Bearded dragon care

Cleaning out a bearded dragon's vivarium

The vivarium will need to be spot-cleaned every day, and any uneaten live food and vegetables should also be removed at the end of the day.

On a weekly basis, the entire vivarium should be emptied out and cleaned with a reptile-friendly disinfectant. All the cage furniture and bowls should also be cleaned thoroughly. The substrate should be completely replaced. "We rotate the type of substrate we use in our vivariums to keep the bearded dragon's environment enriched," says Pam Mansfield, founder of the the Exotic Pet Refuge in Market Deeping, Cambridgeshire.

Bearded dragons have very sensitive digestive systems so avoid any substrate that your dragon may easily swallow. Textured slate, porcelain tiles or newspaper make ideal substrates, plus they are easy to clean and replace.

Remember to wash your hands after handling your bearded dragon, any of its food, or any objects from the vivarium in order to maintain good hygiene.

Do bearded dragons shed their skin? 

Yes. A bearded dragon continually sheds its skin as it grows. Juveniles may do this as regularly as once a month when they are growing rapidly.

Unlike snakes, the skin of bearded dragon sheds in small pieces. Having rocks that your bearded dragon can rub against and ensuring there is always fresh water available will help shedding to occur. Any pieces of dead skin that remain on your bearded dragon for several days may need to be removed by you. This can be a sign that the humidity in the vivarium is not correct.

Do bearded dragons enjoy being handled? 

How much your bearded dragon will enjoy being handled depends on the individual dragon, some will really enjoy it while others will not. Due to their size and strength they should only be handled by older children under close supervision to avoid them being dropped or injured.

Pet care advice