This 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.
The 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.
A 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.
In 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.
Males 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.
Females also can put up their beard but this hardly ever happens.
Instead of letting our animals hibernate we choose to give them a cool period in November. You should do this by slowly decreasing the temperature to 20 °C at day and 15 °C at night. The lighting time should also be decreased form 14 hours to 10 hours of light a day. The animal’s diet is also at a low point at this time. Now they are fed twice a week. Powder the food with calcium and vitamins. And of course, you should still give fresh water. After 8 to 10 weeks of a cool period the temperature and lighting hours should be slowly increased to the normal temperature and lighting hours. When the normal temperature is reached you should start feeding a lot. To regain a god level of fats and minerals mice are very good food (especially for females).
After the cool period the breeding couple is placed together, these will soon start showing mating rituals. The male does this by nodding its head and by putting his (now black) beard up. The female shows it by waving her front legs that she’s ripe for mating.
Males can be rough during the mating; they will bite the neck of the female (preventing her to get away), and in the end will wrap his tail around hers and so impregnate the female.
It also known that female bearded dragons lay eggs without mating. This can be explained by the storing of sperm by females, so that the second clutch doesn’t need a male for the fertilization. Males can be in a breeding frenzy in which the might wound a female. If you notice that a male is being to aggressive then you should separate the male from the female. To prevent a male wounding a female you can house one male with several females. Bearded dragons can breed a few times a year. If moved or stressed they can skip breeding.
Egg-laying and incubation
In about a month after intercourse the female’s abdomen starts to swell in this cause she’s fertilized. During the time between the laying she’ll become fatter. During this period she should be fed with food, rich of calcium and vitamins. Short before laying her eggs she’ll stop eating, this is the time there should be enough laying space. In case of a terrarium with an artificial-grass surface you can place a container with sand (15cm deep) in the enclosure. She’ll start digging in the sand and eventually lay her eggs. Normally the egg laying is during the night. The clutch can contain 12 to 24 eggs and in several cases even more. When laid the eggs should be dug up and put in an incubator. Fill a container with 10cm of moist vermiculite and place the eggs. The proportion between water and vermiculite should be 1:1 in weight. Close the container with a lid with air holes. To create an optimal moisture you could moist the lid by spraying it or to wet the vermiculite. The humidity in the container should be around 80 to 90%. Make sure that the lid is free of big water drops. If this is the case the container is too moist. Keep the temperature inside the incubator between 28 °C and 31 °C. We get the best result with a temperature of 29 °C.
After 50 to 70 days the eggs will hatch. Avoid that the hatchlings walk over the other eggs. We have had our share of problems because of it. The Jung bearded dragons will start digging in the vermiculite. The eggs that haven’t hatched yet can fall in to one of the wholes the bearded dragon inside of such an egg can die this way. If the eggs are hatched you’ll place the Jung ones in a separate terrarium.
How to raise Jung Bearded Dragons
The Jung Bearded Dragons are placed together in a separate terrarium. But make sure it’s big enough (10 juveniles can be kept in 60x40x40 cm). Also the heat is critical don’t keep them to hot because they dehydrate quickly. You can feed them with small crickets and fruit fly’s. Powder them with calcium and vitamins. You can also try vegetables and fruit if made small. It’s wise to feed them a lot otherwise the may start eating each other, especially the tows and tails are often bitten of. I also advise to give them sepia and crunched egg scales for a strong bone structure. Spray them everyday with clean water, you’ll notice that they’ll drink it this way. When you place a water container inside the terrarium then don’t take a big one and make sure the water isn’t to deep (juveniles drown easily). Otherwise they may drown. The lid of a soda bottle is a good water container.