The Best Things for Bearded Dragons
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the best things for bearded dragons! At Rettili Club, we are not just a team, but a family of passionate reptile enthusiasts. Our love for these amazing creatures has brought us together, and it is what fuels us every day. In this article, we will explore the essential items and tips for keeping your bearded dragon happy and healthy. So, let’s dive right in!
1. Enclosure and Habitat
The foundation of a happy and thriving bearded dragon is a proper enclosure and habitat setup. Here are the key considerations:
a. Terrarium Size
Bearded dragons need ample space to roam and explore. We recommend a terrarium size of at least 40-75 gallons for adult bearded dragons. For hatchlings and juvenile dragons, a smaller enclosure can be used, gradually upgrading the size as they grow.
b. Lighting and Heating
Bearded dragons require both UVA and UVB lighting for proper calcium absorption and overall health. Ensure you have a full spectrum UVB light setup, such as the Zoo Med ReptiSun Terrarium Hood.
A basking spot with a temperature of 95-105°F is essential for thermoregulation. A reliable heat source like a ceramic heat emitter or a halogen heat bulb should be used alongside a thermostat to maintain appropriate temperature levels.
Choosing the right substrate is crucial to prevent impaction and ensure a hygienic environment. Some safe options are reptile carpet, non-adhesive shelf liners, or ceramic tiles. Avoid loose substrates like sand or crushed walnut shells, which can be ingested and lead to digestive issues.
2. Feeding and Nutrition
A proper diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of your bearded dragon. Here’s what you need to know:
a. Live Insects
Bearded dragons are insectivores and thrive on a diet primarily consisting of live insects. Some excellent choices include crickets, mealworms, dubia roaches, and phoenix worms. It’s important to provide appropriately-sized prey based on the dragon’s age and size.
b. Leafy Greens and Vegetables
In addition to insects, a variety of leafy greens and vegetables should make up around 20-30% of their diet. Nutritious options include collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, bell peppers, and butternut squash, among others. Avoid feeding iceberg lettuce as it lacks nutritional value.
c. Calcium and Vitamin Supplements
To ensure optimal bone health and prevent metabolic bone disease, it’s crucial to provide calcium and vitamin supplements. Dusting food with a quality calcium supplement, such as Repashy Calcium Plus, is vital for proper absorption.
3. Environmental Enrichment
Keeping your bearded dragon mentally stimulated and engaged is important for their overall well-being. Here are some ways to provide environmental enrichment:
a. Hiding Spots and Climbable Decor
Bearded dragons require hiding spots and climbable decor inside their enclosure. Natural-looking rocks, branches, and reptile caves provide them with opportunities for exploration and to exhibit their natural behaviors.
b. Basking Perches and Platforms
Provide a basking perch or platform under the heat source, allowing your dragon to soak up the warmth and bask comfortably.
c. Toys and Puzzle Feeders
Introduce interactive toys and puzzle feeders, such as balled-up paper or treat-dispensing toys, to stimulate their foraging instincts and keep them mentally active.
4. Hydration and Cleaning
Proper hydration and cleanliness are essential for your bearded dragon’s health. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
a. Water Bowl
Always provide a shallow water bowl for drinking and occasional soaking. Ensure the bowl is easily accessible and cleaned regularly to maintain hygiene.
b. Regular Bathing
Bearded dragons benefit from regular baths to aid hydration and promote shedding. Ensure the water is lukewarm, not hot, and supervise them during bath time.
c. Cleaning and Sterilization
Regularly clean and sterilize your dragon’s enclosure, accessories, and dishes. Use reptile-safe disinfectants and avoid harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your pet.
By following these tips and providing the best things for your bearded dragon, you can ensure they live a happy and fulfilling life as part of your family. From the right enclosure setup and proper nutrition to environmental enrichment and hygiene, your bearded dragon will thrive with your love and care. Remember to conduct further research and consult with a reptile veterinarian for personalized guidance. Happy bearded dragon keeping!
Disclaimer: This article provides general recommendations and should not replace professional veterinary advice.