Petsmart beardies

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I'm looking for a beardie to buy and I've checked out major pet stores along with breeders. Breeders are alot more expensive than pet stores which I can understand but I want to know if buying from a pet store is usually okay. The guy I talked with at the pet store seemed really knowledgable and he had a few beardies of his own. We talked for a good half hour about the needs of a beardie, etc.

Two things I am worried about. He said you can't tell the sex of a beardie until they are almost a year old. Well what if I want a male? There's no way of knowing? And I've heard that pet stores sell beardies way too young. The ones I saw were about 6 weeks old and only 5 - 6 inches long. Is this too young or too small to buy?

Should I have my beardie examined by a vet before I bring him home?

Thanks for any input. Dana


Juvie Member
hey man
different people will tell ya different things.
I know great pet shop owners that are super smart about reptiles and trust them. Most of them have many reptiles as pets i find!
It can be difficult to tell the sex of a beardie but i think if you know what to look for you could see it earlier.
they are ok to buy at that age but only just... that is very young. Just be careful as they are super delicate at this size and need attention.
Alot of people reccomend taking the beardies first poop to the vet to get tested but i don't think that is necessary if they know what they are doing.


Juvie Member
I have heard good and bad about both petshops and breeders, Although petshops are, i find, generally not very clued up about beardies at all. Especially the bigger stores that sell lots of animals and accessories. My beardie is ok (although rather small) and she was originally from a pet shop. If I had the choice again I would use a recommended breeder for definite.
I got my Berko from petsmart and they told me to feed him 4 crickets a day...obviously not enough :roll: They also didn't know how old he was im guessing he was around two or three months old. I would go with a breeder honestly. Thats what I will do with my next purchase.


Extreme Poster
I would go with a breeder... Its well worth the extra money to get a healthy, happy baby and not support pet store. The beardies from Petsmart are from the reptile equivalent of a puppy mill. I rescued a beardie that was going to be put to sleep from Petco (they gave him to me for free), and its unbelievable how many issues their animals have.

You can usually tell the sex at 6 months. Its alot easier once they reash 1 yr though.

If this your first beardie? I would personally start with a juvie or sub-adult. They are alot less fragile than a baby, and you will have a better chance of getting a male, since it will be easier to tell. Just my $0.02 :D


Extreme Poster
A good breeder can tell the sex on most babies by 4 weeks.

My bias suggestion is to always go with a breeder (bias cause Im a breeder)
I definitely echo the sentiment that you should trust your gut. What kind of vibes are you getting from the local breeder/pet store? I've been acquiring all my advice and equipment from the local Petsmart, and I have a good feeling about it. The herp experts are all herp owners themselves and are patient, courteous, and knowledgeable. I'd go with them before I'd go with a breeder I hadn't met or a breeder who skeezed me out.


Extreme Poster
ElectricPaladin":3e68sphu said:
I definitely echo the sentiment that you should trust your gut. What kind of vibes are you getting from the local breeder/pet store? I've been acquiring all my advice and equipment from the local Petsmart, and I have a good feeling about it. The herp experts are all herp owners themselves and are patient, courteous, and knowledgeable. I'd go with them before I'd go with a breeder I hadn't met or a breeder who skeezed me out.

You realize that by going through petsmart you are still going through a breeder just the long way and the "lower end" stock. Petsmart is supplied by Sandfire dragon ranch in mass quantities. They have their "normal" lines that they ship out by the dozens to the petsmart hub which then ships them out to the local stores around the country. So in essence when you purchase from a petsmart you are purchasing the same way you would with a breeder just double the shipping (from breeder to head office from head office to store). Typically they havent even acclimated to their new setting when they are purchased and moved again to yet another new place. The reason so many people have problems is because of this severly compounded stress from all the changing of hands.


Juvie Member
I just want to let you know when I bought my baby I was also informed by a person who worked there that owned 3 of them. I went home and found out he had given me 350 dollars worth of dangerous, life threatening crap and also told/and sold me the wrong feeders. I talked to him about it and called him on it and he has since quit. I would say breeder not only because you are looking at a healthier baby but breeders are hands on with the hatchlings, pet store baby are often skittish and stay that way for a long time, and are also not used to eating greens and its harder to get them into eating. If you do go with the pet store know that you might have a hard time but don't get frustrated and just keep trying.

Also they do sell them far to young and depending on the setup they have you could be looking at some health issues. My pet store sells them at 4-5 inches and the tank does not get warm enough, a lot of them are impacted and very sick not only due to lack of heat but lack of vitamin because they receive no supplements and have coil uvb or none at all depending on what tank they put them in when they receive them.

All i'm saying is be very cautious. Go in knowing exactly what you need, do not buy anything from them unless it is EXACTLY what you need. YOU know what you need trust yourself. Pet stores are there to get your money and will try to sell you things that are bad and useless. Cheap is deadly, this is a life, your baby deserves nothing but the best.


Original Poster
Thanks everyone for your replies.

This will be my first beardie and I honestly would like to get one that is atleast a few months old rather than only 6 weeks old. The ones they have at Petsmart are sooooo tiny! I have handled these little ones a few times when visiting the store and they seem fine with this, just sitting in my hand looking around. These little guys were already eating greens and vegetables, it was feeding time when I was there so they seemed to be well taken care of.

I've googled for local breeders here in North Carolina and found one. Their beardies start at $150 and go double that. What is a reasonable price for just a regular beardie, not anything fancy color wise, etc.? I would rather get the beardie locally than buying one off the internet sight unseen, not to mention the shipping charges.

Oh and the guy I talked to at Petsmart said their in store vet checks these guys out when they come in (who knows if that's true or not). He knew about the dangers of different substrates and foods, impaction and all of that. Basically everything I've read online and on this forum he told me about so I feel like he knows what he's talking about.

I'll probably go the pet store route and get an exam done before I take him home. The price at the pet store with an exam would still be cheaper than buying one from a breeder or online. And I want to give him a really nice set up so he feels really comfortable when I get him home. If anyone knows of any breeders in North Carolina though, I will definitely check them out, just haven't been able to find but one online.



Hatchling Member
Check out The breeder lynn is extremely knowledgable. I bought a leucistic just recently and she is beautiful and heathly.


Extreme Poster
How about checking out the For Sale sections of this site? Ive seen some beardies go for around $60, and some even as cheap as $30... So plus $40 shipping, its not a bad deal! There are some GREAT breeders here! Most breeders have some juvies available too.

Pet stores only get their animals checked if they are about to die. :roll: I observe at a vet clinic where all the Petcos bring their animals, so I would know.
Even if they were vet checked, chances are it wasnt by a good exotic vet.

Oh, another good option would be Craigslist. Ive seen some beautiful and healthy babies go for $30 on there! Not all beardies on CL are healthy though, so you need to watch out. It usually pretty easy to tell who is a good breeder though.


Gray-bearded Member
I would go with a breeder. I know that it seems like more money, but if you go with a good breeder, they'll be healthier and save you money in the long run. I got mine from a pet store, and ended up paying $150 in vet bills just days later.


Sub-Adult Member
Really , theres no for sure answer. The best thing to do is to do your research. learn what a bearded dragon needs, and then go to your petstore, and ask to speak to whoever is in charge of the maintenance of reptiles. Then test their knowledge against what you have learned. If they seem to know all the right things, then your probably safe going with them cause chances are these reptiles have been cared for pretty well. one thing to ask is how long they have been there as well.

you cant go by what someone says on here, because although maybe the petco who is serviced by the vets office of someone a few posts above me may wait till they are about to die to take them to a vet, I am the reptile manager at my petco and I take mine to the vet at the first sign of bad health. I am also an experienced breeder, so I know more then your average petco reptile manager. you cant judge the store by other stores, as its the people running it that matter.

one thing to watch out for are employees that reccomend :

heating rocks/pads.
uv lights that dont contain uvb
and also in general, a good reptile caretaker should be able to sex your beardie for you.
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