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Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vittaceps) Care Sheets
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Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 4.68    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 05/12/2006

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Bearded Dragons

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Years Experience:

Over 20 Years


Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vittaceps)

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

All Species and Phases of Bearded Dragons

Sexing and Characteristics:

Sexing Bearded Dragons:

It is easier to sex bearded dragons that are at least a couple of months old. Baby bearded dragons can be hard to sex as compared to adults.

- Usually larger then female bearded dragons.

- Have 2 bumps on the underside of the base of their tails called hemipenes.

- Males usually have large fat pockets on the back of their heads.

- Usually smaller then males bearded dragons.

- Has either one bump right after the vet on the underside of her tail or they have no visible bump.

The most reliable way I know of as in determining the sex of your bearded dragon is looking at the underside of the base of the tail. Males will have two lumps on both sides of its tail, leaving basically a sunk in middle between. Females lack these two bumps which are called hemipenes.

Mostly Active During:


Substrate and Water Needs:

Every hobbyist and breeder have a different opinion when it comes to substrates. Hereís mine.

Substrates that I have used or would use for my Bearded Dragons:

1. Rabbit pellets(change frequently to avoid molds and bacteria buildup). I donít recommend this substrate if you live in a humid climate. Be careful if you have allergies.

2. Newspaper/Brown Butcher Paper/Paper Towels - easy to remove and replace...make sure heat lamps are not close enough to cause fires, and only use black and white newspaper print, unless you confirm with your newspaper that the color ink is not toxic.

Substrates that I WOULD NOT USE for my Bearded Dragons:
1. Any barks, mulch, or would chips
2. Any types of sand(play sand or pet store bought sand)
3. Walnut shells or any other substrate that is not digestible.
4. Any substrates that absorb moisture.
5. Gravel

Substrates that are questionable that would not use but have tired.

1. Wheat Bran - I found out I was allergic to wheat bran. I have tried it while living in South Florida where humidity is usually high. Mold was an issue along with finding out that wheat bran is high in phosphorus which is something you do not want.

2. Bird Seeds - I have tried this. They did end up ingetsting some of the seeds during feedings. The seeds came out the other end. In my opinion since it goes in and can not be digested it can lead to a possible impaction in bearded dragons.

I would never use any kind of sand or walnut substrate because it may cause impaction in your bearded dragon, which can lead to early death.

I do provide water dishes inside my bearded dragon cages. Despite that some hobbyists feel they do not need a water dish in with their bearded dragon water should always be made available. Baths, spraying and vegetables alone may not provide enough fluids to flush the kidneys and help avoid the possibility of a mineral build up which can eventually lead to kidney problems. Also proper amounts of fluids are essential for good health and proper fuctions of your bearded dragonís organs.

Lighting and UVB:

I have a couple of different setups for the bearded dragons. I use regular incandescent bulbs and a UVB florescent light. In my experience of using one of the mercury vapor UV Active bulbs or PowerSun bulbs that produce both heat and UVB, I have seen noticeable improvements over my animals behavior, eating habits and health. I do however still use both methods.

UVB is important in reptiles to produce vitamin D3 which in turn helps synthesize(help absorb) the calcium in their bodies.

Temperatures and Humidity:

I keep the temperatures normally about 80 with a basking spot of about 95-105 f degrees(I know of people using higher basking temps such as 110-115f).

I use no humidity in their cages, nor do I spray them in their cages. Instead I give them a bath once a week to make sure they keep hydrated.

Heating and Equipment:

I use incandescent bulbs for basking heat, or I use one of the UVB heat bulbs like UV Active or ZooMed PowerSun.

I have also run a heating pad under the the tank/cage depending on seasons and where the cage is located in my house (This is when I lived up north). This is a debated topic and one that has been misinterpeted. Bearded Dragons CAN feel heat from their stomachs. Anyone who tells you different needs to really do more research and stop regurgitating poor information. If you do use heating pads in winter, test them frequently for temps. My ZooMed heat mats have all overheated. I have had good success with T-rex heat mats. These heat mats should be used under glass tanks, not inside them and should have a "blanket" between your dragon and the bottom of the tank. So if you are using newspaper, you could put several sheets on top of the area of the heat mat.

Other options are CHE (Ceramic Heat Emitters), just make sure your dragon can not come in contact with them.

Normally you can let your dragon cool down at night safely at 65f. Usually no extra heating is required.

Caging Provided:

Caging that I have used:

Reptariums...great idea for outside use and inside use depending on how warm the room is where you have your dragons in these cages. Easy to clean and always provides fresh air. Hard to maintain heat, but you can actually cut some plexi-glass the size of each side and slide the between the poles and the mesh.

Tanks- 40 gallon or better is good for one of more bearded dragons...a bigger one then 40 gallon for 2 dragons is recommended. One problem with using tanks for caging is the fact that heat will escape through the top. You can block off on side of the top(away from the light to prevent a fire) to retain most of the heat.

Home built cages are great...nothing like building your own cage. Just make sure if you use would to use a water-based polyurethane to seal the would. Also only use aquarium sealant(as recommended by the silicone manufactures). Another good material to use is melamine boards. You can also use shelving units to make a cage out of by sealing the edges and using sliding glass or plexi-glass doors. Building an enclosure also helps in regulating the heat as opposed to glass tanks with screen tops where the heat will escape.

As far as lighting fixtures are concerned...I only use fixtures for heat bulbs(such as Mercury Vapor) with a ceramic fixture to avoid any fire hazards.



Description of Diet:

Feeding my Bearded Dragons

Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Escarole, Watercress, Chicory, and Butternut Squash are usually mixed in as a staple in my bearded dragons diet.

I use crickets or roaches as their main staple. Other insects such as waxworms and superworms I use as treats.

NOTE: DO NOT FEED YOUR DRAGONS MEALWORMS. There shells are not easily digested and may cause impacting leading to death.

NOTE: DO NOT FEED YOUR DRAGONS FOOD ITEMS TOO BIG. This can cause paralyzation of the back legs also may be lead to death. A general rule would be nothing bigger then the space between their eyes.

I have never fed my dragons pinkies.

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:

I supplement calcium up to 3 times a week and vitamins one time a week on their crickets. I use " Reptive" for vitamins and "Bone-Aid" or Miner-all I for calcium.


Maintenance isnít too bad if you do a bit every day and rinse items at least once a week, then a more thorough cleaning every couple of months depending on how dirty the cage gets.

Some Words on this Species:

Never put two adult males together in a cage together. Donít breed females until they are Atlases 1.5 years of age.

Always take your new dragon for a visit to the vet to assure that it does not have parasites or if it does have parasites that you can treat it before it can become fatal.

Bearded Dragons tame easily with handling. It doesnít even have to be extensive handling. Adults are much more patient as far as being held and staying in one place for a given amount of time.

Great for a beginner pet.
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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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