IntroductionThis Caresheet is dedicated to the inland bearded dragon (Pogona viticeps). The bearded dragon is an easily kept reptile; this because of it’s calm as well as its friendly character. By handling and giving attention to your bearded dragon it will get used to people and therefore reduce stress. An adult bearded dragon will grow up to +/- 50 cm. Bearded dragons can live up to 7-12 years. The most common coloration is light brown, grayish. The color around the eyes is orange or yellow and the beard can also be orange or yellow. There are a lot of different known colorations. Before purchasing a bearded dragon you should carefully look around. The bearded dragon should be alert and have clear eyes. When this is not the case it is almost certain to have a disease. Also look if its on weight (should have a round belly) and that the hipbones don’t show. Commonly seen are bearded dragons with missing toes or pieces of the tail. Check the mouth for mouth-rot and the body for unusually looking marks and traces of diarrhea on the cloaca. When you’ve decided to keep just one bearded dragon it’s best to go with a male. A female kept alone can develop laying distress; this is something that can kill her.
OriginThe bearded dragon is a native reptile from Australia, from dry and dessert like territories, but also from the open forests. The are day active and go straight to sleep when it gets dark. The bearded dragon spends most of his life on the ground but is also an accomplished climber. Because the habitat of the bearded dragon can vary a lot there are many different colorations. Each one has the colors of the environment where it lives. For example there are the Red bearded dragons who live on the red sand. A normal bearded dragon (who’s light brown like grayish) wouldn’t be able to survive in the same environment as the red because it would stand out to much to the rest of its surroundings, and there for be an easy pray.
HousingA large dessert terrarium for one bearded dragon should be 100x50x50cm (lxwxh). For a couple or trio 150x50x50cm. Place thick branches and little tree trunks in the terrarium so they can bask under the lamp. You can also use flagstones; these will warm when put under a lamp. Bark chips and sand is often seen as soil in terrariums, this often leads to a lot of problems. When the bark is kept too moist it will start to mould. The most natural soil for bearded dragons is sand. It retains warmth very well. There are several kinds of sand. When you choose to use sand ass the soil for your bearded dragons terrarium the best choice would be sand that’s used for sandpits on playgrounds (playing sand). By sifting the sand fine sand remains. This finer sand will not cause constipation that easily. A soil that causes no problems is artificial-grass. It is easy to clean, will not mould. The only disadvantage is that you should clean your terrarium more often. Artificial grass does not take the moist out of the droppings. When the bearded dragon walks through it they’ll soon become dirty.
TemperatureIn the daytime the temperature should be 32 to 35 °C on the warm-side en 24 °C on the cooler-side of the terrarium. The temperature underneath the lamp can even be e bit higher than 41 °C. At night the temperature should drop to 17-18 °C. If possible you should have a basking spot for each animal but still there should be a cooler place for when they get to hot. To create a basking spot I use Spottone made by ZooMed. You should also use a special TL-lamp for the UV-radiation (see feeding). This one is very important for the optimal growth of your bearded dragon. Heat-rocks aren’t that good for bearded dragons. They like to sit on them, and because the can’t feel the warmth from beneath, they tend to burn themselves on the heat-rock. Never place 2 adult male bearded dragons together. This is important to prevent stress and fighting. Two males can damage each other severally. Also try not to place to many juveniles in one terrarium. Incase of a lake of space they might mutilate each other, by biting of tails and toes.
SexingMales have dark pre-anal pores and are normally rougher built. Males use these pores to mark their territory. Females also have these pores, their much smaller then with the males and hard to see.
Another method to deter main the sex is to look at the tail-base. Males have two lumbs, these are the hemipenisses, females only one.
When males are angry, frightened or exited they’ll put up their beard and this will become pitch black. Females also can put up their beard but this hardly ever happens.