Are you often the odd/cool person in your friend group? Are you a person that like to do things differently from the rest of the world? Do you find yourself wanting a pet but find dogs and cats are just too generic? They are ‘cute’, but not ‘cool.’ You want something different.
If you are one of those people, you should consider having bearded dragons as pets. They are magnificent creatures.
If you are an newbie or never even heard about the bearded dragons, this bearded dragon care guide will tell you everything you need to know about this popular pet reptile, from what they are, how to choose one, to taking care of them.
What Are Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are non-toxic, non-dangerous reptiles. Where do bearded dragons come from?
They are Australian native who come a long way from their original continent and spread around the world right now.
They get their names from a special territorial behavior of the male. The male, when protecting their territories while stretch out the skin in his throat and the throat turns black, making the dragons look like they have a beard.
Bearded dragons sound pretty wild so do bearded dragons make good pets?
The answer is yes. For the last 20 to 25 years, they are the most popular reptile pet in the world.
There are thousands of people having pet bearded dragons, and this number does not show any sign of stopping.
They are non-toxic, non-aggressive creatures and very animated and entertaining to watch. Bearded dragons are probably much more popular than you thought.
Getting A Bearded Dragon
Choosing a type of laundry detergent from grocery store is already difficult, not talking about choosing a live creature that will live with you for a long time. Choosing a perfect-for-you bearded dragon baby is not an easy task.
It will take patience, carefulness and sometimes luck as well. This bearded dragon care sheet will start off showing you how to find a great reptile friend for yourself.
Where To Buy Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons are not that rare in the States, but they are also not that ubiquitous of an animal to find. You can find them at some of these following species:
Breeders – This is the place you can often find the best quality bearded dragons.
Breeders are normally experienced and they will support the dragons with the best and most suitable living and breeding environments.
Thanks to that, the bearded dragons from breeders are not only healthy but also can be especially exotic with multiple shades and colors.
However, the bearded dragons from breeders are more expensive than other places. The breeder is a type of exclusive bearded dragon collectors club that deliver the best reptiles with the highest price.
Pet Stores – If you don’t have any interests in your bearded dragon pets being the most stand out ones, you can simply visit your local pet stores.
This would be the easiest way to find a bearded dragon pet. There is no guarantee that every pet store will have bearded dragons so try the bigger ones instead of smaller stores.
However, there are downsides of pet stores. The beardie will be cheaper at the pet stores than at the breeders’, yet they are still expensive.
You won’t have much variety of color to choose from the pet store. Besides, just like cats and dogs, people often concern that pets from pet stores are normally not as healthy as the beardie from professional breeders.
Reptile Rescues – This option is for more experienced beardie owners. If you have experience taking care and owning a bearded dragon before, you can find yourself an extra precious pet while doing a good deed by adopting a beardie from the reptile rescue centers.
Because rescued pets are often more sensitive and fragile than usual due to long history of neglect and mistreatment, you need to know well what you are doing before adopting one.
Online Stores – One of the newer options here. More and more online pet shops offer shipping of reptiles.
You can watch a lot of videos on Youtube where people unbox their reptile that they have ordered at an online pet shop. Other than expected the reptiles always arrive healthy and without a scratch.
Adult or Juvenile Bearded Dragons?
Now come the question of age. Should you get a young bearded dragon or a more mature one? we can’t answer this question. There is not really a should or should not option for this question. This totally depends on your taste, needs and preferences.
Juvenile bearded dragons are often cheaper. You also don’t have to worry about their history with the previous owners: whether they were neglected, mistreated or malnourished.
However, they require more care. Since, we all know that babies have more needs than adults. And you also need to be flexible and accompany their changes in need due to their growth: more food over time, new habits, bigger and different tank, etc…
Adult bearded dragons are easier to care for. They are less fragile to the environment. You have to check their owner’s history for complete information about their past though.
But they are older so you may have less time to spend together with your precious pet, because of life span.
In general, we recommend first time owners to choose adult bearded dragons since they do require less care. However, again, this all depends on you. Choose what you feel is best.
How to choose a healthy bearded dragon?
You would want to make sure you can get the best bearded dragon before actually purchasing it. It will take a thorough inspection, looking at every aspects of the beardie that you can see.
However, the inspection may take a little time but they are not difficult. You just need to know what to look for. And that is what this bearded dragon care guide is here for.
Check the missing body parts
You remember those stories you were told when you were a kid about how when a lizard loses its tail, it will grow back again? Yeah, that is not the case with our bearded dragon.
If the beardie loses a tail or a limb, he will stay that way forever. That’s the truth. Don’t believe if the seller tells you differently.
However, it is also not unusual that the bearded dragon loses a little tip of their tails of toes, and choosing to go with their perfect imperfection or not is totally your call.
Besides the obvious effects of losing a limb or tail, losing a body part does not affect the animal’s internal health or general wellness.
Look for the obvious: injuries and wounds
You need to check for injuries or wounds of the bearded dragon that may affect his/her future.
If there are some wounds, check to see if those are completely healed and whether or not they are infected. Wounds, if not treated carefully can severely affect the beardie’s health in the future.
Unlike cats or dogs, bearded dragon behaviors are not the obvious clue about their health. You need to check their heads to see if they are sick or not.
Look for any puss or fluid around their mouths. The presence of puss and constant fluid around their mouths often indicate some bearded dragon illnesses.
Besides, you also need to check whether or not their eyes are droopy, that can also be a sign of bad health. And finally, don’t forget to make sure that their mouth and jaw are not swollen or in ill-shape.
Level of Alertness
Because of their lifestyle in the natural habitat, bearded dragons are very alert. A perked up and highly aware of their surrounding bearded dragon is often a healthy bearded dragon.
Yet, on the other hand, not even the healthiest dragon can stay fully alert 24 hours a day. They get tired as well. So checking for alertness is a job that takes more effort than just a 5 minutes quick check up.
Here is our checklist for new bearded dragon owners that you should read before buying a bearded dragon.
Creating a habitat for bearded dragons
Bearded dragons are Australian native. They are used to living in hot and dry environment.
So just having them crawling around in our human air-conditioned environment won’t do them any good.
You need to create a living environment that mimic the bearded dragon’s natural habitat in the wild to keep them alive and healthy.
That is what this bearded dragon care sheet will show you next: showing you how to create the best environment tank/habitat for your precious bearded dragon?
You could also save you some time and just have a look at our Bearded Dragon Tank Setup Guides. We compiled a complete habitat for you, including the right lighting and the right substrate for your dragon. No need for doing tons of research as a beginner. We did that for you!
- Click here for a great baby bearded dragon enclusore!
- Click here for an enclosure for adult bearded dragons!
Bearded Dragon Tank Size
Like a fish needs a tank, a dog needs a cage, a bearded dragon will also need a tank. The first thing you need to pay attention for when choosing a tank is its size.
It is absolutely important to not choose too small of a tank. The tank needs to be big enough for the beardie to be able to not only moves around easily but also has some extra spaces to feel comfortable.
Having too small of a tank can cause anxiety issue for the bearded dragon and negatively affect their growth.
The bigger the tank is the better. However, there will be some minor downsides of having too large of a tank.
While caring for bearded dragons, you will realize that too large of a tank will give more space for the beardie to run around and also for their food (worms, insects, etc…) to hide.
Besides, a tank needs to go with a few other accessories.
So going big with the tank means having to also go big with all other accessories or else you can’t control the environment in the tank the way you want it to be, especially with the suitable temperature for your bearded dragon.
For the most basics, you always need to choose a rectangular tank. They only need to be about 16 to 20 inches in height.
It can be as wide as you want, but it doesn’t have to be very high. Bearded dragons are not really big jumpers so you don’t have to worry. So mostly you just need to concern about the width of the tank. Here are some guidelines regarding size of the dragons and the tank size.
Baby bearded dragon will ideally need about 20 gallon tank size. 10 to 16 inches dragons will require 40 gallons or larger. 16-20 inches dragons need at least 50 gallons minimum.
The most ideal sizes for them is 75 gallons. With dragons that are longer than 20 inches, they need to have at least 75 gallons space or even 120 gallons and larger.
Types Of Tanks For Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons enclosure come in many different types. Besides the most basics shape, there are many options you can choose for your tank. You can go as classic, simple or as fancy, showy as you want.
Classic Glass Aquariums
You will recognize this tank immediately since they are the typical fish tank you often see.
They work great for bearded dragons as well. They are by far the most popular because they are cheap, good looking and easy to find.
The downsides of this tank are that they are pretty heavy, you probably won’t be able to move it after you set it up, and they don’t hold heat too well.
The melamine tanks are great bearded dragon cages. They are often made from melamine board which is a type of wood. You can buy these melamine cages pre-made online or have yourself a DIY project.
Melamine boards can be easily purchased from your local hardware store. Because of the white color of the melamine, these cages reflect the light making the beardie’s color looks very vivid and some owners even say these cages make their dragons happier.
PVC cages are technically just melamine cages but with plastic instead of wood. Made from plastic so these PVS cages are light and easy to move.
You can even stack them up on top of each other to save space if you have more than one dragon. Also, since they are made from plastic, you can choose pretty much any color you want as well.
These are the most ‘professional’ looking cages that the bearded dragon breeders often use to display their dragons.
They are made out from molded plastics (not just PVC and you most likely can’t self- build this cage) to give you 100% viewing of the dragon. They are light, easy to clean and often come with bearded dragon lighting built in the cage.
Bearded Dragon Tank Accessories
To build a good bearded dragon terrarium, you will need more than just a tank. You will need other accessories such as lights, flooring, covers, etc…Remember you need to build a mimicking living habitat for your dragon, not just dropping it in the tank.
So choosing appropriate bearded dragon supplies and accessories is very important.
Tank Covers and Lids
If you have an open top tank or cage, you need to get your tank a lid or else your bearded dragon will escape from the tank. Also, having a lid will help keep other pets, insects or objects getting into the tank and annoy or harm your dragon.
This lid cannot just be a solid piece of plastic or wood panel. You need to let air easily flow in and out of the tank so your dragon can survive.
Any type of lid that restrict air flow is a huge no-no for your tank. Having a solid lid also captures the humidity within the tank and for a creature that is used to living in dry environment, the high level of humidity can easily make the dragon sick. Get a specialized screen cover for your tank.
Tank UVB lighting
Bearded dragons are originally from deserts where there is a great amount of sunlight. They rely on the light heavily to stay healthy so you can just leave them next to the window and hope some weak sunlight will be enough for them.
You need to install a full spectrum UV light (which emits all types of UV rays like the sun) inside the tank and turn it on for 12 to 14 hours a day for your dragon to be healthy.
Besides the lighting, there needs to be another light inside the tank to keep the dragons warm so keep that in mind while installing the lighting to give enough space for both lights later.
The best rated full spectrum light for bearded dragon is the Reptisun 10.0. The light receives many positive reviews from bearded dragon owners claiming that the light does not help with the dragons’ health but also with their color.
Tired of doing your research about the best dragon lighting? Click here for our bearded dragon lighting guide. We compiled the perfect lighting setup for you there!
Bearded Dragon Heat Lamp
As you already know by now, bearded dragons’ natively live in dry environments like dry woodlands. They can’t handle cold and prefer warm to hot temperature. His/her surrounded environment in the tank cannot be cooler than 85F and no warmer than 110F.
That is definitely not your house’s temperature. So you will need to install a heat lamp inside the tank to provide suitable temperature for your dragon. You will need basking lights in this situation, to be exact.
If you tank is long enough, you can virtually split the tank into two sections: one with the basking light, and one without so the beardie can run between the two for comfort.
Choosing Basking Lights
Basking lights are technically just heat lamps that focus all their heat into one specific section instead of spreading the heat around.
It is important to have good basking light since this is vital to your dragon’s health. You often here stuff like:
“Do not use just regular light bulbs since these lights need to be turned on for more than 10 hours a day and they can get really hot or even explode and injured the bearded dragon. We recommend only high quality basking light bulbs only.”, but in our opinion all that can happen with the popular reptile heat lamps as well. In fact the most popular basking lights are known for burning out quickly. Read our lighting guide for more information.
You will need to monitor both temperature and humidity in the tank. You don’t have to do any extra step to control the humidity level inside the tank.
Yet, you still need to keep an eye on it to solve any issues if the humidity levels suddenly skyrockets. We recommend you to get a temperature and a humidity gauge.
If earlier you separated your tank into a with-basking-light and without-basking-light sections then you should get an extra temperature gauge: one for each side of the tank.
Or instead of having to buy every gauge separately, you can just get one gauge that displays both temperature and humidity on one screen. Choose whatever works best for you.
Tank Bedding and Flooring
You will also need to build a flooring/bedding for the tank. You can’t just let the poor bearded dragon run around on a glass surface.
However, you also should not go too far decorating the floor. We recommend you not decorate your floor with loose materials such as sand, wood chips, pebbles or something of the sort because bearded dragons can eat the substrate.
What you can do is layering the floor with reptile carpet. If you can’t find any, newspaper, paper towels or butcher paper will work as well.
However we really recommend the substrate on the right – The Excavator Clay does the job better than all the other substrates or carpets. If you wanna know more about it and why it might be the best substrate for bearded dragons – Click Here!
Optional: Under Tank Heater
This is not necessary if you already have the basking lights. The under tank heaters allow you to heat up the tank from the bottom.
The heat will rises up and keep the whole tank warm. Many owners use these heaters to keep their dragon warm overnight without the lighting from the light.
Generally, this is optional. However, they are more important if you live in somewhere very cold or often let your house’s temperature fall below 60F.
Living in an exposed tank is hard, even for a bearded dragon. So inside your tank, you should have a hide places so the beardie can have some privacy.
The beardie can go into the hide for some privacy, feeling secure or hiding from the lights. They are important for the mental life of your beardie.
You can purchase pre-made hides that looks like real rocks in the future or make some yourself. Remember to make or choose hides are large enough for the dragon to move around inside. If the hide is too small, it is uncomfortable and the bearded dragon will not use it.
An extra accessory for a happy life for bearded dragon is a reptile hammock. Bearded dragons love climbing and parching on things.
They love having somewhere to do that in their habitat. Getting them a reptile hammock will let them have something to climb on and even rest on.
The reptile hammocks are relatively cheap and very easy to install. They have suction cups that can be attached on the tank walls easily. Click here to read further why hammocks are so great for bearded dragons and what you can do with them to train your dragon.
Besides hammocks, you can also put some wood branches inside the tanks so the beardie has more places to climb.
The branches are also great for decoration so you can customize your tank as much as you want so the tank looks natural and the dragon feels more at home.
Of course, you should not overdo it because that will leave no more space for the dragon to live. Before putting a branch inside the tank, make sure to clean it thoroughly, and strip off all wood chips and insects inside the branch.
A basking platform is a place right underneath the basking light that can hold heat, so the bearded dragon can sunbathe on it for warmth.
It can simply be a rock, a tree branch or you can combine by placing the hide right beneath the basking light and the bearded dragon can just rest on top of the hide.
If your basking platform is a rock or a hide, choose the dark rocks since they absorb heat better and they will stay warm to the touch. Bearded dragon once laying on it can get warmer.
The most important point of the bearded dragon tank is that it mimics the reptile’s natural habitat.
So you should not let the poor creature has to keep looking at the blank white wall all the time. Get a scenario background for your tank. Many bearded dragon owners claim that their dragons are happier with a background. Click here to see our favourite backgrounds!
Bearded Dragons Diet
After you are done with setting up the perfect tank for your dragon, let’s move on to the dragon’s food and diet.
Feeding the right food with a reasonable amount will help the bearded dragon be happier, lives longer and be healthier in general. This section in bearded dragon care guide will show you what you need to know to feed your dragon best.
What can bearded dragons eat? Bearded dragons are omnivores, which mean they can eat both insects and vegetables.
Each dragon differently will have its own preference but health-wise, neither type of diet is better or worse for your dragon.
Your bearded dragon’s diet will depend mostly on age. Younger dragons will eat more insects and less vegetables, about 80% insects and 20% vegetables.
The adult dragons are the opposite: 20% insects and 80% vegetables. Besides the types of food, you also need to pay attention to the size of the food.
If you feed your dragon anything wider or larger than the gap between his or her eyes, he or she is very likely to be choked or injured by the piece of food.
So you need to make sure the vegetables are cut into small pieces and the insects can’t also be too large.
Young Bearded Dragons Food
Young bearded dragons need lots of nutrients to grow, that is why they will need more insects. Young bearded dragons do not only need more insects, they also prefer insects over vegetables.
Like human kids, it is sometimes difficult to make young bearded dragons to eat their vegetables.
Every day, you should feed the young reptile as many crickets or insect within 10 to 15 minutes. Do that 3 times per day.
After these feeding sessions, remove all uneaten insects out of the tank and leave vegetables inside when they are still awake. You can expect young bearded dragon to eat about 20 to 60 insects a day.
Adult Bearded Dragon Food
Adult dragons eat less insects and more vegetables than the young ones. It is less entertaining to watch but it will save you much money since vegetable diet is much cheaper.
The main diet for an adult will mainly be vegetable and once a day insects. You should not overfeed the adults with insects since they can be overweight and unhealthy.
You will feed them insects the same way you do with the young ones. Feed them once a day but during the 10 to 15 minutes period, let them eat as many insects as they can. Remove excess insects after the meal.
Insects for Bearded Dragons Diet
Bearded dragon live food should be safe and good for them to consume.
However, you bearded dragon will be like your kid. He/she will not know what is good for them and what is not. They will eat just about any insects or bugs that crawls by them. So you need to know what is good for them to keep them healthy.
You cannot feed bearded dragons the bugs you randomly find in your house or the ones you buy as baits in Fish shops.
These bugs can carry parasites or filled with insecticide. Eating them can be lethal to bearded dragons.
Do not risk it.
You should only buy bugs that are specifically breed for feeding pets from pet stores or insect breeders online to make sure your bearded dragon will not end up being poisoned.
Safe Insects To Feed
Here is the list of the most popular and easy to find insect feed for your bearded dragons.
- Black Soldier Fly Larvae
- Dubia Roaches
You can find more information on our article about feeding bearded dragons.
Plants, Vegetables and Fruits Food Option
To be honest, watching your beardie eating vegetables is nowhere near as exciting as watching them eat live insects.
However, vegetables and fruits contain necessary vitamins and minerals in order to keep your beardie healthy.
That is why even young beardie whose main diet is insects still need to eat a certain amount of vegetables.
Not to mention, vegetables are much cheaper and easier to obtain than insects. Bearded dragons can eat both vegetables and fruits.
Safe vegetables for bearded dragons
Here is the list of most popular vegetables for your bearded dragons. You can feed any of these vegetables at any meal of the day for your dragon. There is much less restrictions on feeding vegetables to your dragon than insects.
* Safe fruit for bearded dragons
Compared to vegetables, fruits can be more tasty since they are sweeter and more flavorful. Combining fruits in the meal can encourage some picky bearded dragons to eat more plants in general. Here is the list of popular fruits fed to bearded dragons.
- Prickly pears
Need more information about this topic? No problem! Here are 88 things your bearded dragon is allowed to eat.
Insects, vegetables and fruits to avoid
We have talked about the to-do. Now, let’s not talk about the Not-to-do with feeding your bearded dragons. Not all insects and vegetables will work with feeding bearded dragons. There are some dietary restriction.
- Insects In the Wild
We have mentioned about this earlier. Do not feed your bearded dragon insects that you catch yourself from the wild. These insects are not ‘clean.’ They very likely contain parasites and pesticides that can make your dragons very sick.
- Fireflies or any bugs that glow
Basically, do not feed any insects that can make itself glow to your bearded dragons. The chemical that cause the glowing in those insects are highly toxic and lethal to your bearded dragons.
Avocado is toxic for bearded dragon. Why it is toxic and what is its toxic level for bearded dragon is unknown but if sometimes, it can be dangerous enough to kill your dragon.
- Poisonous Plants
There are plants that are toxic for bearded dragons. Some of these plants are easy to guess since they also have toxic effects on human like: marijuana, poison ivy, tobacco, poppy, etc…But there are more plants that can harm your bearded dragon like daffodil, poinsettia, sweet pea, tulip, etc…We highly recommend you to check thoroughly before deciding to feed your dragons with something off-track from the usual diet.
Bearded Dragon Supplements (Vitamins and minerals)
Your bearded dragon needs a stable supply of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Here is how you can be sure to give your dragons the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
Bearded dragons can be vitamin A poisoned. However, it is not common and also not likely to happen if you feed them organic, natural products such as carrots as the main source of vitamin A.
Bearded dragons most likely be having too much vitamin A from multivitamins containing synthetic vitamin A.
When eating natural food, if the dragon happens to consume too much vitamin A, its body will automatically excrete the excess amount of vitamin A to keep itself healthy.
However, with synthetic vitamin A, vitamin A will be absorbed directly to their body without having a chance to ever be excreted, which can cause a toxic level of vitamin A.
Normally, just the vegetables in their meal is enough iron for the dragons. However, if you bearded dragon is still young and does not eat much vegetables, you should consider getting an iron supplement to maintain a healthy iron level for your pet.
Calcium and Vitamin D3
Normally, in the wild, bearded dragons can just get vitamin D3 from sunlight but since we are keeping the dragons indoors all day, we need to supply them with some vitamin D3 and calcium supplement.
If your dragon often has contact with direct sunlight or you use a full spectrum UV light inside the tank then you don’t have to give your dragon this supplement.
(It is highly recommended to setup the right lighting instead of giving your dragon this supplement, because you do not have the right lighting for your bearded dragon. Read our lighting guide for more information.)
Calcium and vitamin D3 are very important for bearded dragons since they help develop strong bones and they provide important nutritional value for gravid female dragons (carrying eggs).
The bearded dragons cannot consume calcium without vitamin D3 so make sure you give your dragon both
Generally, for baby bearded dragons, you need to feed them the supplement daily. With juvenile bearded dragons, the supplement only needs to be fed 3 to 4 times per week, and with adult dragons, one dose per week is enough.
Most vitamin D3 and calcium supplements will also have phosphorus, and you don’t want your dragon to have too many of those. So before purchasing, choose the supplement that contain low level of phosphorus.
Bearded Dragons Health
Common Bearded Dragon Behavior
Bearded dragons are generally very resilient and healthy animals. However, they can still be sick sometimes. Before looking into potential sickness-related-behaviors, let’s look at a few common behavior of bearded dragons that can cause false alarms for inexperienced owners.
Brumation is like semi hibernation routine for bearded dragons. In late fall or early winter, bearded dragons often brumate due to changes in lighting and temperature.
During brumation, bearded dragons will become less active, decreased appetite. They may sleep for days and skip multiple meals.
They do wake up once in a while to eat and walk around though. However, their main purpose during this period is rest.
So you should not wake them up while they brumate since it can make the brumation cycle gets longer and your dragon becomes tired due to lack of proper rest.
If you need help, here is my brumation guide!
Bearded dragons can shed from twice a year to once every month depends on their age.
Younger dragons shed more often since they need to grow more frequently. When bearded dragons begin to shed, their eyes will seem more puffy and their color gets dull.
Don’t be alarmed and mistake those as signs for ill health. If you want to help with the process, you can bath them more often.
Use a warm damp washcloth to exfoliate the already loose skin that do not really attach to their body anymore. Do not peel off or pick at their skin since it may damage the new layer of skin.
Further bearded dragons often time wave or bob their heads. As long as they do not do that all the time, it is absolutely okay. It is a sign of submission (waving) or dominance (head bobbing).
Unusual Bearded Dragon Behavior
Unusual behavior can be caused from internal sickness or health problems. Here are some common health problems that you can recognize from observing your bearded dragon’s behaviors. Have a look at my behavior list of you need to know more.
If your dragon eats well but has not used the bathroom for several days, it is likely that he/she has impaction issue.
Most of the time, impaction issues can be minor and can be helped by gently massaging your bearded dragon’s stomach in a warm bath. If this does not solve the problem, you need to bring your dragon to a vet for more medical attention.
If diarrhea happens once in a while then it is normal. However, if it happens often, you need to get more medical attention for your dragon since it can be a parasites or worms problems.
Proper hydration is very important for bearded dragon since they live in hot and dry environment. If the skin doesn’t return to normal instantly once you press on their skin, it’s a sign of dehydration.
When your bearded dragons’ eyes begin to droop, you need to contact your vet as soon as possible since it can be a kidney issue.
Bearded Dragon Diseases
Sometimes, bearded dragons can have some diseases that are more serious than others. In those cases, you need to seek proper medical attention as soon as possible.
If the dragon’s habitat is too cold or too humid, he or she can have a respiratory infection. Symptoms are gaping mouth, breathing difficulties, puffy throat and sometimes whole body and excess mucus around the mouth and nostrils.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
MBD is the weakening of bones due to poor diet and lack of calcium and vitamin D3. Symptoms are: bumps in the legs and vertical columns of the back and tail, swollen lower jaw, twitches and spasms, and jerky movements.
When your bearded dragon has a decreased appetite and there is a yellowish/white substance around the mouth, your bearded dragon likely has mouth rot since their mouth is swollen or some of their teeth are loose.
Bearded Dragon Activities
In order to have a healthy and happy bearded dragon, feeding him or her with good food and setting him/her up with good lighting and temperature is not good enough, you need to find your pet some things to do. Here are 5 activities and toys you can buy for your pet or do with your pet dragon.
Get a ball
We know, we know that a bearded dragon is not a dog, and there is no scientific proof in anyway but apparently bearded dragon seems to like playing with balls. So buying a simple squeezy ball for your dragon to play with is not only good for his/her mood but also good exercise for him/her to move around.
Get long tweezers
Yeah, tweezers are for the weaks. You guys feed your bearded dragons bare hands. Just kidding, that is not true.
Feeding your dragons bare handed or with tweezers are just simply choice of preferences. However, you can use a pair of long tweezers to play catch and chase with your dragons. Grab a insect with the tweezer and let your dragon chase you as if he/she actually has to does it in the wild.
Get a mirror
Place a mirror near the bearded dragon tank and you will see he/she start bobbing its head or doing the bearded dragon wave.
Bearded dragons are very territorial so seeing its own reflection will make them think there is an intruder in the area. It is healthy to keep the dragon stay in touch with its natural behavior.
However, don’t over do it. Make sure to only expose the mirror a few times a day max. Cover it up for the rest of the day.
Get a leash
Imagine you can take your dragon on walks. That is the amazing power of having a leash. Give your dragon a few days to get used to the leash so it won’t hurt itself on the actual walk.
But after that, you are free to take him/her to infinity and beyond. Have a look at this awesome leash here.
Whether you believe it or not, bearded dragons are great swimmers and they love to swim.
You can let your dragon swim in your swimming pool, bathtub, big bucket of water or better yet, a real pond. Just remember to keep your eye on the dragon while he/she swims just in case.
So there it is, a bearded dragon care guide that will definitely help you with your future in owning one or a few bearded dragons.
Those are all the most basic knowledge you need to know to not stumble on any surprises or heartaches when you first start.
You can slowly enjoy the process while keep your little pet healthy and happy as well. However, this is just a beginner guide. Like anything else in life, practice and time will give you the most experience, and you can wander around more and upgrade yourself.
Now, if you already have a bearded dragon, take good care of the little baby. If not yet, what are you waiting for, go get one and start this wonderful journey with us.
If you need any help, we are always there for you. Just leave us your question in the comment section below and we will respond as fast as we can.
Hello and thanks for sharing all of you knowledge. My family is preparing to get our 1st beardie and I feel confident that I am prepared to provide everything he or she will need to be happy and healthy. I just have 1 simple question that I can’t find an answer to. When our new baby comes home should we interact with it from the get go? Should we give it some alone time in its enclosure to get settled? Should we begin feeding and handling it immediately? Thanks!
thank your for your comment. You are very welcome, I am happy that it is helpful to you!
When you bring your new bearded dragon home you should give it some time to calm down. It has to get used to its new environment and explore its new habitat.
You can of course observe your new bearded dragon, but I would give your new pet at least 3 days before you handle it. However it always depends on the individual reptile.
For example, my chameleon, Fipsi Carlos, was so relaxed, he scratched on the door of his tank to get out. When I opened the door he climbed on my hand.
Just pay attention to the behavior of your dragon and you will see if it is still nervous or already calm.
If it is a baby, you should handle it every day if you want it to be tame.
Just be gentle 🙂
You have to offer some food on the first day of its arrival. Baby reptiles are hungry the whole day and always remember: A bearded dragon that eats its food, is usually a healthy bearded dragon!
So this is a great way to check if your bearded dragon is okay.
Have fun, Kelly!
First off, I love your website. It’s so helpful.
Second, I have a few questions. I want to get a terrarium that’s 30x12x12. Will this be okay? I’m a little worried about the depth of the tank.
Question two: I’m a first time beardie owner, would it be wise for me to get a baby? I want one because they’re adorable, but I don’t want to put it in danger by not doing something correctly. In fact, I should mention that I’m a first time reptile owner, too. I’m really excited, but I want to be smart about it.
Question three: How do I sex them and how early can I sex them? I know from experience that it’s difficult, and I’m not exactly sure how.
Question four: If I don’t want to go with the desert theme (but still provide all the necessary climbing things and hides and whatnot) will that be harmful to the beardie?
Thanks in advance,
thank you so much, I am very happy to hear that 🙂
I had a look at the tank you´ve posted and in my opinion this is not enough space for an adult animal.
In this article you can see what tank I recommend. However I have to say that even the ExoTerra tank is simply not big enough for an adult bearded dragon IF you never take it out of the cage.
So you can definitely use the cage you posted for a baby bearded dragon, but not for an adult one.
Of course you should get a baby if you want a baby, Kate 🙂 I know that there are many people who say you should start with an adult dragon.
The truth is, it always depends on your research. If you do your research properly you will be fine! Pay attention to your baby. Ask questions if you feel that your beardie shows an odd behavior. Simply leave a comment on my website and I will help you the best I can.
Most probably you will not be able to sex your beardie before the age of one.
For that simply lift your dragon´s tail (below 90 degree angle, otherwise you can hurt your baby). If you can see two coves above the cloaca, it is a male. If there is none or just a small one in the middle above the cloaca, you have a girl.
Nope, that is okay. Simply keep the right temperature and humidity in your tank. (Use the correct lighting)
Hope this helps!
So, two questions.
Would you recommend a hot rock? If so, should I get one with or without a plug in?
Also, can you take the baby beardies on walks? I figure you can’t, but I was just askin.
I would not use any heat from below. Naturally the heat comes from above (sun) and you should stick to that in your tank as well.
You can take your beardies for a walk and I even recommend it. Bearded dragons in captivity do not get enough exercise and most of them are just laying in too small tanks all day.
If the temperature in your area is okay for bearded dragons, you should let your beardie enjoy the natural sun and let it run around. Just don´t pull on the leash and make sure your bearded dragon is safe.