Bearded Dragon

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Animal Care


Bearded Dragon

Common Name: Bearded Dragon
Scientific Name: Pogona vitticeps
Lifespan: 8-10+ years
Size: 20-24 inches


The Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is a semi-arboreal dwelling lizard native to Australia. The name “Bearded Dragon” comes from the “beard” on the underside of the lizard’s throat. Bearded dragons have become one of the most popular pet lizards in the world due to their inquisitive disposition, robust personality, ease of care, and variety of colors and patterns.


Arid and Dry


Absolutely Necessary


80-98 °F



Most Active



8-10 Years


Bearded Dragons hatch out at approximately 3-4 inches inches in length. Like many species of lizards, males tend to be larger than females. Adult males range from around 20-24 inches in size. Females tend to average 20 inches.


In captivity, with proper care, Bearded Dragons can live 8-10 years or more. There have been records of Bearded Dragons even living to 18 years old.


When designing your Bearded Dragon’s enclosure make sure to remember that they are native to arid, dry regions with many options for climbing. Hatchlings can be kept in a 20 gallon tank for a very short time. Adults can be housed in a 40-gallon minimum but 60-75 gallon or larger is recommended.

Temperature & Humidity:

Providing a heat gradient with lows in the 80s and a basking spot of 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit is very important as reptiles are cold blooded and must be able to regulate their body temperature. A branch, rock, etc., should be placed about 5-6 inches under the heating element to ensure a proper basking spot and heat distribution. 

Humidity should be kept around 30-40 percent and increased during shedding. A great way to help control and maintain humidity during shedding and make your Bearded Dragon’s enclosure more natural is with Mosses. Golden and Green Sphagnum Moss are all excellent at storing and maintaining humidity to ensure a clean, perfect shed if you live in a very dry climate.

Substrate & Humidity:

Newspaper, paper towels, and terrarium liners are the best substrate options for Bearded Dragons. Avoid using substrates with larger granules as Bearded Dragons can accidentally ingest bedding, and this can require a vet visit. No matter what substrate you decide to use, make sure to keep an eye on humidity as too much or too little can cause problems. 


Providing a safe hiding place for your Bearded Dragon is extremely important to the overall health of your reptile. Bearded Dragons need a secure, dark cave or hide that they can retreat to in order to reduce stress and feel safe. It is best to have two hides in the enclosure with one placed on the hot side and one on the cold side. This is so the Bearded Dragon can properly control its temperature and feel safe no matter which side they choose. There are a variety of hides available on the market. Many of the hides can also be used as a base for their basking spot.


In addition to a basking spot, a full-spectrum UVB light is absolutely necessary. UVB lighting is essential in allowing Bearded Dragons to absorb Calcium D3. There are many options for UVB and basking elements. Consult a breeder or knowledgable pet store employee and research brands to determine the best options for your setup.


Bearded Dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat plant and animal matter. Dubia Roaches, Crickets, and Mealworms are the main insect diet of a healthy Bearded Dragon. Waxworms and Superworms can be fed on occasion as they are higher in fat. 

All feeder insects should be dusted with Calcium and Multivitamins, as well as gutloaded. Simply place the feeder insects and a small amount of powder into a plastic bag and shake lightly. Gut loading refers to feeding the insects nutritious food, generally powder or gel, for at least 12 hours before feeding to the bearded dragon. 

Make sure to provide an array of vegetables (romaine lettuce, carrots, zucchini, etc.), greens (mustard, dandelion, collard, etc.) and occasionally fruit (banana, apples, raspberries, etc.).


Use a misting bottle to lightly spray Bearded Dragons. They will lick the water droplets off their face or nearby decor. Using an eyedropper filled with water is another great way to keep your Bearded Dragon hydrated. Always provide fresh, clean water for your dragon. Make sure the water dish has steps so crickets can climb out and do not drown or contaminate the water.


Bearded Dragon enclosures need to have a good amount of climbing decor. Spider Wood, Grapevine, and Driftwood are popular climbing implements that provide a different texture and aid in shedding. Natural Stones and Mosses are also a great addition for general stimulation and enrichment with the added benefit of a naturalistic enclosure.

Interesting Facts:

  • Pogonas, the genus for Bearded Dragons, contains eight (some argue nine or ten) species of reptiles.
  • The “beard” can turn black for various reasons, the most common is a result of stress.
  • During courtship rituals, Bearded Dragons’ “beards” inflate, and they can also perform push-ups and arm waving.
  • Bearded Dragons go through brumation, a type of hibernation. During brumation they may go months without eating or drinking.