How Much Does A Bearded Dragon Cost? The Naked Truth
Owning a bearded dragon is fun and most beginners do not really think about the costs of owning a bearded dragon. All the videos on Youtube might make you think that owning a bearded dragon is not expensive at all. Well, if you get a really poor setup for your bearded dragon it is pretty cheap. However the consequences of providing a bearded dragon with such a poor equip can be fatal.
In this article I am going to tell you how high the costs of owning a bearded dragon really are, how you can save some money on your setup and that owning a little dragon must not be expenisve at all.
Getting a Bearded Dragon
Here it is, the part that tricks so many people into thinking that owning a beardie is totally inexpensive. Bearded dragons became more and more popular in the last years. In the past it was the number one reptile among reptile owners. Now, however, even people that aren´t interested in reptiles at all start to keep bearded dragons.
While I think this is awesome, because reptiles are just amazing little pets, it lowers the price of bearded dragons on the other side. Prices vary extremely. I have seen bearded dragons for just $15 on reptile fairs. If you want a more rare color it can cost you up to $400 or even more.
As you see, getting started with a beardie by buying one is really cheap. Let´s get to the more expensive part.
Setting Up A Tank
The majority of reptile beginners think that getting a tank, a normal light pulp and maybe some newspaper as substrate is enough for a bearded dragon habitat. Others have no clue at all what to buy. While I totally understand that this is a very confusing topic, just putting a bearded dragon in a glass tank without anything else is close to animal abuse in my opinion.
I am sure that this is not what you want. So if you want to create an awesome habitat for your dragon you need the following: the actual cage, light, substrate and some decor like hides and stuff like that. All in all this is going to cost between $140 for a baby to $360 for an adult bearded dragon. Of course you can always spend more money for a larger cage and more lights and so on and so forth.
If you need help with setting up a tank have a look at my tank setup guides!
The Costs For Food
As you probably know, bearded dragons eat live food. Which means they eat crickets, mealworms, locusts and all the stuff I would never eat ever. The problem is that you can´t just look for some bugs at a green spot in you street. You have to get insects from a pet shop or you have to breed them yourself, otherwise your beardie might catch some parasites or other nasty stuff which isn´t good for your dragon.
So how high are the costs for food? Actually not really high. I pay around $10 for an adult bearded dragon per week. Sometimes even less. Many people just offer too much food to their dragon which is completely unnecessary and sometimes even harmful. Bearded dragons are used to hunt their food and as you know, the hunter is not always successful. Further adult bearded dragon should eat a lot of vegetables which lowers the price for food per months immensely. Here are some vegetables your dragon is allowed to eat.
If you need some guidance on how to feed your dragon correctly, have a look at this article!
Supplements For A Beardie
Not much to say here to be honest. There are some people that like to buy a lot of supplements and that can be expensive, of course. I, however do not think that beardies need a lot of supplements. If you create a natural habitat, with the correct lighting and if you provide the right food, you won´t need a lot of supplements.
You should definitely get a calcium supplement which costs around $10 and lasts forever.
Taking Your Dragon To The Vet
This can be very expensive. If you have any pets and you had to take it to a vet once you probably know what I am talking about. Some vets charge you a fortune for just looking at your pet without even doing anything. The costs for a vet can be between $20 to a couple of hundret bucks, depending on the disease.
A Word On Lighting
Unfortunately, just buying the lighting once and forget about it doesn´t work. You have to get a new UVB bulb every 6 months, because the UVB bulbs those bulbs produce get weaker over time. Normally such an UVB bulb costs around $30. Here is my lighting guide in case you need help.
Your Electricity Bill Will Rise ... Maybe
A yeah, the good old electricity bill. Don´t worry too much about it. I live in Germany and the electricity costs are freaking high here and I do not really notice the costs for my dragons. If you live in the UK or in the US you probably won´t notice the rise.
Summary And How To Save Some Money
So what do we have? Let´s say you get a bearded dragon for $50 and a tank for $360 plus some supplements for $10. That would make around $420. These are the initial costs for your bearded dragon. From this point on you have to pay around $10 for food per week and every six months you have to get a new lighting bulb for around $30. As I said your electricity bill will rise as well.
Here is how you save money, do your research and get the right stuff right from the start. That´s it. Easy isn´t it? Do not listen to a friendly pet shop employee and buy a small tank at first fo a baby beardie to save some money now. You will have to buy everything again after probably 4 months because your bearded dragon will grow so fast.
Besides that, do not get a poorly equipped tank. You will most probably end up with a sick bearded dragon and if you do not want it to die you have to take it to the vet. You will lose tons of money there only because you did not provide an appropriate habitat for your dragon.
Don´t offer to much food. I told you the reasons for that above. This will lower the costs as well and it won´t harm your dragon. It is actually more healthy.
Don´t get two beardies if you are short of money. Bearded dragons are loners and there is a good chance that you have to separate the two when they grow up because they start to fight. You will then have to buy a second tank or give one of your bearded dragons away.
So saving some money as a bearded dragon owner is actually easy. The trick is to do a thorough research before buying anything. I provided some links for you in the article above if you need any help with the discussed topics. If you still feel that you need some help, simply leave me a comment in the comment section below and I will reply as soon as possible!
About the Author
Hey! I am Pierre. I own bearded dragons and many other reptiles for a very long time. I know from experience that it can be very hard to find the right information about a specific reptile, since there is so much misinformation out there.That´s why I created this website. To help other people to have the best time with their reptiles.