Bearded Dragon – A Complete Care Guide

Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons are most commonly referred to as  “Beardies” in the pet-keeping community. A bearded dragon features an expandable flap of skin under their chin that is used to intimidate predators and is the reason for their title.

Their docile behavior makes them a perfect pet for beginners because they are easy to care for but also allow you to handle them without them making a fuss.

These semi-arboreal creatures are adept at climbing branches (a trait that can be observed while they bask in sun). 

In the daytime, they spend the warmest portion of the day below the surface burrows and are well-adapted to chilly desert nights.

These are social animals that are quite interested in their environment, which they explore with their tongues.

Their beard extends with their mood. Bearded dragons require a warm environment.

They are cold-blooded and must depend on external heat sources to maintain their body temperature, which changes depending on the temperature of their habitat.

They warm themselves by basking in the sun and can burrow beneath to avoid excessive heat and predators.

Australia prohibited the export of “wild” beard dragons in the 1960s; yet, they have been bred in the US for decades for the pet trade, and they come in a range of hues “morphs” not often found in nature.

Image credit : facts 

Background 

Dr. Glen Milton Storr” first introduced them in “1982”. Since their arrival to the US in the 1990s, bearded dragons have increased in popularity.

Scientific name: Pogona 

Family: Agamidae 

Natural Habitat of Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons may be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, coastal dunes, heathland, tropical savannahs, and deserts.

They can frequently be observed sunbathing on tree stumps, branches, fence posts, or boulders. Beardies could watch their predators, prey, and partners from here while soaking up some sunlight.

Appearance

These Lizards are known for their flat bodies covered in spiny scales. The skin of a bearded dragon is yellowish-tan.

It has a lengthy body and a tail that is more than 1⁄2 of its length. They may grow to be more than 2 feet long, along with its tail.

A bearded dragon may weigh up to 18 ounces as an adult. These dragon’s “spines” under its chin and down to its sides.

It also has ear openings on each side of its triangular head. A bearded dragon has 4 strong legs and keen claws that allow it to climb trees.

Physical Characteristic of Bearded Dragons

Their triangular head, “the flap of skin under the chin” and “flat bodies” characterize them as Bearded Dragons.

They have round pupils, unlike most reptiles. They have vertebral columns on either side of their structure that go from the head to the base of their tail. It will often be seen with a smiley face, which will signify an increase in temperature.

The course of action, in this case, would be to lower the temperature. It will often be seen with a smiley face, which will signify an increase in temperature.

The course of action, in this case, would be to lower the temperature. When threatened by a predator, they will puff up their body, the flap under the chin will also expand making the spiny scales more prominent. This technique is used to ward off predators.

Bearded Dragon Color

Bearded Dragons display a variety of colors ranging from orange to brown. The coloration depends on the type of ‘Pogona’, ‘ambiance’, ‘threat level’, and other ‘external stimuli’. Bearded Dragons are known to change their color to black when they want to soak in lots of heat. Similarly, Sandfire morphs feature a color close to red, while others are yellow.

Size and Weight of Bearded Dragons

At the age of 12 months, an adult will be completely developed. Bearded Dragons should be between 16-24 inches long and weigh between 380 & 510 grams. They should reach this length within 8-18 months of age.

This is when they achieve sexual maturity. The size may appear big to beginners but take note that out of the total length, the tail alone can be 5-6 inches long.

If it expands to be bigger than 24 inches, it is most likely an exceptional “morph” known as the “German Giant”. German giants may reach lengths of 32 inches and weights of 1,000 grams.

After 12 months, these seemed to be unhealthy if they were 16 inches in length or weighed less than 300 grams. 

Juvenile Bearded Dragon Size

The age of a juvenile is from 2-7 months.  They will grow from 8 grams to 280 grams over five months and develop 1-3 inches every month. It is crucial to receive good nourishment at this age.

Baby Bearded Dragon Size

Eggs are only Four grams and three inches long when they are hatched. Eggs can expand 1 to 1.5 inches every week throughout their first two months. During the first- two months, they will grow 5-35 grams. 

Bearded Dragon Growth Chart

Age (months)Size (inches)Weight (grams)
13 – 44 – 6
25 – 98 – 40
38 – 1122 – 110
49 – 1241 – 115
511 – 16102 – 115
611 – 18183 – 188
713 – 18230 – 280
814 – 20252 – 327
9 – 1016 – 22280 – 360
11 – 1216 – 24350 – 465
12+ 16 – 24380 – 510

There are some factors that affect the size of the bearded dragon given below:

  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Diet 
  • Housing 
  • Husbandry

Stunted Growth

When a pet is over 1 year old and still hasn’t achieved the minimal size, they have most likely experienced stunted development.

Stunted growth can be caused by many different reasons, and it might have an impact on their physical or cognitive development.

Types of Bearded Dragons

The Pogona is a genus of lizards that consists of six different species native to Australia. They are collectively known as “Bearded Dragons”. Below we will  differentiate between and list the different types of Bearded Dragons:

Pogona barbata 

Discovered by ‘Cuvier’ in ‘1829’. This Bearded Dragon is known by the name “Eastern Bearded Dragon”.

Pogona henrylawsoni

Discovered by ‘Wells & Wellington’ in ‘1985’. This Bearded Dragon is known by the names of “Rankin’s Dragon”, “Lawson’s Dragon”, “Black-Soil Bearded Dragon”, “Dumpy Dragon”, and “Dwarf Bearded Dragon”.

Pogona microlepidota

Discovered by ‘Glauert’ in ‘1952’. This Bearded Dragon is known by the names of “Kimberly Bearded Dragon” and “Drysdale River Bearded Dragon”.

Pogona minor

Discovered by ‘Sternfield’ in ‘1919’. This Bearded Dragon is known by the names of “Western Bearded Dragon” and “Dwarf Bearded Dragon”.

Pogona mitchelli

Discovered by ‘Badham’ in ‘1976’. This Bearded Dragon is known by the name “Northwest Bearded Dragon”.

Pogona nullarbor

Discovered by ‘Badham’ in ‘1976’. This Bearded Dragon is known by the name “Nullarbor Bearded Dragon”.

Pogona vitticeps

Discovered by ‘Cristov Gustav Earnest Ahl’ in ‘1926’. This Bearded Dragon is known by the name Central or Inland Bearded Dragon.

All species are common to “Australia”, however, they come from multiple parts of the Island. Their chosen environment is influenced by where they live on the island.

Bearded Dragon Species

Species        Adult Size        (Inches)ColorLocation
Pogona nullarbor14Brown/TanSouthern Australia
Pogona minor minor14-18Brown/TanWestern and Central Australia
Pogona barbata24Red/GreyEastern Australia
Pogona vitticeps24Yellow/RedCentral Australia
Pogona henrylawsoni12Yellow/TanWestern and Central Australia
Pogona minor mitchelli18Red/TanNorthwestern Australia
Pogona microlepidota4-6Red/TanNorthern Australia
Pogona minor minima12Brown/TanHoutman Abrolhos Islands

Difference Between Male and Female Bearded Dragons 

There are some differences by which we can differentiate male and female bearded dragons.

CharacteristicsMalesFemales
HeadLarger and widerSmaller
Digs holesfor hibernationto lay eggs
TailThickerSmaller and slender
TerritorialYesNo
BumpsOn each side and below of its tailOn the center and below of its tail
Beard or spikesUse for courtshipUse for self-defense

Lifespan of Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons may live for 10-15 years, or even more, so these are significantly committed, and it’s necessary to preserve them as close to nature as feasible.

Bearded Dragon Care

Image credit : azreptiles

Bearded Dragons are omnivores and opportunistic predators. They could feed on anything in the wild like insects, small lizards, spiders, worms, small rodents and flowers, greens, and fruits. 

Feeding Times

In captivity, they are quite easy to maintain. Hatchlings and juveniles will require food 2-3 times a day. It should be noted that adults feed mostly on vegetables and plants compared to hatchlings and juveniles because the latter two require all that protein for growth.

Feeding Methods

There are a few different ways to feed a bearded dragon.

  1. One of the most common ways is using a cup full of nutrients like worms and vegetables. Place that cup in the tank and let the bearded dragon feed on it. Since they are foragers, they require food to be available all the time.
  2. Remove it once you feel it has gone stale.
  3. Another method to feed them is a force-feeding method for when they are malnourished or an injury prevents them from feeding. Using a syringe filled with a puree made with worms and vegetables, try to open the mouth by pressing it from both sides near the holes (only after consultation with a vet) and slowly throw the puree using the syringe inside its throat.
  4. The forced feeding method might result in a few side effects like dissociation from the owner or not liking food anymore.

Bearded dragon Diet

The diet of a bearded dragon can consist of the following vegetables:

  • Kohlrabi
  • Okra
  • Yellow squash
  • Courgette
  • Peas
  • Butternut squash
  • Acorn squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Broccoli (small bits weekly)
  • Sweet potato
  • Cabbage
  • Parsnip
  • Ocra
  • Asparagus
  • Bell pepper
  • Green beans
  • Pak choi

Bearded Dragon Food

Protein and Worms

When it comes to proteins, they should be fed crickets and mealworms several times a week. It helps to provide them with supplements of calcium and vitamin D3.

Give them a healthy diet of worms and never have to worry about their deficiencies. Some of the worms that are safest for them to eat are:

  • Butterworms
  • Hornworms
  • Mealworms
  • Superworms
  • Phoenix worms
  • SilkWorms
  • Waxworms

Worms that are longer than the length between their eyes will get stuck in their throat, resulting in them choking.

Weeds

Bearded dragons can eat weeds including:

  • Dead nettle
  • Plantain
  • Catsear
  • Dandelion

Fruits

Fruit that your Beardie can eat is listed:

  • Papaya
  • Dates
  • Apples
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Guava
  • Raspberries
  • Plums
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Raisins
  • Watermelon
  • Apricots

Greens

Beardies can consume greens.

  • Floret mix
  • Collards
  • Clover
  • Mustard greens
  • Endive
  • Coriander
  • Dandelion greens
  • Spring greens
  • Lambs lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Turnip greens
  • Rocket
  • Watercress

Hydration

When it comes to hydration, dragon beards are picky about the depth of the water bowl, so it helps to keep it shallow so they can easily access water.

Diet Ratio

To sum it up, their diet consists of 70% proteins and 30% vegetables. It would be best to feed them at the start of the day so that they can easily metabolize their food during the warmest hours.

Feeding Bearded Dragons the Right Way

Food Size

One thing you should watch out for while feeding bearded dragons is that the food should not be too big.

As a rule of thumb, while feeding your bearded dragon worms, they should not be longer than the distance between their eyes because in that case, it has a chance to get stuck in its throat and eventually cause pressure on its spine. That can cause paralysis which can lead up to death.

Place the food in front of the bearded dragon and let it feed on it until it moves away to do something else. Juveniles might come back for round two. It is always better to remove the leftover food because it might rot and cause infections.

Handling:

You can feed them in your hand as well, just be careful not to let it bite you. It will not hurt but it might cause infection. Similarly, you should wash your hands before and after use to help against salmonella. Never hold it by its tail because it might tear off and never grow back.

What not to feed Bearded Dragons?

Keep to the food listed above and you should be alright, however, there are a few foods that Bearded Dragons cannot consume.

  • Lemon 
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Avocados
  • Insects captured in the wild
  • Rhubarb 
  • Fireflies
  • Spinach and beet tops 
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Orange

Bearded Dragon Behavior

Bearded Dragons are known to be docile and peace-loving lizards when it comes to interactions with humans, but it’s a completely different story in the wild with their fellow reptiles. 

Social Hierarchy

Bearded Dragons usually develop a social hierarchy when kept with other bearded dragons, where there is an alpha male and the others are subordinates. They will fight amongst each other to determine who the alpha is.

This behavior is also observable in pet bearded dragons, which is why it is commonly suggested not to keep more than one male bearded dragon in a terrarium.

Together they will fight for superiority but when kept alone, the bearded dragon will roam around the tank freely, bask where it wills and hide whenever it feels shy in front of its owner.

Situational Behavior

Bearded Dragons display astonishing behavior in different situations. Like when they compete over food, they will gaze at each other intensely and undergo circumduction along with bobbing their heads.

Likewise, when they feel threatened, they will puff up their bodies and chin to make their spiny scales more prominent. This is for keeping predators away.

Here we will list down and explain some of the most common behaviors displayed by Bearded Dragons:

BehaviorExplanation
DiggingWhen seeking food/preparing for hibernation, this is a fairly-typical action.
Eye BulgeThis is a typical action that aids in their shedding.
Tail TwitchingWhen hunting, this is natural, although it can be caused by metabolic-bone disease.
Hiss or StampWhen attacked or afraid, bearded dragons hiss.
Arm WavingHatchlings and juveniles usually show submissive behavior.
FluffingThey used it as a defensive strategy to defend their land
Head BobbingUsed to begin-courtship and breeding, as well a danger sign.
Black BeardWhen feeling frightened or sick, in a stressful behavior.
Glass SurfingA stress indicator that isn’t found in species in nature.
GapingIn nature, it is used to keep cool.

Brumation Period

They are also known to go through a brumation period, which includes lethargy, lack of an appetite, and sleep for anywhere between 2 weeks to 4 months. Sometimes, owners enforce this before breeding.

The tank temperature is kept at 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit for four to six weeks, after which the temperature is slowly increased over time.

Bearded Dragon Shedding

As they mature, baby and juvenile bearded dragons will often shed their skin. Before a dragon sheds, its color will grow ”dull” and its eyes will seem to be ‘puffed out’ much wider than usual.

These are all normal indications of a healthy shed. It is also advised to use a spray bottle to spray your ‘dragon’s skin’ regularly to keep it moisturized during the shedding cycle.

This is because, in nature, high humidity helps keep the skin moisturized, which speeds up shedding; however, because their tank is low in humidity, it might make shedding harder without the assistance of a spray bottle.

If you want to assist your bearded dragon in shedding by peeling off their skin, the skin should come off when it’s completely dry.

If the skin is wet or even a little moist it isn’t ready to come off, and removing it may harm their new ‘scales’.

Care level: Beginner/Easy

Conservation Status

Bearded dragons from the United States are commonly found in their natural habitat. The IUCN, the world’s top “conservation organization”, has classified them as a species of least concern. In Australia, these lizards are protected and cannot be taken from nature.

Tank Conditions for better Bearded Dragon Care

Image credit : i.pinimg 

Tank Setup for Bearded Dragon

You’ll need the following things before you can bring your dragon home:

  • Enclosure   
  • UVB light  
  • Heating element, thermometer, and hygrometer 
  • Basking rock or log  
  • Flooring
  • Some shallow dishes for water and food 
  • Live feeder insects and tweezers
  • Adequate space in your home 

Tank size

Their usual size is 40 gallons, although many-adult are too large for this size and may get stressed.

StageInchesGallons
BabyUnder 10 inches long20 gallons
Juveniles10-16 inches long40 gallons
AdultOver 16 inches long50-70 gallons
AdultOver 20 inches long75-125 gallons

Tank Material

Here are some examples of basic tanks from which to choose:

Glass:

Glass-terrariums are a great choice since they are robust, generally accessible, and usually, come with a screen cover that increases ventilation and helps manage the low-humidity dragons require.

Wood and Glass

Dragon Keepers prefer terrariums composed of wood and glass over-glass with a screen top. Because wood is a great heat-insulator, this may be a good option than a complete glass-terrarium if you keep your dragon in a cold environment or like to maintain their house temperature low.

PVC Plastic

It is quite light, and there is a range of colors to select from.

Screen

When looking for a terrarium, you may come across several with wire-screen walls.

Location at Home

Most novice Dragon Keepers may not know how critical it is to plan ahead of time where you might keep your bearded dragon.  There  are some suggestions to follow while choosing a new home for your dragon:

  • Avoid exposing your dragon to direct sunlight.
  • Should have to know how much space you’ll need ahead of time.
  • Make sure the bearded dragon’s tank is out of the approach to any other pets or little children. 
  • Ensure that you can readily approach the tank at the same time.
  • Keep loud noises away from the container.
  • Keep the tank in a light-filled area during the day and a darkened area at night.

Flooring

Choosing the proper flooring for your bearded dragon is another important aspect of providing a pleasant environment for him. There are several solutions accessible, but regrettably, not all of them are secure.

Which are the best and worst flooring options?

Substrate

 For the following reasons, most substrates are dangerous to bearded dragons.

  • They have the possibility of affecting eye and nose discomfort, and even internal harm.
  • They could also be extremely tough to keep pathogenic microbes away.
  • Live insects could readily hide in the substrate.

These are the best options as substrates for your bearded dragons:

Reptile carpet

It is an excellent choice for your dragon. Because you’ll need to remove it to clean it, it’s a good idea to have at least one additional carpet available. 

Tile

A tile is a common option among Dragon Keepers. Dark-colored ceramic and slate tile are excellent options.

Clay:

If you have time and are ready to put in a little more work to set it up, it is a great enjoyable choice for your bearded dragon.

Newspaper

Newspaper is by far the most affordable alternative for your bearded dragon. It’s an excellent choice for newborns since they need to use the bathroom frequently, and newspapers are relatively easily replaceable. 

Other substrates

Other substrates are also available for bearded dragons. These are frequently constructed of wood chips, coconut fiber, calcium powder, or some other edible ingredient.

These are the worst options as substrates for your bearded dragons:

Sand

Sand is one of the most frequent substrates used by dragon keepers. However, it is extremely hazardous to your dragon. 

Pebbles and rocks

Pebbles and rocks are also not as well. These can clog your dragon’s intestines and damage its teeth.

Sand mats

Sand mats are also not a good option. They can scrape your bearded dragon or affect or cause internal damage if your beardie ingests dislodged bits.

Setup for a Bearded Dragon Tank (Proper Lighting, Humidity, and Heating):

There are some basics you’ll need to keep your dragon happy and healthy by providing the right heat, lighting, and humidity:

Lighting for Bearded Dragon Tank

Bearded dragons enjoy UV lights, they keep them healthy (the UV lights in your tank must be replaced every 6-12 months).

You can also place a 40-75W infrared bulb, the heat of which, the bearded dragons can bask in.

The UV and infrared bulbs should be focused on the same spot to provide an ideal basking location within the tank, the warmest spot in the tank. These lights help them generate their supply of calcium and vitamin D3.

Light & Dark Hours for Bearded Dragon Tank

They also ideally require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. To mimic these conditions, the owner can utilize lighting.

  • UVB lamp

Many vets suggest “Self-ballasted mercury-vapor UVB lamps” because they release heat in addition to ‘UVB photons’. To achieve high-quality make rays and heat for your dragon, change the UVB bulb every six months.

  • Heat lamp and UVB bulb

If you aren’t utilizing a UVB lamp that emits both heat and UVB rays, you will need both a ‘heat lamp and a UVB bulb’.

  • Ceramic heat emitter 

You’ll require this if you are unable to keep your home at a temperature over 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

  • UVB exposure

Make sure your dragon gets 12 hours of “UVB ray” exposure per day if you get a self-ballasted UVB lamp or another sort.’

  • Red lights 

Bearded dragons in the wild would sleep in complete darkness, or sometimes beneath mild moonlight and starlight. Red lights and other night lights for your dragon are not quite the same.

Humidity

Creating a 30-40% humidity in the tank by misting it every 48 hours helps keep the pet happy and healthy.

It should be noted that these requirements are not generally applicable across the board, there is no one glove fits all solution. Every species of the Pogona has different requirements.

  • Hygrometer

A hygrometer is useful for measuring the humidity in your dragon’s tank.

Temperatures

Temperature Spectrum for Bearded Dragon Tank

Bearded Dragons are ectotherms, which means that they will require heat along with cool spots to lower their temperatures when they get too hot.

This means that the tank will require more than one climate for these reptiles to survive.

  • Thermometer

You’ll need a decent thermometer on hand to ensure your dragon is getting the right temps at all times of day and night and also to monitor the temperature changes and maintain a balance.

  • Daytime temperatures

Every dragon needs a basking area that is between 95 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

Other portions of the tank should be colder so that your dragon can control his or her body temperature as needed.

  • Nighttime temperatures

At nighttime, the temperature in the tank should be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, you don’t need to maintain a basking location at night.

Decor

Some Dragon Keepers like a ‘relaxed basic setting’, while others choose a more complex theme, such as ‘exotic desert’ or ‘tropical jungle.

If you’re a first-time Dragon Keeper, you might want to keep things simple at first, but that’s totally up to you.

Basking log or rock

Under the heating light, your bearded dragon will require a big surface to bask on. A log/rock would be ideal for this.

Hideaway

Your dragon needs a hide for sleep, brumation, and follows natural burrowing inclinations. There are several variations available, so you should be able to select one that complements the style of your tank.

Things to climb on

Bearded dragons enjoy climbing on anything, whether they be ‘branches’, rocks, ‘logs’, or ‘any other fixture’ that complements your design motif.  Obviously, make sure there’s still space on the ground for your dragon.

Hammock

Bearded dragons like relaxing and resting in hammocks. Your bearded dragon will like it if you place one in the corner of your tank opposite the heating bulb.

Plants

Most Dragon Keepers prefer adorning their terrariums with live or fake plants.

Live plants

Live plants can have an impact on the humidity levels in your dragon’s tank, so use your hygro-meter regularly.

Safe plants include

  • Aloe vera 
  • Herbs 
  • Turtle vine
  • Succulents
  • Prickly pear cacti 

Bearded Dragon Tank Maintenance

Keeping multiple reptiles in a tank requires you to double your cleaning routine because they will make quite a mess. An unclean environment carries the risk of spreading parasites and other diseases.

Some general tips for tank maintenance are as follows:

Spot Cleaning

Remove droppings and leftover food as and when you spot it. Three-four days to time per day.

Rough Cleaning

Wash the tank walls and floor with a vinegar and water solution. After removing the bearded dragon(s) of course. This should be done two to three times a week if two bearded dragons are kept in a tank.

Deep Cleaning

Start this by removing all the bearded dragons and furniture and use the water/vinegar solution to do a full clean-up by changing the flooring as well. This should be done two to three times a month if you intend to keep two bearded dragons.

Reptile Tank Mates for Bearded Dragon

They can be paired with similar-sized reptiles suited to similar conditions. However, it should be noted that bearded dragons are wanderers and quite territorial. They will not hesitate to assert their dominance. 

Bearded Dragon Gender Compatibility

Male with Male Bearded Dragon

Two male bearded dragons should never be kept together because they like to assert their dominance and the submissive one will not be allowed to feed. They will hiss at each other and only harm the opponent using bites and scratches. They usually do not kill.

This creates an unhealthy environment in the tank for the submissive bearded dragons and will lead them to die a premature death.

Male with Female Bearded Dragon

This can be achieved but there is no guarantee that the male will not treat the female just like it would another male bearded dragon. They will mate and produce babies but the male will still assert dominance.

It should be kept in mind that male bearded dragons are just not meant to share space without there being violence. If you want to breed them, then we would recommend keeping them in separate tanks until the time to mate arrives.

Female with Female Bearded Dragons

This is perhaps the best combination because females will only assert dominance if the other female is much smaller in size. Similar-sized female bearded dragons will get along fine with each other.

Ideal Tank Mates for Bearded Dragon

Experts will always recommend keeping bearded dragons in their solitary terrarium. However, if you want to add other reptiles to the tank, you should pick those who inhabit a habitat of similar conditions like the Australian Desert. 

Creatures from other habitats will not survive in a dry, desert-themed tank. It should be made sure that all creatures in the tank should be of the same size, otherwise they will prey upon each other.

Ideal tank mates for bearded dragons can be:

Tortoise

Tortoises will make ideal tank mates for bearded dragons because their shells will protect them from the dragons and tortoises are herbivores so they will not prey upon the dragons.

The only problem you will face will be regarding space because both reptiles require plentiful living space inside a terrarium. Other than that, make sure that the tortoise is from a similar hot and humid ecosystem, otherwise, it will not survive.

Leopard and Spurred tortoises are the best options. Some zoos are known to also house Russian tortoises with them.

Nocturnal Lizards

This should be an easy guess because bearded dragons are active during the daytime and nocturnal lizards are active during the night. So it goes without saying that their interactions will be minimal and they will be able to coexist.

It should be ensured that they are of the same size and from the same habitat because a lizard not native to the dry Australian desert will not survive in this terrarium.

Nocturnal geckos are a great choice.

Introducing a New Reptile to Bearded Dragon

Before introducing a new reptile, always ensure that it will be able to survive in environmental conditions the bearded dragon is suited to.

Afterward, take it to the vet and have it inspected for any infections or disease. This will still not guarantee safety, so as an added measure, you can quarantine the new reptile for a few weeks to see if any hidden ailments pop up.

Once the quarantine period is over, let them interact with each other outside the tank. If everything seems perfect then have the new reptile spend some time in the bearded dragon tank until it gets used to it full time.

How Does a Bearded Dragon Breed

Step 1: In the mating enclosure, put your bearded dragons:

Your dragons will likely not breed immediately, since they will require time to modify to their new environment. Making this enclosure ready for them ahead of time will make them feel more at ease. His beard will darken black when the male is ready to mate.

Step 2: Keep an eye on the courtship behavior:

Before the actual mating, your bearded dragons will show courtship behaviors. Both your male and female will begin ‘bobbing’ their heads and maybe ‘waving’ one of their arms to express their desire to be bred. As a courtship behavior, your bearded dragons may ‘twitch’ their tails.

Step 3: Analyze the mating behavior:

To breed, your male will immediately jump on your ‘female’s back’ and ‘bite her neck’; biting her neck prevents her from fleeing before the mating procedure is complete. The male will next push his cloacal area on the female’s. The entire pairing procedure is completed in a matter of minutes.

Step 4: After a week, bring your bearded dragons to their tanks:

It is advised that you keep your dragons together for roughly a week after they have mated. After a week, divide them into their enclosures until next week. Bring them together for another breeding period per week. It may have to be repeated multiple times to ensure great breeding.

After the breeding, continue providing your female vitamins. After pairing, she will be best ready to deposit her eggs if she increases her activity and stays fresh.

Step 5: Observe the orange highlights:

Your female will exhibit behavior that indicates she is willing to lay her eggs. She can start ‘pacing’ her enclosure and seeming agitated. She will also eat less and dig more feverishly in her cage. When she is doing this, gently transfer her to the lay box so she may lay her eggs.

  • You’ll also see that her tummy is bulging with eggs. The outlines of the eggs, which will resemble little marbles.
  • Typically, egg-laying begins 4-6 weeks after breeding.

Step 6: Let your female dragon lay her eggs in the lay box:

You’ll notice her excavating in the enclosure to make a home for her eggs. It might be difficult to know when she has laid her eggs, particularly if you haven’t seen her do this. Take her out from the ‘Lay box’ when her tummy seems flattened and she laid her eggs. 

  • If you believe your female has not ‘laid’ all of her eggs, get her to your veterinarian right away. She might be suffering from egg-binding, a critical medical issue that prevents her from producing eggs.
  • Females lay their eggs in the afternoon or evening hours. You should start watching her about this moment of the day to see if she appears to be willing to lay her eggs.
  • Females bearded dragons usually produce between 15–24 eggs at a time, but they might lay as few as 15/as many as 50. The term “clutch” refers to a ‘grouping of eggs’.

Step 7: Take your female bearded dragon out of the laying box

She should be returned to her cage when she has produced her eggs. Females aren’t particularly maternal. Additionally, caged female bearded dragons don’t protect their eggs.

Step 8: Place the eggs in the incubator

Lift the eggs using your hands/a spoon to do so. When transporting freshly placed eggs from the lay box to the incubator, it’s critical to be exceedingly delicate.

Maintain them in the same position as you got them in the lay-box as much as possible. To avoid mistakenly flipping the egg upside-down while putting it in the incubator, make a pencil mark on the top of the egg.

  • In the incubator, place an egg in its box. The egg should fit snugly into the thumb hole you created previously. Place the lid on the box and ensure the egg isn’t covered in vermiculite/perlite.

Step 10: Keep a temperature of 82-86 ° F in the incubator

Monitor the temperature using a digital thermometer. If the temp in the incubator becomes too high, the eggs may die within the eggs. The incubator must be kept in an environment that is lower than the temperature within the incubator; otherwise, the temperature inside the incubator would rise, endangering the embryos.

  • The humidity in the incubation should be kept at roughly 80%. Maintaining the humidity level in the incubator may be as simple as putting a basin of water inside. As needed, replenish the water supply.
  • Monitor the temperature twice a week and the humidity once a day.

Step 11: Regularly, keep an eye on the eggs

Observe the eggs closely to check if they appear damp or too dry. Because condensation on the eggs can be fatal to the babies, it is critical to ensure that the eggs are free of moisture. If the vermiculite/perlite seems to be damp, remove the cover for 24 hours to let the excessive humidity out and let the vermiculite/perlite dry.

  • The eggs may be excessively dry if they are dimpled/appear to be about to collapse. To dampen the vermiculite, use room temperature water, be careful not to make it so moist that the egg becomes wet.
  • Eggs that are healthy and viable will grow to nearly twice their original size and turn chalk white. Pink, yellow, or green eggs could not be viable.
  • Mold-covered eggs may or may not be viable. If you’re not sure what to do with the rotten eggs, see your veterinarian.
  • In roughly 60 to 70 days, the eggs will begin to hatch.

Step 12: Keep an eye out for changes in the egg’s appearance

The eggs may begin to collapse and form water droplets just before hatching. These alterations are natural and should not be mistaken for indications that the egg is infertile.

A slit in the egg’s shell is produced by a newborn bearded dragon’s egg tooth on the tip of their nose. The infant will cut a slit big enough to fit its nose and head through and will sleep with its head out for approximately a day.

Step 13: Avoid aiding the newborn bearded dragons in hatching from their eggs

Allow the babies to hatch on their own, which usually takes 24 to 36 hours. You’ll note that all of the eggs hatch within a day or two of each other.

  • Keep the newborns in the incubator for the first 24 hours of their lives to help them acclimate to their new surroundings.
  • Take out any infants that did not survive.

Step 14: Sort the baby dragons into groups based on their size

Line their enclosure with damp paper towels to keep them hydrated throughout their first two weeks. You may even spritz them softly with water until they start drinking water on their own.

In terms of nourishment, the yolk from their eggs will suffice for a few days, so you may wait until about day 3 to offer them actual food (crickets, chopped greens).

  • To house the baby dragons, you’ll need at least a 20-gallon tank. As they grow older, they will require larger tanks.
  • Make sure the babies have lots of food so they don’t start biting at each other’s toes or tails.
  • Put the larger, more dominant kids in a separate enclosure so the younger ones may eat.

Signs of A Healthy Bearded Dragon

Most of the time, they will only behave abnormally if they are unwell. However, there are a few methods to identify if a bearded dragon is healthy. 

Activeness/Energy

The first approach to determine if a bearded dragon is healthy is to observe how “active and alert” he or she is. When a healthy bearded dragon is awake, he or she will have his or her head “perked up” and will be very alert when someone comes to their tank.

Healthy Appearance

The look of a bearded dragon can also indicate its health. Watch for any “pus or unusual fluid” around their ‘eyes and mouth’. You should also check to see whether their mouth & joints are “swollen”.

Signs and symptoms that your bearded dragon is sick

  • Shaking
  • Trouble breathing, Wheezing
  • discoloration inside the mouth, Secretion from mouth
  • Severe lethargy not associated with brumation
  • Weight loss (especially rapid weight loss)
  • Eye swelling/closing eyes
  • Tailor back kinks, hanging jaw, soft bones, weak limbs
  • Blood in poop, Extremely smelly and/or runny poop
  • Long-lasting constipation
  • Bumps on skin
  • Loss of balance, head tilting,  distorted walking
  • Very bloated belly
  • “Prolapsed hemipenes” that is not-retracting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low movement/lethargy
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Trembling
  • Wheezing
  • Yellow spots on the body
  • Swollen limbs
  • Discolored stomach
  • Low appetite
  • Blackmouth/beard
  • Black/red spots
  • Very fat body
  • Not basking
  • Gaping mouth
  • Hiding and sleeping all the time
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Discharge (nose/mouth)
  • No droppings
  • Boney appearance
  • Other unusual behaviors

List of Diseases of Bearded Dragon

  • Mouth Rot/Oral Infection
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Broken Bones
  • Impaction
  • Nail Trimming
  • Parasites
  • Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
  • Mites
  • Prolapse
  • Respiratory Infection
  • Dental Disease
  • Egg Laying
  • Adenovirus
  • Brumation
  • Gout
  • Tail Rot
  • Throwing Up
  • Yolk Peritonitis
  • Cancer
  • Paralysis
  • Retained Shed
  • Diarrhea
  • Yellow Fungus
  • Upper Respiratory Infection

Common Diseases in Bearded Dragon

The best way to keep them healthy is consistency and stable care. Bearded Dragons are resilient reptiles but still, improper care and neglect can lead to the following illnesses:

Metabolic Bone Disease

This is a collection of illnesses that impact their bones. It is the result of a calcium deficiency, malnutrition, or improper lighting.

Symptoms of Metabolic Bone Disease include bumps in the leg, twitches or tremors, bumps along the spine and tail, a swollen bottom jaw, and jerky movements.

Hypocalcemia

Tied to Metabolic Bone Disease. This occurs, due to low levels of calcium in the blood. Commonly seen in young juvenile bearded dragons, they will display symptoms like twitching muscles or seizures.

A diet rich in calcium can help prevent both Metabolic Bone Disease and Hypocalcemia.

Impaction

This occurs when they bite on more than they can chew. When they eat food that is too long or too wide, it can get stuck in their throat that can put pressure on their spine, eventually leading to paralysis and later death.

Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

Respiratory infection in bearded dragons is caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs. Incorrect lighting, temperature, excessive humidity, extended psychological stress, and inadequate captive circumstances are some of the causes.

Almost every Bearded Dragon suffers this once in its lifetime.

Adenovirus(ADV)

A viral disease that can spread via physical contact. Juvenile bearded dragons that contract it can die within 90 days. ADV positive adults live longer but they eventually suffer liver diseases. ADV weakens the immune system. This leads to parasitic infections in the intestines. 

Symptoms include stunted growth and slow weight gain.

Conclusion

We hope this article helped answer all your curious queries regarding these fantastical little reptiles. They are easy to care for as long as you do not neglect their basic needs and take care of cleanliness to prevent disease.

We would still advise keeping a single Bearded Dragon in a tank because why complicate things when you can enjoy it in all its glory in a solitary tank. Frankly speaking, Bearded Dragons enjoy being alone.

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