BEARDED DRAGON CARE
Produced by the Bearded Dragon
Breeders and Suppliers Network
When they're small, Bearded Dragons they can be housed in a 12" x 12" x 24" aquarium with a mesh top, but by the time they
mature, they need the biggest cage you can afford. Two adults need 8 square feet of floor space (a 60 gallon terrarium) and even
one adult living on its own will appreciate the same sort of space.
Bearded Dragons need to be kept warm. In order for them to digest their food properly, they must be able to bask AND move to
cooler places in their cage. Ideal temperatures are as follows :-
General Daytime 80º - 85ºF Basking Spot Daytime 95º - 100ºF
Normal Night 60º - 70ºF (Room Temperature)
Overhead incandescent bulbs are best. If you want additional heat under the dragon, use an under tank heater. It's not really
necessary unless your house gets particularly cold at night (below 45 F). Day time heat should be provided by overhead
AVOID HOT ROCKS! Your Dragon won't be able to tell if they're on or off and could get burnt. Use the special heat bulbs and
make sure your dragon can't touch them.
Bearded Dragons need SPECIAL LIGHTING, especially UVB. There are special fluorescent bulbs available that deliver the
strongest amount of UVB. and UVA you can get. ORDINARY FLUORESCENT BULBS OR INCANDESCENT TYPE
BULBS ARE USELESS FOR ULTRAVIOLET. The 2 brands recommended for Bearded Dragons are ZooMed 5.0® and
Putting your dragon outside in a wire cage on warm sunny days is also a great idea, but make sure your dragon has some shade
so it can thermoregulate- it is very easy to kill one on a hot sunny day.
Dragons like variety, so have some climbing branches and maybe a rock or two. Make the basking site a spot on a raised branch
or rock so the dragon can move both horizontally and vertically to thermoregulate (control its own body temperature).
The bottom can be lined with sand or paper or even rabbit pellets, but if you choose sand, make sure that it's WASHED PLAY
AVOID the following :- Corn Cob, Walnut Shell, CalciSand ®, Repti Bark®, wood shavings (cedar or pine), Original Lizard
Litter and Jungle Blend®. They are not digestible for Bearded Dragons and are large enough to create impaction, which can kill
a dragon and may require surgery.
HATCHLINGS (up to 2 months). Mist / Spray - twice or three times daily with tepid water
Young Insects - 2 or 3 times daily - Dust once every day. Never any longer than the space between a Beardy’s eyes
Vegetables - every day - DO NOT Dust - Remove by midday
Insects - 1 or 2 times daily; Dust every other day with Calcium and two or three times a week with Multivitamins.
Vegetables in the morning every day - DO NOT Dust - Remove by evening.
SUB-ADULTS & ADULTS
Insects 2 or 3 times weekly - Dust once or twice monthly. Vegetables - Every day - DO NOT Dust.
‘Dusting' Crickets - MINERALL 1 ® OR Repcal ® Herptivite Multivitamins.
Calcium Supplement - Rep-Cal Phosphorous-Free CALCIUM with VIT D3 - NOT Vitamin A.
AVOID LIGHTNING BUGS (FIREFLIES) - THEY ARE DEADLY POISONOUS!!!!
Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, Kale (in limited amounts), Bok Choy, Zucchini, Parsley, Clover, Bean Sprouts,
Sunflower Seedlings, Carrots (shredded), Peas, Red Tip Lettuce, Beans, Purslane, Green Alfalfa, Butternut Squash (shredded).
NOT SPINACH (removes calcium from your BD). Aim for as much variety as possible from day to day.
Spray lightly each day. A water bowl will just get dirty and crickets will drown and putrefy in it rapidly!
FLOWERS (Growing or freshly picked - NO Insecticides!)
Hibiscus, Mustard Flowers, Dandelion, Carnations, Ice Plant, Squash, Clover, Nasturtium, Daisy.
Melon, Berries, Grapes, Strawberry, Raspberry, Apple. When feeding any vegetable or fruit, always cut or shred it into small
enough pieces. Slice all greens etc. very thinly, shred carrot and chop up peas and cooked unsalted sweet corn- these are their
favourite everyday foods- treat them with apple, strawberries and raspberries.
Bearded Dragons can become extremely tame. It's important that you handle your Dragon as often as possible. How often and for
how long do you handle him? Often and short is the idea- get him to enjoy it and return him before he acts up- even if it's only for
10 seconds. Are you rough, firm, scared, overcautious? - they can pick it up you know. Some adults in the wild will even allow
themselves to be picked up without a fight. Reptiles are actually quite smart and I've found BD's to be exceptionally so. Mine have
learned all kinds of routines and behave differently for each situation- and they're still learning. The important thing is patience
and allowing things to develop slowly. An improvement is an improvement no matter how small- you can build on it, which is more
than you can say for failure!
Never try to pick your dragon up with your palm over him using your thumb and forefinger. They HATE to be squeezed on the
ribs!! Instead, you must put your palm under his belly and lift him. It helps to have his right foreleg slip between your 1st two
fingers. It's harder for him to run this way and he will feel more secure. Don't try to pick him up early in the morning and always
let him know you are around before attempting contact. They can hear you and I always talk in a quiet tone first. BDs have a nerve
plexus somewhere between the tip of their nose and the back of their head. They become much more peaceful when stroked very
lightly from the midline front to back very slowly.
This leaflet is just the start. If you have Internet access, consider going to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pogona/join and joining
the Bearded Dragon Mailing List. Here you can ask questions, offer advice and just talk about your Beardy to fellow owners,
breeders and some of the top reptile researchers in the world. Good luck!
Bill Mears. firstname.lastname@example.org
Bearded Dragon Breeders & Suppliers Network