Bearded Dragons are fascinating creatures that have become very popular pets in recent years. These lizards are native to Australia and can be found living in warm, arid deserts, savannahs, and subtropical areas. Despite this, you do not need to be a resident of Australia to own one of these interesting creatures as they are widely available in pet stores like PetSmart. However, buying a Bearded Dragon is not the only cost involved in owning one. There are several supplies that you will need to purchase to ensure that your lizard lives comfortably and happily.
Firstly, it is worth noting that owning a Bearded Dragon requires a specialist veterinarian nearby who is knowledgeable about reptiles and can provide proper veterinary care when needed. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some cool facts about this unique species before diving into the supplies you will need for your Bearded Dragon.
Beardies, as they are affectionately called, are known for their docile nature and enjoyment of human companionship. They are quite gentle and enjoy being held, but care must be taken not to pick them up by the tail or legs, as this can cause injury. Interestingly, they are called Bearded Dragons because of the spiny beard they have underneath their chin that they can puff up. The scales on their body can also turn jet black to fend off predators. They typically grow to be around 24 inches long and can live up to 10-15 years with proper care.
To provide a suitable habitat for your Bearded Dragon, you will need to purchase several supplies. Here are the top 9 supplies that you will need:
1. Terrarium – For adult or fully-grown Beardies, a glass terrarium that is 40 gallons in volume with a screened lid is recommended. Ideally, the terrarium should be 48 x 24 x 24 inches to give the lizard plenty of space to move around and exercise. The terrarium should provide excellent ventilation and easy access to drop-in live insects.
2. UVB Light – A UVB light replicates the sun’s rays, which Beardies are accustomed to in the wild. These lights mimic a 12-hour day and night cycle and are crucial for your Bearded Dragon’s health. Beardies will soak up the rays for 12 hours a day and then sleep at night, so the UVB light will need a timer set for 12 hours each day. Mixed with calcium supplements, the UVB light can help prevent your lizard from developing Metabolic Bone Disease, a condition caused by an imbalance of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus in their bodies.
3. Heat Lamp – Beardies love basking in the heat, and a heat lamp is an essential supply you must add to the terrarium along with a UVB light. The heat lamp should range from 50 watts to 150 watts. Remember that Beardies come from warm, arid climates, and you should have a “cool” side and a heated side in the terrarium. The heated side (basking side) should be 95 degrees to 105 degrees, and the cooler side should be 80 degrees. The nighttime temperature should average 65–75 degrees, and adding thermometers on each side will help you regulate the temperature.
4. Hygrometer – Bearded Dragons thrive in humid climates, and you can provide this by misting the tank every 48 hours. Humidity levels should be relatively low compared to the heat in the terrarium and should stay in the 30%–40% range. A hygrometer can help you keep the humidity levels where they need to be.
5. Substrate – You should line the bottom of the terrarium with a substrate, such as a reptile carpet or tile. You can use paper towels, but live insects may wander underneath. You can also use newspaper, but never use gravel, pebbles, or sand, as these materials can cause impaction if your lizard consumes them.
6. Water Dish and Food Bowls – Your Beardie will eat mostly live insects, but they also enjoy salad and fresh veggies, which are better served in a bowl. When choosing a water dish, ensure it is easily removable from the tank for cleaning once a week.
7. Large Hide – Beardies like to hide to feel secure and safe in the wild and cool off underneath a large rock. You can use logs too if your lizard seems to enjoy them. A large hide is an excellent way for your Beardie to retreat if they feel stressed.
8. Sunning Rock – Beardies like to bask in the sun, and one way to simulate this is to provide a sunning rock inside the terrarium, which can also serve as a hide. Place the sunning rock on the basking side of the terrarium, so your Beardie can enjoy hours of heat regulation.
9. Food – Beardies love live insects, such as crickets, roaches, and mealworms but also enjoy salad and vegetables, such as kale, parsley, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and celery.
Overall, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 for a Bearded Dragon at PetSmart. However, as highlighted above, this is just the initial cost, and there are several other supplies you will need to purchase to provide your lizard with the right habitat and ensure their well-being. With proper care and supplies, a Bearded Dragon can make a fascinating and unique pet that is sure to delight reptile enthusiasts and animal lovers alike.