Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

Bearded Dragons are exotic animals and this may be daunting for you with what type of care they require.

In this article, I am going to talk you through the;

  • Tank Set Up
  • Diet Requirements
  • Tank Maintenance
  • Handling and Play
  • Health Information
  • Cohabitation

Bearded Dragon Care Overview

Bearded Dragon Care Overview


Key Characteristics
  • Size: 18 – 24 Inches
  • Life Span: 8 – 15 Years
  • Temperament: Calm
  • Living Zone: Ground Dweller
  • Diet: Omnivore

Tank Requirements
  • Tank Size: 48″ x 24″ x 24″
  • Cool Side Temperature: 75°F – 80°F
  • Ambient Temperature: 90°F – 95°F
  • Basking Spot Temperature: 95°F – 100°F
  • Nighttime Temperature: 70°F – 75°F
  • Humidity Levels: 30% – 40%
  • Substrate: Bioactive | Reptile Carpet | Excavator Clay | Ceramic Tiles | Rubber Liner | Newspaper

Care Schedule
  • Daily: Spot check cleaning | Feeding
  • Weekly: Deep full clean | Temperature check
  • Monthly: Equipment check

Scientific Classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptillia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Agamidae
  • Genus: Pogona
  • Species: Pogona Barbata | Pogona Minor | Pogona Vitticeps | Pogona Minima | Pogona Microlepidota | Pogona Mitchelli | Pogona Nullabor | Pogona Henrylawsoni
Close Up Of Bearded Dragon With Dark Background

Ideal Tank Set Up Overview


Tank Supplies

120 Gallon Tank

UVB Lighting

UVA Lighting

Thermometer

Hygrometer

Hide Spots

Water Dish

Substrate

Decorations


Diet

Crickets

Dubia Roaches

Waxworms

Green Beans

Snap Peas

Bell Pepper

Blueberries

Banana

A Bearded Dragon’s habitat can be in woodlands, coastal dunes, tropical savannahs, and deserts. They’ll use branches, tree stumps, and rocks to enable themselves to have sight of predators, prey, and potential mates.

Tank Set up

Here is a rundown of what you need to make the perfect habitat for your Bearded Dragon.

Tank size

Bearded Dragons grow at a fast pace, you can expect them to grow 2 inches per month until reaching a full size of 22-24 inches.

Because of this, it’s best to get a large terrarium from the start. You’ll need a 55-120 gallon tank with enough space to fit these dimensions; 48in x 24in x 24in.

Day Time Temperature

Your daytime temperature within the enclosure will need to be 80°F (25°C) ambient temperature, 100°F (38°C) basking spot, and a humidity level of 40%.

Night Time Temperature

For nighttime temperatures, you’ll need your ambient temperature to be between 70-75°F (21-24°C). 

You can easily monitor the temperature by using a thermometer on the cool side and on the basking spot side of the tank. For the humidity levels, you’ll need to use a hygrometer.

Lighting & Heating

For your daytime schedule a UVB Tube Light is required for 12-14 hours, this allows your Dragon to get the right amount of Vitamin D they need to thrive. 

Pro Tip: You can get lighting timers for these time periods to suit you and your Dragon’s schedule.

Bearded Dragon enclosure showing temperature gradient requirements and lighting positioning

Due to your UVB light not supplying the heat necessary, you’ll need to get a heat bulb for the basking spot.

For your nighttime schedule, you should not use a UVB Tube light as they’ll need darkness for proper sleep. 

You can get a blue light heat bulb for nighttime as this is dimmer and will be easier for them to sleep. 

Another alternative for the blue light will be a ceramic heat emitter as this supplies no light.

Bearded Dragon Temperature Gradient Graph

Pro Tip: Replace your UVB Tube Light every 6 months. This is due to after excessive use the UVB bulb will stop emitting the germicidal wavelengths they require. 

Substrate

Bearded Dragons eat off the floor, so your substrate can’t be something they can easily choke on. Reptile safe carpets, newspaper, and paper towels are therefore the best substrates. All of which also has the bonus of being easy to clean and replace.

Don’t use sand. The grains are easily swallowed, causing health issues and are a high choking hazard.

Decoration

Bearded Dragons are avid climbers. Provide them with rocks to bask under the heat bulb, and branches to enable them to climb up and explore.

Some decorative ideas are;

  • A background for their terrarium – Bearded Dragons sometimes get scared or threatened by their reflection. This can alleviate that stress.
  • Reptile hammocks.
  • Decorative rocks – Ensure all rocks, whether purchased or found are thoroughly cleaned before use.
  • Tree branches or Plastic branches – Ensure all wooden branches are thoroughly cleaned before use.
  • Something your dragon can hide in or under for a hiding spot – This is so they can cool down if needed or go to if they feel threatened.

Certain plants will be able to survive in the environment you’re creating. A couple of these are;

  • Aloe
  • Sansevieria

Aloe Plants don’t provide any benefits to your Dragon’s health but look nice and thrive in the environment, due to their low maintenance, only needing dry soil and direct UVB.

The benefit of having Sansevieria is due to it releases oxygen and adds moisture into the air. This lessens the impact of airborne allergens such as; dust and dander. Creating a healthy habitat for your Dragon.

Diet Requirements 

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

Here is a guide below on common safe food to feed your Bearded Dragon with;

InsectsVegetableFruit
Crickets Green BeansButternut Squash
Dubia RoachesSnap PeasPumpkin
WaxwormParselyBlueberries
MealwormPumpkinGrapes
LocustsBell PepperBanana

Pro Tip: All food being eaten by your Dragon needs to be small enough to fit into the gap between their eyes. This is because anything larger is a choking hazard for them.

Baby Bearded Dragon 

They’ll need to be fed two to three times a day. Consisting of 30-60 live insects throughout the day. The serving ratios need to be 60% live insects and 40% vegetation every day.

Pro Tip: Try feeding your Bearded Dragon vegetables by hand, in the beginning, to help build trust and associate your hand as a friend and not a foe.

Adult Bearded Dragon

At nine months old your Bearded Dragon will have started the transition into adulthood. This period is from 9-18 months. 

The ratios are still 60% live insects and 40% vegetation every day but are only fed 20-30 live insects a day.

At full maturity, the ratios change to 20% live insects and 80% vegetation. They’ll only need to be fed once a day and not insects in every meal. I recommend only feeding them insects 2-3 days a week, exceeding no more than 15 insects per meal.

Tank Maintenance

In this section I am going to run you through the step-by-step process of keeping your Bearded Dragon habitat clean and how to do it safely.

Daily Spot Check

Ensure your hands are washed before and after cleaning to prevent any cross-contamination within their habitat.

You need to spot-check the tank daily for feces and remove any soiled or wet substrate to prevent an unhygienic environment. If you don’t do this, your dragon could get a variety of different sicknesses.

Weekly Deep Clean

Your Bearded Dragon requires you to do a deep clean once a week. For this, you need to;

  1. Take out Bearded Dragon
  2. Remove the substrate
  3. Remove the decorations
  4. Remove water and food bowl
  5. Get your vacuum ready

This is so you can clean the inside with products like JVP Clean N Safe Reptile Spray, Zoo Med Wipe Out without harming your Dragon. 

Handling & Play

Bearded Dragons will enjoy handling if implemented in the correct way. Once they’ve settled into their habitat, which is usually a period of four to six days, you can start handling them for 15-20 minutes at a time. During this, your Dragon will start to bond and feel more comfortable with you.

Bearded Dragons love to roam around and explore. To make this more fun you can get them toys such as; balls for them to chase, tunnels to run through. and a hammock to relax in.

Children must always be under supervision when interacting with your Bearded Dragon. This is to protect both your child and your scaly child from harm. 

Youtube Channel – Elle’s Reptiles

Pro Tip: Remember to never pick up your Dragon by the tail and to ensure all four feet are supported when being held.

Health Information

Some scenarios will make you concerned, here is some information you will need to know throughout your Dragons life.

Brumation

Brumation starts after one year into your dragon’s life. Brumation occurs because they’re unable to raise their body temperature during the winter months. So they slow down their heart rate, and respiratory and digestive systems to accommodate the seasonal change. 

The common signs of Brumation are;

  • Appetite loss without weight loss
  • Staying on the “cool” side of the terrarium
  • Staying inside their “safe place” more than usual
  • Sleeping constantly
  • Not wanting to be handled

Egg Laying

They’ll lay clutches of infertile eggs even if they are in solitude throughout their season.

The signs of this are;

  • Erratic pacing
  • Constant digging
  • Engorged belly
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not wanting to be handled

If your Dragon is preparing to lay eggs you’ll need to provide them with a nesting area for them to dig and bury their eggs into. 

I recommend filling a small container with reptile dirt or vermiculite bedding. Once you have prepped the nest, place it under the heat lamps for your Dragon to use when required. They can lay up to 20 egg clutches at one time and can have up to 5 different clutches within a 4 month period.

Mites

They’re easy to spot and even easier to prevent by ensuring you clean their tank regularly and properly. Being wary of other reptiles they are mixing with. 

The signs of mites are;

  • Constant scratching
  • Leathargic
  • Tiny red dots around across their bodies

Cohabitation

You may be thinking of getting more than one Bearded Dragon. Here is the information you need to know before doing so.

Bearded Dragons are solitary and territorial Reptiles. This makes housing them together difficult and the top reason why I don’t recommend it.

Housing them together causes health complications such as; stress and physical battles for dominance over territory and food potentially resulting in death.

If you’re thinking of breeding purposes, I only recommend the use of a trained professional. This is to protect you and your Dragons from harm.

Summary

Bearded Dragons are a great pet to have. Following the steps, I have provided you in this article you’ll be able to provide your Dragon with a great new habitat and a fun place to play and explore.