Bearded Dragon Cages & Accessories
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Bearded Dragon Caging
Adult bearded dragons are significantly larger than juveniles. So while a 10-gallon tank will suitably house a 4-5 inch baby dragon, the minimum size caging for an adult is 36” by 12”, or approximately 435 square inches of floor space. Bigger is better, though, when it comes to bearded dragon cages.
- Some helpful tips:
- House bearded dragons individually to avoid possible fights. Beardies can be aggressive with one another, and they’re surprisingly fragile. Fights can result in anything from scrapes to severed limbs.
- Favor caging made of glass or plastic. Beardies seem to enjoy being able to see the outside environment. An opaque tub may not allow enough visual stimulation.
- Cover the bearded dragon cages to prevent the dragons from getting out and other hazards, like household pets, from getting in. Covers also facilitate proper lighting (more on that below).
You can’t just dump a bearded dragon into an empty cage and expect them to thrive! But with a handful of proper caging accessories, your bearded dragons may well relish their new home.
- Basking spot. Beardies are both cold-blooded and diurnal (active during the day), and they need an area close to the heat and light source where they can bask. You can make this out of a tree branch, wood, brick, cinder block or a repti-hammock. Just make sure the basking spot you create:
- Can hold your fellow’s weight
- Is large enough to fit the entire body
- Is easily climbable
- Rests several inches below the basking light
- The basking area should be at one end of the enclosure to create a heat gradient (hotter on one side, cooler on the other). That way, the dragon can place itself in the ideal spot for maintaining the correct body temperature.
- Sleeping alcove. Some bearded dragons prefer to sleep in an enclosed area at night. Provide an alcove or other hiding area that will accommodate the beardie’s entire body.
- Additional bearded dragon accessories for the caging include a water dish and food bowl.
- NOT recommended: Cage decorations and plants, unless they are quite sturdy, since the dragon will climb on and over them.
Bearded Dragon Bedding
You can keep beardies on a variety of substrates, including sand, repti-carpet, ceramic tile and newspapers. Which is choose is up to you, but we do not recommend sand. First, you don’t want to risk the dragon ingesting any. Second, bearded dragons tend to produce copious, messy droppings that are more challenging to clean out of sand.
Like all reptiles, bearded dragons are cold-blooded creatures, so they need an external heat source to keep themselves warm. Hence the basking spot we mentioned above. Specifically, the basking spot should reach a temperature of 95 to 105 degrees F (or up to 110 degrees for babies).
You can use a heat-only device such as a ceramic heat emitter, but it’s generally more efficient to use a heat-emitting light of an appropriate wattage. In the winter, some keepers provide additional heating with an under-tank heater, but it’s not necessary. Beardies generally do well with the ambient temperature of the home, as long as it doesn’t get below 60 degrees F.
Two types of light are required to satisfy bearded dragons’ metabolic needs. Lights should be on during the day and off at night, either on a 12 hour on/off schedule year-round, or on a changing schedule with reduced lighting during the winter (8 hours) and increased lighting time during the summer (14 hours).
Florescent Light For Health
This light supplies two types of ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB, which mimic the effect of sunlight to stimulate the body to produce vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is necessary for the body to metabolize calcium and maximize bone strength. The fluorescent light should be at least 24” long and must be replaced every 6 months, because the coating allowing UVB production will wear off.
Generally recommended: the Reptisun 10.0
Incandescent Light For Heat
As mentioned above, bearded dragons require a basking spot. Using an incandescent, halogen or mercury halide light will accomplish this. Incandescent lights are usually 75 to 100 watts, depending on the distance from the basking area. When setting up the light and enclosure, use a reliable thermometer, probe or temperature gun to adjust until you reach the right temperature (between 95 and 105 degrees F).
Once you’ve got the bearded dragon caging and accessories in place, it’s time to attend to Bearded Dragon Diet and Feeding.