- Scientific Name: Pogona
- Lifespan: Approximately 5 – 10 years based on proper care
- Handling: Anytime
- Size: Up to 18 – 24 inches long
- Care: Easy
- Community: May be housed together when hatchlings, but must be separated when sexually mature. Failure to do so will result in fighting
- Lifestyle: Diurnal, active during the day
The size tank depends on the size of your bearded dragon. Below are two tank sizes that you will be needing for juvenile and adult bearded dragons.
- 6 inches or less: 20 gallon long tank is recommended
- 7 inches or more: 40 gallon breeder tank or larger is recommended
If you are making an enclosure for your bearded dragon yourself, you should make sure it’s nice and big. The minimum size enclosure should be (LxWxH) 36″ x 18″ x 16″ which is equivalent to a 40 gallon breeder tank. But do not limit yourself. If you can make the enclosure bigger, your bearded dragon will enjoy it and make use of all the room. Bigger is always better.
Bearded dragons do not need much in regards to setting up their enclosure.
You should provide your bearded dragon a nice large piece of driftwood or rock to bask on during the day. This is what your bearded dragon will lay on to absorb heat and UVB rays. The basking platform should be placed right underneath the basking spot lamp.
You should provide a hide on the cool side of the enclosure to allow your bearded dragon to escape the heat when he has had too much. This will allow him to cool off. You can add a hiding area by providing a half log or any other sort of cave type ornament that your bearded dragon can enter.
When setting up the enclosure, it is very important that you do not place anything in the enclosure than can physically harm your bearded dragon. Sometimes, owners put in items that snag their bearded dragons tail which in turn result to bearded dragon tail rot. So make sure to only put in safe items.
Whats a bearded dragon enclosure without a hammock? Bearded dragons love hammocks to lay and climb on. Juveniles will use the hammocks to climb on, while adult bearded dragons will use them to sleep on. Either way… it will be put to use.
Food & Water Bowl
The food bowl will usually be for the worms and vegetation that you will be feeding to your bearded dragon from time to time. The other insects like roaches and crickets will usually be free roaming the enclosure (if you don’t have loose substrate). The water bowl should be big enough for your bearded dragon to get into if he wants too, but also shallow enough for him to be able to get in and out of easily.
Lighting & Heating
Lighting is very important for bearded dragons. Without proper lighting, bearded dragons have a high risk of developing diseases like metabolic bone disease which is painful and incurable. With proper lighting, your bearded dragon will live a nice and healthy life. All you need are two types of lights. If you can give your bearded dragon some outdoor time, take advantage of the natural sunlight. The natural sun is better than any bulb you can buy at any pet store. But make sure the temperatures and environment is safe for your bearded dragon. Be cautious and aware of predator birds and rodents.
The basking bulb is to provide heat for your bearded dragon when he decides to bask. Depending on where you live and the temperatures being held there, you will need to figure out which kind of basking bulb you will need. Personally, I use the Zoo Med Reptile Basking Spot Lamp 150 Watts. There are different wattage’s that give off different temperatures.
This bulb is very important for the growth and health of your bearded dragon. The best bulb that most reptile enthusiasts may agree on is the Zoo Med ReptiSun® 10.0 High Output UVB Fluorescent Bulb, 15 Watts, 18-Inch. When looking for UVB bulbs, try to get a tube version rather than a coil version. Tube versions are overall better for your bearded dragon as they cover more area of the enclosure.
Note: UVB bulb must be present throughout their entire life and must be replaced every 6-7 months. UVB rays are known to diminish after this time period.
When measuring temperatures, it’s best to use digital thermometers. Dial thermometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.
1-4 months old
Ambient: 75 – 80 °F
Basking Spot: 95 – 100 °F
4 months old and older
Ambient: 75 – 80 °F
Basking Spot: 100 – 110 °F
No lights are necessary, 68 – 75 °F is recommended. If it is too cold to achieve this temperature without lights, I recommend using a ceramic heat emitter.
Learn more about bearded dragon lighting.
Feeding & Diet
Feedings should vary as your bearded dragon’s size, weight, age, and gender does. Bearded Dragons primarily eat insects which include: crickets, roaches, silkworms, phoenix worms, hornworms, superworms, and etc. Bearded dragons should be given 30% vegetable and fruit with 70% insects when young, and as soon as he/she starts to mature and become bigger, the numbers switch to 70% vegetables and fruit with 30% insects.
- Vegetables and fruits that are not eaten within 24 hours should be discarded to reduce the chance of mold and bacteria build up.
- Live food should be taken out of the enclosure if not consumed by the time the lights go out to reduce the chance of the feeders biting or annoying your bearded dragon while he sleeps.
The feedings must be dusted as follows:
- Calcium Without Vitamin D3 – every other feeding
- Calcium with D3 – 2-3 times a month
- Multivitamins – 2-3 times a month
Rule of thumb: do not feed anything bigger than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes.
Click the link for a full detailed bearded dragon diet
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Levels should be less than 30% throughout the enclosure. You can easily measure the humidity percentages by using a digital hygrometer (humidity gauge). Dial hygrometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.
During the shedding process, bearded dragons should be bathed once every other day by submerging their bodies into a pool of water; you may use a bathroom sink or tub (depending on the size of your bearded dragon), making sure you keep their head above the water. Water depth must be shallow enough for the bearded dragon to keep its head above the water while standing. As they get older and more mature, you may increase the amount of water being used to bathe your bearded dragon. With enough water, they can swim very well. However, you must always monitor your bearded dragon while bathing to make sure everything is okay.
Learn more about bearded dragon shedding.
One consideration to take in about hydration is that baby bearded dragons have a hard time drinking due to the fact that they do not know how to drink out of a water bowl. Some babies might know, but most don’t. Having this in mind, it is necessary to hand hydrate your baby bearded dragon if you do not see him hydrating himself You can do this by dripping water onto his nose and having him lick it off. As they grow older, they will learn how to drink out of a water bowl. Water should be changed out every other day. Food bowls must be cleaned out every often as well.
Bearded Dragons should not have any loose type substrates like sand, bark, etc… A good substrate to use would be paper towels, ZooMed Repti Eco Turf, ceramic tile, or any other sort of flat surface material. All loose substrate does is cause problems. It gives your feeder insects places to hide, causes impaction if ingested, and is expensive to keep switching out every cleaning. If you do end up using sand or any other type of loose substrate, it is important that you feed your bearded dragon outside if its enclosure. Best places to feed a bearded dragon is in a bathroom sink or bathtub (depending on size).
Note: The information on this bearded dragon care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.
Learn more about bearded dragon substrate.
Recommended Reading for You!