Bearded Dragon Care

For a complete guide on how to properly care for your dragon we recommend purchasing “The Bearded Dragon Manual” by Philppe de Vosjoli published by Advanced Vivarium Systems.

Housing/Caging: It is very important for young dragons to have a safe & secure enclosure where they can grow without feeling threatened and/or stressed. Excessively large cages at a young age will cause your dragon to have a more difficult time finding it’s food and can become “lost” in to much open space. As your dragon grows so should the cage. Hatchling dragons are best kept in bare cages with minimal decorations. Hide spots and crevices give crickets a place to hide and can result in your dragon not getting enough food. It can also be dangerous for crickets to hide in and then come out at night when the dragons are asleep and can hurt/kill your dragon by biting them. ALWAYS check enclosure for leftover crickets every night and remove any that have not been ate.

[snip left2][/snip]Heating: It is critical that you provide your dragon with the proper heating gradients to keep him/her healthy. Baby dragons need a basking spot of around 115 degrees to properly stimulate feeding. The warm side of the cage should be in the high to mid 90’s (except under the basking spot which should be 110 to 115) and the cool side of the cage should be in the mid 80’s. You must provide your dragon with a cool side of the cage to get out of the heat and cool off. If you keep the entire cage in the high 90’s and higher you will slowly “cook” your dragon and he/she will not survive. Reptiles do not sweat and cannot cool themselves off without a cool zone.

Lighting & UVB: Bearded Dragons like a lot of light inside their cage. Bright light helps to keep your dragon healthy by stimulating it’s feeding activities and helping to keep a normal day/night schedule. In addition to heating lights and regular fluorescents, it is very important that you provide your dragon with a UVB source. We recommend the Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 fluorescent bulbs. This is important for most reptiles to have unless they have regular access to outdoor sunlight. Failure to provide proper lighting will cause your dragon to be extremely dull in color and be lethargic and non-active. Failure to provide a UVB source can eventually cause your dragon to get sick. Without proper lighting, your dragon will not show or maintain vivid colors.

Food & Supplementation: We cannot stress this enough – baby bearded dragons eat a LOT of food! The main source of food for young dragons are live crickets of appropriate size. Healthy young dragons can eat as much as 50 to 75 crickets a day or more if fed properly. Crickets should never be larger than the space between the two eyes of your dragon. Feeding too large of a prey item can cause your dragon to become paralyzed and die. Fresh greens & veggies should be made available as well, but most times young dragons will ignore them until older. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens and endive are all good choices as a staple leafy green for your dragons. Never feed Iceberg lettuce to your dragon – it can dehydrate them and cause them to get very sick. Dry pellets can also be offered which some dragons will accept readily. It is also important that you dust crickets with a calcium based supplement such as Rep-Cal on a daily basis and a vitamin based supplement such as Rep-Cal Herptivite once a week while they are young and growing.

Water: We do not provide our dragons with constant access to a water bowl inside their cage. We believe the increase in humidity this causes is harmful to dragons and is also difficult to keep fresh at all times. We recommend buying a spray bottle filled with room temperature water and gently spraying the tip of the nose of your dragon softly for a few minutes. If your dragon is thirsty, it will lick the water off as it runs down it’s head. You can also spray the side of the tank where your dragon is sitting and this will cause your dragon to notice the water running down the side of the cage and it will lick the water. It is extremely important to do this for young dragons several times a day at least. Dragons get a lot of water they need from fresh greens and veggies, but until they are eating them on a constant basis, you will need to make sure you spray your dragons often to keep them hydrated. It is important not to soak the inside of the cage while doing this. Just do it gently at least three times a day.
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