Caring for Bearded Dragons


Bearded Dragons are a close second to the Leopard Gecko when it comes to being the most common reptile kept as a pet. This is for good reason as they are also very easy to maintain and are one of the more friendly and outgoing reptiles you will find.

Growing to an average size of 12 to 18 inches in length, Beardies need a medium to large terrarium ranging between 50-75 gallons. They originate from the Australian outback and as such require a hot and dry environment. To help create this environment the terrarium should have a heat lamp to maintain the ideal temperature of 85-90 degrees fahrenheit. It should also have a UV lamp to simulate the UV rays your Beardie would get from the sun, as well as a substrate of fine sand or slate rock. Your Bearded Dragon should have a hiding/sleeping area as well, preferably kept on the cool side of the terrarium. The rest of his enclosure can be decorated with various ornaments for him to bask on. Keep his enclosure clean by either sifting the sand or cleaning and disinfecting soiled ornaments and rocks on a weekly basis. Beardies are usually pretty stinky so you will probably need to spot clean on a daily basis. Usually the only time your Beardie will need misting is when he needs a bit of help with shedding his old skin. 

Bearded Dragons are voracious eaters, especially when they are growing. Your Beardie will thrive on a diet consisting of crickets and mealworms or superworms, depending on his size. Butterworms are also a favourite treat. A fresh salad consisting of dandelion, collards and mustard greens, along with a small amount of fruit (no citrus) should be offered on a daily basis. As always fresh drinking water is a must. Bearded Dragons are diurnal and as a result should be fed during the day.

The ease of handling Bearded Dragons is one of the main reasons for choosing one over other types of reptiles. Your Beardie will most likely be very friendly and tame once he gains more trust in you by being handled on a daily basis. Make sure to make slow movements in order to avoid startling him and also be sure to provide stable support for his body. Beardies can tolerate longer periods of supervised out of terrarium time compared to other reptiles so you can generally keep yours out for 30 minutes or longer with no issues. Use your own judgement to find out if your Beardie is being stressed from handling. 

With good care, your Bearded Dragon can live for 8-10 years, so they should be considered a long term commitment. Please consider the option of adopting a Beardie from someone who can no longer care for theirs. There are many great ones out there in this kind of situation.  

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