The Basics of Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded dragons are among the most popular domesticated reptiles nowadays. This is because these reptiles have a great personality and exhibit several amusing behaviors. Bearded dragons are scientifically known as a genus of lizards called Pogona. They exist in seven species—Pogona barbata, Pogona henrylawsoni, Pogona microlepidota, Pogona minima, Pogona minor, Pogona nullarbor, Pogona vitticeps--and are commonly found in the arid deserts and dry woodlands of Australia. Among these seven varieties, the most common is the Pogona barbata and the Pogona vitticeps. These reptiles are mainly ground dwellers; however, they are also adept climbers and spend a lot of time climbing rocks and low branches. Bearded dragons are really wild animals; so, caring for them as pets or while they are in captivity can be quite complicated. So to help you out, I have here some basic tips on bearded dragon care.

Enclosure size.

Most reptile experts and bearded dragon enthusiasts agree that the minimum enclosure size for an adult bearded dragon should be a 60-gallon tank; and a 20-gallon tank for a juvenile beardie. This enclosure should have a top that is covered by a screen or hardware cloth to keep your dragon from getting out and to keep other creatures from coming in. It would also be best to provide your reptiles with furniture—like a stone within the basking site or a stable branch for them to climb onto.

Temperature.

 Since beardies have originated from the hot-climate regions of Australia, they would also need to have a relatively similar temperature in captivity. Temperature is crucial as your pets need a specific degree of temperature so they can digest their food properly. And in order to do this, you would need to provide your reptiles a tank that has a daytime temperature of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and a nighttime temperature of 70-74 degrees (since their bodies are accustomed to cooler nights). You would also need to provide them with a basking site that has a temperature ranging from 95-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating can be done with the help of heating lamps. Nevertheless, you need to be careful with your thermoregulation as this can do your pets harm rather than good when not done properly.

Lighting.

Like most reptiles, dragons also need UVA and UVB lighting spectrum to produce vitamin D3, a component that is needed in order for their body to properly metabolize calcium. Without proper lighting and the right absorption of calcium, your reptiles can get sick with what is known as a metabolic bone disease which can lead to bone breakage. UVA and UVB lighting can be provided only through natural unfiltered sunlight (which is difficult to obtain for cage reptiles) or through the use of special reptile fluorescent bulbs.

Substrate.

This is the material that you use as flooring for your reptile tank. Your substrate must be chosen carefully as the wrong choice of substrates can lead to serious problems with your reptile. Good substrates would include those materials that are safe and easy to clean; like paper and indoor/outdoor carpets.

Diet. These reptiles are omnivorous; so they eat plants and as well as animals. They need to be fed with a varied diet of greens, fruits and vegetables daily. But they also need a source of protein which can they can get form the consumption of insects and other small animals.

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