Bearded Dragon FAQs

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Introduction

Yes, Bearded Dragons are good pets for a few reasons. First, they can live for a very long time under proper care (up to 10 or more years). Second, they are very docile. Third, they can be just as emotionally supportive as other pets (in my opinion).
Yes, Bearded Dragons carry salmonella in their feces. It is a safe practice to wash your hands before and after handling a Bearded Dragon. Of course, don't touch your mouth or eat food after handling one of these reptiles without washing your hands. In addition, don't let your Bearded Dragon crawl around on your pillows or bed. Overall, the salmonella from a Bearded Dragon can be passed to humans, but it is rarely heard of.
The max length of a Bearded Dragon is around 2 feet from head to tail. Keep in mind, captive Bearded Dragons can have stunted growth from improper care. If you suspect that your Bearded Dragon is not growing, then double check that you are providing the right care. Aside from length, Bearded Dragons start out as small as your finger and grow to be as wide as your palm.
Bearded Dragons can live for a very long time under proper care. In fact, captive Bearded Dragons have been known to live far past 10 years. Again, how long they live really depends on their overall care.
The startup cost can be cheap, but it can also be very expensive. In summary, it depends on what you need. For example, do you need a small 20 gallon terrarium or a large 40 gallon terrarium? Do you prefer a standard Bearded Dragon or a fancy Witblits (A Bearded Dragon morph)? Again, depending on what you want or need, the price will vary. Overall, the price can be lower than $200 or higher than $600.
It is possible to identify the sex of your Bearded Dragon as soon as it is two months old. However, the younger the reptile is, the harder it might be to tell. Although, the older the Bearded Dragon is, the easier it should be to tell. To identify the sex, place your Bearded Dragon on a flat surface such as a table. After that, gently lift the Bearded Dragon's tail while lowering your head to look above its vent at an angle. While looking, you should see one or two bumps. If you see two vertical/symmetrical bumps, then the Bearded Dragon is a male. If you see one horizontal bump, then the Bearded Dragon is a female. See the picture below for an example.
sexing a Bearded Dragon, how to.
Similar to any other type of pet, a Bearded Dragon will cost you time and money. With that in mind, the answer to this question really depends on the individual. Basically, ask yourself if you have enough money and time to properly take care of a Bearded Dragon.
A Bearded Dragon is a lizard that originates from Australia. There are over several different species of Bearded Dragon. Although, it is the Central (also known as Inland) Bearded Dragon that is most common in the pet industry.

Housing

You should only have one Bearded Dragon per enclosure by the time they are juveniles. Although, I would recommend to only have one Bearded Dragon per enclosure as soon as possible to avoid any risks. Unfortunately, these reptiles live in solitary in the wild and they do not get along well with their own kind. In fact, they only pair up to fight over territory or to mate. With this in mind, it is very dangerous and irresponsible to house Bearded Dragons together. Even if fighting does not occur, there are still issues. For example, housing Bearded Dragons together can cause stress and stress can lead to issues such as a lack of appetite. In addition, cohabitation creates a competitive environment. For instance, these reptiles will have to compete for the better basking spot, space, food, etc.
The two most important things that your Bearded Dragon will need, would be a basking spot and a hide. For the basking spot, you can use something like a rock, stick, or a piece of tile. For the hide, you can purchase something with a cave entrance so that the reptile can hide if it feels the need to. Aside from a basking spot item and a hide, you can get whatever your heart desires, such as a reptile hammock, more sticks, fake plants, etc.

20 gallon terrarium - Ideal for baby Bearded Dragons (dragons that are under two months old). In summary, a smaller enclosure will make it easier for young dragons to catch their food. Please note, you will have to upgrade the enclosure size within a few months.

40 gallon terrarium or larger - Ideal for juvenile or adult Bearded Dragons. Of course, the larger the enclosure the better for your Bearded Dragon.

4x2x2 Custom - If you decide to get a custom built enclosure, then aim for dimensions of at least 4 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and 2 feet tall. Again, the larger the better.

Lighting

The basking temp should be around 95 to 110F. Please note, younger dragons usually prefer hotter temps while older dragons usually prefer lower temps.
The cool side temp should be around 80F, it is important to have a cool side for your Bearded Dragons so that it can take breaks from the hot side.
During the night, the temp should be around 70-80F. If the night temp is lower than 65F, then use a ceramic heat emitter bulb to provide heat.
We highly recommend buying the Reptisun 10.0 T5 High Output bulb along with an appropriate fixture for it (Zoo Med makes them). Please note, the UVB/UVA bulb should span two-thirds of the Bearded Dragon's enclosure. In other words, get a bulb that is long enough to accomplish this. For example, if you have an enclosure that is 36 inches wide, then you'll want the UVB/UVA bulb to be around 24 inches. Also, if you plan to mount the bulb within the enclosure (which is ideal), then you can buy an under the cabinet fixture along with the appropriate mounting hardware.
To provide heat, you can use a regular round house bulb, a halogen flood light, or a reptile branded bulb.
At night, you should use a ceramic heat emitter bulb (do not use colored bulbs).

Substrate

We suggest using non-adhesive shelf liner, paper towels, tile, or reptile carpet.
In brief, impaction occurs when a Bearded Dragon consumes something that is hard for it to digest (usually causing a blockage in the digestive system). With that in mind, the blockage can be life-threatening if not cleared. Often, impaction occurs from poor husbandry and loose substrate such as sand.
Anything that can be accidentally or intentionally consumed by the reptile, should be considered dangerous. To provide some examples, sand, alfalfa pellets, wood shavings, small rocks, or ground walnut shells. Unfortunately, loose substrate may cause impaction for your Bearded Dragon.

Diet

No, avocado is toxic for them.
Yes, but only as a treat since they are high in fat.
Yes, crickets can be a daily feeder for Bearded Dragons; crickets are inexpensive and fairly easy to obtain.
Yes, dubia roaches can be a daily feeder for Bearded Dragons; dubia roaches are very nutritious for Bearded Dragons..
Yes, but only as a treat. Also, since there are a lot of fruit choices out there, please double check and research if something is safe to give to your Bearded Dragon since not all fruits are safe. For example, you should avoid citrus fruits (too much citrus can be toxic for them). With that in mind, I recommend reading this nutrition chart.
Yes, but only as a treat since they are mostly moisture. In other words, they are not very nutritious compared to other feeders. However, they are great for hydration.
Yes, but only as a treat since they have a high impaction risk. Usually, we advise against them.
No, onions are toxic for them.
Yes, phoenix worms can be a daily feeder for Bearded Dragons; phoenix worms are high in calcium.
Yes, Bearded Dragons are 100% capable of eating pinkie mice. However, you should only offer them to adult Bearded Dragons. Also, it is important to note that it is not necessary. In other words, your Bearded Dragon can live a healthy lifestyle just from bugs, worms, and greens. In summary, offering a pinkie mouse is optional and it's up to the owner. Although, this is not something that I go around recommending to inexperienced Bearded Dragon owners. In fact, I did not even include this information in our care sheet because I don't want inexperienced owners to try it. With that said, from personal experience, I have offered pinkie mice to my Bearded Dragons over a dozen times throughout the years without a single issue. However, I only offer pinkie mice rarely as treats (or under certain circumstances). For example, after a gravid female has laid eggs or after a Bearded Dragon coming out of a slow winter (brumation). If you attempt to offer a pinkie mouse to your Bearded Dragon, then there are a few important thing to note. First, a pinkie mouse is basically a newborn mouse less than five days old. In fact, pinkie mice are so young that they don't have fur yet nor do they have open eyes and they can barely crawl around. In other words, if you get a mouse that has fur (and possibly teeth or claws) and is capable of running around, then you are doing it wrong and the risk of danger for your Bearded Dragon increases dramatically. Second, it is important to have the correct basking temperature, so that your Bearded Dragon can properly digest the pinkie mouse (heat is important for food digestion and other bodily functions when it comes to Bearded Dragons since they are cold blooded reptiles). Of course, you should also have an appropriate UVB setup. Third, I recommend that you do not offer anymore food until you see a successful poop from your Bearded Dragon after it has eaten a pinkie mouse. Anyways, I hope you found this information helpful. To recap, can they eat pinkie mice? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Can it be dangerous? Yes, depending on a few factors regarding the Bearded Dragons overall care and if the owner offered a mouse that was too old.
Yes, silkworms can be a daily feeder for Bearded Dragons.
Yes, but only as a treat since they are a little high in fat and may pose an impaction risk.
Yes, but only as a treat since they are high in fat.
There are multiple ways to provide water. For example, you can mist greens, offer hornworms, or use a syringe/dropper to provide water. On a side note, Bearded Dragons rarely drink from still water so it is normal for them to not drink out of a water dish. Watch this video for an example of the previously listed methods for providing water.
For baby dragons, I recommend dusting live food daily, but only once per day. For adult Bearded Dragons, I recommend dusting around five times per week, but again, only once per day. Please remember, dust only in moderation. In other words, too much dusting can be just as bad as not enough dusting.
It's important to provide your Bearded Dragon with calcium and multivitamin supplements. In the Bearded Dragon community, this is known as dusting live food.

Handling

To handle a Bearded Dragon, keep your hand lower than its head, approach it from the front of its body, slide your hand under its chest, and lift. Also, make sure you are using your hand to fully support the Bearded Dragon's body. To provide a visual example, please watch this video.