The proper name for a bearded dragon is Pogona Henrylawsoni. Bearded dragons originated in the rocky desert regions and dry open woodlands. In the wild they will stand up on their hind legs to escape from potential danger, which is thought to be used for temperature control. They also use their ability to change color to keep their temperature stable and to hide from danger. Bearded Dragons will show you their beard if they are at all threatened, startled or excited. They exted a bone-like structure that resembles a beard and the color of their skin changes to almost black and can extend down to cover the dragons chest.
If a dragon wants to show he is dominant he may head bob. Head bobbins is also preformed during breeding season to get the female dragon’s attention.
Bearded dragons under 10 inches long will do fine in a 20 gallon aquarium, but they grow fast so this would only last for a few months. When they get to their full 16 to 20 inches long they need at least a 40 gallon aquarium. The lid to the aquarium needs to be screen to allow the heat and light sources to work correctly and to allow the humidity to escape.
Bearded Dragons need to have florescent bulbs to be on 12-14 hours a day. The bearded dragon should have the option to go within six to eight inches of the light. The best heat source you can use is the porcelain dome light fixture.
A young bearded dragon needs a basking spot that is 110 degrees fahrenheight and adults need 95 degrees fahrenheight. The cool side of the aquarium should be around 85 degrees fahrenheight. At night it can be as low as 65 degrees fahrenheight. It is recommended that a theormometer is used on both the cool and hot sides to make sure the temperatures are in the right range. For cage substrate, it is recommended that newspaper, paper towels, butcher paper or reptile carpet be used.
Being omnivores, bearded dragons need a combined diet of meat and vegetables (20% vegetables and 80% meat). When bearded dragons just hatch out of their shell they will eat mostly insects. A baby dragon should be fed two to three times a day. At first they should be fed mostly insects, then as the dragon grows they should be introduced to vegetables.
A dragon should be fed everyday, as much as they can eat – they know when they are full and will not over-eat. When a dragon is a baby the insects should be coated with a calcium supplement everyday and as they get older supplement two or three times a week. This is not a hard process, all you have to do is put the insects inside a bag or small container and sprinkle the supplement onto them, then shake gently for a few seconds. Make sure the insects that are being fed to the dragon are proportional to his size. The best way you can tell would be an insect no bigger than the space between a dragons eyes. The smaller the better for baby dragons or a dragon could choke and die. Crickets and mealworms are at the nearest pet store, but they need to be fed before they are fed to the dragon. There are also commercial Bearded Dragon foods and they can make life alot easier. They love it and it is healthy, but they also need variety.
Bearded dragons don’t need a water dish, but their vegetables and the dragons should be sprayed daily. A baby dragon needs to be sprayed at least twice a day and an adult two or three times a week. If there is a water bowl in the cage, it must be changed daily or it will evaporate.
DO NOT FEED A BEARDED DRAGON:
- Any type of lettuce besides romain – not nutritional
- Fireflies/Lightening bugs – known to be toxic because of the phosphorous content.
- Any bug with pesticides (which includes any bug from the outdoors) – will kill a bearded dragon
- Avocados – High amount of oxalic acid, and this could make a dragon sick or kill him
- Rhubarb – TOXIC
- Beet tops – Can cause calcium deficiency
- Spinach – Can cause calcium deficiency