Bearded dragons are interesting reptiles which are why many are eager to have one as a pet. However, what many don’t realize is that they have very strict needs that need to be followed closely.
Below you’ll find more information as to what a bearded dragon needs. You’ll also find some helpful tips you can follow to ensure your pet stays happy and healthy.
A Proper Habitat
A bearded dragon requires a specific type of habitat in order to be comfortable and healthy. Below is more behind how you can give them the right living conditions.
A Glass Terrarium
A bearded dragon should have a glass terrarium that is at least 30-36 inches long. Glass will help to invite sunlight into their living space while also letting them see out of it. The terrarium should also have a screened lid on the top to help prevent them from escaping but ensure they get plenty of fresh air.
Use a Lining in the Terrarium
Pet owners should always make sure to use a lining in the terrarium. This can range from reptile carpeting to calcium sand. All of these range in their pros and cons which is why it’s important to fully research more behind them. For instance, calcium sand is a helpful way to give your pet calcium. However, too much of it can be deadly. On the other hand, a newspaper can be used as a lining and is an affordable option. Despite this, it needs to be changed out often. Because of this, make sure to look closely at the type of lining before you use it in their terrarium.
Put Their Home in a Warm and Sunlit Area
Bearded dragons need warmth in order to stay healthy. In fact, all reptiles need heat because it helps to regulate their body temperature. Due to this, it’s very important to keep their home in a warm and sunlit area. However, if you don’t have a bright sunlit spot to keep their tank, you can invest in heat lamps to put an artificial shine on their habitat.
Keep in mind though to always check the tank. While bearded dragons love heat, if their tank gets to be too hot, it could cause their skin to burn. They could also become severely dehydrated. Because of this, always make sure to keep an eye on their habitat and check it often. Ideally, their tank should be no hotter (or cooler) than 90-degrees Fahrenheit.
While bearded dragons need a warm habitat, this habitat has to have low humidity. This is because it could make it difficult for them to breathe. To help prevent this, make sure to remove solid lids (like glass and plastic) which don’t allow air circulation. You’ll find many durable screen covers which will ensure your pet stays in their tank but is able to breathe without issues.
A Good Diet
Your pet also has a strict diet that needs to be followed. A bearded dragon needs many different types of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. In addition to this, they need to be fed heavily with protein.
Vegetables for Bearded Dragons
Leafy greens should be fed to your pet daily. This is due to their high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Some options to give your bearded dragon are mustard greens, kale, watercress, dandelion greens, collard greens, and Swiss chard.
Acorn squash is a healthy vegetable to give your reptile. It contains many vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. While some give this vegetable to their pet raw, it might be best to cook it first. This way, it’s softer and will make it easier for them to chew and digest. Make sure though to remove any seeds and stringy pieces before you give it to them.
Bell peppers tend to be a popular vegetable with bearded dragons. They have heavy water content and are packed with vitamins making them also a very healthy option. While they can have all types of bell peppers, these reptiles tend to enjoy red bell peppers the best.
To give your dragon bell pepper, chop it up into small pieces. Make sure to also remove any seeds from it before you feed it to them.
Bearded dragons enjoy chewing on carrots. They not only have many vitamins in them but beta-carotene as well. This helps to boost your reptile’s immune system and keep their skin healthy. Make sure to only give them mature carrots as baby carrots might have preservatives on them. You should also grate the carrots so they are in fine pieces. This will make it easier for your bearded dragon to chew and digest them.
You can also give them carrot tops as they are filled with calcium. However, only do this every so often as they contain high levels of Vitamin A.
Fruits for Bearded Dragons
Fruit is another important thing to make sure your reptile gets enough of. Below are some types to consider feeding them.
Berries are a great sweet option to give your pet. Some to consider giving them are strawberries and blueberries. However, make sure these berries are thoroughly washed and fresh. This will ensure they don’t have pesticides on them and will give your pet plenty of vitamins and minerals.
These reptiles can eat apples as long as you peel them and cut the fruit into small pieces. Apples give your bearded dragon fiber and can keep their body functioning correctly. These reptiles can eat most types of apples.
Bearded dragons often enjoy snacking on watermelon. Just as with most fruits and vegetables, make sure that the watermelon is seedless and cut up into small pieces. Watermelon will not only help to keep your pet hydrated but ensure their heart stays healthy.
While you should only give your pet mango every so often, it’s still a good option to give to them. This tropical fruit contains high levels of Vitamin A which works to keep their bones strong. However, too much of this vitamin can cause problems for your bearded dragon, like a metabolic bone disease. Because of this, only give mango to them as a treat.
Protein Options for Bearded Dragons
These reptiles mainly get their protein from various types of insects, such as the ones listed below.
Crickets are one of the most popular forms of protein to give bearded dragons. They are packed with calcium and protein, two things which these reptiles need a lot of. Crickets can be bought at most pet stores.
Keep in mind though that some bearded dragons, especially younger ones, might have trouble digesting crickets. Because of this, watch them closely or chop the insect up for them. You might also want to consider removing the hind legs which tend to give them the most trouble.
Earthworms are another tasty source of protein for these reptiles. However, earthworms for bearded dragons need to be bought at pet stores. Bait worms and those you find in your garden are not safe. This is because they might have diseases or are very fatty. Earthworms at pet stores are grown specifically for bearded reptiles so you won’t need to worry about them causing problems.
You could also give your bearded dragon locust. They are high in protein and very low in fat making this insect ideal for their diet. However, due to their hard shell, you need to watch your pet when they eat the locust. This way, you can ensure they safely digest them.
Waxworms are a good treat to give your bearded dragon as they can help to give them energy. However, they are very fatty. Because of this, you want to make sure to only give it to them occasionally. You should also make sure to not give younger bearded dragons these insects as the fat content could be too much for their stomach to handle.
Give Them Affection
Believe it or not, bearded dragons are very affectionate reptiles. Because of this, it’s important that you give them some affection. You can do this by holding them or just sitting by their tank and petting them. You could also let them walk over you and hand-feed them their favorite types of food as a snack.
Keep in mind though that it might take some time for your bearded dragon to show you affection, especially if they are new pets. Because of this, take things slow. If you see that they are scared, put them back in their terrarium. It’s best to start slowly so you can gradually gain their trust.
Bearded dragons are great pets to have but they require many things. This includes a healthy diet, good habitat, and plenty of affection. By keeping these things in mind, you can be sure your reptile will be happy and stay healthy.