Many folks are interested in becoming bearded dragon owners, but the next question they have is how much it costs.
Everyone’s experience is different, so I researched to find the best answer for you.
On average, it will cost anywhere from $350 to $1,500 to purchase a bearded dragon and all of the essentials needed for housing and caring for it. This large range accounts for the morph of the bearded dragon and whether the owner prefers budget or name-brand items.
Let’s look at what expenses factor into the initial investment and monthly and yearly costs.
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Grand Total Cost For Bearded Dragons
After factoring in the initial investment, monthly, and annual expenses, you should expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for the first year of supplies and care.
The morph and age of your beardie will determine its price.
After your initial investment, the monthly bills will add up quickly between the cost of food and vet visits.
Be sure to have a budget set up for yourself to ensure you are able to take your pet to the vet or purchase extra live insects when necessary.
Check out this table for expenses.
|Price in Dollars
|Initial Cost of Bearded Dragon
|$75 (one time)
|Enclosure and furniture
|$400 (one time)
|$100 per visit
This may seem like a lot, but it’s not.
Compare this to other popular pets, and you’ll find it’s pretty reasonable.
Check it out on this graph.
Low/High Ends Of Investments For Bearded Dragons
Depending on the owner’s personal preferences and financial flexibility, the initial and monthly costs of owning this lizard may vary significantly.
In general, your initial investment may be as low as $300 or even more than $1,000.
Your monthly budget will range between $50 and $100 depending on the age of your beardie and where you purchase your food from.
Of course, these prices will vary depending on several aspects, including the beardie morph you are looking to own, the cost of food and supplies where you live, and your preference for budget-friendly or top-of-the-line products.
However, if you are looking to own a designer beardie and intend to house it in a new enclosure with all the bells and whistles, your initial investment may reach $1,000 or more.
Whether you are looking to be a cost-effective owner or you are someone who prefers purchasing new and branded items, it is important to note your initial investment is going to be more than simply the price of your bearded dragon tank and the animal itself.
Price of Bearded Dragon
The price of these pets varies greatly depending on their age and morphology and where you purchase them.
Generally, baby or juvenile lizards will be less expensive than an adult.
This is because juveniles consume more food and have a greater need for insect-based protein than adults.
If you purchase an adult, the pet store or breeder factors in the price of care associated with raising the dragon to adulthood.
Juveniles may be as cheap as $35, while adults will average around $70.
These prices are for the most common species of this lizard known as the Pogona vitticeps, or central bearded dragon.
If you are looking for a classic dragon with no particular color or scalation morphs, you will likely spend below $100 for an adult.
If you are looking for a morph like a ruby red classic, leatherback, or zero, you will be spending well over the average price.
The zero morph is one of the most expensive and rare morphs available in the dragon trade.
They are silver or white with no pattern, and they will range between $300 and $900.
Read more about the different types of bearded dragons and their characteristics in our bearded dragon morph article.
In the U.S., the minimum size enclosure for an adult bearded dragon is 40 gallons.
We suggest purchasing a larger sized tank if possible to give your pet more room to thrive.
When looking for an enclosure, you should know these tanks are usually costly.
Some pet suppliers have sales several times per year where tanks are sold for 50% off.
Other than the size of the tank, you will need to ensure you purchase a screen mesh lid to provide ventilation without allowing for possible escapes.
If you are a bargain hunter and have the time to search these platforms, you may be able to find a tank as well as some included accessories for a discounted price.
For those owners who are not concerned with the price of their products, we suggest the Repti Zoo glass terrarium found on Amazon.
This terrarium is on the pricier side, but it is high quality, comes with a lid, and it has hinged doors on the front for easy access to your pet.
Once you’ve purchased the tank itself, you will need to set it up for your pet to live in.
You will need several items, including some form of flooring or substrate, hides, a basking platform, food and calcium dishes, and enrichment items.
Some easy flooring options include paper towels or ceramic tiles.
Many new owners opt for the simple route of lining the floor with paper towels.
Another great option is having ceramic tiles cut to fit the flooring.
Once you find a tile you like, you are able to ask the workers at your hardware store to cut the tile for you.
Tiles are easy to spot clean and are easily removed when you deep clean your tank.
No matter which substrate you choose, it is essential to remember to keep your bearded dragon habitat clean.
You will need to place some enrichment in your pet’s habitat for comfort and mental stimulation.
This includes a couple of hides, a basking platform, and fake plants.
Remember, your goal is to make the setup like its natural habitat.
If you are looking for budget-friendly options, take an old plastic container or a dollar store bowl.
Simply turning a bowl upside down and propping it up with some rocks will provide great hide boxes for your pet.
Fake plants are also great accessories for your bearded dragon enclosure, and they are easily found at the dollar store or online.
If you are an experienced reptile owner and you prefer to place live plants in your enclosure, be sure they are non-toxic and are suitable for the environmental factors of a dragon’s tank.
Pieces of driftwood or a coconut bark hide are also great options.
These will act as both a hide and a basking platform.
Many owners place a canopy or hammock in the enclosure for their pets to climb onto.
The furniture you choose will vary, but it is crucial to have to stimulate your pet mentally.
Food and calcium dishes are essential for supplementing and feeding your pet dragon.
These bowls are essential to have, but you have many different options.
If you already have small Tupperware in your home, feel free to use those.
You may also purchase specific dishes for your pet.
You will need both daytime and nighttime light sources as well as a linear UVB light for your beardie’s tank.
These reptiles spend the majority of their day basking under a heat lamp.
We suggest purchasing a dimmable dome for your heat lamp like Fluker’s dimmable dome on Amazon.
The dimmable dome will allow you to adjust the heat and will help your heat bulb last longer.
We advise purchasing two of these dimmable domes.
One will be used for your basking light, and the other for your ceramic heat emitter as a nighttime bulb.
Purchasing this two-pack of basking bulbs once per year will help ensure you always have replacement bulbs in the event yours goes out.
A ceramic heating element is a heat source which does not give off any light.
This will act as your pet’s nighttime heat source and will also require a dimmable dome.
UVB lighting is essential for these reptiles.
Without it, they are not able to properly digest their food, and they will not survive.
You will need a UVB bulb covering at least 2/3 of your enclosure.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly light hood, this SunBlaster hood on Amazon is a great option.
Zilla sells a 24″ linear UVB bulb on Amazon.
We suggest purchasing two because you will need to switch out this bulb every six months.
This is another one of the annual costs to keep in mind.
If you are a first-time buyer, we suggest this starter pack from ReptiSun on Amazon, which includes a 24″ inches hood and two bulbs.
To regulate the temperature and humidity levels in your pet’s enclosure, you will need a digital thermometer and hydrometer as well as a temperature gun.
The digital thermometer and hydrometer usually comes as one device and will help you keep track of the humidity and ambient temperature.
A temperature gun is a great tool to have to regulate the basking area temperature.
Cleaning Supplies and Supplements
You will need cleaning supplies to keep a clean enclosure.
Dawn dish soap is an excellent budget-friendly choice for regular cleaning.
Fluker’s super scrub is an excellent option for deep cleaning the enclosure.
Calcium and vitamin D3 supplements, as well as a multivitamin in powder form, are essential for keeping your pet healthy.
Since you only dust insects a few times per week, these supplements will last a long time.
Having a water purifier such as Reptisafe is also essential both for drinking and bathing water.
You will need to keep feeder insects to provide insect protein to your pet.
This entails housing, gut loading, and purchasing the insects.
Yes, adopting a reptile also means owning live bugs.
We suggest using a large plastic bin with ventilation on the lid to set up your feeder insect housing.
Once you have set up their housing, you will likely need to purchase the insects weekly or bi-weekly.
Dubia roaches are much easier to care for than feeder crickets, but they are not legal in all 50 states.
The best way to gut load your insects is feeding it the same produce, you feed your dragon or bearded dragon pellet food.
And if you want a complete feeder insect list check out our post on the best bearded dragon insects, I think you’ll find it very helpful.
Monthly Expenses For Bearded Dragons
Feeder insects will range in price depending on the size they come and where you purchase them from.
If you opt to go to the pet store every time you need more live crickets, you will likely be spending more money than you would if you were to get a subscription.
Luckily, many companies with subscription services will ship the live insects directly to your door.
You are able to select the size and quantity of the insects as well as the frequency of shipping.
Baby dragons consume live insects for approximately 70% of their diet.
They will eat anywhere from 900 to 2,400 live crickets per month.
On the other hand, adults will eat less than half the amount, usually no more than 400 per month.
You will also need to factor fresh produce into your monthly expenses.
Dragons will eat salads multiple times per week and require dark leafy greens and fresh vegetables.
Annual expenses to keep in mind for your beardie are a yearly vet visit, UV light, supplements and water purifiers, and cleaning supplies.
You will need to replace these linear UVB bulbs once every six months.
So, the best option is to purchase two UVB linear bulbs at the beginning of each year.
This will ensure you have a backup bulb for when the six months are up.
Other items like calcium and vitamin supplements, water purifier, and cleaning supplies will all need to be replaced as they deplete.
This will usually happen once per year at most.
You should always budget for at least one vet visit per year.
Bearded dragons are prone to parasites, so it is not uncommon to need to take your pet to the vet one or more times per year.