So, you’re ready to get a bearded dragon. Congratulations! Bearded dragons (or beardies, as they’re called in the hobby.) Beardies are incredibly popular pets for a reason. Most beardies are curious and energetic, and enjoy regular interactions with their owners. They can be removed from their enclosures and allowed to explore inside the home (under supervision, of course.) and with , and can be taken out of their housing and allowed to explore your home, or room (under supervision, of course). With a proper leash or harness, bearded dragons can even be taken for walks and allowed to bask outdoors. Bearded dragons, while having a very prehistoric, and dinosaur-like appearance, have a very docile and “happy-go-lucky” attitude that makes them an idea choice of lizard for a pet.

In addition to being friendly and interactive, some of a beardie’s natural behaviors, such as arm waving, head bobbing, and puffing out the beards for which they are named, are extremely entertaining to watch.

Set up

Setting up a home for your bearded dragon is an important part of ownership. Your bearded dragon is a long-lived animal, and will live there for many years to come. Some of the most common, and easiest to access tanks are made by companies such as Exo-Terra. These enclosures are front-opening, which makes cleanup, feeding and watering easy, as you don’t have to move any of their lighting out of the way to access the inside.

Speaking of lighting, lighting is one of THE most important aspects of bearded dragon care. Not only does light illuminate the enclosure, but it also provides the heat and UVB rays your pet will need to survive. Bearded dragons are desert animals, and so a desert climate MUST be recreated in order for them to thrive. Hoods or domes are a great choice for lighting and heating purposes.

You will need two kinds of lights in your beardies tank; UVA/UVB bulbs , which will provide light and illumination, and a basking light, which will provide heat. Your beard’s tank should be 95-110 degrees during the day, and can go down to 70-75 degrees at night.

You will need 12 hours of daily UVA/UVB light to prevent metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons and to keep your dragon healthy. This light also helps to, and also help them to digest their food. Remember, that over time the UVA/UVB bulbs lose their strength, so you will need to change them every 6 months (even if they seem to still be working.) Ideally, this light will stretch the length of your beardie’s tank, and a T8 lamp such as is a great solution for this purpose.

For more information about bearded dragon (and lots of other animal) care, be sure to follow this blog for tips, advice and more!