How to Provide Excellent Care for Bearded Dragons

Owning a bearded dragon is a fun journey for new and experienced pet owners.  They’re eccentric, full of personality, and if properly cared for, can live up to 20 years in captivity.  But owning a spunky bearded dragon is a little nuanced compared to owning cats, dogs, or hamsters.  They have special diet requirements, and need specific habitat designs.  These special requests make bearded dragons a little out of the ordinary.  But as long as caring pet owners fulfill their needs, these beautiful pets can live long and wonderful lives.  

Of course, no matter how much research and studying new owners do, they will always need support.  Posting pictures of habitats and their dragons on bearded dragon forums can help troubleshoot any potential problems.  But a knowledgeable reptile community might not have all the answers.  So always consider seeing an exotic veterinarian for bearded dragon care.  

Habitat Design

Bearded dragons have specific habitat requirements.  If new owners are unsure where to start, reptile forums are a great place to ask questions, and post pictures for detailed information.

There are 2 types of reptile tanks: vertical and horizontal.  Because bearded dragons are terrestrial (and not arboreal), they’ll need a horizontal tank.  These glass tanks come in a variety of volume sizes.  Juvenile bearded dragons only need 25 gallon tanks.  But adults need a minimum of 40 gallons.  Since bearded dragons grow so quickly, a new owner might as well buy the larger reptile tank from the very start.  

A bearded dragon tank will require substrate.  Sand is a controversial substrate, because many owners believe it can cause impaction (constipation) in their digestive track.  It is true that if they ingest sand, they can suffer from impaction.  However, some owners claim that if you feed your bearded dragon from a bowl or dish, then they’re unlikely to ingest the sand.  Some alternative substrates are paper towels, reptile carpet, and tile.  Some things to keep in mind is that owners need to do daily spot-cleaning.  And the substrate influences the difficulty in spot-cleaning.

Bearded dragons are cold blooded, and need high temperatures.  Young bearded dragons need temps between 105 degrees and 110 degrees F.  Therefore, it’s important to offer basking areas in their habitat.  These basking areas should be heated with heat lamps, or ceramic heat bulbs.  Never heat use a heat mat, because bearded dragons are not capable of noticing higher temps from their underside.  And this can burn them.

Bearded Dragon Diets

Bearded dragons need both vegetables and insects.  But there are vegetables and insects that they should absolutely not be bed.  If you have any questions on their diets, bearded dragon forums is a great place to find the correct answers.  

Bearded dragons need a high diet of vegetables.  Younger bearded dragons need less vegetables than older bearded dragons.  Turnip greens, endives, kale, and dandelion greens are vegetables that should be routinely fed to dragons.  But never feed them spinach, parsley, or collard greens.  

In addition to greens and vegetables, bearded dragons also need protein-rich insects.  Young bearded dragons need more protein than older beardeds.  Crickets, dubia roaches, discoid roaches, and black soldier fly larvae are nutritional insects.  One insect to never feed them are lightning bugs.  The glowing substance in there membrane is toxic, and will kill your bearded dragon.  

Since captive bearded dragons won’t get a lot of sunlight, it’s important to dust your insects with calcium powder.  This calcium is important, because it helps them maintain strong bone and skeletal structures.  Without calcium, bearded dragons can suffer from metabolic bone disease, which is when their skeletal structure weakens.  This is very painful for them, and can be fatal.

Overall, caring for bearded dragons is a fun and unique adventure.  And although they don’t have the same needs as a hamster, there’s still plenty of information on how to properly care for them.  And bearded dragon and reptile forums are great places to look for answers, incase you’re not able to find them on your own.

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