Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded Dragon Care in 2020 (Guide & Basic Needs)

You might be wondering:

“Are bearded dragons easy to care for?

While many people find raising bearded dragons very easy, others do not. Or there are individuals who grow healthily in the early stages, but then stop eating frequently or die quickly due to illness.

That’s because pets have been affected by a number of factors around it such as habitat, diet, or daily living habits.

If you are in the same situation, this article will be extremely helpful to you. That is, you will know how to care for a bearded dragon.

Or, if you’re attempting to adopt a bearded dragon, don’t ignore our A-Z guides of bearded dragon care for beginners.

All of the following questions are compiled from most bearded dragon owners, from which you will have more experience to avoid possible bearded dragon problems.

Before that, you need to know some basic understanding of this species.

Let’s dive in!

Page Contents

What Do You Know About Bearded Dragons?

  • In nature, bearded dragons live in Australia’s forests, savannahs, and deserts.
  • The newly hatched bearded dragons have a length of only 12cm. Because they are very weak, it’s hard to care for them at this size.
  • Bearded dragons have a lifespan of up to 20 years in captivity. After 3 years of age, bearded dragons approach adulthood, reaching the maximum size and length of 50-55cm.
  • Baby bearded dragons peel skin once every 2-3 weeks. For adults, the skin peeling cycle is longer, about every 3-4 months.
  • Australian bearded dragons are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. The ratio of a dragon meal is 80% crickets and worms.
  • Bearded dragons are a species that favor warm temperatures so, for the best-bearded dragon pet care, you should let your dragon exposure sunlight regularly. In winter, a UVB lamp is essential for them.

What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

Feeding a bearded dragon with veggies

One of the important factors you need to remember is that any pet food for your dragon should not be larger than the distance between his eyes. Otherwise, he may choke and have gastrointestinal tract blocked, legs paralyzed.

If raising a baby bearded dragon, you need to feed him with very small prey like baby-sized crickets or tiny worms. His diet must be 80% insects and 20% green vegetables.

For mature bearded dragons, they need more vegetables in their diet which consists of 65% of plants and 35% of insects.

Occasionally, you can feed your pets with fruits and some plants such as apples, apricots, bananas, berries, tomatoes, rose petals and leaves, snail vine, etc.

Vitamin D3 and calcium are substances that need to be supplemented daily for bearded dragons because if they are deficient in these two nutrients, they can become infected and die.

The simplest way to add vitamin D3 and calcium to the pets is to sprinkle the powder on food or insects.

You can find many best foods for bearded dragons.

What to Prepare for the Habitat of Bearded Dragons?

Cage

Note that most bearded dragons often live alone because the big dragons can attack smaller ones, and males often have the nature of possessing territory.

Bearded dragon cages are easy to make. Materials are also straightforward to find such as glass, wood, and mesh. It’s compulsory that the cage must be airy by using a mesh ceiling or must be a 6-sided mesh cage.

The boxes should be at least 120 cm x 60 cm x 50 cm in size because the species can grow to 60 cm.

They move fast and like to climb, so they need a lot of living space.

With the cage substrate, you can use newspaper, paper towels, wrapping paper, or a specialized carpet for reptiles. These materials are cheap, easy to clean and do not harm pets.

To create a favorable environment for your bearded dragon to climb, hide, and heat, let’s place an additional cardboard box and several wood branches that have the same size as the pet.

Oak or carpet boards are good options. In addition, bearded dragons also need smooth stones for heating and grinding nails.

Heaters and Light Bulbs

You need a heat source to maintain the cage temperature at a level that is suitable for bearded dragons.

They prefer between 25-31 degrees Celsius during the day and 21-26 degrees Celsius at night.

Let’s use an incandescent lamp on the roof of the cage. Remember to turn off the lights at night, and you can try using a heating plate placed under the bottom of the cage or an infrared heater.

Besides, bearded dragons like the temperature difference in the cage so that they can move from warmer to cooler areas.

Hence, you need to provide extra heater in the area that occupies 25-30% of the cage area with a temperature of about 35-38 degrees Celsius.

For baby bearded dragons, you should use smaller capacity bulbs.

In addition, UVB lamp in about 12-14 hours a day will be handy in helping bearded dragons synthesize vitamin D, supporting calcium absorption.

You can use fluorescent lamps or mercury vapor lamps.

Remember that UVB rays do not penetrate the glass, so the UVB source should be mounted above the mesh of the cage lid.

Best Cages for Bearded Dragons

Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium

If you want to see your bearded dragon in the wildest way, this glass terrarium will be the perfect residence for it with an appreciation for decorations and comfort. Your pet will freely climb here.

Moreover, the bottom of the tank is cleverly designed, making the cage always dry and safe.

116 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Dry and airy.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • A great decoration for your house.

Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit, 20 Gallon

This is a turtle tank, but it’s almost perfect for bearded dragons thanks to providing all the necessary supplies for them such as a decorative filter, cartridges, basking platform, UVB and heating lamps, and boxwood plants.

However, if you are raising an adult bearded dragon, you’d better find a larger tank.

165 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Attractive home for bearded dragons.
  • All-in-one features.
  • Heavy.

Zilla Vertical Tropical Kit

Similar to Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit, this glass terrarium is very suitable for first-time bearded dragon owners.

Although the bearded dragon tank setup is not quite open and you may have difficulty communicating with your pet, it is still ideal because of many great features.

81 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Convenient to stay.
  • High quality at an affordable price.
  • Durable.

Southern Enterprises Terrarium Table – Glass Display for Plants

You will not have trouble installing this table because it is well designed and manufactured accurately, making the details match perfectly.

Your pet will live in an environment full of light and air. Your living room will also look extremely luxurious.

61 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Nice product.
  • Easy to put together.
  • Safe for pets.

SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set

If you only have a limited budget, this bearded enclosure will comfort you that it offers pleasant accommodation for pets at a reasonable price.

We also appreciate this product because it is very beautiful and solid. The corners are rounded, so you’ll find it more prominent and elegant than other products.

342 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Solid.
  • Beautiful.
  • Easy to clean.

Top-Rated Food for Bearded Dragons

Fluker’s Freeze-Dried Crickets

If your bearded dragon has parasites, you should not feed him live insects like crickets or worms.

Instead, freeze-dried types will be more suitable. Flucker’s has done very well when their crickets are freeze-dried but still ensure the nutrition for your pet.

Product Features:

  • A great alternative to living insects.
  • Advantageous for digestion.

Zilla Reptile Munchies Mix Treat

This product is very convenient with the main ingredient of dried vegetable and insect mixture, so you just need to pour it in a little water and let the pet enjoy it.

In addition to providing protein, the food is a complete source of nutrition with many types of vitamins and minerals.

Product Features:

  • Easy to use and store.
  • Attractive flavor and smell.
  • Dry up quickly.

Galleria mellonella: Live Waxworms for Feeding Reptiles

The next bearded dragon food that we have on our list is from Galleria mellonella. For those who like the taste of live insects, this dish of live waxworms will be very suitable for pets.

They are worms that are raised healthily. Also, with good preservation, they will live until being delivered to you.

Product Features:

  • Tasty and nutritious.
  • Long-lasting.
  • Easy to raise.

Fluker’s 76041 Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Formula

Your pet will receive all the nutrients he needs with this food like protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals because it is a blend of pelleted vitamins, freeze-dried crickets, and worms.

Surely, every bearded dragon will love this product even with the pickiest ones.

Sale

Product Features:

  • Specifically formulated for adults.
  • Offering full of nutrients.
  • Long-lasting.

Fluker’s 76051 Buffet Blend Juvenile Bearded Dragon Formula

If the product that we mentioned earlier is for adult bearded dragons, this second Fluker’s food is about bearded dragon juvenile care.

It is thanks to the size of the food pellets and dried crickets. Besides, it has a quite cheap price with excellent quality.

Product Features:

  • A nutritious source of food.
  • Suitable for bearded dragons of all ages, especially the juvenile.
  • Reasonable price.

Bassett’s Cricket Ranch 1000 Live Superworms

With more than 40 years of experience, Bassett’s has made it one of the most reliable live insect suppliers in the market.

These superworms are very fat, healthy, and nutritious, surely are a great source of protein for your bearded dragon.

536 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Great quality.
  • Convenient.
  • Reputable brand.

Zilla Reptile Food Munchies Vegetable & Fruit Mix

This Zilla product is suitable for all species of reptiles, birds, and small animals. And, bearded dragons are no exception. It is very easy to use and store.

You just need to open, rehydrate it in water to feed them and then lock it again without any requirement of refrigeration.

The materials are also very natural, not harmful to bearded dragons.

109 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Nutritious.
  • A mixture of veggies and fruits.
  • Convenient re-sealable package.

Zoo Med Gourmet Bearded Dragon Food

From first sight, your pet will be attracted to this food by the colorful mixture of dried worms, blueberries, vegetables, and rose petals.

Just add a little water to soften the food, you will be surprised that he will eat it up within 2 minutes. It will also help the bearded dragon diet more balanced.

134 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Add variety for the pet’s diet.
  • Attractive color and taste.

Top Recommended Lights for Bearded Dragons

MyComfyPets UVB Light and UVA 2-in-1 Reptile Bulb 100W for Bearded Dragons

This is a specialized light bulb for reptiles. Therefore, you should not ignore this MyComfyPets product when you want to raise a bearded dragon.

It provides the necessary amount of UVB and UVA lights for this species and is very flexible that you can adjust the proper temperature.

Sale

Product Features:

  • Easy to install.
  • Long longevity.

BYB Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter Infrared Lamp Bulb

This product is the perfect heat lamp for bearded dragons in all types of cages, even the most humid ones. Because it does not glow, your pet will be safe sleeping without being bothered.

Moreover, it is not too hot or dangerous for pets.

Product Features:

  • Heat without an additional light source.
  • Perfect for high humidity terrariums.

Best Carriers for Bearded Dragons

Favorite Top Load Portable Pet Small Animal Carrier

Smartly designed, this carrier will help you easily observe your bearded dragon through the transparent lid.

Better yet, it’s very airy with vents that still make sure the pet can’t get out.

He will be able to go sightseeing during the trip!

156 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Durable hard shells.
  • Airy and safe.
  • Beautiful color.

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

While some people want a hard plastic carrier, others prefer cloth material because it is softer and more comfortable for pets.

If you are one of them, you should not ignore this product.

It is very flexible that you can put the bearded dragon inside from the top, or the sides.

6,613 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Machine washable fleece pet bed.
  • Various sizes to choose.

Top Substrates for Bearded Dragons

Zilla Ground English Walnut Shells Desert Blend

This is a perfect choice for the bearded dragons’ desert house. It is made entirely of ground walnut shells with good thermal conductivity.

Therefore, your dragon will be encouraged to dig burrows like those in nature.

The most outstanding feature is that you can reuse it as fertilizer after 1-2 months of use.

Product Features:

  • Easy to use and maintain.
  • Natural material.
  • Not harmful for pets.

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner

If you fear that the use of sand or other loose substrates will cause pets to have respiratory and digestive illness if ingested, you can replace them with this Zilla carpet.

Another benefit of using the product is that it is easy to clean and can be used for a long time.

Hence, it is also considered an economical solution for you.

1,225 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Easy to clean.
  • Long-running.
  • Safe for pets.

Zoo Med 26080 Repti Cage Carpet

You will be extremely excited when letting your bearded dragon live on this carpet because of its great absorption.

Its cage will not be damp or have bacteria existing.

Besides, it is also very soft, making the pet’s claws not rubbed or hurt.

Product Features:

  • Comfortable and clean.
  • Soft, absorbent, non-abrasive carpet.

Top-Quality Decorations and Accessories for Bearded Dragons

Zilla Shale Rock Den

This will be a perfect place for your bearded dragon to hide and relieve from heat.

Although it is a fake stone, it works very well and the size is perfect for all ages of this species.

The natural color also makes it a perfect ornament for bearded dragon cages.

Sale
111 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Nice hiding spot for pets.
  • Retain heat well.
  • Heavy.

Niteangel 2 Packs Breathable Mesh Reptile Hammock

Hammocks are an essential item for the nap of bearded dragons, and this product is also perfect for them.

With the triangle shape and strong suction cups, this hammock is better suited for glass tanks than mesh cage types.

You should put the hammock in accordance with the height of the pet.

584 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Easy to use.
  • Durable.

Zoo Med Mesh Reptile Hammock

In addition to the above option, you can consider this product as a replacement because its features are no less wonderful at a fairly cheap price.

Your pet will be extremely comfortable and spend most of the time with the hammock.

Sale
1,004 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Reasonable price.
  • Long-lasting.
  • Ideal resting place.

Penn Plax Reptology Lizard Lounger

Bearded dragons love climbing. So, if you don’t want to use wood branches or stones, you can replace them with this Penn Plax lounger.

Although it is made from natural seagrass fiber, it is very durable and soft. Surely, your pet will be extremely active with the product.

Product Features:

  • Comfortable and climbable.
  • Natural materials.
  • Strong suction cups.

WATFOON Adjustable Lizard Leash

As you can see, this is one of the cutest leashes for bearded dragons.

The outstanding features of the product are the unique design, high quality, ease of use that can be adjusted, and many others, making it a leading product in our list. Surely, you will not be disappointed about it.

293 Reviews

Product Features:

  • Attractive appearance.
  • Adjustable.
  • Easy to wear.

FAQs about Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded dragons in nature

Do bearded dragons need to sun exposure?

Yes.

The sun is the best source of UVB. On sunny days, you can put the bearded dragons in a sturdy mesh cage and take it out to sunbathe. Also, there is a need for the shaded area for them to rest.

How to choose bearded dragons?

When choosing a bearded dragon, you should consider those with a length of more than 15 cm. That’s because the young dragons of smaller sizes are often very weak and susceptible to infection, stress.

Mature dragons will be much easier to care for.

You should also observe if the dragon has any malformations, avoiding those with skin sores, burns, pus, or skin parasites.

However, with those who lose their toes or a piece of tail, it is not a problem as long as the wound has healed and there is no sign of infection.

TIP: To find an agile bearded dragon, take notice that as you approach, he must curiously look at you with bright eyes. You won’t want to raise a dragon that can’t lift his head or seems slow, will you?

Immediately after buying a bearded dragon, take it to the veterinarian to check the parasite and evaluate its overall health.

It may be useful if you bring a dragon’s stool sample, so you should ask your doctor about this before meeting him.

After that, the pet should have bearded dragon veterinary care every 3 months.

Can my bearded dragon eat insects in nature?

No.

You should buy dried or live insects for the bearded dragon to eat because prey in nature can be exposed to toxic chemicals or carry the parasite.

Notably, fireflies are poisonous insects with bearded dragons.

What can I do when my bearded dragon stop eating?

Don’t panic if your bearded dragons quit eating. When it comes to skinning period, they may not eat.

However, if they stop eating for more than three days and there are no signs of skin peeling, he might probably be ill. In this case, you must bring him to see the veterinarian.

How often should I bathe my bearded dragon?

You should bathe bearded dragon once a week to help moisturize and support the pet during skinning. Bathwater for the animal should not be hot but as warm as bathwater for babies.

You should disinfect the bath after bathing the pet as the bearded dragons often excrete waste into the water.

Mix a bleach cleaning solution with water at a ratio of 1:10.

Also, in order to increase moisture and provide water to the pets, you can use a spray bottle and spray water several times a week into the cage whenever the humidity here is low, especially in winter.

Should I use a heat rock to warm the bearded dragons?

Never use a heat rock because bearded dragons are unable to recognize that it’s hot and will easily get their belly burned. This can be very dangerous to your pet.

Instead, you can use a heating lamp that will provide proper heat without hurting the animal.

Is sand OK for bearded dragons?

In nature, bearded dragons live on deserts and they are accustomed to running on sand and pebbles.

Hence, many people use these two materials as a substrate for their pet cage without knowing that they can cause digestive problems if the pets eat them.

It is considered very dangerous for bearded dragons, causing them to die if they are not treated immediately.

In addition to digestive problems, chewing sand or pebbles will affect their teeth and jaws.

Therefore, although there are no studies on the harmful effects of using sand and pebbles as substrates, we do not recommend putting any types of sand in the cage.

How can I clean my bearded cage?

You need to clean the cage as well as the bowl of food and water once a week. You can mix a bleach cleaning solution with water at a ratio of 1:10 and pour it into a spray bottle. Take the dragon out of the cage.

First, you use hot water and a rag to remove dirt and waste of the bearded dragon in the cage.

Next, spray the mixture of bleach solution over the entire surface needed to clean until it is wet. Wait 15 minutes and then, you use another rag to make sure that you have removed old food and droppings of the pet.

Finally, you wash all surfaces again and again with water until there is no odor of bleach. If you still smell it, you need to rinse again.

Why are mealworms bad for bearded dragons?

There are three main reasons why mealworms should not be included in bearded dragons’ daily diet.

First, mealworms sold on the market are usually frozen, so they still contain high levels of fat and phosphorus.

If these substances are supplied to bearded dragons continuously, after a short time, it will lead to obesity and indigestion on the species.

Next, the amount of calcium and protein, on the other hand, is very low.

Therefore, you should choose alternative solutions, including crickets and worms which are a rich source of essential nutrients for your pet.

Finally, bearded dragons will be addicted to the attractive flavor of mealworms. So, even if you give them a limited amount of mealworms as a treat to not make them get fat, they will skip eating other foods.

Which signs will help me realize that my bearded dragons are sick?

Bearded dragons are reptiles, so they have some different behaviors from other pets. Sometimes, bearded dragon owners mistake that these behaviors are signs of sickness.

To help you not be confused, we will explain the two cyclical expressions that you do not need to worry about first. They are the hibernation cycle and skinning.

In winter or fall, bearded dragons will hibernate to adapt to changes in temperature and light. Some will suffer insomnia, even awake throughout the cycle while others sleep during the entire cycle.

All will reduce their activity and appetite, but you don’t need to worry about their weight loss.

Bearded dragons are reptiles so they will need to skin.

Before that, you will notice their skin fading and eyes bulging more than before. You should prepare a spray bottle to always keep your pet’s skin moisturized in this period.

So, here are the common diseases of bearded dragons.

Indigestion

If you see your pet stop pooping several times but still eat every day, he might be undigested. When bathing him, let’s gently massage his stomach for a few minutes. This will help your pet digest better.

Diarrhea

Temporary diarrhea is caused by stress, food sources, or some changes in the diet. If your dragon grows healthily but he has frequent diarrhea, it can be a sign of parasites.

Dehydration

Signs of dehydration in bearded dragons

  • Sunken eyes
  • Become agile after drinking water
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy

Dry eyes

When you see your pet’s eyes seem to be droopy, he has his eyes dried. It can cause kidney diseases, blindness, and other problems.

Swollen eyes

It may be a sign of parasite or eye infection.

Paralysis

Paralysis in bearded dragons is often caused by big food compared to the mouth of the species.

Bone metabolic disease

Signs of the bone metabolic disease in bearded dragons

  • Tumors in the legs
  • Convulsions or tremors
  • The lower jaw is swollen
  • Uncomfortable movements

This disease can be treated with proper diet, UV light, and temperature.

Mouth rot

The signs of the white, yellow substance appearing in and around the mouth of the bearded dragon, along with swollen mouths and shaken teeth show that he has mouth rot.

Many individuals also reduce appetite. In this case, you should take him to see a veterinarian for the best treatment.

Too much vitamin A

If you give your bearded dragon too much vitamin A, he will have his eyes, throat, body swelled, and lack of energy.

Instead of feeding pets with food which is rich in vitamin A, you can replace them with multivitamins that contain natural vitamin A.

Instead of feeding pets with vitamin A-rich foods, you should replace them with multivitamins that contain natural vitamin A.

Lack of vitamin B1

When your pet does not receive enough vitamin B1 in the diet, he may have muscle twitching and tremors.

Ticks and parasites

Ticks will often attack sensitive areas of bearded dragons like eyes or ears where their scales are thinner than other areas. You should regularly clean the cage and bathe the animal. In addition, they should be taken to the vet regularly to see if they contain harmful parasites.

Wrapping up

Because of its thorny look and attractive beauty, bearded dragons become the most popular reptiles today.

However, during their lifetime, they may become sick due to improper bearded dragon care or environmental factors.

Hopefully, with the experience of bearded dragon care we’ve shared, your pet will always be healthy and happy.

If you find our guides are useful, don’t hesitate to like and share the article with others. Thank you.

Last update on 2020-06-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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