Bringing home your first bearded dragon can be an exciting experience, but it’s important to make sure you know what to do.
From selecting the right dragon and setting up their cage, to feeding and handling them, you’ll need a few basics to ensure you give your pet a happy home.
Read on for our guide on how to take care of your new reptile companion!
- Consider the dragon’s age and choose a younger dragon for easier handling.
- Ensure the cage is big enough and properly set up with basking and UVB lights, appropriate substrate, and hiding/climbing spots.
- Feed a variety of insects and vegetables, gut-load insects, and provide calcium powder and additional supplements.
- Keep the habitat clean and warm, provide enrichment items, choose a suitable substrate, and regularly clean the tank while monitoring temperature levels.
Selecting the Right Bearded Dragon
When selecting a bearded dragon, make sure it’s the right fit for you and your lifestyle! Consider the dragon’s age – generally, younger ones are more active and easier to handle.
Also look at cage size – it’ll need plenty of room to move around.
Do your research and choose wisely; this pet can be very rewarding when taken care of correctly!
Preparing the Cage
Prepare the cage for your new bearded dragon before bringing it home.
Ensure the enclosure is big enough, set up a basking and UVB light, and provide an appropriate substrate like sand or soil.
Offer places to hide and climb in the form of rocks, logs, branches, and plants.
Provide heat from an under-tank heater or ceramic bulb that will maintain temperatures in the range of 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Finally, provide a shallow water dish for hydration.
Your dragon will love this newfound freedom!
Feeding the Bearded Dragon
Feeding your bearded dragon should include a variety of insects and vegetables. Gut-loading the insects prior to feeding is important for providing essential vitamins and minerals:
- Feed crickets with nutritious vegetables or commercial feed,
- Dust calcium powder on top of the feed,
- Provide additional supplements such as multivitamins.
Vegetables offer additional nutrients and should be rotated to prevent boredom:
- Offer dark leafy greens, squash, peppers, etc.,
- Cut them into small pieces so they’re easier to eat.
Lastly, provide access to clean water daily.
Maintaining the Habitat
Maintaining the habitat is essential for keeping your bearded dragon healthy and happy. It should be kept clean and warm. Provide enrichment items like branches, rocks, and hideouts to keep them entertained. Choose a substrate that is suitable for your pet, such as reptile carpet or paper towels.
Make sure to clean the tank regularly and replace soiled bedding. Monitor temperature levels within the enclosure to ensure your dragon remains comfortable and safe.
Handling and Bonding With Your Bearded Dragon
Gently handle your pet to build up a bond and trust with them. Here’s what you need to remember when handling your bearded dragon:
Let them explore their environment
Don’t overhandle or be too rough
Allow them time to adjust in their new home
Offer an area for security, like a hide box or cave-like structure
Spend time together each day talking and interacting
Offer treats as rewards for good behavior
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Life Expectancy of a Bearded Dragon?
A Bearded Dragon’s lifespan is usually 8-10 years with proper housing, diet and care. Make sure to provide the right habitat, food and supplements for your dragon to ensure a long, healthy life!
How Often Should I Bathe My Bearded Dragon?
Bathe your bearded dragon once a week with lukewarm water. Check the temperature to make sure it’s comfortable for them. Be sure to dry them completely afterwards.
What Kind of Lighting Is Best for a Bearded Dragon?
You should choose a UVB bulb that produces 5-10% UV rays. This will provide the necessary light intensity for your bearded dragon to thrive in its environment. Make sure to change the bulb every 6 months for optimal lighting and health benefits.
How Do I Know if My Bearded Dragon Is Healthy?
Check your bearded dragon regularly for healthy weight, appetite, and energy levels. Ensure they are eating a balanced diet plan and seek vet checks if you’re unsure. Be alert for any signs of illness or injury to ensure your pet is happy and healthy.
Is It Safe to Handle My Bearded Dragon With Bare Hands?
It is generally safe to handle a bearded dragon with your bare hands. However, it’s important to limit handling frequency and pay attention to your dragon’s stress levels while doing so. Be gentle and avoid squeezing or restraining them too tightly, as this may cause distress.
Congratulations on bringing home your new bearded dragon! After selecting the right one, setting up its habitat, feeding it, and learning how to handle them, you can now enjoy watching your pet explore and bond with it.
Be sure to keep their environment clean, provide fresh water daily, and feed a healthy diet. With proper care and love, your bearded dragon will be a happy companion for years to come.