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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon

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Traits & behavior

Omnivores
They eat mostly live insects like crickets and also some vegetables.

Beard
They have spiny skin under their throats that when "puffed up," looks like a beard.

Gentle
Bearded dragons are gentle by nature and will learn to enjoy interacting with their Pet Parents.
 

Things to remember

Supervision
Always supervise children when they're interacting with your bearded dragon.
 

Handling
Give your pet 3-4 days to adjust to his new surroundings, then try holding him for short amounts of time. Take care to never handle him by the tail - it could break off.

Environment
Bearded dragons originally come from the desert and need a warm, dry environment.

Food safety

  • Insects - Remove uneaten insects from the habitat at the end of the day; do not allow to remain in habitat overnight
  • Vegetables - Fresh foods require their own dish and should be removed from the habitat after four hours to prevent spoilage

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.
 

Nutrition

Crickets & worms
Bearded dragons eat live insects, like "gut loaded" crickets (feed the insects a special supplement so they have extra nutrients), mealworms or waxworms.

Feeding amount & frequency (insects)
Feed juveniles once a day; adults daily or every other day. Offer an amount that can be consumed by the end of the day.

Vegetables
Veggies should be 25% of a juvenile's diet; 50% for adults. Choose kale, collard and mustard greens, zucchini and shredded carrots.

Calcium dust
"Dust" the insects with a calcium supplement twice a week -- ask an associate for details.

Water
They will drink from a shallow dish and lick moisture from their skin; mist your pet every other day.

Health

Signs of a healthy bearded dragon:

  • Clear, alert eyes
  • Muscular tail
  • Sheds regularly during growth
  • Eats and drinks normally
  • Breathes easily
  • Well-formed droppings every 2-3 days

Things to watch for:

  • Runny droppings or red streaks in 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

If you notice any of the signs above, please consult an experienced Reptile Veterinarian as soon as possible.
 

Habitat

Housing
Use a well-ventilated, 40-gallon or larger, glass terrarium.

Hiding & basking
Include a basking area close to the heat source. Also add a wood or rock hiding place in the cool area of the home.

Humidity

Keep the humidity level in the habitat between 20-30%. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) will help you keep track.

Temperatures

  • Day - Maintain a daytime temperature between 75-85° F
  • Basking - Use a basking spot lamp to create a basking area of 100-120° F
  • Night - Maintain a nighttime temperature between 65-75° F (use a ceramic heat emitter if necessary)
  • Place a thermometer at each end of the home to monitor temperatures

Lighting
Use a daytime UVA/UVB fluorescent bulb for approximately 12 hours of light per day to help your bearded dragon process calcium.

Bedding
Line a juvenile's (less than 6" long) home with newspaper or reptile carpet; use a 3"-6" layer of calcium sand for adults. Clean out waste weekly and change bedding at least once a month.

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