Bearded dragon

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Mulberry Lane Vet Hospital
294 Lords Place
NSW 2800

02 6360 3071

Quick Facts:

− Common species kept as pets include the Eastern Bearded Dragon, Central Bearded Dragon and Pygmy Bearded Dragon (remember to check your states laws on keeping protected species).

− Some species can grow up to 50-60cm long (including tail).

− Bearded Dragons can live for around 12-15 years.



− Suitable enclosures include plastic tubs or clear plastic-fronted cabinets at least 1m long by 0.5m wide (depending on the size of the dragon).

− Dragons can be territorial and adult males will often fight if housed together.

− Boxes or rocks should be provided to hide under and branches to climb and bask on.

− Floor covering can be simply and hygienically provided by using newspaper or recycled paper kitty litter.

− A shallow water bowl should be provided, avoid large or deep bowls as the dragons often prefer less humidity and could drown. Juveniles should be sprayed daily with water in order for them to drink.

− Temperatures should be monitored at both ends of the enclosure using a thermometer, it is best to provide them with a 'cool' end and a 'hot' end. The hot end should be around 35-40C and the cool end around 25-28C. Use a thermostatically controlled ceramic or reflector globe to provide heat, overnight temperatures should not fall below 21C. To prevent this heat mats or weaker ceramic heat lamps may need to be used. Do not use heat rocks as these can cause burns to the Dragon.

− Dragons rely on UVB light to be able to adequately produce Vitamin D3 in their skin which is essential for proper calcium metabolism. Correct lighting can also stimulate natural foraging and feeding behaviours. UVB light can be provided by artificial UV-lights, most UV-lights designed for reptiles need to be placed at a minimum distance from the reptile and their UVB emission lifespan is usually around 3-6 months so need to be replaced at least every 6 months.

− However there is no substitute for natural sunlight! Bearded Dragons should be placed in sunlight for 20-30 minute periods 2-3 times a week. The sunlight should not pass through any glass or plastic as this can filter out the UVB rays. Ensure the Dragon is enclosed with an escape proof and predator proof cage and also that they have access to shade.



− Cages should be disinfected each week using a bleach and water solution (bleach 1:10 with water) and rinsed well afterwards.

− Dragons are omnivores, gradually becoming more herbivorous as they age, eating >75% vegetable matter. They should be fed a variety of insects including crickets, roaches, moths, beetles etc. The insects should be gut-loaded (fed) and dusted with calcium/vitamin/mineral powder before being offered.

− Greens and vegies can be offered including Asian greens, endive, dandelions, mustard greens, sweet potato, squash, carrots, beans and peas. The occasional fruit such as apple, pear and melons can also be offered.

− Juveniles should be fed 2-3 times daily with small portions no bigger than 1/3 the width of their head and as much as they can eat in 5-10 minutes. Adults can be fed every 2-3 days.

− Overhandling can become stressful though most Dragons can become very used to being handled. Ensure you support the whole body from underneath, particularly the fore and hind limbs and avoid squeezing them.


Health Notes:

− It is essential that you quarantine any new Dragon, it is not worth the risk of introducing disease or parasites to your existing Dragons.

− Always have any new Dragon examined by your vet and continue to have your Dragons vet-checked annually, especially if you intend to breed them. Parasite checks and blood screens can be also be performed. It is also a good idea to regularly weigh your Dragons.

− Always wash your hands after handling any reptile and between handling each one.

− Dragons can be transported individually in tied cotton bags, remember to ensure they cannot escape or overheat.


Copyright; Mulberry Lane Veterinary Hospital