Bearded Dragons for beginners. This will be a guide on how to care for bearded dragons. It will go into much deeper detail than most guides out there. bearded Dragons (aka Beardies) are my favorite reptile mostly because it looks like they are smiling all the time 🙂
Bearded Dragon pogona vitticeps are extremely popular and also cute pets that have special requirements for care. They can be handled as they are docile and not aggressive.
The most popular bearded dragon name is the central bearded dragon. Inland bearded dragon is another name for them as well but we will refer to them just as bearded dragons or beardies for simplicity
They are actually really social. They can literally fall asleep on your chest. compared to some other lizards you can take them out of their cage and let the hang out with you and they will just sit there and watch you. This is why they are great for beginners. They are pretty easy to take care of
They got their name for their flap of skin under their chin. They use it to scare off predators. Their beard will go black when they are stressed or scared.
These dragons are super popular for a few reasons
- They are easy to handle and take very little time to adapt to their new home
- they are active during the day so you can play with them during the day while many other reptiles are nocturnal
- They are easy to find. You don’t have to look far to get your own bearded dragon bred for you or just buy one from a store
Quick glance Bearded Dragon Care sheet for screenshots 🙂
|Size at adulthood||15 to 20 inches|
|Lifespan||10 – 15 years with good care|
|Tank size||48 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches L,W,H|
|Diet||Leafy green veggies, some fruits and insects|
|Tank temperature||Basking area is 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, warm area should be 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, nighttime temp 75 degrees Fahrenheit|
|similar reptiles||Leopard Gecko, blue-tongued Skinks, Crested geckos|
Table of Contents
How much does a bearded dragon cost?
Bearded dragons range in price based off of a few factors like rarity and such. However the average price of a bearded dragon will run you about 60 to 100 dollars USD.
Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
This guide will be made for beginners and people who are experienced with other reptiles as well. i designed this so you can come back to this at any time and refer back to it and share it with anyone who might be looking for this kind of information. i will also update this if needed.
Bearded dragons are native to Australia. There are many people that actually do want to know where bearded dragons come from since they are so widely available in many places in the world.
Bearded dragons are semi-arboreal which means they like to spend their time up high in branches.
You will have a great time taking care of your beardie when you know exactly what they’re looking for. make sure you keep a close eye on them in case they get stressed, they stop eating, or get sick.
The best way to think is what will their natural habitat look like? what will bearded dragons do in the wild?
you can use many different types of enclosures for your bearded dragon. They are semi arboreal which means they like to climb and sit on things that are high up
the differences between these are usually how good these tanks can hold humidity. If you want to see your beardie then use a glass or PVC enclosure with a front window or door
Make sure the enclosure has a screen top as well. you want humidity to be able to escape the tank
the tank should be about 6 feet in length, 2 feet wide and three feet in height 6x2x3
Make sure to decorate the enclosure with lots of things that you think would be out in the wild
- you can use pieces of cardboard but make sure the edges are away from the beardies view
set up some spots so they can hide from the heat as well.
Heating, lighting and Humidity
Bearded dragons are mostly active during the day so you’re going to want to set up their lighting to mimic that. You’re looking to keep their lighting at 12 hours of light during the day and turn the lights off at night for 12 hours
Beardies need UV lighting and you need to set it upright so the UV rays will actually hit them. Put the lights above the tank so it will hit your beardie
bearded dragons require a heat lamp or basking light. you need to change these lights every 6 months. stick to this schedule because your beardie can get sick with metabolic bone disease if they don’t get proper UV lighting. You also need to supplement calcium as well but that will be in the diet section.
Use a 40 to 75 Watt bulb. stick to these as best you can.
Use a temperature gradient. This means that one side of your tank will be cool and one side will be hot with a warm section in the middle
this will help your beardie know where to go when he needs to warm up or cool down and stick to these temps as well
- 95 -105 degrees Fahrenheit (basking temp)
- 85 for the warm part
- 75 to 80 for the cooler side
If you notice that your bearded dragon has his mouth open then your tank could be too hot. Make sure you keep a close eye on their temperatures
The humidity for your bearded dragon’s tank should be between 20-40 percent. Mist the tank every 2 days to keep the humidity levels high. one thing you need to know is that humidity causes a lot of bacterial growth to happen as well as fungus.
Keep your bearded dragon’s tank clean to keep them healthy. They can pick up an infection if the tank is infested with bacteria all the time.
at least once a month you should deep clean the tank.
Bearded Dragon Substrate
You can use a paper towels, newspapers anything like that will work fine as it’s easy to clean and easy to change.
i would avoid sand and gravel. Your beardie can consume it accidentally which will cause impaction to happen and they can get sick
What Can bearded dragons eat?
Vegetables and fruit your bearded dragon can eat
- collard greens
- romaine lettuce
- bell peppers
- sweet potato
- green beans
insects and protein your bearded dragon can eat
Bearded Dragons Feeding Schedule
You want to feed an adult beardie every day and maintain about 70% Leafy Greens, 25 percent insects, and 5 percent fruit
My bearded dragon will sometimes refuse plant matter. If this happens to you i would highly recommend dropping some fruits in with their salad. Sometimes plant matter will seem dull to them because of how delicious fruits and protein are to them
You should be reducing the amount of fruit they intake but you don’t need to worry too much about it. Just keep their ratios good
the insects should be gut-loaded insects for maximum nutrients and health. Another thing to add is the supplementation of calcium and vitamin D3. The best time to feed them is in the morning time. They will end up digesting the food during the day which is the warmest part of the day
You need to make sure you only feed them fruits once in a while or they can get sick and develop a certain disease called metabolic bone disease
Your Beardies Water Needs
shallow water bowls are great for beardies but another great way to help them with water is to spray their leafy vegetables with water. They will drink it like that as well. In the wild bearded dragons will drink water off of leaves and stuff like that.
Keep the water as clean as possible because they may poop in the water…
How long can bearded dragons live in captivity?
Bearded dragons can live up to 15 years and sometimes even longer in captivity. They will have to have great health care over their lifetime but they can live a long time if cared for properly
The biggest issue usually arises from bad care from owners. Not changing the substrate, not keeping the tank clean, lack of vet checkups are all things that need to be done in order for your beardie to live a long time
These are things you should watch out for
- metabolic bone disease
- refusing to eat
- weight loss
- only sitting in the basking light
- cage aggression
its important to keep the correct diet and supplementation to keep your beardie healthy and stress-free. If you’re ever unsure about the way your beardie is acting take them to the vet
Signs they are happy and healthy
- they will stand up strong and all its limbs
- will go between their shade and their basking spots
- they will try to run from you when you try to catch them
when beardies are sick they will be extremely lethargic. They won’t want to do much at all
How to keep your bearded dragon healthy
Maintain proper tank care and diet care. This will prevent 99 percent of health issues that can happen to your reptile
Cleaning the tank
You want to pull out the substrate each week and deep clean everything once per month. This will be way easier if you’re using newspaper or paper towels which are much easier to replace than sand or gravel
What I do with my beardie’s enclosure is every night before bed I check his water and do a small clean. If he has pooped in his water I will replace that right away. Sometimes your beardie won’t eat all his food so I get rid of any old food still sitting in there as well.
Bearded Dragon Appearance
I think bearded dragons are the cutest reptiles on the planet. They have cute little eyes and a big tongue. when they eat it looks like this
They get the name bearded dragon from their beards which will turn black when they are stressed or feel threatened.
They kind of look like little dinosaurs
They come in a wide range of colors as well ranging from bright yellow colors, dark grey and brown colors, red colors, and orange colors. Males have darker and more distinct coloration compared to their female counterparts
Bearded Dragon Behaviour
there are a few things you need to know about their behaviour.
Can bearded dragons be Aggressive?
They can get aggressive if they feel stressed out. They can also get aggressive if they are in a tank with another bearded dragon.
Male beardies will be very territorial in nature. They will guard their territory very hard
Bearded dragon Mating and babies
Within about a year or so of a beardies life, they will become much more sexually active. They will fight other beardies to mate.
One thing they will do is make their beards darker and start circling around her. Once successful the female will lay about 24 eggs give or take.
When the little babies are born they weigh around 2 grams or so. Light little things. They are actually tiny. They are the size of a coin.
Does the bearded dragon make a good pet?
absolutely yes. the bearded dragon has only grown in popularity over the years and people love them. They are pretty easy to take care of and they are extremely friendly.
They have small requirements like lights and heat but once you get past that they are awesome to have around as a pet.
Adult and Baby Bearded Dragons
Adult bearded dragons are going to have different needs than babies
A good example of this is that baby bearded dragons will puff up when they are young because they are going to not be used to their new environment
Young bearded dragons might also bite you but their bites don’t hurt too much. Adults can draw a bit of blood if they get you right but this is mostly rare if you take the right steps
Getting them to trust you is important. The best way to get them to trust you is to spend time around them. Let them get familiar with your voice. Let them get attached to you
When you scoop up a bearded dragon make sure you come at them at their level and not from above. They will think you’re a predator when you come from above
When they are at the pet store they don’t get the right amount of handling with humans to learn to trust them.
Baby bearded dragons eat a different ratio for food than adult bearded dragons do
Babies need a larger ratio of protein as they grow
When they reach adulthood you can dial back the protein and give more vegetables
One more thing you should know is male beardies and females beardies that are adults will mostly eat the same amount of food.
When i first brought my beardie home (Which is male) i thought because he was a male he would eat a whole lot more than a female beardie but i was wrong. i visited my friends house who has a beardie too and he showed me how much she would eat. it was just as much if not more than mine! She was eating more leafy greens than my bearded dragon was eating too
My bearded dragon refuses food sometimes. He can be really picky when he wants to be
Some things new bearded dragon owners are surprised by
- Bearded dragon care is something new owners are completely surprised by. They don’t realize how much work it can take initially to set everything up
you have to have so many things right in order to
Pet stores sometimes aren’t the greatest place to buy a bearded dragon from. This is something i was surprised to learn when i did my research 5 years ago
When you’re searching for a bearded dragon to take home with you make sure you get them from a very reputable source.
one more thing new bearded dragon owners are surprised by is how many different species of bearded dragon there are. There are 8 species of bearded dragons out there.
Another thing New bearded dragon owners are surprised by is how hard it is to tell the difference between male bearded dragons and female bearded dragons
Another thing is the wide variety of food that bearded dragons can consume. Bearded dragons can eat a lot of what humans can eat. So if you have some leftover fruit in the refrigerator you can most likely give it to your beardie
Bearded dragons do need a wide variety of food to help keep them healthy as do humans!
Another thing that is surprising is the life expectancy. Bearded dragons are usually expected to live from 10 years to 20 years long if they are well taken care of