In case, you’ve absolutely no clue about what Bearded Dragons are:
Here is a short intro…
Bearded dragons ( or “Beardies”) are medium-sized lizards that are found in Australia.
(Beardies are closest thing you can keep in your house that resembles a Dragon from Game of Thrones. If you’re into that kind of a thing.)
The reason they have become a very popular is because they are good-tempered, love human company and are fun to hang around with.
When Bearded Dragons hatch they’re only a few inches long, but quickly grow to around a foot in length.
When full-sized they’re twice that size and often even bigger.
They’re easy to care for, and can easily live ten years or longer with proper nutrition and basic tending.
Children love to watch bearded dragons because they’re active for much of the day, climbing and exploring when they’re not basking in (artificial) sunlight.
The important thing to know about them is that they’re desert creatures.
Which means they require lots of heat and humidity, and that is why they’re kept in a protected environment such as a terrarium or cage. (More info on how to set up a cage)
It’s a bit of work to set things up, but once your beardie is happy in his new home everyone will be delighted that he’s a part of your family.
Getting set up does require some planning and at least a few purchases. Here’s a rundown of the ten products which are essential when adopting and caring for a bearded dragon.
Top 10 Ultra Essential Things You’ll Need Right Now
1. Habitat Kit
The most important thing for your bearded dragon, of course, is a habitat.
Many people prefer to purchase a terrarium and the necessary accessories separately to make sure they get exactly what they’re looking for.
But, if you’re anxious to get started quickly and easily with a starter kit, we recommend the R-Zilla Deluxe X-Large Bearded Dragon Habitat Kit ($253.15).
It comes with a 40-gallon terrarium, a full set of lights (UV, blue and black), food and water bowls, a reptile carpet and food pellets. The setup isn’t as sturdy as some we’ve used – and if your beardie grows to its full size you might need a slightly larger terrarium.
But it’s ideal as a first home for your new bearded dragon, and gives you plenty of time to decide whether you want to upgrade.
2. A rock-solid Tank
If you’re more interested in a rock-solid aquarium-style tank that you can customize into your own perfect terrarium, the best choice is the Carolina 55-gallon Aquarium Tank ($259.95).
There are no bells or whistles, so you’ll have to buy the rest of your accessories separately, but it’s made of triple-strength clear glass with silicone rubber, manufactured primarily for lots of use in school settings.
The tank holds a full 55-gallons and is four feet long – perfect for a full-sized beardie. There’s also a lifetime guarantee with the purchase of this item. Note that a ventilated top will have to be bought separately.
3. Lightning: UVB/UVA Lamps
The correct lighting is crucial for long-term survival of all reptiles, and the bearded dragon is no exception.
What’s ideal is a fluorescent 10.0 UVB lamp, which will simulate the conditions of the Australian desert where these pets live in the wild.
The UV rays will also penetrate any screens you may have on top of your terrarium. Without the ultraviolet component of this light, beardies are likely to die of metabolic bone disease (MBD).
They should last a full year when used for the recommended 10-12 hours a day. Combine one of them with the Zoo Med Reptile Basking Spot Lamp ($10.66) and your pet will get all of the light and heat it needs.
4. Basking Spot
Speaking of basking, your bearded dragon is accustomed to having a spot where he can relax in the sun and heat.
Rocks or logs can certainly work, but the most flexible option for function and comfort is a set of Conception Creations Stack Stones [http://www.amazon.com/CC-STACK-STONES-XL-5PC/dp/B003M8Q29A/] ($12.89).
They’re natural stones available in two different beautiful desert colors; they can be arranged in any number of combinations to promote basking and give your beardie different areas in which to stretch out.
Another good possibility is the Zilla Basking Platform Corner Ramp [http://www.amazon.com/Zilla-11896-Basking-Platform-Corner/dp/B000Y1HABM] ($23.14), which is synthetic material but looks and feels like real rock; it can fit in a corner of your terrarium and give your pet a nice perch on which to enjoy the heat and light.
Bearded dragons don’t just like to bask – they also enjoy climbing.
We’ve tried magnetic vines and artificial plants but we’ve found that the perfect climbing accessory is the Mojetto Small Animal Iguana Branch 24-26 [http://www.amazon.com/Small-Animal-Supplies-Iguana-Branch/dp/B005LIM0D6] ($26.68).
It won’t take up the entire terrarium, but is large enough to allow for plenty of activity and exercise.
Lots of people use gravel, sand or newspaper as a substrate at the bottom of their terrarium.
The problem is that reptiles will often try to eat it – and that’s obviously not a good thing.
The better way to go is with something like a reptile carpet or with very fine sand that they’re not able to eat.
Zoo Med Eco Carpet [http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Carpet-Gallon-Tanks/dp/B0027IZ5M6/] ($8.24) is our first choice since it’s all-natural, washable, and not something that your bearded dragon can munch on.
It comes in a variety of sizes from which to choose (depending on how large your cage is).
If you definitely want to go with a “natural” type of substrate, we recommend Exo Terra Red Desert Sand [http://www.petfooddirect.com/Product/16417/Exo-Terra-Red-Desert-Sand-Terrarium-Substrate] ($11.89, also available in sand and black colors) which is all-natural, sifted to remove impurities, and safe for your beardie. It also will feel familiar to him.
7. Substrate Heater
On the subject of substrates, there’s one thing that’s usually missing from the bottom of reptile terrariums: heat.
The desert floor retains heat, but that’s difficult to replicate in an artificial environment.
The way to get around this problem is with a substrate heater like the Exo Terra Reptile Heat Wave [http://www.petfooddirect.com/Product/15900/Exo-Terra-Reptile-Heat-Wave-Rainforest-Terrarium-Substrate-Heater] ($21.99).
It is UL approved and can either be mounted on the floor or wall of your unit to create the type of heat to which your bearded dragon is accustomed. That will help regulate his appetite, digestion and metabolism – meaning you’ll have a healthier pet.
8. Automatic Misting
One of the best accessories you can add to your terrarium is an automatic misting machine.
It will boost the habitat’s humidity levels and make things much more comfortable for your bearded dragon.
The Exo Terra Mini-Fogger [http://www.petfooddirect.com/Product/16320/Exo-Terra-Mini-Fogger] ($43.29) maintains a natural desert environment while keeping your beardie hydrated, happy and healthy by dramatically increasing the humidity levels inside. It even will create early-morning dew and simulate low clouds during the day.
We haven’t touched on the subject of food yet, but obviously it’s important to feed your pet the right diet.
The natural diet of bearded dragons consists of insects (particularly crickets and worms) and flowers which are indigenous to Australia. Crickets, of course, can be bought at some pet stores; those specific flowers are certainly much tougher to find.
Most owners opt for a regular diet of freeze-dried crickets and specially-designed bearded dragon food, and save the live crickets as a special treat.
We’ve found the best options to be Fluker’s 1.2 Ounce Freeze-Dried Crickets [http://www.amazon.com/Flukers-1-2-Ounce-Freeze-Dried-Crickets/dp/B0002DRJDG/] ($6.12), Fluker’s Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Formula [http://www.amazon.com/Flukers-Buffet-Bearded-Dragon-Formula/dp/B001B4SGDW/] ($4.99, also available in a juvenile formula), and Zilla Fortified Bearded Dragon Pellet Food [http://www.petfooddirect.com/Product/7893/Zilla-Fortified-Bearded-Dragon-Pellet-Food] ($5.99).
All are crafted to meet the dietary needs of bearded dragons, with lots of protein plus added minerals and nutrients.
Finally, it’s very important to supplement your pet’s diet with added calcium.
There will be some in his regular diet whether you feed him live insects or prepared food, but it won’t be enough to meet his daily needs. For that reason, his food should be coated with calcium 3-5 times per week (more often for young ones).
Our recommendation is Zoo Med Reptile Calcium [http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Reptile-Calcium-12-Ounce/dp/B000UJUWC2/] ($11.37) which is ground very finely in order to coat food and so it can be digested easily, and is phosphorus-free with added vitamin D3.
Now that is taken care of,
Here are a few fun bearded dragon videos.
Here is fun video of a Beardie attacking a grape:
Almost 2 million views.
6.8 Million Views
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