Before you bring a baby bearded dragon (hatchling) into your home, it’s crucial to know what you’re getting into.
Bearded dragons require a specific environment, diet, and care to thrive. Make sure you’re prepared to provide these things for your new pet.
Research their habitat, feeding habits, and any health issues that may arise. It’s also important to buy from a reputable breeder who can ensure a healthy, happy baby bearded dragon.
Best Baby Bearded Dragon Habitat
A proper habitat is essential for the health and happiness of your baby bearded dragon. Let’s look at the critical aspects of their habitat.
Baby Bearded Dragon Lighting
UVB lighting is crucial for bearded dragons, as it helps them absorb calcium and maintain healthy bone growth. Make sure to provide a high-quality UVB light source in their habitat, keeping it on for 12-14 hours a day.
Baby Bearded Dragon Heat and Basking Temperature
Bearded dragons need a temperature gradient in their habitat. The basking area should be between 100-110°F, while the cooler side should be between 80-85°F. Use a thermostat to regulate the temperature and a thermometer to monitor it.
Baby Bearded Dragon Humidity
Keep the humidity level between 30-40% to prevent respiratory infections and dehydration. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity and mist the enclosure if needed.
Baby Bearded Dragon Substrate
For baby bearded dragons, use a smooth, non-particulate substrate like newspaper or reptile carpet. Avoid using sand, as it can cause impaction if ingested.
Baby Bearded Dragon Setup Tips
- Provide hiding spots for your baby bearded dragon, like caves or logs, to help them feel secure.
- Include branches or rocks for climbing and basking.
- Maintain a clean environment by spot cleaning daily and fully sanitizing the enclosure every few weeks.
Baby Bearded Dragon Diet
Proper nutrition is essential for a growing baby bearded dragon. Let’s dive into their dietary needs.
What Does A Baby Bearded Dragon Eat?
Baby bearded dragons primarily eat insects like crickets, dubia roaches, and black soldier fly larvae. They also need fresh vegetables like collard greens, mustard greens, and bell peppers. As they grow, their diet will shift more towards vegetables and less towards insects.
How Many Crickets To Feed A Baby Bearded Dragon?
Feed your baby bearded dragon as many crickets as they can eat in 10-15 minutes, usually around 20-60 small crickets per feeding. Offer insects 2-3 times a day for optimal growth.
Track Their Growth Rate
Monitoring your baby bearded dragon’s growth rate is crucial for ensuring they’re receiving proper nutrition and care. Weigh them weekly using a digital scale and measure their length from head to tail. Keep a record of their growth to detect any potential issues early on.
|Age (months)||Size (inches)||Weight (grams)|
|1 month||3 to 4 inches||4 to 6 grams|
|2 months||5 to 9 inches||8 to 40 grams|
|3 months||8 to 11 inches||22 to 110 grams|
|4 months||9 to 12 inches||41 to 115 grams|
|5 months||11 to 16 inches||102 to 115 grams|
|6 months||11 to 18 inches||183 to 188 grams|
|7 months||13 to 18 inches||230 to 280 grams|
|8 months||14 to 20 inches||252 to 327 grams|
|9 to 10 months||16 to 22 inches||280 to 360 grams|
|11 to 12 months||16 to 24 inches||350 to 465 grams|
Baby Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
- Provide a properly sized enclosure with a temperature gradient, appropriate UVB lighting, and low humidity.
- Offer a balanced diet of insects and vegetables, adjusting the proportions as they grow.
- Keep their habitat clean and provide hiding spots, branches, and rocks for climbing and basking.
- Monitor their growth rate and overall health.
- Handle your baby bearded dragon gently and regularly to build trust and socialization.
Handling and Socializing Your Baby Bearded Dragon
Baby bearded dragons can be nervous, so it’s essential to handle them gently and patiently to build trust.
Start by placing your hand in the enclosure, allowing your baby bearded dragon to get used to your presence.
Gradually progress to gently picking them up, supporting their entire body with your hand.
Remember to always handle your bearded dragon with clean hands and avoid handling them for at least an hour after feeding to prevent regurgitation.
Awareness of potential health issues can help you take proactive steps to keep your baby bearded dragon healthy. Here are some common concerns:
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
MBD is a common ailment caused by insufficient calcium or improper UVB exposure. Symptoms include softening of bones, deformities, and lethargy. Ensure your baby bearded dragon receives appropriate calcium supplementation and UVB lighting to prevent this condition.
Impaction occurs when a bearded dragon ingests indigestible materials, like loose substrate, which can block its digestive tract. To prevent impaction, use a suitable substrate and ensure insects are an appropriate size (no larger than the space between your baby bearded dragon’s eyes).
Dehydration can be dangerous for baby bearded dragons. Provide fresh water daily in a shallow dish and mist their enclosure lightly every 1-2 days to promote hydration.
Signs of Illness
Keep an eye out for signs of illness, such as lethargy, weight loss, irregular feces, or difficulty breathing. Consult a reptile veterinarian if you notice any concerning symptoms.
How To Tame A Baby Bearded Dragon
Taming a baby bearded dragon is essential for building trust and ensuring a healthy, happy relationship with your pet. Bearded dragons are generally docile creatures, but they might be stressed or scared when they’re young or new to their environment. Follow these steps to tame your baby bearded dragon:
Set up a proper habitat: Make sure the enclosure is clean, secure, and provides the necessary heat, light, and UVB. A well-cared-for bearded dragon is more likely to be at ease and comfortable with human interaction.
Give them time to adjust: Allow your baby bearded dragon a few days to settle into their new environment before attempting to handle them. They need time to feel secure and comfortable in their new home.
Approach with care: Move slowly and calmly when approaching your bearded dragon. Avoid making sudden movements or loud noises that could startle them.
Hand-feeding: Begin taming by offering food from your hand. This will help the bearded dragon associate you with a positive experience. Try hand-feeding insects or small pieces of vegetables.
Start with gentle touch: Place your hand inside the enclosure and let the bearded dragon approach you. Slowly touch and gently stroke its body, being careful not to touch its head or tail at first. Gradually increase the frequency and duration of these gentle touches.
Pick up your bearded dragon: When your baby bearded dragon appears comfortable with your presence, carefully scoop them up from beneath their body. Support their entire body, including their legs and tail, to make them feel secure.
Keep handling sessions short: Limit handling to 5-10 minutes at first, gradually increasing as your bearded dragon becomes more comfortable. Make sure to handle them regularly to reinforce trust and familiarity.
Stay consistent: Consistency is key when taming a baby bearded dragon. Handle them at least once a day, and always approach them calmly and gently.
Be patient: Taming a baby bearded dragon takes time and patience. Some may warm up to you quickly, while others may need a little more time.
Monitor stress levels: Pay attention to your bearded dragon’s body language. If they are displaying signs of stress, such as darkening their beard, hissing, or puffing up, give them some space and try again later.
Baby Bearded Dragon Care Mistakes New Owners Usually Make
There are so many things to consider while caring for a baby bearded dragon. A lot’s new owner starts making mistakes at first but it’s only natural to happen. Let’s go and solve our mistakes quickly by marking them;
Bringing home a baby bearded dragon can be an exciting experience, but it’s important to resist the urge to purchase one on impulse. Caring for a bearded dragon requires proper preparation, research, and commitment. It is crucial to understand their needs and be ready to provide the proper care to ensure a healthy, happy life for your new pet.
Using Reptile Sand
Many new owners use reptile sand as a substrate for their bearded dragon’s enclosure, but this is a big mistake. Sand, especially when ingested, can cause impaction and other health issues. Instead, use a safer substrate like reptile carpet, non-adhesive shelf liner, or paper towels.
Skimping on Supplies
Properly caring for a bearded dragon requires investing in the necessary supplies. Cutting corners can lead to an unhealthy and unhappy pet.
Necessary Bearded Dragon Supplies
To provide optimal care for your baby bearded dragon, make sure to have the following supplies:
At Least Two Thermometers and Hygrometers These tools help monitor temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure, ensuring your bearded dragon remains comfortable and healthy.
A Thermostat A thermostat regulates the heat source, maintaining the ideal temperature for your baby bearded dragon.
Multivitamins and a Calcium Supplement These supplements support the overall health and well-being of your bearded dragon, promoting proper growth and development.
UV Lighting UVB lighting is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium absorption and bone health.
Proper Sized Enclosure A spacious enclosure allows your bearded dragon to move around and engage in natural behaviors, promoting a healthy and happy life.
Only Feeding Insects
While insects are an essential part of a bearded dragon’s diet, they should not be the only source of nutrition. A balanced diet should also include vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens to provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Forgetting the Vitamins
Neglecting to supplement your bearded dragon’s diet with vitamins and minerals can lead to health issues, including metabolic bone disease. Always provide a calcium supplement and multivitamin according to the recommended schedule.
Using the Wrong Lighting
Some new owners may use the wrong type of lighting in their bearded dragon’s enclosure. Proper UVB lighting is essential for their health, as it aids in vitamin D3 synthesis, which is necessary for calcium absorption. Make sure to use a high-quality UVB bulb and replace it according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Buying A Small Enclosure
Purchasing a small enclosure might seem like a good idea for a baby bearded dragon, but they grow quickly and will soon need a larger space. It’s better to invest in a larger enclosure from the start, giving your pet room to grow and explore. A minimum of a 40-gallon tank is recommended for an adult bearded dragon.
While it’s essential to socialize and handle your bearded dragon, doing so too forcefully or frequently can cause stress and harm. Allow your pet to adjust to its new environment before handling, and always handle it gently and with care.
Forgetting to Keep Records
Maintaining records of your bearded dragon’s health, growth, and feeding habits can help you spot any potential issues early on. Keep a log of feeding schedules, supplements given, and any health concerns that arise. This information will also be helpful when consulting with a veterinarian.
Housing multiple bearded dragons in the same enclosure can lead to aggression, stress, and even injury. Bearded dragons are solitary animals, and it’s best to keep them in separate enclosures to ensure their well-being.
Caring for a baby bearded dragon requires attention to its specific needs. Providing the right environment, diet, and care will ensure your new pet thrives and lives a long, healthy life. By following these eight tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful bearded dragon owner.
- How long do bearded dragons live?
Bearded dragons can live for 8-12 years with proper care and attention.
- When do baby bearded dragons become adults?
Bearded dragons reach sexual maturity at around 8-12 months, but they’re considered fully grown at around 18-24 months.
- How big will my baby bearded dragon grow?
Adult bearded dragons typically grow to be 18-24 inches long, including their tail.
- Do baby bearded dragons need calcium supplements?
Yes, dust their insects with calcium powder 5-6 times per week for optimal bone growth.
- How often should I handle my baby bearded dragon?
Start handling them for short periods a few times a week, gradually increasing the duration as they become more comfortable. Regular handling helps build trust and socialization.