It is easy to see why the Bearded dragon is one of the most popular lizards kept in captivity today. They are easy to keep and are very tame and stay that way. They're not too big and not too small, averaging between 16-22 inches including their long tail. They look like prehistoric beasts with the wonderful spiky collar! They are an excellent pet for children and adults who want a reptile with a great personality.
Bearded Dragons are omnivores, so they will eat both meat and plant type foods. They can be fed insects, pinkie mice, veggies, and fruits.
Reptiles need to have a vitamin/mineral supplement with calcium and phosphorous. Most commercial foods will have the supplements already added. If not, a supplement should be sprinkled on the adult's food items at every second to third feeding and more often with very young reptiles.
Foods to be given
Bearded dragons will eat crickets and different types of worms, and even pinkie mice when the reptile is large enough to eat them easily. They also need vegetables in their diet (approx. 1/5th of their total diet). Be very careful not to feed Bearded Dragons foods that are too large or serious problems could result. Pinkie mice can be bought frozen, but they must be thawed out at room temperature before being feed. Never feed a reptile cold food.
Veggies and fruits can be fed cut up into bite sized pieces for them and should include dark leafy greens such as collards, mustard greens, and alfalfa sprouts. Some kale, broccoli, turnip greens, carrot, green beans, and squash are good secondary choices.See our section on feeding herbivores
It is best to avoid cabbage. Almost any type of fruit can be fed, although stay away from bananas since they are high in phosphorus.
Bearded dragons grow to a fairly good size, so an adult individual needs to be kept in at least a 50 gallon tank, but as babies they can start out in a 10-15 gallon tank. A screen should be used on top.
Some branches or other decorations that they can climb would be good to place in the tank. Do not use any branches from outside or you might be introducing pesticides or diseases. For a substrate on the bottom, use a calcium carbonate sand (we recommend Reptilite by CaribSea for its lower cost, smoother granuals for safer digestion, and it has a more natural look).
Temperature and Humidity
Two types of lighting should be used. One type of lighting has a reptile fluorescent bulb that gives off full spectrum light including UVA and UVB. The UVB is especially important for these reptiles to get so they can absorb calcium properly.
The second light system is for heat. Reptiles are ectotherms, which mean they get their heat from an outside source. Different areas of the habitat should be at different temperatures, so they can move around to heat up or cool off. Bearded dragons are comfortable with a daytime temperature in their tank of 76-86 degrees, a basking area at 90-100, and a nighttime temperature of 70-76. Use a daylight heat bulb in a heat lamp during the day to keep the temperature up in their tank. Do not use hot rocks with bearded dragons. Use a strong basking lamp at one end of the tank that they may lay under to warm themselves up during the day. Turn off the basking lamp at night. If temperatures in their enclosure drop below 70 degrees a heat pad or nocturnal heat light may be needed at night.
We recommend using a timer on your lights to keep a consistant daytime/nightime cycle of 12 hours on and 12 hours off.
Bearded dragons like low humidity in their tank and should be misted only lightly once a week. Keep a small shallow dish of water in the tank as well. Bearded Dragons will enjoy a bath occasionally, especially during times of shedding.
Mist the tank lightly once or twice a week. They will shed their skin periodically, mist them more often during these times to help them shed the skin more easily. Be sure the tank is always at the right temperature. Change the reptile full spectrum light as often as recommended by the manufacturer, usually every six months to a year. Although the bulb may still be working, it will lose its potency over a certain period of time.
Reptiles can carry one disease that can be transmitted to people called salmonellosis. Although it is rare for a reptile to caryy this disease, it is always important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you have handled your pet or anything in your petís cage. Keep your pet out of the kitchen area and do not allow very small children to handle any reptiles.
□ Fish tank
□ Screen top
□ Heat lamp with daylight heat bulb
□ Fluorescent light with reptile UVB bulb
□ Under-tank heat pad (as needed)
□ 2nd heat lamp with night heat bulb (as needed)
□ Branches and other decorations for climbing
□ Small water dish
□ Reptile litter or other substrate
□ Vitamin/Mineral supplement
□ Books about Bearded Dragon