- Bearded dragon care, types of bearded dragon pet morphs, habitat (terrarium), and foods
- Behavior and Temperament
- Substrate and Bedding
- Food and Water
- Common Health Problems
- Habitat and Decor (Housing) for Bearded Dragon
- Bearded Dragon Сare
- Types of Bearded Dragon Morphs
- Helpful Bearded Dragon’s Buyer’s FAQ
- Q: How to take care of a bearded dragon?
- Q: How to determine sex a bearded dragon??
- Q: How to care for a bearded dragon?
- Q: What to feed a bearded dragon?
- Q: How old is my bearded dragon?
- Q: How to bathe a bearded dragon?
Bearded dragon care, types of bearded dragon pet morphs, habitat (terrarium), and foods
The bearded dragon is a type of an ancient lizard that comes from the Australian deserts. The name ‘bearded’ refers to their ability to flare out or puff the skin under the throat that looks like a beard. Generally, these animals are even-tempered and have no problems with human interaction. However, adult male dragons can be territorial, so they should be housed separately.
Following the statistics, by 2017, over 9.5 million reptile pets were in households, with around 5 million American. Considering bearded dragons, they have become the 4th most wanted reptile around the globe.
Behavior and Temperament
Talking about bearded dragons as pets, it is essential to pay due attention to bearded dragon behavior. It is inevitable to understand the basic needs of the animal in order to provide it with the necessary activities and favorable atmosphere. Generally, these reptiles are native to rocky and arid areas of Australia, so they are likely to tolerate handling. While it may be a bit more complicated with a baby bearded dragon, the adult gets used to that very fast, especially if it has spent the whole life in captivity. As for bearded dragon colors, they may differ depending on the type of the lizard and several other factors. Typically brown or tan, it can also be red, yellow and even white.
An important fact about bearded dragon lifespan: it varies depending on the living conditions and habitat of the animal. On average, it can range from 3 to 10 years, though sometimes people report their pets live up to 15-20 years. Bearded dragon size is increasing with age, so it starts with approximately 4 inches and may grow up to 2 feet. It is one of the crucial reasons why this type of lizards is frequently used to be a domestic animal.
Generally, these animals are available in America and all of them are captive bred. Anyway, it is inevitable to be aware of key bearded dragon facts, which will help the owner to take proper care of the pet.
An essential fact every owner of the lizard should remember: Bearded dragon eggs can be laid even without a male as they are infertile. However, once you have noticed your animal laying eggs, make sure you have created the necessary conditions. Bearded dragon temperature should be regularly controlled as any violations can result in serious issues.
Substrate and Bedding
A 55-75 gallon tank, secure screen top cover and fresh air are the conditions necessary for normal living and functioning of an adult lizard. Juvenile bearded dragon substrate may differ, while loose sand and small details should be avoided for the safety sake. The risk of intestinal impaction and other disorders may be too big. Instead, owners can use outdoor carpeting, papers, and towels. It works well with baby dragons as well as adult species. Nevertheless, if you use sand, remember that feces should be scooped out, and the cage should be carefully disinfected and cleaned on a regular basis. Bearded dragons are semi-arboreal, so they enjoy perching off the ground; therefore, sturdy rocks, branches, and half logs may perfectly suit the cage. Besides, there should be a hide as well.
Food and Water
Bearded dragon diet is another point worth attention. The animals are omnivores, so they eat both meat and plants. It is recommended to feed pet lizards 2-3 times a day.
Owning a young hatchling, you need to get small insects, while mature species will enjoy vegetables, too. Generally, these animals are not picky and eat whatever you give them with gusto. Apart from meat and insects, a bearded dragon food list can be extended with finely chopped greens, veggies, and fruit. Make sure you use items that are healthy and rich in vitamins and minerals required for normal development of the animal.
In general, the diversity of bearded dragon food can be reduced to the following list:Pinky mice and a range of other nutritional products can be bought in pet stores to diversify the diet of the animal.
Common Health Problems
Being a responsible owner of a bearded dragon means not only to provide the animal with the necessary food, water, and living conditions but also take care of its health. The metabolic bone disorder is one of the most common diseases bearded dragon can experience.
The condition can appear as a result of phosphorus, calcium or other vitamin deficiency. Similar to other reptiles, bearded dragons are usually susceptible to various respiratory disorders, with the most common symptoms being wheezing and abnormal mucus production.
Striving to keep your animal healthy, you need to follow several simple tips and recommendations:
Contact the vet if you notice any of the following complications!
- Less drinking and eating
- Spending more time in a hiding place
- Noticeable weight loss
- Skin shedding or discoloring
- Swollen joints
- Runny droppings for over 2 days
- Mouth, nose or eye discharge, etc
Habitat and Decor (Housing) for Bearded Dragon
Hatching bearded dragon tank maybe not that big, starting with around a 20-gallon aquarium, but as it grows, a larger enclosure will be needed. A 75-gallon box is enough even for two adult reptiles. However, numerous other things should be there, especially proper ventilation. It will help pets start healthy and eliminate the risk of unwanted health problems. Theoretically, an outdoor bearded dragon habitat should be settled for the warm season, as shady retreats and sunny basking areas are so important for reptiles. The sun is the source of healthy UV, while fresh air will stimulate a better immune system.
Once your animal is an adult, a real bearded dragon terrarium should be fixed. At least, think about 40 gallons in volume, which is the average area necessary for a comfortable life of the lizard. Additionally, the environment should be dry and warm, equipped with a heating source. Apart from the basic items, bearded dragon accessories may be added to remind the animal of the ancestors’ deserts. Line the terrarium with a few inches of calcium sand or opt for a reptile carpet. The latter is a top choice for younger reptiles. Keep in mind that lizard pets can be finicky about temperature, so plan bearded dragon cage environment beforehand, with a piece of rock or driftwood closer to the source of heat.
Bearded Dragon Сare
Eating habits. Being cold-blooded animals, bearded dragons cannot digest food properly unless they are not completely heated up. Bearded dragon care is quite a complicated process that requires sufficient knowledge about the reptiles, their features, and specifications. It is not recommended to feed the lizard the first thing in the morning, as it is important to give it some time to heat up. On the other hand, avoid turning off the lights right after the final meal. Instead, let the reptile digest food for 1-2 hours before the lights go out. Regular eating, at around the same time every day, is an awesome de-stressor.
Depending on the age of your lizard, its diet may differ greatly. Younger reptiles need more protein as fuel for normal growth and functioning, so the diet should consist of 20% of greens and 80% of insects. Small live crickets are necessary for juvenile beardies, but not more than five times a day. Keep in mind that overfeeding can lead to impaction. Vegetables look more attractive to young dragons if they are sorted into color groups. Once your lizard reaches maturity, the diet switches to 20% of insects and 80% greens. Dust all the crickets and veggies 4-5 times weekly with various calcium supplements.
Shedding. For the first 9 months of its life, a bearded dragon is likely to shed every few weeks. An adult lizard will do that once in a few months. The shedding process starts with skin darkening, so the animal becomes dull and chalky. During this period, beardies slow down, turning lethargic and listless. The shed usually takes from multiple days to a few weeks to complete. Important note: If you notice parts of the old skin hanging not falling, avoid tugging at them, as you can damage new skin of the reptile. Instead, you can spray the skin with water or give your lizard a warm bath for loosening and softening the skin.
Bathing. Even though the vast majority of this type of lizards originated in arid habitat, some of them enjoy playing with water. Warm baths have a favorable impact on animals, helping them shed, hydrate, poop, and exercise properly. Opinions about the frequency and necessity of bathing for beardies vary greatly, but a pleasant water time once a week or once a month will be perfect for the health and mood of an animal. Bearded dragon toys should be included in playtime as they help lizards relax and feel more comfortable.
Types of Bearded Dragon Morphs
Thinking about a bearded dragon, people frequently imagine a sandy-colored reptile. Many of them will be surprised to learn that these reptiles come in a range of different patterns and colors which refer to mutations. Here are 11 types of bearded dragon morphs you can come across: