The Bearded Dragon Vivarium – How to find the perfect home for your Beardie…
The bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is a tame and gentle lizard native to the dry plains of Australia. They are typically tan or brown in color. They are named bearded dragons because they have spikes along their throats and their lower jaw. When they feel threatened they expand their throat to intimidate their opponent. Nowadays, the bearded dragons, popularly known as beardies, are chosen as pets by a growing number of people. These animals can live up to 10 years, although the average life span is from 6 to 7 years only.
If you are considering getting a beardie as a pet, there are plenty of things you should consider before bringing it to your home. Their new habitat should be as close as possible to their native habitat. The vivarium consists of an enclosure with the necessary space for your bearded dragon to develop and live comfortably, flooring, lighting and heating, and finally some “furniture” that completes the landscape.
There are plenty of enclosures you can choose from. The glass or acrylic aquarium will work well. An aquarium about the size of a 20- or 50-gallon is a recommended size. The bearded dragon can grow to two feet, so the enclosure should be at least twice as long so they can live comfortably. The enclosure also needs to be in a relatively quiet area, free of loud noise and where there will not be light 24 hours a day. Your pet needs dark periods of time and loud noises will cause it to stress.
The bearded dragon vivarium should also be properly lined with a substrate, or flooring. This is a highly debated topic. Whatever you choose, it should be easy to maintain, won’t cause irritation to your pet’s feet, and won’t make them ill if they eat it. Many keepers choose a special reptile carpet, washed play sand, or heavy duty paper towels as substrate. A number of commercially-available reptile sand products can be purchased at pet stores, and some sand products contain calcium, which is vital for the health of the domesticated dragons. For young beardies the best option would be the reptile carpet because they won’t eat it. Don’t use wood chips or alfalfa pellets since they can be ingested or grow mold.
Since bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals, the right temperature is vital to the animal’s health and overall well-being. The average bearded dragon habitat should have a temperature of around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, one concentrated area of the bearded dragon’s enclosure should have a temperature of around 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit for basking. To achieve this offer them warmth with a heat lamp and a UVA and UVB lamp to act as a source of substitute sunlight. The amount of UV produced by these bulbs decreases over time so they need to be replaced every 6 months or so. A basking lamp will concentrate the heat on one spot in the vivarium and can be placed over a big rock. When the bearded dragon feels too hot it should have a place to cool down. Dragons also prefer a cave-like place to burrow and hide. Adding a branch or a rock on the cooler area is recommended. Including a thermometer is also important so you can check the temperature making sure it is adequate for your dragon.
A bearded dragon vivarium should have a large flat rock placed under its basking area. It is not advisable to use heated rocks because they can burn the dragon. Beardies like to perch a little bit off the ground. Rocks, logs, and branches can give them something to climb on. Before you put rocks inside the vivarium you should make sure they are free of harmful bacteria by disinfecting them or putting them in the oven for a while. You may also include some plants, but make sure they are safe in case your pet decides to eat them.
To complete your Bearded Dragon vivarium you just need to add a shallow dish for water and another one for food.
Now that you know the basic components of a bearded dragon vivarium you will be able to make the right choice on which to buy so that your pet can have a new home in which it will be healthy and happy.