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Bearded Dragon

Tampa Bay Animal Hospitals | Tampa, FL

Treats may consist of flower blossoms and infrequent small amounts of dog food. Commercial pellets are marketed for bearded dragons, but they haven’t been tested long-term.

Feeding Schedule

Baby bearded dragons are fed twice daily and eat only small moving prey, such as 2-week-old crickets. As a general rule, dragons are fed crickets with a body length no greater than the width of the dragon’s head. However, salads should be introduced at this early age so they are accustomed to eating greens and vegetables as they mature. As the dragon grows, the size of the live prey increases and intake of salad increases.

Juvenile bearded dragons are growing rapidly and need plenty of food offered daily. Hungry juveniles housed together will nip the toes and tail-tips of their cage mates.

Adult bearded dragons can be fed daily or every second day and prefer a diet of about 55% salad, 20% vegetables and 25% prey.

Water

Bearded dragons thrive in low humidity. Drinking water should be provided in a shallow bowl or saucer. Dragons will often soak in their water bowl and may defecate in their water. Drinking and soaking bowls should be cleaned at least daily.

Housing

  • Should be spacious and easy to clean, with smooth sides to prevent rostral abrasions.
  • Should be the size of a 10-gallon tank for a baby dragon; adults need large enclosures of 4 x 2 feet.
  • Should be large enough for climbing, exploration, and basking.
  • Contain thick climbing branches or rocks to support heavy-bodied dragons.
  • Include a large, shallow water tray for soaking.
  • Have access to food and water containers for frequent cleaning.
  • Include acceptable substrates: newspaper, alfalfa pellets, cypress mulch, organic (recycled) cellulose fiber.
  • Provide a hiding area, such as a cardboard box or plant pot.

Tips

  • Quarantine new dragons in a separate area of the house for 3-6 months.
  • Dragons housed together should be of similar size, with plenty of space available.
  • Monitor body conditions of multiple dragons housed together for signs of stress of in subordinate ones.
  • Ensure a gradient of temperatures in their enclosure, from 70° (20°C) to a hot basking spot of around 95°F (35°C).
  • Expose to unfiltered sunlight or commercial full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs.
  • Allow time outdoors when the temperature is above 70°F (20°C) (only in screened enclosure with access to shade and water).
  • Consult with your exotic animal veterinarian about supplementation of calcium and vitamin D3.

Avoid

  • Sand, gravel, corncob, walnut shell, kitty litter and wood shavings as substrates.
  • Potentially toxic live plants.
  • Free roam of the house (to prevent chilling, trauma, ingestion of foreign materials and escape).
  • Shared housing between adults and hatchlings, as adults may eat hatchlings.
  • Shared housing between any two or more dragons of different sizes.
  • Potential for direct contact with heating elements.
  • Over-supplementation of vitamins or minerals.
  • Being fed lightning bugs.

Having your Bearded Dragon examined on a regular basis by an exotic animal veterinarian who is familiar with reptiles can prevent many  common disorders.

 Courtesy of Zoological Education Network