Bearded Dragons are found only throughout Australia. They are a large species growing to a total length of 15-24 inches when adult.
Bearded Dragons obtain their name due to puffing out their throat during defence and courtship displays. Both sexes do this, but males have a darker throat that turns jet black during a display. There are many colour morphs available now, but the general colour of the Bearded Dragon is a mixture of brown shades. They have small spikes protruding from their throat, on top of their head, around their ears and running down the side of the body.
Bearded Dragons are a large species measuring a total length of 380-610mm (15-24”). Hatchlings are very small compared to the adults measuring 75-10mm (3-4”). Bearded Dragons can live up to 10 years in captivity.
Where are Bearded Dragons from?
Bearded Dragons are found within Australia only. They are widely distributed throughout the Eastern states to the Eastern half of South Australia and South-eastern Northern territory.
Their habitat also varies from subtropical woodlands, scrublands, savannas, shore areas and deserts.
How do you keep Bearded Dragons?
Bearded Dragons are one of the easiest and hardiest species of lizards to keep as long as their requirements are met. They must be housed alone to avoid becoming territorial and/or over breeding of females. They do not require companionship, wild Bearded Dragons are solitary, only seeking out a mate during the breeding season.
Large enclosures are best for Bearded Dragons so they can maintain their body temperature through thermoregulation.
We recommend a minimum of 48x24x24” (120x60x60cm) sized vivarium for housing a Bearded Dragon. As they are so fast growing and have the same requirements, hatchlings can be housed in adult sized enclosures with no issues.
You should provide a basking area with a daytime temperature between 35-43C (95-110F) the cool end of the vivarium should be in the range of 26-30C (80-85F). A thermostat ensures that the temperature your animal requires is kept constant, with no risk of over/under heating. During the night the temperature should drop no lower than 16C (60F), most house temperatures don’t drop below this, but if yours does, you can use a ceramic bulb on a thermostat on the warm side of the vivarium. UVB light must be used to help Bearded Dragons obtain the Vitamin D-3 they require. We advise using a 10%+ UVB tube, simulating the levels of sunlight they have access to from their home in the wild. The lighting is recommended to be on for 12 hours during the day and switched off at night to allow for a natural night time light and temperature drop.
We use and recommend a Bearded Dragon specific substrate. These are blended to mimic the Australian outback as closely as possible. Studies have shown that if the UV index and temperatures are optimum, it enables the dragons digestive system to function perfectly and a loose particle substrate is hugely beneficial with minimal risk. You should also place cork bark branches and rocks for your Bearded Dragon to climb on, offering both areas for basking on and environmental enrichment..
Bearded Dragons are “Omnivorous'' which means they feed on both plant and animal matter. When feeding live insects, ensure that the food is no larger than the width of the Bearded Dragons head. If too large, this could cause impaction or they could choke on the food. It is also best to feed young Bearded Dragons two times a day instead of one large meal to prevent this.
The majority of reptiles and amphibians in captivity require additional calcium, vitamin and minerals to compensate for eating a less varied diet than their wild ancestors. The easiest method for coating your livefood is to put a little supplement powder in a zip-lock bag, add the insects and gently shake. Use some forceps to transfer the livefood into your enclosure. This way, you are not wasting your supplements and only dusting the insects needed per feed.
Bearded Dragons will eat a number of live insects such as crickets, locusts, mealworms, wax worms and cockroaches. When feeding plant foods, wash and finely chop and place in a dish. Your Bearded Dragon should be fed on 40-60% of plant matter when it is adult, while young offer this alongside the live foods every other day.
We stock a variety of live edible plants we have listed below a few of the plant foods Bearded Dragons will take:
Fancy dark lettuces (not iceberg)
Mustard, Collard and Beet Greens
Nasturtium, Hibiscus and Dandelion leaves and flowers
The below foods should be fed as treats only as fruits especially tend to have a laxative effect:
Caution: Dragons must be housed alone, they are highly territorial and will fight or display dominant behaviours.