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Bearded Dragon Basic Care

Updated on June 30, 2017
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Brittany Banks loves animals. She has experience with this type of animal and likes to share how to take care of it.

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Bearded dragons are a common pet to own. They bond and interact well with their owners. Bearded dragons can live up to 10-15 years with proper care. Some can even live up to 20 years old. Do your research and be prepared to have a best friend for quite a while. Before you purchase your bearded dragon, you will want to set up the proper enclosure. Never house a different species of animal with a bearded dragon.

Enclosure Requirements

Bearded dragons will grow up to two feet long, so you will need to purchase a large tank. A 4ft X 2ft X 2ft tank will be efficient for an adult bearded dragon. This is the minimum size, but the bigger the better. Young bearded dragons should be housed in a 3ft X 1ft X 1ft tank. This tank will need a screened lid. You can do homemade enclosure out of wood. Wood is more sturdy and is another recommended type of enclosure you can do. Make sure to provide ventilation if you decide to do a wooden enclosure.

Use solid flooring like paper towels or tiling for the bottom of the tank. You can find tiling at your local hardware store. You can do a bioactive enclosure with a bearded dragon. Do not try to do a bioactive enclosure if you have no experience with it. Bearded dragons like to dig and doing a bioactive enclosure can mimic their natural habitat. Do some research and talk to a person with experience on how to do a bioactive enclosure.

You will need to purchase three large ceramic dishes for food and water. One will be for bugs and the other will be for fruits and vegetables. The third dish will be used for water. Place these bowls any where in the tank. You can purchase these ceramic dishes at your local department store or pet store.

Heating a large bearded dragon enclosure can be a pain. Adults have to have 100F-105F in the basking area. Babies have to have 110F-115F. In the middle of the tank, it should be around 90F-95F. The cool side should be around 80F-85F. You can achieve this by purchasing a basking bulb. Make sure the basking bulb is the correct wattage, depending on the size of the tank. Hold on to the receipt, in case you need to exchange it. Bearded dragons do need UVB lighting. You will need to purchase a fixture and long tube lights. Zoo Med T8 Reptisun 10.0 UVB is recommended. Bearded dragons need 12-14 hours of UVB lighting. The UVB and heat lamp should have the same 12-14 hour cycle. You can find all the lighting at your local pet store. Never use any type of heating rocks, because they will over heat and burn your bearded dragon.

Find a hide large enough for your bearded dragon to take shelter in and to have some privacy. This can be tricky. You need to find one that your bearded dragon can fit all the way inside. Check your local pet stores and online if you have troubles finding one.

You will need to provide large branches and place them diagonally, so your bearded dragon can bask under the UVB lighting. Provide a ramp, so your bearded dragon can rest easily. Do not go outside and find some, because those kind can carry pesticides. Provide some fake plants for shade, in case your bearded dragon feels hot. Your bearded dragon will move around to maintain proper body temperature.

Bearded Dragons love water and will lay in it. Find a dish large enough for your bearded dragon to lay in. It will help your friend shed as well. Place this large dish on the cool side of the enclosure.

Diet and Water

You will need to provide purified room temperature water at all times for your bearded dragon. Change this water daily. A bearded dragon has a specific diet to follow. The food size should be no longer than the length between the eyes of your bearded dragon. A adult bearded dragon's diet consists of: 20% bugs and 80% of fruit and vegetables. A young bearded dragon's diet consists of: 80% bugs and 20% of fruit and vegetables. Feed your bearded dragon bugs like: dubia roaches, butter worms, silkworms, super worms and horn worms. Please gut load these bugs. You will need to purchase or you can feed wild bugs, but they have to be pesticide free.

There is a table below to show you which fruits, vegetables, and meat are safe for your bearded dragon. This table will also explain how often you should feed that type of food. You will need to chop and prepare these foods like a salad. Your local grocery mart can sell a green trio mix bag that includes: turnip, collard, and mustard greens. You can feed these type of food out of your garden, but it has to be pesticide free. You must wash them before you feed. Collecting wild fresh greens is great food to feed. Add different fruits and veggies everyday, so your bearded dragon can have a variety of different foods. On top of these foods, sprinkle a multivitamin once a week.

Source
Daily
Occasionally
Never/ Questionable
Acorn Squash
Raw Artichoke
Canned Beets
Butternut Squash
Asparagus
Broccoli
Collard Greens
Bell Peppers
Brussel Sprouts
Endive
Bok Choy
Cauliflower
Mustard Greens
Raw Green Cabbage
Mushroom
Spaghetti Squash
Carrot
Parsley
Turnip Greens
Celery
Green Peas
Yellow Squash
Chicory
Rutabaga
Prickly Pears
Peeled Cucumber
 
Alfalfa Plant
Lentils
Swiss Chard
Cactus Leaf
Raw Radish
Pomegranate
Dandelion Leaf (Not From Outside)
Kohlrabi
Raspberries
Escarole
Raw Okra
Star Fruit
 
Parsnips
Tomatoes
 
Raw Pumpkin
Coriander
 
Radicchio
Onion
 
Yams
Avocado
 
Apples
Rhubarb
 
Apricot
Any type Of Lettuce
 
Blackberries
Spinach
 
Blueberries
Wheat
 
Chayote
Beef
 
Cherries
Bread
 
Cranberries
Cereal
 
Figs
Chicken
 
Grapes
Chives
 
Grapefruit
Eggplant
 
Guava
Garlic
 
Kiwi
Pinky Mice
 
Mango
Pork
 
Melon
Fish
 
Nectarine
Cheese
 
Papaya
Tofu
 
Peaches
Dairy Products
 
Pears
Lemon
 
Pineapple
Lime
 
Plum
 
 
Prunes
 
 
Seedless Raisins
 
 
Fresh Strawberries
 
 
Watermelon
 
 
Alfalfa Sprouts
 
 
Raw Arugula
 
 
Fresh Basil
 
 
Green Beans
 
 
Cantaloupe
 
 
Clover
 
 
Dahlia (Great Treat)
 
 
Hibiscus
 
 
Leeks
 
 
Lemon Grass
 
 
Sweet Potatoes
 
Source
Source

Cleaning the Enclosure

While cleaning the enclosure, you will want to use the bath tub. This will make it easier for you. Fill the tub up with hot water and white distilled vinegar. Empty every thing out of the tank and place the tank and lid in the tub to let it soak for a hour. You can fill your sink up with hot water and vinegar to soak the branches, plants, ceramic bowls, and hides. Let everything soak for an hour. You can use this same method while cleaning the tiling as well. If you use paper towel, throw the old paper towel away and replace with new layers of paper towel. You will need to spot clean to clean up poop and dead bugs once a week. Clean the entire enclosure once a month.

Conclusion

Owning a bearded dragon can be a great experience. Your bearded dragon will live a long happy life with the proper care. Treat your dragon well and you will get the same in return. If you need more help about learning how to take care of your bearded dragon, do some more research online or talk to a person who has experience with bearded dragons. Check back on this article once a week to make sure nothing has been updated.

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Information Gathered From:

Facebook Groups: Reptile Connection and Reptile Enthusiasts

Josh Hawley: member of Facebook Group Spokane/CDA Reptile Addicts

Rich Jennett: member of Facebook Group Northwest Animal Keepers

Kenny Davis: member of Facebook Group Northwest Animal Keepers

Jessica Renea Rhoten Taylor: member of Facebook Group Northwest Reptile Keepers

References

"Bearded Dragon Care Information." Bearded Dragon Care 101. Tardy Turtle Online Media, 2017. Web. 27 June 2017. <http://www.beardeddragoncare101.com/>.

"The Bearded Dragon » Everything About Bearded Dragons." The Bearded Dragon » Everything About Bearded Dragons. TheBeardedDragon.org, 2017. Web. 27 June 2017. <http://www.thebeardeddragon.org/>.

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