Habitat Sweet Habitat: Bearded Dragons

Setting up a habitat for your new aquatic turtle? Here’s what you need to know.

 Choosing a Habitat

  • Bearded dragons are best housed individually.
  • Adult bearded dragons require a 40-gallon terrarium or larger. A smaller habitat may be used for juveniles under a year and less than 6” (15 cm). It should be large enough to fit two hide houses, food and water dishes and décor for hiding and climbing.
  • There should be a hiding spot at both the cool and warm sides of the habitat.
  • Ensure the habitat is fitted with a secure screened top to prevent escape.
  • Bearded dragons enjoy basking on high branches.

Heating & Lighting

  • A temperature gradient (warm side/cool side) habitat must be provided, as well as a basking spot so your bearded dragon can regulate his temperature.
  • The habitat should be equipped with two thermometers; one on the cool side and one near the basking spot.
  • During the daytime, the cool side should have an ambient temperature of 75-80°F (26-30°C), and the warm side should be in the low to mid 90’s (around 34°C).
  • A basking spot is necessary and should have a temperature of 100-110°F (38-44°C).
  • Nighttime temperature should be 65-75°F (18-24°C).
  • An under tank-heater and or ceramic heat emitter can be used to supplement the heat if necessary, especially at night if the temperature is low.
  • Ensure you install the under-tank heater on the designated warm side of the habitat.
  • Bearded dragons are desert reptiles and should have a low humidity habitat (10-30%). A hygrometer should be installed in the habitat to monitor the humidity level.
  • Bearded dragons are diurnal (most active during day).
  • Exposure to UVA and UVB light designed for reptiles is extremely important. Bearded dragons require a UVA/UVB (ultraviolet light) fluorescent bulb for 12 hours per day.
  • It is important that UV-producing lights be directed through the screen top as glass can block the UVB rays.
  • A consistent light-dark cycle (12 hours of light) must be provided.

Décor & Substrate

  • Decorative rocks and branches can be used in the habitat to add a personal touch.
  • Hiding spots should be just large enough for the bearded dragon to fit comfortably and should be available in both the cool and warm sides of the habitat.
  • Branches should be provided for climbing and basking. Rocks or branches should be placed so your bearded dragon can bask 9” (22 cm) or closer to the bulb.
  • Bearded dragons are desert dwelling reptiles and adults should be kept on sand specifically sold for reptiles. For bearded dragons less than 6” (15 cm), use reptile carpet to prevent impaction due to ingested sand.

Shopping List

❏ Habitat (20 gal for juveniles, 40-50 gal for adults)
❏ Secure screen lid
❏ Branches and rocks for basking and climbing
❏ UVA/UVB bulb and fixture
❏ Basking spot bulb and fixture
❏ Infrared heat bulb and fixture (if needed)
❏ Blue bulb for night viewing
❏ Ceramic heat emitter and fixture (if needed)
❏ Sand or reptile carpet
❏ Two hide houses
❏ Two thermometers
❏ Hygrometer
❏ Reptile calcium supplement with vitamin D
❏ Food and water dishes
❏ Cricket keeper
❏ Cricket food
❏ Commercial diet
❏ Crickets, mealworms or waxworms

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