Bearded Dragon Care
A bearded dragon is a great addition to your family and with the right care they can become a loving pet. Before you purchase a dragon it is important you and your family read this information. This page will explain everything from habitat suggestions to food, and overall care. Please read it thoroughly, and if you have questions e-mail us.
owning a Dragon
Bearded Dragons are lizards native to rocky, arid semi-dessert woodlands in Australia. They are omnivores and prefer a hot, mainly dry climate. They are very social lizards and love to be held and petted. Your bearded dragon will only want to be around you as much as you are around it. We handle our babies daily and they love the attention. We suggest you hold your dragon at least 15 minutes every day to ensure bonding. They will come to know the sound of your voice and your face and be eager to see you every day. Bearded Dragons do not need or want a cage mate. It is cute to see multiple baby dragons together but once they start growing into juveniles they will fight for food and territory. Males and females should NEVER be housed together after 6 months of age to avoid fighting. Most females can get along with another female in the same habitat, but it is not guaranteed and we DO NOT suggest it. NEVER house an adult male and female together as they will breed even if they are related. Males can become extremely aggressive bobbing their head, hissing and showing a black beard as they grown into being sexually mature. This behavior is expected and perfect normal and they should grow out of this phase by adulthood. Be aware that while dragons don’t have teeth they do have a serrated jaw and when a dragon has a solid black chin or bobs its head up and down fiercely it is making a display of dominance and should not be handled. On the other hand if the dragon is slowly moving its head up and down and waving its arms it is being social and submissive. This usually happens when a dominant male is around or when a baby sees and adult. Any injury caused by housing multiple dragons together is a violation of our Terms and Conditions and do so at your own risk. Click to read more on our educational website.
WHEN Your Dragon ARRIVES
Proper housing is very important for your dragon’s happiness and overall health. We strongly recommend you have their habitat completely set up before ordering your dragon to minimize their relocation stress. You will see your dragon turn black/grey in color and have dark lines on its underbelly and chin when they arrive. This can be a stress indicator or an indication your dragon is cold, as they turn darker/gray in color when they are trying to absorb more heat as well. Stress can be a killer for dragons so make sure yours is very active and eating after about two weeks after their arrival. You MUST quarantine your dragon from all other animals for 2 weeks when they arrive. It will take some time for them to adjust to the new faces, sounds and smells so during this first week or two, we recommend you don't hold them unless it is necessary for basic care, feeding, cage cleaning, baths, etc. You will see reactions of mouth opening; this is a way for the baby to tell you it does not want to be bothered. Once the 2 weeks is over they may continue to open their mouths, don't let this discourage you, still hold them for at least 15 minutes every day. Let them get to know you slowly, it will pay off in the end as they trust you more. Just like after cleaning up dog poop be sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap after handling a dragon or cleaning up any surface that has come in contact with feces. It has been stated by the CDC dragon feces, like all reptiles, can transmit salmonella. Click to read more on our educational website.
A 20 gallon starter reptile tank is recommended for a baby dragon. They can grow into it happily and will have plenty of room to run around. These are easily found at local pet stores or online. Fake plants are something your dragon will enjoy, but make sure when you purchase any item for the cage it is not made with resin, glass or ceramic. Do not use live plants for decoration in a dragon enclosure unless they are on the approved greens list and have no soils. Do not use plants and flowers from craft stores. Resin, cheap plastics, cheap paint, glitter, and ceramics will quickly heat up and can burn and permanently injure your dragon. Stick with a large wooden log, a reptile safe cave or sanitized rocks we recommended placing one of these under their basking light for the dragon to lie on. You will also need a simple reptile thermometer for temperature and humidity, these can be found at pet stores. As your dragon grows into adulthood we suggest a 48"x24"x18 enclosure. Click to read more on our educational website.
Lighting & Temperature
Bearded Dragons need heat, UVB and mild moisture. NEVER use a heating pad or a Heat Rock, the temperature is unreliable and can literally cook your reptile. The heat basking bulb should be 50W to 75W depending on enclosure size. This bulb is needed on one side of the cage for warmth, leaving the other side as a cool side. For adults The temperature should range from 95-105F for the hot side, and 80-85 for the cool side of the cage. For babies we suggest not allowing the temperature to ever go over 95F. At night the temperature should not drop below 60F. Dragons do not require a night time heat source unless the temperature does drop below 60F in the part of your home that the dragon's enclosure resides. Humidity should stay around 30-35% on a constant basis. The second light a dragon needs is a UVB light. Without this the dragon cannot absorb calcium, process food and other vitamins, and their bones cannot grow properly. Without this light and they will have severe health issues and could die. For a UVB light we use only long tube UVB lighting. DO NOT USE Coil or Compact bulbs as they are hazardous to dragons' eyes causing infections and blindness. Lighting should be no closer than 12 inches from the base of the enclosure due to their major UV output. We also do not recommend ever using colored heat bulbs or night light heat bulbs. These lights interrupt the dragons sleep patterns and make them very agitated. If you are housing your dragon somewhere in your home where the ambient temperature drops below 60F at night then we suggest you use a ceramic heat bulb, they emit only heat, no light. Also taking your dragon outdoors for natural light is great, but in no way will function as enough UVB for them. They still need a UVB bulb in their enclosure. And UVB bulbs need to be replaced every 6-12 Months. Click to read more on our educational website.
We recommend Reptile Carpet or lint free paper towels for your dragons cage floor. There is no way to guarantee your dragon never gets a blockage or impaction, but you can prevent one from occurring to the best of your ability by never giving them substrate they can eat. The safest substrate to use is a solid, one piece bedding. NEVER use sand, wood shavings, bark, alfalfa or any kind of soil. We especially do not recommend Cali-Sand, as dragons like to eat it and it is unsafe. There is no such thing as "safe sand" or "digestible sand", period. Housing your dragon on sand is a violation of our Terms and Conditions. You can use squares of slate tile on top of the paper towels as substrate as well. The tile will also slowly file down their nails as the run over it. Dragons like to lay on slate too, as it absorbs heat and they are great for keeping the paper towels in place. If you use slate tile for your dragon be careful when moving it, as tiles are heavy and could easily squash a baby or seriously injure an adult. Click to read more on our educational website.
Bearded Dragons like a healthy diet of bugs and greens daily and 5-10 crickets/feeder bugs per day. Feeder worms such as wax worms, phoenix worms and super worms are great snacks. For feeder size for dragons a good rule of thumb is no food/insects should be fed to the dragon which is bigger than the space between their eyes. ALWAYS remove uneaten feeders, as they can nip baby dragons tails and toes while they sleep. Our baby bearded dragons are Bell Trained for crickets. The easiest way for you to get feeders is to order them online, just make sure the site has size options on crickets. Crickets can easily be housed in a large clean trash can with a screen top. Fresh greens should be given to your dragon daily. We recommend Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Mustard Greens and Turnip Greens, which can be found at your grocery store. ALWAYS rinse off any greens before feeding as ingested dirt or pesticides can have fatal consequences with your dragon. Click here for a great nutrition chart. Click to read more on our educational website about food options.
Drinking and Bathing
Young bearded dragons need to be misted with water from a simple spray bottle 1-2 times daily, adults once daily. A small dish of water can be kept in the habitat but must be changed daily to avoid bacteria collecting in it. Water dishes are favorite place for dragons to poop. Getting a dragon to drink from a water dish can be difficult and most only drink in a bath. Baby dragons must be bathed 3-4 times a week in luke-warm water for about 15-20min. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently scrub them in the direction their scales flow, never against. For babies make sure the water covers their back but ensure that it is shallow enough for them to touch bottom with at least one foot, as babies tire easily and can drown. Adult dragons need to be bathed weekly. Adult Bearded Dragons swim very well and love a good warm bath up to their neck so they can submerge their body. NEVER leave any dragon unattended in water. Dragons often defecate in bath water so make sure your container is cleaned thoroughly after each use, we do not recommend using your home sink, bathtub or any body of water shared with people. Dragons will often drink their bath water; this is a good thing, as long as it is before they have defecated. Make this a weekly routine to ensure hydration and overall health. A warm bath is also helpful if a dragon seems constipated. Click to read more on our educational website.
As a normal part of a healthy Bearded Dragon’s life they shed. Shedding is a sign that they are healthy, it means they are eating well and growing. All dragons shed at their own rate and sometimes on very different parts of the body. When in shed your dragon may eat less or not at all, this is normal for around 3-7 days or longer. Dragons are very irritated and itchy during this time. You may see them rub their body and face on their enclosure decorations to remove excess skin. There are lots of products that aid in reptile shedding, however we simply recommend a warm bath and gently scrubbing with a soft bristle toothbrush. NEVER tug at or pull on shedding skin. A piece of shedding skin when pulled on can bruise your dragon or even make them bleed. Helping your dragon by pulling is not necessary, but pay attention to the shedding areas and ensure the dead skin does come off. Make sure to take tender care if you help remove excess skin. Click to read more on our educational website.
Dragons need calcium and a multi-vitamin. We use Rep-Cal vitamins. Calcium, vitamin and mineral supplements are imperative for dragons of all ages. The best way to get your dragon to take their vitamins is by dusting their feeders. For young dragons, live feeders need to be dusted with calcium daily and dusted with a multi-vitamin supplement 2-3 days per week. For adults multivitamin supplement 1 day a week and calcium 3-5 days per week. Be sure that any supplements given are phosphorus free. We use a plastic bag to place the crickets or other live feeders in, pinch in the supplements and lightly shake to make sure all feeders are dusted. We use Rep-Cal Calcium with D3 (ultra-fine powder purchased online or in pet stores). For multivitamin supplements, we currently use Repti-Cal Herptivite Multivitamin as a feeder duster and their Multivitamin as an occasional salad topper as well. Click to read more on our educational website.
A Dragon in the Family
Please remember to give your dragon as much love and attention as you would any other pet, they can bond like any mammal if given the chance. Bearded Dragons can be a great pet with small children under SUPERVISION. We highly recommend these books ‘Your Happy Healthy Pet Bearded Dragon’ by Steve Grenard and Animal Planet's "Bearded Dragons". These books are easy to read with great tips and information, you can never know too much about your dragon! Also check out the very informative site by our very own Christy Marie called The Bearded Dragon Lady , where she has lots of helpful information about dragon care. We know this is a lot of information so made an easy to read Checklist of what you need to get started. Welcome to the dragon brood and thank you for choosing Danny’s Dragons.