Care of Bearded Dragons

'Care of Bearded Dragons' image

 

Natural habitat

Bearded dragons come from central Australia and the most common species is the inland bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). They live in habitats ranging from desert to dry forests and scrubland. They hunt during the morning and afternoon but spend the hottest part of the day in underground burrows. They reach sexual maturity at 1-2 years and can live 10-15 years.

 

Sexing

Juveniles are difficult to sex. Adult males have a broader head, thicker tail with two oblong swellings (the hemi-penes) and femoral pores along the inner thighs.

 

Equipment

  • A tank for 2 adults should be at least 4 x 2 feet long. Unless you have a huge tank it is best to keep 1 male per tank but he can be placed with 1 or more females. Always watch out for any bullying and separate individuals if necessary. Never mix beardies of different sizes.. Beardies like to climb so apart from a sheltered burrow, provide rocks or thick branches for climbing.
  • An ultraviolet light should be positioned within 30cm of the lizard's favourite basking site. The bulb should be changed every 6 months.
  • A basking light / heat pad should provide temperatures of 27-35 C by day but allowed to drop to 21C at night. Avoid any direct contact with the heat lamp or heat pad as thermal burns are common.  Humidity should be kept low from 20-30%.
  • Substrate like sand should be avoided as it can be eaten and causes blockages. Place any vegetables on a raised dish to avoid ingestion of substrate

Diet

Bearded dragons are omnivores meaning they eat both animal and vegetable protein. A shallow water dish should be provided for drinking.

 

Hatchlings

  • Feed small insects like crickets and mealworms daily and offer some greens. Dust all food with the high calcium supplement (Vetark Nutrobal) before feeding.

Adults

  • Feed every 1-2 days. The diet should be mainly vegetarian with 25% insects (crickets, superworms, mealworms, locusts.)  Feed vegetables high in calcium like romaine lettuce, rocket, dandelions, Kale, Bok Choy, Swiss chard. Other vegetables like courgette, broccoli, and carrot can be added for variety with a little fruit. Commercial bearded dragon pellets should only be used as part of the diet. Pinkie mice can be fed in small amounts to breeding females.