Bearded Dragon Care For Beginners

Bearded Dragon Care For Beginners

Caring for a Bearded Dragon as a newbie will be daunting. Bearded Dragon Care For Beginners will assist you to overcome the challenges of changing into a reptile keeper. And just be sure you get off to an excellent begin together with your new pet.

In this complete article, you can find a bearded dragon care directions that you could comply with step-by-step. We’ll assist you to put together your bearded dragon setup correctly to welcome your new pet! And you’ll study what veterinarians and reptile specialists suggest for bearded dragon care.


A bit concerning the bearded dragon

Learning the best way to take care of a bearded dragon really begins with understanding how these small, good lizards have developed to dwell within the wild.

The bearded dragon, or Pogona spp., hails from the land down underneath – Australia. In their native homeland, there are seven completely different bearded dragon species. Outside of Australia, Pogona vitticeps, the inland species, is the dragon mostly saved as a pet.

The bearded dragon’s native habitat is usually dry all through many of the 12 months and may get fairly sizzling! Dragons, like all reptiles, are cold-blooded animals and can’t self-regulate their very own physique temperature.

To heat up, a wild bearded dragon will bask within the daylight. To cool off, the dragon will retreat underneath a shady rock or burrow into the earth. Obviously your dragon received’t have these choices so that you’ll have to ensure that the temperature and humidity in your tank stays on the proper stage always

Bearded dragons take their widespread identify from the spiny pouch on the underside of the neck.

Both men and women have this pouch, or beard. They use it to speak with different lizards and different animals. The beard will be inflated and alter shade.

Pet bearded dragons are sometimes known as “beardies.”

Size and Lifespan

Bearded dragon hatchlings are actually tiny! They solely weigh about 2 grams every – rather less than the burden of a single paper clip.

But younger beardies develop up quick and will likely be able to have hatchlings of their very own earlier than they’re two years outdated.

A totally grown bearded dragon might attain 18 to 22 inches (45 cm to 56 cm) from the nostril to the tail tip. Typical grownup weight ranges from 0.62 to 1.1 kilos. (0.28 kg to 0.49 kg). Adult male beardies are typically bigger and heavier than grownup females.

In the wild, bearded dragons can have a shorter lifespan on account of meals scarcity, predation and different elements.

Pet bearded dragons, in distinction, can dwell from 7 to 12 years or longer with correct husbandry, a nutritious diet, and common entry to preventative veterinary care.

Finding A Reptile Vet

As with any new talent, studying the best way to take care of a bearded dragon comes with a studying curve.

Don’t fear – bearded dragon care shouldn’t be tough. But it’s exacting, in that beardies have very particular care necessities to thrive in captivity!

As a newbie who’s studying the best way to take care of a bearded dragon, the very first step it is best to take earlier than you even deliver your new pet house is to find a veterinarian that’s educated to deal with unique pets like reptiles.

If that is your first-ever reptile pet, chances are you’ll not notice that not all vets can deal with unique animals.

Most vets are what is named “general practice,” and so they have been educated to deal with canine, cats, and generally livestock.

But bearded dragons have completely different care necessities. You’ll have to know the place to take your beardie in case she turns into ailing or you could have an emergency.

Locate the closest unique veterinarian and name to make an appointment to take your new beardie in for an preliminary “well pet” checkup.

This will set up a baseline set of well being knowledge that may assist your veterinarian later ought to your bearded dragon change into ailing or injured.

Now you’re prepared for step two: on the point of welcome your new pet!

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Bearded dragon tank

The excellent habitat setup to your bearded dragon will likely be an enclosure that’s safe, holds warmth properly and is straightforward to scrub and sanitize.

Adult beardies usually have to be housed alone to keep away from territorial aggression. This is true for 2 females in addition to for 2 males housed collectively.

A bearded dragon saved in a too-small habitat will regulate his development based mostly on the out there area. This can lead to stunted development and in behavioral or well being points.

Captive bearded dragons want a shocking quantity of area for his or her small measurement at the same time as infants – a hatchling beardie wants a full 20-gallon tank!

An grownup bearded dragon of common measurement (as much as 15 inches lengthy) wants a 40-gallon tank.

Dragons longer than 15 inches will want a further 10 gallons of area for every two inches of size.

Don’t neglect to shut your beardie’s new tank with a breathable, securely becoming lid! Ideally, you need a mesh lid that encourages air flow and permits humidity escape.

Bearded dragon lighting

Getting your new pet’s lighting excellent might be going to be the largest problem you face in bearded dragon care.

Bearded dragons, like folks, are diurnal. Which means they’re awake through the daylight and relaxation through the evening.

You might want to present correct lighting on a 12-hour cycle for day and evening.

Day: UVA/UVB mild

Bearded dragons want mild to stimulate their urge for food and preserve a wholesome temper and habits.

Most importantly, they want each day 12-hour entry to UVA/UVB mild to develop robust bones.

The lighting you select ought to present:

  • Ultraviolet A (UVA): 320-400nm.
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) 290–320nm.

Change the bulb each six months to maintain the UV output robust.

Place the bulb because the producer directs or roughly 18 inches away from the spot the place your dragon spends essentially the most time basking to make sure full mild supply.

The kind of UVA/UVB bulb you select ought to match the scale and form of your tank. Here are some choices for bulbs and fixtures for various tank setups.

Exo Terra Solar-Glo High Intensity Lamp

This vapor bulb* is nice in case you are utilizing a single mild fixture to your tank.

 It is available in 125w and 160w variations. Use the previous for those who dwell in a hotter local weather.

The latter could also be crucial for those who dwell in a chilly local weather or expertise excessive winter climate.

Fluker’s Sun Dome Lamp Fixture

This is an applicable, secure holder for housing the Exo Terra Solar-Glo bulb* or one just like it.

 Zoo Med ReptiSun UVB

This bulb* is a superb alternative for hooded aquarium-style tanks.

 It is available in completely different lengths to fit your wants.

ReptiSun Fluorescent Hood

This is an instance of the hood you’d use* with the Zoo Med ReptiSun UVB.

 Be certain to get the fitting measurement hood to your bulb and tank size!

Night: Nocturnal warmth lamp

For evening time, the tank ought to keep between 70 and 80 levels Fahrenheit.

If you reside in a colder local weather or expertise excessive winter climate, chances are you’ll want so as to add a nocturnal reptile warmth lamp with applicable dome to assist stabilize nighttime temperatures.

Here are two choices so as to add nighttime warmth.

Zoo Med Nocturnal Infrared Incandescent Heat Lamp 75 Watts*: This bulb is available in 75w, 100w and 125w.

 Reptile Heat Lamp Bulb – 60W*: This bulb is available in a number of completely different wattages.

Bearded dragon temperature

After lighting, the subsequent largest problem to deal with in your new pet proprietor checklist is temperature.

Your bearded dragon will want a temperature vary that mirrors what she would expertise in a wild setting – no simple feat in some climates!

Warm facet/cool facet: Bearded dragons want a daytime heat space that stays persistently between 85 to 95 levels Fahrenheit (29.44 to 35 levels Celsius) and a daytime cool space that stays persistently round 70 levels Fahrenheit (21.11 levels Celsius).

Basking spot: Your beardie will even want a basking spot that stays persistently between 95 and 105 levels Fahrenheit (35 and 40.55 levels Celsius).

This Exo Terra Intense Basking Spot Lamp* is available in quite a lot of wattages – make sure you check the temperature on the basking spot to keep away from overheating your dragon!

MBD Bearded Dragon - What It Means, And What You Need To Do

Bearded dragon humidity

One of a very powerful aspects of bearded dragon care is humidity.

Wild dragons dwell in desert-like circumstances that must be replicated inside your pet dragon’s enclosure.

Aim for a humidity stage that stays between 35 and 40 % persistently.

You will wish to spend money on a thermometer and humidity gauge (hygrometer) to watch humidity ranges contained in the enclosure.

This Zoo Med Labs Digital Thermometer Humidity Gauge* is very rated and might help you monitor the setting inside your beardie’s tank constantly.

Bearded dragon bedding

The bedding, or substrate, you select to your bearded dragon can actually make the distinction between life and loss of life from impaction. (See the well being part for extra on this.)

Experienced beardie homeowners suggest strong substrates resembling ceramic tile, paper, reptile carpet or paper towels, particularly in case you are caring for a hatchling or juvenile dragon.

Like folks, beardies are omnivores, which implies they’ve developed to eat each animal protein resembling bugs and their larvae, and plant matter.

Young bearded dragons are rising quick and so they want protein to gasoline that development, so your child beardie will likely be extra carnivorous than an grownup. Mealworms and crickets are standard sources of protein for bearded dragons and will be bought from pet shops and even ordered from on-line retailers resembling Amazon.

Feed your child dragon morning and night. Once they’re grownup as soon as a day is okay

As your beardie turns into mature, they may change into extra herbivorous and their want for protein shouldn’t be so nice. You’ll nonetheless want to offer some bugs or mealworms however you’ll additionally want to extend the vegetable a part of their weight loss plan.

When it involves the herbivorous facet of your dragon’s weight loss plan, the secret’s to make sure that that is at the very least 80% leaves or greens and that fruit is just an occasional deal with and not more than 10% of their weight loss plan

Some secure meals for bearded dragons

This shouldn’t be an exhaustive checklist, however it is best to be capable to get a few of these from both the mall, or your again yard!

  • Bok choy
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress
  • Kale
  • Clover
  • Dandelions
  • Nasturtiums

Go simple on the swiss chard and kale and supply a variety of various crops quite than feeding the identical ones again and again. This helps you keep away from nutrient deficiencies or a construct up of minerals which might be ample in some crops.

Be certain to take steering out of your unique veterinarian on one of the best weight loss plan for every stage of your bearded dragon’s life cycle. A superb reptile specialist retailer will even have specialists that you could discuss to about your beardie’s weight loss plan

Bearded dragons have to shed their pores and skin as they develop.

This course of is named “ecdysis” and it’s an necessary and wholesome a part of your dragon’s life.

Bearded dragons don’t shed complete like snakes do – they shed in sections and will look fairly patchy for per week or few!

Shedding will occur extra steadily through the first 12 months or two of life whereas your dragon is rising quickly.

You might help by offering a pleasant sandstone to your beardie to rub up towards and a heat shallow bathtub to soak in.

Don’t attempt to “help” the pores and skin by pulling at it – it will simply damage your dragon!

Often, simply earlier than and through shedding, your beardie’s pores and skin will look duller and chances are you’ll discover extra lethargy, much less urge for food and eye bulging.

This is regular, however all the time ask your unique veterinarian in case you are involved!

Bearded dragon persona and temperament

Bearded dragons haven’t change into so standard via being standoffish!

Pet beardies are very mild, calm and pleasant.

They can simply study to acknowledge you and appear to get pleasure from being touched and dealt with.

Your beardie additionally received’t hesitate to beg for treats and to stare at you for those who don’t instantly get the message!

Bearded dragon dealing with

It is necessary to study straight away the best way to choose up your beardie and deal with her correctly.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Earth Worms

Always use a flat palm and slide it underneath your dragon’s physique.

Scoop up your pet in your flat palm, supporting the total physique as you achieve this. Cup your hand so she will be able to’t wriggle out and fall.

Once your dragon is safe in your palm, you may then open up your palm and supply the opposite hand so your dragon can stroll from hand at hand safely.

It is straightforward to discover ways to pet a bearded dragon.

Use two fingers to softly stroke your beardie’s head and neck on prime and across the sides.

This quick video offers you a superb instance to comply with.

Bearded dragon well being

Bearded dragons can undergo from quite a lot of well being circumstances.

Like all animals, your beardie goes to do his finest to look wholesome and powerful even when he feels horrible!

This is an innate survival intuition no quantity of secure captive dwelling can ever breed out of those reptiles.

This means it is best to study to identify the early warning indicators of illness, an infection or sickness and get your pet to your unique vet pronto!

Let’s check out a few of the most typical well being points bearded dragons can have.

Metabolic bone illness (MBD)

If your beardie wants each day 12-hour entry to full-spectrum UVA/UVB mild, ample warmth to stimulate metabolism, and a wholesome balanced weight loss plan.

Otherwise, she will be able to’t soak up calcium and manufacture Vitamin D3 to make robust, wholesome bones.

This can result in a really critical and pressing medical situation known as metabolic bone illness, or secondary hypothyroidism.

Warning indicators embrace frequent bone breakage, jaw swelling, bumps or swelling alongside the again and the legs, sudden spasms/twitches/tremors, issue strolling and lethargy.

Respiratory an infection

Respiratory an infection usually happens when habitat husbandry (mild, warmth and humidity) is missing.

If the tank is simply too chilly, sizzling, humid, or a mixture of those, usually the primary indicators of this will likely be respiratory.

Warning indicators embrace mucus effervescent up across the nostril and mouth, struggles to breathe, swelling across the throat and physique, and mouth gaping.

Mouth rot

Mouth rot (infectious stomatitis) is a bacterial an infection that may trigger jaw swelling, extra mucus and free enamel.

Warning indicators embrace yellow mouth, swollen gums with dots of pink, jaw swelling, and extra mouth mucus.


Parasites can occur at any time, though not all parasites are dangerous.

Mites and ticks are worrisome and these can usually be noticed in your dragon’s pores and skin.

Warning indicators of parasites can embrace weight reduction, urge for food loss, lethargy, and diarrhea.


Wild bearded dragons will generally eat dust. This is named geophagy.

While analysis on this habits is sparse, it’s thought wild beardies might do that to assist digest insect exoskeletons.

In captivity, nevertheless, utilizing the incorrect substrate or improper feeding methods may cause far more dust or sand ingestion and result in gastrointestinal impaction.

This is life-threatening and requires speedy vet care!

Appetite loss/lethargy

When all different potential causes are dominated out, the most typical set off for torpid habits and lack of urge for food is an enclosure that’s too chilly or too sizzling.

At each temperature extremes, your dragon might enter a state just like hibernation.

Bearded dragon care

We hope this in depth article about bearded dragon care has given you the knowledge you have to start your journey. Before you go, don’t miss a few of our different beardie assets:

Are you taking good care of a bearded dragon? Let us know the way it’s going within the feedback!

Affiliate hyperlink disclosure: Links on this article marked with an * are affiliate hyperlinks, and we might obtain a small fee if you are going to buy these merchandise. However, we chosen them for inclusion independently, and the entire views expressed on this article are our personal.


Axelson, R., “Bearded Dragons – Owning,” VCA Animal Hospital, 2016.

Lightfoot, T., “Bearded Dragon Husbandry and Care,” BluePearl Vet, 2018.

Mitchell, M., “Biology and medicine of bearded dragons (proceedings),” Veterinary Medicine 360, 2008.

Fox, S., “How Do Lizards Cool Off?,” Live Science, 2010.

Carney, R. et al, “The Bearded Dragon Files II: Care & Husbandry,” PenderVet, 2016.

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