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Bearded Dragon Owners Care Guide

Housing

  • Custom-built enclosures are better than glass terrariums and should be used if possible. The minimum size we suggest for a custom-built enclosure is 48"W X 24"D x 24"H.
  • Glass terrariums come in various sizes. We recommend using a 20 gallon for one baby Bearded Dragon and a 40 gallon for one juvenile or adult Bearded Dragon. For adults, anything bigger than a 40 gallon is better.
  • In the wild, Bearded Dragons are territorial and live solitary lives. In captivity, Bearded Dragons should not be housed together regardless of age or sex. In summary, housing Bearded Dragons together is dangerous and detrimental to their mental health.

Lighting

  • Bearded Dragons require heat for their bodies to function properly, their terrarium must have a cool side and a hot side. For the hot side, the temperature should be around 100F. On the cool side, the temperature should be around 80F. To achieve this temperature gradient, use an appropriate heat bulb.
  • Not only does a Bearded Dragon require heat, but they also require UVB to thrive. A Bearded Dragon's enclosure should have a tube UVB bulb that spans two-thirds of the enclosure's length. We suggest using the Reptisun 10.0 T5 HO or the Arcadia 12%. In contrast, we do not recommend using small compact or coil UVB bulbs as they do not provide the best UVB exposure.
  • During the day, a Bearded Dragon's heat and UVB bulb should be on for 12-14 hours. After 12-14 hours, both the heat and UVB bulb should be off. At night, do not leave any lights on as light at night can disturb their sleep. Although, if the temperature within the Bearded Dragon's enclosure falls below 65F, then use a ceramic heat emitter bulb to provide heat (do not use a colored bulb). In short, the nighttime temperature should be in the 70s.
  • Since Bearded Dragons require UVB to thrive, they will benefit from natural sunlight. In other words, if you live in an area that has an outdoor temperature of at least 80F (the closer to 95F the better), then taking your Bearded Dragon outside to soak up natural UVB is a good idea. However, use caution and take preventative measures to avoid losing your Bearded Dragon or allowing it to eat anything from outside.

Substrate

  • Loose substrate should not be used for a pet Bearded Dragon, loose substrate is a substrate that contains many small moving parts such as wood chips, ground walnut shells, sand, or dirt. Overall, loose substrate is dangerous if consumed. In addition, these types of substrates tend to be unsanitary (think of a litter box).
  • Instead of loose substrate, a solid substrate should be used. For example, non-adhesive shelf liner, slate tile, reptile carpet, or even paper towels. In brief, solid substrates are much safer and of course cleaner.

Tank Decor

  • A Bearded Dragon's enclosure should have objects for climbing, basking, and hiding. For example, a Bearded Dragon will enjoy a nice rock to bask on, a large cave to hide in, and multiple sticks for climbing.
  • A water dish is not necessary to include within a Bearded Dragon's enclosure since Bearded Dragons rarely drink from still water and the water itself may cause issues with humidity.

Diet

  • Bearded Dragons are omnivores and require live food and vegetables in their diet.
  • Dubia roaches, silkworms, phoenix worms, and crickets are good choices for everyday feeders.
  • Turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and collard greens are good choices for everyday vegetables.
  • Mealworms, superworms, butterworms, waxworms, and hornworms should only be offered as treats.
  • Never offer food from outside to your pet Bearded Dragon, food from outside may be dangerous. For example, outside food may have parasites or it may have come in contact with pesticides. In addition, some outside foods could be toxic. In conclusion, it's not worth the risks.

Food Supplementation

  • In captivity, a Bearded Dragon may not receive important vitamins and minerals that it requires to thrive. As a result, it is crucial to "dust" their live food with calcium and multivitamin products.
  • Calcium will allow a Bearded Dragon to grow healthy bones. In order for a Bearded Dragon to use calcium, proper UVB exposure must be provided so that a Bearded Dragon can synthesize vitamin D3. A Bearded Dragon can synthesize vitamin D3 from its UVB bulb or from natural sunlight. Without vitamin D3, a Bearded Dragon cannot benefit from calcium. In short, lack of UVB is equivalent to a Bearded Dragon not having vitamin D3 which results in a Bearded Dragon not being able to use calcium. One way or another, a Bearded Dragon must receive vitamin D3 in order to use calcium. If not, then health issues may develop such as metabolic bone disease as a result of poor lighting and food supplementation.
  • Multivitamin will offer other minerals and nutritional elements that Bearded Dragons may lack in captivity. We recommend using a multivitamin product that contains beta-carotene to reduce the threat of vitamin A toxicity.
  • It is important to note that Bearded Dragons can overdose on vitamin D3 and calcium. For that reason, a well-balanced dusting schedule should be provided along with proper lighting in general. When dusting, remember to dust in moderation.
  • For baby and juvenile Bearded Dragons, we suggest dusting with calcium daily, but only once per day. In addition, we advise using multivitamins at least twice per week. For adult Bearded Dragons, we recommend using calcium two to four times per week and multivitamins at least once per week. Unfortunately, dusting schedules may vary from Bearded Dragon to Bearded Dragon as there really isn't a fixed schedule for all Bearded Dragons. Overall, dusting really depends on the reptile's diet, lighting, and overall health.

Cleaning

  • It is a good idea to make a habit of cleaning a Bearded Dragon's enclosure on a daily basis. To clean a Bearded Dragon's enclosure, all poop should be removed along with spoiled food (e.g., dead bugs, old veggies, etc.). Also, the enclosure should be disinfected with an appropriate disinfectant that will kill bacteria. For obvious reasons, please let the reptile's enclosure dry out before letting it go back inside of the enclosure if disinfectants were used.
  • A Bearded Dragon should be offered a bath at least once per week to help keep the reptile clean. When offering a bath to a Bearded Dragon, the water should be kept warm at all times and the reptile should be able to comfortably stand.
  • If a Bearded Dragon is forced to live in an unsanitary environment, then it could develop health issues such as yellow fungus disease.