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Species Profile of the Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons, also known as "beardies," are small lizards native to Australia. They have a long, thick tail and a spiky, beard-like collar around their neck, and their color ranges from light tan to brown. Even for novice reptile owners, they have fairly complex nutritional and environmental needs, so they are generally considered good pets. Bearded dragons require specialized equipment and a significant amount of time to care for. They are, however, social and easy to tame, and they exhibit a variety of fascinating behaviors that make them fascinating to observe.

Bearded Dragon Temperament and Behavior

The spines that encircle their necks give bearded dragons their common name. Normally, these spines are flat. When a dragon is threatened, however, its throat expands and its spines stand up. Bearded dragons in captivity, on the other hand, are generally docile, and owners rarely see their aggressive displays. These animals are active during the day and have a high tolerance for handling. Many of them even enjoy perching on the shoulders of their keepers. Male bearded dragons, on the other hand, should be housed separately because they can be territorial.

The Bearded Dragon's Home

A 55- to 75-gallon tank with a secure screen top is ideal for a single adult bearded dragon. Juveniles can be kept in smaller tanks, but they will quickly outgrow them.

Bearded dragons are semi-arboreal (tree-dwelling) and enjoy perching off the ground on occasion. A variety of sturdy rocks, half logs, and branches, especially in the part of the tank used as a basking area, can provide them with something to climb on. For your bearded dragon's comfort, there should also be hiding places, such as hollow logs.


The importance of maintaining proper tank temperatures cannot be overstated. A temperature gradient, as well as a basking spot, should be provided for your bearded dragon, as with other reptiles. The temperature gradient should be between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side and 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm side. Temperatures can drop to around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

An incandescent light, ceramic heater, or mercury vapor bulb in a dome reflector hood can all be used to provide heat. To provide appropriate temperatures, you may need to experiment with wattage and distance from the tank.

Temperatures at the basking spot, as well as at either end of the thermal gradient, should be monitored with thermometers in the tank. Estimates should never be relied upon. An under-tank heater can be used to supplement the heat if necessary, especially if the room temperature is very low at night.


UV light exposure is critical for bearded dragons kept as pets. UV-lighting fluorescent bulbs are available at pet supply stores. Depending on the type of bulb, your bearded dragon should be able to get within 12 inches of these lights to benefit from the UV emitted. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Furthermore, rather than using glass, the lights should be directed through a screen top, as glass filters out some UV rays.

Provide roughly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day to maintain a consistent day-night cycle. Using a timer to control the lights can be beneficial.

Sunlight exposure can also be beneficial. If your bearded dragon will be spending time outside, make sure there is enough shade and shelter for him to thermoregulate. Never leave your pet in a glass tank outside in the sun, as it will quickly overheat.


A humidity level of 35 to 40 percent is ideal for bearded dragons. This closely resembles their natural arid habitat. If you live in a high-humidity area, this level is usually difficult to maintain. You can mist your bearded dragon if you need to increase the humidity. Using a hydrometer, keep an eye on the tank's humidity.


The material you use to cover the floor of your bearded dragon's enclosure is called substrate. It helps to keep the environment humid, and it can give the tank a more natural appearance.

Loose substrate, such as sand, should be avoided for juveniles. There's far too much risk of ingestion, whether by accident or out of curiosity, which can result in intestinal impaction. Instead, use paper towels or reptile carpet.

Adults can use washed play sand (not fine silica sand), but paper towels or reptile carpet will suffice. If wood shavings, corn cob, walnut shell, or other substrates are swallowed, they can cause problems. Feces can be scooped out with a cat litter scoop if sand is used. Bearded dragons enjoy digging and burrowing in the sand.

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Water and Food

Bearded dragons are omnivores in the wild, eating a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate prey, including insects, small animals, and plant matter. They should be fed a mix of insects and vegetables in captivity. Depending on their age, bearded dragons should be fed at least once every 24 hours. Baby bearded dragons eat three times a day on average. Consult your veterinarian for the proper amount of food, as it is highly dependent on the size of your animal.

The size of the crickets fed to a bearded dragon should be kept to a minimum, especially for young bearded dragons. Never feed anything larger than the distance between the eyes of a bearded dragon. Adult bearded dragons can eat waxworms, silkworms, butterworms, red worms, earthworms, newly molted mealworms, and superworms, among other insects. Adults can also be given pinkie mice on occasion.

To prevent metabolic bone disease, insects should be gut loaded (fed nutritious foods that pass through to your pet) and lightly dusted with calcium and vitamin D supplements. No more than once a week, dust with a complete multivitamin.

Bearded dragons should be fed a variety of leafy greens, as well as other vegetables and fruits, in addition to insects. These ingredients can be chopped and combined to create a salad that can be served in a shallow bowl. Clippings of leafy greens can also be clipped to the enclosure's side.

In a shallow dish, place water for your bearded dragon. You can provide a larger dish for your dragon to climb into on occasion if it enjoys soaking in the water.

Typical Health and Behavioural Issues

Metabolic bone disease is one of the most serious diseases that affect bearded dragons. This is due to a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio that is unbalanced. It can cause the bones to soften, making them more prone to fractures.

Bearded dragons, like other reptiles, are susceptible to respiratory infections. Wheezing and excess mucus around the nostrils and mouth are common symptoms.

Furthermore, due to certain insects in their diet, bearded dragons are prone to digestive system impaction. This is especially true when it comes to crunchy bugs like mealworms. As a result, it's best to feed these in small amounts, especially to young bearded dragons.

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