Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
Fluker's Bearded Dragon Care Sheet and Product List (PDF)
Fluker's Bearded Dragon Setup & Care Tips with Dr. Mark Mitchell (YouTube)
Bearded Dragon Habitat Setup and Care
Bearded dragons make great pets! Affectionately called “beardies,” they are easy to care for and have great personalities. They are smart, fun, and curious and are considered the most docile creatures among the lizard world.
Whether you’re a reptile rookie or a seasoned veteran, it’s important to do your research before you come home with your new beardie. Be sure to have all supplies ahead of time, such as housing, accessories, and food to ensure your pet has a smooth and healthy transition into your care.
● Bearded dragons originate from the dry bushland and desert regions of Australia.
● The scientific name for bearded dragons is Pogona, and they are affectionately called "beardies" by many pet owners.
● Beardies are omnivorous; they eat both plant and animal matter. While their diet consists mostly of plants and vegetables, the also love insects including crickets, roaches, and mealworms.
● They get their name from the spiky growths under their necks, which will puff up and turn black when the lizard is excited, resembling a human beard.
● Beardies will wave to each other! It is believed this is a passive message to indicate submission when a larger or more dominant lizard is near.
● Although normally calm and sedentary, bearded dragons are deceptively quick and are capable of running up to 9 mph. They can even run on two legs!
● They generally range in size from 16-24 inches, tail included.
● Females have thinner and more slender tails than males
● With proper care, beardies can live 10 years or longer.
Beardies are quite active so they need plenty of floor space. Tank size will depend on the age and size of your lizard. Since they range in size, a good rule of thumb is that your tank should be 3 times as long as your dragon. And since they grow quickly, getting a larger tank from the start is a good idea.
Bearded dragons are commonly kept in glass terrariums or tanks, while some owners set their pets up in a cage made from melamine, PVC, or ABS plastic. Be sure to cover your enclosure with a screened lid to prevent your pet from escaping (they can be very skilled escape artists). Avoid glass, plastic, or any other type of solid lid that restricts air flow.
Use a good substrate to make your bearded dragon feel more at home. Reptile carpet, newspaper, or porcelain/ceramic tiles are the best options for baby and juvenile beardies and are easiest to maintain.
Avoid using small loose particle substrates, such as calcium-based sand, ground walnut shells, or playground sand with babies and juveniles These substrates can lead to impaction. Natural sand is okay for adult beardies.
In addition to a basking perch, you can add other accessories to make your beardie feel at home like branches, rocks, or driftwood. Rock dens or “hides” provide shade and give your lizard a place to escape to. They can double as a basking perch if strategically placed.
Provide a food bowl as well as a bowl with fresh dechlorinated water daily. Make sure the water bowl is shallow (less than an inch deep) so your beardie can’t drown.
Temperature & Lighting
Beardies are native to the desert regions in Australia, so they require full-spectrum light (not your standard household bulb) for 12 to 14 hours per day. Full-spectrum bulbs emit light in all the UV ranges, which is what bearded dragons need to remain healthy. The light needs to be evenly spread throughout the tank. Your pet also needs a basking bulb, as well as a way to get close to the heat emitted from it (they’re usually placed on top of the enclosure), such as a reptile hammock or a basking ramp.
Maintaining proper heat is essential to the health and well-being of a bearded dragon. You’ll need two good quality thermometers to maintain a proper temperature gradient throughout the habitat. The basking side of the tank should be warmer: 90-93°F for adults, 95-100°F for juveniles. The other side should be cooler: 80-90°F. At night, turn the lights off and allow the temperature to drop to 70-75°F.
Humidity should be kept below 60% at all times.
Diet & Nutrition
Bearded dragons need a varied diet that will normally consist of vegetables, insects, and non-citrus fruit. Baby/juvenile beardies require more live insects than adults because they are growing and need the protein.
Feeder insects should be gut-loaded and no larger than the space between your beardie’s eyes. We recommend dusting insects with calcium and Vitamin D at least once a week. Commercial diets fortified with real crickets are also a good option and can provide your pet with proper balance of essential nutrients.
Keep in mind that some plants, vegetable, and vitamins are toxic for bearded dragons and should be avoided. Lists are available online and should be followed closely.
Provide a food bowl as well as a bowl with fresh dechlorinated water daily. Make sure the water bowl is less than an inch deep. They will not always drink from their water bowl, so keep a spray bottle to mist your beardie several times a day. This mimics the way they get water from rainfall in the wild. You’ll notice your pet lick the water droplets that drip from its nose.
Handling & Safety
Beardies tolerate handling and interaction with humans well. They will likely spend part of the day in a hiding spot. Male bearded dragons are territorial and should be housed separately. Do not house different reptile species together.
Bearded dragons go through brumation periods, a type of hibernation that often happens in the fall or winter and can last for weeks or months. Your beardie may sleep more often or not wake up at all throughout the entire cycle.
Juvenile beardies will shed as they grow. Adults shed as well, but not as often. When ready to shed, their eyes may appear puffy and skin duller than usual.
Contact a vet if you notice any of these symptoms of illness or distress such as: weight loss or decreased appetite, swelling, discharge from mouth or nose, lethargy, labored breathing, paralysis of limbs, or abnormal feces.