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Bearded Dragon Ownership Cost – Best 5 plus Tips!

Bearded Dragon ownership can range based on a few things. Pets, in general, have a higher cost because they have needs like food, water, tank, and sometimes depending on the pet you might have to change the litter or something

Here is a list so you can see the cost right off the bat

  • Bearded dragon itself ($70 – 150 dollars depending on the morph you get)
  • The tank will completely range depending on the size. I would go for a big tank right away if you can afford it since bearded dragons need a decent amount of space ($250 or more)
  • Food will cost you around 40 per month
  • Vet Visits Are going to be around 100 dollars per year give or take if they need medicine or anything else like that

Your total investment into your new bearded dragon will be about $600 – $900 initially and your monthly investment will be about $40 per month

Bearded Dragon Ownership and Prices (deeper Dive)

There are a few places you can pick up a bearded dragon from and depending on where you get them from the cost will change

Breeders

Breeders are an awesome place to look for a bearded dragon because you can actually request more special species if you want to

Bearded Dragon Ownership

The best way to find a breeder is google of course but asking a herpetology vet (google this) near you and ask them who some good breeders are

Good breeders actually care about the reptiles they’re creating and don’t treat them like objects for money

Great breeders have a good relationship with their local vets. Good breeders want to keep their beardies alive and well

in terms of prices. A breeder will actually be a bit cheaper than a local pet store will be

I personally got my bearded dragon from a breeder and he was about 25 Dollars less than what his same breed would have been at a store

Pet Store

People that are new to the whole bearded dragon ownership thing are usually familiar with pet stores.

this is usually the first place that people will go when looking for a new pet to take home

However, pet stores do have their downsides

The first thing that I had an issue with from a pet store was their “recommendations” for me to use gravel and sand as a substrate for my bearded dragon

Loose substrates like rocks, gravel, sand and wood chips can actually be bad for your bearded dragon because it can cause impaction to happen

IMpaction is when your bearded dragon accidentally ingests that hard material that is hard or impossible for your beardie to actually digest

This leads to the impaction which can actually require surgery to fix if left untreated

Now pet stores completely vary when it comes to the actual care of the pets they sell

Some of the people working there actually have no idea what they’re doing or what is healthy for the animals and replies in the store

Some of them are just kids looking to make a few bucks

Most of the time it’s a good idea to avoid pet stores. If you do go down that route then look up reviews and do some due diligence

A pet store will charge you about 50 to 75 dollars for a baby bearded dragon.

I have seen it go for less but I don’t typically go to pet stores so I may be a little off here

craig’s list

This is another option. Sometimes an owner doesn’t really want their pet anymore and they want to pass them along to another owner

Now this can go very well terribly

You may end up taking on a pet that has been neglected and may need a vet visit soon

On top of that, they might have some sort of problem with people if they were abused or neglected

Bearded dragons can bite and they can hurt so you need to be careful

Going down this road will mean you have a lot of risks involved

what you can do is take the bearded dragon to a vet before you buy them to make sure they’re healthy

This is what I would do anyways

In terms of prices, I have seen prices all over the place

you will see $100 dollar options all the way down to free

Facebook marketplace

Much like Craig’s list you need to be careful here

There is one plus about going down this route though and that is the idea that you can somewhat see someone’s profile before buying something from them

So just be careful here as you can still be stuck with a bad deal and a sick bearded dragon if you don’t take and precautions

Again what I would do is come check out the beardie and take them to a vet

A Reptile Show

I had no idea these even existed until recently

Reptile shows are a great way to talk to people who are into reptiles. Especially people that are experienced owners

This will also expose you to the exotic bearded dragon world

you will see some very rare morphs

Reptile shows have a lot to offer in terms of sales

You can actually buy some pretty rare breeds from a reptile show if you’re looking for one outside of the breeding option

Rare reptiles can cost thousands of dollars so be prepared to spend a few bucks

you’re going to get a totally different vibe from other bearded dragon owners and reptile lovers

They will help you prevent problems you might run into owning a bearded dragon

Bearded dragon Rescue

Sometimes a bearded dragon will need to be rescued from a home that is not suited for it anymore

Sometimes a home will be a bad fit that is outside the homeowner’s control and sometimes it is

People will have many reasons for why they don’t really want their bearded dragon anymore so they will have a chance to be rescued

I know of one instance where a parent got a bearded dragon for his kid and the kid just couldn’t control himself around the beardie

He would almost crush the little guy and didn’t listen to his parent’s plea for him to be gentle

So they gave up the bearded dragon for adoption

if you’re interested in finding a bearded dragon or any other pet for adoption a quick google search will help you

Some places might charge you a fee and in my personal experience most won’t charge anything

First thing to do when you bring your bearded dragon home

the first thing I did when I brought my bearded dragon home was bring them to the vet

I have a vet that is a personal friend of mine and she doesn’t charge me to look after my beardie

But this will cost most of you a little bit of cash. It’s important to do this though as you have no idea what that bearded dragon has been exposed to

Sometimes a bearded dragon could have been in a tank or an enclosed space with another bearded dragon and they could have fought each other

This is a random example but its totally possible

This is bad because they could have sustained injuries that are totally visible

Anything is possible so it’s worth taking them to the vet to do a routine checkup

You can expect to pay around 50 – 150 dollars for a check-up depending on where you live

Bearded Dragon Ownership Expenses (Deep Dive)

Bearded dragon Tank

You need a place to house your bearded dragon

A tank is the most common thing and practical thing to house your bearded dragon

Now sometimes you might get a bearded dragon immediately and not have time to order a tank to build one

So if you need a temporary idea you can put them in small things like plastic containers or shoe boxes but remember that’s only temporary

bearded dragons need room to breathe so its important they have space

When considering the tank I think the best idea is to buy a big tank right off the bat

This will help your bearded dragon grow correctly.

This also helps because you won’t spend as much money down the road upgrading the size of your tank

Now the fancier of a tank you get the more it will cost you

so make sure you’re aware of that fact

The best types of tanks to pick from are

  • wood
  • PVC
  • glass
  • plastic

Now between those 4, the best one, in my opinion, is PVC

It will hold the moisture better but you have to make sure you have proper ventilation because it can get really hot inside these enclosures

Lighting

After you decide on a tank you will need some sort of lighting for the tank

Now you should know how the lighting and heat works in the tank so here is a chart for you to follow

Bearded dragon temperature gradient

The right lighting will mean a world of difference to the development of your bearded dragon

The first lighting piece we will look at is a basking light

Basking light

A basking light is basically a hot lamp. Your bearded dragon will hang out under it when they’re eating food

Don’t go cheap on these bulbs. You’ll be replacing it every 6 months so it’s not that bad in terms of price

My favorite bulb to use is this one

lighting is important to their health so please don’t cheap out

Another important light you will need is a UVB light bulb

UBV lighting

UVB lighting is important for their health as well so again it’s important you don’t cheap out on these lights

A good UV light is going to run you around 20 to 25 dollars and here is a good link for it

UV lightbulb link

The reason you can’t go cheap on these lights is that bearded dragons need the right amount of vitamin D3

Which helps convert the food they eat into calcium

Without that UV lighting, they can’t do it properly

You need something to hold the lights. Now I had to make myself one because the lights I ordered were the wrong ones initially so I just made it work with the materials I had lying around

Tank and Enclosure Heat Requirements

The tank needs to be a certain temperature at night and during the day

You want to be replicating the desert as much as possible

In the desert, it can get pretty cold at night and bearded dragons will try to find warm places to hang out so they don’t freeze overnight

you want to make sure the heat stays above 65 degrees Fahrenheit

my personal option is getting a ceramic heater

you can get one here

Bearded Dragon substrate

Many new owners will get many different pieces of advice

Ill break it down real quick for you

There are two types of substrates that can be used for a bearded dragon tank

Loose substrates – Sand, gravel, wood chips, etc

Hard Substrates – Ceramic tile, reptile carpet,

I do have an entire article on this

You want to stay away from loose substrates because your bearded dragon can accidentally ingest them.

Impaction can easily happen with loose substrates. It’s much easier and better for you to just stick with a hard substrate.

A hard substrate is super easy to clean as well. With ceramic tile, you can actually pull it out and bake it to kill all the bacteria

Reptile carpet can be cleaned by soaking in soap and water and scrubbing

I personally use ceramic tile and its easy to use

Decor

Bearded dragons need some decor in order to feel decent about their surroundings

These things include places your bearded dragon can hide. Funny enough people call them hides.

Reptiles like to hide away from things sometimes. Sometimes they actually want to get away from the heat or want to stay a little warmer

They have all kinds of different things you can put inside a bearded dragon tank

  • Trees
  • A basking rock
  • hides
  • Hammock (yes they have hammocks)
  • Plants
  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl

Now i went ahead and spent too much money on this.

You don’t need to do that. You can create some cool little hides and climbing pieces yourself

If you have kids you can put them to work 🙂

I have seen some owners get things from outside in nature. You don’t have to do that ut if you do just make sure it’s sterile and sanitary

Baking it in the oven at 275 degrees will do it

One thing you will need is a way to keep track of the Temperature

Thermometers

You will need two of these. You need one for the Basking ( Hot ) side and one for the cool side

If you don’t maintain the proper temperatures your bearded dragon can experience complications

You can easily get a couple of thermometers off of amazon but I do have a link from this website if you feel like supporting this website

Reptile Thermometers

You can and should also get yourself a temperature gun

You can do a check to make sure that the thermometers are working correctly

What i normally do is check the temps every week. I also watch my bearded dragons behavior to make sure they aren’t acting funny

When a bearded dragon starts acting sluggish or slow then I will check its surroundings first

  • temps
  • food and water
  • check their body for sickness or mites
  • Double check the tanks cleanliness

Basking lamps will eventually lose their strength. When this happens your bearded dragon will get less and less heat which messes with its digestion

A temperature gun will help you because you’ll be able to check the temps right there

I had a temp gun lying around from before so you can check amazon for a good one but make sure you check the reviews

Temp guns last a long time so if you get a quality one from the start then you will be good for a while

it’s awesome to have a good temperature checker

Electrical Timers

This is what I use to keep everything in check. it’s so easy to say ” hey I’ll remember to turn off the lights at night” then something comes up.

It’s so much easier to just set up the timer and live your life

Bearded dragons need light and darkness just like humans do

They will sleep at night when the lights are off and then you’ll want to turn the lights on during the day

You can get a good timer from amazon here

It has awesome reviews and it will make your life so much easier taking care of your bearded dragon

Wifi Camera

I don’t personally do this because my bearded dragon is just one room over from us.

However, some people like to keep a really close eye on their bearded dragons

this is the camera a friend of mine uses and he loves it

Wifi Camera

You can check on them all the time to make sure they are doing okay

Sometimes bearded dragons do some weird but cute things and you can watch them do it

Bearded dragon ownership is all about bonding with your beardie anyways and if this is for you then go through with it

Bearded Dragon Food

Food is something that new owners are usually thrown by

My blog here has a huge section on what bearded dragons can eat

There are two main things a bearded dragon is going to eat

  • vegetables
  • insects

Bearded dragons can eat fruit but you should limit them to a certain amount of fruit

I stick to Dubia roaches and crickets for my bearded dragon.

90 percent of the time that is the kind of protein they eat

I don’t actually have a blog post about this yet but you can actually set up a roach colony separate from your beardie tank and you will never really have to buy roaches again. Look into it!

Now, remember one thing. Baby bearded dragons need more insects, and adults need more veggies

Depending on the age of your bearded dragon you will have less or more greens. unless you own a garden greens can get expensive. Just giving you a heads up

Insects can run you up to about $70 – $90 a month depending on where you get them from

if you get your own colony going well you’ll spend next to nothing on insects

Bearded Dragon Supplements

Your bearded dragon is going to need supplements for them to grow and stay healthy

Staying healthy is the name of the game for long term bearded dragon health and well being making your bearded dragon ownership much more fruitful

What you will need is 3 main things

The calcium supplement has some vitamin D in it as well so there is no need for you to purchase a separate Vitamin D supplement

Conclusion

After adding everything up you will see it will cost quite a bit to set everything up in the first place and you will have a small monthly cost but it will make the bearded dragon ownership well worth it

You will be looking to spend around $30 a month or so

Every 6 months you will need to buy a new set of lights which can cost you around $60 – $80

Every year you should take your beardie to the Vet which can run you about 100 per year

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