Bearded dragons are among the most popular pet lizards due to their friendly and docile nature. They’re easy to care for and come in a variety of colors, making them a fun addition to any home.
But before you run out and buy one, it’s essential to do your research first. This article will provide you with information about bearded dragons so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not they’re the right pet for you.
Bearded Dragon History
Bearded Dragons have a rich and varied history that can be traced back to the late 1800s. They were first discovered in Australia, where they earned their name for the long, shaggy beard-like scales that grow around their heads and necks. Bearded Dragons were brought over to the United States in the early 1990s and quickly became a popular pet choice because of their fun-loving personalities and uncomplicated care requirements. Today, Bearded Dragons are a common sight in households all across America.
The Life of a Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragons are cold-blooded reptiles, which means they control their body temperature through external sources. They bask in the sun to generate heat and then retreat into the shade or an artificial habitat like a terrarium when they become too hot. Bearded Dragons can live up to 10 years in captivity, though the average lifespan is about 6-8 years. They reach maturity around 18 months of age, at which point they’re considered adults capable of reproduction.
How often do bearded dragons shed?
Beardies go through periods called “shedding windows” and shed more frequently during those times. At six months, your Bearded Dragon will shed every few weeks until 12 months, when it will shed once or twice each month. After a Bearded Dragon reaches the end of its growth stage, usually around 18 months old, its shedding will gradually taper off.
How can I help my bearded dragon shed?
You can help your bearded dragon shed by misting it to keep it hydrated and bathing it in warm water. Stimulate the area where the skin is loosening but be mindful not to tug or pull as it may damage the new skin.
Can I use shedding aids on my bearded Dragon?
Yes, you can use shedding aids like Shed-Aide by Zoo Med Laboratories to help your Bearded Dragon loosen its skin before it sheds. It contains Vitamin E and aloe vera as ingredients that aid with the growth of new skin cells and reduce inflammation from wounds.
What is Unique about Bearded Dragons?
Bearded Dragons are unique for several reasons, including their lack of osteoderms (armor-like scales). They also have prehensile tails that grip onto objects like trees and branches. Bearded Dragons wag their tails to make themselves look more significant and more threatening when they feel threatened. Their ability to climb makes them excellent escape artists who can usually find ways to get out of enclosures that many other reptiles cannot.
What are the different types of Bearded Dragons?
There are two types of Bearded Dragons: Inland and Coastal. They’re sometimes called “locals” and occupy different geographical areas across Australia. The third type, Rankins Dragons, is a hybrid cross between the other two that only exists in captivity.
Inland Bearded Dragons: Inland Bearded Dragons have a lighter color with dark, horizontal banding. They’re found in the deserts of Australia and prefer arid climates.
Coastal Bearded Dragons: Coastal Bearded Dragons are larger than Inland Dragons and have heavy black barring covering their entire bodies. They’re usually found near the coasts or other areas with higher humidity.
Sandfire or Rankins Bearded Dragon: These hybrids only exist in captivity since they can’t be bred in the wild. They’re the result of crossbreeding an Inland Dragon with a Coastal Dragon.
How long do bearded dragons live?
Bearded Dragons can live up to 10 years in captivity, though the average lifespan is about 6-8 years.
How big do bearded dragons get?
Bearded Dragons are medium-sized lizards which means they reach up to about 24 inches long, not including their tails. Their front legs have five toes each, and their back legs have four toes on both sides, except for one rear toe on their back feet which doesn’t have a claw.
They may be medium-sized lizards, but Bearded Dragons grow very quickly and reach adulthood between 18 months and two years of age. At this point, they’re considered adults capable of reproducing.
What’s the difference between male and female bearded dragons?
Male Bearded Dragons are larger than females and have rostral hooks on their noses that range from very small to quite large depending on the individual Dragon. Females also have less black coloring around their head crests, which gives them a more heart-shaped look than males. Males tend to be more aggressive toward other male Bearded Dragons during the breeding season and puff up their head crests while hissing
What is the sandfire or Rankins Bearded Dragon?
Sandfires or Rankins are hybrids that only exist in captivity since they can’t be bred in the wild. They’re the result of crossbreeding an Inland Dragon with a Coastal Dragon. The bright colors make them very popular, but their unique characteristics are particularly rare.
Bearded Dragon Watering Requirements
Bearded Dragons require a humidity level of 30-50% in their habitat to prevent dehydration. This can usually be achieved by misting the enclosure once or twice per day, though you may need to increase the frequency of your Bearded Dragon’s skin becoming wrinkled. The substrate for your bearded Dragon should also be kept damp at all times. Provide fresh water daily for drinking and soaking and moist food like live crickets, which will help keep up hydration levels.
What do bearded dragons eat?
Bearded Dragons are omnivores which means they eat both plants and meat. In the wild, Bearded Dragons typically feed on crickets, worms, snails and other insects, as well as flowers and leaves from shrubs and trees. In captivity, Bearded Dragons should be fed a diet of gut-loaded insects like crickets that have been dusted with supplements such as calcium/vitamin D3 powder. They should also be given fresh fruits and vegetables each day for added nutrients. When keeping your Bearded Dragon indoors, make sure you offer it a safe place to bask in full-spectrum lighting, including UVB rays every day since lizards can’t produce their own vitamin D3.
How often do bearded dragons eat?
Bearded Dragons should be fed daily in smaller amounts, though it’s best to offer your dragon food no more than one time per day. They may not eat every time but offering too much can lead to obesity which can cause other health problems.
What is the best diet for a bearded dragon?
Bearded Dragons should be fed mainly insects – especially crickets, mealworms, tarantulas and cockroaches. You can also provide them fruits, vegetables, flowers, and proper calcium supplementation. It’s never a good idea to feed Bearded Dragons dead prey because of the risk of impaction caused by eating indigestible items like fur or feathers.
How do you make a bearded dragon happy?
Happiness among Bearded Dragons is often measured by how often they come out of their shelters or basking spots. They’re happier when they’re active and exploring, so placing plenty of toys and differently sized branches in the tank will help them get used to being around people.
How do bearded dragons defend themselves?
Bearded Dragons can defend themselves by flaring their throat or head frills to make themselves look more prominent, hissing and puffing out their throats. They can also bob up and down quickly to make themselves look taller.
What is the best substrate for Bearded Dragons?
Your Bearded Dragon’s substrate should be something that retains moisture but drains well, like reptile carpet or paper towels. If you’re using sand, your lizard may accidentally ingest it while eating insects, leading to impaction issues. Some people use loose substrates like potting soil or bark chips, but these are difficult to clean if they become soiled, potentially leading to insect infestations.
How often do bearded dragons need baths?
Bearded Dragons should have a bath of warm water every two or three days so they can adequately hydrate their skin. Fill the tank with only about an inch of water, making sure it’s not too hot since your Beardie will get sick if it reaches more than 100 degrees F.
What temperature do bearded dragons need to survive?
Bearded Dragons are cold-blooded reptiles, which means they take on the temperature of their surroundings instead of generating heat themselves. This is why you’ll see them sunning themselves in hot areas or just sitting around if it’s cool. In captivity, Bearded Dragons should be kept at a comfortable 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit (28-30 degrees celsius) with a basking area of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). They should always have access to water and shaded areas and a heat lamp to bask under if they need it.
How much do bearded dragons cost?
An average Bearded Dragon will cost between $150 and $200 depending on its color variation. Donations are also accepted at rescues, and reptile shows, especially for lizards with special needs like blind reptiles.
How do I know if my bearded dragon is sick?
If your Bearded Dragon appears listless and doesn’t move from its shelter, has difficulty breathing, or its temperature rises drastically, it may be ill. In the case of minor illnesses like colds or digestive problems, you might notice that your lizard isn’t eating as much as usual or behaving as actively as before. Healthy Beardies are very active lizards, so it will be easy to tell if they’re not feeling well.
The content of this article may not be the most up-to-date, so please consult with a reptile expert before committing to bringing a bearded dragon home or caring for a bearded dragon.