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REPTILE / new pets

Bearded Dragon Care Guide

Tips from home to health to food to fun


4 things to know about your bearded dragon

  1. Your bearded dragon can live as long as ten years
  2. Your bearded dragon may grow up to 24 inches
  3. Bearded dragons are medium-size desert lizards and range from red to brown to yellow to white
  4. These friendly reptiles also move their arms in a way that looks like they’re waving hello

How do I set up my bearded dragon’s home?

Once he’s fully grown, you’ll want a glass terrarium of at least 40 gallons in volume (that’s 32 to 36 inches long) with a screened lid for him to live in. Your bearded dragon is from a warm, dry environment so you’ll also need a heating source for his home. Your dragon prefers the solitary life.

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What can I put in my bearded dragon’s terrarium?

To remind him of the desert of his ancestors, line the bottom of your bearded dragon’s terrarium with two to three inches of calcium sand, or invest in reptile carpet. Carpet is a better choice for younger bearded dragons. Scoop up waste at least once a week, and treat him to fresh bedding once a month.

Reptiles can be finicky about comfortable room temperature. Be sure to give your bearded dragon a piece of driftwood or rock, to climb a little closer to his heat source, or to hide behind. Add a few branches for hiding and climbing.

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Heating & lighting

Bearded dragons are ectotherms. That means they’ll need both a reliable source of heat and a cooler area to stay comfy. Here are some more tips on heating and lighting to keep in mind:


  • Your dragon’s habitat should have a thermometer at each end, as well as a hygrometer—a device that measures humidity. Your bearded dragon thrives when humidity is between 20% and 30%.
  • If humidity is less than 20%, a light misting once day is sufficient.
  • Place your heat light over the basking spot, which should be the warmest area in the habitat during the day: 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 49 Centigrade). The cool end should be about 75 to 85 F (24 to 29 C).
  • Turn the basking light off at night. Use a ceramic heat emitter or night heat lamp to keep the temperature between 66 and 75 degrees F (18 to 24 C).
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  • Bearded dragons are active during day and sleep at night — just like you. Unlike you, they like basking under a UVA/UVB bulb for about 12 hours each day.
  • For night viewing, switch to a night-specific bulb to keep from disturbing your bearded dragon
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What do bearded dragons eat?

Bearded dragons are omnivores - they eat both plants and meat. Feed your bearded dragon two to three times a day. A young hatchling will mostly eat small insects. But once your bearded dragon is a bit more mature, he’ll enjoy vegetables, too. Make sure to clean his water and food bowl regularly.

  • Insects: crickets, mealworms and wax worms, dust with calcium supplement twice weekly
  • Vegetables: chopped dark leafy greens or carrots fed every other day = 25-50 percent of diet, depending upon age
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, melons once a week = 5 percent of diet
  • Prepared diets: pelleted blend once daily
  • Water: Change daily and provided at all times!
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How can I keep my bearded dragon healthy?

Try not to handle your new reptile for three or four days — they need a chance to get used to their new home. Even a settled-in lizard can feel sick — if you notice any of these symptoms, it might be a good time to visit the vet:

  • More hiding time than usual
  • Less eating and drinking, maybe even weight loss
  • Swollen joints
  • Skin is discolored and shedding
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Droppings that look runny for more than two days
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  • ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.

Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.


If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.