Our care guide is the perfect bearded dragon care sheet for beginners or experienced keepers; we research all of the time to bring you the latest information, so check back regularly and subscribe to our push notifications, so you never miss out!
Let’s Begin – The Pet Essentials Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
Bearded Dragons or “Beardies” as they also are known are one of the most popular lizards in the United Kingdom – possibly the world. These animals have been kept in captivity for many many years, and it’s essential to keep them in a way that mimics explicitly where they come from in the wild.
They are so common in fact that many recuse centres are overrun with them. If you are considering a Beardie, please consider taking on a rescue. The RSPCA and SSPCA have them daily.
What Do Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded Dragons are what’s called omnivorous which means that they eat both invertebrates, i.e. insects, and also vegetables. There are a large variety of both insects and plants in which Bearded Dragons can eat commonly available; found both in your pet shop or your local supermarket. Bearded Dragons can eat crickets, dubia roaches Turkistan roaches, grasshoppers, mealworms, wax worms, Morio worms calci worms and a variety of other foods.
In terms of vegetables, do not give you a Bearded Dragon citrus fruits oranges, lemons or limes are all out of the question. We can, however, offer spring greens, broccoli, apples, banana, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Baby Bearded Dragons do require a little more protein in their diet; therefore, they tend not to eat as much in the way of fruit and veg and more in the form of insects. As they become older, they will start to eat more fruit, veg and greens.
I wanted to cover some common questions asked in the reptile community:
- Can bearded dragon eat spinach?
Yes, but it is known to bind calcium, so it’s only to be fed in moderation.
- Can bearded dragon eat carrot?
Absolutely, carrots are a fantastic source of nutrition and vitamins. Notably, Vitamin A and Beta-carotene. But be careful with carrot however if you are giving your beardie a multi-vitamin with Vitamin. Because feeding your bearded dragon, both Vitamin A supplement and Carrots can cause Vitamin A toxicity.
- Can my bearded dragon eat mango?
Mango is high in oxalates (calcium binder), and it’s also very high in vitamin A; so occasionally is the answer.
- Can my bearded dragon eat lettuce?
Will bearded dragon eat dead crickets
- It’s fairly uncommon as the movement of a cricket will trigger the feed response of your bearded dragon. But also, soon as cricket dies, it starts to breakdown, so it’s more nutritional to feed live crickets anyway.
This question needs to answered once and for all iceberg lettuce is a vegetable which contains little nutritional value. It’s useless and can cause problems such as diarrhoea. Please never feed your bearded dragon or any other vegetarian or omnivorian reptile lettuce.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?
Bearded Dragons are a reasonably robust animal and are very well suited to the captive environment and have been bred and thriving for generations and generations. Due to the Prohibition of animals exports from their native country, Australia, almost all Bearded Dragons will be captively bred.
Captive-bred animals tend to live longer and suffer less from parasites and other illnesses which may affect their life span. With this in mind, Bearded Dragons live between 10 and 15 years and are known to live upwards of 20; however, this is less common. Bearded Dragons are a commitment in time in terms of lifespan. Therefore, you must consider this when purchasing a Bearded Dragon.
How Big Do Bearded Dragons Get?
Bearded Dragons aren’t mainly a giant lizard, but they do get a good size as an adult, they reach roughly 45 to 48 cm long and are relatively robust in terms of girth. They do make great pets for children and adults, experienced keepers and even beginners. The relatively small size in relation to other lizards ensures that they are simple to house, feed and their temperament means lends its self well to handleability.
Bearded Dragon Setup
To give your Bearded Dragon the best possible care, it’s essential to get the vivarium correct from the beginning. We always say here at Pets Essentials, if you get the basics right, everything else falls into place. So let’s start with the basics – the vivarium. The vivarium for an adult Bearded Dragon should be at least 120cm in length 60cm high and 60cm wide. This is a good size for an adult Bearded Dragon, and you can grow your baby from a tiny hatchling right up to an adult in the same vivarium. This will save you a bit of money in the long run, buy the larger vivarium straight away and grow your baby on. However, if you do want to get a smaller vivarium from the beginning that’s fine, they will thrive just as well. It’s most common to keep a Bearded Dragon in a wooden vivarium. Easily purchased and readily available in most shops, online and you can build them yourself. They are easy to clean, durable, and they work very very well for most reptiles. if you would like to gain a deeper understanding of how the bearded dragon habitat, you can view our article “Bearded Dragon Habitat” for more information.
Bearded Dragon Substrate
There is much debate in a Bearded Dragon world on what substrate to keep your Bearded Dragon on. However, we found tiles, reptile carpet, sterilised soil, Rainforest Earth and also a soil/sand mix to work perfectly fine
It entirely depends on the look that you want to achieve for your Bearded Dragon. Do avoid calci sand – this was known to be dangerous and causes impaction in Bearded Dragons. There are limitless options when it comes to substrates; however, it is best to ensure that the substrate will pass easily through the digestive system. Beardies are known to be ferocious eaters and will eat till they pop, so they do manage to ingest a lot of substrate. You can try feeding in a bowl if you feel this would work best for you.
Bearded Dragons come from Australia, Central Australia, and it gets pretty hot. In captivity, you want to replicate this. They do need a high-voltage output bulb to achieve the temperatures in which they require to thrive. Trying to detail correctly which bulb would be best to use, however, is difficult. Each setup is different, so it depends on how you create your environment – we can say that you must test test test! Our preference is halogen bulbs, 70 Watt halogen bulbs do the job entirely as long as they are on a dimming thermostat. The temperature you aim to achieve it’s between 35 to 42 degrees centigrade on the basking spot. This provides an excellent place for your lizard to soak up the sun and heat while being able to digest food properly. Bearded Dragons are a sun living species; thus, they also require high output UVB levels. We tend to use the T5 14% output UV bulbs. It is crucial to provide a cooling gradient for your Bearded Dragon; also, they do require to be able to thermoregulate and move out of the heat, if and when, they desire. This can be achieved by placing the bulb on one side of the vivarium and measuring the temperatures to ensure you have the best gradient. Please don’t allow your Bearded Dragon to drop below 22 degrees; this is a little chilly, they do experience cold drops in the wild, but to be on the safe side 22 degrees is perfect.
Bearded Dragons are terrestrial, although, that does not mean that they don’t climb. In the wild, they are often found on fence posts, in trees and on the higher ground soaking up the heat and trying to evade predators. It’s long been debated in the Bearded Dragon community that these animals will not climb. This information is entirely false; they climb readily in the wild and are known as fencepost lizards in their native country. Quite simply because they’re so commonly found high up on fence posts basking up the sun. Provide cage furnishings and allow your Bearded Dragon to move up and down. Give it hides and climbing space as well as plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to get the best from your pet.
Bearded dragons do something in the colder months called brumation. Brumation is a sort of dormant period in which you find your Bearded Dragon slows down eating, certainly and moves around less.
Brumation is triggered by a drop in temperature. This can be replicated in captivity utilising the dimming thermostat and dropping the temperature slowly over a few weeks. Brumation is perfectly natural and healthy for Bearded Dragons, they do this in the wild, and you can simulate this and it in captivity easily as mentioned. If you do not want to brumate your Bearded Dragon, that’s fine. However, there are health benefits in doing it primarily in terms of breeding. If you do decide to brumate your Bearded Dragon, it’s vital to keep an eye on its weight.
Your Bearded Dragon should not lose weight during the brumation period; likewise, you should also still offer food, just less often and remove any uneaten food. If your Bearded Dragon is beginning to lose weight, you’ll need to increase the intake of food. Brumation should only last a few months over the winter period, And once it comes out of brumation, I should be back to its usual self, eating and drinking as you would expect to see. Bearded Dragons are hardy animals that are great captives for all level of keepers. They eat almost anything, they are friendly, docile and are quite personable. It’s even stated that these lizards bond to a degree with their owners. Their husbandry isn’t demanding, keep humidity low and temps high.
Average Bearded Dragon Cost
The cost of beaded can vary; however, we will give a general guide to provide you with some estimates!
The age of a bearded dragon will determine the price; younger bearded dragons tend to be cheaper. However, you can also pick up a rescue or search Gumtree for any for sale locally.
Purchasing a baby with all the equipment will tend to cost more. Breeders are often cheaper than buying bearded dragons at the local pet shop. You may even be able to rescue a bearded dragon from someone who doesn’t want theirs anymore for a small price or for free and don’t forget to check the RSPCA and also the SSPCA as previously mentioned.
Average Cost of Supplies & Accessories
Besides the cost of your bearded dragon, you’re going to need to get the necessary supplies. The list below contains all the basic things a bearded dragon needs.
Cost of Tanks & Enclosures
The vivarium will cost between £70 – £150 depending on the size that you purchase, but a 4ft vivarium is a minimum for a bearded dragon. The wooden ones tend to be the cheapest ad the plastic tends to be the dearest.
Heat Lamp Price
Heat lamps are essential, and it’s best to go with a reputable supplier, this also remember, a basking light is the primary source of heat for your animal, you must keep spares at all times.
Cost of UV Lights
UV is essential for most diurnal reptiles, so this is something that you must buy new, do not purchase second hand and you must also understand the differences between the varying types of UV bulbs to fully appreciate what ist he best option for your bearded dragon. We highly recommend the high output T5 from Arcadia Reptile.
As mentioned, these are not cheap, they do, however, last up to 1 year, but we would recommend changing them every eight months to be safe.
The price will vary from around 50 – 70 for a standard setup, however, you can spend upwards for 120 for a setup with dual lighting setup.
Flooring / Substrate Costs
Substrate prices depend on what you select and also the size of the vivarium, the smaller the vivarium, the less expensive it will be to cover the floor space. Also, if you go bioactive, you will save money as you will change your substrate less often.
If you go bioactive you can expect to spend between 15 – 30 per year, typically you would only partly change your substrate yearly, so this will not be a significant expense.
everyone likes to spoil their pet; we would say budget around £30 per year for things such as hides, and decor, typically as beardies are young you will not spend much, but as they grow they will require larger food bowls etc. so this is a reasonable estimate
Food & Nutrition
Bearded dragons can eat! I mean eat, so you need to aware of this. Food will be one of your largest expense except for electricity, and your bearded dragon will eat around two boxes of live food per week, this is an expense which will quickly add up. bearded d dragons will also eat veggies, so you must consider
To acquire your bearded dragon and the general running cost you can expect to pay around:
Bearded Dragon (One-off): £50 – £100
Vivarium – £100 – £150
Decor and Equipment (Annually) :
- Heat lamp: £10 – 15
- Heat lamp fittings: 10 – 15
- UV lights: 50 – 70
- Substrate: 15 – 20
- Furniture: 15 – 30
Food and Nutrition (Annually)
- Live foods: £240 – £260
- Fruit and veg: £100 – 120
- Supplements: £60 – 80
The running costs are based on estimates of £00.15 per kilowatt-hour
- 30-watt heat mat (24 hours) £3.29
- 60-watt heat light (12 hours per day) £3.29
- 39-watt UV light (12 hours per day) £2.19
The average yearly cost for a bearded dragon run between £605.24 – £715.24 annually – not including the cost of dragon and vivarium.