The bearded dragon is an extremely popular lizard with both beginner and experienced reptile keepers. Bearded dragon come in some beautiful morphs (morph refers to the different colours and patterns of a reptile) and depending on what morph you are looking for a bearded dragons price can vary from anywhere between £50-£600. Bearded dragons may look big but only reach a max size of between 12-25 inches. These lizards all have individual personalities, so make sure you know the personality of your dragon before purchasing, some bearded dragons may love to be handled and others may not it all depends on the individual. These lizards are fairly easy to care for provided you meet all their needs. They can live up to 15 years if properly looked after and can be a perfect companion. Bearded dragons have a interesting defence mechanism where they puff out the sides of their body and their 'beard' to try and look as big and aggressive as they can, the beard of the dragon also fades into a deep black.
Bearded dragons do very well in wooden vivariums because they provide the correct ventilation needs and are a great insulator of heat, an enclosure around the size of 4 x 2 x 2f is a very good size. As babies you should provide a smaller enclosure however you could use an adult dragon enclosure but fill it with a lot of decor.
Bearded dragons need to have uvb in order to live a healthy full life, these lizards spend a lot of their time in the wild basking in the sun to get that important uvb so you need to provide a large basking area for your dragon. As well as having a uvb bulb you should provide your bearded dragon with a light, this is to give your dragon the natural day/night span that they would have in the wild. At night all lights should be turned off, if you are worried about the temperature becoming too low at night you can buy a ceramic heat lamp to heat the enclosure at night however you must make sure it does not overheat your dragon and make sure to turn it off once the uvb bulb is back on, all heating should be controlled with a thermostat and should be covered with a cage in order to prevent burns to your reptile.
The humidity levels for a bearded dragon should be between 30-40%, they need a good humidity to help with their shedding and to mimic their natural humidity levels in the wild. It can be difficult to get the humidity levels correct at first but the best ways to measure humidity is with a hygrometer, if you need a higher humidity you can try misting the enclosure and if you need a lower humidity you could try adding some more ventilation.
Many people may think that because the bearded dragon comes from Australia, a relatively dry place, sand would be the perfect substrate but it is actually recommended that loose substrate is not used with these lizards because of the risk of impaction and instead you use substrate such as newspaper, paper towels, reptiles carpet or artificial grass.
Bearded dragons are omnivores, both plant and animal eaters, so it is important to provide them with a mix of things to eat. Insects that are fed to your dragon should be dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements to provide all needed calcium, some insects that bearded dragons enjoy are Dubia roaches, wax worms, morio worms and crickets. When choosing what veggies and fruit to give to your dragon you really need to look into what is safe to give daily, what to give as a treat and what to avoid giving them. Some great daily veggies to give your dragon include, dandelions, butternut squash, spring greens and cactus leaf. Regarding water you can simply provide a dish of fresh water for your bearded dragon that you should change every 1-2 days.
Cleaning is simple with these lizards, once a day everyday you should spot clean the enclosure, removing any uneaten insects, any dry veg and any waste. Once a month it is best to do a full clean out, this will entail removing all decor, removing all substrate and disinfecting the whole enclosure including all decor and fake plants.
Bearded dragon enjoy having things to climb on and bask on so you should provide a log or rock underneath the uv bulb. There should be at least two hides that your dragon can use, some fake or safe live plants and things that your dragon can climb on. It is important to try and bring a naturalistic feel into your dragons enclosure so when decorating try to stick with items that would belong in the bearded dragons natural environment.