Setting Up a Bearded Dragon Habitat

Bearded dragons are quite cute and fun little pets. Your lizard will spend most of his time in his terrarium. Making sure it’s set up properly is very important! An Ellicott City, MD vet offers tips on this below.

Choosing The Terrarium

What size you should choose depends on the age and size of your pet. Babies need at least a 20-gallon terrarium. However, they quickly outgrow these. You’re better off to get at least a 40-gallon. For adults, we recommend getting a 70-gallon or larger. Keep in mind that your bearded dragon will need more horizontal space than vertical.


Bearded dragons need full-spectrum lighting, you’ll need some fluorescent bulbs for reptiles, which will provide both UVA and UVB light, preferably on a timer. If your pet doesn’t get the proper lighting, he could develop some very serious health issues! Ask your vet for recommendations.


For substrate, you can use newspaper, butcher paper, or reptile carpet. If you use paper, you’ll need to change it daily. Avoid sand substrates, especially for young dragons. They often swallow the particles, which is extremely dangerous and, unfortunately, often fatal.


Bearded dragons do have specific temperature needs. One end of the cage should be warmer than the other. The basking end should stay around 95 to 110F. The cooler end can be around 85. You’ll need to check these temperatures a few times a day, so you’ll want to put thermometers in each zone. We recommend getting really good ones that also includes a hygrometer, which will allow you to check humidity as well.


Your lizard will need a basking perch to hang out on when he’s soaking up some (artificial) sun. You can use driftwood, large rocks, or even grape vines. Make sure it’s sturdy, so it doesn’t fall over. You’ll also want to add some plants. Fake plants are a safer bet here, as beardies sometimes eat real ones. Your scaled buddy will also need a hide box he can retreat to.


For food and water bowls, we recommend getting shallow ones. This is especially important with baby lizards, as they could drown in deep bowls. Put the bowls in the cooler end, as food will spoil more quickly in the heated area.

Do you have questions about caring for bearded dragons? Call us, your Ellicott City, MD vet clinic, today!

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