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Bearded Dragon Housing, Care and Diet

Housing The enclosure for your new pet depends on his/her age.  For hatchlings(birth – 3 months) require a 10-20 gallon enclosure.  Juvenile’s(3 months-6 months) will require at least a 20 gallon tank, but preferably at 25-30 gallon. Sub-Adults(6 months – 12 months) require the same as Adult dragons(12 months ) of 40-55 gallon minimum, with […]

Housing

The enclosure for your new pet depends on his/her age.  For hatchlings(birth – 3 months) require a 10-20 gallon enclosure.  Juvenile’s(3 months-6 months) will require at least a 20 gallon tank, but preferably at 25-30 gallon. Sub-Adults(6 months – 12 months) require the same as Adult dragons(12 months ) of 40-55 gallon minimum, with a preference of a 75 gallon or larger.  Most of today’s breeders including myself recommend that one adult dragon have 6-8 square feet to floor space, and a 4’x2’x2′ cage works perfectly for most. Zen habitat offers a great cage that is 4x2x2 and at very reasonable price.

The cage that best fits you and your bearded dragon depends on the your home’s space and the age/size of your dragon. I would recommend buying a 20/25 gallon tank from the beginning and then upgrading to a 55 gallon or 75 gallon once an adult. You can find here top enclosure for bearded dragons in 2019.

Food

Age also determines the nutritional requirements of a bearded dragon, babies need to eat 3-5 times a day, while an adult can be feed every other day.  Babies require a diet of 80% protein/fat and 20% greens. Adults are almost the opposite, with 75% greens and 25% protein/fat. Every new beard dragon owner would benefit from owning the book “The bearded dragon manual” it has all of the information you need.

Bearded Dragons aquire their protein from insects such as the cricket, super worm, wax worm, horn worm, phoenix worm, and meal worm.  Crickets are the most common for new owners, they are readily available at your local pet store. The best way to determine what “size” food is appropriate for your, is to make sure the feeder insect is smaller than the length between the bearded dragons eyes, or width of head.  YOU CAN NOT FEED WILD INSECTS TO YOUR DRAGON! These wild insect will have bacteria and possibly viruses, and not to mention they may have come in contact with pesticides. It is much easier and cheaper to order you feeder insects online.

Requirements for all bearded dragons are essentially the same, only a few minor differences. 

First is UVB, this is a vital wavelength produced by the sun, it’s the same wavelength that gives humans that wonderful brown tan or nasty sun burn.  Bearded Dragons require this to metabolize calcium into D3, and essential vitamin used for bone growth, strength, and brain/muscle function.  So needless to say, with out the proper UVB bearded dragons will parish.  Luckily you can buy light bulbs at any petstore that will give your beloved pet the UVB they require.  For compact light bulbs and Fluorescent light bulbs I recommend ReptiGlo 10.0 and Petsmart or Petco carry these bulbs. 
these bulbs are the best on the market, they are the closest to producing the same levels of UVB as the sun.  They are a little more expensive than the ReptiGlo bulbs, but they last twice as long.

Heat is another vital part of the bearded  dragons existence.  They need a cool side and a hot/basking side of their cage.  The cool side needs to be anywhere from 80-90 degrees and the basking site must be 100-110 degrees for both Adults and hatchlings. Hatchling can have it up to 115, but i don’t recommend it since research and trial/error are showing brain damage above 115. Bearded Dragons use the extremely high temperatures to facilitate digestion, since they are cold blooded, they can not regulate their own body heat.  This is why you have two ends of their enclosure, this allows your dragon to thermoregulate(cool, or heat themselves) I have noticed from my experiences with bearded dragons and from talking to other breeders, dragons seem to respond better to higher temperatures.

I’ve found that my dragons respond well to basking temperatures of 105-112 on average, other people are having great success with slightly higher temperatures.  By having slightly higher basking temps breeders have noticed a great activity level of the dragon throughout the day, and they digest their food faster. Please stick to the recommended range for basking temperatures, if you are interested in trying a new basking temp please contact me first and we can discuss this subject further.

Substrate is another topic, I recommend paper towels or reptile carpet for hatchlings , juveniles, sub-adults and washed children’s play sand for adults. Young beardies tend to lick surfaces out of curiosity, this means sand, feces, and other things are subject to a “taste”. Sand (especially Calci-Sand) in a young beardies digestive tract can cause impaction. This is when a foreign object causes a blockage which doesn’t allow for proper digestion and can lead to death.

Humidity must be keep low, preferably below 40%, and never above 60% for a sustained period of time, otherwise respiratory problems may occur.

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