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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Bearded Dragon Setup Steps

Bearded Dragon (Pogona Vitticeps)

Experience Level: Beginner

Bearded Dragon in habitat

Bearded Dragons

Did you know? A Bearded Dragon’s “beard” is actually the darker colored, spiny skin under the throat that puffs up when the dragon is excited. Also, Bearded Dragons are friendly and may “wave” their front arm to communicate.

Step 1Choosing a Terrarium

Bearded Dragons originate from the desert and require a warm, dry environment. They are best housed individually.


(A) A 40-gallon (32-36" long) or larger glass terrarium for an adult Bearded Dragon. (A smaller terrarium may be used for dragons 6" or less, but will need to be replaced as the pet grows.)

(B) Screened lid, if not included with habitat. 




Step 2Heating and Lighting

Bearded Dragons require a temperature gradient (cool side/warm side) to appropriately regulate their body temperature. Temperatures should also vary between daytime and nighttime hours.

• Equip the habitat with two (C) thermometers, (one on each side of habitat) and one (D) hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels.

• The basking spot should be the warmest point in the habitat during the day. Heat is provided by a (E) high-wattage heat bulb placed directly above the basking spot. During the evening hours, the basking light should be turned off.

• Use a ceramic heat emitter or night heat lamp as needed to maintain nighttime temperatures.

 Humidity 20-30%
Day - Cool Side 75-85% F (24-29 C)
Day - Basking Spot 100-110 F (38-49 C)
Night 65-75 F (18-24 C)


• Dragons are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day. Use a daytime (F) UVA/UVB (ultraviolet light) fluorescent bulb for about 12 hours per day.

• For night viewing, and to minimize visible light seen by your dragon, use a night-specific bulb.

Step 3Substrate and Decor

(G) Use a 3-6" (8-15 cm) layer of calcium sand or reptile carpet for adults. For Bearded Dragons under 6", use reptile carpet only.

• Clean out waste weekly and completely change bedding at least once a month.

(H) Include decor to elevate your dragon closer to the heat source for basking.

(I) Provide decor large enough for hiding on the cool side of the habitat.

• Ensure decor is large and stable enough for the size of your Bearded Dragon as they are active climbers.

• Provide branches (artificial or live) for hiding and climbing.

Bearded Dragon in terrarium

New surroundings and environments can be stressful for reptiles. Prior to handling your pet, give him 3-4 days to adjust to his new surroundings while monitoring his behavior for any signs of stress or illness. Shortly after purchase, ask a veterinarian familiar with reptiles to examine your pet.

• Runny droppings for more than two days

• Eating or drinking less; weight loss

• Swollen joints

• Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

• Shedding problems; discolored skin

• Avoidance of the basking area; more time spent hiding

If you notice any of the above signs, speak with a PetSmart store associate or reptile veterinarian with questions about the health of your pet.

Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.

The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.