Because they’re considered docile, domesticated and display lots of fun behaviors, bearded dragons are a desirable pet. However, because they’re much different from their furrier counterparts, caring for them is much different. In this post we’ll show you how to take care of a bearded dragon.
As mentioned above, because beardies have mostly mild temperaments, you’re probably really excited about handling your new pal. However, when it comes to touching them the more you work with them the more trusting they’ll become. Only handle these reptiles in a peaceful environment so they can become comfortable with you and their surroundings. Fearlessly pick them up by their entire body as to display both security and dominance.
Inside Your Enclosure
Since beardies can grow to be quite big, we suggest starting with a large enclosure instead of spending money on a smaller one and having to upgrade later. We recommend a 75-gallon aquarium, which is large enough to house one or two dragons with a proper screen for ventilation atop. Making sure to have a lot of vegetation and things for your reptilian friends to climb on.
Lighting and Temperature
Bearded dragons like it hot, thus, the whole enclosure should have UVB lighting because it allows your new pet to absorb the proper amount of calcium.
Make sure to also provide a basking site (a rock or branch) inside the aquarium with a spotlight that is approximately 100 degrees. Make sure to keep your spotlight at one end of the cage so that your beardie can move to a cooler location when they are ready to get out of the heat.
Regulate your aquarium’s heat and rays with a thermostat.
The type of substance you use along the bottom of the cage depends on the age of your new pet.
In their youth, it’s suggested that you use newspaper or paper towel along the bottom because little ones have the tendency to eat sand or other loose substrate. Ingesting the sand can lead to pretty large intestinal issues.
Adult beardies can also use the above substrate, but the rules are a bit more flexible. If you select sand be sure to follow manufacturer directions.
If sand is your choice of substrate, offer food in a shallow bowl or dish instead of directly on the sand.
Hydration and water is vital to a bearded dragon’s health. Misting your pet is okay since they don’t frequently drink directly from standing water, and will instead lick water off of vegetation, themselves or their tank. However, too much humidity in an enclosure can cause respiratory issues later.
Dragons will eat both plants and insects, and keeping a balanced diet is important. Beardies will normally eat things like crickets, mealworms and earthworms. Adults will also scarf down pinky mice.
Fruits and Vegetables
Veggies and fruit are an important factor in keeping your pet healthy. Foods like collards and mustards are perfect. You can also feed them romaine lettuce or zucchini, banana, kiwi or citrus. Choose your items based on nutritional value.