Common Name: Bearded Dragon
Species: Pogona vitticeps
Natural Habitat: Central Australia
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Bearded dragons can be fantastic pets, even for beginners! They’re social, easy to handle, and have an array of fascinating behaviors. Now, there are several different species of bearded dragon. The one most commonly kept in captivity is Pogona vitticeps, or the Central/Inland bearded dragon. They have compact, triangular shaped heads with spines running down the sides of their body. In the wild, their coloration ranges from light tan to dark brown. However in captivity, through selective breeding, we see an astonishing amount of vibrant colors and patterns – everything from bright oranges and reds to pale albinos!
Their longevity definitely depends on the quality of care and your personal husbandry practices! Bearded dragons are solitary and diurnal, so housing them together is not an option. They come from the arid and rocky deserts of Central Australia, where they spend their days basking the sunlight. Your goal, as a reptile enthusiast, is to re-create their natural environment – it’s a fascinating process!
When creating a habitat that meets their needs (so they can live a long, happy life with you) you need to consider the enclosure (often called a “terrarium”). It has to be at least 3’ long – 4’ is better! They also need specific UVB lighting and heat bulbs, as these help them develop Vitamin D3 in their skin, which aids in the overall metabolic process.
To help ensure that your dragon reaches his/her potential lifespan, never house it on dangerous substrates like Calcium Sand or Walnut Shells. Countless dragons have died from ingesting these substrates and becoming fatally constipated. If dragons ingest these substrates, their internal system will become blocked, putting pressure on the nerves in the lower legs as well. If your dragon doesn’t die from the constipation (also called impaction), it could easily be paralyzed for life. With so many better substrate options out there, it’s pointless to use these! Watch this Video Interview to learn what substrates you SHOULD use!
A bearded dragon’s lifespan is also highly dependent on their diet. They’re omnivores, which means they’ll eat animal and plant matter! As babies, 80% of their diet will be insects like dubia roaches, crickets, and phoenix worms, with 20% being greens and vegetables! As adults, this ratio flips! A varied diet is the best diet, so you can have fun creating different types of salads 🙂
We’ve just discussed a bearded dragon’s lifespan in captivity and some pointers on how to care for them properly. To learn even more about how to maximize your dragon’s happiness and lifespan, click here to watch our FREE Video Interview! In this interview, we’ll teach you how to avoid the top 4 common causes of death in these fantastic creatures – ensuring that you and your dragon are completely happy and healthy!