Dragon Questions for
Beardie Frequently Asked Questions
If you see more questions frequently, email me and I’ll add them to the
Page currently a work in progress!
- What is the minimum cage size for an adult
- Minimum cage size is 8 square feet for 1-2
dragons. If the dragon gets out plenty for additional exercise, a 40
Breeder tank is OK. Adults should not be housed in anything smaller than
a 40 breeder. For standard tank sizes, check out http://anapsid.org/resources/tanksize.html
- What is the best substrate?
- There is much debate on that topic. Clearly, the
BAD substrates are calcisand, walnut bark/shells, coconut bark/fiber,
dirt, reptile sand, and similar “Reptile” substrates are to be avoided,
period. Some substrates that have shown safe are rabbit pellets (keep
very dry), felt-like reptile carpet, newspaper, paper towels, and washed
children’s playsand. Make certain that beardies are over 12 inches before
using any particulate substrate. For more information please see the pogona care sheet.
- What temperature should I provide my dragon?
- Basking temperature should be 100-105*F measured
with a digital thermometer.
Ambient temperature should be 20-30* lower. Make sure you measure with
a digital thermometer, no stick on or dial reptile thermometers (they
are grossly inaccurate). You can obtain a digital thermometer for $10-20
at many places, for more information please see the pogona care sheet.
- What is a good UVB tube?
- In regards to tube UVB sources: the Reptisun
5.0, Iguanalight 5.0, or Exoterra 8.0 are good UVB tubes.
- All are available online at
http://reptiledirect.com for cheap. The 24 or 36 inch ones are best as
the first 1-2 inches on each end of the bulb produce no UVB (making the
18 inch bulbs a bit more tricky to place). A fixture for the bulb can be
purchased economically at Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, Menards, Target, or
Lowes. A 24 or 36 inch under counter florecent fixutre should be under
$10.00 and be already wired for you. Place the bulb in it and do not
replace the plastic cover - nothing but air and prehaps the screen of the
cage should be between the animal and the light.
- UVB tubes must be placed closer than 10 inches
and must be replaced every 6 months if you do not have a UVB meter. For
further info on UVB tubes, please see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UVB_Meter_Owners
Maintenance and Illness:
- My bearded dragon is sick, what do I do?
- How big or what size should my dragon be?
- Baby dragons should grow about a inch a week.
As long as your dragon is healthy, has good fat pads, is eating well, and
is active then their size is not important. There are no set standards
for length, a dragon’s size is determined by many factors – genetics,
diet, husbandry, age, etc.
- My dragon is in shed, what do I do?
- Extra misting and baths are appreciated.
- Can a dragon have a bath? How?
- How many crickets should a dragon eat?
- Depends on age, for more information please see
the pogona care sheet. A baby dragon should
get 30-50 small crickets a day, no larger than the space between his eyes.
From 6 months – 18 months that should taper down to 5 or so insects a
day, or about 50 a week.
- What insects can I offer my dragon?
- Babies should mainly get crickets. Make certain the crickets are no larger than the space
between their eyes! Babies can have small silkworms as well.
Adults can have a variety of insects. Superworms (NOT Giant Mealworms)
are a great staple. Other worms that are good are silkworms and butterworms.
Silkies are excellent for calcium and have *no* exoskeleton. Mealworms
should be avoided as they pose a dangerous impaction risk.
- Are Mealworms and Giant Mealworms the same?
- No! Supers are NOT mealworms. Supers are
Zophobas morio worms, Mealworms are Tenebrio molitor. Giant mealworms are
mealworms fed steroids - good for fishing, not what you want to feed
herps/birds. Superworms are completely different and a good check of what
you're getting is that superworms are not refridgerated (it Kills them)
where mealworms generally are kept in the fridge to keep them dormant.
- What should be in a bearded dragon’s salad?
- Use iguana diets from www.greenigsociety.org/foodchart.htm,
and http://www.iguanaden.org/ to base your greens diets. Basically,
2-3 rich calcium greens plus 1-2 rich veggies daily. Fruits 2-3 days a
week. Variety is important as well as keeping your diet strong in calcium
and low in phosphorus.
- Troy Tuttle has simplified the Green Ig List
for easier shopping. It is here
- My dragon won’t eat salads, what do I do?
- There are several options to consider. First, baby dragons are primarily
insect eaters; however it is rather critical to get them eating their
salads well from day one. By 6 months of age they should be independently
eating their salads well; by 18-24 months of age they should be eating
primarily salads with insects on the side. To allow a beardie to remain
on a primarily insect diet is to shorten its lifespan with a likelihood
of later kidney or liver problems.
As for getting them to eat greens; start out by being annoying.
Get your basic baby salad – one green and one veggie (why buy a normal
assortment when they’re barely eating it?) – and just remind the baby
constantly that its there. Using a bright veggie – diced red bell pepper
or minced butternut squash for example – usually works wonders to get
them curious about the salad on their own. Also, moistened RepCal Bearded
Dragon or Adult Iguana pellets (soak in water 5-15 mins before serving)
really attract them to a salad. If the baby is being stubborn try some
tricks – bopping him/her in the nose with the salad, spritizing it with
water to make it move, sprinkling it from a height, etc. If the baby
isn’t getting the gist of this by a few months old and at least nibbling
at the salad on his/her own, then
its time to cut back a bit on the crickets – a hungry baby is more likely
to try a salad than a full one! Don’t cut back very far on the crickets,
the baby should continually get them daily until at least 6 months old,
but cutting back a little on a health baby (perhaps going to one meal a
day or only feeding insects in the evening) will make them hungry enough
to consider salad. There are a ton of options to get a baby eating salad properly,
so keep up the hard work. In the end, the persistence pays off.
- How do I keep greens fresh?
- How do I tame my dragon?
- When can my dragon get pregnant or gravid?
- Any time after 6 months of age. It is very important to separate males
from females between 6 – 18 months of age. A female dragon should not be
allowed to become gravid until she reaches 18-24 months of age. She is
capable of becoming gravid younger; however that is very hard on her body
and can shorten her overall lifespan. Breeding too frequently,
supplementing incorrectly during breeding and other associated breeding
concerns can all cause the lifespan of a female dragon to be shortened.
In addition, separation provides time for the male dragon to grow up and
fill out fully before the sexual tension causes him to fast or burn off
his fat stores.
- My dragon is pregnant or gravid, what now?
- Supplement her well with calcium during and
after her pregnancy. Make sure she has a new, strong UVB light and get
her natural sunlight whenever possible. Make sure she stays hydrated and
offer a few more insects than usual. Expect her to stop eating or cut
back drastically a few days prior to laying.
- How do I make a dig box?
- What do I do with eggs?
- If there is an iota of a chance that the parents or their parents were
related, do not incubate the eggs.
This is critical, there are many negative effects to the babies of
siblings, it could be disastrous. On top of that, it weakens the genetic
pool – some effects of genetic problems aren’t visible for years or
generations! Fertile eggs should be frozen solid within 48 hours of being
laid, then disposed of in normal trash. Within that time frame (and
possibly a bit more) there is no neurological development; therefore it
is humane to freeze the unwanted eggs at that time. If you do decide to
incubate, start slowly and only incubate a few eggs. Have home for these
babies before they are
incubated!! Babies are extremely
expensive to raise, so please do not incubate a full clutch until you’ve
gone thru the minimum 6 weeks process at least a couple times. Add up
your costs and you will find that you won’t make up the difference with
the average retail price of a baby dragon – 50+ crickets per day per
dragon baby, paper towels, UVB lights, heat bulbs, electricity, time…
it’s a massive investment. For care of eggs, see http://geocities.com/borderviewdragons
- What age can I sell babies?
- A minimum of 6 weeks or 6 inches, whichever
- Where can I get a baby dragon?
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