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Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 3.00    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 04/10/2006

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Bearded Dragons

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Over 20 Years


Bearded Dragon

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Origin- Bearded dragons are native to the deserts of Australia. The natural environment is arid with few trees and many rocky outcroppings. However, bearded dragons are currently bred in captivity in the U.S.

Size- Bearded dragons reach an average adult length of 16-18 inches. Large Specimens, particularly males, may exceed 10 inches and 600 grams.

Caging- Bearded Dragons can be kept in a variety of Glass and custom enclosures which are conductive to creating an environment with high heat and low humidity. A 100-gallon aquarium is large enough to house 4 adults. What i personally recommend if you are purchasing a baby bearded dragon is that you get a 10 gallon fish tank which run for less than $10 in average pet stores. You don’t want the lizard to have to much space so that it cant find its food. As the bearded dragon grows increase the tank size. Right now i have a fully grown year and a half old bearded dragon in a 55 gallon fish tank. Technically this is a big enough tank to house 2 adults.

Substrate- Bearded dragons can be kept of a variety of substrates including alfalfa pellets, mulch, cage carpet, and newspaper. However sand is the preferred substrate. Now BE CAREFUL WITH SAND!! A lizard can consume the sand and they wont be able to pass it thus clogging up their system and can cause serious health concerns or even death if not dealt with right away. What i recommend is that you use shredded newspaper for baby bearded dragons. Yes i know that its not the most attractive way to go but its the safest. Also the ink will now harm the dragon. Another safe way to go is Cage carpet the only concern here is that the rug can curl up and the dragons chew at it. When the dragon becomes and adult it is safe to transfer the substrate over to sand. After all it is their natural habitat. If you want to be on the safe side you can purchase T-Rex Calci-Sand which will not harm the bearded dragon if ingested. Most adult bearded dragons can pass small amounts of sand from lunging at a cricket or simply tasting it. Most people don’t notice that their bearded dragons taste everything. So whatever they taste is obviously going to go in their mouth. Sand also makes it very easy to clean the cage simply "scoop the poop". Another safe way is wood chips/chunks, although this is safe method i do not recommend it. There are holes and cracks in the wood chips which give the crickets a place to hide. Your dragon might not be getting his full meal because your crickets have decided to hide in the cracks of the wood chips. If you are going to use this method i would use a half and half both wood chips and sand. cover the cracks with sand leaving only a layer of wood chips and on the other side of the cage just use sand.

Temperature- Bearded dragons should be provided with a thermal gradient ranging from 80F at one end of the cage to 130F directly under the basking area(right under lamp). For my setup i put a basking light at one end of the cage and a UV emitting light at the other end. At night turn the lights off and in the morning turn the lights on. At night Bearded Dragons like it generally cooler like 70F-80F. If your house reaches a cooler temperature than that i recommend getting one of these: red night light bulb, blue moonlight bulb, under tank heating pad. All of these choices will not keep your dragon up at night. All they will do is simply keep the temperature up in the tank so your dragon doesn’t freeze. The only concern i have is about the under tank heating pad. Make sure that your bearded dragon does not burrow down into the substrate so that its belly is pressed up against the glass, this may cause serious damage to the bearded dragons belly because they cannot fell heat on their underside and will end up burning them.

Light- Bearded dragons require full spectrum lighting to properly synthesize calcium and other vitamins. This can be provided with a variety of commercial light bulbs made for reptiles. I recommend getting a Basking light bulb, UV emitting light, and a blue moonlight bulb to keep the temperature of the tank up at night.

Water- Bearded dragons DO NOT need a water bowl they get as much water as they need from their veggies and crickets they eat. Although it is good to have one for cooling off purposes and if occasionally drunken out of. If you choose to have a water dish make sure it is clean non chlorinated water. Change the water daily and especially if the dragon has urinated or pooped in the water.

Diet- Bearded Dragons are omnivores, and they should be offered vegetables, and insects on a daily basis. Their diet should consist of dark leafy greens like kale, collards, and turnip greens. In addition, they feed on a variety of commercially available feeder insects including meal worms, crickets, cockroaches, and wax worms. Prior to feeding, insects should be dusted with a vitamin and mineral supplement powder for reptiles. The diet i have for my bearded dragon consists of a dozen and a half large crickets and vegetables one day and the next day just vegetables. And i continue that cycle. Every once in a while i like to feed him wax worms. They seem to be higher in fat. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT FEED YOU DRAGON ICE BURG LETTUCE. this is very low in nutrients and is basically like eating nothing. The live food rule is that you cant feed your dragon anything that is over half the size of its head. So with young dragons i would get smaller crickets to feed them. i would feed them about a half a dozen to dozen every other day. and dust their vegetable on the days their not eating crickets. Always dust live food.

Recommendations- I would bring your dragon into see a specialist after two weeks of settling into its new habitat. There is a high percentage chance that your bearded dragon has some sort of parasite/worm coming from a pet store. I would purchase a slate rock to be put under basking lamp. think sturdy branches should also be placed under basking light so your dragon can get close to the lamp. Give you dragon lots of attention they need it. Also a place where the dragon can hide or get in the shade. This is useful to relieve stress. Also Spray your dragon with water once a day.
they enjoy it and it helps shedding along.
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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