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Bearded Dragon care

Beardie care sheet

Minimum Requirements

4ft x 24” x 24” or bigger. (LxHxD)

UVB lighting T5 12% which needs to be 2/3 the length of the vivarium.

A heat bulb on an appropriate thermostat with a heat guard protects the animal from the heat source.


A broad range of calcium and vitamin supplements.


All heat sources should be positioned at the same end of the vivarium to create a hot basking end. This allows for a temperature gradient so that the opposite end is the cool end. Bearded dragons require a basking spot of 35-42°C, to achieve this use a thermostat and set it to 35°. Place the thermostat probe off-centre within the 1/3 of the vivarium where the heat source is.

Thermostats regulate the temperature for you allowing for a stable and accurate temperature at all times within the vivarium. There are a variety of thermostats. Dimming is recommended for spot bulbs whilst pulse is better with ceramics. If you have a digital such as an Evo lite microclimate thermostat you can simulate their natural cycle and set multiple temperatures throughout the day.


A nighttime drop of no less than 18°C on the cooler side can be beneficial as this is a natural occurrence for them and enables them to be more active during the day. Do not worry about your beardie being cold to touch in the morning as they will bask to warm up. If your house is too cold this is not advised. Just turn the thermostat down to 18°C to simulate this.

The recommended heat bulbs are deep heat projectors or ceramic bulbs. You will also find their hold heat much better than a standard basking bulb. For more information please ask.

UVB lighting is required for 12-14 hours a day. Hours outside can upset their endogenous circadian cycle. We recommend the T5 Pro 12% UVB lighting which should be 2/3 the length of the vivarium to create a UVB gradient, The benefits of the T5 range are that the UVB wavelength can reach a further distance with a 12-month virtually guaranteed UVB output. If other UVB tubes are used ensure to replace them every 6 months unless the manufacturer advises otherwise.Using a reflector increases the amount of UVB reflected down. Reptiles are adapted to live with strong UVB from above; ensure you position the UV lighting from above and not at eye level or within 45 degrees of the eye as this could cause severe damage (photo keratoconjunctivitis or cataracts).UVB is required to start a chain of reactions within your beardie to keep them healthy. When exposed to UVB the bearded dragon turns pro vitamin D, which is in the skin, into pre-vitamin D. The heat from basking then converts the pre-vitamin D into vitamin D3. This is used in the liver and kidneys to create a hormone called calcidiol which coverts D3 to aid in the absorption of calcium from digested food (which includes the calcium supplement you provide). Failure to provide the correct level of UVB lighting for your bearded dragon can result in irreversible metabolic bone disease.

Cleaning, Substrate and Furnishings

There are many opinions as to what substrate should be used for your bearded dragon. We recommend bearded dragon substrates or a good quality corn cob substrate. Though there has been some success with sand and beech chip, there are certain products such as calci-sand that have been seen to cause impaction in bearded dragons. We favour a loose substrate compared to carpets as this encourages natural behaviours such as digging.The vivarium should be spot cleaned on a regular basis, if done thoroughly a full clean should only need to be done every 4-6 weeks. Ensure you only use disinfectants specifically intended for reptiles. Other products can be toxic. We recommend that after each clean, to change up the furnishings for enrichment giving them a new environment to explore. Ensure décor/furnishings are from a recognized dealer to ensure they're safe for use for your bearded dragon. Some beardies have been known to accidentally eat fake plants, you should ensure they have enough greens in their diet and if this persists remove the fake plants as consumption of plastic is dangerous.

Diet & Nutrition

Your bearded dragon is an omnivore and requires both insects and greens. These two should be alternated throughout the week so that one day your beardie is fed insects the next, leafy greens and vegetables. The vegetable part should constitute for 90% leafy greens and 10% fruit and vegetables, Safe insects; locusts, crickets, mealworms, Dubai roaches, morio worms and wax worms. The best way to determine the amount of food your dragon requires is to start with 6 hoppers and if they are all eaten straight away provide your dragon with more until they actively stop chasing the food. Mealworms can be given in a bowl to allow grazing throughout the day. With the vegetables put a sizeable amount in the vivarium in the morning and remove any leftovers in the evening. It is worth remembering that if food is taken from outside that no pesticides or fertilizers have been used. Never feed anything picked from the side of the road due to exhaust fumes.


Health & 

If you are worried about your animals' health seek advice from a

respected dealer and if still in doubt, contact a specialist veterinarian.

There are a few symptoms to monitor:

  • Unusual lethargy - muscle weakness

  • Deformations - Fragile bones, lumps and bends in spine/tail/joints

  • Prolonged lack or loss of appetite

  • Dehydration - eyes sinking into the back of the head

  • Cloudy, unclear or sticky eyes

  • Discharge from the nose

  • Prolonged diarrhoea or constipation

  • Discolouration of the scales outside of shedding

A bearded dragon's environment is very dry and hot for a substantial part of the day and so should not be exposed to high humidity for long durations of time. However, at dawn and dusk it is natural for there to be a spike in humidity which helps with keeping your beardie hydrated so give them a light spray in the morning and let the heat dry the cool end of the vivarium during the day.

Bearded dragons are considered solitary animals as they can become territorial. Under the correct circumstances with the correct sex ratios, then some can live in group scenarios, however, ensure you gather all the necessary advice before doing this. If you decide to purchase a second dragon, ensure they're of compatible sizes and ages. Ensure they receive equal amounts of food to ensure the same growth rate. Ask a respected dealer for more information.


It is important that you allow your bearded dragon to settle in before you start handling. 2 weeks is usually sufficient as long as your dragon is feeding and expressing natural behaviours. Bearded dragons are naturally good at being handled so there's no need to excessively restrain or handle them as this could cause defensive, aggressive, or reclusive behaviours and feelings for your dragon. Always handle your dragon near a surface as accidents do happen.


So, you think you're ready to take home your new bearded dragon? Download our check sheet to be sure:

Pop in store for a free print out of this care sheet, or download a PDF version here:


Don't forget that the team at Small World Reptiles are always here for you - whether you are a first-time snake owner or an experienced one. 

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