Bearded dragon housing

Where should you keep a bearded dragon?

The ideal living area for a bearded dragon is a glass-fronted vivarium with a secure sliding door. Ventilation is essential and a mesh-covered window in the roof is ideal.

For any adult bearded dragon, the bigger vivarium the better, but it should be at least 6ft long and 50cm wide and deep. Pam Mansfield, founder of the Exotic Pet Refuge in Market Deeping, Cambridgeshire, says: "Buy a large vivarium while your bearded dragon is small and use a smaller container, like a fish tank, within the vivarium until they are ready to use the bigger space."

Do bearded dragons need heating?

In the wild bearded dragons live in desert areas, warming up under the morning sun until they have enough energy to eat and move around.

The temperature in your bearded dragon's vivarium should range from 28°C in the coolest areas, with areas up to 40°C in places during daylight hours. Night time temperatures in the vivarium should be around 20°C.

An underfloor heat mat will help to maintain the ideal environment temperature while a suspended spot lamp, on for 8-12 hours per day depending on the time of year, will also be needed for basking. Place thermometers at either end of the vivarium to ensure that you are able to maintain the correct temperature.

Do bearded dragons need UV lighting? 

Bearded dragons need access to full spectrum UVB lighting for around 8-12 hours a day to mimic natural daylight. UVB is needed in order to help the bearded dragons break down calcium. Remember to change the bulb at intervals recommended by the manufacturer to ensure that the correct levels of UVB are maintained. 

What bedding should you use for a bearded dragon? 

For bedding, use a reptile-safe sand, carpet, newspaper or paper towels. If using sand, allow a good depth so that your bearded dragon will be able to dig down into it.

Do bearded dragons need water? 

A heavy-bottomed shallow dish with water should be provided in the cooler area of the vivarium at all times for both drinking and bathing. The water should be changed every day.

What else should you put in a bearded dragon's vivarium? 

Bearded dragons like something to hide under and will also enjoy securely-fixed rocks and branches to climb on and use for basking. Ensure that you provide these items at both the warmer and cooler areas of the vivarium.

Do bearded dragons need a companion?

In the wild, bearded dragons generally live solitary lives and will happily live alone in captivity too, although certain pairings can live together. Pam suggests: "You can’t keep two males together, they will fight like mad. Even males caged next to one another will attempt to get to each other through the glass. Two females may be able to live together, but they may still fight. Bearded dragons will be happiest living alone."

Pet care advice