Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded Dragon Ultimate Care Sheet

You definitely do not want your bearded dragon to be angry! who wants a big angry lizard that could easily bite your finger off hiding away in your room? that is what I thought, no one! If you take a look through this guide on how you can keep your beardie happy and healthy, you will have no problem keeping a dragon that just wants to hangout and cuddle! okay maybe not that last part but he will be healthy!

Choosing a Bearded Dragon

1. ​Do your Research

Do not make a poor decision by just buying one! there are many different bearded dragons, though the Pogona Vitticeps is the most common, but if you do not know your stuff, you may be giving your bearded dragon the incorrect diet and foods, lighting, supplementation, etc.  You need to know a bit about the requirements that must be met in order for your bearded dragon to be happy before you go out and get one! They are not the best pets for children, due to the fact that they require a very specific temperature, lighting, and diet to remain happy. Though this is true, they are relatively easy to care for, just need the basics to remain healthy for the most part.

2. Buy a Bearded Dragon that is over a couple months old (or 6 inches long)

​Unless you are a very experienced reptile keeper, and know your stuff, consider not buying a bearded dragon unless it is older than 3 months old. Before this time period, a beardie can be very fragile, hard to take care of, and require constant attention in order for it to have a strong foundation going into its teenage and adulthood life. 

3. Check for Health & Deformities

When you go to pick your soon to be pet, take a close look at the dragon. Make sure it is very attentive and has clear and bright eyes. If the beardie looks weak and lethargic it might have some health issues. Make sure to alert the pet shop owner if this seems to be the case. Check for bowed legs, missing toes, missing bits of their tail, or other wounds/infections. Though this is very uncommon it is still possible. You would not want your first beardie to be sick the moment you pick him up!

Habitat and Enclosure Needs​

1. Provide an adequately sized tank

The tank that you pick needs to be an appropriate size according to how old the bearded dragon is. If the vivarium is too small, this may stunt the pet’s growth. It may also cause health issues due to lack of exercise, lighting problems, and other health problems. For teen and young dragons 24″ x 12″ x 18″ is an appropriate size. For a larger adult beardie, your tank should be an extra foot longer.

2. House your Beardie Alone

Bearded Dragons prefer to be house by themselves as they are solitary creatures that do not necessarily appreciate a roommate. They may live together if kept a close eye on. They may or may not assert dominance over each other. If one wants to be the king of the hill, it may limit the other’s accessibility to food, water, and heating.

3. Have the Appropriate Substrate

For younger beardies, and some adults, A gravel dirt, or sand flooring is a very bad idea. Some inexperienced eaters will accidently eat the gravel as they like up they insects of the bed of the tank. This can cause impaction and other serious health issues.
  1. Reptile Carpet: this carpet is specifically made for reptiles and other pets. It is the perfect material for your pet’s health, and for your convenience. Easy to clean and easy to replace
  2. Other Substrates: For temporary use, newspapers, carpets, astro turf, etc. can be used as a substrate for your pet.  Try to stay away from felt materials, as the loops in the material can catch your reptile’s nails.

4. Use a screen Lid

Screen Lids are the only top of the vivarium that you are going to be able to use with any reptiles, especially bearded dragons. Using a different material as the top of your enclosure is a fatal mistake. Reptiles need the UVB light to grow strong and healthy bones. This UVB light does not successfully pass through any materials besides a screen lid. This also provides enough circulation for your beardie to get air circulation. With the 3 solid sides, it will trap enough humidity for your pet to be comfortable and the screen lid will allow for some fresh air.

5. Give him some furniture

Do not leave your beardie in an empty cage all by his lonesome! Give him some things to climb on and things to play with!
  • The first thing to include is a perch in order for your bearded dragon to get closer to the basking bulb if he wants to stay warm. There should be a warm spot of the tank and a colder area of the tank. So when he gets cold, he will be able to move toward the warmer side of the enclosure on his perch to warm back up.
  • Add branches for climbing. They should be able to climb branches, and vines to further their strength in areas that they would be able to in the wild.
  • Provide smooth and flat rocks. This is for your pet to be able to bask in the sun and also to grind down their nails as well.
  • Provide an area of seclusion. Maybe a half of a hollowed out log, empty cardboard box, or flower pot. Any of these can be used to give your beardie a spot to hide from the scary world
  • Add plants and branches. First of all at one side of the cage they are going to want a place of shade in order for them to cool off. Second, if they are able to hide when they are feeling stressed, it will give them a sense of security.
  • If you are looking to provide live plants, which is an awesome addition to their cage, not just for the fact that they hold moisture but because it is a great source of vitamins and minerals of a diverse diet, make sure to pick the right ones. The most common and reptile friendly plants include but are not limited to Dracaena, Ficus benjamina, and hibiscus. It is very significant that none of the plants have been treated with fertilizers, pesticides, vermiculite, or wetting agents. Before you decide to add these plants to the make sure that you wash the plant head to toe. Get rid of any toxins, parasites etc. that may have infested the plant.

Diet & Feeding

1. Make sure Feeding grounds are safe

Before feeding your Beardie, make sure that the feeding grounds are safe. Make sure there are no toxins in any of the real plants that you may use in the enclosure. Then make sure that the substrate that you use is okay. It is okay to use a gravel or sand substrate for more experienced adult bearded dragons, but not for younger ones. Young pets may not have the finesse to lick the crickets or other insects off of the sand and gravel without licking up some of the sand or gravel itself. If these young pets eat too much of this flooring, it will create impaction. Impaction is when they have a hard time digesting something in their belly and it creates many other health problems.

2. ​The Right Size

The most important part of feeding your bearded dragon is the size of the food that you are going to be feeding to them. The general rule is that you never feed anything to them that is bigger than the space between their eyes. So as an adolescent beardie, they might not be able to eat anything bigger than a 1/8 cricket or even a pin head cricket. As they grow, they will be able to eat bigger and bigger foods.

Lighting & Heating

1. Provide Basking Bulbs

Basking bulbs and lighting are a very important part of the bearded dragon’s enclosure. With some simple knowledge, one can easily set up the lighting in the cage and make it all work.
  • The first thing to know is that bearded dragons, much like other reptiles, highly prefer there to be a heat gradient within their cage. This means that placing the basking bulb on one end of the cage is a very good idea. The hotter side of the enclosure, especially near the basking perch, it needs to be around 100 degrees. On the furthest side from the basking bulb, it needs to be between 75-85 degrees. A much cooler spot for the beardie to cool off. You do not want to let the temperature lower than 70 degrees at night, or your beardie will be uncomfortable.
  • ​For night time, use an infrared light in order to heat the tank while allowing your pet to sleep. You can also use a heating pad underneath the flooring of the enclosure.
  • For very large terrariums, you should think about using a space heater. or maybe even a thermostat and house heating if the size is extra large.
  • This lighting wattage per square foot with greatly determine based on the overall weather and temperature within the room that the beardie will dwell. In warmer regions, such as southern california, texas, or florida, heating my be different than those states that have a very cold winter.

2. Supply your Pet with UVB lighting

UVB lighting is a significant part of keeping your beardie happy and healthy. UVB light comes natural from the Sun hence we need to supply it for your bearded dragon is UVB light promotes bone growth and calcium growth which will provide strong and healthy bones.

There are two types of bulbs that you can use. Fluorescent bulbs and mercury vapor bulbs. fluorescent bulbs need to be replaced between four and six months well mercury vapor bulbs might last bit longer. Keep this in mind, UVB output from the bulbs diminishes over a period of time so they the Bold may still be right, the amount of UVB that will be transmitted through the same light will be less than when you first bought it.

  • UVB lighting is a significant part of keeping your beardie happy and healthy. UVB light comes natural from the Sun hence we need to supply it for your bearded dragon is UVB light promotes bone growth and calcium growth which will provide strong and healthy bones. There are two types of bulbs that you can use. Fluorescent bulbs and mercury vapor bulbs. fluorescent bulbs need to be replaced between four and six months well mercury vapor bulbs might last bit longer. Keep this in mind, UVB output from the bulbs diminishes over a period of time so they the Bold may still be right, the amount of UVB that will be transmitted through the same light will be less than when you first bought it.
  • This UVB lighting needs to be provided for about 10 to 12 hours per day.
  • If you live in a mildly temperate climate, you might want to think about putting your bearded dragon's cage outside. in this way, your pet will get all the UVB rays he needs comma not to mention some fresh air.
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