Bearded Dragon

The Central or Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is a type of agamid lizard found in the desert regions of Australia. Of the several species of the Pogona genus, P. vitticeps is the most commonly seen in pet stores.

Bearded dragons are omnivores, consuming a wide variety of foods. In captivity, dragons will eat salads, crickets, mealworms (however mealworms should not be given to young dragons due to potential impaction issues), and as treats, superworms. Never collect your own insects, as they may have eaten a pesticide somewhere else in the neighborhood. NEVER allow any reptiles to eat fireflies. Just one firefly will instantly kill most reptiles (including beardies) as they are incredibly toxic. Also, they much be fed a healthy salad diet of vegetable material such as collard greens, turnip greens, and other dark leaf vegetables. Never feed a beardie spinach or ice-berg lettuce, for they prevent the absorption of some of the important nutrients (By creating oxalates). The animal should also be given vitamin supplements, most importantly calcium made from ground-up oyster shells.

Bearded dragons are desert lizards and need a cage hot and dry. Bearded dragons prefer a basking site in their cage that reaches around 95″“100°F or 35″“38°C during the day (100″“105°F or 38″“40°C for babies). A dragon cage should have a warm end (around 90°F or 32°C) and a cool end (around 75″“80°F or 24″“27°C) with overall cage temperature never below 70°F or 21°C. Humidity should be under 30%; Bearded dragons get most of their hydration from their salad. Even so, they should be misted every day to prevent dehydration. They prefer sand substrate (but only after they are 8 inches long; otherwise they may eat it and become compacted which can be fatal). NEVER use any commercial “reptile litter” or “calci-sand.” There are no reptile manufacturing laws, and these commercial substrates often cause compaction, leading to death of the reptile. Bearded dragons are not arboreal, but do enjoy climbing on rocks and driftwood.

Bearded dragons are often out during the day, therefore they require special lighting in addition to the heat lamps. They need UVB lights so that they can absorb their calcium properly.

The bearded dragon is a medium sized lizard, generally around 14-16 inches from nose tip to tail tip, although German Giants can be up to 24 inches long. Central Bearded Dragons are the most popular ‘beardie’ in the reptile hobby; however, there are many other species of Bearded Dragon (all remain endemic to Australia). These other species including the Common Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) often inhabit wooded areas, as well as the occasional back yard.