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Caring for a Bearded Dragon

If you’re looking for a reptilian pet that is perhaps a bit uncommon, but still docile and easy to care for, a Bearded Dragon might be a great choice for you. These beautiful lizards are very popular among reptile enthusiasts, and with good reason. Bearded dragons are not only very pretty, they usually do quite well in captivity, which makes them great pets. In this article, your local Indianapolis veterinarian discusses some basics of caring for a bearded dragon.

Bearded Dragon Basics

Bearded dragons are about four inches long when they hatch, but eventually grow to be about two feet. They live about six to ten years, on average. Beardies are often quite docile, as long as they were born in captivity and properly socialized.

Choosing The Right Pet

Selecting the right pet can be difficult. Much of the process is intuitive, of course, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Try to get a captive-bred specimen, if possible. First time reptile owners may do better with an adult lizard, as baby Beardies are quite fragile and may need a more experienced hand.

Habitat

If you get a baby Beardie, you’ll be able to house your pet in a 20-gallon tank, but your lizard will outgrow this home. You may find it easier to get a bigger enclosure, so you don’t have to replace it later. One or two Beardies can live in a 75-gallon tank, though bigger is always better. Bearded dragons do have specific lighting and temperature requirements. Your pet will need a basking spot that is about 100 degrees. The other end of the tank should be a bit cooler, around 80. Beardies also need full-spectrum UVB lighting, so you’ll need to set your tank up with proper equipment. As for substrate, you can use newspaper, reptile carpet, or paper towels. Sand is an option for adults, but is dangerous for young lizards.

Feeding

Beardies can eat both plant and animal matter. You can feed your reptilian pal crickets and mealworms that have been gut-loaded, which means they’ve been dusted with a nutritional powder. Your pet will also like fruits, veggies, and greens. Zucchini, carrots, melons, kiwis, and bananas are a few of the foods you can feed your scaled buddy.

Do you have a Bearded Dragon? Contact us, your Indianapolis vet clinic, for your reptile’s veterinary care needs.

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