The central bearded dragon is one of the most commonly kept pet reptiles worldwide and it’s not hard to understand why. These charismatic and engaging lizards are packed full of personality. With years of selective breeding, they now display some of the most spectacular colours from fire-red to golden-yellow and even purple!
Bearded dragons are the perfect first pet reptile for any child or adult alike. However, if you are considering bringing one of these amazing animals into your life it’s important to do your research as they do have some very specific care requirements. Let’s take a look at the essentials to keep a beardie happy and healthy.
Enclosure – Your dragon will need somewhere to live and the size and type of enclosure you use is very important. A specially designed glass or timber reptile enclosure, with front opening doors makes the perfect dragon home. The enclosure should be no smaller than 90x45x60cm for a pygmy bearded dragon and 120x45x60cm for a central bearded dragon.
Heating – Like all reptiles, bearded dragons are ectotherms and rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature to maintain a good appetite and healthy immune system. A basking lamp can be used to give your beardie a nice hot basking spot (about 42 degrees Celsius) but don’t forget to provide you dragon with a thermal gradient so that it has access to cooler temperatures as well.
Lighting – Bearded dragons are sun-loving lizards that call the desert home. As well as having access to high temperatures, beardies must also be provided with ultraviolet light (UV). UVB is essential for a bearded dragon’s growth and overall health.
Natural furnishings – You must try and re-create your dragon’s natural habitat by providing them with branches for climbing and basking, plant cover for hiding and red desert sand for digging.
A varied diet – Bearded dragons are omnivores and require a varied diet in captivity. Your beardie can be fed on a wide range of live feeder insects including crickets, black soldier fly larvae, silkworms and wood cockroaches. They also love their veggies and should be fed a good selection of dark leafy greens on a regular basis.
As you can see there are some key things to consider if you are going to keep a bearded dragon as a pet. To find out more, make sure you check out the Bearded Dragon Masterclass and arm yourself with the information required to be the best dragon parent possible.
Image source: Kellyville Pets
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