ValueAquatics Care Sheet Equipment for a Bearded Dragon

To house a single/pair of adults we would recommend a Vivarium such as the Viv EX55 55x23x24”, for a single Bearded Dragon we would recommend a 48”x18”x20 Viv Exotic VX48 as an absolute minimum.

Lighting

For the VX48 & EX55. PT-2054 reflector and Guard  the UV Bulb PT-2189 Repto Glo compact new 26watt,
The UV tube should be no more than 10” above your Bearded Dragon, you can place a branch under the UV where it can climb onto to reach the UVA-B rays. Change the bulb year as the light quality breaks down dramatically, reducing the benefit to your Bearded Dragon.

Heating
Use a PT-2138 Sun Glo Tight beam Basking spot lamp S20/100Watt. This gives the Bearded Dragon a hot spot that it requires so that it can digest its food.
Use a PT2054 Glo Light 21 cm. The Exo Terra Glow Light gives you the versatility of placing heat and/or light sources in your Vivarium where needed.
You will need a Dimming thermostat. Use the thermostat for the heating/basking lamp PT2138. This should be put on a timer or only turned on during daylight hours 10-12, hours a day.
(If the room is cold at night less than 35f) Use a Royce Heat Mat 22×12” for either of the Vivariums. Place under the basking area and leave running 24/7. This gives some background heating for the night time. I would put the heat mat on a thermostat as well as an insurance against overheating.

Option 2 Lighting/Heating

Mercury vapour lamp Exo Terra solar Glo then use with PT2056 Glow Light 10” clamp lamp and a guard. With this you do not need a thermostat. To adjust the temperature raise or lower the lamp above the basking spot.

Substrate

For baby dragons we recommend wallpaper, backing paper or newspaper for the first year. As they can get compaction of the gut by ingesting substrates, like Calci sand, sand, peat, corn cob, beach chips etc.

After a year old the best substrates are peat and playpen sand 1:1, Calci sand, beach chippings.

Décor

Use a PT-2803 Exo Terra Water Dish Large for adults and a PT-2802 Exo Terra Water Dish Medium for younger Dragons. Most Dragons do not drink from a bowl and should be sprayed twice a day, but a few do so a water bowl is recommended and should be used and the water changed daily. The water bowl should be kept at the cool end to avoid excessive humidity
Use a PT-2813 Exo Terra Feeding Dish X Large for adults and a PT-2811 Exo Terra Feeding Dish Medium for Youngsters. Use the bowl to feed their greens and vegetables.
Use a large piece of Cork bark tube of a PT-2852 hide cave for a baby dragon to sleep in. Make sure it is large enough for them.
Branches (Bog wood etc.)Branches need to be strong and sturdy. Fruit tree branches are good but not cherry as it is poisonous as are conifer branches. Scrub them clean with hot soapy water, rinse and allow to dry. Bog wood and drift wood are good.
Large basking rocks. A large piece of sandstone placed under the basking spot light is a good addition. This holds the heat and helps them to digest the food properly. Place a thermometer on the rock or branch that is to be used for basking and adjust the thermostat until it reads about 90°-100°Fahrenheit.
Artificial plants. PT-3000-3052 these are just for decoration and make the vivarium look more natural. I would say three plastic plants and a vine PT-3082

Vitamins T-268 Tetra Fauna Reptocal or Nutrobal + a Calcium powder. Many reptiles require a diet based on live or fresh foods, due to their specific feeding habits. These are readily available, but in themselves do not offer a balanced supply of nutrients. To ensure your pet receives a properly balanced diet, it is important to increase the nutrient content of these foods with a nutrient supplement.   

CARE

Bearded dragons originate from Australia; as juveniles they are semi-arboreal. As adults, they are more terrestrial, but will climb to bask and search for prey. Bearded Dragons can occupy a large range of habitats from the desert to dry forest and scrubland.

Dragons are not either the smallest or the largest of the lizard family and are known to grow on average 18-24 inches from nose to tail.

Bearded dragons are amongst the tamest of all lizards, and their outgoing personalities, activity level, appetites and interesting social behaviours make them a very captivating lizard to observe. They have a very rapid growth rate, so the 4″ hatchlings can grow to their adult size within a year.

Most bearded dragons adapt easily to handling and are calm enough to perch on their owner’s shoulder, or be placed on a countertop, or enjoy the view from a windowsill.

Housing

The minimum size vivarium for up to 2 adult dragons should be 48″ x 24″ x 24″ but I would recommend something bigger. A basking site should be provided under the hot spot and include UV lighting. Bearded Dragons need to bask and they need high temperatures to help with the digestive process. A basking area should be about 100°Fahrenheit with an ambient temperature of 75°F and then dropping to about 65°F at night-time.

Bearded Dragons need to have UV running for 10-14 hours a day. In the wild they bask in the sun to help with the digestion and the production of vitamin D. Obviously in a Vivarium they will not receive that much UV so a UV source is essential. Bearded Dragons need a photoperiod (to tell the difference between night and day), to do this you need to have your UV bulb on for 10-14 hours. The UV must be within 10″ of the bearded Dragon to enable the dragon to get the full benefit of the UV tube. The UV source will need to be changed once a year as it loses its efficiency. A ceramic heat emitter or a spot Basking bulb and a Pulse Proportional thermostat for the ceramic or Dimming for the basking bulb, to control the temperature of the vivarium. A thermometer inside the vivarium is a good idea so that you can check they are being kept at the right temperature. Some people use 2 thermometers, one at the cooler end and one at the hotter end to monitor the temperature range. If you use only one thermometer then place it in the middle of the tank towards the bottom.

A UV and Heat source that is becoming more popular is the Mercury vapour lamps like the Exo Terra Sun Glo. These bulbs do not work with a thermostat so to get the correct basking temperature you simply raise or lower the lamp.

A substrate is known as the material to line the bottom of the tank and these can range from newspaper, bark, and sand for reptiles.

Feeding

Their stomachs are large enough to accommodate large quantities of food. Young Bearded Dragons do not eat as much vegetation as their adult counterparts. As a Bearded Dragon ages it may be persuaded to eat less animal matter and more plants, maybe levelling off at around an 80% plant and 20% insect diet.

Popular feeder insects include crickets, cockroaches, locusts, silkworms, and Locusts. The mealworms have a fairly hard chitin (exoskeleton) and is generally low in the “meat to chitin” ratio, as well as having a poor calcium/phosphorus ratio, making it far less nutritious than other feeder insects. Chitin is hard enough that large amounts of it can cause impaction in the Bearded Dragons digestion system, and can lead to death, especially in younger and smaller animals. But as given As A treat are not a problem Waxworms and Morio worms can be given as a treat also, but sparingly as in most cases as they are extremely fatty, and in some cases very addictive. Although they can be useful in building-up an undernourished individual. The rule of thumb on feeder insects is that the food fed to the animal must not be larger than the space between the eyes; feeding something larger could make it hard for the animal to swallow the food and can lead to the aforementioned fatal impaction.

A significant portion of the Bearded Dragons diet may consist of leafy greens. Dragons enjoy many types of readily available greens, including Water cress, Kale, spring greens (occasionally), escarole, dandelion greens, & flowers, parsley, and carrot tops. It is also recommended that this portion of the dragon’s diet be supplemented with a variety of finely diced fruits and vegetables. Feeding a mixture of these plants ensures a wider variety of nutrients, and variations in texture to aid digestion.

Calcium should be added (a light sprinkling) to the food every day and added vitamins every two or three days. This is to boost the calcium for good bones and to add to top up the missing vitamins that is lacking in their diet.

Light & Heat

Bearded Dragons bask most of the day, absorbing the heat they need to digest their food. It is important that there are at least one or two good basking spots in the Dragons habitat. Rocks are preferable to logs as they hold heat better, though logs can also provide stimulation for the animal as they will climb up and down it any item taken from the outside must first be boiled or baked, however, to remove contaminants. A habitat should also include something the Dragon can hide under.

Bearded Dragons also need correct lighting. A UVB light is needed, with two options being available, Fluorescent strip bulbs, bulbs or mercury vapour lamps. These bulbs have variable ranges of UVB output; owners must ensure proper distance from bulb to the basking spot so the lizard can properly absorb the rays. Bulbs are typically replaced every 6 months. Without adequate UVB the Dragon will develop Metabolic Bone Disease and not eat as much. A Dragon needs between 12 and 14 hours of daylight; much less or more causes problems with their circadian rhythms and makes them lethargic and sick.

For heating, Bearded Dragons need bright white light during the day. Some owners use a red Infra red light at night for heating; this provides heat and you will be able to see it. It is unknown if this red light is visible to bearded dragons. Another option for maintaining temperatures at night is a Ceramic heat emitter or heat mat.

Temperature is one of the most important health factors. A bearded dragon needs the correct temperature to digest, so a good thermometer is essential. Analogue, Round, stick-on, and other non-digital thermometers do not measure basking temperature properly as they do not measure the actual basking spot, just the temperature of the air or glass. A digital thermometer with a probe or a Dial thermometer. Temps need to be 40C-43C (105F-110F) [basking spot] during day and 15C-26C (60F-80F) at night (the higher end of this range for babies, the lower portion of the range for adult Dragons). If the dragons do not receive the proper heat they will become lethargic, and they will eat less. Eventually the lack of proper heating will become fatal.

Substrate

 This is another very important factor in keeping a healthy Dragon. Babies and juveniles are particularly at risk of impaction and are often kept on paper towels or newspaper, as they are easy to dispose of and clean up after, and there is no risk of the baby ingesting substrate. Tile is another popular choice, as is reptile carpet and also non adhesive shelf liner. As the Dragon gets older (about 8-12 months) it can be put on finely sifted playpen sand. Calcium sand is often used, but is also reported to be a cause of impaction due to ´clumping´ in the gut if ingested, while play sand will pass straight through a well fed individual. Rabbit food pellets, made of alfalfa also Bran are both recommended choices by most breeders as they are indigestible and also easy to clean. Walnut Shells should never be used; though they are natural they cannot be digested and are highly likely to cause impaction. Wood chips, and anything else of that sort are never to be used. They are large, with sharp edges, and can be swallowed. They are not digestible, however, and will swell and clog the gut, causing a very painful and potentially fatal impaction.

Also places for shade might be useful.

General Information

Natural sunlight is very beneficial and should be provided if possible. Bearded dragons should never be placed outside in a glass enclosure. The animal could easily overheat and die.

Bearded Dragons live for an average of 4-10 years depending on their quality of lives, if they have had good lighting and temperatures maintained as well as a good balanced diet then you could expect your dragon to live longer than a dragon that has not. But if you have a female that has been repeatedly bred then her life span can be expected to be quite short.

Bearded Dragons will keep you amused for a long time. Just observing and interacting with them is fascinating. There are 2 things that the Beardy does; one is to nod its head (which is a sign of dominance) and the other is the arm waving (this is a sign of submissive behaviour). When they sit with open mouths this is their way of cooling down their body temperature

It is not advisable to keep two males together as they will fight; more so if a female is present. If you would like to keep more than one Beardy then make sure that there is only one male in the cage.

Do not mix other reptiles with Bearded Dragons, as it is an accident/fatality waiting to happen.