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Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
Bearded Dragon
(Pogona Vitticeps)

All of the Bearded Dragon Species are native to parts of Australia and New Guinea. They are found mainly in arid, rocky, semi desert regions and/or open woodlands. There are seven (7) species of Bearded Dragons, the most common of which is the Pogona Vitticeps (also known as the Inland or Central Bearded Dragon). This species of Bearded Dragon is the most widely available species in the US. Pogona Barbatta (also known as the Eastern or Common Bearded Dragon) and the Pogona Henrylawsoni (also known as the Rankins Bearded Dragon) are becoming more available in the hobby as adult specimens are being selectively bred. The remaining species, Pogona Minima (also known as the Western Bearded Dragon), the Pogona Minor (also known as the Dwarf Bearded Dragon), the Pogona Mitchelli (found in Northwest Australia), the Pogona Nullabar, and the Pogona Microlepitoda are all far more less commonly found in the US.

Bearded Dragons are categorized as “Large Lizards” with adults reaching lengths of 18”-22”, with some specimens that have even grown to more then 24”. Bearded Dragons have a larger triangle shaped head with a beard of “Pointy Extended Scales”. This is where they got the name “Bearded” Dragon, as they can often flare their beards up to attempt to scare off any possible predators. They carry these same “Pointy Extended Scales" along the sides of their body as well. A Bearded Dragons tail is roughly the lame length as their Snout to Vent Length (SVL), which makes their tail length equally proportional to their body length. Over the years breeders have “selectively bred” different color variations of dragons to come up with the many “morphs” that we have available on the market today, such as; Red Flame, Flaming Tiger, Snow, Hypo, Tangerine, German Giant, Leucistic, Translucent, and many more.

When selecting a Bearded Dragon for a pet make sure and choose a dragon that is active and alert with a nice plump belly and looks well hydrated. Do not select a dragon that is too thin or is displaying wrinkles along its body, these are signs of possible illness. If possible you can ask to see seller to offer the dragon food so you can observe it eating, this way you can be sure that the dragon is at least healthy enough to eat. There are many places to purchase Bearded Dragons ranging from local pet stores to individual breeders. Personally I would rather purchase a dragon from a breeder then a pet store. Pet stores are often not familiar with the animals they sell so therefore don’t properly care for them.

Proper housing for Bearded Dragons can range anywhere from glass tanks to custom built enclosures. Mesh/screen cages are not recommended, as they are known to filter out UVB light. If a glass enclosure is used, be sure to have a tight fitting screen top for it. Any enclosure used for Bearded Dragons should be able to retain heat, be long enough to provide and temperature gradient for your dragon to be able to thermo regulate, and be able to provide proper ventilation. Due to the adult size of Bearded Dragons they do require a large enclosure. The absolute minimum enclosure size for a single adult dragon should about 30” long x 18” wide x 18” tall. If you are planning on housing multiple dragons you would have to go with something much larger then this. The absolute minimum size enclosure for a “pair” or dragons would be one that is at least 48” long (preferably 60”), at least 12” wide (preferably 18”-24”) and at least 18” tall. We house our breeders in “trios” (1 Male, 2 Females) in custom enclosures measuring 60” long x 18” wide x 30” tall. There is much debate over whether Bearded Dragons should be housed together or not, some say yes, some say no. It all depends on the personalities of the individual dragons; surely there are some that won’t get along with others where alternate housing may be required. If you are planning on housing multiple dragons together, just be ready to separate if things get out of hand. In all cases, never house more then one male in one enclosure. Two male dragons will not get along with one another. Males are very territorial and therefore not housed together.

Bearded Dragons can be safely housed on a number of different substrates ranging from paper towel to fine sand. Hatchlings however should not be housed on sand at all, as impaction risks are higher at this age, and smaller dragons may be curious and attempt to ingest some of the sand which can cause a blockage can and will lead to death. Hatchlings should be kept on a non-particle substrate such at paper towels, repti-carpet, or non-adhesive shelf liner. Adult Bearded Dragons can be kept on all the substrates mentioned for hatchlings but can also be kept on “washed play sand”. When using sand as a substrate, make sure it is very fine and that all of the small pebbles (if any are present) are sifted out. Wood chips and/or bark chips should never be used as a substrate for Bearded Dragons. Some Bearded Dragon owners have even used decorative tile as a substrate with much success. Repti-Carpet can be found and your local pet shop or online, non-adhesive shelf liner, tile and play sand can be purchased at a home improvement store such at Lowes, Home Depot or Menards.

Lighting and Temperature
Lighting and Temperature section coming soon. Thank You for your patience...

Food and Water
Food and Water section coming soon. Thank You for your patience...

Breeding Bearded Dragons
Section coming soon. Thank You for your patience...

Copyright © 2005 Jayr & Mandy Robinson
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