Appreciate A Dragon Day 2023 is on Monday, January 16, 2023: Is a bearded dragon a good choice for a first lizard?
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YES Bearded Dragons are great beginner pets! Most tend to be very docile and "Tame". I would say they are pretty low maintenance but you still should clean out the tank every day and you need to feed them everyday and give them salad and make sure they get there water that they need etc.
I will post my guide here so you can buy everything BEFORE you get your bearded dragon =)
Heres Everything you will need for a bearded dragon (I wrote this my self)
TANK:40 gallon breeder tank is the bare minimum size tank for a adult
Bearded dragon. I would recommend A 55 gallon or a 75 gallon tank.
Or you can build a custom tank (this is what I did)
Here is a link--
For babies I would recommend a 20 gallon long tank. Or you can just buy
one of the bigger tanks and put some card board in there to make the tank
smaller (so your bearded dragon doesnt get overwhelmed).
SUBSTRATE: Dont use any loose substrate as this can cause impaction and
that can kill your bearded dragon =(. Please use solid substrate like
paper towels,news paper. I have found NON-ADHESIVE shelf liner to work
best for bearded dragons its cheap and you can get in different colors!
UVB BULB: You will need a 10.0 Uvb bulb, fluorescent UVB bulbs tend to
work alot better. The compact uvb bulbs are know to burn your beared
dragons eyes! (You will need to replace the Uvb bulb every six months)
BASKING BULB: I have been using the Zoo Meds basking spot lamp.This is
working out great for me. It keep the basking spot exactly the right temp.
You can use house bulbs just check the basking spot and make sure it gets
around 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit.
LIGHT FIXTURES: You will need two of these one for the basking lamp and
one for the uvb bulb (the uvb bulb fixture will depend if you use compact
bulb or the fluorescent bulb)
BASKING SPOT/DECORATIONS: You should get a branch of some sort at your
local pet store for your bearded dragon so it can get closer to the
basking bulb and closer to the uvb bulb. Decorations can really make your
tank stand out! stuff like a little water fall,fake plats, statues.
LITTLE STUFF YOU WILL NEED:
*Food bowl for veggies
*water dish of some sort to keep humidity up
*Screen lid for top of tank (dont want your bearded dragon escaping!)
FOOD: You need to be able to have live crickets (dont feed them meal worms
this can cause impaction) for your bearded dragon daily. So it is best to
buy them in bulks online or breed them. here is a couple websites where
you can buy them in bulks.
- You can also buy many things from them
-Best quality crickets you can find
VEGGIES: You will need to provide veggies for your bearded dragon daily
You should feed them stuff like Collard Greens,Mustard Greens,Green beans,
Butternut Squash etc. Here is a link of save stuff he/she can eat
Continue your research here
Best of luck to you and your future bearded dragon!
Is my Bearded Dragon okay?
First and foremost, they need to be separated. In fact, his injury is probably due to an attack from the other dragon. And that may be the reason he is lethargic as well, because he is very stressed. The fact that she basks, while he hides is a HUGE indicator of co-habitation stress. Dragons live in solitude in the wild, only coming together to mate. They see another dragon in their enclosure as an intruder and this causes a lot of stress. Stress can cause a reptile's health to decline rapidly. A common sign of dominance that will cause stress is basking and sleeping on top of each other. Classic signs of stress include not eating, sleeping a lot, and finally, one will grow while the other remains small. Eventually, they will fight, resulting in a severely injured dragon or a dead dragon. It may not happen this week, or this month, or this year, but it WILL happen.
As for the tail, you can soak it in diluted betadine (NEVER hydrogen peroxide) and dab neosporin. It should fall off on its own, but if the black, necrotic skin starts to spread up his tail, he'll need vet attention ASAP or the injury could become septic and kill him. If you're really brave, you could sterilize some SHARP scissors and cut off the tail where it's hanging. From what you describe, the skin there is dead, so it shouldn't hurt him to do that. A vet would probably do it for just the cost of an office visit, and could also prescribe you some antibiotics to keep it healthy.
A couple other issues: You need to know exactly what the temps are. The only accurate way to measure is with a temp gun or a digital thermometer with a probe directly on the basking spot. This temp should be 100-110 (37.7-43.3C) provided with a bright white basking bulb, which can be just a normal household bulb and the cool side should be around 80 (25.5-27.7C). Temps are essential to digestion, so if your temps are not hot enough, he could be at risk of impaction and other digestive issues. (Walmart sells a digi indoor/outdoor therm by Acurite for $12 in the hardware section with the other outdoor therms which will work perfectly.)
Lettuce is not a good food...all water and no nutrition. He needs a salad of a dark, leafy green (like collards) and some other healthy veggie (like squash) available every day.
Here is a good site to show which bugs and veggies you should feed your dragon (and which ones you shouldn't!):
He also needs bugs every other or every few days. Good bugs: crickets, roaches, superworms, hornworms, phoenix worms, silkworms. Bad bugs: mealworms, waxworms, pinkies.
Also keep in mind that he is going though some relocation stress right now and could be contributing to why he's not eating and acting lethargic. Also, beardies brumate during the cold weather and that could contribute as well, but since he's not 100% healthy, you need to try to keep him awake and eating until you get your husbandry honed in.
Sitting with mouth open is called gaping and is similar to dogs panting, a way to displace some heat. If he opens his mouth as you approach, that could certainly be fear or him just trying to scare you away. Just keep handling him on a regular basis and he'll get used to you.
Oh, one more thing...your UVB should be as close to the basking bulb as possible, so they can soak up the UVB rays as they bask. Having it close to the basking light also helps protect their eyes from UVB. Unfortunately, most UVB bulbs on the market are not good quality and can cause health and particularly eye problems in dragons. All compact coil bulbs are dangerous, and the only recommended linear fluorescent bulb is the ReptiSUN 10.0 (not ReptiGLO) in the US or the Arcadia 12% in the UK ()
Please continue your research at to learn everything you need to know about taking care of your dragon!
Best of luck!
Looking for dragon books?
Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne MacCaffrey.
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
All three are first in a series.