The red bearded dragon is a visually striking variant of the popular bearded dragon family. As its name suggests, it has a bright red color, although there are different shades of red available. Like all bearded dragons, it is a rewarding animal to own and very has very interesting behaviour. Although the red bearded dragon is generally considered a good pet, even for beginners. It does have some complex needs and needs special care. For example, when feeding, the insects must be sprinkled with gut mucus or dust before being being fed to your red bearded dragon.
Red bearded dragons usually allow themselves to be handled, and they are fascinating reptiles to watch. Read on to see what you need if you are considering bringing this lizard species into your home.
Brief facts about red bearded dragons
Species name: Pogona vitticeps
Common name: Red bearded dragon
Care level: Moderate
Lifespan: 10 years
Adult size: 16-24 inches
Diet: Insects and vegetables
Minimum tank size: 55 gallons
Temperature and humidity: 80°-105° F temperature, 30%-40% humidity
Do red bearded dragonsmake good pets?
Bearded dragons are often described as the best lizards or reptiles for beginners to keep. This is because they are tolerant and some even enjoy being held by their owners. Despite this, the red bearded dragon requires moderate to high care due to its habitat and special nutritional needs. As long as you have the space for a large aquarium, the time to engage in
proper nutrition, and the concentration to keep the humidity and temperature rihgt, the red bearded dragon can be considered a good and easy to care for pet.
You can pet your bearded dragon and they can be held by people. Although they should accept it, otherwise they may bite.
As a species, the bearded dragon looks rather prehistoric with it’s scales, spines and a spiny collar that they can inflate when they are stressed or when they want to attract a mate. That is why they are calle a bearded dragon. Beardies can grow to be 25 inches long, and weigh a maxum of about 1 pound. Their tail makes up about half of their body length and their exact color can vary according to morphology.
The red bearded dragon is a variety that is easy to recognize. These are not found in the wild and have been bred and created in captivity. The exact shade of red depends on the morph, but all-red and ruby red morphs have very high price tags.
An adult bearded dragon needs a tank of at least 55 gallons and will benefit from a larger tank with more space rather than a small tank. Bearded dragons
spend some time in trees in the wild, so by giving them branches to climb on will give them a more satisfying and enjoyable habitat. Logs, branches and rocks provide some height for the red bearded dragons to climb on. Half a log can also serve as a shelter, which is important to give your red bearded dragon a hiding place.
Clean the tank randomly every day to remove dead insects and to get rid of debris. You also have to do a complete cleaning once in a while. A complete cleaning means
removing everything, disinfecting and replacing the substrate with a fresh one.
Red bearded dragons should be exposed to UVB light regularly. Make sure special fluorescent lighting with the appropriate UV spectrum and make sure that your bearded dragon can get to within 5 cm of the lamp. A day/night cycle of 12 hours mimics the natural habitat of your red bearded dragon.
Provide a temperature gradient in the tank, from 80º F at the cool end to a solar temperature up to 105º F at the other end of their environment. At night, the temperature can drop to 70º F in the wild. For heating, you can use ceramic heating elements, mercury lamps and incandescent bulbs. You should use thermometers to ensure that the temperature is always optimal of the health of your red bearded dragon.
A humidity level between 30% and 40% should be maintained to keep them happy. Increasing the humidity is fairly easy by spraying the enclosure with water, but if you live in a humid area and need to lower the humidity which is more difficult. With a hydrometer, you can accurately check the curren humidity.
Choosing the right substrate means finding something that mimics the natural environment in which they live in the wild, but that won’t cause damage when it’s ingested by insects and other types of life food. Washed play sand where they can dig in is suitable. Other options include paper towels and special reptile carpet. Sand should be avoided altogether when creating habitat for
young animals as they can eat it.
Feeding your red bearded dragon
Consisting of a combination of insects, vegetables and fruits, the diet of a bearded dragon can seem rather complicated for the average pet keeper. Especially if you include the need for a gut load of dust feeds that need to be included. But once you get into the habit of feeding them properly, it’s not too difficult to keep up with your red bearded dragon’s needs.
Young red bearded dragons grow quickly and need a diet that supports this growth. Feed 75% insects and 25% plants ot keep them healthy. Young beardies are fed insects every 15 minutes. When they are 2 months old, they should still be fed protein three times a day which is intense.
Adult beardies, beardies of 18 months and older, should be fed fed once a day and given 25% insects and 75% plants to keep them healthy. Change the types of insects and plants to keep your beardie interested in its food. Insects suitable for red bearded dragons include crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, Dubia cockroaches, superworms and earthworms. Vegetables which are suitable include kale, cabbage and peppers. Fruits to feed may include blueberries, strawberries and peaches. Insects should be fed at least one day before they are fed ot your red bearded dragons, be gut-filled. This means that the insects should be fed with vegetables of high nutritional value to provide more nutrients to your reptiles meal.