Frequently asked questions
What do bearded dragons eat?
Bearded dragons eat a wide variety of insects and plant matter when kept in captivity. The most common insects that bearded dragons should be fed are:
- Horn Worms
- Wax Worms
(These feeder insects should be purchased from reputable pet stores. Never feed a bearded dragon wild-caught insects!)
Bearded Dragons should also be fed a variety of fruits and vegetables. This part of the diet should consist mainly of green, leafy vegetables, such as:
- Mustard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Turnip greens
What size terrarium do I need for a bearded dragon?
You should use a terrarium that is at least three times the length of the bearded dragon, as a general rule.
An adult bearded dragon should be housed in a 55 gallon-sized terrarium as a minimum. About 125-gallon would be optimal. You can start with a smaller terrarium for a baby, if you like, but you need to continually purchase larger terrariums as it grows. It’s usually best to begin with one suitable for an adult so there’s no need to keep upgrading.
What are the temperature requirements for a bearded dragon?
Bearded dragons come from the hot, dry regions of the Australian Outback so they are considered desert reptiles. Since their natural environment is a hot place, we must provide them a very similar environment in captivity.
Bearded dragons require a warm basking area with a temperature gradient across the rest of the terrarium.
The basking area for a baby bearded dragon should be kept from 95°F/35°C to 110°F/43°C, while the coolest area should be kept around 80°F/26°C to 85°F/29°C.
Nighttime temperatures should never dip below 80°/26°C throughout the entire terrarium. Typically 85°F/29°C is an ideal cool zone and nighttime temperature.
A juvenile basking area should be a little cooler, ranging from 95°/35°C to 105°/40°C, while the cool zone should around the same as a baby.
Adult bearded dragon basking zones should be even slightly cooler, ranging from 90°F/32°C to around 95°F/35°C. The cool zone should still range from 80°F/26°C to 85°F/29°C.
Always use a thermometer in the basking zone and another on the opposite side in the cool zone to monitor temperatures. Never guess what the temperatures are. You do not want your bearded dragon to be too cool, or too warm.
Remember – never let the terrarium get below 80°F/26°C and never let it get above 110°F/43°C.
What’s the best substrate to use for my bearded dragon?
Which substrate to use has been a hot topic for many bearded dragon owners for years. If you asked ten people the best substrate you would probably get ten different answers.
We recommend NOT to use loose particle substrates (those like Repti-Sand or Calci-Sand) for baby and juvenile bearded dragons. Bearded dragons at this age can accidentally swallow sand which could lead to impaction issues over time or even put your dragon's life at risk.
It's possible to use these substrates for adult bearded dragons, but be sure to keep a close eye on their femoral pores as it could lead to clogging. It is also advisable to feed them in a separate, empty enclosure to reduce the risk of swallowing the particles and other issues.
The best substrates to avoid the chances of impaction and ones we highly reccomend you only use are newspaper and tile.
When can I start handling my bearded dragon?
It is best to refrain from handling your new bearded dragon for at least a week after first bringing it home.
You should give him/her time enough to adjust to its new home and feeding schedule before beginning to handle.
Trying to handle your bearded dragon too soon, or too much in the beginning can lead to stress and loss of appetite.
Can I give my bearded dragon a bath?
In fact, we encourage you to give your bearded dragon a warm bath about once a week. Bathing your bearded dragon helps encourage good sanitary practices, and improves the bearded dragon’s hygiene.
Regular baths can help with bowel movements as well.
Remember to use warm water. Water temperatures should be around 85°F/29°C to 92°F/33°C to ensure he/she stays warm while not burning.
The water depth should be no deeper than the joints (or knees) on the bearded dragon’s limbs.
Do I need any special lights for my bearded dragon?
You should supply full-spectrum lighting for your bearded dragon. You'll need a heat/basking bulb as well as a UVB bulb.
Bearded dragons receive natural UVB radiation from the sun when in the wild. UVB rays emitted from the sun are crucial for synthesis of vitamin D3 in the skin. Vitamin D3 is needed for the metabolism of calcium. Without adequate UVB exposure the calcium will not metabolize and the bearded dragon will become very ill, and possibly experience a premature death. Inadequate exposure to proper UVB lighting is one of the biggest contributors to Metabolic Bone Disease in captive raised bearded dragons.
You need specialized reptile bulbs to provide UVB radiation and these bulbs come in several different forms:
- Fluorescent tubes
- Compact fluorescent bulbs
- Mercury Vapor Bulbs
The three listed above are generally the most widely used full-spectrum bulbs utilized by today’s bearded dragon owners and breeders.