Bearded Dragon

Pogona vitticeps

 

There are actually six different species of Bearded Dragon in the pet trade, the most common of which is “Pogona vitticeps” due to its peaceful temperament and a high tolerence of being handled.

Latin Names: Pogona barbata, Pogona henrylawsoni, Pogona microlepidota, Pogona minor, Pogona nullarbor, Pogona vitticeps.

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Temperament: Docile

Life Span: 7 – 12 Years

Size: 15″ – 20″ ¦ 230g – 520g (Adult Size)

Habitat: Australia – Semi Arid / Semi Arboreal – Rocks and Branches.

Diet: Insects, Vegetables – Mixed diet of small insects such as crickets and superworms, and plenty of leafy veg – Feed Daily (Adult) or 2 – 3 times a day for hatchlings (up to 2 months old).

Healthy veggies include; Broccoli, Bok Choy, Squash, Courgette, Carrot, Kale, Dandelion, Turnip Greens.

Avoid Lettuce, Fireflies, Rhubarb, Beetroot Greens, Avocado, Banana, Dairy, Fish, Meat other than Insects or the occasional pinky mouse if your Bearded Dragon is large enough.

Feed in Moderation: Eggs, Tomato, Spinach

Supplements: Vitamin D3, Calcium.

Hours of Activity: Diurnal – Bearded Dragons are most active during the day.

Handling: Very Tolerant – However, never pick them up by their tail as it can detach. Don’t cradle them, instead keep them upright and flat.

Temperature:
22°C – 26°C Ambient daytime temperature.
38°C – 42°C Basking temperature.

Humidity: 30% – 40% – Mist the Vivarium every 2 days.

Vivarium Size: 4 Feet (Length) X 2 Feet (Width) x 2 Feet (Height) (Minimum) – The bigger the better.

Substrate Type Newspaper, Reptile Carpet or Sand/Soil Mix.

Equipment Necessary: Glass Vivarium, UV and 40W – 75W Infrared Bulb for Basking, Misting System (or spray bottle) Heating Pads, Thermometer.

Cleaning Instructions: Replace substrate once a week and clean the Vivarium every 2 weeks with diluted soap and water. Spot clean any muck & remove old food. Waste should be brown pellets with pliable white urate.

Healthy Behaviour: Alternates between Basking and Cooling, actively moving about, Evades capture, Good Appetite
Sick Behaviour: Makes noises, basking all the time, Weight Loss, Not eating.

Provide a shallow water dish with clean water at all times. Soak your Bearded Dragon in water 3 times a week to aid in defecation.

One side of the tank should be designated for basking, with the other for cooling. Make sure to monitor the temperature of both sides with thermometers.

If the Bearded Dragon has its mouth open a lot, it may indicate overheating in the Vivarium.

Do not house more than 1 Dragon per Vivarium or they will fight for dominance.

Their tail can drop off and will not regenerate like in some other lizard species.

Common Problems:
Metabolic Bone Disease – Obvious signs of this are if the Bearded Dragon looks lethargic and is dragging its body, instead of standing proud on its limbs.

This is caused by a lack of Calcium in the diet, an excess of Phosphorus, or a lack of adequate UV lighting.

Intestinal Impaction – A sign of this is constipation.
This is caused by the Bearded Dragon consuming the substrate, most often sand or gravel.

Do not be alarmed if your Dragon’s beard turns black, as there are a whole host of reasons for this.
Many people assume that the Dragon is sick or is being neglected, but it could simply be getting used to its new enclosure.
They could also be undergoing Brumation, displaying territorial dominance over other specimens, or trying to attract a mate.