Last Updated on July 24, 2021
Everything You Need To Know About Bearded Dragons
New bearded dragon owners may be wondering what they’ve got themselves into, or think owning a bearded dragon will be too easy. Both of these thoughts can be overwhelming and dangerous. That is why it is so important to learn everything you need to know about bearded dragons!
Since bearded dragons are not a typical household pet, you may feel a bit out of your element. Learning everything you need to know about bearded dragons can help you raise your pet to be as happy and healthy as a bearded dragon can be.
Like any pet, please take the time to research and seriously consider whether you are ready to take upon the responsibility of owning a bearded dragon. They do require a bit more care than the normal pet and as such, they do not make a good pet for young children.
You will also want to ensure you have the proper equipment for your bearded dragon before you bring it home.
What Equipment Do I Need for a Bearded Dragon?
Before you bring your bearded dragon home, you will need to purchase the equipment and supplies to care for it. At a bare minimum, you will need a smooth-sided, fully enclosed terrarium, lighting, hammocks or ledges for basking, light reflectors, a Thermometer and Hygrometer, and of course, food and water supplies.
For your lighting sources, you will want UVB lighting as it mimics ultraviolet sunlight better for your bearded dragon. You will also want to ensure that their tank has a tight fighting lid and no sharp edges that could potentially hurt your new beardie.
Some bearded dragon owners begin with small terrariums and purchase larger ones as their beardie grows. However, I, personally, don’t recommend this. It will cost you more money in the long run.
I recommend starting with no smaller than a 40-gallon terrarium if you decide to get a baby or juvenile bearded dragon. Once your beardie grows into adulthood, you’ll want to increase the terrarium size to 4x2x2 (120 gallons). Bearded dragons grow anywhere between 18″-24″ in length. Your chubby monster will need space to stretch out.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?
Bearded dragons are a very long-term investment which is the reason you should think of owning one. Bearded dragons typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years provided they are properly cared for.
Since they do have such a long lifespan, they make great pets for teenagers and young adults who are just starting out. Given their long lifespan, they make great pets.
What do Bearded Dragons Eat?
As reptile omnivores, bearded dragons need a wide variety of fresh greens, veggies, fruit, live worms, and insects. Fresh greens and veggies include kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, bok choy, parsley, squash, red or green cabbage, cilantro, bell peppers, dandelion, and much more.
Fruits that a bearded dragon can eat include apple, pear, banana, star fruit, strawberry, peach, kiwi, melon, raspberry, blueberry, and much more. However, fruit should always be a treat and not given every day.
Some fruits are higher in sugar and are generally mineral-poor, which means your bearded dragon isn’t getting the minerals it needs to live a happy and healthy life. Think of fruits like a salad dressing – just enough for taste.
Worms and insects include super worms, earthworms, silkworms, hornworms, dark-winged beetles, Dubai cockroaches, crickets, wax worms, butter worms, and much more. However, you must take note to never, NEVER, feed your bearded dragon a worm or insect caught in the wild or roaming freely in your home.
Some of these worms and insects could contain parasites or fed off greenery that has been treated by insecticides, which could be fatal to your bearded dragon. Worms and insects can be purchased from reputable breeders (Yes! People actually breed cockroaches!).
For example, a friend of mine owned a bearded dragon and she had her beardie outside with her in the evening enjoying the night sky. Her beardie ate a firefly and died within hours. The key takeaway to this is that some insects are toxic to bearded dragons. Research, research, research to be sure it’s safe before feeding your bearded dragons anything!
Younger beardies will need a diet consisting mostly of worms and insects and fewer vegetables. Older beardies are the opposite, as their diets consist mainly of greens and fewer worms and insects.
When feeding your bearded dragon, you will want to ensure that their food bites are no bigger than their mouth. Larger items can pose a choking hazard. A safe rule of thumb is that the width of the food (vegetable, fruit, insect, or worm) should be no wider than the space between their eyes.
Your beardies will also need calcium. Just as the human body is unable to produce calcium on its own, a bearded dragon is the same. Although they get calcium in the fruits and vegetables they eat, it’s not enough, especially for a young beardie.
My middle son had the idea of putting calcium powder in a salt shaker to sprinkle calcium on the insects and worms before feeding Gayle, our bearded dragon. This helps to ensure our beardie is getting this much-needed mineral.
A lack of calcium can result in fragile bones, illness, deformities, and muscle twitching in your beardie. When you get an opportunity, look up MBD in a Bearded Dragon. It’s a horrible sight to see and no bearded dragon should have to suffer like this if it can be prevented by a proper diet, including calcium.
A water bowl is also a nice addition to the bearded dragon’s environment. Don’t fret if you don’t notice them drinking a lot of water or drinking as much as you think they should. This is because they receive quite a bit of hydration from their foods.
If your beardie is thirsty, he will go to the water source and drink what he needs. Speaking of water, you might be tempted to purchase a gimmick, such as a waterfall, but I strongly advise against it. The waterfall will have an adverse effect on your bearded dragon habit by creating humidity and moisture and eventually mold. Remember that bearded dragons are found in the wild in Australia. It is dry and hot and waterfalls aren’t in abundance.
Also, if you REALLY need to get your beardie to drink, you can give them a bath. This oftentimes will stimulate drinking.
How Big Do Bearded Dragons Get?
Bearded dragons can vary in size, but the average is between 18 to 24 inches in length, including its tail. They weigh a paltry 10 to 18 ounces. Typically, a bearded dragon will reach its full size at approximately 12 months of age.
A fun fact is that most of a bearded dragon’s size comes from its tail! Their tail is at least the size of their body size and weight, if not more!
What is a Bearded Dragons Habitat Like?
Because the bearded dragon is native to Australia, their natural habitat is arid woodlands and deserts. This means they prefer warm, sunny environments that are not excessively hot. When the temperature is too hot, they will check out and burrow underground to find cooler temperatures.
Fresh plants in an enclosure are a nice addition, our Gayle loves his plants! Dracaena, Ficus Benjamina, and Hibiscus are fantastic choices that will be both pleasing to the eye and help manage humidity in their tank.
Because bearded dragons do need to bask in the sun, their habitat should have a rock or two added. These rocks should be flat with a smooth bottom. Rocks are not just for basking when it comes to a beardie though. They will also help to wear down their toenails making trimming them easier for you.
Reptiles are known for their love of hiding places which means you should try to add in natural hiding places, such as caves. We purchased one from our local pet store. They also like fake cacti and other desert plants, fresh branches to climb into, and other items that are reminiscent of their natural habitat. Be sure that branches are not oozing sap and the wood is safe for the beardie. Oak and birch are fantastic choices.
Now that you know more about bearded dragons, it’s time to think about adding one to your home! We have such a fun time with ours and are so glad to have it! He has become part of the family!
Before I go, I have an exciting printable that you will love to help you get started with your beardie! It is a Daily Care journal and currently, it is available for a discounted price! The Daily Care Journal gives you a place to organize all about your bearded dragon in ONE spot! to grab this up you can click BUY THE BEARDED DRAGON DAILY CARE JOURNAL or click the image below.
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