The Bearded Dragon

The Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

1. Habitat:

Bearded dragons need a spacious and adequately equipped enclosure. A 40-gallon tank is the minimum size for a single adult, but larger is always better.
Provide a secure lid to prevent escape.
Use reptile-safe substrates such as reptile carpet, ceramic tile, or non-adhesive shelf liner for the enclosure floor.
Furnish the habitat with branches, rocks, hide spots, and basking platforms to create a stimulating environment.
Maintain a temperature gradient with a basking spot around 95-105°F (35-40°C) and a cooler side around 75-85°F (24-29°C).
Use a UVB lighting source to provide essential UVB rays for proper calcium absorption (10-12 hours a day).

2. Diet:

Bearded dragons are omnivores. Their diet should consist of 70% insects (e.g., crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms) and 30% leafy greens and vegetables.
Offer a variety of insects for a well-rounded diet.
Leafy greens and veggies should include collard greens, mustard greens, kale, dandelion greens, and squash. Avoid lettuce and spinach.
Dust insects with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements a few times a week and a multivitamin once a week.
Provide fresh, clean water in a shallow dish. However, bearded dragons mostly get their hydration from their food.

3. Handling:

Bearded dragons can be gently handled but avoid excessive stress or rough handling.
Frequent, short handling sessions can help your dragon become accustomed to human interaction.

4. Cleaning:

Spot clean the enclosure daily to remove feces and uneaten food.
Perform a full substrate change every 4-6 weeks.
Clean and disinfect the entire enclosure and accessories as needed, using a reptile-safe disinfectant.
Ensure good hygiene to prevent the spread of bacteria.

5. Exercise:

Bearded dragons need space to roam. Allow supervised exploration outside of their enclosure to provide exercise.
Provide climbing opportunities and encourage natural behaviors within the enclosure.

6. Health Care:

Regularly monitor your dragon's health, looking for signs of illness such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or unusual behavior.
Be prepared for annual check-ups with a reptile veterinarian.
Be aware of common health issues such as metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and parasites.

7. Social Needs:

Bearded dragons are generally solitary animals, and housing them together can lead to stress and aggression.
Keep them separate unless you're an experienced breeder.

8. Lifespan:

Bearded dragons can live up to 10-15 years with proper care.
Remember that the specific requirements for your bearded dragon may vary slightly based on its age, size, and individual needs. Regular research and consultation with a reptile veterinarian are essential for ensuring your pet's well-being.

Brumation is a natural process that some reptiles, including bearded dragons, go through in response to changes in temperature and daylight hours. It's often referred to as a period of dormancy or reduced activity. During brumation, bearded dragons may become less active, eat less, and sleep more. It's important for bearded dragon owners to understand brumation and how to care for their pet during this period:

What is Brumation?

Brumation is a seasonal process that occurs in the cooler months, typically during late fall and winter, when bearded dragons experience a decrease in environmental temperatures and reduced daylight hours. It's a way for them to conserve energy and adapt to less favorable conditions.

What to Expect During Brumation:

Reduced Activity: Bearded dragons will become less active, spending more time in hiding or sleeping.

Decreased Appetite: They will eat less or may even refuse food altogether during this time.

Change in Behavior: Bearded dragons may become more irritable or display changes in behavior.

How to Care for a Bearded Dragon During Brumation:

Maintain Environmental Conditions: Ensure the enclosure temperature remains consistent within the recommended range. Even though your dragon may be less active, the basking spot should still be kept at the appropriate temperature (around 95-105°F or 35-40°C).
Maintain proper lighting, including a UVB light source.

Hydration: Continue to offer fresh water, but don't be alarmed if your dragon drinks less during brumation.

Monitor Weight: Keep an eye on your bearded dragon's weight. A significant weight loss may indicate a problem.

Handle Sparingly: Minimize handling during brumation, as it can be stressful for the dragon.

Keep a Journal: Record your dragon's behaviors and weight changes throughout the brumation period for reference.

End of Brumation:

As spring approaches and temperatures and daylight hours increase, your bearded dragon will naturally start to become more active and eat more.
Gradually reintroduce regular feeding and handling routines.
It's important to note that not all bearded dragons go through brumation, and the severity and duration can vary. If you're concerned about your bearded dragon's health or behavior during brumation, consult with a reptile veterinarian for guidance and a health checkup.

Remember that proper husbandry and a well-maintained habitat are essential to your bearded dragon's overall health, including their ability to go through brumation successfully.

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