Common Name: Bearded Dragon
Latin name: Pogona vitticeps
Native to: Australia
Size: 6 – 24 inches
Life span: 5 – 15 years
Bearded Dragons are medium sized lizards with a large triangular shaped head, flattened body and a tail measuring half the length of the animal. They are usually a grey, brown or reddish brown color with small spiny scales covering the body, and longer scales from the back of the head. When threatened a bearded dragon will puff out its throat resembling a spiky beard. There are many different morphs of bearded dragons available that can produce different coloration
Enclosure: Hatchling bearded dragons can be kept in a 30inch aquarium for a few months. Adult bearded dragons will need at least a 4ft x 2ft or 6ft x 18in aquarium, or larger sized cage if more than one bearded dragon is housed. Branches and rocks are needed for climbing and basking. A screen top is needed for ventilation. Do not house two adult male bearded dragons together. You can also use a screened enclosure or custom built enclosure.
Temperature: Day: 80° – 85° F. ( 26.5oC – 29.5oC)
Night: 68° – 75° F ( 18.5oC – 23.5oC)
Basking: 95° – 105° F. (35oC – 40.5oC)
A heat lamp should be positioned over one end of the tank to produce the basking spot. Use thermometers or temperature gun to measure temperature.
Heat/Light: Incandescent bulbs, ceramic emitter, or heat panels can be used for the basking spot. Full spectrum lighting should be provided using one of the fluorescent bulbs made for reptiles that produce both UVA and UVB wavelengths. A mercury vapour bulb which provides heat and light may also be used. Twelve hours of daylight can be provided through the use of timers.
Substrate: Play sand is cheap, fairly easy to clean and creates a desert looking environment. However, use caution with hatchlings as it may cause impaction. Newspaper, Astroturf, paper towels, alfalfa pellets, and vitamin sand can also be used.
Environment: Desert habitat
Diet: Bearded dragons are omnivores. They need both animal and plant material in their diet for a balanced diet. Crickets, locusts, cockroaches, mealworms, wax worms, silkworms, butter worms and earthworms; larger dragons may also manage the occasional pinky. Vegetables that you can offer included greens (turnip, kale, romaine, dandelion, mustard, and collard), green beans, squash, peas, sweet potato, chicory, watercress, red pepper (not chili), and coriander. Fruits may be offered once to twice a week a week (too much can cause diarrhoea and are poor sources of calcium) such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, melon, mango, kiwi, and grapes. Commercially made food is also available for your bearded dragon. Fresh water should always be provided. Some bearded dragons like to be misted and lap up the water that way. Powdered vitamin/mineral supplement (such as Vetark Neutrobal and ACE high) may be offered 1-2 times a week.
Maintenance: Fresh water should be offered daily. If using newspaper then clean as needed. Wood shavings should be spot cleaned as needed. Periodically, the enclosure should be disinfected. A 5% bleach solution makes an excellent disinfectant. Be sure to rinse the enclosure thoroughly after disinfecting. As always, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your bearded dragon or any cage accessories.
Transport: Vet visits / moving home may necessitate moving your lizard. Cat boxes make excellent carriers for larger lizards, smaller ones are fine in cardboard boxes as long as they are secure. In the U.K it is advisable to maintain the lizard normal ambient temperature as much as possible whilst traveling. This can be achieved with well wrapped hot water bottles, beanies etc (care should always be taken to protect the lizard from any direct heat source).