Are you a new bearded dragon pet owner?
Have you worried if you are giving your bearded dragon the best care possible?
Any pet owner wants to make sure they provide great care for their animal, and bearded dragon owners are no different.
Whether you are a newbie or a long-time bearded dragon owner, you’ll want to keep this bearded dragon care sheet handy.
A bearded dragon care sheet shows you everything you need to know for owning a bearded dragon. The care sheet includes cage setup, diet, proper handling, and other good care practices.
A happy and healthy bearded dragon will have a better chance of a longer life and a better quality of life.
Keep reading to learn more about caring for your bearded dragon.
Bearded Dragons: An Overview
Bearded dragons are native to Australia and make great beginner pets.
They are known for their docile behavior and the ease it takes to care for them.
These creatures grow up to 18 to 24” inches (61 cm), weighing as much as 10 to 18 ounces.
Bearded dragons make great pets for children or new reptile owners as they adapt well to human owners.
A bearded dragon may live up to 10 years with proper care.
Where To Buy A Bearded Dragon
If you are interested in buying a bearded dragon or want to find a new friend for the beardie you already own, you will have a few choices of where to buy one.
Many get their first bearded dragon from a big box pet store or a local pet store, but there are better options.
Bearded dragons are not always healthy when they come from pet stores.
This is one reason many turn to local or online breeders for their bearded dragons.
Not only will you be dealing with someone who specializes in bearded dragons, but you may also find some neat morphs this way.
You might also check out a local reptile show for a chance to find a new bearded dragon.
Sometimes you may find a bearded dragon listed through an online marketplace or a local newspaper classified section.
This option should be taken with care, as the animal may have received poor care or have health issues.
Reptile rescues also have bearded dragons available,
This is a great way to care for a once-neglected or abused pet, but realize you could be taking on an animal with some issues.
To thrive, a bearded dragon, like any animal, needs a proper home.
This should be set up before you bring the bearded dragon into your home.
There are many options when it comes to enclosures for your bearded dragon.
A glass or plexiglass aquarium or terrarium with a mesh lid is an inexpensive option.
It works great for the animal and gives you many opportunities for viewing your animal.
Custom made enclosures are another option, and they look great, but there is often a sizable price tag.
When you have a baby bearded dragon, a 20-gallon tank will do just fine, but as your pet grows into a juvenile and an adult, the enclosure will need to grow.
For juvenile and adult bearded dragons, select an enclosure of at least 50 to 55 gallons, but a 75 to 100 gallon is ideal.
Keep in mind; it needs to be wider than it is tall.
Heat, Humidity, And Furniture
Because these animals come from the desert, they need hot temperatures.
This is made possible by adding heating elements to the enclosure.
A heat lamp for basking is necessary, and an additional heat mat is helpful as well.
We’re looking for three temperature targets:
- 100° degrees F (34° C) in the basking spot.
- 75-85° degrees F (29° C) during the day from the cool to the warm side.
- No less than 70° degrees F (21° C) at night.
They will need UVB lighting, so get a light designed to provide this.
The housing should also include a substrate, a water dish, some furniture (rocks, shrubs, small trees, or anything great for climbing), and a hide for them to relax in and cool down.
Thermometers and hygrometers will help you make sure the temperature and humidity levels are in just the right range.
Bearded dragon humidity should be kept between 20-40%.
If it’s too high, you may have to remove the water dish for most of the day and consider getting a dehumidifier for the room the enclosure’s in.
Aside from providing a good home, the bearded dragon needs a varied diet to get all the nutrients they need.
The diet of a bearded dragon consists of insects and also greens, vegetables, and some fruit.
The best insects for your bearded dragon are crickets, as they are high in protein and low in fat.
Hornworms, silkworms, and roaches are also great.
Your bearded dragon will also enjoy veggies like green beans, pumpkin, squash, broccoli, and kale, to name a few.
Fruit should be fed sparingly because of the sugar content.
Use melons, apples, mangos, peaches, plums, and other fruits for the occasional treat.
Remember to develop a feeding schedule to help you give your beardie just what they need.
The amount of food will depend on the age of the bearded dragon.
Avoid feeding the animal any insects you find in and around your home as they may have come in contact with chemicals and will be unsafe for your pet.
Add vitamin and calcium supplements by dusting the insects with supplement powder or by gut loading the insects.
For food amount, feed the dragon as much as it’ll eat in a 10-15 minutes window.
Once the time is up, remove the food from the enclosure.
As far as frequency, follow this table for what and how much to feed your beardie.
|<2-3||70% Insects, 30% Veg||30-80 Total insects per day||3-5 feedings per day|
|3-8||70% Insects, 30% Veg||30-80 Total insects per day||2 feedings per day|
|8-12||70% Insects, 30% Veg||30-80 Total insects per day||1 feeding per day|
|One year+||30% Insects, 70% Veg||50 insects per day||1 day veg, 1 day insects, 1 day nothing, repeat|
Handling Your Bearded Dragon
Handling your bearded dragon is something you will do quite often, but if done incorrectly, you could injure the animal.
Before you handle the animal wash your hands to prevent passing any oils or germs to the animals skin.
Approach the animal slowly from the front, so as not to startle it.
Place one hand underneath the bearded dragon’s body, cradling the body and legs.
Do not grip the animal tightly or wrap your hand around the body.
Then for added support, place your other hand on top of the bearded dragon’s body and lift.
Once finished with a handling session, you will need to return the animal to its enclosure and rewash your hands.
Handling your bearded dragon may not be easy at first, but with some practice, and bonding, you will have no problem.
Besides handling the animal regularly, you will build a level of trust through hand feeding and just spending time with it.
They are naturally curious creatures, so give them things to play with and be there when they play.
This will help them realize you are not a threat.
Handling, and in turn, bonding with your bearded dragon is not going to happen over night magically.
Instead, it takes work, patience, and consistency.
They will learn to trust you, but you have to work for it.
Other Tips For Caring For Your Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons might not require very specialized care, but you still will have your hands full as you are learning.
Providing good care means finding a good veterinarian who specialized in reptiles.
Many local vets see your average house pets like cats and dogs.
It might mean you have to travel a little farther, but a good vet will be able to help you with your questions and will diagnose any issues your new pet has.
Bathing your animal is also a necessary part of bearded dragon ownership.
This is a great way to keep the animal hydrated, assist with shedding, and keeps them free of pests.
Baths should happen once every week or two.
Keep the water level at about an inch or two, and make sure it is between 85 and 100° degrees Fahrenheit (34° C).
Don’t use any soap, and gently pour water along its back and head to rinse it clean.
To help with hydration and shedding, give them a good soak for up to 30 minutes.
Remember to pat the animal dry after you are finished.
Bearded dragons have become a very popular house pet around the world.
Caring for them is not difficult once you set everything up.
Don’t be intimidated if things aren’t smooth sailing at first.
Patience and consistency will help you succeed in caring for your bearded dragon.
The Bearded Dragon Handbook
You’ll save time and money right away with this easy-to-follow digital handbook. This is the guide you’ve been looking for everywhere.