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Caring for a Bearded Dragon

Are you considering getting a reptilian pet? A bearded dragon may be a great choice, especially if you are a first-time reptile owner. These small, gentle lizards have been rapidly gaining in popularity over the past few years. Because Bearded Dragons generally love attention and are quite tame, they are suitable pets for children. In this article, your local Stafford vet goes over some basics about caring for Bearded Dragons.

Habitat

An adult dragon will need an aquarium that is about 55 gallons. While a younger lizard will be fine in a smaller tank, you may find it easier to get a larger one, so you don’t have to replace it. Make sure your pet has lots of places to explore. Use rocks, wood, and other items to make your Beardie’s cage fun.

Lighting

Your pet will need 12 to 14 hours of full-spectrum lighting each day. Get florescent bulbs that are as long as the tank, and mount them inside. Your Beardie should be able to get within six inches of the light source. Do thorough research to ensure you know the type of light that works best. Be sure to turn the lights out at night, so your pet can get a proper sleep cycle.

Temperature

Bearded dragons need heat and basking spots. A normal household lightbulb will do just fine for this. Temperature requirements vary based on the Beardie’s age, so again, do some research to be sure you can provide your pet with the best habitat.

Substrate

Newspaper, paper towels, butcher paper, or reptile carpet are all excellent substrate choices for young Beardies. Don’t use loose substrates, such as shavings, for your pet, as they can be very dangerous if ingested.

Food

Live, “gut-loaded” insects, like crickets and mealworms, should make up your pet’s basic diet. Beardies need variety, so you’ll want to supplement this with some veggies, such as kale or collard greens.

Handling

Bearded Dragons are often very gentle, though some like being held more than others do. Handle your reptilian pal frequently and gently. Just be careful never to pick a Beardie up by his tail, as you could seriously hurt your scaled pet.

Do you have any questions about caring for a Bearded Dragon? Please feel free to contact us, your local Stafford vet clinic, at any time!

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