How to look after a Bearded Dragon

Written by Corrine Bray

Owner & Founder of Corks Critter Care

January 8, 2023



A pet bearded dragon can be an excellent choice for those looking to bring an exciting, unique pet into their home. Bearded dragons are relatively low-maintenance creatures that can bring a lot of joy to their owners. However, looking after a bearded dragon properly is important to ensure its well-being and health. In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to look after a bearded dragon, including information on its diet, habitat, and exercise needs. With the right approach and knowledge, you can give your bearded dragon the care it deserves and enjoy a long, happy relationship together. Read on to learn more about the essential steps needed to properly care for your pet bearded dragon.

1. Provide comfortable living conditions

One of the most important steps in looking after a bearded dragon is to provide them with comfortable living conditions. The first step is to have the right type of enclosure for your pet. A large terrarium with a lid is the best choice for a medium or large-sized dragon, as it will provide enough space for them to move around and explore. Additionally, the enclosure should be adequately ventilated and provide a basking area with an appropriate light. Finally, the temperature and humidity should be carefully monitored and the dragon should be provided with a source of water, such as a shallow bowl.

2. Provide a balanced diet

Providing a balanced diet for your bearded dragon is essential for their health and wellbeing. Feeding your dragon a variety of foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, and insects is important as this will give them all the essential vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. You should also provide a calcium supplement to make sure your dragon is getting enough calcium. A good rule of thumb is to feed your dragon twice a day, with a rest day every other week. It is important to remember to feed your dragon on a regular basis, and to provide variety in their diet.

3. Provide a variety of temperatures in its habitat

When creating the habitat for your bearded dragon, it is important to provide a variety of temperatures to ensure your pet is comfortable. The warm side of the habitat should be between 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit and the cool side should be between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can achieve this by adding a heat lamp and a UVB lamp to the habitat, as these will provide the warmth and light necessary for your bearded dragon to thrive. Additionally, you can provide a temperature gradient in the habitat so your dragon can move between hot and cold spots to regulate their body temperature.

4. Handle the Beardie correctly

Handling a bearded dragon can seem intimidating, but with a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. When handling your bearded dragon, make sure to support their entire body and avoid squeezing them. Gently scoop them up with one hand and use your other hand to support the tail. Avoid putting your hands in front of the bearded dragon’s eyes, as this may startle them. When done correctly, your bearded dragon should remain calm and relaxed while in your care. Always remember to wash your hands before and after handling your bearded dragon.

5. Provide enough UVB lighting

When it comes to taking care of a bearded dragon, providing enough UVB lighting is essential for their health and wellbeing. UVB lighting helps them to process Vitamin D, which is essential for their bone and overall health. Without enough UVB lighting, your bearded dragon may experience stunted growth, metabolic bone disease, and a weakened immune system. That’s why it’s important to provide them with enough UVB lighting for 10-12 hours a day. You can use a special UVB lamp or a combination of natural sunlight and UVB bulbs.

6. Provide a variety of enrichment activities

Providing a variety of enrichment activities is one of the key elements to keeping your bearded dragon healthy and happy. Enrichment activities can include anything from providing hiding spots, such as cardboard boxes or logs, to adding a variety of climbing objects and plants to their habitat. You can also create a sensory-stimulating environment with a variety of textures and temperatures for your pet to explore. Additionally, you should provide a variety of physical activities, such as supervised play time with other friendly bearded dragons, as well as activities that stimulate their mental health, such as puzzles, puzzles boxes and/or foraging activities.

7. Monitor its health regularly

One of the most important things you need to do to keep your bearded dragon healthy and happy is to monitor its health regularly. Make sure you check it for any signs of illness or disease such as discolored patches of skin, white spots, and sunken eyes. You should also check its weight regularly, and make sure it is eating and defecating properly. If you notice any signs of illness, you should take your bearded dragon to a vet for a check-up as soon as possible.

8. Understand its behavior and body language

One of the most essential parts of looking after a bearded dragon is understanding its behavior and body language. Bearded dragons have a variety of gestures that you need to recognize in order to properly care for them. If your dragon fanning its arms out, for example, this is a sign that it is feeling threatened. If its eyes are wide open, this could mean it is interested in something in its environment. A beard that is bristled up is an indication of aggression. Being aware of all these signs can help you to adjust your care and provide an optimal environment for your pet.

In conclusion, looking after a bearded dragon is an incredibly rewarding experience. If you are looking for an unusual but manageable pet to keep, the bearded dragon is a great choice. With the correct environment, the correct diet, and regular veterinary care, you can ensure that your bearded dragon will have a long and healthy life. With the right knowledge and dedication, you can ensure your pet is happy and well looked after and enjoy the rewarding experience of owning a bearded dragon.

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