What Do Bearded Dragons Need?

So youre getting a new bearded dragon? Congratulations! One of the most exciting things you can do before he arrives is put together his new home. But it can also be a really overwhelming task, because there is no shortage of opinions on how to create the perfect bearded dragon tank setup. What kind of material should you use? How hot should the tank be? Is sand really that bad? What kind of lights do you need?

Choosing the proper size tank for your bearded dragon helps them to feel comfortable and less stressed, especially in those first few weeks when you bring them home and they are adjusting to a whole new environment. A good size tank prevents glass surfing as well, which is often caused by dragons feeling too caged in.

If you arent going to build your own tank DIY style, chances are youll buy one online or at a pet store. A popular option, glass terrariums are sturdy, widely available, and usually come with a screen lid that improves airflow and helps regulate the low humidity dragons need. On the downside, glass is a poor heat insulator, so youll have to check the temperature regularly to make sure its not too cold.

Wood is an excellent heat insulator, so this may be a better option for you than a full glass terrarium if you live in a colder area or like to keep your home temperature low. If you cant keep your dragon in a separate room from your cat or dog, make absolutely certain that the enclosure will not topple and that the lid is secure. For example, if you have a big screen TV that you watch frequently, or if you play electric guitar, or if there is a side of your house where you can hear constant traffic, try to keep your dragon out of earshot.

If you house a male and female together, they will begin to reproduce and you must be prepared to take care of multiple baby dragons. The other issue you may run into with these softer, dense substrates is they retain moisture, which can raise the humidity levels in your dragons tank. This chase can be fun to watch and is part of the natural order of things, but its dangerous in a loose substrate setting.

or they will eventually die and begin to rot in the tank, causing a smell and posing a threat to your dragons health. They can harm your bearded dragon by scratching them or causing impaction or internal injury when your beardie ingests dislodged pieces. Both materials provide your dragon with traction to move around comfortably, and dark colors will prevent the tile from getting cold.

Make sure you dont use vinyl or linoleum, which are too slippery for your bearded dragons claws to gain any traction. Clay is a really fun option for your bearded dragon if you have time and are willing to put in a little extra effort to set it up. Once you purchase the reptile excavator clay at your local pet store or online, mix it with water and let it dry in the tank.

The only issue you may run into with clay is every few months you have to remove and replace it, which can be a hassle if you dont have a lot of extra time to take care of that. Poor lighting or heat can cause metabolic bone disease , a very serious condition that warps your dragons skeletal system and inhibits digestion and absorption of nutrients. To ensure your dragon is getting the proper temperatures at any given time of the day or night, youll want to have a good thermometer on hand.

Once you have the necessary supplies, keep these lighting, heating, and humidity guidelines in mind for your bearded dragon tank setup: Some Dragon Keepers opt for a laid back, simple environment, while others choose an elaborate theme such as exotic desert or tropical rainforest. Whether its branches, rocks, logs, or some other fixture that matches your decor theme, bearded dragons love to climb on things.

Aloe vera (If your dragon eats too much of this, she may get diarrhea, so just keep an eye on things) Herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano, and parsley (they may wilt in the humidity so replace them when they begin to go bad) Turtle vine Succulents such as echeveria and haworthia Prickly pear cacti (with spines removed) Not only can it be fun to feed your dragon with the tweezers, but it can protect you from insects that can pinch or bite, and its also a good option for those who would rather not touch live bugs with their hands. Whether you are getting a baby, juvenile, or adult bearded dragon, you will need to include live insects in their diet .

The terrarium plays a huge role in giving your bearded dragon a healthy, happy life. Now that you know the basics of creating the best bearded dragon tank setup, you can provide your reptile with a home where she can thrive.

What supplies do I need for a Bearded Dragon?

Tank..Ventilated screen lid..Heat lamp..UVB light..Water dish..Food dish..Branches..Hide-out.

What do Beardies need in their tank?

They’re cold-blooded and must have a warm environment. A beardie’s tank should be heated to between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and should also include a daytime basking spot that’s much warmer than that — between 100 F and 115 F. A basking lamp can help keep that spot extra-warm.

What is a bearded dragons favorite thing to do?

Most bearded dragons love playing around in the water. It’s a great way for them to have some fun while also getting hydrated. A large plastic storage bin that is at least twice as long as your bearded dragon makes for a perfect swimming hole. A small kiddie pool works well, too.

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Bearded Dragons live in an area where the temperature can become very hot during the day, which then falls away at night. It means that by the time their heating comes back on in the morning, they’ve got a reason to get up, bask and do more.

Of course this all depends on how cold your house gets at night – if below 10 degrees, then you’ll probably need to think about putting on your Beardie’s Ceramic Heat Emitter. It’s vital for the manufacture of Vitamin D3 in your Beardie’s skin, which allows calcium to be absorbed into his body. It is now possible to acquire lamps that emit both heat and the beneficial UV rays at the same time, minimising the need for additional expenditure on fitments.

Your Bearded Dragon should receive around 14 – 16 hours of UV exposure in the summer months, and 10 – 12 in the winter. The height of the lamp above the position of the Bearded Dragon is vital, because the effectiveness of the UV output falls as the distance increases. Having a reflector that will concentrate the UV light downwards is very important, but you also need to bear in mind that any grill as may be advisable to prevent the possible risk of your pet coming into contact with the lamp and suffering potentially fatal burns will decrease the UV output.

It is therefore a good idea to write the date when you started using a lamp in a diary, so you can remember when you need to replace it. In addition, if you register your purchase online, some manufacturers will email you when the lamp is likely to need replacing. It is often worth having a spare one available though in any event, just in case it blows at a time over Christmas perhaps, when it will be hard to replace.

In the absence of sufficient Vitamin D3, a Bearded Dragon will suffer from the effects of what is known as Metabolic Bone Disease (often abbreviated simply to MBD). A Bearded Dragons skeleton can become weak, and if its jawbones are affected then it will have problems with eating. It may be a good idea to have a couple, one for each end of the vivarium, in order to ensure that a temperature gradient is maintained.

You can use sand (although you should be aware of the risk of impaction) Reptile carpet Paper towels Ceramic tiles Lino Newspaper It is often not recommended to keep baby Bearded Dragons on sand because of fears that they might swallow particles with their food. The sand may then accumulate in the lizards digestive tract, giving rise to the condition known as impaction.

This condition is especially likely to arise if your pets food intake is deficient in key minerals such as calcium, as this may encourage it to eat the sand, swallowing much more as a result. Be sure that you are using supplements correctly, that the UV light does not need replacing, and that the temperature range across the vivarium is adequate, in order to minimise this risk. Impaction can ultimately be fatal, blocking the passage of food, and the only way to overcome the obstruction and saving the lizards life in this case will probably be by surgery.

The risk of impaction is lower with adult Bearded Dragons, but only use special sand sold for use with reptiles. Their food should be offered in a large container too, so there is less risk of it being dragged on to the vivarium floor and becoming contaminated with sand. However, it may be better to avoid sand altogether simply due to the increased risk that your Bearded Dragon could accidentally eat it.

The only thing in this case is to ensure that there is no risk of the Bearded Dragon being caught up in this fabric, especially as young Beardies have particularly sharp nails. It is important to include a dark rock or a piece of slate beneath the heat source, allowing the Bearded Dragon to pick up some radiant warmth here, as well as directly from above. As diurnal lizards meaning that they are active during the day a Bearded Dragon will then begin to seek food, moving around the vivarium once it has warmed up.

A retreat in the enclosure where the lizard can cool off as required, located away from warmer end, should be provided. It is important to keep the floor area relatively free though, so it may be worth thinking about getting a design of hide that can be incorporated into the corner of the enclosure. Another piece of decor that you can provide is a hammock, and in some cases, this may also strangely serve as a hide as well.

Your Bearded Dragon may choose to sleep on the hammock, and may even retreat on occasions beneath it. It is also vital as mentioned previously that there is no risk of your Bearded Dragon being able to reach the heat source and burn itself by clambering up in this way, or from a hammock. You can get other items such as plastic plants to add to the vivarium, but these objects are really about making the interior more attractive to onlookers rather than benefiting the occupant.

With the introduction of new treatments and diagnostics, vet fees can quickly become eye wateringly high. Unfortunately, we dont know when our pets are going to become ill, so ensuring that youve got enough money set aside for these bills can at times be difficult. ExoticDirect can cover Bearded Dragon’s for up to 1,000 worth of vet fees, death and theft.

Firstly, from a practical standpoint, it needs to be close enough to a power point to ensure that the electrical equipment can be connected here without difficulty. It is also important to ensure that the vivarium is not located in direct sunlight during the day, as the interior could rapidly heat up to a potentially fatal level for your pet. Choose a location away from draughts or busy areas of the home, and avoid using chemical sprays in the vicinity of the enclosure, as these could be harmful.

The vivarium itself will need to be supported on a chest or table, rather than being left on the floor, partly because this will help to ensure that you can interact with your pet and attend to its needs more easily.

Bearded dragons, or ‘beardies’, are one of the most popular lizards in captivity in the UK. They have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, or even longer, so they’re quite a commitment and it’s important to keep them in a way that mimics the wild as much as possible.

A 120cm long x 60cm high x 60 cm wide vivarium is the minimum size you’ll need for one adult dragon. As well as this, you’ll need to provide a 10 to 12% fluorescent UV tube at the hot end, to stop your beardy from getting metabolic bone disease.

You can find out more about your beardy’s feeding, supplements and water needs in our bearded dragon care sheet .

While your bearded dragon may prove to be quite the character, when it comes to their care and maintenance, it isnt too difficult to ensure they are healthy and always there to give you that little wave.

Their habitat will need to be monitored to give them specific exposure to heat and light, but some pets will still go into brumation. Growing between 40 and 60cm in length (including the tail), the recommended size for a bearded dragons enclosure is at least 100cm long x 50cm wide x 60cm high.

Visit your local Petbarn where a trained team member will be happy to recommend the right housing for your dragon. Be sure to include plenty of branches and rocks for your lizard to climb on and make sure they have a secluded spot where they can cool down or hide. Like all reptiles, your bearded dragon will rely on external sources to regulate their temperature.

If theyre in their enclosure and not exposed to the sun, your tank will need to provide a replacement so your pet can synthesise, produce crucial vitamins and stay healthy. Talk to your local Petbarn team member about what heating and lighting elements your tank will need. In order to legally house a bearded dragon, you must register with your local government by applying for a Companion Animal Keeper Licence.

Feed them a variety of insects such as moths, crickets, cockroaches, beetles, spiders and organ meats like chicken heart or liver, many of which can be found at your local Petbarn store . Different dragons like different foods and their preferences will change with age, so dont hesitate to mix up their diet to provide them with a broad range of vitamins and nutrients. When transporting your dragon, keep them warm by wrapping them in a towel and placing them in a ventilated box.

Bearded dragons are susceptible to internal and external parasites, gastrointestinal bugs, skin infections and nutrient deficiencies, which can be fatal if not treated properly. If you notice any symptoms or significant changes in your bearded dragon and youre not sure how to handle it, do not hesitate to refer to your local Greencross Vets . If youre housing more than one bearded dragon especially if you have multiple males give them their own individual space to avoid bullying or fighting.

Cleaning Brushes Sand sifter Soap or dishwashing detergent Sponges Rubber gloves

Bearded Dragon light and heat

Basking bulbs, also known as spot bulbs, provide an intense source of light and heat for your Beardie, replicating the sun’s heat and light.You can buy basking lamps from the Northampton Reptile Centre. Don’t forget that it’ll need to be held in a reflector that will concentrate the warmth downwards into your Beardie’s vivarium.

Do Bearded Dragons need heat at night?

Bearded Dragons don’t necessarily need heating at night. According to Pete Hawkins, allowing a drop in temperature at night allows their bodies to thermoregulate.It gives them a chance to slow down, in preparation for the morning.It means that by the time their heating comes back on in the morning, they’ve got a reason to get up, bask and do more. It helps ‘kick start’ their day.Leaving the heating on at night could discourage them from basking during the day, meaning they do less and eat less.Of course this all depends on how cold your house gets at night – if below 10 degrees, then you’ll probably need to think about putting on your Beardie’s Ceramic Heat Emitter.You can buy a Ceramic Heat Emitter from the Northampton Reptile Centre. They emit no light, only heat.

Bearded Dragons and UVB light

You should provide full spectrum UVB lighting for your Bearded Dragon. You can buy a range of UVB tubes from Northampton Reptile Centre.UVB lighting is essential as it mimics the ultraviolet component of sunlight. It’s vital for the manufacture of Vitamin D3 in your Beardie’s skin, which allows calcium to be absorbed into his body.You should also ensure that there is adequate calcium provided in your Bearded Dragon’s diet as well.It is now possible to acquire lamps that emit both heat and the beneficial UV rays at the same time, minimising the need for additional expenditure on fitments.You can buy the Arcadia Deep Heat Projector from the Northampton Reptile Centre.It is very important to read the directions for use though, to be sure that you appreciate how to incorporate a lamp of this type effectively into your set-up.

Temperature and thermometers for Bearded Dragons

In order to maintain the correct temperature for your Bearded Dragon, you’ll need a thermometer. It may be a good idea to have a couple, one for each end of the vivarium, in order to ensure that a temperature gradient is maintained.You can buy thermometers from the Northampton Reptile Centre.

Your vivarium and reptile carpets

Sand creates a relatively natural floor covering in the vivarium, but alternatively, you can use a reptile carpet for example, that can be cut and fitted to the floor area.The only thing in this case is to ensure that there is no risk of the Bearded Dragon being caught up in this fabric, especially as young Beardies have particularly sharp nails. Floor coverings of this type are likely to need washing though, to keep them clean.

Your vivarium, lino and ceramic tiles

Lino and ceramic tiles are generally very durable and easy to keep clean. They can also be trimmed to size.The downside is that your Beardie could slip on themYou can buy lino and tiles from shops like B&Q.

Your vivarium, paper towels and newspaper

These are a quick option for your vivarium, and are easy to keep clean. You simply pick them up and throw them away!Although they seem like a cheap option, over time the cost would begin to mount up. Therefore these may only be a short term option.

Rock or slate

You can provide the following decoration for your Bearded Dragon’s vivarium:

Hides or retreats inside the vivarium

A retreat in the enclosure where the lizard can cool off as required, located away from warmer end, should be provided.Hides of this type come in a variety of designs and sizes. It is important to keep the floor area relatively free though, so it may be worth thinking about getting a design of hide that can be incorporated into the corner of the enclosure.In fairness though, not all Bearded Dragons, particularly as they grow larger, will use a hide.

A hammock inside the vivarium

Another piece of decor that you can provide is a hammock, and in some cases, this may also strangely serve as a hide as well.Your Bearded Dragon may choose to sleep on the hammock, and may even retreat on occasions beneath it.What is important is that it is firmly fixed in place. Beware again with a small Beardie in particular that it cannot become caught up in the material of the hammock by its claws.

Wooden branches inside the vivarium

If you decide to include any wooden branches that your pet can climb up, ensure that these are firmly supported in the vivarium and will not tip over as this could seriously injure or even kill your pet.It is also vital as mentioned previously that there is no risk of your Bearded Dragon being able to reach the heat source and burn itself by clambering up in this way, or from a hammock.You can get other items such as plastic plants to add to the vivarium, but these objects are really about making the interior more attractive to onlookers rather than benefiting the occupant.

Bearded Dragon insurance

Vet fee cover is usually the main reason that loving pet owners choose to insure their pets. With the introduction of new treatments and diagnostics, vet fees can quickly become eye wateringly high.Unfortunately, we don’t know when our pets are going to become ill, so ensuring that you’ve got enough money set aside for these bills can at times be difficult. That’s where pet insurance comes in.ExoticDirect can cover Bearded Dragon’s for up to £1,000 worth of vet fees, death and theft. We also offer a vet fee only policy.

Where should I locate the vivarium?

The positioning of the vivarium is important. Firstly, from a practical standpoint, it needs to be close enough to a power point to ensure that the electrical equipment can be connected here without difficulty. In terms of safety, be sure that you have enough sockets, so as not to have to rely on adaptors.It is also important to ensure that the vivarium is not located in direct sunlight during the day, as the interior could rapidly heat up to a potentially fatal level for your pet. Choose a location away from draughts or busy areas of the home, and avoid using chemical sprays in the vicinity of the enclosure, as these could be harmful.The vivarium itself will need to be supported on a chest or table, rather than being left on the floor, partly because this will help to ensure that you can interact with your pet and attend to its needs more easily. It also affords the Bearded Dragon a greater sense of security. You will have to be careful though to ensure that it is not able to escape when you have the door open, as it could otherwise tumble to the floor, injuring itself as a consequence.

Caring for your bearded dragon

Bearded dragons, or ‘beardies’, are one of the most popular lizards in captivity in the UK. They have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, or even longer, so they’re quite a commitment and it’s important to keep them in a way that mimics the wild as much as possible.On this page and in our video below, you’ll learn more about how to care for your bearded dragon and how to keep them healthy and happy.

The right vivarium for your bearded dragon

This robust-looking lizard can grow to around 45cm including their long tail, so they need enough space to roam around. A 120cm long x 60cm high x 60 cm wide vivarium is the minimum size you’ll need for one adult dragon.Make sure it’s secure, well-ventilated and made from solid material that’s easy to clean.It’s important to add accessories to your beardy’s vivarium, such as rocks and branches to climb on. You can also help your beardy feel secure by making sure they have some good hiding areas.

Temperature and lighting

Bearded dragons need a vivarium that ranges from a hotter (38 to 42°C) bright end, to a cooler (22 to 26°C) shaded end. As well as this, you’ll need to provide a 10 to 12% fluorescent UV tube at the hot end, to stop your beardy from getting metabolic bone disease. It’s also essential to keep humidity low – use a hygrometer to measure this at the cool end.For more on heat and light, download our bearded dragon care booklet.

What do bearded dragons eat?

Bearded dragons eat a diet of live insects and vegetables. They need a wide variety of safe plants and vegetables, as well as the correct supplements. You can find out more about your beardy’s feeding, supplements and water needs in our bearded dragon care sheet.

Care and maintenance

Make sure your dragon is healthy before you bring them home. A healthy dragon will not be lethargic and will keep their head up, especially when you approach them. Check their eyes and nostrils are clear and not runny, and that there are no external injuries.Their habitat will need to be monitored to give them specific exposure to heat and light, but some pets will still go into brumation. Like hibernation, colder weather will make them dormant for weeks or even months. Your pet will be less active, sleep more and eat less. As long as they are provided with a warm, dark space to retreat into they will be happy.Feed your pet a

Setting up

Growing between 40 and 60cm in length (including the tail), the recommended size for a bearded dragon’s enclosure is at least 100cm long x 50cm wide x 60cm high. Visit yourLine the enclosure withBe sure to includeThe most important thing when setting up your bearded dragon’s enclosure is that they have an incandescent UV light that provides UVB light, though remember that there is no substitute for natural unfiltered sunlight. Make sure that the temperature of their enclosure is a thermo-regulated gradient. This means they have a ‘hot end’ (35-40°C) and a ‘cool end’ (25-28°C).Like all reptiles, your bearded dragon will rely on external sources to regulate their temperature. If they’re in their enclosure and not exposed to the sun, your tank will need to provide a replacement so your pet can synthesise, produce crucial vitamins and stay healthy. Talk to your local Petbarn team member about what

Licensing

All Australian reptiles are protected in Australia. In order to legally house a bearded dragon, you must register with your local government by applying for a ‘Companion Animal Keeper Licence’. This varies from state to state, so find the relevant information on your government website. For example, in NSW, the ‘Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Reptiles’ keeps you up to date with the rules and regulations relevant to your new pet. You can then apply for your licence online or call the provided number.

Feeding

Bearded dragons are omnivorous. However they gradually become more herbivorous as they age. Feed them a variety of insects such as moths, crickets, cockroaches, beetles, spiders and organ meats like chicken heart or liver, many of which can be found at yourDifferent dragons like different foods and their preferences will change with age, so don’t hesitate to mix up their diet to provide them with a broad range of vitamins and nutrients.They’ll also need access to fresh water at all times.

Travelling

Leave your pet be for the first week so they can familiarise themselves with their new surroundings. After this period, picking them up every so often or letting them out of their enclosure will give you bonding time. When picking up your lizard, flatten out your hand, holding it low to the ground and wait for them to come to you. Support their body from underneath and avoid squeezing them.When transporting your dragon, keep them warm by wrapping them in a towel and placing them in a ventilated box. A plastic container with holes for air would be sufficient. You could even put in a hot water bottle to keep your pet extra cosy. Ensure there is room to move away from it.

Health care

Bearded dragons are susceptible to internal and external parasites, gastrointestinal bugs, skin infections and nutrient deficiencies, which can be fatal if not treated properly.Check your dragon regularly for signs of infection. Look for frequent skin sheds, blisters, abrasions, ulcers or discoloured spots. If they’re not eating, it could be because of an ailment or it could be part of their brumation. If you’re unsure, ask your local Greencross Vets.To avoid illness, feed your pet a variety of veggies and insects. Keep their enclosure as clean as possible. Take them outside to enjoy the sun to keep their nutrient and vitamin levels up.If you notice any symptoms or significant changes in your bearded dragon and you’re not sure how to handle it, do not hesitate to refer to your

Pet safety tips

Monitor how your pet is going in their new home by keeping a record of their habits. When they are young, be sure to weigh them every week or so. This will make it easier to pinpoint what’s wrong if your pet becomes unwell.If you’re housing more than one bearded dragon – especially if you have multiple males – give them their own individual space to avoid bullying or fighting. Try using rocks to create divisions in their enclosure.It’s very important to let your bearded dragon out of their enclosure every so often. This will do a great deal for their health and will help them to familiarise themselves with human touch. Just be sure to keep an eye on them!