Baby bearded dragons are adorable. They will turn into your best friend in the world but they do require a different level of care than adult bearded dragons
Bearded dragons are rapidly growing in popularity (beginner guide) and many owners will look up what to do and how to care for them online but the information out there is mostly for adult bearded dragons
If you just brought home a baby bearded dragon you’re in luck and in this article, I will help you understand the best way to care for a baby bearded dragon
Baby bearded dragons are extremely mobile
Everything we will cover is
- water and hydration
- size and how fast they grow
- health concerns
- lighting and temperature
- humidity needs
Bearded dragon Tank needs
The first thing you want to think about is their tank. Now many people recommend a certain tank size for many reasons but the tank needs to be bigger than you think
Your aim is to recreate the environment that they’re used to and come from. Which is a desert climate
A baby Bearded dragon needs a smaller tank at first. Nothing more than 40 gallons is fine.
However, what I did was completely different and I got him a big tank right off the bat. First of all buying, two tanks don’t make any sense unless you have disposable income which is fine if you do
Your bearded dragon is going to grow very quickly so you’re going to need a bigger tank pretty quickly
Baby Bearded Dragon Tank Size
I recommend 120 gallons for all sizes but if you want to start out small.
- 120 gallon tank is good for adults
- 40 to 60 gallon tanks are good for juveniles
- 20 gallons is good enough for a baby bearded dragon
At first, it’s going to seem like a huge task setting up this tank however think about it in small pieces and it will come together just fine
Tank type / material for baby bearded dragons
There are a few options to choose from and its really up to you which one you get because of the budget you have
The options you have are
All of these are fine but Wood and PVC hold onto moisture better
Bearded Dragon Substrates
There are a lot of options for substrates that I actually made an entire article about this and you can find it here
A substrate is the floor lining on the bottom of the tank and there are tons of options and only a few are good for you
the first thing I want you to tell you because it’s really important is you must avoid loose particle substrates
The reason why is bearded dragons will eat anything and they will ingest sand, gravel, mulch, and any other loose particles inside the tank
you want to put down a substrate that is very solid and not edible
The best two are Reptile Carpet and Ceramic tile
Ceramic tile is easy to clean and completely safe to put in your Baby bearded dragon tank
Make sure you choose a high-quality reptile carpet that is tightly woven so that your Bearded dragons nails don’t get caught on it
If a nail gets stuck inside it can actually lead to them tearing out a nail trying to get unstuck from the carpet itself
It can be painful for them so get the high-quality stuff
Reptile carpet needs a little more care as when it gets wet from water or poop it will absorb it which means you’ll have to pull it out and wash it
Do not wash reptile carpet in the washing machine with your clothes
you can use the sink that connects to your washing machine since that is big and easy to use but don’t mix your clothes with reptile bacteria
Another excellent option for a Bearded dragon substrate is newspaper!
yep that stuff you get in the mail that you read once and toss or maybe you don’t even read it
you can use that as a substrate. It can get slippery and all that but its perfectly safe and easy to use because once it gets messy you just toss it
Why you need to stay away from Loose substrates
Loose substrates can easily be eaten by your baby bearded dragon
Pebbles, rocks, sand, gravel. Anything that’s loose and seems easy to eat
These things cause something called impaction
impaction can actually lead to death if not cared for so its important for you to know what it is and I left an article about it for you to read
Baby bearded dragons would actually be in a worse off position because they need to eat all the time. They are constantly moving around.
Impaction symptoms look like this
- No poop in a while. This will be especially noticeable with a baby bearded dragon because adults poop about once a week where as babies will poop once a day
- Loss of appetite. Nature knows best and they will stop eating when they know something is wrong
- Low energy and lethargic
To help with impaction you can actually help them poop by giving them a bath
If you soak them in water that’s warm they might be able to pass poop. If you rub their belly it might help as well
If they aren’t passing a poop take them to the vet. It’s much better to be safe than sorry with this stuff
Also, stay away from calcium sand and vitamin sands. Your bearded dragon is supposed to get its nutrients from the FOOD it’s eating. Not its substrate
Baby Bearded Dragon Lighting and heat Needs
Choosing the right lighting is crucial to your bearded dragons health
You need specific lighting in order for your baby bearded dragon to grow big and strong. The basking light will help them absorb nutrients
You need UVB lighting (Highly recommended light) coming into your bearded dragons tank
This Basking lamp will also be required for your bearded dragon to grow. They sit in the heat to help them digest food.
you want to be changing your light bulb every 6 months regardless if they’re burnt out or not
You want your temperature gradient to look like this
insert new image here
So like most reptiles, they will have a hot spot, warm spot, and a cold spot
The hot side (basking side) will be the hottest part of the tank and this is where they will sit when they need to digest food
the warm side will be right in the middle
The cool side is where they are going to sleep at night
Remember you are going to be replicating the wild here. so during the day they would be out basking in the sub absorbing the UV light and heat from the sun
You can use this ceramic heater as well to heat the side of the tank. Leave one side without the light so it can stay cool.
For keeping an eye on heating you can use this thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature
This is important because if the heat is too high or too low your bearded dragon will show signs of stress
A stressed bearded dragon is hard to diagnose as well. it can take a long time to figure it out.
Bearded Dragon Decor and Accessories
So this was my favorite part about bringing home my bearded dragon. I wanted to see how he was going to like his new home
i filled his tank with a whole bunch of accessories and decor
The first thing I gave him was a place to hide. Now you can 100 percent do your own thing. You can carve out a hole from a shoebox or something if you want to
I use this for his hide hole. it’s a log that he can use to hide and sleep when he wants to and cool down from the direct light bulbs when he wants to as well
this is the hangout decor I gave him
This is another option as well
You want to be giving them some higher places in the tank to hang out on
bearded dragons like to be high up in the air and this thing can help with that. You can exercise your creativity.
The next thing you need is some sort of dish to give them. This is the dish I recommend you use.
You don’t always have to give them a FOOD dish because they might eat live crickets and little salads you give them.
You should 100 percent give them a water bowl though. However, it is hard for Bearded dragons to see water unless it’s moving so you can use this
If you do any kind of DIY stuff. Make sure you don’t use anything sharp or dangerous to your bearded dragon that could cause injurySlaine
Baby bearded Dragon Diet and water needs
We will start off with water needs
Baby bearded dragons are going to be eating and drinking a lot more than adults do.
They actually grow insanely fast compared to many other species on the planet
A hot desert climate is what they will be used too but you should still keep some water inside the tank and mist them sometimes.
I change my bearded dragon’s water every single day and I mist him at least once a day as well. This helps with shedding
the more hydrated they are and the better the humidity is the easier it will be for them to shed
A Baby bearded dragon is going to shed a lot more than an adult as well.
Just be careful that the water is not too deep. It needs to be below their shoulders. Bearded dragons can easily drown so be careful
Bearded Dragon Food Needs
A baby bearded dragon diet is going to be made up mostly of protein and vegetables with little fruit mixed in
I made a whole article about this for all bearded dragon ages
A baby bearded dragon should be taking in about 70% to 80% of insects. The insects I recommend are Dubia Roaches, crickets, and worms
Bearded Dragons need a lot of protein when they are babies in order to grow into strong healthy adults
As a bearded dragon gets older the protein and vegetable requirements actually completely flip and beardies will need 80% vegetables and 20% protein with some fruit here and there
when you give them food make sure it’s small enough for them to eat!
They have this space between their eyes. Look at it and don’t feed them anything bigger than that space between their eyes
Bearded Dragon insect information
the insects need to be Gut loaded if you can help it. This means the insects have eaten and stuffed their bellies full of food before they are given to your beardie
the benefit of this is your beardie will be getting all the nutrients from that cricket or dubia roach and what they ate
you also want to make sure your bearded dragon is getting a calcium supplement too
The process of adding calcium can be done by dusting. the best way to do this is to keep a sandwich bag fill with the multivitamin and/or calcium powder and put the insects in it and shake it up
this will help coat it nicely
Bearded Dragon supplements and multivitamins
Proper supplementation is crucial for the longevity of your bearded dragon.
If they don’t get enough calcium they can eventually get Metabolic bone disease
I give my bearded dragon a multivitamin and a calcium supplement when I’m feeding him
This is the calcium powder I recommend
Do your best to remember to give them their vitamins. It won’t hurt them if you forget sometimes ( i know I do)
Just keep a note above their tank telling you to dust the protein before feeding
Summary FAQ’s and care questions (ongoing and will add more questions)
My baby bearded dragon has some stuck skin during shedding what do I do?
This happens sometimes and the best thing you can do is soak them in warm water
When they are soaking let them rub against you and help the skin come off
A baby bearded dragon is going to shed often so make sure you know how to help them out if they get stuck shed
DON’T START PEELING OFF THEIR SKIN BEFORE ITS READY
I’ve seen new owners do this and it can hurt your beardie
Shedding is completely normal and they will do this pretty often when they’re young.
The new skin is actually pretty noticeable too.
Once the old skin flakes off you can see the new skin shine through. it can be quite beautiful
Most of the time your bearded dragon is going to be able to shed completely fine on their own
the problems usually occur when the tank doesn’t have enough humidity or the beardie isn’t hydrated enough
If you do give them a bath you want it to be warm water only. A little warmer than your skin.
Don’t do it in hot hot water. You will burn your beardie
How to clean a Bearded Dragons Tank
Bearded Dragon tanks can get really gross if you don’t have a regular cleaning routine
The tanks can easily get fungus, bacteria, and virus buildup because of all the moisture
Moisture helps bacteria grow easily but it’s necessary for your bearded dragon so you need to clean the tank at least once a month
You can use this reptile cleaner solution here
if you don’t feel like buying anything like that I don’t blame you
you can actually make your own home solution just fine
You can use a vinegar and water mix to help with the cleaning of the glass and flooring
You can use some soapy water as well to do this
keep your bearded dragon in a safe location between cleaning as well
During a deep clean you want to take the decor out and place it in a sink you and give it a wash down
the vinegar solution will help on decor but make sure you rinse it off well
The biggest culprits causing a stinky and messy tank are poop and leftover rotten food
You will be spot cleaning most of the time and that’s fine. I usually do it at the end of the night with my nighttime routines