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Bearded dragon

Bearded dragons, or ‘beardies’, are one of the most popular lizards in captivity in the UK. As wild animals in captivity, it’s important you take care of them in a way that mimics the wild as much as possible.


For advice on how to look after a bearded dragon download our bearded dragon care sheet (PDF 352KB)
 



How long do bearded dragons live?

Owning a bearded dragon, or ‘beardy’, is a big commitment as they have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, or even longer.


How big do bearded dragons get?

This robust looking lizard can grow up to around 45cm including their long tail.


What do bearded dragons eat?

They eat a diet of live invertebrates (insects) and vegetables. They need a wide variety of safe plants and vegetables, as well as the correct supplements.


Read more about feeding, supplements and water requirements in our care sheet (PDF 352KB)
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Bearded dragons lifespan, size and vivarium temperature and humidity © RSPCA


Vivarium for a bearded dragon

A 120cm long x 60cm high x 60 cm wide vivarium is the minimum size required for one adult dragon.


Make sure it’s secure, well-ventilated and made from solid material that’s easy to clean.


There are a wide variety of furnishings for bearded dragons. If using sand, use reptile-safe sand and avoid ‘calci-sand’ as it’s dangerous for reptiles if accidentally eaten.


Temperature and lighting

Bearded dragons need a vivarium that ranges from a hotter (38 to 42°C) bright end, to a cooler (22 to 26°C) shaded end.


You’ll also need to provide a 10 to 12 per cent fluorescent UV tube at the hot end otherwise your beardy can get metabolic bone disease. It’s also essential that humidity is kept low - use a hygrometer to measure this at the cool end.


It’s important to add vivarium accessories, such as rocks and branches to climb on. Help your reptile feel secure with hiding areas too.


For more on heat and light download our care booklet (PDF 352KB)


Health - bearded dragon shedding and brumation

Beardies shed their skin in large pieces. There’s no rule as to how often it happens, but younger dragons do shed more than older dragons.


Shedding problems can usually be corrected by improvements to their environment. Seek advice from a reptile specialist vet if problems occur.


During cooler seasons, it’s normal for bearded dragons to slow down, sleep more and eat less, like hibernation, but in lizards it’s called brumation. They shouldn’t lose weight or stop eating entirely, so keep a close eye on them and get in touch with your vet if they’re losing weight.


Read more information on these topics and others in our bearded dragon care sheet.