Bearded Dragons
Did you know bearded dragons are not warm blooded or cold blooded?  
They are Ectothermic, this means they take on their environmental temperature

Bearded Dragons are terrestrial and arboreal in their habits, when choosing an appropriate terrarium we are trying to mimic the environment in which they would be found naturally. The minimum reptile enclosure size for an adult bearded dragon or pair should be 900mm x 600mm x 600mm. Bearded dragons in captivity need space, they love to run they love to dig as they do in the wild. Lots of space inside the terrarium makes an excellent environment which will maintain good health. Hide rocks and ornaments are a great place for your bearded dragon to retreat. They will offer a place of refuge while settling in providing suitable basking spots and allow a place to sleep. Be careful when introducing branches and rocks from outside, you may be unintentionally introducing mites into the enclosure.

Reptile mites not only look bad on lizards but they can cause some serious health problems. They can cause irritation, inflammation, problems with shedding (dysecdysis) and secondary bacterial infections of the skin. In heavy infestations on young or small lizards the mites may consume a large enough quantity of blood that they can cause a potentially life-threatening anaemia and immune suppression. Mites have also been implicated as a mode of transmission of various infectious agents. These included Aeromonashydrophilia, a common bacterium that causes pneumonia and infectious stomatitis (mouth rot) that can lead to septicaemia and death; viruses such as those causing Inclusion Body Disease (IBD) and Ophidian Paramyxovirus (OPMV); and parasites of the red blood cells and the blood stream.

Bearded dragons are ectothermic creatures, this means they take on their environmental temperature. If the temperature is warm they are warm, if the temperature is cold they are cold. If a bearded dragon is too cold it cannot digest any food that it has eaten and will not be able to fight off any infections. Undigested food will either cause the bearded dragon to vomit or slowly start to ferment within their stomach, bringing on illnesses. Their bodies are unable to naturally adjust their own heat, so we must do this for them. The perfect temperature for bearded dragons is around 30C. It is also important to ensure there is a warm and cool end of any enclosure. The warm end should be maintained at 30-33C, thus having a temperature gradient within the environment. 

The two types of lighting that is required to be used for the bearded dragon enclosures are UV-A and UV-B lights. As a diurnal animal, bearded dragons need the UV-A and UV-B rays.  The UV-B wavelengths help stimulate their appetite and provide energy for the formation of vitamin D, necessary for metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. The levels of calcium absorbed by the bearded dragons are consumed, and help reduce the risk of metabolic bone disease.  It is a MUST for all Beardies. UVB globes need to be replaced at least every 6-8 months as the UV diminishes with age. 

We always recommend the use of thermostats in conjunction with any heating source. The thermostat will take into account the environmental temperature and adjust heat accordingly. This will prevent the tank from overheating and more importantly give you peace of mind on hot days. Our staff at Northside will be able to help you choose the best thermostat for your needs and explain the differences. Digital Dimming Thermostats always make the best choice as they help extend the life of the globe and night time temperatures can be set.  

Food and Water 
Bearded dragons live in dry habitats where it is often too hot to move around to much. They tend to be opportunistic feeders and sit and wait for a meal to pass by before pursuing and devouring it. Bearded Dragons are omnivorous, consuming invertebrates, small vertebrates, foliage, fruits and flowers. Beardies will eat plant material such as sprouts, tomato, zucchini and fruits such as melon, apples and peaches. Beardies also eat insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, meal worms, pinkie mice, moths, slaters, and snails. There are also dry premium pellet foods available, that will offer a complete and stable diet. It is important to provide a variety within the diet with multi-vitamins and calcium added to maintain optimum health. Vegetation is the main source of water for your bearded dragon. It is also important to offer a small water dish, spray water on the beardie or a bath. Do not forget to worm your bearded dragon, like every other animal, beardies can also get worms. Worming should take place every month.

Calcium and Vitamins 
Calcium is critical for the overall health and development for all bearded dragons. Without the appropriate levels of calcium within their diet many problems may arise. Calcium helps balance out the phosphorus level, which is often high in live feeders. High Phosphorus can be damaging as this will alter or block out calcium conversion. If a bearded dragon is not able to pull enough calcium from its diet, their bodies will naturally derive calcium from different parts of their bodies. Their bones and spinal cord is often the first areas targeted. Breakage of their bones are eminent and possible nerve damage can occur. Twisted or deformed limbs are the first visible signs. From this point the bearded dragon has contracted Metabolic Bone Disorder (MBD), MBD damage cannot be reversed. Calcium supplements should be used with all bearded dragons, without exposure to UVB lighting oral calcium supplements cannot be absorbed.

Multivitamins and D3 will improve overall health and ensure your bearded dragon is receiving everything it nutritionally needs. Activated Vitamin D3 (Activated underexposure from correct UVB lighting) will be bind into a blood protein, which can be transferred to the liver via the blood stream. This will be utilized to metabolise dietary calcium and phosphorus.  

Terrarium substrates typically consist of sand, artificial grass and or bark chips. At Northside Pet Superstore we always recommend artificial grass substrate for our baby beardies. Sand is great for adults as they love to dig and rummage, sand obviously allows them to do this. However sand can sometimes compact in the young ones stomach and be rather abrasive when needed to pass. Make sure that the sand used inside the terrarium is a desert blend, as this has fortified calcium which can speed the beardies metabolism, ensuring a suitable substrate for adults.

Bearded Dragon Checklist
  • Terrarium or Vivarium
  • Heat Source
  • Thermostat
  • Water and Food Bowls
  • Food
  • Calcium and Vitamins
  • Substrate
  • Hide Rock
  • Ornament