Bearded dragons have become increasingly popular as pets among reptile enthusiasts all over the globe. Most of the available care information is focused on adult Bearded Dragons. It is crucial to provide a comprehensive guide for “How do you take care of a newly hatched bearded dragon” because hatchlings require significantly more care and maintenance. Raising a healthy baby bearded dragon is simple as long as its fundamental requirements are addressed. With some research and planning, you could keep your lizard’s life as stress-free and healthy as possible, and it will be a rewarding experience.
Before Hatching Preparation:
You’ll need everything to keep and care for the hatchlings before they hatch. Cages for them are the first thing you require. Most breeders believe it is difficult for each hatchling to get its enclosure because bearded dragons have such large and several clutches. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep them in groups of no more than three to five.
Each group must be housed in a 20-gallon (30x12x12) enclosure. Glass containers are available, but Rubbermaid ones are more affordable and just as useful. If you use Rubbermaid cages, use opaque rather than clear ones. In cages that are opaque, hatchlings tend to feel more at ease. You’ll also require several additional cages to separate those fighting or not doing well (the victim and the instigator must be kept separately from them in aggression cases).
Each cage will require its substrate. Some breeders disagree that a Rubbermaid needs a substrate. However, the plastic bottom significantly sharpens the claws. Each cage will require a basking light, a heat lamp, and climbing equipment. If you install a long fluorescent UVB appropriately, it may stretch over one enclosure.
The amount of food young bearded dragons require is huge. Plan a bulk purchase place or start your feeder colony. You’ll also have a plan for selling the hatchlings. Whether you go to a pet store, the classifieds on reptile forums, online, in generic newspapers, at reptile expos, or if you want to create your own breeding company, you must be prepared. The hatchlings must be kept with you until they become 6 inches long or turn 6 weeks old.
Predicting when the eggs will hatch as incubation ends might be challenging. A few indications can tell you when hatching is likely to occur, but it’s sometimes difficult to predict when it will occur. Bearded dragon’s eggs normally hatch 60 to 75 days after being laid when incubated in temperatures between the low and mid-80s F. As they reach the two-month mark, you must have often begun inspecting the incubator once every day or every other day.
You can observe that the eggs start to dimple as they move closer to hatching. This will also occur if your egg substrate doesn’t have adequate moisture. Although, if you are sure that it is wet enough and you see dimples, it could be time for your eggs to hatch. Condensation on the eggs is the same. This frequently indicates excessive moisture, but it might also mean that new hatchlings will arrive the next day.
The First Week:
Opening the incubator reveals hatchlings where there were previously eggs. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to watch them hatch. It might take a few hours to a few days for an egg to hatch. It’s better to avoid assisting the hatchlings with their exit from the eggs.
The hatchlings will emerge exhausted, motionless, and lethargic. They occasionally will also pretend to be dead. Please keep them in the incubator until they begin to move around frequently and become active. It should not take long to do that. They aren’t helpless as babies like humans. They can move around, smell, see, and have other senses soon after hatching. Put them in one of the cages after they are active and moving around.
Some hatchlings are still attached to their egg-sacs when they are born. Please do not take them out, as the hatchlings get nourishment from this egg sac. When it comes time to relocate the Bearded Dragon into its cage, and it’s still attached, ensure the substrate is moist paper towels and watch out that they don’t dry out. If the substrate becomes too dry, the egg sac may become stuck and peel off. That is not good.
Several hatchlings have absorbed the egg sac before they hatch. There is no issue with this. Due to the lack of an egg sac, the substrate on which these hatchlings are placed might be dry.
When they become active, some beardies eat straight out of the egg. Although, for the first several days, most won’t eat. Both options are acceptable. The hatchlings shouldn’t be handled too much during the first week. You should only handle them if it’s necessary for their care. Being handled while they are so young and quite fragile is stressful for them. After two weeks of age, handling and socializing are appropriate – even necessary. Till then, it’s recommended to limit the handling to a minimum.
When the hatchlings begin to eat, they consume a lot. They can be fed multiple times every day and typically consume 25-50 ( averaging 30 to 100) of these insects daily. Additionally, fresh greens should be available in their enclosure at all times. When they are newborns, give them 75%-80% insects and 20%-25% greens; when they are adults, feed them 25% insects and 75% greens. Fruit should only comprise 10% of those greens and only as a special treat.
Crickets, silkworms, phoenix worms, and small roaches are all food for hatchlings. The biggest size of the crickets should be 1/4 inch. Roaches must always be no bigger than a bearded dragon’s eye distance. Phoenix worms and silkworms both have to be small. You should provide a variety of feeder insects if at all possible. This is because of two reasons. Firstly, it is the healthiest choice for hatchlings. And secondly, if this is done, it’ll be much simpler for the prospective purchaser. Moreover, feeding hatchlings in feeder bins outside of their cages is significantly easier. This makes it easier to keep track of how much each hatchling consumes and eliminates cage competition.
Greens must be supplied from the very beginning. For the first few weeks, the hatchlings are most likely not to touch them, but if the greens are available from the start, they will be significantly more likely to consume them later on. In this manner, they may get started on them right away. Put collard greens in a food dish and refill them every day. They can be either very finely chopped or cut into thin strips. More variety may be added if they’ve been consuming the collard greens for some time. Because of their digestive systems, hatchlings won’t even try to eat greens.
Like several other animals that consume a lot of greens and vegetables, bearded dragons use fermentation to break down their food. However, a specific bacterium is needed for this. Animals like mammals may acquire this bacterium through breast milk, but bearded dragons cannot. They, therefore, obtain it from the crickets they consume and occasionally by eating their poop. This progressively increases the bacteria, ultimately enabling them to digest vegetables and greens.
Like greens, pellets are more likely to be accepted if they are offered from the start.
They require a meal with multivitamin supplements five times per week and calcium supplementation once daily. Vitamin D3 is necessary for the proper uptake and utilization of calcium.
Dehydration is the main cause of hatchling death. They require daily misting and bathing, which must be properly monitored. The water bowls are not recommended because hatchlings can drown quite easily. They require water, and ongoing mild dehydration negatively affects their health.
First and foremost, don’t cohabitate with bearded dragons of any age. Or some enthusiasts say cohabitate 3 to 5 hatchlings of the same size together. Although babies are less likely to be hostile towards one another than two adult male bearded dragons, it is still not a wise idea. Keep mature males and females together for mating, then separate them immediately. The bearded dragon is a solitary creature. However, they are friendly companions that like human interaction. Some Bearded Dragons are not. As they grow, they get more territorial and are more likely to attack their smaller tank mates.
Young Bearded Dragons, on the other hand, tend to bite off their tank mates’ limbs, toes, and tails. These are referred to as “tail nips” and “toe nips”, although they are far minor nips. They are just mutilations. They are frequent in conditions when excessive hatchlings are in a cage, where there is a substantial size difference between them. There is one very dominant hatchling, occasionally from simple territorial tendencies and violence.
How to Minimize The Risk of Hatchling Aggression:
The breeder can take a few steps to reduce the risks, though.
- First, make sure there are always vegetables in the enclosure and that you do not stint on the food.
- Make sure there are no more than five hatchlings per cage.
- Do not group hatchlings of various sizes together, and inspect the size of hatchlings often.
- Watch the activity of the hatchlings very carefully.
- Keep an eye out for those who are eating less and are thinner.
- Look for dominance symptoms and separate if you see any excessive or persistent signs.
- In a separate area, feed the hatchlings their insects.
- Ensure the cages include climbing equipment.
- Take the injured animal to the vet if there’re any injuries. Avoid attempting to self-medicate. Additionally, provide separate cages for the aggressor and the victim. Never again cohabitate either animal with others. Regardless of how long it has been, both the victim and the aggressor have trouble getting along with other Bearded Dragons. There are always problems.
Note: Keep the hatchlings apart from the parents. They’ll be treated like food by their parents. There is only hunger and violence; there is no maternal or paternal extinction.
The enclosure you are building up has to accommodate at least 20 gallons, even for the hatchling bearded dragons. Although, keep in mind that if you begin with an enclosure this small, you’ll need to improve your setup shortly.
If you choose to build one, your lizard cage must be at least 48″ long. But by the time your bearded dragon is six months old, enclosures of this size will have to be upgraded. If you skip the upgrading phase and invest in an adult-sized cage from the beginning, there is no damage.
Although some experts recommend keeping adult bearded dragons in 75 gallons enclosures, others believe this is very small. Therefore, a 120-gallon (48″x24″x24″) tank is an ideal size for adults. In regards to layout, length is far more crucial than width. Therefore, a long cage is preferable over a tall one! Enclosure size in relation to age:
|Age (in months)||Minimum size of the tank (in gallons)|
|Three to Six||50|
|Seven to Nine||75|
Although Baby Bearded Dragons are normally born into habitats that may be very challenging in terms of both livability and survival, the beauty of domestically raising a baby bearded dragon is you could eliminate a significant proportion of the risks they might otherwise encounter in the wild daily.
Using indigestible substrates like sand or soil can be dangerous to your lizard and possibly cause its death. Particularly sand, which is well known for replicating the effects of the desert, might result in impaction. When your bearded dragon eats food, particularly when hunting prey, there is always the risk of getting a mouthful of sand.
To reduce the risk of unwanted materials being digested, consider using paper towels, newspapers, reptile carpets, or anything similar. The best substrates for bearded dragons are listed below. Some people even utilize torn-up old towels, but the objective is to find something that is either difficult to digest or can be eaten accidentally.
A temperature gradient is necessary for baby bearded dragons. This enables them to come and go from the basking area as they like. Baby bearded dragons are considerably more delicate than their adult counterparts. A newborn to five-month-old bearded dragon’s habitat should maintain an ambient temperature of at least 80°F to 85°F (29°C to 26°C). A basking area should be between 95°F to 110°F (35°C to 43°C) in temperature.
Keep warmer nighttime temperatures as well, preferably about 85 degrees. You could start reducing temperatures as you see suitable growth after a month. Adding a ceramic heat emitter is possible if the temperature falls below 65°F. It is recommended to purchase two high-quality thermometers, one for each side of the enclosure to measure the temperature accurately. At this age, it’s crucial to maintain correct temperatures because even a short period in unfavourable temperatures can be lethal for baby dragons.
Never use heat rocks or mats, strictly those without thermostats. The heat from underneath is a common source of burns because bearded dragons can’t feel it well enough to move away if it becomes too warm.
To digest their food, bearded dragons require light. They get the disorder known as MBD if they don’t receive enough UVA and UVB light. Bearded dragons require twelve hours of light daily. The same is true for hatchling bearded dragons.
One UVA and one UVB-generating bulb pair must be installed in your baby beardies’ habitat:
- The best time to have a UVB bulb on is from 7 AM to 7 PM for the whole 12 hours every day. It is recommended to use an automatic timer that will automatically switch the lights on and off to complete this task more quickly and effectively.
- It is recommended to utilize a 50 to 70-watt bulb put within a dome light fixture for UVA. Additionally, this light has to be on 24 hours a day. You may hang it within the tank or set it on top of the screen cover.
Note: Ensure the UVB bulb you purchase is tube-shaped, not coil-shaped. Your bearded dragon can adequately bask in the UVB light if the UVA bulb is dome-shaped. To help produce vitamin D3 for bone growth, the UVB bulb must be placed within 6 to 10 inches of the basking region. The UVB will not reach the dragon if this bulb is too distant from the place where it will be basking, although bearded dragons may be effectively raised without UVB-producing lights.
Mercury vapour bulbs or fluorescent tube UVB is best as a UVB heat source. Because they have a stronger impact, longer lifespans, and cover a larger area in the tank. Because of its poor UVB production and financial inefficiency, coil UVB is a bad option. Both types, referred to as 10.0 OR 12% to 14% UVB are good options.
You need to keep a suitable humidity level closer to that of adult bearded dragons. Most dragons will generally be able to tolerate a normal house’s humidity with the right temperature maintenance, but if you live in a more tropical area, you might want to check at ways to reduce humidity.
The ideal humidity range for baby bearded dragons is 35%–40%. A baby bearded dragon can dry up when there isn’t enough humidity. However, too much humidity can infect the lungs and respiratory systems. This is because regions that are excessively humid and dingy, like a bearded dragon habitat, have higher levels of fungi and bacteria.
Thermometers, Thermostats, and Hygrometers:
There are differences between thermometers and thermostats. Thermostats control the heat source’s temperature, whereas the temperature is measured using thermometers. Both are required. To control the temperature in the cage, all heat sources must have thermostats; if you don’t, your bearded dragon may burn. Hygrometers measure the tank’s humidity, which must be kept between 35 to 40%, as mentioned above.
Opportunities for climbing, digging, and a large enclosure to explore may provide entertainment. Branches, driftwood, and items like hang mats all make for great climbing opportunities! As branches are simple to climb and the wood retains heat well, most individuals use them as their tallest basking place. Hang mats are excellent for enrichment but poor choices for basking because they hardly retain any heat.
Start by gently rubbing the baby’s top of the head and back. Keep one finger beneath the baby’s chin while picking it up. It will maintain its grip on the finger. Lift the bearded dragon gently and carefully, letting the tail rest on your forearm. Squeeze or hold the bearded dragon loosely if it attempts to escape or starts moving about. If you don’t do this, they can swing around violently to find their balance or react in fear, which might cause you to get cut badly.
Keep handling to a minimum until they are 2-weeks old. Following that, socialization is essential for a Bearded Dragon to develop friendly behaviour toward its owners. Handling hatchlings require quickness and dexterity. They regularly perform difficult or dangerous jumps while running about crazily. Although they don’t have a strong depth perception, bearded dragon hatchlings mistakenly believe they do. Keep proximity to the ground to prevent them from hurting themselves when they jump.
It’s also preferable to avoid trying to make them remain still. Let them go around as often as they want instead. An excellent trick is to hold them in one hand, then lay your other hand next to it in the direction they are going, then lay your other hand in front of that, and so on.
Care for a baby bearded dragon starts when it is still in the egg. For beginners, taking care of a bearded dragon hatchling or baby is easy. Now that you know what is expected of you in regards to providing a habitat where your pet lizard can survive and flourish, you should also have a better idea in terms of the best habitat products, features, and food varieties to provide your lizard with the best resources for staying healthy and active. We hope that now that you’ve read everything there is to learn about “How do you take care of a newly hatched bearded dragon” and know which habits will guarantee that your pet’s health and development get off to a good start, You feel a bit more equipped to handle the difficulties and responsibilities that come with keeping one of these adorable little lizards.
Frequently Asked Questions:
No, although you can technically begin your baby in a full-sized enclosure, the young reptiles are less stressed in smaller tanks. They tend to get to their food quicker when they do not have to run across the area, and temperature is much simpler to maintain under the stricter parameters required.
Small feeder insects, like crickets, should be fed to hatchlings and juvenile bearded dragons over two or three times daily. You do not require a lot of crickets because they have a tendency to overrun the enclosure and bite.
Baby bearded dragons may consume anywhere between 25 and 80 insects in a day, to give you an idea of the range. They will require fewer crickets as they become bigger and eventually switch to a diet higher in greens.