Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets? Here’s What You Need To Know

When it comes to deciding if a bearded dragon is a good pet or not, really, you need to know what goes into caring for one, and can I provide what is needed for this reptile to thrive.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through what goes into caring for bearded dragons, average costs, the type of person they suit, and the pros and cons.

By the end, you’ll know 100% if a bearded dragon is a good pet for you.

Pros & Cons Of Owning A Bearded Dragon

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Low upkeep
  • Interesting to watch
  • Lots of variations
  • Long lifespan
  • Have great personalities
  • They don’t smell

Cons

  • They require large enclosures
  • You need to provide live insects
  • Regular enclosure cleaning
  • Salmonella
  • Regular equipment checks

Terrarium Requirements

For your terrarium you require; a light source, heating bulb, substrate, decorations, and toys.

You’ll need enough space for a 55-120 gallon tank. This is so your dragon has enough space to grow and be able to roam around its habitat

This means you’d require a space of  48in x 24in x 24in. The positives of the 120 gallon is it is the same in length as the 55 gallons but its width and height are superior which provides lots of space for them to climb and move freely.

If you were thinking of getting a Baby Bearded Dragon you can get a minimum of 40 gallons but remember you’ll need to upgrade this in the future, this is at the 9-month mark when they start their transition into adulthood.

You need to set up your Terrarium temperatures in sections. Your dragon requires an 80°F (25°C) ambient temperature, 100°F (38°C) basking spot, and humidity level at 40%.

You need a UVB tube light and a basking heat bulb rather than a UVB compact bulb due to these not providing enough UV light within the tank.

Here you will see a breakdown of approximated costs for getting a Bearded Dragon setup;

  • 55-120 Gallon Tank: $100-$600
  • UVB Tube: $15-$80
  • UVA Heat Lamp: $15-$30
  • Exo Terra Night Heat Lamp: $5-$10
  • Food and Water Bowls: $2-$10
  • Monthly Food: $40-$90
  • Monthly Electricity: $10-$15

Appearance

There are 8 species of Bearded Dragon. And all of them have something called a morph; morphs are the result of selective breeding to utilize their recessive genes and try to create a unique Bearded Dragon. 

There are 3 main types: pattern, scalation, and color. The rarity of the morph will drastically increase the price you pay for your dragon. A Bearded Dragon can cost anywhere between $40-$900.

After years of breeding, herpetologists have now managed to discover over 20 different morphs. Within these, you can get albino, black, translucent blue, and many more variations.

One special thing I really enjoy is they have the ability to flare out the scales on the bottom of their throat and change the color to black, hence the name Bearded Dragon.

Interaction & Play

Bearded Dragons are passive reptiles which makes them great pets for someone who wants to interact and let them out of their habitat. They’re intelligent reptiles who are able to be trained to come when called and taken out on walks with a harness and leash. They love to be held and played with which provides the opportunity for them to bond with you.

There is a chance of a Bearded Dragon biting if it feels threatened. Bearded Dragons will feel threatened by loud noises, strong vibrations, and being grabbed by their tail. So if you have children around or just a childish adult they should be supervised.

Luckily, there are many ways to identify if your bearded dragon is stressed, a few of the most obvious ones are;

  • Stress Marks – Your bearded dragon will have dark marks appear on its chin and belly. This is very common when your bearded dragon is getting used to its new habitat.
  • Clawing at the side of their terrarium – This one is easily visible. This usually occurs due to your bearded dragon seeing its reflection and thinking it’s a threat. 
  • Loss of appetite – This could happen due to the temperatures not being set correctly. 

Bearded Dragons require mental stimulation, so you’ll need to provide them with plenty of ways to keep them entertained. 

Ensure the toys and decorations you get for their terrarium can’t be chewed through. For example, a bouncy ball will be fun however, given time they’ll gnaw their way into it. Rubber in the belly will not be a nice experience for them nor for you to be clearing up the mess. You should allow a minimum of one hour of play and interaction time with your bearded dragon per day, this will encourage it to trust and feel safe with you.

You can turn bath time into your fun time by introducing toys and floats. Just ensure you’ve prepared the bath properly. The water temperature should be between 90°F-100°F and should only rise midway up their legs.

Bearded Dragons also require some friction to hold themselves steady when in water, otherwise they can become distressed. I recommend you give them something like a bit of cloth for them to stand on.

Maintenance

The cleaning process is split into two categories; 

Light Clean

First of which is a light clean consisting of removing their water and food bowls and giving them a wash with reptile safe products; Flukers Super Scrub Brush with Organic Cleaner, Fluker’s Eco Clean All Natural Reptile Waste Remover are a couple of examples you can use.

Deep Clean

The second is the deep clean which should be done once a week. I recommend removing your Bearded Dragon from their habitat at this time, this is because whilst you’re scrubbing and cleaning away they could become distressed with the noise and vibrations you will be creating. 

You will need to wash the substrate, tank accessories, and glass. If you have a handheld vacuum, this will be your best friend when cleaning out loose debris left in the tank.

If you are unable to keep to a minimum maintenance schedule of 2 hours per week, a Bearded Dragon may not be the right pet for you.

Diet & Feeding

Bearded Dragons are omnivores and eat a variety of foods including insects, fruits, and vegetables. 

To give you an idea for the foods you’d be feeding your Bearded Dragon, see this guide below on common safe options.

InsectsVegetableFruit
CricketsGreen BeansButternut Squash
Dubia RoachesSnap PeasPumpkin
WaxwormParselyBlueberries
MealwormPumpkinGrapes
LocustsBell PepperBanana

A Baby Bearded Dragon needs a diet of 60% proteins (live insects) and 40% vegetation. A baby will need to be fed once to twice a day. 

Once your Bearded Dragon reaches 9 months old you need to transition to an adult diet, consisting of 80% vegetation and 20% protein (live insects). Adults should be fed live insects 2-3 days spread across a week. An adult will only need to be fed once a day.

If you are someone who is squeamish, feeding your bearded dragon live insects might be difficult and could result in them not being the right pet for you. Consider this before purchasing.

Odor & Noise

Bearded Dragons will not emit any odors because they’re ectotherms, meaning they have no sweat glands. The main cause of bad smells coming from bearded dragons is in fact, a poorly maintained terrarium. As long as you stick to a consistent weekly cleaning schedule, you’ll have no problems with odors.

Your Bearded Dragon will make a hissing noise if it is distressed. If you’re concerned they’re noisy pets it is not the case due to them not having vocal cords. You may hear noises if they are running around their habitat but this can be avoided by filling your tank with reptile carpet instead of newspaper. 

Life Span

The life expectancy for a Bearded Dragon is between 8-15 years. This is amazing as this gives you such a long time to bond with them. You are able to get Bearded Dragons as young as 3 months old and watch their unique personalities grow and really see their individuality compared to other reptiles. 

So Are Bearded Dragons Good Pets?

Yes they’re good pets, if you’re someone who is going to take the information we have covered within this article and use it to give your Bearded Dragon the appropriate care and attention they require for a happy healthy life then they will be the right pet for you.

Bearded Dragons are really cool and unique pets to have, throughout your time owning one you will see their unique personality and cool quirks they possess.