Most people don’t know that a warm and comfortable habitat is essential for bearded dragons. These animals are cold-blooded and rely mainly on external heat sources to increase their body temperature, especially during the cold season. Usually, bearded dragons bask themselves in the sun, but sometimes, they also burrow underground to avoid extreme heat.
So, building a comfortable and cozy bearded dragon habitat setup is one of the most important things that we should consider as owners. Since our pets will be spending the vast majority of their time in their shelters, we need to ensure that it has everything they need.
Until now, many beardie owners have no idea where to begin in building the right habitat setup. But thankfully, this guide can take care of all that. In this topic, we will walk you through the entire habitat setup process to ensure that your pet feels satisfied with its new home.
First-time keeps may feel overwhelmed since it can be slightly tricky for beginners. So, if you are eager to pursue building the perfect home for your bearded dragon, then keep reading!
7 Things to Know in Building a Bearded Dragon Habitat Setup
In the past, bearded dragons occupied a broad range of habitats, from scrublands to dry forests and deserts. This semi-arboreal lizard can also be found basking on rocks, fallen branches, and fence posts. Also, most of their habitats consist of compacted sandy clay with cacti, succulents, and scrubland plants.
Moreover, these reptiles are opportunistic omnivores. They love living in areas where food is not easy to find. Their stomachs are also large enough to accommodate big quantities of insects, plants, and sometimes, small rodents or lizards.
In building the perfect bearded dragon setup, we have to consider seven things. These factors will help us provide the most comfortable temperature and space for our scaly friends. From proper heating to housing, we’ve got you covered.
The first thing that we need to consider is, of course, housing. Since this reptile can grow between 40 to 60 centimeters in length, including the tail, the most recommended size for its enclosure is at least 100 centimeters long x 50 centimeters wide x 60 centimeters high.
To help the house insulate against cold weather, we recommend using a wooden vivarium since it helps in keeping temperatures consistent. However, when selecting a vivarium, the best choice would be the one with large vents to ensure that the heat is just right for our pets. Good ventilation can also provide a consistent temperature to the reptile’s basking spot.
Since younger dragons feel more frightened and exposed in large open spaces, adding some decorations like hangout decors can be helpful.
Naturally, bearded dragons spend most of their time under the sun since their bodies require a very warm basking area of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Therefore, we need to provide this heat at least 1/3 of its housing while letting the opposite side cool at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
To achieve this, we recommend you to instant a strong basking lamp on one area. With this lighting, you can easily adjust the thermostat that will fit your pet’s needs throughout the day. You have to leave the basking lamp on for ten to twelve hours per day.
At night, you can turn the lights off and ensure that your pet’s enclosure is completely dark. This setup can help your dragon distinguish its day and night cycle. During night time, During the night, it’s okay that the temperature becomes cooler, but if it’s too cold, you can attach a ceramic lamp to the ceiling to provide some warmth throughout the night. However, you should make sure that it can maintain the correct temperature to keep your pet comfortable while you are asleep.
Remember that a bearded dragon habitat should always have a comfortable basking spot since our pets are basking most of their time. During this period, we need to expose them to plenty of warmth and UVB lighting. To aid your UV light hunting, you can try this UV lamp.
To be exact, bearded dragons should live in an environment with at least UVI 1.0-2.6. You must mount the UVB light to the ceiling close to the enclosure’s back wall. This setup can surely provide a nice UV gradient from the back towards the front.
Moreover, it can achieve a nice temperature gradient along the enclosure’s width, meaning that whatever your pet’s requirements, it can easily find the perfect spot with the right temperature. However, it’s important to take the enclosure’s size into account to guarantee the correct heating.
Though these dragons spend most of their day basking, they may still need an area with little to no light. So, we advise you to provide some hiding spots throughout its enclosure. With the right UVB lighting, you can replicate the bearded dragon’s natural experience. An appropriate radiant heat will surely make your dragon happy and relaxed.
You need to provide something where your bearded dragon can bask on or climb over when it comes to decorations. If you want to give a more natural-looking habitat for your pet, you can place a reptile carpet in its enclosure. If you want to make it bio-active, you can install a naturally rich soil and clay mix with some for aeration.
Most people don’t know that bearded dragons appreciate an environment with plenty of decorations, such as caves, tunnels, trailing plants, and other ornaments that provide a shady spot where they can rest. As discussed in the UV lighting section, there are times that our pets don’t want light but a bit of shade.
Moreover, make sure that the temperature isn’t too hot since there’s a chance that your ornaments might lose their quality and get burned.
When it comes to diet, you should always remember that bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they can eat a varied diet of insects and vegetables. Though some may try eating fruits, these can cause stomach upset and are not essential to the dragon’s diet. We advise you to avoid any meat and stick to vegetables since it is more nutritious for your scaly friends.
We highly recommend brown crickets for the carnivorous part since they are fairly easy to hunt and very nutritious. In case you didn’t know, these crickets are widely available and a great value for money. If your dragon doesn’t like it, you can try locust and black crickets since both are also a bright alternative.
Now and then, you should provide your bearded dragon a treat. For this purpose, you could feed cockroaches, mealworms, or waxworms. These worms tend to be quite fatty so offer them at a maximum of once or twice a week.
For the vegetable portion, we recommend curly kale, spring greens, carrots, and parsnips. However, you should avoid feeding your pet veggies like onions, spinach, lettuce, and peas, since these foods are acidic or could swell with moisture.
Don’t forget your pet’s water. We advise you to include a medium or large bowl in your pet’s enclosure. You may not see your dragon drinking, but it helps cool down body temperatures or lose some shedding skin.
Although bearded dragons can get most of what they need from their diet, giving some vitamins and minerals is an excellent idea to keep their immune system strong. We advise you to purchase a multivitamins supplement to keep your pet happy and healthy. There are many multivitamins available, but you should go for the trusted one. The most important nutrient for bearded dragons is calcium, so make sure that your pet’s vitamins offer it.
Bearded dragons need a clean environment to thrive. We advise you to spot clean your pet’s enclosure every day and fully clean it every four weeks. This way, you can ensure that no harmful bacteria can form in your pet’s shelter. Also, change the bedding a few times a year. You can also spray some reptile-friendly disinfectants to wipe away germs.
When cleaning the enclosure, you should remove all decorations and beddings. We also recommend you to do this process during the day while your dragon is playing outside its shelter.
Don’t forget to clean the decorations, as well. Spray them down with disinfectants and rinse thoroughly with water. Dry them off before placing them back into your pet’s cage.
Without the right bearded dragon habitat setup, your beardie can have a less fulfilling life, a shorter lifespan, and potential health problems. So, we have to ensure that our pets’ habitat setup can support their physical and emotional needs. Fortunately, we now have plenty of items, such as reptile carpets and hide holes for bearded dragons, that can help us provide a healthy and comfortable environment for our bearded dragons.
Finally, we would like to congratulate you on learning how to build a comfortable habitat setup for your bearded dragon. We know that putting together a new home for a new pet is one of the most exciting things for owners.
With proper care and habitat, your dragon can surely live upwards of ten years. A comfortable habitat plays a huge role in giving your scaly friend a healthy and happy life. Now that you know the basics, we hope you can provide your dragon with a cozy home where he can thrive.