With the increasing popularity of reptile pets, many people are taking home exotic pets like lizards, snakes, turtles, and many more. The bearded Dragon is the most popular among reptile lovers among all these reptile pets. Especially known for their mouth-wide-open “smiles,” Bearded dragons have an exotic look to show off.
Also, they have a very docile nature and are easy to care for, which makes them a popular choice for pet owners. But for beginners, it might be a big question, How to care for these Bearded Dragons? As an exotic pet, a bearded dragon has slightly different ways to care for it. If you are the new owner of a bearded dragon, then don’t go anywhere. Because in this article, we will discuss the Bearded Dragon Care Guide for Beginners and answer all your questions about beardies.
Before getting into the bearded dragon’s care guide, let’s know about bearded dragons first. Bearded dragons got their name for skin folds under their chin that puff out in a “beard.” They originated from Australian deserts and are known as desert dwellers. Beardies spend their time dwelling in the trees and grounds. Also, Beardies can grow up to 18 to 24 inches with a lifespan of 10-15 years. So keep in mind if you bring one home, you have to commit for a long time. Also, to keep these bearded lizards happy, you have to take care of their every need.
So, let’s check how to care for bearded dragons.
After bringing your bearded dragon home, the most important thing you have to give them is a Good enclosure to stay in. The enclosure can be made of glass walls or plexiglass walls with a mesh wire screen on top.
The mesh wire screen will allow your beardie to breathe properly, and the glass walls will keep the heat inside. Also, the enclosure should be six feet long, two feet wide, and two to three feet high. Though this measurement will be enough for your beardie, the bigger is better.
Lighting And Heating
As desert dwellers, beardies need the same heat and humidity in captivity. So you have to set up proper ultraviolet lights in the bearded dragon’s tank to keep it healthy. You can also monitor the UVB light’s heat with a UV radiometer and should replace it every 6-12 months.
With that, you have to set a 40 to 75-watt infrared bulb in the tank for beardies to bask in. Basking is important for beardies to be healthy, so you have to create a different environment. One side will be a cool one with 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and another will be for basking in 95 degrees Fahrenheit-105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, you can use heating pads underneath the tank to prevent any rocks in the tank from getting too hot. If the environment becomes too hot, the beardies will open their mouth wide for a long time, indicating that the tank is too hot.
Generally, pet owners try to mimic the natural environment for their pets. But for bearded dragons, we recommend not to mimic the desert sands, as young beardies can eat the sands and fall ill. Sands has a bad effect on their GI glands and cause problems like constipation.
So, rather than creating a substrate of sand, try to buy a reptile carpet for them, or you can give a newspaper or paper towel on the floor. It will provide a good footing for your reptile and keep them healthy. Also, you have to give some Basking Accessories like Branches, Rocks, and hidey-hole.
Beardies are true omnivores, and their diet contains spiders, insects, worms, small rodents, smaller lizards, greens, fruits, and flowers. But in captivity, you can easily feed your bearded dragons with available small crickets and greens or veggies.
Beardies generally eat veggies like Dandelions, Romaine lettuce, Beet tops, Leafy greens, Carrots, Squash, and Zucchini, which are easily available in the kitchen. Also, keep in mind that their food ratio should be 70% of crickets and 30% of veggies. So don’t assume that only giving veggies will be enough. And for hydration, water should always be available in their tank.
Also, beardies don’t like drinking from deep water bowls, so give them a shallow water bowl to drink from.
Bathing is not highly required for bearded dragons. But soaking them in lukewarm water 2-3 times a week will be helpful for droppings. Also, they shed their skins in the summers and springs. So, don’t be afraid of that. But excessive shedding can be a sign of unhealthiness. So, it’s best to avoid bathing when they shed excessively.
Bearded dragons are very docile creatures and socialize well with their owners. But if you try to handle your beardies just after bringing them home, they will run away. It’s best to give them three to four days to settle down with the home environment and then try to handle them.
For handling, it’s required to wash your hands before and after, as the creature can spread bacteria like Salmonella. Also, don’t ever try to pick your lizard by its tail, as the tail will fall down and never regenerate. Your dragon will feel safer if you hold them flat on your hand, and it may also be content to hang on your shoulder.
The proper health of a bearded dragon depends on its husbandry. In improper husbandry, your beardies will easily fall sick and face problems like a metabolic bone disease. Signs of this disease can be dragging its legs, tails, or body instead of standing up firmly.
Other signs of your beardies being unhealthy can be vocalizing distress, excessive basking, random weight loss, and not eating food. If you see any of these signs, It will be best to take them to a vet.
The beardies tank should be cleaned with dilute soap and water every two weeks. And, the substrate of your dragons should be changed every week, for that newspaper or paper towels are really easy to exchange.
The old food, feces, or water spills should be cleaned daily, and always keep your eyes on your dragons’ dropping, as it can tell you about their health. Their droppings should be brown and pelleted, and there will be a semi-solid urate also. So, if you find anything abnormal, take your beardies for a vet check-up.
With that, our Bearded Dragon Care Guide for Beginners comes to an end. As you can see, bearded dragons do not require a lot of attention. You just have to follow this guideline sincerely to keep your bearded dragon safe and sound.