If you are looking to add a lizard to your family, Bearded Dragons are one of the best reptiles to choose. These lizards are not only adorable, but they are great as beginner lizards, as well as pet lizards for people who have handled lizards for a long time.
Why Are Bearded Dragons So Popular?
Bearded Dragons, also known as “Beardies,” are popular as pets because:
- they are commonly bred in captivity.
- they are widely available.
- they grow to approximately 18″ – 24″.
- they allow you to handle them, rather than just be looked at.
- they eat a wide variety of foods.
Bearded Dragons do live for approximately 10 years, so it is important to know that they will require a long-term commitment.
In addition, Bearded Dragons are appropriate for children that are 10 years of age or older, since Bearded Dragons do not like to be grabbed. A Beardie should be held with his body receiving the main support, with his tail also receiving some support. A Bearded Dragon’s tail should receive some support, as it can break off.
Where Do Bearded Dragons Get Their Name?
Bearded Dragons get their name from the spiny skin under their throats. When they “puff up” their throats, the skin looks like a beard.
In the wild, Bearded Dragons puff their throats as a defensive posture. The puffed throat makes a Bearded Dragon look bigger, and therefore more threatening. Since most Beardies are bred in captivity and raised by humans, a puffed throat at the approach of a human is not as common as it once was.
Bearded Dragons also puff their throats to help with internal thermal regulation. Typically, a Beardie will open its mouth and puff its throat to regulate body temperature when it is sitting in a basking area.
What Kind of Habitat Does a Bearded Dragon Need?
Bearded Dragons need a Desert habitat in order to survive. In the wild, Beardies are very good at climbing, and they can be found perching from rocks or tree limbs. In captivity, Bearded Dragons typically live in well-ventilated terrariums that are 40 gallons or larger. Using a screen top lid on the terrarium helps aid in proper air exchange.
You should keep either one or two Bearded Dragons in a terrarium together once they are adults. If you plan to keep two Bearded Dragons together, it is best to keep two females, as two adult males kept together can fight.
Bearded Dragons need a basking area that is close to the heat source, since they bask in order to regulate their body temperatures. A basking area could be a smooth, flat rock or branches. These items should bring your Beardie closer to the basking lamp. They also need a rock cave or hollow log hiding spot placed in a cool section of their homes in order to feel safe and secure.Artificial plants can be used for shade and shelter. Additional branches placed outside the basking area provide places for your Bearded Dragon to climb.
Daytime temperatures should range between 75 degrees and 85 degrees. The basking spot lamp should create a basking area of 100 degrees – 120 degrees. Nighttime temperatures should range from 65 degrees and 75 degrees. A heat-emitting lamp that does not transmit visible light should be used at night if temperatures outside the habitat are less than 65 degrees.
In order for your Bearded Dragon to process calcium, use a daytime UVA/UVB fluorescent bulb. It should be turned on for approximately 12 hours per day.
Humidity levels in your Bearded Dragon’s habitat should be between 20% and 30%. Placing some moist moss under your Beardie’s hiding area helps regulate humidity.
The type of bedding to use for your Bearded Dragon depends on your Beardie’s size. Juveniles that are smaller than 6″ long should have bedding that is made of newspaper or reptile carpet. A 3″ – 6″ layer of calcium sand should be used for adult Beardies that are over 6″ in length. The bedding should be cleaned weekly and changed out at least once per month.
What Kind of Food Does a Bearded Dragon Eat?
Bearded Dragons eat a variety of foods. They are omnivores that like to eat a range of vegetables and insects.
Bearded Dragons do well with eating live insects, such as “gut loaded” crickets, mealworms, or waxworms. “Gut loaded” insects are those that have been fed a special supplement that contains extra nutrients, which are then passed on to the reptile. Juveniles should be fed once a day, while adults eat daily or every other day. You should only offer an amount of insects that can be eaten by the end of the day. Once a week, a calcium dust should be “dusted” on the insects in order to provide a calcium supplement to your Bearded Dragon.
Vegetables are about 25% of a juvenile’s diet and about 50% of an adult’s diet. Offer veggies such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, zucchini, and shredded carrots. Creating a salad of veggies is always appreciated for variety.
Clean, fresh water should be provided in a shallow dish. In addition, Beardies will lick moisture from their skin, so they need to be misted with water every other day.
Hopefully, these tips will help you care for your Bearded Dragon pet.