- Scientific Name
- Pogona vitticeps
- 10 years
- 60 cm (24") long
Bearded Dragons make great family pets. They’re fun to care for and kid-friendly. Their “beard” is actually darker coloured, spiny skin that puffs out when they feel threatened. Bearded Dragons may also make a hand-waving motion that looks like a friendly greeting.
These desert dwellers like warm, dry environments. Choose a glass terrarium that’s at least 40 gallons and has a screened lid, and line it with calcium sand or reptile carpet. Remove waste weekly and change the bedding once a month. Decorate your Dragon’s home with sturdy branches and rocks for basking near the heat source.
Bearded Dragons need ultraviolet light to process calcium, so use a UVA/UVB bulb for 12 hours each day, turning it off at bedtime. Make sure the terrarium is situated out of direct sunlight. A nondisruptive, night-specific bulb will let you see what your Dragon is up to in the off hours.
Bearded Dragons like it hot, but a cool zone in the terrarium helps them regulate their body temperature. Equip the habitat with two thermometers, one on either end. The cool side should be 24–29 °C (75–85 °F), and the warm side should be 37–43 °C (100–110 °F) at the basking spot. At night, drop the temperature to 18-24 °C (65–75 °F) and use a ceramic heat emitter for warmth if needed.
Unlike tropical reptiles, Bearded Dragons thrive in dry heat environments with occasional moisture from misting. Place a hygrometer inside the habitat to monitor humidity—20–30% is optimal. Additionally, mist your pet every other day for hydration. While Bearded Dragons do drink from bowls, they’ll also lick water beads from their skin.
Feed your Bearded Dragon calcium-dusted crickets, waxworms or mealworms each day, plus dark leafy greens and veggies. Make sure water and a bowl of pelleted food is always available. National Geographic Bearded Dragon Entrée is made up of semi moist pellets that are formulated to mimic the diverse foods found in the wild and can replace live crickets.