The posture of a bearded dragon is not witchcraft. Nevertheless, you should know a few points about the little lizard. In addition, you need some experience in terms of terrarium and technology. On the whole, that was it already.
However, in this guide we go into detail on all aspects. Therefore you will find a lot of information about the behavior, food, hibernation, breeding and treatment of diseases below.
General information about keeping bearded dragons:
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Who would like to acquire a bearded dragon, should make a few thoughts before the acquisition. So bearded dragons become quite tame, but these are not cuddly animals. If this aspect is important, guinea pigs, dogs and cats are the better choice.
In addition, you need some equipment and the animals cause quite a few euros in monthly costs for food, technology and electricity. In addition, bearded dragons in the terrarium over 10 years old. So you commit yourself to the animal for more than a decade.
In addition, these are solitary animals. Although the group attitude comes more and more in fashion, but is not recommended for beginners. For this simply a little more experience is required. Therefore we always advise beginners to keep a single animal.
What many also forget is the health care. There should be a reptile knowledgeable veterinarian nearby. Also a vacation or sickness replacement should be available. But not everyone is suitable for this. Finally, not every person is fond of the sight of the dinosaurs.
Necessary equipment for keeping bearded dragons:
If you want to keep reptiles, you have to buy some equipment. This is how you need a terrarium including furnishings, decoration and technology. Especially the last point is often underestimated. With the purchase of a naked terrarium it is not done by far.
Terrarium – The small 1×1:
The foundation for keeping bearded dragons is of course laid with the terrarium. Here, it depends mainly strongly on the size and the material installed. But also the furnishing, decoration and the whole technique are important aspects. More about this in the following.
You can use a very simple rule of thumb for this. One multiplies the head-torso-length of the bearded dragon with different factors. For the length the number 5 is used. If one would like to calculate the width, one takes however the factor 4. For the height you then fall back on the 3.
If you want to keep a single common bearded dragon, you need a terrarium with the dimensions 125 × 100 × 74 cm (LxWxH). However, the standard size 150 × 100 × 80 cm is more recommendable. You can get them in almost every pet shop or online.
In principle, however, the following applies: the bigger, the better! After all, the animal is still growing. In addition, the animals have a certain urge to move and their territory in the wild is much larger. Since the animals also like to climb, the bearded dragon terrarium may also be higher.
If you want to keep a group of bearded dragons, you have to add about 15% to the floor space per animal. But it can be a little bit more than that. Finally, the calculated dimensions are only the minimum requirements. In addition, a species-appropriate bearded dragon keeping several animals in our opinion requires a larger terrarium.
The right material:
What material the terrarium is made of does not matter too much. The selection is relatively large. But as a beginner you should concentrate on glass or wood. Whereby the latter material is the classic par excellence.
Cheap kits and prefabricated buildings you can get here for little money. In addition, wooden terrariums can be better individualized and the insulating effect is better. One saves thus a quantity.
Glass terrariums, on the other hand, are longer lasting, visually more appealing and also easier to clean. Besides wood and glass, there is a third material that is becoming increasingly popular. The speech is from Forex.
It combines all the advantages of wood and is lighter and much more resistant to moisture. Unfortunately, there are no ready-made terrariums made of Forex offered on the market. So you have to become active yourself. Therefore, the material is only suitable for do-it-yourselfers who want a particularly fancy terrarium for the later bearded dragon keeping.
Furnishing – It depends on it:
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If one has bought the bearded dragon terrarium, one must still deal with the whole mechanism. And here there is quite a lot of items. What they are and what you have to pay attention to, we tell you in the following.
So you need a nice back wall. Here you have the choice between a photo back wall or a real structure back wall. The first one is clearly made for beginners and price-conscious people.
But we always advise the structure back wall. This is simply loved by the bearded dragons. After all, they can climb along it or make themselves comfortable on the resting areas. So this is an absolute must for keeping bearded dragons.
Climbing and hiding places:
In the terrarium you should also provide for a few decorative items. On the one hand the terrarium looks more interesting, on the other hand the bearded dragons can choose between even more climbing and hiding places.
Stones and roots are often used for keeping bearded dragons. But also caves and other objects offer themselves. Just make sure you build collapse-proof shelters.
Plants for keeping bearded dragons:
Many consider plants in the terrarium rather as decoration. However, we believe they are far more than that. Finally one would like to ensure a species-appropriate bearded dragon keeping. This is where plants come into play. They provide the final touch.
Since the bearded dragons like to eat them, beginners can also use ready-made plants. But these are not nibbled by the animals. Do not worry. If you want to start with real plants, you should choose tillandsias. These are easy to maintain and therefore beginner-friendly.
An important part of the terrarium in the bearded dragon keeping is the substrate. As a beginner, you can easily buy a ready-made mixture here. This also ensures that the ground is ideal for digging caves and hiding places.
However, the terrarium sand is relatively expensive and can certainly be made yourself. We recommend a mixture of 1/6 clay and 1/5 sand. After filling in the substrate, it must still be moistened.
A little firmly press also does not hurt. From time to time you need to moisten your own mixture or the ready again a little, should it become dusty.
Technique – You need to know:
This is probably the most complicated part of the bearded dragon keeping. At this point we want to be relatively brief. About the technique we have written here clearly more. As a beginner, you can namely quickly panic at this point. But it does not have to come so far.
At the beginning you should have a short look at the measuring technique. So it needs instruments to check the temperature and also humidity. In principle, you can fall back on a cheap thermometer as well as hygrometer.
For the sake of simplicity, a combination device will do as well. These have more probes and a convenient digital display. But they are not really necessary for the beginning of course. The cheap single devices are sufficient.
Here you need 2 types of lamps. There are once the UV light sources. These provide the necessary UV radiation and thus for the sufficient formation of vitamin D3 in the animals. How to prevent soft bones in bearded dragon husbandry.
Furthermore you need a heat lamp. As the name suggests, this part of the lighting equipment takes care of heating the terrarium. Often combined heat and UV lamps are used. We also recommend such a form of lighting.
Last but not least, strong background lighting should be provided. This provides sufficient light and thus fidele and active bearded dragons. In recent years T5 fluorescent tubes have become fashionable. These are more energy efficient and somewhat brighter than the old models.
The optimal climate for keeping bearded dragons:
It is dry and warm in Australia. Since this is the country of origin of the animals, one should simulate the climate also in the terrarium. Finally a kind-fair Bearded dragon attitude is the most important thing.
The temperature should be around 35°C during the day. However, this is only the average temperature. Because you need 2 different temperature zones. So the area around the hiding place should be warm about 25 °C. The warmest point is located directly below the heat spot and is about 50 ° C hot.
At night, however, the temperature in the entire terrarium is lowered to 20 °C. However, you do not need to actively take care of this. It is sufficient to turn off the lights. After all, this is the normal room temperature.
The humidity should be in the range of 30 to 40 % during the daytime. At night, however, it may be a little more. Ca. 50 to 60 % is a good guideline. The humidity can be controlled by spraying water if required.
In this way you exclude that they infect other bearded dragons with diseases and parasites. Only when it is ensured that they are healthy and lively, they are let to the rest of the group. Exactly for this one needs the quarantine terrarium.
The right food:
Bearded dragons are omnivores. However, adult animals feed mainly on green food. Young animals, however, eat almost exclusively animal food. The selection of bearded dragon food is relatively large. In the following we present you a small selection of food options.
Animal food for bearded dragons:
If you want to keep bearded dragons, you should first deal with food animals. The selection is relatively large. Fortunately, you can get these little animals in just about any pet store. Who would like, can breed its living food also itself. But it is not recommended.
For the entrance into the world of keeping bearded dragons we recommend this animal food:
- Meadow plankton
- Black beetle
Green food for bearded dragons:
The selection of vegetables, fruit, lettuce and various plants suitable for bearded dragons is really huge. Therefore we have created a very extensive green food list. However, we also want to introduce popular green food here:
If the terrarium is completely furnished and functional only the bearded dragons are missing. What you have to pay attention to when buying a bearded dragon, we tell you in the linked article. At this point, it should be much more about the day-to-day operations.
So you can get a good impression of the time required as a beginner. So the animals have to be fed every day. Also feces, skin and food remains must be removed every day. Furthermore, the food in the drinking bowl must be refilled regularly.
Also a regular cleaning of all furnishings and of course the terrarium are absolute obligation. Vinegar and warm water can be used as a cleaning agent. All removable and suitable objects can also be steam cleaned from time to time. But this is not obligatory!
Alternatively, heating in the oven at 160 degrees Celsius is also a good option. So also many germs become& Pathogens killed. In addition, the substrate should be changed at least once a year. Often it is recommended to clean the entire terrarium once a year up to the last cracks. We can agree with this opinion.
Furthermore, this principle still applies: Before you touch the animal or feed, you should wash your hands first yourself. Of course, a good portion of disinfectant must not be missing. A good hygiene is the A& O in the bearded dragon husbandry. Unfortunately this is disregarded again and again.
Many beginners underestimate also the susceptibility for diseases. Although the species kept in Germany are relatively robust, they can also fall ill once. Often the animals suffer from constipation or diarrhea.
But there are also many other bearded dragon diseases. Therefore one should read up once thoroughly into the topic. In general it can be said that studying books and websites about keeping bearded dragons is absolutely recommended.
Hibernation – This is important to know:
Many beginners are not aware that keeping bearded dragons is connected with hibernation. Every year the animals become less active towards October, November or December and want to keep a so-called winter hibernation. However, one should not confuse this with a hibernation.
General information about hibernation:
The bearded dragons wake up several times during hibernation to drink or to move a little bit. Some animals even eat a small morsel. Before the winter hibernation finally begins, the animals slowly become quieter and withdraw more and more often. These are the first signs.
Also the appetite becomes less and less. Now the point has come where you should have a fecal sample taken at the vet. You can also buy a ready kit for this and send it in. Depending on what one prefers. If the test is negative (no parasites), you can start the hibernation.
At least, if the animal also otherwise leaves a healthy and active impression. So you should check the scales for mites. In addition, the animal should be weighed. This way you can check the weight and the state of health during hibernation.
Lighting duration& Reduce temperature:
To start the hibernation, the lighting time is reduced step by step. The same applies to heating the terrarium. If the bearded dragon has recognized these signs, it starts to look for a hiding place or to dig itself in.
The temperature and the lighting are reduced until one can pull the plugs. Also, the administration of food is lowered further and further and then completely discontinued.
In order for the animals to get through the winter period with an empty stomach, they should be bathed. This cranks up the digestion and promotes a brisk intestinal emptying. So no food remains can ferment in the stomach or even begin to rot during hibernation.
The hibernation is coming to an end:
After about 6 to 12 weeks the animals become more active again. Then it is necessary for us to reverse the steps of hibernation. Before you know it, the animals already start with the courtship display. Now comes the most interesting season of the bearded dragon keeping on you.
Who would like, can deal now for the first time with the bearded dragon breeding. However, one should do this only if one has also buyers for his young animals. In addition, it needs some time for this.
Our FAQ on keeping bearded dragons:
The bearded dragon attitude provides again and again for perplexed faces with beginners. Therefore we get masses of questions by mail. We have listed the best of them below:
Bearded dragons live about 10 years in captivity. Some specimens also manage to exceed the 15-year mark. In the wild there are even older animals. This is how different sites and researchers report about 20 year old bearded dragons.
The many spines and the hissing can seem very dangerous. In addition, bearded dragons are also somewhat poisonous. However, in a frame that is absolutely harmless to humans. Therefore it can be stated that these animals are no danger for humans.
In the wild, these are clearly solitary animals. However, groups of animals are now often kept. Since this works out quite well without major complications, the question cannot be answered with a clear yes.
Many keepers consistently report that their bearded dragons recognize them by voice. So yes, bearded dragons can hear. Although they do not have a pinna, the openings of the ears can be seen quite clearly on the head.
Due to the lack of auricles and the poor response to acoustic stimuli, it is assumed that bearded dragons do not hear very well. It is often reported that the animals perceive low sounds better than high ones.
Depending on their mood, some species of bearded dragon can change color. Mostly this happens only on a few isolated parts of the body. Some bearded dragons, on the other hand, can change the color of their entire bodies.
In addition to mood, temperature regulation is also to blame for color change. Here’s how they’re darker in color when cold. After all, this way the light is reflected worse and the heat is thus absorbed better. If the animal is warmed up, the black coloration disappears again.