Caring for a bearded dragon can be fun and rewarding, but it’s important to keep your pet healthy. You’ll want to take care of your beardie by providing him with the proper living space, diet, exercise, and other necessities.
The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about caring for these interesting pets.
Bearded Dragons as Pets
Before getting a bearded dragon, it’s important to decide where you’ll house him. It’s never a good idea to have your beardie roam freely throughout the house, as he could injure himself or damage your home decorations.
For this reason, most owners choose to keep their pet in a cage of his own which serves as both a home and play area.
Bearded dragons need plenty of room to move around, so you’ll want to provide your pet with at least a 29-gallon terrarium (a standard 10- by 20- by 12-inch aquarium will work fine in a pinch).
Larger lizards may require larger tanks (for instance, a 55-gallon terrarium could house a large adult dragon).
Bearded dragons also need a variety of perches in their cages to climb on. These can be made from branches or other items that provide your pet with a place to bask and relax or an area where he can hide if he’s feeling stressed.
Bearded dragons also need a secure water dish for drinking and soaking.
It’s important to keep the cage free of clutter, as this can lead to injured toes or tails (for these reasons, it’s usually best if you don’t use sand).
A bearded dragon should be kept at an ambient temperature between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit with a basking spot of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime temperatures should be between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re using a heat lamp, it needs to be at least 12 inches away from the animal (if you can touch the bulb with your hand when it’s in the proper position, it’s too close). It’s also important to keep in mind that too much heat can be just as dangerous as not enough.
A healthy dragon should have access to fresh water at all times, but it’s also vital that he has a consistent supply of clean food.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they need both meat and vegetables in their diet. However, it’s often recommended that you feed young dragons (three to six months of age) mostly insects, and only offer vegetables about half the time. This allows them to develop a taste for such food as adults.
It’s also important to know that bearded dragons eat both live and dead prey items. Lizards are naturally drawn to moving things, so it’s important to avoid feeding your pet anything that has been pre-killed.
In conclusion, caring for a bearded dragon can be fun and rewarding. Just remember to always keep your pet’s living space clean, provide him with fresh food and water, and let him bask in the warm heat of his favorite basking spot throughout the day.