Guide to Owning a Bearded Dragon


Jayleen C., Staff Writer

      Unlike a dog, bearded dragons don’t cry at night or bark at the mailman. But just like a dog owner, bearded dragon owners must know much important information about their lizard before buying.

      Before adopting a beardie, you must check if they are healthy. If the baby bearded dragon looks lethargic, has mucus in its mouth, black and/or red dots in the skin folds and limbs, or a thin tail, the lizard is definitely sick and/or infected. On the contrary, a healthy bearded dragon would have its body and head raised, is sitting and walking comfortably, has a round plump belly, and is placed in a clean tank. You should not adopt a baby that is less than six weeks old or less than six to eight inches long. 

      Once you take your baby or adult bearded dragon home, you’ll need to provide a safe and suitable environment for them. A tank of at least 55 gallons is ideal. Beardies can feel unsafe and too open to the unfamiliar if their tank is clear on all sides, so there should be background on three out of the four sides of the tank. Its hide box should be faced away from the clear side. Reptile carpet is ideal, and desert plants can be added to create a biome-like environment. It is extremely important for a bearded dragon to bask in the light! Therefore a basking perch with a full-spectrum specialized basking bulb is a must in its tank. The humidity should stay at 30-40%.

      Bearded dragons have strict diets. Live gut-loaded bugs are best! Gut-loaded crickets can be served as a staple food to babies. Hornworms, Dubia roaches, mealworms, super worms are great for mature bearded dragons. Avoid feeding mealworms and super worms to younger beardies. Dandelion greens, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens should also be served. Calcium should be lightly sprinkled on the food 2-3 per week. Remember to never serve your bearded dragon lettuce, fireflies, avocado, beet tops, spinach, or citric fruit. These foods will make your bearded dragon awfully sick.

      Further research is highly recommended if you are interested in adopting a beardie. This is just a brief overview of what it takes to care for a bearded dragon.