Bearded Dragon Overview
Scientific Name: Pogona vitticeps
Ease of Care: Beginner
Potential Adult Size: 18-22 inches
Life Span: Upwards of 10 years
Diet: Insects & Greens
We would recommend that a single adult bearded dragon should be kept in an enclosure no smaller than 48″ x 24″ x 24″ however the bigger space provided will benefit your dragon dramatically.
Basic Equipment needed
Housing: Vivarium Terrestrial setup
Heating: Heat Bulb (12 hours on/off cycle) including Thermostat, thermometers and hydrometers
Lighting: UV Tube (12 hours on/off cycle)
Substrate: Bearded Dragon Bedding such as sand or Arcadia EarthMix Arid
Water: Water Bowl
Bearded Dragons are diurnal animals and require a suitable light and heat gradient in their Vivarium.
Background Temp: 23⁰C (73⁰F) to 30⁰C (86⁰F)
HOT Spot: 38⁰C (100⁰F)
Night-Time Temp: 18⁰C (64⁰F)
Provide a warmer/hot area towards the one side of the Vivarium with an overhead heat source; use an ceramic Lamp Holder & Bracket with a Heat Bulb running through a High Range Dimming Thermostat.
Dimming thermostats are designed to regulate temperatures using a thermostat probe (also known as a sensor). Correct placement of the probe is critical to avoid overheating and injury to the Bearded Dragon. Check temperatures regularly, using a reliable dual thermometer and hygrometer to ensure that there are no extreme fluctuations.
We use the Arcadia Pro T5 Kit 39 Watt 14% or the 12% equivalent starting flush in the basking end to provide optimal exposure; this will leave an area of low to zero UV in the cooler end.Ensure that it is fitted correctly and within the manufacturers recommended distances.
Personal choice will dictate how you decorate your Vivarium, but we recommend the following as a guide. Use an appropriate Bearded Dragon Bedding such as Arcadia EarthMix Arid. Wood and branches for climbing on. Artificial or live plants for decoration and to provide darker areas for
the Bearded Dragon to hide. Extra caution should be taken with artificial plants – a hungry Bearded Dragon could mistake such as being real and potentially cause injury if consumed.
Diet & Water
Hatchlings through to adults should be offered appropriately sized insects. As a rule, the distance between the lizard’s eyes will give you the approximate width of live food to feed your Bearded Dragon. Most juvenile and older dragons will eat shredded leafy greens (i.e., spring greens, kale, rocket, watercress, as well as wild weeds), dandelions, plantain, and white/red dead nettles. Ensure that any food source gathered from the wild has been collected from an organic source. Always provide source of fresh water in a small bowl in the cooler end of the Vivarium. The bowl
should NOT be big enough for the Bearded Dragon to lay in as this could potentially cause related issues.
Bearded Dragons need additional supplementation in the form of a calcium and multi-vitamin powder and Calcium Mg. Please follow the packaging instructions.
Bearded Dragons shed their skin in patches. It can sometimes take up to 1 week for a Bearded Dragon to completely rid itself of its old skin; this process is called shedding. A juvenile Bearded Dragon will shed its skin every few weeks and an adult will shed as little as 2-3 times a year. You can usually tell if your Bearded Dragon is going to shed, as its skin colour will appear duller than normal and may have a washed out look.
Health & Hygiene
We recommend the following cleaning routine to keep your Bearded Dragon healthy and happy.
Your bearded dragons water should be changed each day, with their enclosure being spot cleaned. Check the vents on enclosures are not blocked and allow air to pass through freely.
Once a week you should Disinfect the water bowl or dish, agitate the substrate to prevent any bacterial build up and to allow any dirty bedding to be removed. Wipe down the glass and walls with a reptile safe disinfectant.
On a monthly basis take out old substrate or half and replace with new substrate. Wipe down inside the enclosure and disinfect decor with a reptile safe disinfectant.
Always wash your hands, surfaces and equipment with warm water and disinfectant immediately before and after handling or feeding your Bearded Dragon, their food, enclosure and any other equipment.
The Five Animal Welfare Needs
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 means all pet owners have a legal duty of care to their pets. Anyone who is cruel to an animal or is found not to be providing the five animal welfare needs, as listed below, can be fined and sent to prison.
Environment: Pets should be given the correct housing according to its size, this includes shelter, space to exercise.
Diet: Pets should be offered the correct type and volume of food to cover all their nutritional needs alongside access to clean, fresh water and a secure, comfortable place to rest.
Behaviour: All pets should be allowed to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and should be provided with the facilities to do so.
Health: All animals should be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and given veterinary treatment if they become sick or injured.
Company: Some animals require the company of their own kind, whilst others should be kept on their own.