Bearded-Dragon Pet Care
Bearded Dragon Care
The Bearded Dragon, Pogona vitticeps, is one of the most popular, if not the most popular first pet lizard. The Bearded Dragon has a reputation of being highly tolerant of handling, hardy, and an avid captive breeder. I recommend this reptile as a great first lizard because of its relative size, personality, and quality of care needed.
Bearded Dragons come from Australia. They usually attain an overall length of 15-20 inches, and some even reach 25 inches. Most reach an average weight of 385 grams. Bearded Dragons are diurnal and ground dwellers. Bearded Dragons are usually in pet stores and there are many private breeders who have animals for purchase.
The following information is how I raise my Bearded Dragons. Please leave a comment or question if you have any, or if you feel there needs to be any corrections. Requested by Hubber: cool2s
Bearded Dragon Habitat
A single Bearded Dragon adult will need a cage that has plenty of floor space. Bearded Dragons are ground dwellers and from my own experience, do enjoy being able to run around. It is common to provide a Bearded Dragon with a 55 gallon tank, and they will do well in this tank. I prefer to use a 40 gallon breeder (has more floor area) or my own fabricated tank. If you are able to build a tank that is 4 feet long by 3 feet deep by 2 feet tall, do so. Provide a few objects for your dragon to climb on and over and a few hiding areas to provide shy dragons a place to feel secure. Use reptile carpet, paper towels, or newspaper as a substrate. Many people put sand in the cage and all this does is give your dragon something to eat that will get impacted in its gut which could lead to death. DO NOT USE SAND.
Bearded Dragon Lighting
Bearded Dragons are diurnal. Because of this, they require UVA/UVB lighting. Keep Bearded Dragons around 80-85 degrees. A hot spot just around 92 degrees is enough for them to digest their food well. At night, the cage can drop to 75 degrees without any harmful effects. DO NOT USE heat rocks for this animal. Heat rocks tend to overheat and will burn your animal. I find that my dragons enjoy a basking spot that is slightly elevated off the ground. Whether they are on top of a half log hide or a small ramp, place the basking spot there.
Bearded Dragon Humidity
Bearded Dragons require humidity levels around 40%, which is easy to achieve. Levels lower than 40% can cause shed retention and levels over 50% can cause bacterial and mold growth, and respiratory infections. The best way to keep the humidity near 40% is to only keep a shallow water bowl in the tank and refrain from misting the tank.
Bearded Dragon Diet
Bearded Dragons mainly eat insects, but will also eat a bit of vegetation. Bearded Dragons will readily eat crickets and roaches. My adult dragon will eat about 40 large crickets a week. I usually feed about 20 on Wednesday and then 20 more on Saturday. I also provide a small vegetation plate with kale, collard greens, green beans, sugar snap peas, carrot, and parsnip. Some dragons will eat fruit and other vegetables, but the ones I have listed are the staples. I offer the vegetation on Saturday and leave it in the cage until Monday. By Monday, it is getting too dry for the dragon to eat. You can also offer pinkie mice as a treat only given every three months. Pinkies are high in fat, so it is not recommended to be a staple part of a dragon’s diet.
TIP: Because of the large cage size needed for Bearded Dragons, I recommend putting the insects in deep feeding bowls so they cannot escape.
Bearded Dragon Temperament and Handling
Bearded Dragons seem to be highly tolerant of handling. They also tend to be extremely aware of their owners. When handling your dragon, be sure to have your hand approach from the side, and place one hand underneath your dragon’s belly and then use your other hand to support his legs.
Bearded Dragon Sex Determination
In adults, it is easy to tell what is male and what is female. Males have two large bulges in the fattest part of the tail, just past the vent. Females will have no bulge or a centered, single bulge. You can start to successfully determine sex once they reach about 8 inches in total length.