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Bearded Dragon

By Gemstone Dragons in Bearded Dragon Breeders, Collectors, Pets & Rescue UK

Here at Essex Reptile we highly recommend the BD.BCP. If you are new to Breaded Dragons or a long time keep they are a great resource.

Habitat

A wooden vivarium is the ideal home for your Bearded Dragon, 3ft in length will be suitable for your new baby but they quickly grow and a size of 4ft by 2ft by 2ft high is recomended for adults where possible.

Dragons should be housed on their own, males will fight, a lot of females do too and pairs should only be put together for breeding and then seperated again otherwise the females health can be affected.

It is worth knowing this before you commit to buying a pair of babies, you most likely will later on need a second setup.

There have been many debates on the best substrate to use for Beardies as many common ones such as woodchip or sand inc calci-sand can cause impaction and possibly death, but we would recomend kitchen towel, lino or Tile for babies progressing onto a mixture of this plus Oat or Wheat Bran as adults safely fulfilling their natural desire to dig.

You will need a 10-12% full scale UVB reptibulb a foot shorter than your vivarium and a starter unit to power it, for babies hang this from the back wall of your viv about halfway up and for adults from the top, a reflector can help increase the output of this also, this is needed to help prevent MBD.

A basking spotlight above a basking rock or log in the hot end of the vivarium and another rock or piece of wood along with a bowl for greens in the cooler end is suficient furnishing but for adults branches to climb and sit on with fake plants can be added.

Thermometers should be placed at either end of the vivarium to ensure ideal temperatures of 80-85' in the cool end and 90-95' in the hot end of your viv with a basking spot of around 105-110' (babies prefer 110-115'), many people use a dimmer to ensure these temperatures do not fluctuate too much.

Lights should be on 12-14 hours a day and household temperatures are fine overnight.

In winter 8-10 hours of lighting and night time temperatures no lower than 70f are best, this can be managed if need be with a ceramic heat bulb which emits no light to disturb your pet.

You should never use a heatmat within a Beardie enclosure, they detect light and therefore their heat source from above with a 'third eye' ontop of their head not their tummies so will sit on a hot mat until they burn themselves externally and internally.

If you have any other questions regarding the care of Bearded Dragonsfeel free to ask - No question is a silly one when your looking to improve the care you give your pet :)

Feeding

Beardie babies are fed on a diet of 20% greens and veg given everyday with 80% live food given everyday, as they grow into adults this balance changes to 80% greens and veg given everyday with 20% live food given 2-3 times a week.

Livefood such as Crickets, Locusts or Roaches should be fed 3 times a day for babies and once a day for adults with very occasional worms given to adults as a treat with fresh salad available all day.

1 meal per day must be dusted with a Calcium suppliment on weekdays and a Vitamin suppliment on weekends.

Beardies do not need a water bowl in their vivarium, in the wild they would go days without it, it can also make the humidity in the viv too high causing resperatory infections.

Health & Temperament

Bearded dragons are generally a hardy species ideal for first time Reptile owners or families with young children. Once their setup and basic feeding regime are put in place they require very little extra care. They are very popular as pets due to their inquisitive nature and interactive behaviour with both other dragons and humans, they enjoy being handled and can form bonds with their owners unlike some other pets.

Some behaviours Bearded dragons display that can cause new owners to worry but are completely normal are explained below -

Skin shedding

When Bearded dragons shed their skin they go a dull colour and the old skin peels off, this can happen in patches or all at once and can take several days to remove the dead skin, regular baths can help this and ease discomfort and many dragons get a little grumpy and can go off their food for a short while during this process.

Head bobbing

Bearded dragons head bob as a sign of dominance or in males as a sign of being sexually mature and ready to breed.

Arm waving

Bearded dragons wave their arms in slow, jolty, circular motions when greeting or being submissive to another dragon or breeding male.

Black bearding

Bearded dragons display black beards when annoyed or in males when displaying for a female.

Beard/eye puffing

Bearded dragons puff out their beards and sometimes their eyes like frogs which is thought to be their equivalentof a yawn or possibly a way of looseningready to shed skin from around those areas.

© Gemstone-Dragons 2010