Bearded Dragon Questions

Post by: randy on September 10, 2007, 09:22:35 AM
The friend I work for who is a Dr. well his 8 yr. boy got a small bearded dragon for his birthday Saturday, they said he is in a 15 or 20 gallon tank at the moment however I heard that they will require at least a 55 or larger tank when they get full size. Dr. Pete didn’t buy it for his boy the grandfather surprised him, I told them that they get well over a foot long but are very good pets. 1ST Question is what would be the best and cheapest way to care for the dragon when it gets larger—tank or cage—and how fast do they grow. I doing this for them so at the moment they haven’t much info except for what I’ve copied off the internet for them to read. So any info that you all might have would be greatly appreciated I’m sure, THANK YOU.

Title: Re: Bearded Dragon Questions
Post by: crystalview on September 10, 2007, 10:38:33 AM
My nephew found one 3″ long it took a year for it to get 10″ then it slowed down. It lives in a 80g now and is 18″. He has a big thick stick for it to rest on and to get closer to the heat lamp. He feeds it pellets, romaine and once a week 20 crickets. After 10 years it is still healthy. I play with it when I house-sit. Runs all over the place. Remember lizards can carry salmonella so wash up after you play with it.

Title: Re: Bearded Dragon Questions
Post by: randy on September 10, 2007, 11:04:52 AM
I’ve seen the knitted cages at petco/petsmart that you can buy pretty large is this a good way to go?

Title: Re: Bearded Dragon Questions
Post by: crystalview on September 10, 2007, 01:18:29 PM
They can be cheaper for now but as you pet grows it can and will chew it’s way out of the plastic screen. They have a metal screen top on theirs with a standard glass tank.

Title: Re: Bearded Dragon Questions
Post by: Guitarchiq on September 10, 2007, 01:29:03 PM
I think you’re reffering to Reptariums ( I had one of these for our beardie (and his new owner, my coworker still uses it) and loved it. The mesh provides great ventillation for them, plus it maximizes the cage space since they can climb the sides. We used the 100 size reptarium.

Our beardie grew to about a foot in about 6 months. A lot depends on proper diet and habitat. You can get a great list of different veggies on They should get wide variety of veggies daily plus crickets or other feeder insects. While they’re young, they will rely mostly on the high protien insects (but veggies should still be provided daily). As they mature, this will reverse and they will require less and less insects until they can take them just a couple of times per week.

Make sure the beardie has proper lighting and vitamin supplementation. He should have at least one basking spot where he can reach about 95F. He should also have both UVA and UVB light (you can get basking bulbs with UVA but usually will have to purchase a seperate UVB bulb). The beardie should be able to get within 6 inches of the UV source for maximum absorbtion.

He should have a vitamin powder dusted lightly on his food daily. You want to look for a calcium powder that contains vitamin D3 and has a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1. I like a couple brands like Bone Aide, Reptivite and the T-Rex product called Dragon Dust. You don’t need a lot of this stuff, but it should be a light coating on the food (either veggie or insects) daily.

Also, beardies do need a water dish. Not so much for drinking, as most of their hydration comes from thier food, but for soaking. Many dragons will decide that this dish is also their litter box, so it should be changed daily. Giving the beardie a “bath” once a week will be very beneficial. Make sure the water is warm, about 95F and shallow enough to keep his head out of the water easily. Bath shouldn’t last more than 10 minutes or so. Not only will the bath help them shed properbly, but they will often choose this time to drink.

A quick note on substrate (that stuff on the bottom). There’s some controversy over the use of sand with reptiles. Many hobbyists believe that the sand can be too easily injested and can cause impaction. While yes, ingesting too much can cause impaction, most breeders (and indeed, most hobbyists) use sand without incident. There is a theory put forth by some Vets that over-ingestion of the sand is due to a calcium deficiency in the diet. The lizard naturally will try to get mineral supplementation from the substrate. The decision of which substrate to use is up to the hobbyist. I’ll warn you that on many forums, like the above mentioned one, people get flamed for using sand. But, let me put it in perspective: The chances of a healthy dragon getting impacted from sand is rediculously minimal. I personally know breeders who have bred commercially for more than a decade on sand, and not ONCE seen an instance of impation.
However, if you’re a “better safe than sorry” person, there are other options. Critter carpet is wonderful stuff, and easy to clean. Even paper towel can work as a substrate. There are substrates that you should NEVER use and those include things like crushed walnut shells, bark, playground sand, or aspen pellets. These are too large, undigestable or otherwise innapropriate for dragons.