Bearded Dragon Lifespan – How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?

Bearded Dragon Lifespan

If you decide to get a new pet you want to know how long this animals is going to live of course. Imagine you would get a really amazing animal for your kids, your friends or for yourself and everybody loves it and then it dies after 2 years. No matter how amazing the time was, this would be very painful and some people decide to not get a pet that has a too short life expectancy, because of this.

If you are thinking about getting a bearded dragon or if you already got a bearded dragon and you are wondering how much time you have left with this amazing creature I have good news for you. The average bearded dragon lifespan is way longer than two years. That´s what makes a bearded dragon a great pet for everyone who really gets attached to their pets (Let´s be honest, we all get too attached to them, right?)

How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live?

The average life expectancy of bearded dragon is 8 to 10 years. However due to the increasing quality of reptile keeping equipment, like lighting, it is possible for a bearded dragon to live in captivation for around 15 years. 

There are differences though. As you might know, you can get bearded dragons in huge variety of colors. Some are red, some are yellow, some are very dark and you can even get bearded dragons that are completely white now.

Due to the breeding of those beautiful bearded dragon colors morphs, there are types of bearded dragons now that have a very low life expectancy.

For example, albino bearded dragons or dragons with pale/lucid colors have the lowest lifespan of all. This is because in the breeding process of those albino types, beardie breeders have to breed with bearded dragons that have certain light colors, the health of those dragons is mostly irrelevant.

Don´t get me wrong, I am not trying to bash any breeders here. It´s just the truth. I guess that is the price that needs to be paid for such beauty. The indeed look amazing.

The Bearded Dragons With The Highest Life Expectancy

If you don´t care about looks and you just want a friend that lives very long so you can enjoy it´s company for a long time, you should go with bearded dragons that have no fancy colors at all. Those bearded dragons are greish or brownish. You could say they are the original bearded dragons.

Why Most Bearded Dragons Have A Very Short Life

Unfortunately the majority of bearded dragons in captivation does not get old at all. In fact most of them only get around 5 years old and die due to sickness.

Why is that? Well, the problem is that keeping bearded dragons is not as common as keeping dogs or cats. Keeping a reptile is a completely unknown topic for most people and so they decide to do a little bit research on the internet or they talk to a pet shop seller and ask question how to keep them.

The problem with that is that there is a lot of misinformation out there. No matter if you are doing your research on the internet or if you talk to a pet shop seller.

That´s the majority of reptile keepers make deadly mistakes when setting up the tank or when it comes to the diet of their little friends. A lot of bearded dragons die from impaction, metabolic bones disease or fatty liver disease.

That´s pretty sad and that´s why it is important to do your research thoroughly. It´s better for you and for your bearded dragon.

How To Increase Your Beardie´s Lifespan

Fortunately there are a lot of things you can do to increase the lifespan of your bearded dragon. You will not only increase the lifespan of your bearded dragon, you will make your bearded dragon feel better throughout it´s life and your bearded dragon will show some amazing behavior which you would never see if you wouldn´t do those things.

How old do bearded dragons get

Create An Appropriate Bearded Dragon Habitat

You might think now “My tank is definitely appropriate for bearded dragons!”. Are you sure about that? Bearded dragons need a lot of space since they are pretty active if kept right. Do you give your bearded dragon the opportunity to dig it´s own ways and caves through your terrarium? Do you have a lot of hides and climbing opportunities for your beardie? Is your temperature on point? Do you have the best lighting?

There is quite a lot to know about that and it is never to late to upgrade your beardie´s habitat. If you need my help with that have a look at this!

The Diet Has To Be On Point

You would not believe how many beardie owners feed their bearded dragons completely wrong. I don´t blame anyone here. This is clearly because there is so much misinformation on this topic and that´s why lots of beardie´s die from fatty liver disease. 

Overfeeding is a serious issue. It will decrease your bearded dragon´s life, it will decrease your beardie´s activity. Here are some diet tips.

What About Supplementation?

Supplementation is not just dusting some feeder insects from time to time and that´s it. It is definitely a more complex topic, but if you have it straight once, there isn´t to much work involved. Many dragons start to eat sand and get impacted because they lack minerals.

bearded dragon age

Brumation? Very important!

Once a year bearded dragons go dormant or they want to go dormant. Most of the time this will be around November. The problem is that a lot of people simply don´t know how to support their bearded dragon during this phase. For you that should not be a problem anymore though. Simply have a look at my brumation guide. You will learn everything you need to know to give your beardie the opportunity to sleep well 🙂

Brumation is very healthy for your bearded dragon. Give your bearded dragon time to rest and to grow.

If you do the things mentioned above well, you will have a lot of fun with your bearded dragon for a very long time. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Which Bearded Dragon Heat Lamp You Should Really Get

Bearded Dragon Heat Lamp

Let me guess, you want to set up a new terrarium and you are just overwhelmed by the mass of products you can buy in the reptile niche? No? Well, maybe you are angry because your basking bulb just burned out after two weeks and you are looking for a better solution?

Anyway, you need help to find the right bearded dragon heat lamp? You get the help you need! This article is not a guide on heating your bearded dragon tank. If you need that, simply have a look at my temperature guide here and come back to this article afterwards to choose a lamp. Or if you are looking for a complete guide on beardie lighting, which means heating and UVB, have a look at my Ultimate Lighting Guide.

This article will simply show you which heat bulbs you need and when you are going to need it. It will also show you which bulbs you should avoid. Come on, there are so many bulbs like ceramic heaters, infrared bulbs, blue bulbs and so on. Who would not be confused?

Need A Fixture?

Before I start showing you heat bulbs that you should get, I want to show you some fixtures that are compatible with all of the bulbs you will see below. You can simply place those fixtures together with the bulb on the screencover of your tank. If you do not have a screencover and you are looking for a way to hang those bulbs above your tank, I recommend to get a lamp stamp. Have a look at the products below.


Sun Dome

Flukers Sun Dome Reptile Lamp - Large Deep Dome Fixture

Zoo Med

Clamp Lamp

Zoo Med Deluxe Porcelain Clamp Lamp

Zoo Med

Reptile Lamp Stand

Zoo Med Reptile Lamp Stand Full Size

Get One Of These Basking Lamps

So let´s start with normal basking lamps that you need to create a hot spot for your bearded dragon to get on temperature. Those bulbs should be around 100W or more for bearded dragons. There are a lot of bulbs out there and a lot of them burn out quickly. However there are a couple of good bulbs as well.

A Normal Incandescent Bulb

Believe it or not, you can take one of these without any problems. You just have to make sure that those bulbs get hot (and produces light, obviously). As you know most standard light bulbs today do not get hot anymore, so here is a bulb (click) that you can use for your bearded dragon enclosure.

Bulbrite 100ACLRS2PK 100 Watt Incandescent A19 Rough Service Bulb Clear

Heat Bulbs For Reptiles Only

If you are in the reptile world for some time or if you just started to set up your beardie tank, you probably noticed that there are a couple of brands that always appear when it comes to reptile equipment. Those brands are for example ZooMed, Zilla or ExoTerra.

Of course those brands produce basking bulbs for reptiles only. Unfortunately those bulbs get a lot of mixed reviews. Often times people complain that those bulbs burn out quickly. Further those bulbs were more expensive as a normal incandescent bulb. However a lot of vendors offer now bigger packs to affordable prices. For example you can now get six 100 W basking bulbs from ZooMed for around 40 bucks. Have a look at the bulbs below.

Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot

Zoo Med Basking Spot Lamps 100 Watt - 6 Total Bulbs

Basking Lamp With UVB

The majority of reptile keepers does not use such bulbs without any real reason. Probably because everybody gets a UVB bulb and a heat bulb separately. However those basking lights with UVB are actually really good. For example the Mercury Vapor Bulb (click) is one of the best bulbs you can actually buy in this market and it is really cheap as well.

So they produce great day light, they produce UVB rays and they don´t burn out quickly. In my book that´s a clear win. 

Mercury Vapor Bulb


100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb

Looking For A Bulb To Reach The Right Temperature At Night?

I often get the question: “How do I maintain the right temperature at night, the temperature in my terrarium always drops below 70 °F. What should I do?”

The easy answer to this question is, you should get a ceramic heat emitter. I know you most probably thought of getting a heat mat or of getting an infrared bulb or something like that. However the easiest solution is to get a ceramic bulb with low wattage (you don´t want to bake your reptile) and no infrared light.

Further those bulbs mostly are excellent in quality. Wherever you go and look for those bulbs they always have the highest rating. For example the Aiicioo Reptile Heat Lamp (click) is one of the best ceramic emitters you can get reach the recommended temperature at night of around 70 °F. 

Aiicioo Reptile Ceramic Heat Emitter

Aiicioo Reptile Heat Lamp Bulb 60W Ceramic Heat Emitter No Harm No Light Infrared Heater Lamp for Lizard Aquarium Snake Pet Brooder 110VWhite

Why I Don´t Recommend Infrared Bulbs

Unfortunately those bulbs are still pretty common in reptile tanks. This is the result of misinformation. A lot of times people buy their equipment in pet shops and get information from a seller that has no clue at all how a beardie habitat should look. That´s why they recommend to get an infrared bulb to get the tank warm even during the day.

Bearded dragons need a lot of light. It can never be bright enough. Remember, they come from Australia and are used to being exposed to the sun the whole day as long as they do not crawl away into a hole in the ground. Bearded dragon associate light with heat. If you use an infrared bulb for heating during the day, this can irritate your bearded dragon´s basking behavior.

bearded dragon heat

The second reason why I do not recommend infrared bulbs is, because infrared penetrates the skin. It was found out that it can even burn a bearded dragon´s tissue. The problem is that you have to have at least a distance of 20 inches from bulb to animal. In many beardie tanks the dragon can get closer to the bulb by climbing on something in the terrarium or due to a low height of the tank, which will make things even worse.

So why not just use a normal basking bulb and avoid all that stuff?

Again if you need some help with heating your beardie habitat, have a look at my heating guide. It will definitely help you to get to know what the right temperatures are and how you can achieve them

If you have any questions, simply leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Bearded Dragon Temperature Made Easy – A Practical Guide

Bearded Dragon Temperature

Imagine you´re on a vacation and you are lying at the beach enjoying the sun and everything is just awesome. What will happen after some time? If you are not some kind of a crazy sun worshipper that can take sunbathes for 12 hours without any breaks, you will need to go and cool down a little bit. Maybe in the water, maybe you just look for a shady spot.

Bearded dragons are the same. They lie in the sun for hours and enjoy the sun, they get on temperature and if they get too hot they open up their mouth to regulate their temperature or they switch to a cooler spot. 

In this article you will learn what temperature your bearded dragon needs, what kind of temperatures are really important in your bearded dragon tank and how you can achieve those temperatures.

The Hot Spot

For the majority of new bearded dragon owners it is hard to believe how hot the hot spot for bearded dragons has to be. The hot spot temperature should be between 95 °F and 105 °F. I recommend to aim for the middle and go with 100 °F. Yes, those temperatures are really needed. Your bearded dragon will be baked, but that´s exactly what your bearded dragon needs.

I recommend to create a hot spot with various levels for your dragon. This way, your bearded dragon can decide if it needs it a little bit hotter or not that hot. For that I recommend to get some mopani wood like this. Place it under the basking light so that your bearded dragon can lie on it on multiple places. Obviously one should be closer to the basking bulb, the other should have a little bit more distance. Again, make sure that those places reach a temperature between 95 °F and 100 °F.

Zoo Med Tag Mopani Wood

The Basking Bulb

You are probably wondering which heat bulb and fixture you should use for that. Here are you have a lot of options you can go with. You can buy one of those reptile basking lights. For example you can get 6 100W Bulbs from ZooMed like these (click here) for under 40 bucks. In my opinion this is a good deal, however sometimes those bulbs burn out quickly.

Zoo Med Basking Spot Lamps 100 Watt - 6 Total Bulbs

Basically you need a 100W bulb that gets warm. If you can´t reach the recommended temperature with your 100W bulb, you can either decrease the distance from basking bulb to basking spot, or you have to buy a bulb with higher wattage (150W)

 If you need more options when it comes to heat lamps, read my guide on getting the right heat lamps for your bearded dragon. (Coming Soon)

The Ambient Temperature

The ambient temperature is the temperature in your whole beardie tank. The temperature should be between 78 °F and 88 °F. Most probably it will be warmer around the basking spot and a little bit cooler on  the side of your tank that does not have a basking spot. That´s exactly what you want. (As long as you stay between 78 °F and 88 °F)

bearded dragon basking spot

You need to give your bearded dragon the opportunity to cool down. You can even help your bearded dragon to cool down if you place a hide on the cool side of your terrarium and combine that with a substrate your bearded dragon can burrow itself in. I recommend to take this hide (click here) and this substrate (click here)

If you are worried that your bearded dragon might get impacted, try the substrate I recommend in this article.

Also I recommend you to read my article on impaction. It will help you to understand why your bearded dragon really eats sand.

If you are not able to reach this ambient temperature, you should use another heat bulb like this to increase the temperature in your tank. If the temperature gets too high you should use one with lower wattage.

During The Night

A lot of people have problems to reach the recommended temperature at night which is around 70 °F. In my opinion this temperature is easy to achieve if you didn´t place your dragon tank in the basement. If the temperature in the tank really drops below 70 °F I recommend to get a ceramic heater like this (click here) for the night. 

Exo Terra Ceramic Heater

The one I recommend has a low wattage. Remember, you need a lower temperature during the night, you don´t want to bake your bearded dragon.

Why You Have To Achieve Certain Temperatures

Bearded dragons are cold-blooded, which means that they need to regulate their body temperature themselves. They bath in the sun in the morning to get their body on temperature, otherwise they would not be able search food or defend their territory from other bearded dragons during the day.

To have the right lighting is vital when it comes to keeping bearded dragons. So always make sure that you have the best bulbs and that your temperature is on point. If you need more information on bearded dragon lighting, have a look at my lighting guide.

Why You Need A Good Thermometer

The majority of beardie keepers buy those cheap 2-in-1 thermometers for 5 bucks or so. I get it. The initial costs for bearded dragons are high, but it is important to check your temperature precisely. Just sticking a cheap temperature on the back of your tank won´t do the job properly. The wrong temperature can make your bearded dragon weak, it might not be able to hunt properly anymore and eventually it might get sick. So get a good thermometer.

Here are some thermometers I recommend. They are very precise and you can easily measure the hot spot´s temperature with them.

Zoo Med


Zoo Med ReptiTemp Digital Infrared Thermometer


Laser Thermometer Gun

Infrared Thermometer SURPEER IR5D Laser Thermometer Gun

If you have any questions regarding bearded dragon temperature, leave a message in the comment section below and I do my best to help you out.

The Ultimate Bearded Dragon Brumation Guide

Bearded Dragon Brumation

When you look outside, you’ll see greenery changing in a warm gradient of red and yellow as trees shed their leaves. It is fall, a universally recognized sign of the approaching winter. But personally, I think of it as a preparation for dormancy. Just like the trees, many warm and cold-blooded animals will enter a period of hibernation while the weather is harsh—a necessity for their survival in the wild. However, even in captivity, our pets feel the instinct to slumber the winter away. Since we have no choice but to cooperate, this article will go over Bearded Dragon Brumation. 

Brumation vs. Hibernation

In the reptile community, most people refer to bearded dragon hibernation as “brumation,” which is the technical term for the period of dormancy cold-blooded animals experience. But, do bearded dragons hibernate or brumate? Is there really a difference? Think of it like this: they’re two slightly different types of the same process.

In each process, a metabolic slowdown occurs, allowing the animals to live off nutrition already reserved in their bodies. They each go dormant in the fall or early winter and rise when spring returns.They stay in what is called a “hibernaculum,” which is a fancy word for any insulated and hidden area (like rock crevices, leaf litter, or logs) that an animal chooses to hibernate in.

But, there’s one key difference between hibernating and brumating. Reptiles and amphibians don’t go into a full “sleep” like warm-blooded animals might. Instead, they go into a suspended state, remaining semi-aware of their surroundings. This conscientious state allows them to bask and re-hydrate during rises in winter-time temperatures. Makes sense, right? 

What to Expect

In captivity, a bearded dragon is receiving contradicting signals from its environment. Their instinct may say it’s winter, while their enclosures are as warm as summer. This causes every dragon to react differently to winter. Some go through full brumation cycles, some don’t brumate at all. One dragon might sleep for a month, while another goes in and out of brumation the whole winter. 

However I will show you below how you can make sure that the brumation process is very clean and healthy since you should definitely give your bearded dragon the chance to brumate thoroughly. Brumation is very healthy for them.

Bearded Dragon Brumation Signs

The symptoms that come along with the cold season can be alarming if you don’t know what caused them. Take it from me—I went into a full panic the first winter with my beardie. He was three years old when I bought him, and seemed perfectly healthy. But suddenly, he stopped defecating, eating, and became very lethargic. I assumed it was impaction. After a couple days of fruitless attempts to pass the “impaction,” I took him to a local veterinarian, leaving with a $300 bill. But once we got home, my dragon continued to go without eating and passing stool . This persisted until—you guessed it—summer came around. It was harmless (but tricky) brumation the whole time.

While you should be wary of serious behaviors like this, don’t assume the worst. Symptoms that start around fall or winter could always be hibernation. If your dragon’s condition stays stable with no noticeable signs of weight loss, then you’re probably in the clear.

Common brumation symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, infrequent bowel movements, dull colors, hiding, and not basking.

bearded dragon brumation signs

When do bearded dragons hibernate?

Bearded dragon brumation can be unpredictable and sporadic. It mainly occurs in fall or anytime during the winter. However, there have been cases of bearded dragons brumating when it’s winter in Australia, regardless of their current location’s weather. Generally, bearded dragons don’t start brumating until they’re around a year old. However, younger dragons may go through semi-brumation. 

How long do bearded dragons hibernate?

In the wild, they will brumate through most of the winter, only emerging when they feel the sun rising in spring. But, captive bearded dragons may brumate for a month to three months. Remember, every dragon is different!

What to do

Now that you know what your bearded dragon will do, it’s time to consider your role in things. Hibernating can be hard on a reptile’s body. As his keeper, it’s your responsibility to mitigate the risks of brumation as much as possible. A healthy bearded dragon will make it through just fine, but once your dragon’s body goes dormant, he’s at the mercy of any preexisting parasites or diseases. 

when do bearded dragons hibernate

Preparing for brumation

Preventing complication during brumation comes down to this: How healthy was your bearded dragon before going into it? Many agree that getting a check-up at the vet is beneficial before brumation starts. This means you can easily eradicate parasite infections, which are capable of getting out of control while the dragon’s immune system is down in brumation, and be sure that the dragon isn’t sick with any other disease.

For those who can’t afford yearly checkups, watch your dragon closely while he hibernates. A dragon who experiences significant weight loss will most likely require treatment for parasites. To check for parasites, your local vet should offer fecal exams, which are relatively inexpensive. The clinic can sell you the appropriate antibiotics, or you can research treatment yourself.

During Brumation Step-By-Step Guide

​You should stop feeding any meat around two weeks before initiating the brumation. I know this sounds crazy, but you need to make sure that the ​intestine is empty during brumation.

Around one week before the brumation you should stop feeding completely, so no greens and no meat.

Start to lower the temperature in your tank around the beginning of November. You will probably already see signs that your bearded dragon is ready to sleep around that time. For example your bearded dragon might not be very active anymore and tries to burrow itself when active.

Over a period of two weeks you should lower the temperature in your tank to 68 °F or less during the day and to around 60 °F or less during the night. To do that you need to shorten the day period. So your light should be switched on for only 10 hours instead of 12 hours at the beginning of this process. You can then shorten the day period more and more. At the end you can just keep the lights off. Your beardie will be most probably sleeping all the time by the end of the first week.

Heat lamps can be kept off during the complete brumation, however you can turn on any light sources during the day for 6 – 8 hours to simulate day and night.

How long do bearded dragons hibernate

Your bearded dragon will show you when it is time to switch the heat on again. Most of the times this will be after two months. Your bearded dragon is more active again and maybe it will do some glass surfing again. Then you should do the process above backwards to slowly increase the temperature and day periods again.

Can You Prevent A Bearded Dragon From Brumating?

Brumation can be interrupted by frequent handling and keeping temperatures steady may shorten the length of time your reptile hibernates—and maybe dissuade them from it altogether. But, most likely, a bearded dragon will brumate how he wants to, regardless of what you do (most probably around November). Interrupting brumation may even cause the dragon to stay dormant longer. If your bearded dragon is sleepy, and you just don’t want him to nap the whole winter away—be patient. Bearded dragons should be allowed to brumate in whatever way is natural for them.

Bearded Dragon: Impaction – What You Should Do Now

Bearded Dragon Impaction

Does this sound familiar? You feed your bearded dragon and you enjoy just watching it and everything is great. Suddenly your realise that you did not see your bearded dragon pooping for a couple of days. Now you are worried – how many days has it been since my beardie went to the toilet the last time? How many days without pooping is normal? Has my bearded dragon impacted? What can I do to find out if it is? What can I do if my bearded dragon has impacted?

Yes? Well, you now belong to 90% of all bearded dragon keepers who experienced this situation. What I want to tell you with that is that you should relax. Even though a lot of bearded dragons die from impaction, most of the time it isn´t that bad and the bearded dragon is able to defecate.

However I know that this might be not the answer you want to hear. You probably want to hear facts and how to make your bearded dragon defecate if it hasn´t for a long time. Don´t worry, I got all the answers you need.

What Leads To Impaction

I am sure you already know that a lot of bearded dragons eat substrate and get impacted from that. If not, now you know why most beardie keepers use newspaper, kitchen roll or repti carpet like this as substrate.

Some bearded dragons eat sand when snapping a cricket or when licking their environment. Especially young bearded dragons lick everything. This is to explore their habitat and to “get to know the world”. For them it is a way of learning. 

However in fact, the amount of sand bearded dragons take in while licking or snapping a cricket is very small. There is one simple reason why bearded dragons eat a lot of substrate and I will get to this later in this article. First I want to explain to you the second reason why beardies get impacted.

Overfeeding Is A Serious Problem

What the majority of reptile keepers do not realise is that they feed their bearded dragon too much. You have to think about this: in the wild bearded dragons sometimes do not find food for days. All they do then is nibbling at some plants until they find the next cricket or locust. Adult bearded dragons should even eat more greens than meat.

Another serious issue is feeding insects that are simply too big. Feeding way to big insects can get your bearded dragon impacted. Have you ever seen a complete dead insect in your bearded dragon´s fecals? This can happen and it means that there are already problems with digestion. The next step might be impaction or injured intestines.

Bearded Dragon Exploration

Other Reasons

I always compare bearded dragons to carbage cans (of course, I always compare with much love). Those little guzzlers eat everything. It can happen that your bearded dragon eats something while running through your house (if you take them out). So always monitor your beardie.

Parasites can lead to impaction as well. That´s why it is important to bring your vet a stool sample. This way you make sure that your bearded dragon is healthy.

Has Your Bearded Dragon Impacted?

If you have not seen your bearded dragon defecate in three days and you are worried than I have good news for you. This happens from time to time, especially if you don´t overfeed your bearded dragon.

If you bearded dragon has not defecated for more than 5 days, you should definitely visit a vet.

Other Symptoms

Your bearded dragon might show a black beard. Although this can have several reasons, they often show this if they are not healthy. Further their belly and the area around the cloaca get bigger and hard. Sometimes you might even see your bearded dragon shaking as if it wants to defecate but nothing comes out. If it is really bad your beardie might even throw up.

Bearded Dragon Black Beard

How To Clear Impaction In Bearded Dragons

What helps 9 of 10 times is a warm bath. Most bearded dragons are able to defecate in the water. However you have to be patient it can go quick but sometimes you have to wait a little bit.

Exercise does help your dragon to defecate as well. I recommend to make the warm bath, as said above, and use enough water so that your bearded dragon can swim a little bit. The exercise combined with the warm water should help. Here is a video of a beardie keeper who did exactly this.

Most owners don´t like to do that, because they are afraid of a little surprise, but you can also help your beardie with a little massage. Gently massage the belly and the area around the cloaca. I know, I know it could get nasty, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do.

If none of this helps, you have to visit a vet. Often times a vet can help without surgery. Trust me, you don´t want a surgery – it can cost more than $1000.

How To Prevent Your Dragon From Eating Substrate

As I said, most people use newspaper or kitchen roll as substrate. However that is not an appropriate substrate for bearded dragons as digging belongs to their natural behavior. They can´t dig through neswspaper.

To prevent your bearded dragon from eating sand you have to make sure that it always has access to a source of calcium. You have to dust feeder insects with calcium every single time you feed. If you don´t have a calcium supplement yet get this.

Further you should offer a bowl with small pieces of sepia bone. This way your bearded dragon can eat some sepia bone if it feels that it needs to balance it´s minerals. Get this sepia bone here.

I hope that this article has helped and I really hope that your bearded dragon stays healthy. All the best!

3 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Digging

Bearded Dragon Digging

First of all I want to make clear that digging is a natural behavior in bearded dragons. A lot of beardies love to dig caves and hide in them. Digging is a very good exercise for a bearded dragon in captivation and it is also good for their claws as they can´t get too long if the beardie is digging on a more or less regular base.

However there are situations when this behavior might become a little bit too much. Of course it doesn´t mean that your bearded dragon is a weirdo. It always has something to do with the husbandry.

In this article I want to show you what could cause an obsessive digging behavior and how you can help.


In some cases the temperature was just too high for the bearded dragon, leading do a very hefty digging behavior. If your bearded dragon just can´t stop digging for days (constantly) this could be it.

Your bearded dragon wants to dig into a cave to cool down a little bit. You should definitely check your temperature if you are worried. If you don´t know what temperature you need in your habitat, have a look at my beardie lighting guide. You will find everything you need there.


Of course this depends on your situation. Maybe you just got your bearded dragon and it still has to get used to the new environment and it has to get used to you as well. Many bearded dragons who move into a new home show this behavior for a couple of days. It should get better though.

However it may be that you keep two or more bearded dragons in one tank and your beardie is afraid of one of the other dragons. I know that many pet shop sellers love to tell unaware people that they can tell the gender at a young age and sell “two females that get along well with each other”. Make no mistake, those sellers just want one thing: your money.

It is not possible to tell the gender at a very young age and that´s why many reptile keepers end up with two males instead of two females or one male and one female.

You should monitor your bearded dragons. Is the one that diggs all the time getting suppressed by other beardies? If you don´t know how to tell that, here is a list of bearded dragon behavior which helps you with that.

You Have A Female

No matter if you have a female that was allowed to mate or not, female bearded dragons in captivation will lay eggs from time to time.

In that time it will show a very obsessive digging behavior to find the perfect spot to lay eggs. You have to make sure that your bearded dragon has enough energy and gets enough minerals during that period. Here is how to do that.

When In Doubt Always Visit A Vet

I know, I know vets are expensive as hell. To be honest, I like my reptile vet, but I hate it to visit him. It takes so much time and as I already said, a lot of money.

However this is definitely better than worrying all the time. Some bearded dragons just like to dig more than others and that´s okay as long as your vet says that your bearded dragon is absolutely healthy.

You Should Allow Digging

I know that most beardie keepers are afraid of using sand or clay as substrate because they fear that their bearded dragon might eat sand. Those concerns are justified as many bearded dragons die from impaction. However there is an easy method to prevent your bearded dragon from eating sand – offering enough calcium.

Simply make sure that your bearded dragon always has access to a calcium source. If you want to learn more about it, read this article on bearded dragon diet.

bearded dragon laying eggs

The Right Substrate

I have a lot of experience with the Excavator Clay from Zoo Med. This clay gets hard and you can form hills, ways and caves with it. There even is a Cavern Kit to buy that you can use for forming those caves easier.

However you can always go with a normal substrate as well. For example white sand likes this or walnut shells are highly rated by many reptile keepers.

I hope this article helped you a little bit. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

Bearded Dragon Behavior List – 11 Things You Must Know

Bearded Dragon Behavior List

Imagine that you are in a foreign country and you don´t speak the language. Let´s say you are in Japan ( actually on my bucket list) and you don´t speak Japanese. What would you do to communicate with people there? First you would try to communicate in English with them, but if that would not work, you would try to find a way to make clear what your want. Most probably with your hands and feet.

Bearded dragons can´t do that. They only know their own way of communicating and it is your job to know what they want in order to care for them appropriately. Below I prepared a list of bearded dragon behavior that you should definitely know.

Arm Waving

Your bearded dragon wants to show you or another bearded dragon that it is submissive. It accepts you or the other bearded dragon as the stronger one.

I know it is sad. Back in the day I always thought that my beardie would say hello, haha. I´m sorry, I know it would be cool, but it´s just not true. Here is more on arm waving.

If you keep two beardies in one tank and you see this behavior you should definitely have an eye on your little friends. Beardies are loners and often times keeping them in one single tank doesn´t work out. Especially if you have two male dragons.

Increase the tank size or separate your beardies if they start to fight. You can get my personal help to set up the tank or you can read this article and do it yourself.

Head Bobbing

Your bearded dragon wants to show you that you are weak. It shows that you or another bearded dragon is subordinate. It is part of a territorial behavior. If you just got your bearded dragon, don´t worry about it. Your bearded dragon will get used to you and calm down.

If you keep your bearded dragon with other bearded dragons you might wanna increase the tank size or keep them in separate tanks. Need help setting up a tank?

Nodding can also be part of a mating ritual. The male nods and the female ducks.

Turning Completely Black

This can be stress and most of the times it is. Ask yourself why is my bearded dragon stressed? Do you keep your bearded dragon together with other beardies? Did you just get your dragon and it has to get used to the new environment?

Another reason might be your lighting. Maybe your tank is not warm enough. Maybe your hot spot is not warm enough and your bearded dragon can´t get on temperature. If you need help with your lighting, read my lighting guide.

If you see that your bearded dragon is completely black you should definitely be alerted. Read this article on bearded dragons turning black if you want to know more.

Black Beard

There are a lot of reasons for this. I wrote an entire article on black beards. It can be territorial behavior. Your bearded dragon is not happy with a fellow bearded dragon or it is not happy with you.

It can also be a sign for fear. Maybe your bearded dragon saw something unfamiliar. Maybe a bird outside of the window?

This can also be a sign for bad husbandry. Your bearded dragon is not feeling well. Maybe your cage is not appropriate. It could be too small or the placement isn´t right.

If you want to create a bigger habitat for your bearded dragon, have a look at this article!

Closing Eyes

Apparently one of the most misinterpreted behaviors of bearded dragons. Most people think that bearded dragon only do that when they are enjoying something. However it has been found out that beardies do that as well if they are afraid and want to show you that you should stop.

In my opinion it is important to diversify this. Has your bearded dragon come to you and closes it´s eyes while laying on your lap I am pretty sure that this is not a defensive behavior.

If you pet your bearded dragon and it closes it´s eyes it could be.

Bearded Dragon Behaviors

Beard Puffing

This often times comes with a very dark beard and an open mouth. Your bearded dragon is really angry at the moment. Sometimes they even nod to show you that they are the stronger one and want you to stay away.

It can also happen while yawning and stretching.

Lifting The Tail

This can be part of the mating ritual. Most probably your bearded dragon is ready to mate. However it can also be part of interacting with other beardies. Some bearded dragons do that to be social and to identify a bearded dragon.

If it is part of a mating ritual the bearded dragon that lifts the tail often times ducks at the same time.

Biting The Neck Of Other Beardies

This can have two reasons. Mating or saying hello and being social. Weird, right? So if you have a bearded dragon that bite´s your other bearded dragon´s neck, there is a pretty good chance that they will mate. Even if you think that you have two females actually. Most beardies turn out to be a different gender than you thought – happened to most beardie owners. 

So now you know, mating or being social … isn´t that the same? 🙂

Tail Whipping

You can see such a behavior very often in green iguanas. Green iguanas do not only bite if they are angry, they also like to give you a little slap with their tails which can be pretty painful.

A bearded dragon on the other hand is more of a faker when it comes to tail whipping. They might want to slap you if they are angry, but it is more for keeping you on distance. Most probably you won´t ever see this behavior in your beardie. As you know they are pretty laid back creatures.

However if you have a beardie that isn´t tame at all and you want to change that, read my taming guide!

Opening The Mouth

Actually this has more than one meaning or function. Most of the time this is just to make sure that your bearded dragon does not overheat. Absolutely normal, you should not worry about it if it happens when your beardie basks.

However there are multiple other reasons why your bearded dragon opens it´s mouth. One of it might be aggression. Doesn´t matter if it is towards you or other dragons, sometimes they do that when they are really angry and try to keep the aggressor at distance.

There are even more reasons, read my article on “mouth open” here.


It is actually a very good sign if you see your bearded dragon digging. Your beardie tries to get more comfortable in it´s home. Bearded dragon are natural diggers. No matter if male or female both love to dig caves and hide in there. However it could also mean that you have a female that wants to lay eggs.

Male or female, you should always give your bearded dragon the opportunity to dig. Therefore you have to use a natural substrate. I recommend to get this Excavator Burrowing Clay. It is diggable and you can form hills and caves for your bearded dragon as well.

If you are afraid that your bearded dragon eats sand and might get impacted, read this article. It shows you how to prevent your bearded dragon from eating sand. And let´s be honest, sand looks way better than repti carpet, newspaper or kitchen roll, right?

If you want to know more about the Excavator Clay, read my substrate article.

So now you should be fluent in bearded dragonish. Have fun with your bearded dragon and don´t forget to share this article with other beardie keepers!

Bearded Dragon Cage Décor: 5 Awesome Things You Need

Bearded Dragon Cage Decor

Can you imagine your house or your flat without any furniture? It would look pretty sad, right? I mean, everybody wants to feel good in their own four walls. Some might have an indoor hammock in their house, others have oriental carpets. It doesn´t matter what you like, the point is, there are things inside your home you need to feel home.

So why should that be different with bearded dragons? They come from the woodlands of Australia. They love hides, digging in dirt, climbing on logs and branches. You should give that to them!

The good news is that there is more bearded dragon cage décor to buy that I can count. Wanna have a look? Here are 5 bearded dragon tank decorations that you should get right now.

Get An Awesome Looking Background For Your Tank

Let´s start with something simple and obvious: a background for your tank. Back in the day all we had were some fancy looking foils to put on the outside of the back of the cage. Those days are long gone fortunately. 

Today you can get realistic looking backgrounds that even give your bearded dragon the opportunity to climb on it. And that´s what it is all about. Giving your bearded dragon more possibilities to move around in the cage, to get more exercise, to snap a cricket even if it is unreachable, to have more usable space in the tank.

Prices vary. There are backgrounds that are pretty expensive, but there are cheap ones as well. Have a look at these two backgrounds here.

Zoo Med Cork Tile


Zoo Med Natural Cork Tile Background
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    Natural Look

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    Highly Rated

Cork Terrarium


Cork Terrarium Background Tile - Natural Cork Top 12x12 Inches
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    High Rating

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    12×12 inches

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    Looks Very Natural

​​​​Wanna see more backgrounds for your bearded dragon? Now problem! I wrote an entire article on awesome looking backgrounds. See the backgrounds here!

Plants For Your Beardie Cage

Come on, don´t tell me you don´t want new plants for your bearded dragon cage. I get tons of emails of people asking me what kind of plants they could put into their bearded dragon cages.

When it comes to real plants it can be a little bit tricky to find the right ones. However do you really thought I would let you down? Of course I wrote an article on that. Wanna put real plants into your cage? Here are 14 plants you can use for your beardie cage!

What about plastic plants? I actually really like to use them. They are easy to care for, I just clean them once in a while and that´s it. They look pretty good and I can put them wherever I want to create an amazing looking environment for my bearded dragon.

Here are some plastic plants that contribute to a wonderful looking habitat.


Repta Vines

Flukers Repta Vines-Pothos for Reptiles and Amphibians
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    Available In Multiple Sizes

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    Highly Rated

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    Natural Look


Terrarium Plant

Exo Terra Terrarium Plant
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    Various Looks Available

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    Highest Rating

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    Looks Very Natural

Branches And Driftwood

It might seem a little bit boring since almost everybody has at least one branch in their beardie tank. However there are actually some really beautiful looking branches that you can get online or in pet shops. Some are a little bit expensive in pet shops but online you can get them actually quite cheap.

The great thing about those branches is that you can create an opportunity to climb for your beardie, but you can also position them to be a hide. I use those branches combined with plastic plants and real plants to create a very naturally looking habitat.

Here are some branches you must see.

Zoo Med

Mopani Wood

Zoo Med Reptile Mopani Wood
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    Good Size 

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    Highly Rated

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    Natural Look

Zoo Med

Tag Mopani Wood

Zoo Med Tag Mopani Wood
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    Best Cave You Can Find

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    Available In 3 Sizes

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    Looks Very Natural

A Natural Substrate

Okay, okay I know, please don´t kill me. I know that you are afraid that your bearded dragon might eat sand or soil or any other substrate. This can definitely happen. However licking on sand or getting some of it in the mouth while snapping a cricket won´t get your bearded dragon impacted.

In fact bearded dragons only eat sand if their minerals aren´t balanced. So if your bearded dragon doesn´t get enough calcium it will eat the sand. If you make sure that your bearded dragon can get calcium whenever it wants, you are on the safe side. Of course I wrote an article on that. Here is how to make sure that your beardie gets enough calcium.

Why You Need A Natural Substrate

Say it with me: “I want to get rid of the ugly looking newspaper/ kitchen roll in my tank” Of course you do! My God it looks ugly as hell, right? Same with repti carpet in my opinion.

Did you know that not using a natural substrate even hurts your dragon? Beardies are natural diggers. They love it! It is a great exercise for them. Many people think that only females dig when they want to lay eggs. The males love to dig ways and caves as well. Wanna see a beardie digging? Here is a video! (Combined with the music of a classic video game called Dig Dug. Awesome, but you might wanna turn the music off if you don´t wanna go insane, lol.)

The majority of bearded dragons in captivation are way too fat and get way too less exercise. So you have to make sure that your bearded dragon gets a good workout – I. am. not. kidding! I know it sounds like I am the fitness trainer of beardies, but it is true!

Just laying under the basking spot all day long will hurt your dragon. Further the digging is great for their claws.

So here are some awesome substrates you can use. One of the is the Burrowing Clay that I love to use. I even wrote a substrate article on it. You can even form caves and hills with it.  You should really check it out. 

Zoo Med

Excavator Clay

Zoo Med Excavator Clay Burrowing Substrate
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    Can Be Formed

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    Highly Rated

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    Natural Look

Zoo Med

Reptisand Desert White

Zoo Med ReptiSand 5 Pounds Desert White
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    High Rating

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    Nice Natural Color

Logs And Hides

Big half logs are great for two things. First your beardie can climb on it and maybe basking or just getting a better view. Second they can crawl inside and use it as a hide. combined with one of the natural substrate which I recommended above, they can even use it as the beginning of a cave.

Here is a video that shows exactly what I mean.

Besides all that they look incredibly good as well in a beardie tank. If you want to get such a log have a look at the options above. These are some of the best logs you can get.


Giant Half Log

Carolina Giant Half Log
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    Good Size For Your Beardie

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    Highly Rated

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Zoo Med

Cork Rounds

Zoo Med Cork Bark
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    Available In 4 Sizes

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    Looks Great

What Else?

Of course there are more bearded dragon tank accessories. However would you be impressed if I told you that you need a bearded dragon hammock? Probably not. Probably a thousand people before me told you that hammocks for beardies are cool. Most probably you already have one. If not, I wrote an article on beardie hammocks. Get your beardie one of them.

The bearded dragon cage décor that I showed you above is more than enough to create a great naturally looking environment and also add a lot more fun and exercise for your bearded dragon at the same time.

What You Should Do With A Fat Bearded Dragon

What To Do With A Fat Bearded Dragon

Do you know that feeling: You just had a great meal, it was amazing, your favorite food so you really ate way more than you should have. How do you feel after that? Right, you are tired as hell and besides that you can´t move anyway since you are afraid you could explode.

This is exactly the feeling most of the bearded dragons in captivation have every day (except that part with the explosion…probably). Why is that? Well, most reptile keepers simply do not know how their bearded dragon should be fed.

Don´t get me wrong, I am not trying to be mean here. Most of the reptile keepers today are simply misinformed. They don´t do it on purpose, of course. All they want is their bearded dragon to be happy.

One of those misinformed reptile keepers was Angela. Angela is one of my clients. She purchased my bearded dragon diet plan when her bearded dragon, Smaug, got very sick.

However before I tell you what was wrong with Smaug, I want to tell you how you can check if your bearded dragon might be too fat.

Is Your Bearded Dragon Too Fat?

Bearded dragons get fat pretty quickly. That is a normal function of their body. In the wild it happens that they do not find food for a couple of days. In order to survive, they have to get energy from their fat depot until they find food again.

There is one simple method to tell if your bearded dragon might be too fat. Bearded dragons store fat in their tail´s base. The tail should be round and solid. If the base is a little bit wobbly and appears too chubby your beardie might be too fat.

Some also say that you can tell if they are fat by their belly and by their chin. You know, if a bearded dragon is extremely fat, sometimes it can happen that they have a huge chin or a big belly. However a big belly can often times be a sign for a gravid female. It wouldn´t be wise to put a gravid female on a diet, as they need energy, obviously.

So that´s why I recommend to only look at the tail´s base not at the belly, not at the chin. In case of doubt, always visit a vet.

Bearded Dragon Eating Greens

Smaug Had A Very Dangerous Disease

Okay now, back to Angela and her little Smaug.

So Angela told me that she felt that Smaug might be sick. She told me that he was not active at all and that he didn´t even wanted to hunt his food anymore. He was just laying there all day without moving once. However he still ate.

When she told me about how much and how often she fed Smaug, I knew that Smaug could be sick already. So I recommended her to visit a vet.

Unfortunately I was right. Smaug was diagnosed with fatty liver disease. Her vet told her that fatty liver disease can be deadly eventually, but she could still do something to prevent that.

A New Diet For Smaug

In order to save Smaug we had to create a special diet plan and even a workout plan for him (Almost like he is human, lol).

We changed the diet completely. Smaug had a way too high protein intake before. That came from feeding the wrong food and from feeding too much food.

So we went from a lot of mealworms, super worms and all those addictive little bearded dragon treats to a couple of dubia roaches, locusts, crickets and so on per week.

Further we had to make sure that Smaug ate more greens like dandelion, chickweed and so on. In fact he should eat way more greens than meat. Like most bearded dragons, especially those who are too fat, Smaug did not want to eat greens and Angela got frustrated as hell, which happened to all of us before. However I told her a couple of tricks to get Smaug to eat his veggies and now he even loves it. 🙂

Exercise Is Important For Bearded Dragons

This is what I always preach: bearded dragons in captivation do not get enough exercise. They live in too small tanks, they don´t hunt enough, they can´t dig because most people use newspaper and repti carpet as substrate – such a life is actually really bad for beardies. (Here is a better substrate by the way)

Smaug had to work for his food. For that Angela took Smaug out of his tank when he was really, really hungry. She put Smaug together with a transparent plastic box of crickets on the floor and watched him completely freak out trying to snap the crickets. However Smaug could only push the box through the room when he tried it, obviously, and so he had a good running exercise before eating.

This was just one of many exercises Angela did with Smaug. It was important that Smaug´s life would be more active in general.

Dearded Dragon Outside

Smaug Is Fine Today

It wasn´t easy at first, especially because Smaug didn´t want to eat veggies. However now, Smaug is a healthy bearded dragon. Angela was so worried at first that she might lose Smaug. Here is what she says today:

“Hey Pierre,

thank you so much for helping me with Smaug´s diet. The meal plan is absolutely awesome. My baby Smaug is so active now and it seems like the workouts you suggested are starting to pay off as well. Especially the tricks to get him to eat veggies were great.

My vet says that Smaug is on a good way and looks way better than before.

Thanks Pierre! I Keep you updated!”

You see, Angela feeds Smaug less, she feeds different food and Smaug is getting more exercise and the vet said that Smaug looked way better than before.

Angela doesn´t have to be afraid to lose Smaug anymore and Smaug can simply be a happy and healthy bearded dragon. Awesome!

If you need some help with your bearded dragon diet as well, you can purchase an individual bearded dragon diet plan here!

I almost feel like the fitness trainer of bearded dragons, lol!

5 Bearded Dragon Diet Tips You MUST Know

bearded dragon diet tips

In the first article of this bearded dragon diet mini series I talked about deadly mistakes most bearded dragon owners make when it comes to the diet of their little dragons. If you did not read it yet, do so now: click here for the deadly mistakes!

So, now in this article I want to show you how you feed your bearded dragon the right way. However I do not want to tell you this stuff in a boring way, since this can be pretty dry and I am sure that you know basically how to feed your dragon.

Because of that I decided to give you 5 diet tips that will definitely increase the health of your bearded dragon.

Feed Smaller Insects

Most reptile owners feed their reptiles huge insects as soon as their reptile got bigger. While you definitely should not feed day flies or micro crickets anymore, there is no reason to feed your reptile huge locusts that do not even really fit into their mouths.

Your bearded dragon can be hurt while eating a big insect. For example they can hurt their mouths. Such injuries can become infected and cause mouth rot or other diseases that can become serious problems. Further, who wants to have a high vet bill without any reason?

This is not the only reason why you should feed smaller insects though. Another reason is the intake of vitamins and minerals. You should powder the feeding insects every single time with calcium and you should also gutload the feeding insects every single time.

However not all insects are gutloaded the same. Some of the feeding insects may have not eaten the vegetables you offered. And some of the feeding insects do not have a lot of calcium powder on them. So the chance to feed your bearded dragon in a healthy way is higher if you feed 5 to 6 crickets that are smaller in size instead of 2 or 3 huge crickets.

Sepia Bones Are Your Best Friend

In the previous article I told you the story of Vanessa who had a bearded dragon with calcium deficiency. If you follow my advice here, there is no way your bearded dragon will suffer from calcium deficiency.

As I said above, you should powder the feeding insects with calcium every single time. If you don´t have a calcium supplement, get this immediately. 

Besides powdering the insects you should also offer sepia bones to your bearded dragon. You might not know it, but bearded dragons know exactly if they need to balance their minerals and if you break the sepia bone and offer small pieces of it in a bowl in your tank, your bearded dragon will eat it very often to balance its minerals.

If you don´t do that, your bearded dragon will eat the substrate (most probably sand) get impacted and die if left untreated. If you don´t have substrate and use newspapers as substrate, your bearded dragon will end up with calcium deficiency.

Exo Terra Sepia Bones for Turtles

This will result in a high vet bill or in the death of your beloved beardie and I know you don´t want either of that.

So simply get this sepia bone here, (the name says it´s for turtles, but you can use it for beardies as well) break it, offer small pieces in a bowl and have a happy beardie!

Are You Still Feeding Mealworms?

I know, don´t shout at me, my beardies love them too. But the truth is, feeding your bearded dragon mealworms is like going to McDonalds with your kids. They love it, you love it as well, but all you eat is garbage …poisonous garbage. 

Seriously, if your bearded dragon has a good weight, eats well, is not sick, there is no reason to feed it mealworms or super worms. Your bearded dragon will become fat and those worms do not have a high nutritous value.

So if you want your bearded dragon to stay healthy, try to feed healthy insects as often as you can and avoid feeding unhealthy insects like super worms and mealworms.

One Of The Best Feeding Insects Is…

the dubia roach! I know that most people buy crickets. When I was a beginner I never tried dubia roaches. I got used to crickets and dubias looked weird and I didn´t want them in my home. Weird reason to not feed them, right? Thank god I´ve changed, lol.

Dubia roaches

Dubias are one of the most healthy foods you can offer your bearded dragon. They have soft bodies which is good for reptiles, they have a lot of meat, are high in protein and in calcium and much more. The nutrition is simply amazing.

If you think those roaches are disgusting and you don´t want to have them inside your house, here are some facts for you:
Dubia roaches do not smell, they do not carry diseases, they don´t make noises, they can´t climb glass, they don´t bite and they can´t fly. Further, they won´t infest your house if some escape. Dubias need constant high humidity and high temperature to breed. Won´t happen in your house. 

Get some dubia roaches for your bearded dragon here!

Less Is More

At least when it comes to adult bearded dragons. While baby bearded dragons eat a lot and should eat a lot every day, adult bearded dragons should only eat meat 3 times a week. You can offer salad, vegetables and herbs 6 days a week.

Your bearded schould fast one day a week. 

You might think that I am joking now, that you can´t let your little baby starve, but believe me, they do not get as much food in the wild as they get in captivation.

Do you know that a lot of bearded dragons die of fatty liver? This is caused by overfeeding and too little exercise.

If you offer your bearded dragon food, it will always eat more than it should. That´s a natural behavior. In the wild they have to do that in case they won´t find anything for the next days. However in captivation, this can be deadly as you know now.

So I hope this article helped you to create a healthier meal plan for your bearded dragon. Don´t forget to read about the deadly mistakes when it comes to bearded dragon diet if you did not read it yet!

Happy feeding!