Bearded dragon costs
As with any pet, keeping pet Bearded dragons are considered costly. The costs of keeping pet Bearded dragons can be broadly divided into the initial costs and the ongoing costs. The initial costs can be budgeted for, but the ongoing costs might change and might have additional ‘surprises’ later down the line.
Initial Bearded dragon costs
Initially, costs that have to be considered when obtaining a new Bearded dragon are the price of the Bearded dragon itself, the enclosure and its accessories, food, the price of getting the accessories installed correctly, and the price of an consultation fee for the initial veterinary visit.
The costs of a properly set up Bearded dragon enclosure can set you back quite a bit. It is actually normal to pay three to four times more for the enclosure and all of its accessories than for the Bearded dragon itself. A proper sized, good quality and well maintained enclosure will last the lifetime of the Bearded dragon. Additional accessories such as proper UV and heating, a basking rock and a suitable substrate will also contribute to the initial costs. If these accessories are not pre-installed, a professional might have to be paid to do the job safely.
We often forget the initial visit to a veterinarian. During this visit, veterinarians are able to do a general health inspection and test the stool for internal parasites (so don’t forget to take a poop sample with). Coccidiosis is a common internal parasite in Bearded dragons. Apart from addressing potential future and current medical conditions, reptile friendly veterinarians often has experience and good advice based on the mistakes of other local pet Bearded dragon keepers.
Ongoing Bearded dragon costs
Although the initial costs can set you back quite a bit, ongoing costs also need to be considered. Ongoing costs will be things such as the price of food and supplements, replacement and maintenance of electrical accessories, additional/routine veterinary costs, the price to replace the substrate and enclosure furniture and the costs of electricity.
Food, mainly live insects, is probably going to be the most expensive part of keeping a pet Bearded dragon. Apart from the need of having a constant, reliable supply of live crickets, one must also consider the price of these insects. Although it is cheaper in the States and probably other parts of the world, in South Africa a week’s supply of crickets can easily set you back about ZAR120.
In addition to food, commercially available food supplements will also be required. Fresh (non-expired) multivitamin and calcium supplemention in the form of powders, liquids, pellets and cricket food, has to be replenished as they get used.
Vivarium accessories, such as UV lighting, need to be replaced at least every six months. Other hardware that need regular inspection and replacement includes the wiring, the bulbs and the vivarium substrate. A proper disinfectant suitable and safe for Bearded dragons needs to be replenished as it gets used.