In this post, we want to bring you closer to the interesting world of the bearded dragon. Because the versatile terrarium residents have a lot to offer. Find out here what you should consider when buying, keeping, and caring for them.
- Scientific name: Pogona;
- Associated family: Agamidae (Agame), terrestrial vertebrates;
- Age: Can reach between 10 and 15 years;
- Weight: Varies between 70 and 500g depending on the type;
- Size: Between 30 and 60cm (approx. 60% is made up of the tail);
- Occurrence in the wild: Dry and semi-arid steppes with bushes and trees, Australia;
- Characteristics: Cold-blooded animals are active during the day;
- Acquisition costs: Depending on the type, between $40 and $70, suitable terrarium approx. $130 to 240.
Before You Buy – the Right Terrarium
Before you get a bearded dragon, you should make some basic thoughts about your roommate in advance. Questions like “What does a bearded dragon eat?”, “What living conditions does he need?”, “What is the right terrarium for him?” Should be answered before you buy them.
The choice and placement of the terrarium in particular are more than decisive for your new animal roommate. The location should be carefully considered. A terrarium should never be near larger electronic devices or other very loud devices, as the background noise causes extreme stress in the animals. You should also avoid direct sunlight, close to heating and drafty places. A very quiet place where you only go to visit your bearded dragon is best. Otherwise, the sensitive animals are stressed very quickly and can even get sick as a result.
The perfect size for a bearded dragon terrarium is 150cm x 80cm x 80cm. But this varies depending on the size of the animal, which is why experts have a formula for calculating the perfect terrarium size for every bearded dragon: You measure the animal from head to torso (head-to-torso length, also KRL), then the length of the animal is measured multiplied by five for the correct length, multiplied by four for the perfect depth, and three times the KRL for the optimal height. The result then corresponds to the correct size for the bearded dragon.
The Right Setup
Once you have calculated the size of the terrarium, it depends on the facility. Due to their origin, the reptiles need a dry desert terrarium. This should contain a lot of sand and one or two large stones. A suitable shelter should also be offered to the animal. One of the most important furnishings, however, is the radiant heater. Due to the prevailing climate in this country, a desert terrarium without such a heating lamp is much too cold for the heat-loving reptiles. If these resources are available to the animal, all that is missing is food and a water bowl – the terrarium for bearded dragons is ready!
What Does a Bearded Dragon Eat?
In the wild, bearded dragons eat almost anything that gets in their way. From grasses or fruits to small beetles, to larger insects, everything nature has to offer is on the menu – because that’s usually not much in its natural environment. When keeping bearded dragons at home, however, more attention should be paid to the feeding of the animals. A balanced diet for the animals consists of a vegetable and animal diet. In detail, this means: Vegetable food, such as salad or vegetables, should always be available to the animal. This also applies to herbs and edible flowers. Animal, i.e. live food, should only be fed on certain days. The nutrition plan can of course be determined individually, but animal feed should not be fed more than two to three times a week.
Suitable feed animals include house crickets, crickets, and cockroaches, for example. When it comes to plant-based food, care should always be taken to insure that it is untreated. Too much chemical treatment would harm the animals. Endive, carrots, clover, violets, or hibiscus, for example, are suitable as vegetable feed. Even if the bearded dragon is an omnivore, a few foods should be avoided completely. These include, in particular, rice, grain, and dairy products, mushrooms, eggs, and pasta. The animals cannot tolerate this food, just like raw meat. If you stick to the right foods, the bearded dragon faces a healthy and vital life.
Good Night: the Hibernation
Bearded dragons fall into a kind of hibernation in winter. The reason for this is the falling temperature. Bearded dragon owners often ask themselves the question: “Can I regulate the temperature in my terrarium so that my bearded dragon does not go into hibernation?” The answer: Yes, it is possible, but it is not advisable to do this too. Hibernation primarily serves to break down fat in the liver. Especially when they are kept at home, the animals are provided with sufficient feed, which often leads to over-fat animals. Most of the time, this overfat is not a result of malice on the part of the owner – it is simply not possible to say exactly how much food they actually need. For this reason, you should definitely allow your bearded dragon to hibernate to lose fat. During this time, a temperature of approx. 15 ° C is advisable in the terrarium, lights can be switched off during the hibernation.
The period of hibernation is around two to three months, during which the animals should not be fed or woken up. After awakening, it takes a bearded dragon a few weeks to be fully fit again. This should be taken into account, as the animals have to be slowly brought back to the lighting and the feed.