Care Sheet
All content, including image and text, on this site is property of
www.CalicoDragons.com and may not be used without permission.
       Copyright 2004-201
6 www.CalicoDragons.com
Profile: Bearded Dragons originate in the wood and scrub land areas of Australia
and are day time lizards. Most love to be handled and are very good pets for first time
reptile owners. They can reach 23 inches in length but most average 15-20 inches at
maturity which is about 1 to 1 1/2 years. The average life span is 5 years but they
can reach 10 years or more in good captive conditions.
Feeding: Bearded Dragons such be fed insects and greens daily. Crickets,
silkworms, and roaches and the feeder insects we mainly use. Crickets, silkworms,
and roaches are great 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.
Silkworms tend to be more expensive and are a bit harder to care for but do have the
highest nutritional value of the 3 bugs we use. They are also easier to feed 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 or superworms very often because they are harder for the dragon to
digest. They have a hard exoskeleton made of chitin. Super worms are very
carnivorous thus tend to carry more parasites internally and are very high in
phosphorus.  We offer crickets, silkworms or roaches 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 have free standing water sources and
most inhabit very dry areas. Therefore, we do not give free standing water bowls.
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 which is
bad for the dragon's skin. We feel very strongly against water bowls because of the
high humidity levels they cause which can lead to respiratory infections in babies and
some juvies.
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
growth.
Enclosure: We highly recommend 15 to 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
there enclosures. So we try to avoid loose substrate. Newspaper, paper towels,
shelf liner and dust free fine grade sand are the best options. Some people use
rabbit pellets for adults but when wet it tends to grows mold because of the warm
temp. Also wood chips/shavings, walnut shells, lizard litter, gravels and marbles are
all bad ideas because if your dragon eats them(which could eventually happen)
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!
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 does need to be replaced as
it wears out even if it looks like it is still the same the coating has warn 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 n
ever
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 there 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 to 14 hour 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 to
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.