What do Beardies like in their cage?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Beardies, or bearded dragons, require specific conditions in their cage to thrive and stay healthy. One important aspect to consider is the humidity level. These reptiles are native to arid regions, so they prefer a low humidity environment. It is recommended to maintain the humidity level between 30% and 40% for optimal health.

Another crucial element for a bearded dragon’s cage is the lighting. These reptiles are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day, so a bright light source is essential. A basking light should be provided, which emits heat and creates a warm spot in the cage. This allows the bearded dragon to regulate its body temperature by moving closer or farther away from the light.

In addition to the bright light, a UV light source is also necessary for bearded dragons. They require both UVA and UVB light for proper metabolism and bone development. UVB light helps the reptiles synthesize vitamin D3, which is crucial for calcium absorption and preventing metabolic bone disease. It is recommended to use a reptile-specific UVB bulb and replace it every 6-12 months, as the UVB output decreases over time.

To create a comfortable and stimulating environment for your bearded dragon, it is beneficial to include various cage accessories. Providing hiding spots such as rocks, branches, or caves allows the beardie to retreat and feel secure. These can also be used for climbing and exploring, which helps to mimic their natural behavior in the wild.

Having a substrate (floor covering) in the cage is important as well. There are different options available, such as reptile carpet, paper towels, or tile. Avoid using loose substrates like sand, as they can cause impaction if ingested.

Maintaining proper temperatures in the cage is crucial for the well-being of your bearded dragon. The basking spot should reach around 95-105°F (35-40°C), while the cooler side of the cage should be around 80°F (27°C). Using a combination of heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, and thermostats can help achieve and maintain the desired temperatures.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the cage are necessary to ensure a healthy environment for your bearded dragon. Spot cleaning should be done daily to remove any waste, and a thorough cleaning of the entire cage should be done on a regular basis using a reptile-safe disinfectant.

Lastly, it is important to monitor your bearded dragon’s behavior and adjust the cage setup accordingly. Every dragon is unique and may have specific preferences or requirements. Pay attention to their eating habits, activity levels, and overall appearance to ensure they are happy and thriving in their cage.

Creating an ideal cage setup for your bearded dragon involves providing a low humidity environment, a bright light source for warmth and visibility, and a UV light source for proper metabolism and bone development. Including hiding spots, a suitable substrate, and maintaining appropriate temperatures are also essential. Regular cleaning and monitoring of your pet’s behavior will help ensure their well-being.