The Australian bearded dragon is perhaps the world’s most popular lizards be kept as a pet. There is good reason to this – they are relatively easy to care for the calm and friendly nature.

Natural History
home to these lizards is the hot dry deserts of inland Australia so your beady require a similar environment in your home. They range greatly in colour from dark brown grey orange and red, typically their colour will reflect the likely saw colour of where particular individual lizard hails from.

Bearded dragons, especially those in captivity and handled early, will happily sit on your shoulder or hand without fighting scratching for attempting to flee.

Size and Longevity
On average they will grow to about half a metre long way half with males growing somewhat larger than females. There are of course variations on this average with smaller and larger individuals seen.

In captivity they live for around 10 years, which curiously seems to be the magic number when it comes to desired longevity age for a pet. (Maybe so parents don’t end up carrying pets once children leave the nest.)
Housing
as bearded dragons are not overly active lizards they require a relatively modest enclosure size. Babies are quite okay to be started out in a 40 L fish tank – but bear in mind these lizards grow quickly and two months a larger enclosure. Better to start with a 3 foot tank and be prepared to double that when your lizard is six months old.

Heating and Lighting
Understandably as they are desert species these lizards require ample amounts of heat light and they prefer a dry rather than in environment. The enclosure should lose asking rocks as well shaded areas – you can use either a basketball or a ceramic heat device keep your bearded dragon warm.

Whilst my time in the desert can drop below minus, in the desert your bearded dragon is able to shelter themselves from these low-temperature is so in captivity their enclosure should not drop below 23° C. They require access to UV light in order to synthesise vitamin D and absorb calcium failure to provide UV light will result in poor bone development. Consider using mercury vapour bowl which can provide heat and UV light in a single device.

Substrate and Furnishings
much of the deserts of inland Australia a rocky rather than Sandy, so you need not try and recreate the home environment with a layer of sand indeed this can be harmful to your bearded dragon especially to younger dragons as they can accidentally stand cause digestive problems. Better to use our pebbles or stone chips.

A bowl of water should be provided though will be on very rare occasions that your bearded dragon uses it as they rarely have access to water in the desert

Nutrition
Bearded dragons are omnivorous and a will eat variety of insects and plant matter. Their favoured diet in captivity consists mainly of crickets mealworms and roaches which should be readily accessible from your local pet shop. (You can also try using an insect trap to catch your own insect food to your bearded dragon though we don’t recommend you do much in the way to encourage cockroaches!)

They are ever hungry especially during their early growth period. Be sure to keep their diet varied – realistically it is difficult to actually overfeed these lizards however you will achieve this if you see them looking too fat.  Baby bearded dragon will easily eat a dozen crickets several times a day whereas an adult may not eat this much in two days.

Large bearded dragons can be fed pinkies or small mice, don’t feed them larger mice or rats as they can cause injury to your beady. The eye problem you are likely to encounter feed your dragon is the number of crickets you’ll need to keep perhaps even breed and the constant chirping noise they make.

Consider using a calcium and vitamin D three supplement with their feed especially for babies as this will promote proper bone development.

Handling
the bearded dragon is the epitome of a naturally friendly and domesticated reptile. They can be picked up and handled by anyone, though it is a good idea to make them feel safe and comfortable, not holding too high, in case they decide to make a dash for it resulting in them falling to the ground.

Always supervise young children when they are handling a bearded dragon. It is unlikely the dragon will bite them unless it is squeezed, but if it is treated overly roughly or dropped it will become wary of future handling. It may also become stressed and uninterested in food.

So if you’re thinking of getting a lizard for a pet would highly recommend the bearded dragon for the novice reptile keeper.