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The inland Bearded Dragon, or ‘beardie’ is a medium sized (twenty inches) day active lizard from the desert scrubland and open woodland regions of Australia. They inhabit rocky areas where they can often be found basking in the morning before setting off to hunt invertebrates, small mammals and reptiles or feasting on local plant life. They have a voracious appetite and a curious and intelligent nature, which makes it a firm favourite in the reptile keeping hobby. They get the name ‘bearded’ from the fact that they can enlarge the throat area by means of a special bone. This area is covered in pointed scales, which look like a spiky beard when shown off.
Bearded Dragon Vivarium
The bearded dragon is an active species and as such will require a minimum four foot vivarium for one or two individuals. The vivarium should be furnished with a rocky outcrop or two made from sandstone, york stone, slate or similar. This will help the bearded dragon keep its claws in shape. The main substrate should be sand or a sandy gravel and a water bowl and food bowl (for fruit and veg) should be included. A couple of sturdy branches or pieces of driftwood can be added to help with any tendencies to climb. The humidity should be low, but a light misting of the dragon itself just before the lights go on is beneficial as they would obtain a drink from dew in the morning. Temperature should be quite high (these are desert lizards!) at around thirty degrees Celsius with a heat bulb set to around forty degrees. UV light should be included in the form of a 8.0 UVB flourescent tube and be regulated using a thermostat.
Bearded Dragon Feeding
Feeding is relatively easy, mainly because they are gluttonous creatures which will eat most things! Food items can consist of various appropriately sized invertaebrates such as crickets, mealworms, locusts and cockroaches, with waxworms and beetle grubs being offered as an occasional treat. Larger dragons can be offered a freshly defrosted mouse of suitable size to the animal. Also many types of fruit and veg can be offered along with dandelion flowers and leaves. Vegetables to be offered are: cabbage (rarely), broccoli, kale, grated carrot, sweetcorn, peas, tomatoes, lettuce (not iceberg), cucumber, green beans, cress, apple (thinly sliced), kiwi, mango and a few others. Protein Should be around 75% of the total diet and they do best if offered the live foods and vegetables on alternate days. Bearded dragons have an enormous appetite and will eat themselves into an early grave if allowed to. Feed no more than around 6 crickets a a day, veg can be offered in larger amounts. Due to the short digestive tract these lizards defecate often and require spot cleaning at least once a day.