Caring for your Inland Bearded Dragons
Pogona vittaceps Share/Bookmark

Bearded Dragon Description

Latin Name: Pogona vittaceps.
Adult Size: 45cm to 55cm.
Average Life Span: 5 to 10 years.
Native Distribution: Southeastern Australia.
Physical Description: At least 8 different color morphs exist today with color morphs still being developed through selective breeding.
Temperament: A peaceful diurnal omnivore.
Status in the Wild: Protected.

Bearded Dragon Habitat

Native Habitat: Found in arid and semi-arid areas.
Ambient Temperature: 24C to 30C.
Basking Temperature: 35C to 40C.
Humidity Range: 30% to 60%.
Lighting: Full spectrum fluorescent high in UVA and UVB.
Terrarium Size: Adults may be kept in pairs or harems with at least 2, of floor space per animal.
Terrarium Decor: Arid desert motif.
Terrarium Substrate: Dry sand or Cypress Mulch.
Terrarium Containment: Bearded Dragons can easily climb branches but not smooth surfaces. A top is only necessary for containing food items.

Bearded Dragon Husbandry

Hygiene: Spot clean daily.
Feeding: As a general rule do not feed Bearded Dragons any food items larger than the space between their eyes. Their diet should consist of 40% to 75% animal protein, i.e. vitamin / mineral dusted insects and their larvae and pinky mice. The remainder of their diet should consist of chopped greens, vegetables and a small amount of fruit. Adult Bearded Dragons obtain their water requirements for water from the foods they eat, however, babies and egg-laying females will occasionally drink from a shallow water dish.
Handling: Adults and sub adults rarely bite and will adapt well to handling. Babies are usually quite nervous and may dart for shelter.
Terrarium Compatibility: Compatible with other similar sized arid loving lizards.

Bearded Dragon Breeding

Maturity: Sexual maturity is reached between 1-1/2 and 2 years of age.
Sexing: Adult males are slightly larger than females, have a slightly larger head, larger and sometimes darker femoral pores, a wider tail base to accommodate the hemipenes, a wider cloacal opening, and, during breeding season, a black 'beard'. See sexing Bearded Dragons photograph.
Conditioning: Keep adults well fed with a variety of vitamin / mineral supplemented foods.
Cycling: After a 2 month period of reduced feeding and cooling, i.e. 26C daytime high - 18C nighttime low; resume normal to heavy feeding and increase temperature to the range described under Habitat.
Sex Ratio: One male with one to several females.
Egg Laying: Several days before egg laying, the female will begin digging a nest. Some Bearded Dragon breeders make a mound of moist sand in one corner of the terrarium for the female to dig into. After digging a suitable nest, the female lays 10 to 30 eggs and then carefully covers them up.

Bearded Dragon Care of Eggs / Young

Incubation Temperature: 27C to 30C.
Incubation / Gestation Time: 45 to 80 days.
Size at Birth: 4cm to 5cm excluding the tail.
Hatchling Sex Ratio: Not temperature dependant.
Feeding: Using the same feeding rule as for adults, feed hatchlings appropriate sized vitamin / mineral dusted insects, chopped greens and vegetables daily.
Housing: Hatchlings and juveniles of similar size may be raised together.

Bearded Dragon Ailments

Mites: Remove any uneaten food items and water dishes. Spray the infected animals and their enclosure with a solution made from 1/2cc of 1% Ivermectine (Ivomec ®) mixed into 1L of water. Repeat application once every 7 to 10 days until all mites are killed.
Calcium / Vitamin D3 Deficiency: Symptoms of a calcium / vitamin D3 deficiency include soft jawbones, swollen face and limbs, and sometimes twitching. Treatment consists of additional calcium / vitamin D3 supplementation in the diet along with exposure to direct sunlight for 30 minutes daily.
Hindquarter Paralysis: This condition occurs most frequently in baby and juvenile Bearded Dragons and is most likely caused by feeding food items that are too large (see general feeding rule under Husbandry). In most cases this condition is fatal.

Disclaimer: Any course of treatment should be preceded by a thorough examination from a qualified professional. All remedies for ailments given above are for reference purposes only.

Bearded Dragon References

General Care and Maintenance of Bearded Dragons by Phillippe de Vosjoli and Robert Mailloux, published by Advanced Vivarium Systems, Inc., ISBN 1-882770-40-4

Bearded Dragons by R.D.Bartlett and Patricia Bartlett, published by Barron's Educational Series, Inc., ISBN 0-7641-1125-6

Understanding Reptile Parasites by Roger J.Klingenberg D.V.M., published by Advanced Vivarium Systems, Inc.

Bearded Dragon Links