Baby Bearded Dragons (Everything You Need To Know)

Starting off your Bearded Dragon journey with a baby is a great choice, but there are a lot of things to consider when choosing one of these exotic pets.

In this article, I’m going to give you everything you need to know, including;

  • Healthy and unhealthy signs of a baby Bearded Dragon
  • The best terrarium size (Including growth chart)
  • The best enclosure set up
  • Baby Bearded Dragon dietary requirements (Including safe food guide)
  • Best handling practices

What To Know Before Purchasing A Baby Bearded Dragon

You’ll want to do health checks on a Bearded Dragon to ensure they’re in a good state before buying one. 

Signs Of A Healthy Beardie

  • Strong posture
  • Active movement, full of energy
  • Bright coloration in skin
  • Shiny eyes
  • Using all 4 legs when standing

Signs Of A Unhealthy Beardie

  • Weak posture slumped and weak
  • Lethargic
  • Diahrrea
  • Swollen hind legs
  • Weak and rubbery jaw

Before purchasing a Bearded Dragon, ensure you’ve researched reputable breeders.

You cannot purchase Bearded Dragons that haven’t been bred in captivity for the legality and moral reasons. Essentially, wild cause Bearded Dragons are illegal to sell.

Best Baby Bearded Dragon Terrarium Size

When choosing a tank for your new pet, you’ll want to consider the space they require at their current size and accommodate their growth rate. 

The recommended tank sizes for specific ages are;

  • Baby Bearded Dragon – 40 Gallons
  • Juvenile Bearded Dragon – 75 Gallons
  • Adult Bearded Dragon – 120 Gallons

Growth Chart

Here is a growth chart to show when you’ll need a terrarium upgrade;

Age (months)Size (Inches)Weight (Grams)
1 (Baby)3”-4”4-6
2 (Baby)5”-9”8-40
3 (Baby)8”-11”22-110
4 (Baby)9”-12”40-115
5 (Juvenile)11”-16”100-115
6 (Juvenile)11”-18”180-188
7 (Juvenile)13”-18”230-280
8 (Juvenile)14”-20”252-327
9-10 (Juvenile)16”-22”280-360
11-12 (Adult)16”-24”350-465
12+ (Adult)18”-24”380-510

Pro Tip: Some reptile enthusiasts purchase the larger tank size to save money on multiple tanks and save time on different setups. 

Baby Bearded Dragon Enclosure

Setting up the enclosure is crucial for your Bearded Dragon’s health and well-being, I am going to explain below the correct way to set up the tank to replicate a natural habitat.

Lighting Requirement

Bearded Dragons of all ages require 12-14 hours of light daily, you’ll need UVA and UVB lighting setup to support your beardies needs.

UVA exposure provides;

  • Heat
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Assists with sleeping
  • Assists with mating
  • Allows them to see clearly

Any light bulb exerting heat, emits UVA exposure. I recommend using halogen bulbs for your UVA bulb (Basking bulb).

UVB exposure provides;

  • Encourages vitamin D3 synthesis
  • Encourages healthy growth and development

For the UVB bulb, I recommend using a fluorescent tube bulb instead of compact or coil bulbs for better coverage within the terrarium. You’ll want the bulb to cover an area ⅔ of the tank, as shown in the image below.

Temperature Requirement

When setting up the temperature gradient within the enclosure for babies, you’ll want to ensure it ranges from 85°F on the cooler side of the tank and raising to a maximum of 110°F on the basking side.

At night, your lighting needs to be turned off, if temperatures remain 70°F or above your Bearded Dragon will be comfortable. However, if temperatures drop below 70°F you’ll need to invest in a ceramic heat emitter (CHE) to keep your beardie warm during the night without disturbing their sleep with lighting.

Humidity Levels

The humidity levels within the enclosure need to sit between 30%-40%. Having levels below or above will incur severe health concerns such as dehydration, diarrhea, and impaction.

You’ll need to invest in a hygrometer like Zoo Meds Digital Thermometer Humidity Gauge which is able to monitor temperature and humidity accurately.

If you’re struggling to maintain the correct humidity levels, read my article providing in-depth information on how to regulate it.

Substrate

Although we’re wanting to replicate their natural habitat as best as possible, the exception to the rule is the use of sand in the enclosure. 

The sand we purchase in pet stores is very fine and easily ingested which is especially true with baby beardies as they’re very excitable eaters. The concern with this is impaction a very severe form of constipation potentially leading to fatalities. 

They do live surrounded by sand in the wild, however, the sand is more claylike compared to the products we can purchase.

Substrates I recommend using are;

  • Bioactive
  • Reptile Carpet
  • Excavator Clay
  • Ceramic Tiles
  • Rubber Liner
  • Newspaper

Pro Tip: Set up your new pets enclosure a minimum of 7 days prior to being brought home to be able to make any amendments necessary so it’s just right for your beardie upon arrival.

Baby Bearded Dragon Dietary Requirements

Bearded Dragon dietary needs differ depending on age;

  • Baby and juveniles need a balanced diet of insects and vegetation. 60% insects and 40% vegetation
  • Adults also need a balanced diet of insects and vegetation, however with a ratio of 20% insects and 80% vegetation

How Much And What Do They Eat?

Baby Bearded Dragons are primarily carnivores so require more insects than vegetables, they’ll need to be fed more often than older beardies. 

Their feeding habits differ from cats and dogs, Bearded Dragons eat live food, so if you’re squeamish maybe they’re not the right pet for you

They can be fed up to two times a day, with a balance of 60% insects and 40% vegetation. The number of live insects you feed should be between 30-60 a day.

When feeding, it is best to allow your beardie to eat as much food as they can in a 10-15 minute window, any food leftover after this time should be removed from their enclosure.

All food eaten by your beardie needs to be small enough to fit into the gap between their eyes. This is because anything larger is a choking hazard.

Safe Food Guide

InsectsVegetableFruit
KingwormCabbageKiwi
EarthwormSweet PotatoFigs
CockroachesParsnipWatermelon
PhoenixwormAsparagusApple
ButterwormOkraMango
CricketsGreen BeansButternut Squash
Dubia RoachesSnap PeasPumpkin
WaxwormParselyBlueberries
MealwormPumpkinGrapes
LocustsBell PepperBanana

Pro Tip: For optimal growth and health, you should dust this food with calcium supplements.

Best Handling Practice

Like a lot of humans, Bearded Dragons aren’t great when it comes to change, this is especially true when they’re babies.

When your new pet arrives home, you’ll need to allow them a minimum of 7 days to adjust to their new environment before you start handling and playing with them. 

Babies are small and fragile, so once you start to handle them, you need to do so with extreme care. 

Never attempt to pick up your beardie by grabbing from above or their tail.

You should;

  • Approach carefully and slowly from the side
  • Support all four feet and tail
  • Do not hold at height as babies are skittish in the beginning and could jump unexpectedly

Pro Tip: You can build a strong bond with your Bearded Dragon when feeding them, they’ll gain the trust of you and naturally be comfortable with you being there.

Conclusion

Bearded Dragons aren’t just a pet for Christmas, they require a lot of research, care, and time to own one of these exotic animals. 

Their lifespan ranges between 8-15 years, which is a long time. If you can’t commit to one of these animals, then they’re not the right pet for you.

Before purchasing;

  • it’s important to ensure the dragon is healthy and has been bred in captivity. 
  • The minimum size of the tank required increases with the age of the dragon, and appropriate lighting, temperature, humidity, and substrate are all essential. 
  • Baby bearded dragons have a primarily carnivorous diet, and require a balance of insects and vegetation. They can be fed up to two times a day, with up to 60 live insects a day.