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Bearded Dragon Care

Common Name: Bearded Dragon

Latin Name: Pogona Vitticeps

Native To: Australia

Size: Bearded Dragons grow to an average of 16-24 inches from nose to tail. They have a very rapid growth rate, so the 4 inch hatchlings can grow to their adult size within a year.

Weight: Average weight of an adult Bearded Dragon is usually around 450g.

Life Span: Expected life span is between 4 and 10 years, depending on the quality of the care given. Appropriate diet, UV light and heat levels, combined with good vivarium maintenance, should prolong the life of your dragon.

Housing Your Bearded Dragon

The best enclosure for an adult Bearded Dragon would be a wooden vivarium with sliding glass doors at the front rather than a glass tank with a lid, as temperature and humidity are easier to control in a wooden enclosure. A vivarium should minimum of 3ft long for a single dragon, with a 4ft vivarium preferred. A wooden vivarium allows you to watch your Bearded Dragon enjoy their home, whilst making them feel secure. Although Bearded Dragons are semi-arboreal, meaning they enjoy climbing, this can be provided for in a standard 4 foot vivarium, as floor space is more important than height.


A temperature gradient of 23.8°C - 29.4°C (75° - 85° F) should be provided with a basking area of 35°C - 40.5°C (95 - 105° F). Temperatures can be maintained by using incandescent basking bulbs, infrared heat bulbs or ceramic emitters. Bearded Dragons can not detect heat absorbed through their stomachs, so avoid using heat mats and heat rocks, as these can lead to serious burns.


A UVB light source needs to be available for your Bearded Dragon to bask under for 10-12 hours per day. This can be achieved with specialized fluorescent bulbs, such as the ExoTerra ReptiGlo 10.0 which has been developed for desert dwelling species. Your UV bulb will need to be changed every 6 months, as it loses its efficiency after this time. A linear bulb which covers at least 2/3 of your Bearded Dragon's vivarium will provide the necessary levels of UVB, and your dragon should be no further than 50cm away from the bulb at any point within the vivarium. UVB light is essential for the health of your Bearded Dragon, they need this light to process Vitamin D3 and Calcium. Lack of UVB will lead to Calcium deficiencies and can cause Metabolic Bone Disease.

UVA and visible light are provided by the Basking light in your Bearded Dragon's vivarium. Beardies do best with a bright white light as their basking lamp, such as the ProRep Basking Spot Light. If your Bearded Dragon lives in a well lit room of the house, you may prefer to use a Ceramic Heat Lamp which will last a few years, as opposed to the basking lights which may only last a few months.


Sand is not recommended for young Bearded Dragons, as it can lead to impaction when coupled with other minor faults in husbandry. Thick tissue such as kitchen roll should be used to line the vivarium of dragons less than 7" from head to tip of tail. Although ProRep's Repti Sand can be used with older dragons, we prefer the more natural mix Beardie Life, which encourages digging and foraging, while providing a moister surface.


Bearded Dragons should be fed fruit and vegetables as well as insect meat.

They like a large variety of live insects, which include black and brown crickets, locusts, mealworms, cockroaches and wax worms. A good measure of the size of live insects to feed is that they must be no bigger than the space between the dragon‘s eyes, to avoid choking.

Fresh fruit and vegetables must be offered daily, and remember that they like variety. They like to eat Chicory, Watercress, Broccoli, Courgettes, Carrot, Peas, Apple, Banana, Kiwi and Grapes. Make sure to chop the food into small bite size pieces to avoid choking.

Initially, the ratio of insect: vegetables should be 90:10. This changes as the dragon gets older, until maturity when more vegetables are needed than insects.

Water can be offered in a shallow dish but it is advisable to spray the plants and ornaments in the vivarium regularly, as in the wild the dragons would drink the dew from the plants.


Bearded dragons grow very fast and this means that they require extra calcium for their bones to remain strong and to develop at the normal rates. Remember, your dragon will not be able to absorb the calcium without the correct UV lighting.

All you need to do to maintain your Bearded Dragon's vitamin and mineral levels, is to dust the live food with a Calcium and Multivitamin Balancer, such as Nutrobal. Young dragons need this supplementation approximately 5 times per week, whereas older dragons should have the powder added to their food 2/3 times per week.