Bearded Dragons are generally low maintenance, and omnivores. After getting to know them it can become clear they do indeed have different characters. Some can be feisty, others mellow, reclusive, cunning…the list goes on. There are some basic things to remember when adopting, or purchasing bearded dragons.
1) Heat and UV Light are important. The temperatures in their environment should be hot during the day 80+ degrees and warm at night 65+ degrees; and light should be constant during the daylight hours. Specialized UV lights and direct summer sun are both considered necessary. If a bearded dragon opens its mouth for a long period of time it is actually hot! it does this to cool off. You may want to shut the lamp off or put the beardie in shade if you see them doing this.
2) Food is a charm with these lizards. When they’re babies, they need lots of protein, crickets and more crickets. As they get older they should be fed vegetables in increasing amounts until crickets are grasshoppers are fed occasionally. If they are not feeling well, syringes full of baby food can be fed to them. Bearded Dragons derive much if not all of their water from the vegetables they eat, to illustrate think of the natural desert habitat of these reptiles and ponder the availability of water in such a climate.
3) Substrate or flooring can be aspen or peat moss, cedar shavings are poisonous to them. This substrate should be changed between 1-3 months depending on the smell!
4) Rabbit cages support terrarium lights well as well as terrariums/fish tanks. A minimum of approximately 4 square feet per dragon is desirable.
Other important tips include keeping siblings and males apart. The males are territorial and siblings can chew each other’s tails off once they pass 6 months of age. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but Bearded Dragons are really quite friendly and are easily picked up and handled if done correctly. They will rarely bite and will let you know when they are upset by turning their beards black and puffing them out.
These animals breed in the spring and can store sperm for a considerable period after that. It is imperative that when nesting a 1.5-2 feet deep soil or suitable laying material be left in the cage. The females will start scratching and attempt to leave their cage when pregnant. If you’re still not sure feel under there bellies and small round lumps will be detectable. Also, if there is a male in the cage or has been one in the cage in the last 6 months to a year, egg laying may be a likely possiblity. If the lizard is less than 4 the eggs should be healthy and incubated at a constant temperature of between 80-85 degrees faranheit. A bed of soil with a thermometer is sufficient so long as the temperature can be maintained. Eggs produced from Beardies over 4 may be deficient in one way or another and create abnormalities if hatched.
Disclaimer: The ideas and suggestions in this article are not necessarily accurate and are comprised of a cognitive assessment of the conditions required by bearded dragons based on the author’s experience and prior knowledge.