There’s a new baby bearded dragon in the home and you have no clue where to start. Don’t worry! We’ll make sure you really know how to take care of your baby bearded dragon. Bearded dragons are one of the all time best lizard pets. Found to be hardy, tame, alert, and packing with personality, these creatures never seize to amaze.
With the purchase of your bearded dragon you should have received some type of care guide which describes the steps on how to look after your new pet. If you didn’t, then hopefully this page will help.
Baby bearded dragons are usually fed on crickets so be sure to find out what size the crickets were and what type of vegetables were being fed. Baby bearded dragons should also be plump enough to survive the stress of moving, a period of time where they refuse to eat.
Most Important Steps to Taking Care of a Baby Bearded Dragon
Taking care of your baby bearded dragon will be simple if you keep track of the following:
Wow! That may seem like a lot of stuff to worry when it comes to taking care of a baby bearded dragon but don’t stress we’ll help guide you through it.
Baby Bearded Dragon Enclosure
Sometimes a smaller terrarium is recommended at first so your baby bearded dragon can find his food and not feel lost. The terrarium above may seem large enough for your baby, but by six to eight months you will need to upgrade. Wild bearded dragons hatch in the open desert and they survive just fine anyway! Just keep the decorations to a minimum in order for the baby to find it’s food. We recommend the terrarium below which is a perfect enclosure that will work well into adulthood.
Baby Bearded Dragon Settling
The move for your baby bearded dragon will be a stressful one that’s for sure! Your new animal buddy might not eat for a few days and not eat normally for up to two weeks! Imagine moving from a village in Bangladesh to New York City, you’ll have to deal with the time difference, finding a job, and finding your favorite place to eat. The same goes for your scaly friend!
We don’t recommend purchasing a bearded dragon younger than 6 weeks old because of a low level of fat reserves. They use these fat reserves to survive during the stressful period of relocation. Sometimes, your baby bearded dragon might settle instantly, but usually there’s a period of not eating.
As the bearded dragon becomes older it becomes easier to take care of. Bearded dragons that are about 6 months old will be much easier to settle in than their younger counterparts.
Once you place your baby bearded dragon into the enclosure, make sure to leave him alone. It will be hard not to touch and hang out with your new animal friend, but the baby needs a period of time to adjust. It’s like the first 2 weeks of class, everyone is awkward and not talkative, but then everyone gets to know each other and the rowdiness begins.
Since bearded dragons are prey animals they have a tendency to hide from any large objects including your hand. Don’t worry eventually they will understand who’s feeding them and you won’t frighten them. For easier handling in the future, leave them alone and let them adjust.
Once your friend is comfortable with you, just slide your hand underneath him and scoop. Predators typically attack from above so scooping from below will minimize the threat. Remember the baby has no fear of heights so be sure to hold firmly or else it may jump and injure itself.
Baby Bearded Dragon Feeding
Your baby bearded dragon should probably already be eating small to medium crickets. If the crickets are too small, he may lose interest and struggle to catch them. Your bearded dragon should also be eating as many crickets at he can in 10 minutes, 3 times a day. This should continue until he is about 3 months old. An easy rule to follow is don’t feed anything larger than the distance between the eyes.
Remember to remove any uneaten crickets, they may bite the baby when it’s asleep and cause undue stress. Also, be sure to put a pinch of calcium dust on the food once a day. Some pet shops may try to sell Nutrobal, which is a good vitamin mix, but it shouldn’t be used all the time, maybe only 1 or 2 days of the week. The other days Zoo Med Reptile Calcium would be fine.
Be sure to feed fresh vegetables everyday. Curly kale is often a crowd favorite and most bearded dragons will tear it up apart in no time. Very finely chopped carrots, apples, and most other fruit and vegetables will also work.
Be sure to avoid iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers due to their low nutritional content and since they may lead to a runny stool because they don’t digest properly. Meal worms are also difficult to digest and are low on the nutrition scale.
Locusts are an extremely nutritious food source and very expensive, but if you want to wine and dine that lizard of yours, you are free to do that!
Baby Bearded Dragon Water
Baby bearded dragons aren’t able to recognize standing water so it’s crucial to only have a very shallow bowl such as the one above. It’s also useful to spray the sides of the enclosure or plants inside with water until you begin to see it dripping down. Remember not to spray too much water, this is a desert environment, and you don’t want it to become a sauna! You should also be spraying the food with water, preferably calcium rich like Evian.
Symptoms Of Dehydration
- Sunken eyes
- Unhappy look
- Wrinkled skin
- Lack of appetite
A good way to check for dehydration is to gently pinch the skin on the side of their back between your fingers. There is sufficient hydration if the skin goes back into place immediately.
Never put any type of water accessories such as waterfalls in the enclosure. The baby bearded dragon’s lungs can’t handle the increased humidity caused by water.
Never bathe a baby bearded dragon unless completely necessary. Only bathe during extreme constipation, after a female lays eggs, or after stepping into feces.
Bathing regularly may damage the lungs. Bearded dragons may look like they are able to swim but are really drowning. Don’t force your bearded dragon to “swim.”
Baby Bearded Dragon Substrate
During feeding, baby bearded dragons may ingest small grains of sand which can cause impaction in the stomach leading to death so until your bearded dragon is six months old, do not put sand in the enclosure. Instead you can use paper towels and change them regularly. There is also terrarium liner available that’s low maintenance, cannot be digested, biodegradable, and easy to clean with cold tap water.
Some people never use sand or liner, and just end up using tiles or vinyl instead. If you’re careful with sand and make sure there is no impaction, then your lizard will be fine.
Baby Bearded Dragon Temperatures
Cold blooded bearded dragons need a hot and cool spot in their enclosure. The hot spot, or basking spot, should be directly under the basking lamp, on a rock, or piece of wood. The cool spot, or cooling spot, should be located as far away as possible from the basking spot.
The ideal basking spot needs to be between 95°F – 110°F or about 40°C while the cooling spot needs to be 80°F – 90°F or about 30°C.
Since there’s two different temperatures to look after, we recommend getting two thermometers. The digital thermometer above uses batteries and has a temperature probe you can place anywhere you want. With two of these thermometers, you would place one probe in the basking spot, and the other in the cool spot. Now you’ll know the range of temperature in your baby bearded dragons terrarium, and you’ll be able to decrease or increase the heat as needed.
Baby Bearded Dragon Heating and Lighting
In the wild, bearded dragons use the sun for heat and vitamins. In captivity, not enough sunlight will reach the tank, so you’ll need to supplement with additional lighting. The easiest and most effective way is to use a mercury vapor bulb such as the one below.
The Mega-Ray mercury vapor bulb is an all-in-one bulb that outputs both UVA and UVB light for your baby bearded dragon, so it doubles as both a heat lamp and a light source. You’ll just need a light fixture to put the bulb in, and a lamp stand to hang the light fixture on. Make sure the bulb is about 18 inches over the basking spot and the temperature is 95°F – 110°F(about 40°C). Unfortunately, rheostats will not work with mercury vapor bulbs, but timer’s will.
If it drops below 65°F(about 18°C) then you’ll need a ceramic infrared heating lamp like the one shown above. It will heat your enclosure without emitting any kind of light and allow your baby to sleep. Just make sure it’s about 12 inches from your bearded dragon and make sure to keep track of the temperature in the terrarium.
Symptoms of Low UVB
- Metabolic Bone Disease
- Lack of appetite
- Severe stunting of growth
To minimize the effects of low UVB and to maximize the health of your baby bearded dragon it is crucial to:
- Keep the basking light on for 12-14 hours a day to imitate the natural day-night cycle.
- Make sure the basking spot maintains a temperature of 95°F – 110°F(about 40°C).
- Make sure the cooling spot maintains a temperature of 80°F – 90°F(about 30°C).
- Be aware of the temperatures in your terrarium. When seasons change you may need to change the position of your lights.
Baby Bearded Dragon Brumation
Instead of hibernation like bears, bearded dragons go through periods of brumation. During very cold weather they slow down, hide, and eat rarely. This is normal when it comes to older dragons over 18 months of age, but baby bearded dragons are growing fast and not eating will cause harm.
If your baby is hiding under logs or in the cave, get rid of the logs or cave. This will force the baby bearded dragon to be social and quit hiding and being introverted. It’s like getting a job in sales where your forced to talk to people all day. You’ll become extremely social in no time!
Remember the Most Important Tips To Taking Care of a Baby Bearded Dragon
I hope after reading this guide that you’ll be better able to handle your baby bearded dragon! If I missed anything or if you have any questions, feel free to comment and let me know! Be sure to keep track of the following and you and your baby will do great!