Basic Bearded dragon requirements
When their basic requirements are met, Bearded dragons are fairly easy to keep as pets. Without going into too much details, here are the 7 basic requirements to keep a happy, healthy pet Bearded dragon.
The first requirement for keeping a Bearded dragon is somewhere to stay in. Needing lots of space, the enclosure must be large enough to accommodate the number of Bearded dragons to be housed. It must also be large enough to allow adequate lighting, heating and furniture (see later). For pet Bearded dragons, practical enclosures include glass tanks/vivariums and cabinets. Enclosure sizes are very often dependent on what is commercially available, e.g. the average sized glass tank/aquarium or, in the case of South Africa, the average sized reptile cabinet. Also see Bearded dragon housing requirements for more information…
The correct food
Although other commercial food sources are available, Bearded dragons are popularly fed crickets and a combination of greens. Crickets and greens need to be fresh, the correct size and needs to be replaced every day. Crickets needs to be gut-loaded shortly before being fed.
For various behavioural and physiological reasons, Bearded dragons need to spend much time basking. A basking area can be supplied by using something as simple as a rock with a heat source shining over it. Also see creating a basking area for pet Bearded dragons for more information…
Furniture are functional items that are added to a Bearded dragon’s enclosure. Bearded dragons will need shallow containers for their food and water. They will also benefit greatly from an additional, but cooler, sitting area (opposite the basking area) – often supplied as a piece of log or driftwood.
The substrate is what is on the floor of the enclosure. The substrate should be easy to clean, absorbent and digestible and safe when swallowed. Good substrates for Bearded dragons include news- or brown butcher paper, carpet, plastic foam mats, Astroturf, alfalfa / rabbit pellets or maize / corn meal. Also see Bearded dragon substrates for more information…
Ultraviolet (UV) lighting is responsible for calcium metabolism and enhances the sight of Bearded dragons. The full spectrum of UV lighting is usually supplied as specialized desert reptile tubes or spotlights. Also see why Bearded dragons need UV lighting for more information…
In order to enhance the quality of their food, it needs to be supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Supplementation is done through gut-loading and/or dusting. Most Bearded dragons will benefit from a calcium/VitD supplement on top of a multivitamin supplement.
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