Bearded Dragon Basics for New Owners
Getting your first reptile pet can be daunting. You probably have questions. What’s the right pet for me? What kind of enclosure and accessories do I need to have for them? How do I take care of my pet?
Zen Habitats spoke with Tricia Koczor, one of our gurus and creator of Reptilian Garden on YouTube, about Bearded Dragons and what you need to know so your pet can be happy and healthy!
What are the first things someone needs to know before getting a Bearded Dragon
Tricia: “Before considering a Bearded Dragon, you should do plenty of research to make sure it would be a good fit for you. They can get over a foot long or more and do require a bit of space. They also live 10-15 years and can be a big commitment, but they’re absolutely worth it!”
What is the best enclosure size for them?
Tricia: “Bearded Dragons should have a 4’x2’x2’ enclosure as a standard and spacious minimum.
Babies can be upgraded early too and will enjoy the space so long as enrichment is utilized. It is important to know that beardies are solitary animals and should always be housed alone. They can be very territorial, and cohabitation can lead to unnecessary stress, injury, or even death.”
(As an example, check out the4’x’2’x2’ Zen Habitats enclosure)
What kind of lighting and accessories should they have?
Tricia: “The basic for any Bearded Dragon enclosure are a 100–150-watt heat bulb and 10.0 t5 UVB.”
They should also have accessories to mimic their natural environment:
- Different types of wood - “Wood provides basking areas for beardies and can allow them to thermoregulate as needed, take shade, and allow them the enrichment of different textures and climbing activities in the enclosure.”
- Plants – “They like plants. Live plants should be nontoxic and contain no pesticides or chemicals. Fake plants can be used too, just make sure they are durable and not something your beardie can eat!”
What else do they need for stimulation?
Tricia: “Mental stimulation to keep your beardie in captivity is very important. This is where enrichment comes in!”
Activities they enjoy include:
- Different climbing activities - This is a natural way to get their minds working and keep them busy by allowing them to hunt insects.
- Handling sessions – Handling your beardie can be a form of enrichment. Observing new things in a safe atmosphere will keep any beardie from being bored.
Hanging out- Most beardies enjoy hanging out with their
person, most often sitting on the shoulder.
What should they eat to be happy and healthy?
Tricia: “Beardies are happiest and healthiest when they have food full of variety with proper supplementation. It is important to know that baby Bearded Dragons have different dietary needs than adults.
Baby diet versus adult diet:
- Babies – They should be fed mostly protein in insects since they need it to grow. Babies should be fed around 80% healthy insects and 20% greens and veggies.
- Adults – They need to eat more greens and veggies than insects. Adults should have 80% greens and veggies and 20% insects.”
(For more information watchTricia’s video on Bearded Dragon diets)
Do beardies have common personality traits?
Tricia: “Bearded Dragons are by far one of the most interesting and entertaining reptiles you could own. One of their funniest behaviors is head bobbing to call territory or waving to show they are not a threat. They also tend to window surf right before they have to poop!”
Check out Tricia’s YouTube channel for more on reptiles!
Zen Habitats offers a variety ofenclosures andaccessories to suit your Bearded Dragon. We would love to help you select the right enclosure setup for you and your pet! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (978) 763-3035.