Adult Bearded Dragon Care: Everything You Need to Know

Bearded dragon adult

One of the most crucial aspects of adult bearded dragon care is ensuring a proper diet. These creatures are omnivores, meaning they require a mix of both plant-based and protein-rich foods. Their diet should include a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and insects such as crickets and mealworms. A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and wellbeing.

Pet Reptile: Adult Bearded Dragon Care

1. Choosing the Right Cage

Additionally, make sure the cage has a secure lid or screen top to prevent escapes and ensure proper ventilation. It’s also essential to line the bottom of the cage with a suitable substrate, such as reptile carpet or non-adhesive shelf liner, to provide a comfortable and hygienic surface for your pet.

2. Providing Proper Lighting

Bearded dragons require both UVA and UVB lighting to support their overall health and well-being. UVA lighting helps to stimulate natural behaviors, while UVB lighting enables proper calcium metabolism. Place a full-spectrum UVB bulb in the enclosure, ensuring that it covers at least two-thirds of the cage length. Additionally, provide a basking light at one end of the enclosure to create a temperature gradient.

3. Creating a Suitable Temperature Gradient

Bearded dragons are ectothermic animals, meaning they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. To create a suitable temperature gradient, place a basking spot at one end of the cage, where the temperature should be around 95-100°F (35-38°C). The cooler end should have a temperature of around 75-85°F (24-29°C).

4. Feeding and Diet

Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both insects and vegetation. Their diet should consist of a variety of gut-loaded insects, such as crickets, dubia roaches, and mealworms, as well as a selection of fresh vegetables and fruits. Dust the insects with a calcium supplement and provide a separate dish of calcium powder for the beardie to lick as needed.

It’s essential to understand the nutritional requirements of a bearded dragon to ensure a balanced diet. Approximately 80% of their food should consist of insects, while the remaining 20% should be vegetables and fruits. Avoid feeding your beardie toxic or low-quality foods, such as spinach, avocado, or iceberg lettuce.

6. Providing a Balanced Diet

To provide a balanced diet, offer a variety of insects, such as crickets, dubia roaches, waxworms, and phoenix worms. Additionally, include a selection of leafy greens (kale, collard greens, mustard greens) and vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, squash) to meet their nutritional needs. Offer fruits, such as berries and melons, as occasional treats.

7. Feeding Schedule and Portion Sizes

Adult bearded dragons should be fed once a day or every other day. The number of insects offered depends on the size of your pet, but a good rule of thumb is to offer insects that are roughly the size of their head. Vegetables should be offered daily, while fruits can be given a few times a week in moderation.

Overall, creating a suitable habitat and providing proper care are essential for the well-being of adult bearded dragons. By following these guidelines for housing, lighting, temperature, and diet, you can ensure that your pet reptile thrives and lives a healthy life.

Choosing the Right Cage for Your Adult Bearded Dragon

First, consider the size of the cage. Adult bearded dragons require a larger enclosure compared to younger dragons. A cage with dimensions of at least 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 16 inches high is recommended. This will give your dragon enough space to move around and explore.

The material of the cage is also important. Glass terrariums are commonly used for bearded dragons because they provide excellent visibility and are easy to clean. Additionally, they also help with maintaining the proper temperature and humidity levels inside the enclosure.

It’s crucial to ensure proper ventilation in the cage. Look for enclosures that have mesh or screen tops to allow for good airflow. This will prevent the buildup of stale air and help maintain a healthy environment for your dragon.

A terrarium that provides multiple levels or platforms is beneficial for a bearded dragon. They are natural climbers and enjoy basking on higher spots. Having different levels in the cage will allow your dragon to exhibit natural behaviors and provide them with a more enriched environment.

Substrate and Decorations

Don’t forget to add decorations to the cage to create a stimulating and natural-looking environment. Branches, rocks, and hiding spots are great additions. Just make sure they are securely placed to prevent any accidents or injuries.

Providing Proper Lighting for Your Adult Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons are native to hot and arid regions, which means they require exposure to UVB lighting to synthesize vitamin D3 for calcium absorption. Without adequate UVB lighting, your bearded dragon may develop metabolic bone disease, a condition that can lead to skeletal deformities and other serious health issues.

To provide the right lighting for your adult bearded dragon, you’ll need a UVB light source. There are different options available, such as compact fluorescent bulbs and linear fluorescent tubes. It’s essential to choose a UVB bulb designed specifically for reptiles, as regular fluorescent bulbs do not emit the necessary UVB rays.

In addition to UVB lighting, your adult bearded dragon will also require a heat source. Heat lamps or ceramic heat emitters can be used to maintain the terrarium’s temperature, ensuring that one end of the enclosure is warmer than the other. This temperature gradient allows your bearded dragon to regulate its body temperature by moving between the cooler and warmer areas.

Creating a Suitable Temperature Gradient

In their natural habitat, bearded dragons experience a wide range of temperatures, and replicating this in their terrarium is essential. A gradient should be created by providing a basking spot with a higher temperature on one end of the enclosure, and a cooler area on the other end. It allows the dragon to move between the different temperature zones to regulate their body temperature as per their requirements.

The cooler end of the enclosure should have a temperature range of around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius). This allows the bearded dragon to cool down when needed and prevent overheating. To achieve this, you can use a lower wattage heat lamp or adjust the positioning of the heating elements.

It is vital to provide different areas within the terrarium where your adult bearded dragon can choose the temperature that suits them best at any given time. This allows them to thermoregulate effectively and promotes their overall health and comfort.

In addition to the temperature gradient, it is crucial to provide a full spectrum UVB light source for your bearded dragon. UVB light is necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D3, which aids in calcium absorption and prevents metabolic bone disease. Ensure the UVB light is placed within the enclosure at the proper distance and replaced regularly to maintain its effectiveness.

By carefully considering and implementing the appropriate temperature gradient and lighting setup, you are providing your adult bearded dragon with an environment that mimics their natural habitat and promotes their well-being.

Feeding and Diet for Adult Bearded Dragons

Adult bearded dragons have specific dietary requirements that need to be met in order to maintain optimal health. In the wild, these lizards primarily feed on insects, such as crickets and mealworms, as well as vegetation, including leafy greens, fruits, and flowers.

Providing a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet for adult bearded dragons should consist of the following:

  • Animal protein: Feed your bearded dragon protein-rich insects, such as crickets, dubia roaches, and black soldier fly larvae. These insects should be gut-loaded (fed a nutritious diet) before being offered to your lizard.
  • Vegetables: Offer a variety of leafy greens like collard greens, mustard greens, and kale. These vegetables are high in calcium and essential vitamins.
  • Fruits: Provide small amounts of fruits like berries, melons, and apples as occasional treats. These fruits are a good source of natural sugars and vitamins.
  • Supplements: Dust the insects and vegetables with a calcium supplement that also contains vitamin D3. This helps prevent metabolic bone disease, a common condition in reptiles.

Feeding Schedule and Portion Sizes

As for portion sizes, aim to provide approximately 20-30% plant matter and 70-80% animal protein in each meal. This ratio can be adjusted depending on the specific needs of your bearded dragon.

It is also important to remove any uneaten food after each feeding to prevent spoilage and the attraction of pests.

By following these feeding guidelines and providing a balanced diet, you will help keep your adult bearded dragon healthy and thriving as a cherished reptile pet.

Plant Matter: Bearded dragons require a variety of fruits and vegetables to meet their nutritional needs. Leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and mustard greens should make up the majority of their plant-based diet. These greens are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that help support their immune system and digestive health.

Insects: In addition to plant matter, bearded dragons also need a regular supply of insects to fulfill their protein requirements. Crickets, mealworms, and roaches are common choices for feeding bearded dragons. These insects should be gut-loaded, meaning they have been fed with nutritious foods before being given to your dragon. It’s also important to provide a variety of insects to ensure a diverse diet.

Providing a Balanced Diet

Feeding Schedule and Portion Sizes

Establishing a regular feeding schedule is important for maintaining your bearded dragon’s health. Adults typically require feeding once a day, although some may benefit from smaller meals twice a day. Additionally, it’s essential to monitor their weight and adjust portion sizes accordingly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition.

Providing a Balanced Diet for Your Adult Bearded Dragon

The foundation of a bearded dragon’s diet should consist of a variety of vegetables and leafy greens. Some good options include collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and butternut squash. These vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to support optimal health.

In addition to vegetables, adult bearded dragons also need a source of high-quality protein. This can be achieved through the inclusion of insects such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. These insects are not only a great source of protein but also provide essential nutrients like calcium and vitamins.

Supplements are also an important part of a bearded dragon’s diet. Calcium and vitamin D3 supplements are particularly crucial to prevent mineral deficiencies and promote proper bone development. These supplements can be sprinkled on the dragon’s food a few times a week.

When feeding your adult bearded dragon, it’s essential to provide a variety of food options and rotate them regularly. This will ensure that your dragon receives a wide range of nutrients and prevents boredom from eating the same foods every day.

Lastly, always make sure to provide fresh, clean water for your dragon. A shallow dish should be available in their terrarium at all times. However, most bearded dragons obtain their hydration from the moisture in their food, so the dish is primarily for drinking and soaking.

By following these guidelines and providing a balanced diet, you can ensure that your adult bearded dragon is healthy, happy, and thriving in its environment.

Feeding Schedule and Portion Sizes

Types of Food

A balanced diet for adult bearded dragons should consist of a mix of vegetables, fruits, and insects. Leafy greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, and dandelion greens are excellent choices. These should make up the majority of their diet.

Fruits such as apples, bananas, and berries can be offered as occasional treats but should not make up a large portion of their diet. Insects such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches can be fed to provide a source of protein. These should be dusted with a calcium supplement before feeding.

Portion Sizes

The portion sizes for adult bearded dragons will vary depending on their size and activity level. As a general guideline, offer as much food as your dragon can consume in 5-10 minutes. This will prevent overeating and obesity.

Monitor your bearded dragon’s weight regularly to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy body condition. If they are gaining or losing weight, adjust their portion sizes accordingly.

By following a feeding schedule and providing appropriate portion sizes, you can ensure that your adult bearded dragon receives the proper nutrition and stays healthy.

Handling and Socialization

Proper handling and socialization are important aspects of adult bearded dragon care. By regularly handling your beardie, you can help them become more comfortable and accustomed to human interaction. This is especially crucial if you plan on having guests or children handle your lizard.

Socializing with your bearded dragon is also important. Spend time sitting near their terrarium and speaking softly to them. This will help them recognize your voice and associate it with positive experiences. You can also offer them treats or pieces of their favorite fruit or vegetables as a way to bond with them.

Remember to always wash your hands before and after handling your bearded dragon to prevent the spread of bacteria. Additionally, be sure to provide a calm and quiet environment for your beardie during handling and socialization sessions.

Introducing Your Bearded Dragon to Handling

Once your bearded dragon is comfortable with being touched, you can start picking them up. Place one hand underneath their belly for support and use the other hand to support their back legs. Be gentle and avoid squeezing or putting too much pressure on them.

During the initial stages of handling, keep the sessions short and gradually increase the duration as your dragon gets more comfortable. You can also offer them treats or their favorite food as positive reinforcement for their good behavior during handling.

Some signs of a relaxed and comfortable bearded dragon include a flat body posture, closed eyes, and a calm demeanor. On the other hand, signs of stress or discomfort may include a puffed-up beard, hissing, or tail twitching.


Proper handling and socialization are crucial aspects of caring for adult bearded dragons. By gradually introducing them to being touched and picked up, and by being attentive to their body language, you can help them feel comfortable and build a strong bond with your pet lizard.

Socializing with Your Adult Bearded Dragon

Creating a Suitable Terrarium

Before attempting to socialize with your adult bearded dragon, it is crucial to ensure that their terrarium is set up properly. The terrarium should provide a comfortable and safe space for your lizard to live in. Make sure it is appropriately sized, with enough room for your bearded dragon to move around and explore.

In addition to the size, the terrarium should also include various hiding spots, climbing branches, and basking areas. These elements will make the environment more natural and stimulating for your bearded dragon, helping to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.

Introducing Your Bearded Dragon to Handling

Building Trust and Bonding

Building a bond of trust between you and your adult bearded dragon is essential for successful socialization. Spend time with your dragon outside of their terrarium, allowing them to explore their surroundings while under your supervision. This will help them become accustomed to different environments and stimuli.

Respecting Your Bearded Dragon’s Boundaries

It is crucial to respect your bearded dragon’s boundaries during the socialization process. Some dragons may never fully enjoy being handled or may have a limited tolerance for human interaction. Pay attention to their behavior and body language, and if they show signs of stress or discomfort, it is best to give them space and let them retreat to their terrarium.

Remember, each bearded dragon is unique, and their comfort level with socialization may vary. The key is to always be patient, observant, and respectful towards your bearded dragon’s needs and preferences.


Socializing with an adult bearded dragon can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for both you and your pet. By creating a suitable terrarium, introducing your dragon to handling in a gentle manner, building trust, and being mindful of their boundaries, you can foster a strong bond and provide them with the care they need for a happy and healthy life.

Grooming and Hygiene

Proper grooming and hygiene are important aspects of adult bearded dragon care. By maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your pet, you can help prevent the spread of diseases and ensure their overall well-being.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Regular cleaning of the terrarium: It is essential to clean the terrarium on a regular basis to remove any waste or debris. Use a reptile-safe disinfectant to sanitize the enclosure and prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Bathing your bearded dragon: Bearded dragons enjoy a warm bath, and it can also help keep their skin hydrated. Fill a shallow container with lukewarm water and let your dragon soak for around 15-20 minutes. Gently pat them dry with a soft towel afterwards.
  • Checking for signs of illness: Regularly examine your bearded dragon for any signs of illness or injury. Look for changes in their skin color, appetite, behavior, and droppings. If you notice any abnormalities, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Providing a clean water source: Ensure that your bearded dragon always has access to fresh and clean water. Use a shallow water dish that is large enough for them to soak in, and change the water daily to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Keeping the terrarium free of parasites: Regularly check your bearded dragon for any signs of external parasites, such as mites or ticks. If you notice any, consult a veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.

Keeping Your Bearded Dragon Clean

Proper grooming and hygiene are essential for maintaining the health and well-being of your adult bearded dragon. Regular cleaning routines can help to prevent infections and maintain a clean and odor-free environment for your pet.

1. Cleaning the Terrarium

2. Bathing Your Bearded Dragon

2. Bathing Your Bearded Dragon

Regular baths are an important part of bearded dragon care. Fill a shallow container with lukewarm water, ensuring it is no deeper than the height of your dragon’s elbows. Gently place your bearded dragon in the water and allow it to soak for around 10-15 minutes. This helps to keep their skin hydrated and aids in shedding. During the bath, you can use a soft toothbrush or cloth to gently scrub your dragon’s scales, removing any dirt or debris.

3. Maintaining Skin and Nail Health

4. Preventing Parasites

4. Preventing Parasites

Parasites, such as mites and ticks, can be a common problem in reptiles. To prevent and treat parasite infestations, regularly inspect your bearded dragon for any signs of external parasites. Look for tiny specks crawling on the scales or around the eyes, nose, and mouth. If you notice any, consult a reptile veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.

Grooming Tips:
1. Regularly clean and disinfect the terrarium.
2. Give your bearded dragon regular baths.
3. Inspect the skin and nails for abnormalities.
4. Trim your bearded dragon’s nails as needed.
5. Watch out for signs of external parasites.

By following these grooming and hygiene tips, you can ensure that your adult bearded dragon stays clean and healthy, providing it with a comfortable and happy living environment.

Trimming Your Bearded Dragon’s Nails

Trimming Your Bearded Dragon's Nails

Proper nail care is an essential aspect of bearded dragon care, especially for adult dragons. Regular nail trimming helps prevent overgrowth, discomfort, and potential injury. However, it can be a challenging task, so it’s crucial to approach it with care and patience.

Why Trim Your Bearded Dragon’s Nails?

Tools Needed

Before you start trimming your bearded dragon’s nails, gather the necessary tools:

  • Nail clippers specifically designed for reptiles
  • A towel or cloth to gently restrain your dragon’s movement
  • Styptic powder or cornstarch to stop bleeding in case of accidental nail trimming

Trimming Technique

Follow these steps to safely trim your bearded dragon’s nails:

  1. Choose a calm and quiet environment for the nail-trimming session to minimize stress for your dragon.
  2. Gently wrap your bearded dragon in a towel or cloth, leaving one of their feet exposed.
  3. Hold the exposed foot securely but without squeezing too hard.
  4. If you accidentally cut the quick and bleeding occurs, immediately apply styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.
  5. Repeat the process for each nail, taking breaks if necessary to help keep your bearded dragon calm and comfortable.

Frequency of Nail Trimming

The frequency of nail trimming depends on how fast your dragon’s nails grow. Generally, adult bearded dragons may require nail trimming every 2-3 months. However, some individuals may need more frequent trimming, while others may need less. Regularly inspect your dragon’s nails, and if you notice excessive length or sharpness, it’s time for a trim.

Remember, it’s essential to be cautious and gentle when trimming your bearded dragon’s nails. If you are unsure or uncomfortable performing this task yourself, consult with an experienced reptile veterinarian who can assist you.