Bearded dragons can live for 12-15 years and can grow to 50-60cm.
They can become very used to being handled although over-handling can be stressful for them. When handling dragons it is important to support the whole body from underneath. It is important to always wash your hands after handling any reptiles and between handling different reptiles.
They are gentle and curious and can make good pets however it is important to follow basic housing and feeding requirements to ensure your bearded dragon stays healthy.
- Bearded dragons can be housed indoors but require artificial heat and light sources.
- Plastic tubs or clear plastic fronted cabinets are suitable and need to be at least 1m long x 0.5m wide. The enclosure must be disinfected weekly with bleach diluted in water 1:10 and rinsed thoroughly.
- Floor covering should be newspaper or recycled paper kitty litter. Dragons need areas to hide and climb and bask.
- The enclosure should have a temperature gradient, having a hot (35-40°C) and a cool (25-28°C) end. Thermometers should be used to monitor these. At night the temperature should not fall below 21°C. Use thermostat controlled ceramic or reflector globes and heat mats to achieve this.
- Dragons have strict requirements for UVB light. Artificial lights providing UVB spectrum should be provided for 12 hours each day, and 2-3 times per week dragons should be placed in unfiltered sunlight for 20-30 minutes.
- Provide a small water bowl but ensure the dragon cannot drown in it. Juveniles need to be sprayed daily with water for them to drink.
- Bearded dragons are omnivores but gradually become more herbivorous as they age (>75% vegetable matter).
- Offer a variety of insects and greens (endive, asian greens, squash, sweet potato, carrots, peas, beans) with small amounts of fruit.
- Insects should be dusted with calcium/vitamin/mineral powder just before feeding. If purchasing crickets these should be fed with gut-load prior to feeding.
- Juveniles should be fed 2-3 times each day with crickets and salad pieces no bigger then 1/3 width of their head and as much as they can eat in 5-10 minutes. Adults only need to be fed every 2-3 days.
Water should be fresh and clean and always available. Spraying and misting the environment daily (not the dragons themselves) is recommended. Dragons can be soaked in a warm water bath to encourage drinking.