When we build a home we take into consideration many different factors. So we must for our pets home, and our dragon is no exception. In order for him to be as comfortable as possible we need to make it as natural as possible.
One of the considerations, possibly the most important, is the size of the enclosure. This is determined by the age and size of our bearded dragon. For the baby dragon, hatchlings, a 15 gallon or 60 litre an enclosure will be the correct size, but much too small for a juvenile or adult. A 30 to 50 gallon or 200 to 250 litre enclosure is more appropriate for them.
For a baby bearded dragon an enclosure that is too large could result in the baby starving to death or at the least not develop adequately as there is too much ‘hop space’ for the live crickets. The baby will be too slow and will be unable to catch them and thus spend too much energy catching his food instead of growing.
An adult in a small enclosure will become fat and lazy and suffer from stress. The small enclosure does not allow for sufficient exercise, as with all creatures we are made to move. The small enclosure does not allow for the bearded dragon to hide. They generally have a spot that they feel more secure in.
Every home has to have the correct furniture and your bearded dragons home is no different. The enclosure cannot remain bare as your dragon will not get any exercise and will not have a place to hide and relax. The basics are a sturdy hide box and climbing structures. These can be purchased from a pet shop.
Ordinary household items, such as pieces of wood can be used to make things such as hide boxes and other things. This makes the whole process far more rewarding knowing you contributed to your pets health.
Old, dry branches can be used for the climbing structures. Think carefully before adding anything to the enclosure. Safety should be in the forefront of your mind. Every piece must be safe and functional.
All pieces that you plan to introduce in to the enclosure must be disinfected using a 10% bleach solution, to kill any parasites. Prevention is better than cure. Parasites are difficult to treat. All pieces, means ALL pieces, purchased and collected.
The next thing is the cage floor, the substrate or bedding. The ideal is an organic material that your beardie cannot eat or ingest. This would be a kitchen towel or newspaper. I would use the towel rather than the newspaper.
Bearded dragons have been known to ingest gravel, such as builders gravel and play sand. These can be used but they require extra care and daily vigilance on your part.
You have to be on the look out for a condition called impaction. Your bearded dragon eats a lot of sand and consumes something he shouldn’t, this material gets stuck in the lizards colon. He will stop eating and become listless.
Giving your dragon a great place to live and relax will give you years of joy and entertainment with your pet. What you sow so will you reap. Give your bearded dragon love and affection and you will reap years of joy from him.