Caring for Bearded Dragons (Beardies)

Baby BeardiesIf you’ve just purchased, or are considering purchasing, a bearded dragon, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of differing opinions on the proper means of care for these popular, docile lizards. For example, estimates of the proper temperature at which to keep your beardie may range from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to 105-115 degrees. So how is a new owner to know what to do? Well, as a beardie owner who once went through the exact same experience, including many days and nights of worry over whether or not my beardies were doing well or showing signs of inevitable demise, I’ve decided to create a care sheet based on my experiences beardies, organized in order of what I consider the most important to least important factors in keeping your beardie healthy. This is by no means a complete care guide or authoritative source, but rather the things I’ve tried that have worked with my beardies.

Lighting

This is the most important part of owning a healthy beardie. First off, don’t be fooled by a beardie who ‘survives’ with just a small incandescent bulb. Your beardie may live for a few months, but will soon succumb to metabolic bone disease, or simply be too weak from the lack of proper heating to fight off infection. You’ll need a serious light bulb, with high UVB output. I would recommend the ESU Super-B 160 Watt bulb, for several reasons.


First, it’s an incandescent, mercury-vapor, self-ballasted bulb, which means it provides heat as well as UVB, unlike its fluorescent counterparts, which produce far less heat. Be prepared to pay up to $60 for this bulb (although reptilesupply.com has it for $30), and change it out every six months, even if it seems to be working fine. The UVB rays are no longer produced after six months, leaving the light useless for the primary reason you bought it.

NB: several well-known voices in the bearded dragon and reptile community have pointed out the harmful effects of UVB from mercury-vapor bulbs, and have cautioned against using them. Most of the arguments center around the harmful effects of the UVB radiation on human skin, which then implies that it must damage the lizard. I do not claim that mercury-vapor bulbs are safe to shine on people all day, but I would also point out that, while a human being living in the same conditions as a beardie (100 degree direct sun) would probably develop some sort of skin cancer, the beardie is naturally accustomed to absorbing (and processing) higher levels of UVB than humans. If your tank is in a location where the light will shine on people as well, however, a fluorescent bulb and alternative heat source may be the best option.

Your lighting cycle should basically reflect sunset and sunrise in your area, assuming they are not too extreme. This means a day of about 14-16 hours during the ‘summer’ and 8-10 hours during the ‘winter.’ Obviously, a timer is an excellent resource here, and many pet supply houses sell timers that alternate between a ‘day’ and a ‘night’ setting, perfect for switching between a light and a pure heat source in colder climates.

Heating

Don’t use any sort of heat rock, or any other heating source that directly contacts your beardie. I adopted a beardie once that had burns all over his neck, because he had been against a heat rock and had not felt the rock burning him (cold-blooded animals often have difficulty sensing temperature). If the temperature in your tank drops below 70 at night, get a ceramic heat lamp and alternate its use with that of the UVB light. Having a heat lamp also allows you to superheat the tank, in case you need to get the air inside the tank considerably hotter than that of the surrounding room (i.e. when your heat breaks in the winter).

As to the ideal temperature, you can find recommendations as low as 85, and as high as 120. From experience, I can say the following: unless you’re in a very warm area, it’s hard to get a tank in a 70 degree room to be consistently 120 degrees at one end, so err on the side of too much heat. If your beardie is seriously hot, he or she will open their mouth and ‘gape,’ allowing moisture to evaporate and cool the lizard. If you see this behavior for more than a few minutes at a time, consider lowering the temperature. Of course, you want a thermal gradient in your tank, with one end hot (110 or so) and the other cooler. This is usually a natural product of having the lamp at one end of the tank. An additional note: nothing perks up a sick beardie like a nice, warm tank, so if your beardie is sluggish or appears to have trouble breathing (respiratory infection), crank up the temperature (within reason).

Feeding

Beardies, for the most part, enjoy eating. The main staple of their diet can consist of leaf (not iceberg) lettuce and pre-mixed salads (go for variety). Just don’t get anything with onions or other exotic veggies in it. Also, you should feed your beardie crickets at least once a week. Dust the crickets before feeding in a calcium powder such as ReptiCal, which will aid the beardie in processing UVB from the lighting source. Ideally, you should use a powder that also contains phosphorous, which most do. Keep in mind that lettuce doesn’t have a lot of nutrition in it, and that your beardie gains more in terms of liquid from its leaves than anything else, so don’t go too long between cricket feedings.

Mealworms and other pet store foods provide far less nutrition than crickets, and healthy crickets (big, active, not sluggish) provide a lot more nutrition than malnourished crickets. If you get consistently skimpy-looking crickets, consider putting them in a container with a slice of potato and a soda cap of water for a couple of days–that will fatten up, or ‘gutload’ the crickets. You can also get special cricket food that promises to load your crickets with calcium, but I find they’re really expensive and mostly unnecessary.

Environment

Beardies start out small, but get big fast. A single full-size beardie should have at least a 40 gallon tank. If possible, go for critter cages, which tend to be wider and longer than their aquarium counterparts, since they can be less tall (for ground-dwelling lizards). Also, they come with a self-locking lid that slides in and out, ideal for reptiles with the urge for freedom. You can try keeping multiple beardies in one tank, but be prepared to have a really big tank (80+ gallons) and keep an eye out for the development of any fighting between the animals. If you see any, separate the beardies immediately.

The substrate should not be reptile bark or any other cedar chip based product, as this will allow crickets to hide. One option for adult beardies that’s really cheap sand is children’s playsand, from places like Walmart, which charge as little as $2.99 for a 40-pound bag. If you have a juvenile beardie, make sure to strain the sand to remove any potential small stones. Young beardies are remarkably stupid eaters, and may die from eating a stone which is too large for them to pass, or even from just tasting the sand, so make sure you start out young beardies on something they can’t eat. If you like, you can use reptile carpet or another store-bought product, just be aware that beardies poop. A lot. In a pinch, newspaper will do and won’t harm your beardies–but it will let the crickets hide.

Beardies need a good place to hide and climb on. This can be a fake rock bought at a pet store, or a rock and some driftwood branches. If you do take a rock from outside, however, you should thoroughly clean and disinfect it before putting it in with your beardie. Rinsing with bleach, then thoroughly cleaning off every last trace of bleach, then letting the rock dry in the sun, is a pretty foolproof method of preparing decor. You can also do this with driftwood to create a basking area, which should be 6 inches or so from the light source. Beardies are not fragile; they will not fall apart because a rock from the Northern Hemisphere is placed in their tank, but do remember that they are not from North America, so parasites and other nasties growing in branches and on rocks can and will hurt them. If you are bringing up very young beardies, it is probably a good idea to use manufactured hiding and basking decor, washed with simple soap and water. Remember, the bigger the beardie, the hardier it is, so be very careful with the little ones.

In any case, you will need a basking spot, a hiding area, a water dish, and a food dish. If your beardie enjoys a good soak, you can give him or her a water area large enough for that purpose, but keep an eye out to make sure your beardie is not soaking excessively (several hours a day). Constant exposure to water is not good for beardies, as they are normally semi-arid terrain dwelling lizards. You should, however, spray your beardie with a misting bottle at least once a day, and especially if they open their mouths. Most beardies love a good spray when they’re basking.

Health

Beardies are relatively tough animals, and succumb to relatively few diseases. Most of the dangers are to young or juvenile dragons, especially diseases related to parasites and overeating. This page has a listing of the most common diseases. The best route to avoiding a sick beardie is to keep the tank toasty and clean, and not to feed the beardie anything larger than the width of its head. This will help avoid bowel impaction, a painful end for your lizard. As your beardie gets older, it will be less likely to eat something too large for it.

As with any reptile, be alert for signs of illness, but don’t panic too quickly. Beardies go through periods of the year during which they are much less active than usual, and they tend to eat less during these periods as well. As long as your beardie comes out from his hiding place to hunt crickets (or lettuce), don’t be too alarmed by a reduction in energy level, unless it is accompanied by definite signs of illness (labored breathing, etc.). As always, a fecal sample at your local vet can tell you worlds about parasites and other problems with our beardie, especially if it is a new acquisition. It also doesn’t hurt to have yearly checkups done. Find a vet that knows exotics, as many cat and dog vets are as clueless about treating reptiles as your physician would be about treating a cat.

Squirrel Does the Cactusleap

Conclusions

The most important advice I can give is to be carefully attentive to your beardie, but not to panic about any little thing he or she may do. Once you are comfortable with your beardie, you’ll discover that they have definite personalities and quirks (Squirrel, for instance, knows when it’s feeding time because the cats meow, and scratches his walls if I don’t feed him immediately), and that they’re a wonderful inroad into the world of reptiles. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to respond to this article below.

bearded dragon care sheet, bearded dragon care, beardie, reptile care, mercury vapor bulb

49 comments

  1. Jessica says:

    I noticed that you have a little cactus in their tank, I would think that would pose a possible threat to the beardies, is that not so?

  2. Jessica says:

    Oh and i forgot one thing. I've had my male bearded dragon for 7 years and just recently, and sadly FOUND a bearded dragon roaming the streets who I've found out is a girl. I plan to breed them after the female gets back to health and when that does happen I was if it is possible to put two of the opposite sex together in one tank in harmony or does that only apply to same-sex dragons?

  3. Alcibiades says:

    Jessica,

    I don't know about the cactus except that Squirrel used to climb on it and bask on it daily. I made sure to get a cactus that had large spines, so they wouldn't pull out of the cactus and imbed themselves in him. We ended up with cactus because it was the only plant that the beardies wouldn't eat, and I wanted a real plant in the tank. That particular one lasted about a year without incident, til I removed it when we re-designed the interior.

    As to the breeding, I'm not sure what the difference is between male-male and male-female interactions. When we had two beardies in the same tank, they may have been both male, one of each, or both female. All I can tell you is they were fine around each other for several months, then one day we found them fighting (beardie fighting is the dumbest thing you'll ever see–think drunken boxing with really short-armed people). We had to separate them immediately, since they continued to fight even once separated within the same tank. If you do put two beardies in the same tank, therefore, my personal advice would be to just keep a close eye out…like I said in the article, I do think they have some type of a personality, so it may depend on the two lizards you have.

    P.S. Our beardies were adopted as well. Someone who works at a PETCO found them in an abandoned apartment and was offering them for adoption at the store. I'll never understand how people can be so cruel…

  4. Charlene says:

    Hi im wondering if newspaper is okay for substrate for my bearded dragon. Is there requirement? like no specific color ink on it. or something? And also how i can prevent crickets from hiding under it

  5. Alcibiades says:

    Newspaper is ok for a substrate, and it doesn't seem to matter what color the ink is. Check out http://www.dachiu.com/care/abeard.html for more info. As to the crickets, that's pretty much the main downfall of newspaper–it hides crickets well. You might consider a separate feeding container with no substrate, such as a large cricket-keeper. Put your beardie in there for about 10 minutes, or until the crickets are gone, whichever comes first.

  6. Miranda says:

    Hi,

    I have had my bearded dragon for almost a year. She started twitching when I was out of town and my brother was caring for her. I know that it is a bone disorder and I increased the calcium, this did not help. Do any of you know anything else I can do?

  7. Alcibiades says:

    What kind of light/heat do you have in the tank? What's the temperature, and how accurate is the thermometer (digital or analog?)? What sort of diet is your beardie on, especially what sort of greens is she eating? Also, what sort of calcium powder do you use, and does it also contain phosphorous? Finally, did you get the beardie as a baby or young adult, or was she an adult already?

  8. bryan says:

    im thinkeng of getting a bearded dragon and i have an 80 gallon tank i have a florescent light a 75 watt bulb that is like a house light and a 50 watt basking light it has a bearded dragon on it if that means anything but oh well im going to use newspaper than switch to sand after a few months is fresh letuce ok because u said no iceburg lettuce and i also really want to know some more tips on how to increases the overall tempature in this massive tank so will u help me

  9. Alcibiades says:

    The two bulbs you have are probably actually not enough. The one with the beardie on the box could be anything, what's important is if the lights give off UVB. Most lights will do UVA, and these lights are often in the $5-10 price range. A good UVB bulb will set you back around $35-50, and should be around 150 watts. That will also bring the temp up about 15 degrees above room temperature in your tank. A good addition would be a ceramic heat lamp, which is purely heat. In my tank, in a cold climate, I keep the heat lamp on 24/7 and run the UVB bulb during the day. Seems to be working so far.

    The iceberg lettuce is no good for them because it lacks nutritional value, and most of the water they intake through it gets passed as watery poop. A good choice is mustard greens at the supermarket, or a summer salad pre-packaged mix. Make sure to dust the greens with calcium powder as you would crickets.

    Good luck and enjoy your beardie. 80 gallons is a great size tank for a bearded dragon.

  10. Tom says:

    My wife has a 4 year old bearded dragon named Lilly,,recently her bowels have have protruded from her rectum,,we are not sure what to do!

    Any help out there would be appreciated.

  11. Vasken says:

    @Tom,

    Defintely, definitely, definitely get her to the vet!!!!

    It sounds like Lilly probably has a bad case of internal parasites, which has resulted in intenstinal blockage. You can check out this link, but you MUST take her to a vet. I know the potential cost is an issue for many people, but a quick fecal sample is very cheap ($30-$35 including the checkup) and should reveal the problem immediately.

    If you can, find a vet that knows reptiles–check out this site for a list of reptile vets in your area. Even if you can't, you should take her to a regular vet who should be able to diagnose a parasite infection (if that's actually the problem) and provide treatment. Whatever you do, please don't let Lilly just sit there–if a vet visit is financially 100% out of the question, a quick end is the best thing you can do, as hard as it might be to think about.

  12. nikki says:

    i have a beardie and i was just wondering.. why do they open their mouths wide? what does it mean? like not when they are angry, just when they open it and close it…?

  13. Vasken says:

    @nikki,

    Usually they'll do it if they're basking and it's slightly too hot, since the evaporation of the water inside their mouths cools them down (sort of like how a dog pants instead of sweating). As long as you have a cool side to the tank, the mouth gaping just means they're regulating their body temperature–it's nothing to worry about.

  14. Samantha says:

    I recently adopted 2 baby beardies Larry and Louie, Larry is adjusting well and is now 4 times the size of Louie. (I'm worried about a dominance issue) Louie was just diagnosed with metabolic bone disease and given a liquid prescription. The vet said it could take months for him to turn around we've had to force feed him since he became sick 3 weeks ago and although he is moving around a little easier I'm not sure if he's getting better and I know it's uncomfortable for him when we feed him I love him with all my heart and just want to see him well again any suggestions on how I can help my little guy??

  15. Vasken says:

    @Samantha,

    If the two are indeed still in the same enclosure, I would definitely start by separating them. You can probably put Louie in a 20-gallon enclosure for now, which you can get relatively cheap. Next, are you dusting your crickets with calcium? Also, what kind of bulb are you using (brand and power) and about how close can they get to it (and does Larry monopolize that spot)? I would also recommend a decent thermometer–I've found good ones at Walmart for around $10 that have a 5-6 foot cord that lets you hang the probe in the tank. Put it near the basking spot and measure. It should be 115-120 degrees (no kidding!!). If you get it that hot, your beardie will have the best fighting chance of survival. If it's not that hot, try getting the basking spot closer (but not more than 10-12" from the light). If you need more heat, you can also try this heat projector which should easily bring the temp up.

    Let me know about the other info…I hope everything works out!

  16. lexi says:

    I've had my beared dragon for about a year. He acts fine and loves attention but lately he has not been eating his crickets just a little bit of his salad here and there. He also hasnt been going to the bathroom. this has been going on for about two weeks now. It is really worrying me. If anyone has any information please email me. thanks

  17. Vasken says:

    @lexi,

    I assume you have a bulb that provides UVB. If not, getting one is the first step. Make sure you get one that is the real thing ($40-70), not just a heat bulb. If you do already have UVB, check the temperature. If it's not 105, add an incandescent 100+Watt bulb to provide additional heat. A beardie at 100+ degrees is a disease-fighting, poop-making machine, and that's what you want.

    Compaction (what we humans call constipation) occurs either when the temps are too low for good digestion, or when something is blocking the passage of waste. If it's the latter, you might want to consider what you're using for substrate, as well as maybe feeding your beardie in a bowl if you're not already. Sand and other substrates will really block them up. If your beardie still doesn't go to the bathroom in a few days, take him to the vet.

    Also, do you know how old your beardie is? I had one that I adopted die about 2.5 years after I got him, but I suspect he was 8-10 years old when he died, which is pretty standard.

  18. Karen says:

    Our Beardie Gizmo loves attention and doing the house work with me, he is nearly a year old,I have a wire cage in the garden and hot days like 80 degrees we put him in the run.He loves it,but is it o.k for them to bask in natural sun ? if so how long out of the viv would you recommend.

    • Vasken says:

      @Karen,

      Natural sun is great for beardies, as it provides the perfect mix of UVB (after all, it's what the lights are all trying to approximate). However, you will want to be careful about him not eating fireflies (can be poisonous to beardies). I also wouldn't recommend leaving him out for more than 3-4 hours per day unless it's really hot (90+ degrees)–beardies really need super-warm temps.

  19. Amy says:

    We just purchased a bearded dragon and brought her home today. She is about 6 inches long from head to tail. She seems disinterested in eating her crickets or greens…is it because of the transition? How many crickets should you put in the tank per feeding? Will crickets eat one another…just asking because I think it happended today? Should we put a potato in the tank since the beardie is not interested in eating right now or remove the crickets? We have a desert series combo dome light & heat 50 in a 20 gallon tank…she has been basking most of the day…is this normal or is it also because of the transition?

    • Vasken says:

      @Amy,

      If she's only 6 inches long, she must be pretty young, and I wouldn't be surprised if stress was the reason she's not eating right away. Also, it could be that she was fed at the pet store before you got her, and is just not hungry. I wouldn't worry about that particularly until she hasn't eaten in about 3-4 days. As to the light and the basking, it's very normal for a beardie to bask all day–just make sure to mist it occasionally as this (and greens) are how they get hydration. I would recommend you get a decent thermometer (definitely digital–you can get one at the pet store or a local hardware store) with a probe that you can use to measure the air temperature where she's basking. It should be AT LEAST 100 degrees. If not, you can go with a larger bulb, like a 75W or 100W. As long as there's a cooler side of the tank, you can always tell when it's too hot if your beardie is far away from the heat source.

  20. Gene says:

    Proper husbandry is truly something to worry about for new herpetoculturists. I'm more pleased with a person who will wait, and continue to research, than dive in with the wrong information.

    One thing I can agree on is that care sheets will ALWAYS be different. It will be confusing for the beginning beardie owner. What I did was read every care sheet I could find and then compile a median between them all.

    I also agree with the fact that lighting (uvb) is one, if not the, most important factors in a bearded dragon enclosure for its survival. I have not tried a mercury vapor bulb yet, however I have heard more positive than negative commentary on them. So, I don't know the extent to the dangers of an mvb. Mostly, I've heard the bulbs get pretty hot. I've never heard any human damage. But regardless, for cost and other reasons I stick to fluorescent uvb and separate heating to be on the safe side. I've been using the new versions of the Desert Series 50 tubes (not coils) that Zilla put out last year. They're great. My beardies have done well on them.

    When it comes to the lighting cycle, I say replicate that of their natural environment, not necessarily of where you live.

    I could go on and on but I'll leave the floor open to others.

  21. Christina says:

    Hello. I just got a baby beardie a couple days ago. Today a few hours after eating his/her morning crickets went to the bathroom right next to the water dish. It doesnt look like the normal poo i have seen with the white(urate) and normal brown stuff. Instead it was a clear kinda yellow tint liquid with the urate. Is this normal… like urine? Even though to my understanding the urate is their urine (like birds).

  22. alex says:

    thanku 4 the info. my 16th birthday just passed & im getting a bearded dragon. i cant find a to know if there are diffrent colored ones & ive heard that they are but for some reason the internet is never simple for me lol. i would appriciate it if u could give me info on that. thanks

    • Vasken says:

      @alex,

      There are in fact a ton of different colors or 'morphs.' The crazier the color, the more expensive the beardie, though. For a baby beardie you might pay 40-60 dollars, but for a yellow or sandfire morph baby, you might pay 3 times that. If you're just starting off, I recommend that you look for a nice, healthy beardie–if you can get a healthy looking baby with a cool color scheme that's a bonus.

  23. sabrina says:

    my brother has a bearded dragon and it is about 8 months, and 15 inches. He has a good and spoiled life but with in the last week has started twitching uncontrably, and not eating anymore. My brothers freaking out and i dont know what to tell him. Please Help!

  24. sabrina says:

    okay so we got a book and found out that he probley has calcium diffencency, is tthere anythign that we can give him that is really high in that?

    my brother has this power stuff but hes not eating it and doesnt seem to show intrest

    • Vasken says:

      It's very important that you have UVB lighting on the tank. If not, then no matter how much calcium you give him he will not be able to absorb it. He can only do that if the UVB light provides the Vitamin D3 that he also needs to break down the calcium. I recommend you get the regular light-bulb style or coiled fluorescent bulbs, not the long fluorescent lights, because then he won't be able to get closer/further from the light as he needs to. Assuming he has a UVB bulb already, dusting your crickets and veggies with calcium powder should help (not sure if that's the 'power stuff' you're talking about, but make sure you get him reptile calcium powder from a pet store). It definitely needs to be added to food–put it on whatever is his favorite and hope for the best. Also, beardies sometimes suffer from a communicable disease called metabolic bone disease, or MBD, that could cause the symptoms you're talking about. Unfortunately, it's fatal, and there's not much that can be done. Also, if he hasn't been having regular bowel movements, there's a chance that he's impacted (has a blockage in his intestines, possibly formed by eating the substrate). Either way, you should take him to the vet if he's still not eating. If he's that big at that age, he may have a good chance of survival. Good luck and I hope everything works out!

  25. alyssa says:

    I have had my beardie drake for about three months. I don't knoe exactly how old he is, but he is about 9 inches from nose to tail. He is a fatty, loves to eat crickets, veggies and especially squash! I used to have him in a 20 long critter cage and the temps were perfect, 105-115 in the basking spot, and about 80 on the cool side. I was using a 75 watt repti basking spot lamp. Because he is growing I purchased a 40 long critter cage. It a a lot bigger, and especially deeper! The problem that I'm having now is the temps are kinda low! As of right now, I've increased the basking balb to a 100 watt, I also have a 10.0 uvb tube that I put in his basking area. The temps were so low that I added a secondary heat source. My thermometer is reading 89.9! I know this is not hot enough. Even if he sits closer, its still not warm enough. I guess my question is, should I use a 150 watt bulb or is this going to be too much? I love my beardie and only want what's best for him, but I don't wanna fry him! I'm also afraid that he isn't getting enough ubv sense all he does is bask and all my lights are crammed down on one end. I try to put the uvb tub as close to his basking area as I can. It seems like everyone has a different answer for what to do. I also was looking into mercury vapor bulbs, are these ideal for providing the best ubv, uva and heat? I know I have a lot of questions and I appologize, but its all in the best intrest of my beautiful baby drake! Any suggestions or answers would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again!!

    • vaskenhauri says:

      @alyssa,

      The first thing to check is that the thermometer is accurate. I had a cheaper one that read in the low 90s all the time, and when I got a $20 digital from Walmart it read over 105 degrees!!! Once you're sure that the temps are really in the high 80s, here's what you can try:

      I've always used MVB bulbs myself, in the 150W range. Because they use mercury and they put out UVB you need to be careful with the bulbs and not let them shine on people, just the beardie 🙂 It's really hard to overheat a 40 gallon tank with a single bulb, and you have to remember that the 40 has around 4 times as much air to heat as did the 20, so it will cool much faster. I've started ordering my bulbs from http://www.reptileuv.com/ and I use the 160W on my 40 gallon tank (I live in New Hampshire so it's usually about 65-70 degrees in my house during the winter). The bulbs seem to last about twice as long as the competitors' do, and at $50 a pop, that's important. Also, if you're happy with the light situation but want to add heat, a ceramic heat emitter is a much better choice, as you won't waste energy generating light that you really want to use to generate heat. You can find those at your local Petco or pet store.

  26. robbie says:

    I have a question regarding excessive pooping. Here's the background: My son has a bearded dragon, approximately 3 years old when he got her. When he got her, she was under a light, no telling how old. She was impacted and very sluggish……He immediately purchased a stronger heat lamp, we were able to unimpact (?) her, and she has been doing much better. She began shedding skin on her head over the holidays and now looks beautiful. During this time, my son purchased and installed a Reptisun 10.0 UVB light. Within I would say 24 hours of the installation of this light, his dragon has become extremely active. She looks great, BUT she is also pooping now 4-5 times a day. She acts as though she wants out of her 40 gallon tank, something she never, ever, did before. Just this morning she pooped in the tank, and then an hour later pooped again (on my son!). Any insights? Thanks!

    • vaskenhauri says:

      @robbie,

      I would try the following things:

      1) There's a chance that it's actually too hot in the cage now and the beardie actually does want to get to a cooler area. A digital thermometer from your local hardware store (spring for the $20 one) will tell you temps at either end of the tank–you definitely want the heat at once side so the beardie can self-regulate by moving towards or away from it. If it's more than 90-95 in the cool area, or above 110 in the hot area, you might consider reducing the time the heat lamp runs.

      2) If the activity is not because the beardie is trying to self-regulate, then you may have just re-awakened an energetic beast from its poor, impacted slumber. I've had a few beardies, some are crazy energetic, some are downright lazy. As long as your beardie has what it needs in terms of food, heat, and water, just make sure she's not injuring herself on the walls and you should be ok.

      3) 4-5 times a day is a lot, but if she hasn't gone in days, it may be perfectly natural. I have noticed that some beardies have a proclivity to pooping on their people, and they'll do it 5 minutes after they've just gone. If she's still having 4-5 movements a day in 3-4 days, it's probably worth a quick trip to the vet with one of those as a fecal sample (you may not even need to bring the beardie), so they can tell you if there's a parasitic infection to worry about.

    • vaskenhauri says:

      @robbie,

      I would try the following things:

      1) There's a chance that it's actually too hot in the cage now and the beardie actually does want to get to a cooler area. A digital thermometer with an external probe from your local hardware store (spring for the $20 one) will tell you temps at either end of the tank–you definitely want the heat at once side so the beardie can self-regulate by moving towards or away from it. If it's more than 90-95 in the cool area, or above 110 in the hot area, you might consider reducing the time the heat lamp runs.

      2) If the activity is not because the beardie is trying to self-regulate, then you may have just re-awakened an energetic beast from its poor, impacted slumber. I've had a few beardies, some are crazy energetic, some are downright lazy. As long as your beardie has what it needs in terms of food, heat, and water, just make sure she's not injuring herself on the walls and you should be ok.

      3) 4-5 times a day is a lot, but if she hasn't gone in days, it may be perfectly natural. I have noticed that some beardies have a proclivity to pooping on their people, and they'll do it 5 minutes after they've just gone. If she's still having 4-5 movements a day in 3-4 days, it's probably worth a quick trip to the vet with one of those as a fecal sample (you may not even need to bring the beardie), so they can tell you if there's a parasitic infection to worry about.

  27. muraad says:

    i have run out or crickets for my dragon and cannot get any until tommorow, it wont eat carrots and im not sure if it will be ok is there anything else i can give it to try my sister has and adult and she said that apples will work is this right my beardie is 2 to 3 months old

  28. A detailed guide on how to buy bearded dragons. Including how much they cost and where to buy them from. This article also outlines the pros and cons of buying an adult verses a juvenile dragon and how to determine if the dragon is healthy and in good condition.

  29. Becky says:

    We’ve just bought our first ever beardie and this morning I’ve turned his lights on in the Viv and he’s staying under his log! He’s awake but not coming out! He seemed really lively when we brought him home last night a bit skitty actually and ate a few hoppers then went under his log went to sleep and is still there this morning! Do they take long to come round in the mornings

    Thanku Becky u.k

  30. Fina says:

    I have a bearded dragon baby from the repticon in Raleigh on July 3. It is a baby male and is dong very well. I like this website a lot and it is helping me with my first bearded dragon!!! 🙂 ^^

    FINA

  31. Alice Cain says:

    I’m older (52) and a very new adopted dragon owner.
    I am in love.
    My darling is always constipated, but I found that a warm bath about every 3 days helps her to poop.
    Is that too much bathing?
    I wasn’t very worried, until I found something staying that too much time in water was bad for dragons.
    She’s usually not in the tub for over 15 minutes each time, then back into her toasty warm home.
    She’s between 6 and 7 years old.
    I think now that I was given the wrong type of bulb and that it needs to be replaced as its just now over 6 months.
    It’s an ExoTerra Reptile UVB 100.
    It’s a coil bulb that looks just like the newer coil bulbs you use in your house.
    I was just reading in another article that these don’t work very well.
    I started taking Lola outside to get some sun, only to find that I was taking her out at times when the UVB rats are too weak to really help her.
    So – thank you.
    You have answered MANY of my questions and given me a list of must do’s.
    Alice

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