Bearded dragons originate from Australia where they live in rocky regions of the country. They love to climb so you must ensure that you offer them the means to do this. They are one of the tamest lizards with gentle outgoing personalities and really do make great pets for the whole family.
Bearded dragons can live to anything between 7 and 14 years old and can grow to between 16 and 24 inches long. Although they are not one of the hardest pets to look after, they will still require sufficient care and commitment throughout their life.
Ensure that you get as big a home as possible to give your bearded dragon as much room as you can. The minimum size should be 48 x 24 x 24 inches (4ft x 2ft x 2ft) minimum for one lizard. A large aquarium or wooden vivarium fitted with a screen lid is recommended. They love to climb so the cage must allow for both vertical and horizontal movement.
Provide your dragon with plenty of rocks, branches and logs to climb on and a specific area for hiding such as a cave or log.
Bearded dragons are active throughout the day and require UVB light from reptile-specific ultraviolet lighting. This is necessary for the metabolism of vitamin D3. The light should be placed 12 inches above the dragon. The light should be on for 12 hours each day. The ultraviolet bulbs should be changed every 6-12 months.
You must clean out the droppings and leftover vegetables on a daily basis as they will cause health problems and smell if left.
Your bearded dragon will require a constant supply of heat. This can be done with a heat source at one end of the tank to create a thermal gradient. A basking heat lamp is another also another heat aternative to provide your bearded dragon with sufficient heat. Heat rocks are not recommended as they can form hot spots that could burn your reptile. If your reptile is sitting with its mouth open then they may be too hot, so do turn off some of the lights or reduce the heater temperature. Heat Rocks are not recommended as they can cause heat burns.
You can line the floor of your terrarium with calcium sand, pebbles or reptile carpe, or tiles.
Bearded dragons are omnivores and so will eat both insects and vegetables. A diet based primarily on vegetables is just as beneficial for adult bearded dragons. Juveniles need crickets, locusts 2-3 times a day.
Your bearded dragon will enjoy the following vegetables: carrots, dandelion greens, mint, rocket, basil, blueberries, mustard greens, frozen vegetables like carrots, peas and beans. Spinach and broccoli are not a good option as too much can be harmful to your dragon. Lettuce can also be fed, but only occasionally due to its lack of nutritional value. You should feed vegetables to your dragon on a daily basis.
Bearded dragons will usually eat all types of insects. Common varieties available for them are crickets, cockroaches and wax worms. Insects should be included to your dragons diet every other day. Your local Jollyes will be happy to advise you on suitable insects.
Your dragon will need calcium and vitamin 3D supplements. If they are lacking in D3 and calcium then they could be prone to metabolic bone diseases, which in some cases can be fatal. The supplement is a powder base so it is easy to coat food with it. You will need to add the supplement to the food twice a week. Nutrobal can be used two times a week. Calcium powder can be used if nutrobal is not used.
Babies should be fed 2-3 times a day and adults can be fed once every 1-2 days.
Please ensure you are aware of the health related problems that can occur in bearded dragons.
If your dragon has calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies it can cause deformities, stunted growth, seizures, poor bone growth and brittle bones. In some cases it can be fatal. Dietary supplements as mentioned above will help prevent this.
Deficiencies in beta-carotene will cause the coloration of your dragon to gradually fade. A good way to prevent this is to provide lots of carrots and yellow vegetables in your bearded dragon’s diet.
Low temperatures, high humidity or a combination of both usually causes respiratory infections. Symptoms of this are gasping for breath, noisy breathing and mucus discharge from the nose and mouth.
Warm and damp environments can infect cuts or wounds on your dragon cause fungal infections which will need to be treated with an anti fungal ointment.