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Profile: Bearded Dragons(Pogona Vitticeps) naturally inhabit the wood and scrub
land areas of Australia and are a day time lizard. Most love to be handled and are very
good pets for first time reptile owners. They can reach up to 23 inches in length, but
most average 15-20 inches at maturity. Maturity is reached around 1-1 1/2 years. The
average life span is 5 years, but they can reach 10 years or more in good captive
Feeding: Bearded Dragons(Pogona Vitticeps) feed on insects and greens daily.
Crickets, superworms, roaches & hornworms are the feeder insects we mainly use.
These bugs are staple insects that have semi-low levels of parasites and are a good
source of protein which aids growth in young and juvenile dragons. Crickets can be
purchased at many pet stores or online and are inexpensive in bulk numbers.
Hornworms tend to be more expensive but do have the highest nutritional value of
the 4 bugs we use. They are also easier to feed off because of their soft bodies
which are much easier to digest and can be fed to a wider size range of
dragons(babies-adults) without worry of impaction. Roaches are found at some
reptile pet stores and can also be purchased online. They are inexpensive in bulk,
easy to care for and are great for fussy eaters. Most do climb glass and plastic
surfaces so placing a line of vaseline around the top of there bin is best! We do not
feed mealworms. They do not have enough nutrients to warrant feeding and are too
high in fat content to feed to growing or adult dragons. They could be offered as a
treat to dragons needing to gain back weight or females that just laid eggs. We offer
insects 3 times a day to babies(hatchlings - 2 months old) and 2 times a day to
juveniles and sub-adults(2 months - 1 year old). Adults only get fed insects once a
day. No crickets or insects of any kind should be allowed to stay in the dragon's cage
over night. We also "gut load" every type of insect that is fed to the dragons. Gut
loading just means that the insects are well fed and their "guts" are loaded. You can
buy many different brands of gut load from pet stores or make it yourself. We use
oranges, left over greens and green stems, and carrots. Basically any type of left
over fruit or veggie will do. The idea is you want your insects to be well fed so your
dragon can be well fed from your insects. The best greens to feed your dragon are
chopped collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, alfalfa, cactus
pad/leafs/flowers, endive, escarole, dandelion greens and (acorn, hubbard, scallop,
and spaghetti) squash. Greens and veggies you should never feed are avocado,
rhubarb and wheat which are very toxic to dragons. Also lettuce of any type has no
nutritional value and can cause diarrhea. Dragons should get their greens first thing
in the morning and should not be fed insects until afternoon hours to allow them to
completely warm up and be able to digest their bugs.
Water: In the wild, bearded dragons do not always have free standing water
sources and most inhabit very dry areas. Therefore, we do not give free standing
water bowls but bath and mist them. They naturally get there water from plant
material and dew drops in the early morning. So we use a mister to stimulate the dew
drops which they drink. We mist babies 2 times a day and juveniles once a day.
Adults only about once a week. Also making sure they have fresh greens everyday
aids in keeping them hydrated. Dragons also benefit greatly from baths in warm
water. Babies and juveniles should get a bath of warm shallow water every few days.
Adults about once a week. Also baths help with shedding and help to prevent sheds
from staying on to long.
Supplement: We dust the insects we feed 4 times a week with Rep-Cal
(Phosphorus Free) Calcium with Vit. D3 dust. We also dust with Herptivite
multivitamin supplement powder form on there greens once a week for optimal
Enclosure: We highly recommend 20 gallon bins or tanks for babies until they
reach 10 inches in length. Dragons larger then that need a minimum of 40 to 55
gallons. Keep in mind when housing more then one dragon, the more dragons the
bigger the enclosure. Also, the top should be screen covered. More to prevent
something from getting in then getting out. Although dragons are descent jumpers
most tops help with protection from other house pets.
Substrate: Bearded dragons are well known for trying to eat anything that is in
their enclosures. So we try to avoid loose substrate. Newspaper, paper towels and
shelf liner are the best options. Some people use rabbit pellets for adults but when
wet it tends to grows mold because of the warm temp.'s. Also wood chips/shavings,
walnut shells, lizard litter, gravels and marbles are all bad ideas because if your
dragon eats this(while going after bugs in their cage) there would be a very high risk
of impaction which causes death or lameness if not aggressively treated.
Landscaping: The more room your dragon has to run the better. Keeping just a
bowl of veggies and access to a vertical and horizontal basking area is all that is
needed. The more items in the cage the more stressed new babies will be and the
longer it will take them to adjust to their new environment. Over time if you wish to add
more accessories just remember not to pick anything feeder bugs can hide in or
under. That way no bugs are left in the tank with your dragon to stress them out or
nibble on them while they sleep! Also keep in mind when picking cage accessories to
consider if it is easy to sanitize when pooped on.
Lighting: Bearded dragons need UVA and UVB light rays to grow healthy bones
and absorb calcium. We use 10% or higher rated UVA/UVB fluorescent bulbs which
you can buy at many pet stores. The bulb needs to stretch the majority of the length
of the enclosure. Also the dragon has to have access to 12 inches or closer of the
UVA/UVB bulb. The UV rays in the bulb wear out after about 6 months to a year
depending on what percentage the bulb is rated. So it needs to be replaced as it
wears out even if it looks like it is still the same the coating has worn off and is no
longer supplying your dragon with the UV it needs to grow.
Temperature: Dragons need heat to digest their food so they need a basking
spot to get warm. Adults need a temperature of 95 to 100 degrees F. Babies need
up to 105 to 110 degrees F. To be sure of the temperature use a thermometer or
temp gun which you can buy at many pet stores or order online. Please never
guess, and never use heat rocks! Dragons can unknowingly jump or move quickly
onto a hot surface and burn there bellies. Heat rocks are well know for becoming
very hot in a certain area instead of heating evenly. Dragons also need a cool side
to their enclosures. Anywhere from 70 to 80 degrees F. on the cool side will help
them regulate there body temperature. All babies and juveniles should have their
lights kept on for at least 12 hours a day. Adults need a 12 to 14 hour light time in
the spring and summer and only need to have 6 hours a day of light in the fall-
winter months. Of course lights go out at night and dragons can cool down 20
degrees F. with no ill affects. Timers are the best way to be as accurate as
possible. Please do not have any lights on when your dragon is trying to sleep. A
healthy routine sleep cycle is very important for their development.