice rock to bask on, a large
cave to hide in, and multiple sticks for climbing.
- A water dish is not necessary to include within a Bearded Dragon's enclosure
since Bearded Dragons rarely drink from still water and the water itself may
cause issues with humidity.
- Bearded Dragons are omnivores and require live food and vegetables in their diet. Occasionally,
they can have fruits as treats. Overall, a Bearded Dragon's diet should have variety and these reptiles
should be fed 2-3 times per day (especially at a young age). As Bearded Dragons get older, they may
start to eat less (1-2 times per day).
- Dubia roaches, silkworms, phoenix worms, and crickets are good choices for everyday feeders.
- Turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and collard greens are good choices for everyday vegetables.
- Mealworms, superworms, butterworms, waxworms, and hornworms should only be offered as treats.
- Apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe are examples of fruits that can be offered as
treats. Keep in mind, not all fruits (or vegetables) are good for a Bearded Dragon to eat. Before offering something
to your Bearded Dragon, research if it's safe.
- It's worth noting that reptile owners should take proper care of their Bearded Dragon's food. For example, if
housing dubia roaches (intending to have a dubia roach colony), then make sure the dubia roaches are well fed (known as gut-loading), cleaned at least once per week (frass removal), and have proper housing. For more information of
Dubia roach breeding, read our guide here.
- Never offer food from outside to your pet Bearded Dragon, food from outside may be dangerous. For example,
outside food may have parasites or it may have come in contact with pesticides. In addition, some outside
foods could be toxic. In conclusion, it's not worth the risks.
- In captivity, a Bearded Dragon may not receive important vitamins and minerals
that it requires to thrive. As a result, it is crucial to "dust" their live food
with calcium and multivitamin products.
- Calcium will allow a Bearded Dragon to grow healthy bones. In order for a Bearded
Dragon to use calcium, proper UVB exposure must be provided so that a Bearded Dragon can
synthesize vitamin D3. A Bearded Dragon can synthesize vitamin D3 from its UVB bulb or
from natural sunlight. Without vitamin D3, a Bearded Dragon cannot benefit from calcium.
In short, lack of UVB is equivalent to a Bearded Dragon not having vitamin D3 which results
in a Bearded Dragon not being able to use calcium. One way or another, a Bearded Dragon must
receive vitamin D3 in order to use calcium. If not, then health issues may
develop such as metabolic bone disease as a result of poor lighting and food supplementation.
- Multivitamin will offer other minerals and nutritional elements that Bearded
Dragons may lack in captivity. We recommend using a multivitamin product that contains
beta-carotene to reduce the threat of vitamin A toxicity.
- It is important to note that Bearded Dragons can overdose on vitamin D3 and
calcium. For that reason, a well-balanced dusting schedule should be provided along
with proper lighting in general. When dusting, remember to dust in moderation.
- For baby and juvenile Bearded Dragons, we suggest dusting with calcium daily, but only
once per day. In addition, we advise using multivitamins at least twice per week. For
adult Bearded Dragons, we recommend using calcium two to four times per week and multivitamins
at least once per week. Unfortunately, dusting schedules may vary from Bearded Dragon to
Bearded Dragon as there really isn't a fixed schedule for all Bearded Dragons. Overall, dusting
really depends on the reptile's diet, lighting, and overall health.
- It is a good idea to make a habit of cleaning a Bearded Dragon's enclosure
on a daily basis. To clean a Bearded Dragon's enclosure, all poop should be
removed along with spoiled food (e.g., dead bugs, old veggies, etc.). Also, the
enclosure should be disinfected with an appropriate disinfectant that will kill
bacteria. For obvious reasons, please let the reptile's enclosure dry out before
letting it go back inside of the enclosure if disinfectants were used.
- A Bearded Dragon should be offered a bath at least once per week to help keep
the reptile clean. When offering a bath to a Bearded Dragon, the water should be
kept warm at all times and the reptile should be able to comfortably stand.
- If a Bearded Dragon is forced to live in an unsanitary environment, then it
could develop health issues such as yellow fungus disease.