Bearded dragons, also known as beardies, are types of lizards that are native to Australia. They come in different colors, but are mostly a light tan or brown color. They have a thick and long tail plus a beard-like spiky collar on their neck. When it comes to keeping bearded dragons as pets, they require a bit of work. Despite being decent pets for first-time reptile owners, these dragons come with specific environmental and nutritional needs that they need to adhere to. Moreover, they require special lighting and daily care in order to live a healthy and normal life in captivity as pets.
Besides all that, they are generally one of the easier lizards to take care of and they make interesting and interactive pets. It is best to educate oneself when it comes to these animals if you plan on keeping them as pets. As mentioned before, they’re found in the deserts of Australia and are from the Agamidae family. Adult dragons can grow up to 24 inches, including the tail. The females are significantly smaller than the males in certain cases.
Whenever these lizards feel threatened, they tend to flare out their gular pouch that’s located on their throat, hence it becomes bigger in size. Their throat area also gets darker in color that vaguely resembles a beard, hence their name. Now in order to keep these animals as pets, you should know the basic information of how to keep them safely in captivity. Keeping that in mind, listed below are the details of how you can keep these bearded dragons as pets.
Keeping Bearded Dragons As Pets Indoors
When it comes to keeping bearded dragons as pets, they are primarily kept indoors. By keeping them inside, it is easier to control the environment they live in and enjoy their company.
When kept inside, they need a proper enclosure for them to reside in. An ideal living environment for your bearded dragon should be able to keep heat and humidity inside. Plus, it should also be easier to clean. It’s recommended to keep this pet inside a glass tank, since that will be the most comfortable for your bearded dragon. Not to mention, they are easier to maintain as well. Plastic containers tend to lock in a lot of humidity and mesh cages can be hard on the toe nails of the bearded dragon.
Moreover, these pets need a lot of space in order to move around. The size of their home will depend on the age of your bearded dragon. For a baby bearded dragon, a ten gallon glass tank should be ideal. For a juvenile bearded dragon, a twenty gallon glass tank is enough. An adult bearded dragon should live in a forty gallon (or larger) glass tank.
Make Your Bearded Dragon’s Home Comfortable And Safe
These beardies have fun climbing and crawling around different objects placed inside their homes. They also require basking in the heat from their lamp while lounging on a log. As a pet owner, you can place different plants, rocks, and logs inside their tank. However, make sure to purchase them from a reliable store or website. Don’t put any item you find from the outside into your pet’s tank, since there’s risk of diseases, parasites, and bugs. In order to keep your dragon safe, make sure that the logs and rocks are away at a safe distance from the heat lamps.
When it comes to finding the right substrate for your pet’s tank, stay away from gravel and small pebbles. These substances can negatively affect the gastrointestinal tract of your pet and cause a potential blockage. These animals love to lick everything and this includes the bottom side of their tanks. Ingesting grit can result in a trip to the veterinarian if not taken care of instantly. Hence, it is best to avoid pouring these substances inside the tank. Instead, you can use paper towels or reptile carpet. You can also glue together tile or slate in order to create a basking ledge plus floor space for your pet’s tank.
Sufficient Bearded Dragon Lighting
Bearded dragons need UV lighting exposure, since it is important for their health. Hence, there are special fluorescent bulbs that are available at pet stores that can provide the much-needed UVB rays. The bearded dragon needs to get within twelve inches of these lights in order to benefit from the UV light that’s emitted. This also depends on the type of bulb used. Plus, the light needs to go through a screen top instead of glass, since glass tends to filter out some of the UV rays. A consistent day-night cycle that provides about twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness every day is ideal. It will help to place the lights on a timer.
It also helps when you expose your bearded dragon to sunlight, but do this carefully. You must also provide your pet with shelter and shade if you plan on taking it outdoors for some time. This will help your bearded dragon with thermoregulation. Make sure that you never place your pet inside a glass tank while outside, since the tank will quickly overheat in the sunlight.
Benefits Of Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 and calcium have to be two of the most important vitamins plus minerals that your bearded dragon needs. They are highly important for proper development of their bones and also extremely vital for gravid females. They should eat these two supplements at the same time, since these pets are unable to metabolize calcium without the right intake of Vitamin D3.
The quantity of both of these supplements depends upon how much natural sunlight your pet receives and their age. Bearded dragons kept in captivity don’t receive much sunlight. Hence, their dose of Vitamin D3 and calcium comes from food supplements and a full-spectrum light. This type of light mimics these ultraviolet rays in order for the bearded dragon to absorb these vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to baby bearded dragons, they require a daily dose of Vitamin D3 and calcium for proper bone development and growth. Juvenile bearded dragons need these supplements with at least 3 to 4 meals per week. The adults should get these supplements twice a week at least.
Moreover, if you plan on keeping your adult bearded dragon outside, where they will take in a bit of natural sunlight, you can then lower the dosage of Vitamin D3 and calcium to once every week. Make sure to talk to a veterinarian in order to know the proper dosage to give to your pet.
Housing Dragon With Other Pets
If you are already an owner of pets, like cats or dogs, you might be reluctant to bring a bearded dragon home. However, bearded dragons seem to get along fine with other household pets. These lizards are quite calm and also show affection to both humans and other animals, once they are familiar with their immediate environment. However, just like any other animal, there will be times when your bearded dragon might feel threatened and then react accordingly. But they aren’t known as aggressive animals.
When bringing a bearded dragon home for the first time, it is important that you slowly introduce the animal to your other pets. Firstly, you need to take it slow and never leave all of your pets together unsupervised. Secondly, you need to watch out for any signs of aggression. Hold your bearded dragon firmly and allow your other pets to sniff them so that they get used to their scent. You want your other pets to get used to the new addition to your family in their own way; hence this might take some time.
Lifespan In Captivity
When you properly take care of your bearded dragon, provide them with enough space, good nutrition, proper lighting, and the right supplements, your pet can live up to eight to twelve years in captivity. This is also known as the bearded dragon’s average lifespan. Taking good and special care of these pets can potentially double the lifespan of certain bearded dragons.
Finding Bearded Dragons For Sale Online
When it comes to finding bearded dragon morphs or a bearded dragon for sale, the best place you can get them would be from experienced breeders or their distributors. These breeders most of the time have social media pages and websites, where you can see if they are legitimate or not. Plus, they are highly experienced when it comes to shipping these animals in a healthy way. Moreover, there are many online pet stores from where you can get bearded dragons. At the end of the day, you need to do your proper research online in order to find the best places where you can get these reptiles from.