Ultimate Bearded Dragon Guide

Bearded dragons are popular pets because they are fun to watch and easy to care for. This guide will teach you how to get started and care for a bearded dragon pet.

The name refers to what looks like a beard. When a bearded dragon feels threatened, the skin color underneath their throat changes to black.

Bearded dragons are from Australia. Their natural habitat are the dry regions of Australia.

Image result for bearded dragon australia map

dietary needs are provided by native insects and local vegetation. Rainfall, dew, and plant (such as cacti) consumption provides adequate hydration.

  • name comes from a peculiuar behavior in males. To protect their territories, the male will stretch out the skin in their neck. Their throad turns back making the dragons look like that have a beard.
  • most popular reptile pet in the world* find reference

Bearded Dragon Facts

Here’s some quick bearded dragon facts:

  • The average captive bearded dragin lifespan is 10 years
  • There are 8 species of bearded dragon lizards
  • Bearded dragins grow 16 to 24 inches (40 to 60cm) long

natutal habitat – bushands / woodland / deserts

grow into adults within 2 years

weight

Mating – Bearded dragons lay eggs

Buying Bearded Dragons

TODO

  • breeders
  • pet stores
  • reptile rescues
  • online

Choosing a Bearded Dragon

Age – buy an adult or juvenile? Lifespan…

check for missing body parts? injuries / wounds. head check / mouth / puss / droopy eyes. alertness

How Much Does A Bearded Dragon Cost?

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Price – USD + Canada <$100-$400. England £20 to well over £100 . Australia $70 to $250

Replacemebt bulks will cost money… live feeders…

Cost of everything – approx $500USD? whats the breakdown…

food, electricity and maintenance

Housing & Habitat

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best kept alone – not housed together. Males are very territorial

live in hot and dry environment in the wild – mimic the bearded dragon’s natural habitat in the wild

Enclosure

  1. tank size – too small tank can cause anxiety and negatively affect their growth
  2. For basic – rectangular shape about 16 to 20 inches in height

Types of tanks / terrariums / cages:

  • Classic Glass Aquariums (cheap, aesthetic, heavy, not insulated)
  • Melamine Cages (type of wood) – buy pre-made or DIY
  • PVC (molded plastics) – professional (light, east to clean and some bought PVC tanks including lighting/heating features).
  • custom enclosures

Bedding / Substrate

When setting up your enclosure, you’ll need to choose the bedding or substrate to use as flooring.

There are two types of bedding / substrate:

  • Loose particles e.g. playground sand, calcium sand, crushed walnut shells, alfalfa pellets, millet, wood chips/shavings, pebbles, clay etc…
  • Non particle e.g. newspaper/paper towels, ceramic title, reptile cage carpet, rubber shelf liner etc…

Avoid loose particles such as sand as your Bearded Dragon might eat it. Over time this can build up in the digestive system and cause impaction issues.

Clay is great to form tunnels, hills and for digging. Avoid wood chips because it may be toxic. Use newspaper, reptile cage carpet or ceramic tiles instead.

Heating

Bearded dragons are cold blooded animals. They come from hot and dry climates. So they have particular heating requirements.

You will need to buy a heat lamp to create a basking area for your Bearded Dragon.. This is where your Bearded Dragon will go to when they want to heat up. I recommend you get he Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Tight Beam Bulb.

Your enclosure should have a gradient temperature range. Consider splitting your enclosure into two separate sections. Baby and juvenile Bearded Dragons need slightly warmer temperatures for basking.

Basking AreaCool Down Area
Baby95°F – 110°F or 35°C – 44°C80°F – 90°F or 27°C – 32°C
Juvenile95°F – 100°F or 35°C – 44°C80°F – 90°F or 27°C – 32°C
Adult90°F – 93°F or 32°C -34°C80°F – 90°F or 27°C – 32°C

You can turn off the basking light at night time. At night time, you might need a nighttime bulb for heat with less light. Ceramic heat emitters can be used for radiant heat. And there’s also heat pads. Do not use heat rocks as these can overheat and burn the undersides of your Bearded Dragon.

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Lighting

Reptiles need ultraviolet (UV) light to live healthy lifestyles. Bearded Dragons require about 12-14 hours of full spectrum UV light each day.

There are bulbs that provide heat, bulbs that provide light, and bulbs that provide both. Bearded Dragons need UVB 10 strength light.

Light bulbs need to placed in a protective cage or a tube as not to burn your Bearded Dragon. Tube are fitted on top of your enclosure tank in a reflector.

I recommend you use a programmable timer to manage the day and night light cycles.

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  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Mercury Vapor Bulbs

Decor

  • Decor
    • create a naturalistic and comfortable living space for your bearded dragon
  • hideouts (look like real rocks) / hiding huts. – rock caves, tree bark
  • wood branches / basking perch (do not overdo it) – blend into the environment / make it natural and comfortable. driftwood. Boil wood items in a large pot of water to remove potentially harmful bacteri
  • backgrounds – molded styrofoam and plastic formed to resemble rock walls and other scenery
  • Fake plants – cactus, desert brush etc… Some live plants may poison your beardie.

Accessories

  • Tank Covers and Lids (needs to allow airflow, not increase humidity)
  • Monitoring – ( temperature and humidity). hygrometer . thermometer.
  • Under tank heater (optional)
  • Food & water bowls – place away from basking area. Empty & clean refresh daily.
  • hammock (climbs & rest on)
  • basking platforms

Feeding

  • how often do you feed a bearded dragon
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  • Bearded dragons are omnivores, which mean they can eat both insects and vegetables.
  • diet will depend mostly on age. Young (80% insects / 20% plants). Older (20% insects and 80% vegetables). Size of food (no wider than eye width)
  • How to Feed Young Bearded Dragons
  • How to Feed Adult Bearded Dragons
  • Feed once a day ( 10 to 15 minutes period ? what is this?)
  • Insects (recommended to buy from pet stores). Popular (Black Soldier Fly Larvae, Butterworms, Crickets, Dubia Roaches, Earthworms, Locusts, Redworms, Superworms)
  • Plants ( vegetables and fruits )
  • Foods to avoid (random insects you find, avocado, fireflies or other insects which glow and poisonous plants e.g. tobacco, daffodil)
  • Vitamins & minerals – … reptile pellet food?

Behaviour

  • bearded dragon shedding
  • Bearded dragon brumation
  • bearded dragon waving
  • bearded dragon poop
  • bearded dragon lethargic

Brumation –  hibernation routine for bearded dragons. less active, decreased appetite. They may sleep for days and skip multiple meals

brumation after 1 year

Shedding – shed from twice a year to once every month depends on their age. Depends on age.

wave or bob their heads – submission / dominance

Common Problems

  • bearded dragon health
  • bearded dragon not eating
  • Bearded dragon mouth open
  • bearded dragon impaction
  • bearded dragon eye infection
  • bearded dragon diseases

Impaction – eats well but no poos. could be an impaction issue. massage stomach in a warm bath.

Diarrhea – if regular, could indicate a parasite or worm problem

Dehydration – if skin does not return to normal instantly after pressing it’s a sign of dehydration

Droopy eyes – kidney issue?

  • Respiratory infection – too cold or too humid. gaping mouth, breathing difficulties, puffy throat and sometimes whole body and excess mucus around the mouth and nostrils
  • Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) – weakening of bones due to poor diet. Symptoms: bumps in the legs and vertical columns of the back and tail, swollen lower jaw, twitches and spasms, and jerky movements
  • Mouth rot – When your bearded dragon has a decreased appetite and there is a yellowish/white substance around the mouth, your bearded dragon likely has mouth rot since their mouth is swollen or some of their teeth are loose.

Playing

  • ball
  • feed using tweezers
  • mirror (only expose a few times a day / cover up for rest of the day)
  • leash / walks
  • Swimming

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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  • Licences in Austalia
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  • do bearded dragons make good pets?
  • bearded dragon life expectancy / bearded dragon lifespan
  • Bearded dragon size / How big can a bearded dragon get?
  • How long can a bearded drago go without food?
  • bearded dragon price / how much does a bearded dragon cost?

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