What Do I Need For a Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragon accessories

Bearded Dragons Might be Just the Pet You’re Looking For.

What do I need for a bearded dragonIf you’re in the market for a new friend, it is common to look for one of the fuzzy or scaled variety. However, reptiles, especially bearded dragons, make great pets. They are some of the most unique and happy-go-lucky reptiles on the market. They are the perfect option for someone looking for a new companion.

Why do Bearded Dragons Make Such Great Pets?

Let us count the ways. They are easy for beginning reptile parents and do well with children, as they are larger than other reptilian pets. Bearded Dragons, or their scientific name, Pogona barbata, can also live up to fifteen years with good care, so this is not a pet you’ll be replacing every few years. They come in a variety of exotic, beautiful colors, such as red, orange, yellow, and blue. Plus, their beard is an attractive feature unique to this dragon. Last, but certainly not least, they have large personalities. They are very content animals and like to bob their heads, wave their arms, and interact in other ways with their owners. Many enjoy having a bath or taking a walk. All you need is a proper leash, and you’re good to go!

What is a Bearded Dragon’s Natural Habitat?

Bearded dragons originally lived in the dry deserts of Australia. They like a hot climate but also need cycles of cooler temperatures, like they would experience in the wild.

What Do I need for A Bearded Dragon?

What Type of Enclosure Do I Need for a Bearded Dragon?

They are used to an arid climate, so they need to live in terrariums that are continuously heated and dry. Typically, you will need a 55-75-gallon tank with a screened top made of metal, rather than plastic. Dragons need a lot of heat to stay healthy, and plastic screens do not hold up well. You should also avoid using glass as a topper. Glass-enclosed tanks tend to overheat and filter out UVB rays, which are crucial for your dragon’s health. If needed, you can buy locking lids for the enclosure. This is important if you have young children or other pets in the house.

What Kind of Bedding do Bearded Dragons Need?

You will need to supply the tank with a substrate, such as sand or carpeting. Whatever substrate you use, make sure your pet is not ingesting it. The most common ones to avoid are wood shavings, shells, or loose sand. These can cause gut impaction and other health problems. Some companies make digestible sand that should not cause gut impaction. If you want to be extremely careful, you can use paper towels, newspaper, or ceramic tiles to line your tank.

What is the Best Option for Heating a Bearded Dragon Enclosure?

There are a few options for heating your enclosure, the three most popular being heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, and heating mats. Each accomplishes a different task for supplying heat. You can read more about each in this article. Heat lamps provide both heat and light, which are vital to the health of your dragon. However, your dragon also needs darkness to be able to sleep through the night.

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Ceramic heat emitters provide heat via infrared waves in an overhanging bulb, which makes them the perfect source of light for overnight heating. If you still need additional heating, heating mats provide direct contact heat. They adhere to the bottom of the tank and are location-specific when heating. While these are nice for heating your dragon’s body, be careful to make sure they don’t overheat. Dragons cannot feel heat through their stomach, so they will not sense when it becomes too hot.

What Do I Need to Feed my Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragon accessoriesBearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Therefore, they need a mixed diet of insects and plants. When beardies are young, be careful to feed them easily digestible insects, such as crickets, (yes you can buy crickets on amazon)so they do not experience gut impaction. Once they are older, you can introduce more insects and animals, such as worms or small mice.

It is also recommended to use a multivitamin dusting of calcium and vitamin D on the insects to help keep your dragon’s bones and digestive system healthy. Do not feed them insects caught in the wild, and rotate the feeding of insects with leafy greens and fruits. They also need dechlorinated water to drink.

Are There Any Other Accessories I Should Consider?

Beardies love to perch, which means you’ll want to provide areas for “basking” in the sun. Adding a few rocks or a large piece of wood to your tank is the perfect way to give your pet a sense of home. Just make sure to avoid putting live plants you don’t want your dragon to eat.

They also need a place where they can hide. When bearded dragons become stressed, they look for shelter. Adding a box or place they can hide is important to keep your dragon happy and healthy. Lastly, make sure you have a scoop, like one you’d use for cat litter, to keep their tank clean.

Conclusion

As you can see, bearded dragons are some of the most unique and fun pets. They enjoy interacting with their owners and are generally very agreeable. Once you have everything set up, their maintenance is minimal and simple. So, what’s stopping you from going and buying your own bearded dragon?

Should You Choose a Heating Pad for Your Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragon heating pad

Bearded Dragon Heating PadBearded dragons make phenomenal pets. They have great personalities, come in a spectrum of beautiful colors, and have fairly easy maintenance. Check out this blog post to learn more about why they make such great companions! One of the biggest maintenance questions, however, is how to heat these cold-blooded critters. It isn’t as simple as throwing a blanket over the top of them or leaving their tank in direct sunlight. They are used to their natural habitat in the warm Australian desert.

What Is the Ideal Temperature for a Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragons need an external temperature of ~95℉ (35℃) during the day. In addition to heat, they need cycles of light and darkness. Unlike most reptiles, beardies are diurnal, meaning they are awake during the day and sleep through the night. To keep this cycle, they need heat and light during the day and cooler temperatures and darkness during the night. You should shoot for 10-14 hours of light and 10-14 hours of darkness.

Does my Bearded Dragon Need Heat at Night?

Yes. Bearded dragons need heat 24/7 to keep regulate their body temperature. While you might not need to heat the tank at night, if your house or apartment cools to a temperature less than 65℉ (18℃) during the night, you will need to provide extra heating.

So how does one properly achieve this heat? There are a few options, the most common being heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, and heating pads. Each of these accomplishes a different task in supplying heat, light, or both to your reptilian friend.

Can I Use a Heating Pad for My Bearded Dragon?

Heating pads (or mats) are a viable option for providing the heat needed for a bearded dragon. It is important to note, however, that these are not the same type of heating pads humans use. Heating mats for bearded dragons stick to the bottom of the tanks and provide infrared heat waves through contact. They are the most controversial heating source, as many experts debate whether they provide more harm than good.

Bearded dragons benefit from heating their stomachs, as this helps with digestion. Unfortunately, beardies cannot feel heat through their stomachs, so they don’t know when things become too hot. Many argue that the only heat sources used should be ones that emit heat or light from above the tank. Since heating mats can overheat without the dragon realizing it, some believe it is not worth the risk. Others, however, maintain heating mats are viable sources of heat for bearded dragons if they are maintained correctly.

The important thing to remember. if you decide to use a heating mat, is to ensure the mat’s temperature is controlled. You can buy heating mats that come with automatic heat control, or you can use a thermostat to guarantee it won’t overheat. You should also make sure your dragon’s skin never comes directly into contact with the mat. This might require adding extra sand or substrate. As long as you are continuously checking the condition and temperature of the heating mat, they are fine to provide some extra heat for your dragon.

Heating Pad vs. Heat Lamp

Another heating source popular with experts is the heat lamp. Unlike heating pads, heat lamps hang over the tank and are useful for providing both heat and light. They should only be used during the day, so the dragons can easily get to sleep at night. Beardies really enjoy “basking” in the sun, but putting terrariums directly in sunlight can cause the tank to overheat. Therefore, these lamps are great to provide a safe place for these pets to enjoy some artificial sunlight. They also have a less chance of overheating, so they are safer than heating pads.

Heat lamps are available in various wattage for the various sizes of tanks, typically ranging from 50-150 watts. The bigger the tank, the need for more heat and higher wattage. There are also nighttime bulbs to use if your house does not supply enough heat overnight. The important thing to remember is dragons need darkness in order to sleep, so you should not leave regular heat lamps on overnight.

Heating Pad vs. Ceramic Heat Emitter

If it sounds like a lot of work to have to change out light bulbs every 10 hours, you might want to look into ceramic heat emitters. These look like light bulbs but, like heating pads, only emit infrared waves. However, they supply heat from above, like heat lamps. They come in the same range of wattage as heat lamps, 50-150, but they tend to last longer than heat lamp bulbs. Ceramic heat emitters are especially good for overnight heating because they do not supply light and will not overheat.

Conclusion

So, what is the best path to provide heat for your bearded dragon? The main issue with only using a ceramic heat emitter or heating pad is bearded dragons still need exposure to UVA and UVB rays. They need their “basking” time to ensure they stay happy and healthy. Really, a combination of the three is the best way to ensure your pet is getting the heat they need in all the ways they need it. The heat lamp provides a “basking” area during the day, the ceramic heat emitter supplies heat during the night, and the heating mat provides an area of extra heat if needed.

Still, you can get by without all three, so long as you make sure to provide enough heat and light during the day and enough heat overnight. As always, keep an eye on your bearded dragon, and adjust to their needs. Their physical and emotional health greatly depends on their environment, and they will let you know if it is not to their liking.