If you're considering adding a bearded dragon to your family, you've come to the right place. Bearded dragons are fascinating reptiles that make wonderful pets. However, proper care and attention are essential to ensure their health and well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to take care of a bearded dragon, from setting up their habitat to feeding and handling them. So, let's dive right in and become the best caretaker for your scaly friend!

How to Take Care of a Bearded Dragon

Setting Up the Perfect Habitat

Creating a suitable habitat for your bearded dragon is crucial for its overall health. Here are the key elements you should consider:

Tank or Enclosure: Choose a spacious tank or enclosure that allows your bearded dragon to move freely. The size should be at least 40 gallons for an adult dragon.
Lighting and Heating: Bearded dragons require access to both UVB and UVA light. Use a full-spectrum UVB light to simulate natural sunlight, along with a basking light to provide warmth.
Substrate: Opt for a substrate that is safe and easy to clean, such as reptile carpet or paper towels.
Hideouts and Decorations: Provide various hiding spots and decorations, including rocks, logs, and branches, to create a stimulating environment for your bearded dragon.

Feeding and Nutrition

A balanced diet is essential for the well-being of your bearded dragon. Here's how to ensure they receive proper nutrition:

Live Prey: Bearded dragons are omnivorous and require a diet consisting of both insects and vegetables. Offer a variety of live prey, such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches.
Leafy Greens and Vegetables: Include a selection of leafy greens and vegetables in their diet, such as collard greens, kale, squash, and bell peppers. Ensure these are finely chopped to avoid choking hazards.
Supplements: Dust the live prey and vegetables with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Water: Provide fresh and clean water daily in a shallow dish. However, bearded dragons primarily obtain their hydration from their food.

Handling and Bonding

Building a bond with your bearded dragon is a rewarding experience. Here are some tips for handling and bonding with your scaly companion:

Start Slow: Begin by allowing your bearded dragon to get used to its new environment before attempting to handle it.
Supportive Approach: When handling, support your bearded dragon's body with both hands to make it feel secure and reduce the risk of injury.
Regular Interaction: Spend quality time with your dragon outside of its enclosure to establish trust and familiarity.
Watch for Warning Signs: Pay attention to body language and signs of stress, such as a puffed-up beard or hissing, and give your dragon space if it displays these behaviors.

Common Health Concerns

Being proactive about your bearded dragon's health is essential. Here are some common health concerns and how to address them:

Metabolic Bone Disease: This condition occurs due to calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies. Provide adequate UVB lighting, a balanced diet, and regular access to calcium supplements.
Parasites: Regularly check your dragon for signs of external parasites, such as mites or ticks. Consult a reptile veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.
Respiratory Infections: Bearded dragons can develop respiratory infections if their habitat is too humid or if they are exposed to cold temperatures. Maintain the appropriate temperature and humidity levels.
Shedding Difficulties: Assist your bearded dragon during shedding by providing a humid hideout and ensuring proper hydration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should I feed my bearded dragon?
A: Juvenile bearded dragons should be fed 2-3 times a day, while adult dragons can be fed once a day.

Q: Can I keep multiple bearded dragons together?
A: It's generally not recommended to house multiple adult bearded dragons together as they can become territorial and aggressive.

Q: How long do bearded dragons live?
A: With proper care, bearded dragons can live anywhere between 8 to 12 years, and sometimes even longer.

Q: Do bearded dragons require special lighting?
A: Yes, bearded dragons require both UVB and UVA light to meet their lighting and heating needs.

Q: Can bearded dragons swim?
A: Bearded dragons are not natural swimmers and can drown in deep water. However, they may enjoy shallow water for hydration and soaking.

Q: How can I tell if my bearded dragon is sick?
A: Look out for signs such as loss of appetite, lethargy, abnormal stool, or any visible abnormalities. If you suspect illness, consult a reptile veterinarian.


Congratulations! You're now equipped with the knowledge to provide exceptional care for your bearded dragon. Remember to create a comfortable habitat, offer a balanced diet, handle them with care, and monitor their health regularly. By following these guidelines, you'll ensure a happy and healthy life for your scaly companion. So, go ahead and enjoy the wonderful journey of being a responsible bearded dragon owner!