Not every pet needs a furry tail and puppy-dog eyes to be cute and cuddly. Bearded dragons are easy to care for, full of personality and just plain cool. Setting up the perfect environment for your own beardy is key to offering a long, healthy life for the little reptilian monster.
Dragon lord Jordan Scott of PetSmart in Bayers Lake gave us some tips for what to include in your terrarium topography:
HEAT LAMP No surprise here that dragons, like any other reptile, love heat. A strong heat lamp—at least 125 watts–will keep your little guy nice and toasty. Even if the tank is in direct sunlight, a heat lamp is still needed to ensure optimal comfort. Along with the daylight bulb, grab a UV lamp and nighttime heat emitter to keep your lizard comfy 24/7.
WATER DISH Urban dragons will need some special conditioner in their dish if it's filled with city water, but rural pet owners using well water should be fine. Like any other pet or family member, keep the water supply fresh and change it if anything dirty falls inside or anyone poops in it.
BASKING SPOT Heaven is a hot rock to lounge around on. Don't feel you have to get your rock from a pet store. Anything sourced naturally from the backyard will work fine—just be sure to boil it first to make sure no harmful bacteria crawls its way into your dragon's habitat.
CLEAN WALLS Clean the terrarium at least once a week, though owners can get away with a longer period in between wash downs if they spot clean whenever they spy some dragon poop. Water and vinegar works great and is all-natural.
GRUB Bearded dragons' main diet tends to be live or frozen crickets (the frozen have less of a chance to escape). The bigger the dragons grow, they'll be able to munch down tastier treats like hornworms. The lizards are also fans of dark, leafy greens like kale or dandelion.
COST A 40-gallon tank with all the lights, food and accessories will run a few hundred dollars, but many stores will offer starter packs at a cheaper price with everything you need to get set up as the Daenerys Targaryen of your apartment building.
FLOOR MAT A felt mat on the floor of the terrarium provides grip and adds to the ambiance. Avoid sand, as younger Pogona lizards can have trouble digesting the course grains if they eat any.