Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon (Pogona Vitticeps) lizards are native to Australia. These lizards are typically different shades of tan and brown.  They have rough flexible scales on their back as well as on their throat. These scales form their namesake as the scales look like a beard when the lizards puff them out in intimidation displays when threatened by predators or competing for mates, resources, or territory. 

As babies, their body length is around 4-5 inches but they rapidly grow to an impressive 2 feet in length. Despite their size, they are easy to manage and house. They live about 6-10 years in captivity. They are widespread and probably the most widely sold and owned lizard around the world.

They make great pets!

Since they are so widely sold most are captive bred and usually acclimated to human interaction and friendly! They make great pets for just about anyone who wants to get into reptiles. They are an easily cared for reptile with a great personality.

bearded dragon care husbandry information


Husbandry

A baby and adolescent Bearded Dragon will usually need a 20-gallon tank. However they grow quickly and adults will need a 36x18x16 inch enclosure to give them ample room to thrive.

Being from semi-arid environments of Australia, correct humidity is very important to the health and well-being of your lizard. The humidity should be between 35% and 40%. Because of this, it is recommended to provide either a light misting every day or a shallow water bowl on the cool side of the enclosure.  A controlled humidity system is ideal.

Heating and lighting are also just as important. Owners will need to provide a basking spot of around 100° F (37.8° C) and an ambient temperature of 80° F (26.7° C). This is generally obtained through a heat lamp and under the tank heaters set to the right temperature. They must be provided UVB light which synthesizes vitamin D3.  You can do this by either using a combination bulb that gives off both heating in the form of UVA and UVB or just a UVB bulb.

bearded dragon pet care help advice

 

A Bearded Dragon needs a hide on the cool side as well as a water bowl. A perch is recommended for the basking area. A substrate is also a must such as paper towels, new paper, or bigger chips like Reptibark. It is best to avoid sand or fine substrates. Fine substrates can be accidentally ingested and can lead to impaction and potential death of the animal.


Diet

Bearded Dragons are omnivores. A proper diet is essential for the healthy long life of the lizard! They will require both invertebrates like crickets as well as a mix of vegetables and limited fruits. This should be augmented with vitamin and mineral supplemental powders which should be placed on or in the food.  Make sure to offer them their food in a shallow food bowl if you use loose substrate so you can avoid the ingestion of substrate as much as possible.

The diet changes over time. For young bearded dragons a diet of 80% protein and 20% vegetables or greens is appropriate and as they age it will change over to 20% protein and 80% vegetables/ greens. Fruits should also be given occasionally. Adults will also only eat every few days compared to several times a day as a juvenile. It is important to give them a varied diet and to know which foods are good for a bearded dragon to eat. What you should feed them also varies slightly as they age. All food should be served raw. Following are examples of food to feed your bearded dragon.

Vegetables/ Greens/ Fruits

Can have every day:

Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Peeled Cucumbers, Mustard Greens, Artichoke Hearts, Bok Choy, Cabbage, Celery, Endive, Asparagus, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Yams, Okra, Yellow Squash, Basil, Chives, Dandelion Greens, Impatiens, Mint Leaves, Rose Petals, Sage, Carnations, Clover, Daylilies, Maple Leaves, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme

Can have occasionally:

Apples, Blueberries, Cranberries, Grapes, Peaches, Pineapples, Prunes, Strawberries, Blackberries, Cherries, Figs, Melons, Pears, Plums, Raisins, Watermelon

Proteins

Can have every day:

Young Bearded Dragons

Crickets, Earthworms, Locusts, Dubia Roaches, Butterworms, Black Soldier Fly Larvae, Redworms, Superworms

Adult Bearded Dragons

Crickets, Earthworms, Locusts, Dubia Roaches, Black Soldier Fly Larvae, Redworms

Can have occasionally:

Young Bearded Dragons

Mealworms

Adult Bearded Dragons

Mealworms, Butterworms, Superworms

Do Not Feed The Following Foods (common examples):

Lettuce, Spinach, Wild Insects, Fireflies or glowing insects, Partial Meat pieces, Fish, Avacados, Boxwood, Wild Daffodil, Holly, Iris, Mistletoe, Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, Rhododendron, Tulip, Buttercup, Elderberry, Hydrangea, Ivy, Juniper, Oak, Poison Oak, Poinsettia, Tobacco, Water Hemlock


bearded dragon humidity heating lighting

Should You Get A Bearded Dragon?

Bearded Dragons offer a great opportunity for people to own a very interesting and exciting pet with plenty of personality! From head bobbing to hand waving these animals like to communicate. They also like to just chill with owners who spend the time to care for them correctly as well develop a trust with them. They come in many different morphs from color variations to texture mutations. These morphs give a wide selection of options for anyone’s personal preference. It is hard to go wrong with this species as they offer such a great option to anyone just getting started in reptile keeping.


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