Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

People love bearded dragons because they are charming, hardy, and affable with their caretakers. Bearded dragons are easy for you to care for but you still need to know some essentials. Learn everything that you need to know about caring for your new bearded dragon in this easy to understand care sheet.

Most of us know and love the Inland Bearded Dragon. Learn about their availability in the pet trade and their size and lifespan. Find out the best way to house your bearded dragon and what you need to feed them. Discover other care essentials like bathing and nail trims. Discover what you need to know about handling and breeding bearded dragons.

The inland bearded dragon is a popular pet because it is highly available, of medium size, and has a life span that is comparable to a dog. Learn how to house your bearded dragon, including what kind of cage, lighting, and substrate to use.

Discover what you need to know about feeding your bearded dragon, including live foods, vegetables, fruits and prepared foods. Find out some other care that you will need to provide for your dragon like bathing, nail trimming and tips for handling.

Finally, learn the basics to breeding in case you’re considering going to this next step with your dragon.

Inland Bearded Dragon

The Inland bearded dragon is one of the most popular pet reptiles in America. These friendly, outgoing, good-natured lizards are hardy and naturally tame. They grow to a medium size which is convenient for most people to house.  Bearded dragons are large enough to make interaction convenient and fun. You can see a variety of interesting behaviors, both towards one another and towards people.

Bearded dragons have been in the pet trade for a couple of decades. In that time, breeders have produced a wide range of colors, patterns, and scale types. Commercially available bedding and food made specifically for bearded dragons is widely available. You will find it easy to get started with your dragon, and keep her healthy.


You can get your new bearded dragon at pretty much any pet store that carries livestock. Because they are so popular and hardy, they are popular choices when stocking pet stores. Bearded dragons are also available extensively online and at reptile expos. These are some of the best places to find interesting color and pattern morphs. Increasingly, you can also get bearded dragons from local breeders in your area. These breeders may advertise online or on sites like Craigslist.


Bearded dragons are only inches long when they come out of the egg. By the time they reach adulthood they can get to up to 2 ft in length. Males tend to be slightly larger than female. There is a German line of bearded dragons that are bred to be much larger.


In general, you can expect a healthy, well-bred bearded dragon to  live about a decade in captivity. There have been reports of dragons living to nearly 20 years old but this is exceptionally rare.


Bearded dragons are one of the few reptiles that seem to sincerely enjoy being taken out of their cage and handled. That said, they will still spend most of their time in their own special cage. This is because bearded dragons have specific needs in regards to temperature and humidity that you will find it difficult to replicate outside of their cage.


Bearded dragons may start out small, but they grow large quickly. Dragons need a large enclosure in which to run around in. If you house more than one bearded dragon together, it is especially essential to provide plenty of room. A minimum of 75-gallon aquarium or enclosure is recommended for one or two dragons. Your dragons would appreciate as much room as she can have. In warm climates, you may have an outdoor run for your dragon during the day and an enclosure for the evening.

Glass Aquarium

The traditional type of enclosure for bearded dragon is a glass aquarium. Glass aquariums offer a good compromise between holding humidity and allowing ventilation. Glass aquariums are secure and allow you to see your dragon clearly. Because glass has no porous elements, glass aquariums are easy to clean. An entirely glass aquarium of the right size can be expensive, and since it is not necessary that the cage is watertight, it may seem like a wasteful expense.

Glass and Wood Terrarium

Glass and wood terrariums allow a compromise between visibility and cost. You can custom build a cage for your dragon. If you build an enclosure for your dragon, you must be careful that the bottom is watertight so that droppings will not soak in and cause odor. Furthermore, the glass doors must be secure so that household pets can’t get in and the dragon can’t get out. Provide sufficient ventilation in your dragons’ cage by making at least two sides screen. Click here to see Wood Terrarium

Wire and Screen

Wire cages can be dangerous for your dragon as she rubs her nose against the wire. If you would like to build an outside run for your dragon, line the inside with vinyl screen and the outside with wire.  This way, your dragon will be safe from predators but also won’t be able to hurt herself on the wire. If you live in a good climate, you can provide a wire and screen outdoor run for your dragon to give her exercise and access to natural sunlight.

Lighting and Temperature

The bearded dragon is a desert animal, and as such they enjoy warm temperatures and plenty of sunlight. Your dragon will prefer a basking site that is about a hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Provide multiple basking spots under the spotlight so that your dragon can she choose exactly the heat that she wants. Set the spotlight at one end of the cage so that your dragon can choose the temperature that she prefers. Click here to see more choices

A UVB full spectrum light should also be provided over the entire enclosure. Without this light, your dragon would not be able to digest calcium properly. It is important to replace your full spectrum light every six months or year, depending on the light. Make sure that there is no glass between the light and your dragon, as this can affect the power of the light. If your dragon spends all day outside under the natural sunlight in an outdoor enclosure this full spectrum light may not be necessary.


You can house your bearded dragon on a wide range of different substrates. Some have been popular for many years and some are being developed by the pet industry now. You can choose between practical and affordable options like paper for more natural choices like sand. You can also choose manufactured choices that come in rolls. These are designed specifically to cover the bottom of your dragon’s cage. If you choose a sand substrate, be aware that impaction is a serious risk, especially for young dragons. Do your research and decide whether this is a good choice for you. Whatever substrate you choose, make sure that it is convenient and easy for you to spot clean it every day. You will also need to provide weekly and monthly cleaning, so it may take some fiddling to determine which substrate works best for your needs.


Bearded dragons eat a highly varied diet. Juveniles eat mostly insects and adults eat mostly vegetables. Your dragon will transition from a primarily insectivorous diet to mostly vegetarian over the course of her life. Dragons appreciate you offering a wide variety of different foods. Their tastes may change considerably over time.

Live Food

Bearded dragons appreciate live foods throughout their lifetime. Insects including crickets, mealworms, silkworms, roaches,  and pinky mice are all appreciated. To keep your dragon safe from impaction, only feed her food as large as the space between her eyes.


Bearded dragons love all kinds of vegetables. Greens like kale, mustard greens, arugula, and collard greens will be appreciated. Bearded dragons also love all kinds of squash, carrots, and bell peppers. They enjoy a range of herbs like mint, thyme, and rosemary, and even some things that you might not think of as food like rose petals, maple leaves, and dandelion greens.

They love to munch on the flowers of impatiens and clover as well. It is wise to offer your bearded dragon a wide range of different vegetables to choose from. Even if your dragon shows a preference for one type of vegetable, continue offering others. Your dragon’s taste will change over time so it is good to continue to offer her lots of different things. Remember to cut up young dragon’s veggies for them so they can easily eat them.


Dragons love fruit and most munch it up like candy. That said, fruit is high in sugar so it is best to give it more sparsely than vegetables. Your bearded dragon will happily munch watermelon, apples, blackberries, plums, strawberries, peaches, melons and much other fruits. They especially appreciate cactus fruit like what they might have encountered in their natural environment.

Prepared Food

The market is full of prepared foods made for bearded dragons. A mix of dried insects, vegetables, and fruit compose most foods. Most bearded dragons will pick at prepared foods. You can maintain a select few on dried foods largely, enabling you to do away with live insects. Offer prepared food for your dragon since it is a dry, clean, continuously available source of food.


It is advisable to supplement your bearded dragon food with calcium and a general vitamin supplement. While we try to provide varied diets for our dragons, we cannot provide as many vitamins and minerals as they would get in the wild. This is why a good vitamin and mineral supplement is important. You can dust your bearded dragon’s live food or vegetables. If you have a mother bearded dragon who is developing eggs, it is extra important that she gets lots of supplements.

Food to Avoid

Your Dragon can eat an awful lot of different kinds of food, but she can’t eat anything. There are some things to keep in mind when feeding your dragon. Avoid feeding your dragon lettuce and spinach. These foods are either wet or difficult for your dragon to digest and not good for your dragon.

Avocados and nuts are not good food sources for your dragon. Avocados are toxic, and nuts are likely to not digest well. Never feed your bearded dragon insects that you have caught in the wild. Such insects could have parasites or they could end up being one of the fireflies or insects that glow, which will poison your dragon.


As desert animals, bearded dragons don’t need an awful lot of water. That said, dehydration is a serious problem among captive bearded dragons. Young dragons are especially likely to suffer from dehydration. Mist young dragons several times a day to keep them hydrated and bath them several times a week. Mist older dragons daily and bathe once a week or every couple weeks. It is also a good idea to provide a wide, shallow water dish so that dragons can drink from it at will.


Bearded dragons are quite hardy and easy for you to take care of, but there are some things you must think about. Here are some of the things that will form a routine with your dragons.


Your bearded dragon will benefit from a bath several times a week when she is young and once a week or every couple of weeks when she is older. Baths help maintain a dragon’s humidity so that she can shed well, help her to defecate, and keep her hydrated. Most dragons seem to enjoy getting baths. They will drink the bathwater and usually defecate as well. In general, 10 to 15 minutes is about the right amount of time for your dragon to take a bath. Make sure the water is just over her elbows. Water should be warm but not hot.

Cage cleaning

Cleaning your dragon’s cage is an essential part of living with her. If you don’t clean the cage daily, it will quickly begin to smell and can make your dragon sick. You should spot clean your dragon’s cage every day, removing any visible droppings. Once a week, you should do a thorough cage cleaning of substrate and decorations. Once a month, it is essential that you completely empty the cage, cleaning or replacing all substrate and sterilizing decorations. While this may seem laborious, a routine like this will keep your dragon clean and healthy in the long-term.

Nail Trimming

If you have sufficient rough rocks and a large enough enclosure, your dragon should wear her nails down naturally. Sometimes, however, you cannot provide rough rocks for your closure is not large enough, or for other reasons your dragon’s nails grow long. Very long nails can pose a risk to your dragon as they may get snagged in something. If your dragons nails are overlong, you can use a small dog or cat nail clippers to clip off just the translucent tip. It may take several trimmings to bring the nail down to where it should be, but don’t push it. Some dragons will let you trim their nails while you hold them, or you can use a tasty treat like some soft fruit for your dragon to lick at while you do it.


Most bearded dragons take to handling very easy. They seem to sincerely like being out of their cage and hanging out with their people. Young bearded dragons will likely be more skittish than older ones. Take your time to gain your dragons trust by hand feeding it and offering food while it stands on your hand. In time your dragons will run onto your hand when she gets the opportunity. Many keepers find that their dragons seem happy just to hang out on their shoulder and watch TV with them for hours.


Bearded dragons are generally quite easy to breed . In fact, more people have trouble with unexpected breedings than trouble getting them to breed. The male dragon’s beard will darken and he will bob his head and pursue the female. The female will wave her arm to signal submission. Breeding itself is generally a rather violent affair, with a male biting the back of the female’s neck. The male may chase the female around the enclosure. Breeding may occur several times over a couple of weeks.

Eggs will be laid about a month after successful mating. A container should be provided with the appropriate material for the female to lay the eggs, or you can take her out and place her in an appropriate container when she is at about the right time for laying and is showing egg-laying behavior.

Eggs should be incubated separately, and the hatchlings separated as they grow by size so that everyone gets enough to eat.


Bearded dragons are not difficult to care for, and most people find them to be endearing pets. Learn everything that you can about this fascinating species before you bring one home. Successful dragon ownership is all about understanding and providing a few basic essentials.