Bearded Dragon 101: Everything You Need Before You Bring Beardie Home

Beardies! Did you have a beardie or bearded dragon growing up? Have you been considering bringing home a beardie and need a few pointers on the specific care requirements? They are considered great pets for beginner reptile owners.

Reptiles Magazine tells us,

"The inland bearded dragon is generally considered one of the all-time best lizard pets. It is known for being alert, hardy and tame, and bearded dragon owners love watching their lizards, whether during a feeding frenzy while chasing crickets or simply interacting with each other."

This relationship a long-term commitment! Average lifespan is between six and 10 years and large adults can be nearly 2 feet in length.

And bearded dragons exhibit a behavior known as "arm-wavin'" in which a female (and occasionally males) may lift a front leg in the air and "wave" it as a submissive gesture. 

What does housing consist of? tells us that their new home should be set up with a heat source,

"Once he's fully grown, you'll want a glass terrarium of at least 40 gallons in volume (that's 32 to 36 inches long) with a screened lid for him to live in. Your bearded dragon is from a warm, dry environment so you'll also need a heating source for his home. Your dragon prefers the solitary life."

Experts recommend calcium sand, or they say to invest in reptile carpet. Add a few branches for your pet reptile! Here are a few housing suggestions (and accessories!) that we recommend.

Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium

These new Carolina Custom Cages Terrariums are very easy to assemble and come in 11 different models. This large model is available for $269.99. 

Zilla Reptile Habitat Décor Shale Rock Den

These rock formations appear realistic inside the terrarium! Available for $22.19. 

Heating and lighting 

As far as lighting goes, they need a basking area! They like basking under a UVA/UVB bulb (special bulb for reptiles) for about 12 hours each day. The UV lights must be directed through the screen rather than the glass.

The tells us,

"Proper temperatures in the tank while indoors are also extremely important. As with other reptiles, a temperature gradient should be provided for your bearded dragon, as well as a basking spot. The gradient should go from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side, up to a basking temperature of about 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Night time temperatures can fall to approximately 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit."

Heat can be provided via an incandescent light or ceramic heat emitter.

Check out this product.

REPTIZOO 75 Watt Reptile Infrared Spot Lamp

This provides the ambient heat that creates a healthy environment for reptiles. Available for $12.99.

Bearded dragons are omnivores

Every adult bearded dragon care sheet we read talked in detail about the bearded dragon diet. Here's the skinny:

  • Insects, such as crickets and mealworms (along with a vitamin/mineral supplement and calcium supplement)
  • Finely chopped veggies (such as romaine lettuce, zucchini, carrots, etc.), greens (collard, mustard, dandelion, etc.) and fruit (kiwi, banana, mango, etc.).
  • Sprinkle the supplements on these foods, too.

These products were mentioned by reptile influencers.

Zilla Reptile Munchies Veggies Treat

These nutritious, dehydrated ingredients are quick and convenient - no refrigeration required!  Veggies for beardies! Available for $8.49. 

Zoo Med Gourmet Bearded Dragon Food

Zoo Med's new gourmet bearded dragon food adds enrichment to your dragon's diet with the addition of blueberries, mealworms, and dried rose flower petals. Available for $10.47 (8.25 oz.).

Resources for newbies?

Read this and you'll know everything there is to know. This is a staff fave.

Bearded Dragons: The Essential Guide to Ownership & Care for Your Pet

The guide tells us how hardy, sociable, and relatively low-maintenance, they are and that they're a fabulous pet for a first-time lizard owner, and can give you up to a decade of loving companionship. Available for $8.99 in paperback.

Don't forget that you must mist your bearded dragons using a water spray bottle but don't overdo it.  Always offer water in a dish they can soak in.

Do you live with a bearded dragon? What essentials did we miss? Please leave us a comment below!

WATCH NOW: Bearded Dragons Are Awesome Reptiles!