Bearded Dragon Care & Community

Take care of your bearded dragon! We have a wealth information, an active forum community, care sheets, articles, and much more! Check it out.

Bearded Dragons


Common NameBearded Dragon
Scientific NamePogona Vitticeps
Lifespan (in captivity)8 to 12 years
Lifespan (in nature)5 to 8 years
Size16” to 20“

The inland bearded dragon is indigenous to Australia. These reptiles get their name because of a behavior where they puff out and darken the spiky skin around their throats, which looks like a beard. Bearded dragons are omnivorous reptiles, as they eat both greens and insects. They are one of the most popular reptile pets due to their relative hardiness, and interactive and docile nature.

Many people get a bearded dragon and don't know what to do next. Often, pet stores do not provide accurate or complete care information to customers. We're here to help! Please explore the wealth of information on this site to help you take the best care of your bearded dragon as possible. And be sure to visit our friendly forum community, where you can get answers to your remaining questions, or just stop in to say hello! Welcome to!​
  • Why is My Bearded Dragon's Beard Black?

    Is Bearded Dragon Color Change Normal?​

    Bearded dragon displaying black beard
    People often ask, why do bearded dragons turn black? Indeed, seeing your pet bearded dragon suddenly turn his beard black may be alarming, especially if you're new to owning a bearded dragon. "Black bearding" is a typical bearded dragon behavior and usually is not a sign of a severe issue. Before assuming something is seriously wrong with your bearded dragon, consider the context.

    How is your bearded dragon's overall behavior--are they lethargic, refusing to eat, or exhibiting signs of illness? Did you recently change something in your beardie's enclosure? Is there a new pet in the house? Did your beardie recently have a stressful or frightening experience? Is your bearded dragon exhibiting classic mating signs, such as doing a head bob or showing any signs of being territorial?

    If your bearded dragon's beard stays black for prolonged periods or often recurs, especially when accompanied by other troubling symptoms, this would be more concerning than an occasional, fleeting behavior.

    The truth is that bearded dragons' beards turn black for various reasons. Sometimes, we can only take an educated guess by examining the context.

    Do Bearded Dragons Need Baths? How Do I Bathe My Bearded Dragon?

    Bearded dragon in bath water

    While bearded dragons don't require baths, it is helpful to bathe them under certain circumstances. Some reasons why a bearded dragon might get a bath include the following:
    • hydration (only if your bearded dragon prefers to drink bath water)
    • hygiene
    • easing a particularly uncomfortable shedding process
    • easing constipation
    • enjoyment of baths
    Bearded dragons can be bathed in anything that holds water if the water level is shallow (not above a bearded dragon's elbow height). In addition, the temperature should be slightly above lukewarm (86-91 degrees Fahrenheit/ 30-33 degrees Celsius). Tap water is acceptable in most circumstances, although some bearded dragon owners prefer to add a reptile water conditioner. Never use any soaps or detergents when bathing your beardie.

    If your bearded dragon doesn't like baths, just a few minutes to clean them off in the water is sufficient. Beardies who enjoy bathing can bathe for about 10-15 minutes. Never leave your bearded dragon unattended in a bath because they can aspirate water into the lungs or drown. While many beardies will drink from the bath, please, do not allow your beardie to submerge their head in the water.

    It is essential to thoroughly dry your beardie after the bath to avoid any potential fungal problems from taking hold. After the bath, it's usually a good idea to let your bearded dragon bask for a while to warm up.

    How Do I Keep My Bearded Dragon Hydrated?

    Bearded dragon in bath

    The best way to hydrate your bearded dragon depends significantly on your beardie's personality and preferred habits. For example, some bearded dragons have no problem drinking straight from a water dish in their enclosure.

    However, many bearded dragons ignore their water dish, likely because they cannot always recognize still water as something they can drink. Instead, they prefer to drink water while they get a bath. Please note that your bearded dragon must drink the bath water to hydrate in this fashion since bearded dragons cannot absorb water through their skin or vent.

    Some bearded dragons dislike water and get stressed by baths. In those situations, it may be necessary to slowly drip droplets of water on their snout using a dropper and wait for them to lick it up (assuming your dragon is showing signs of dehydration).

    All bearded dragons should receive daily fresh feeder insects/worms and greens/veggies. The moisture content in their food is crucial for helping beardies meet their daily water intake needs. Certain feeders like hornworms are excellent when your beardie needs extra hydration.

    Another way to incorporate extra hydration is to spray the greens/veggies with water before offering them to your dragon.

    What is the Ideal Humidity for a Bearded Dragon, and How Do I Maintain It?

    Bearded dragon on log with hydrometer
    The ideal relative humidity in a bearded dragon enclosure should be around 30% to 40% during the day. In most homes, relative humidity goes up at night, so aim for the humidity levels to be at most 50% to 55%. Always keep the relative humidity above 20% to 25% if possible. However, it is unlikely that your bearded dragon will suffer health complications if the humidity falls to 10% at certain parts of the day. Bearded dragons hail from arid and semi-arid regions of Australia, where the humidity sometimes drops to 10%.

    Always measure humidity in your beardie's enclosure using a digital probe hygrometer. Please do not rely on analog hygrometers since they tend to be inaccurate. When you measure humidity, please place the probe on the back center wall of the tank.

    What Substrate Should I Use in My Bearded Dragon Enclosure?

    Bearded dragon substrate decisions
    There is a wide variety of bearded dragon substrates and much debate within the bearded dragon community regarding which substrate is best. The choice frequently comes down to personal preference, cost, the personality of your bearded dragon, and other special considerations, such as your beardie's age and whether or not your dragon is dealing with a new or ongoing illness or a parasitic infection.

    Bearded dragon substrates can be grouped into particulate or loose substrates and non-particulate substrates. Examples of particulate substrates include specialized sand-based substrates, clay burrowing substrates, sand/topsoil blends, coconut and walnut substrates, and many bioactive substrates. Examples of non-particular substrates include paper towels, newspapers, non-adhesive shelf liner, non-adhesive ceramic or slate tile, reptile carpet, and fake grass.

    Non-particulate substrates are typically recommended for beginner bearded dragon owners to reduce the risk of impaction--a dangerous condition in which a beardie's digestive tract becomes blocked by bits of the ingested substrate. Non-adhesive shelf liners and non-adhesive ceramic or slate tiles are the easiest to clean and maintain and eliminate the risk of impaction from swallowing loose particles found in other substrates. They are also aesthetically pleasing and fit into many decor styles.

    Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat at Night?

    Warm bearded dragon
    If your home gets colder than 65 degrees, you must obtain either a ceramic heat emitter or a deep heat projector. Ceramic heat emitters (CHEs) are not what people imagine when they search for a bearded dragon heat lamp. Many people associate reptile nighttime heat lamps with red or black bulbs (sometimes called moonlight bulbs). Colored light bulbs are inappropriate for bearded dragons because they disrupt their sleeping patterns. CHEs give off no visible light and instead use infrared heat to penetrate deep into the muscle. They are easy to use because the bulb screws into a standard-size ceramic socket and can be used with a regular dome fixture or a wire cage clamp lamp. One disadvantage of CHEs is that the heating element gets very hot and can start a fire if misused--a ceramic socket is a must!

    Another newer and more efficient option for bearded dragon nighttime heating is called a deep heat projector. Deep heat projectors produce no visible light and penetrate deep into muscle tissue more effectively than CHEs.

    How Big of a Tank Does a Bearded Dragon Need?

    Gaping bearded dragon
    The minimum recommended size reptile tank for an adult bearded dragon is a 40-gallon breeder tank (36" x 18" x 18"). You can house a baby bearded dragon in a 20-gallon tank but prepare to upgrade to a 40-gallon tank (or larger) when the baby grows to about 10 inches long (around three months of age) to keep him happy and healthy. Likewise, you can house a baby bearded dragon in a 40-gallon reptile tank to avoid extra expenses and relocation stress for your beardie. When housing a young bearded dragon in a tank larger than 40 gallons, make sure that your beardie can hunt for food effectively.

    If you have the space for it, upgrading to a 120-gallon tank (4'x 2' x2' or 48" x 24" x 24") is ideal. Maintaining a proper cool side and basking spot temperatures in a larger tank is much easier, and your beardie will have plenty of room to explore and hunt. If you're limited on space and looking for something in between, a 67-gallon tank (48" x 18" x 18") or a 75-gallon tank (48" x 18" x 21") would also work pretty well.
  • Recent Discussions

Helping Bearded Dragons Thrive, One Beardie at a Time

Learn to take care of these amazing pets, consult our knowledgeable and friendly bearded dragon community, and stay up-to-date on all the latest bearded dragon news and research.

Become one of 70,000+ people to join this community since it was first established in the year 2000.

Existing Member? Login.

Top Bottom