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Bearded Dragon Answers and Information

The Inland Bearded Dragon or Pogona vitticeps it easily adapts to a wide range of habitats and environments, making it an ideal choice as a pet and a common choice among reptile owners.

Although they are called “dragons” they are safe for children, they do not grow very large and are easily tamed.

The secret to a long and healthy life for the dragon is for the owner of the reptile to understand its life in the wild. Conditions should simulate the wild as much as possible. Where it cannot, then the reptile owner must figure out the adjustments the dragon will need to make. Will he be able to do it?

All captive reptiles require a separate heating and lighting system, and the bearded dragon is no exception. But why separate systems?

All reptiles are “cold-blooded”, meaning they cannot regulate their body temperature, unlike mammals which have various mechanisms to ensure a constant core body temperature. Reptiles rely on the environment. So when it’s cold they’re cold, when it’s hot they’re warm.

Their metabolism increases with increasing ambient temperature. Wild bearded dragons and other reptiles enjoy the warm sun to raise their body temperature and thus their metabolism. This is difficult for them to do in captivity.

Because the artificial light source does not produce sufficient heat or it is difficult to regulate both brightness and temperature at the same time, it is easier and more efficient to have two separate systems to create the optimal environment for the dragon.

The two systems have different goals. The heating system must provide a normal temperature throughout the dragons environment and give day and night temperature cycles. Vitamin D is important for your dragon’s health, just like it is for us. The bearded dragon and we ourselves make our own vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight and especially UV radiation. So the lighting system must provide the UV light for the bearded dragon to make its own vitamin D.

If you want, you can supplement your bearded dragons diet with vitamin D. But I would not recommend this, as vitamin D is stored in the body and is toxic at very high levels. It is not possible to give your dragon the correct and safe dose. The production of vitamin D through UV light is a natural process and the dragon has feedback mechanisms that will prevent excessive production of vitamin D.

UV will provide warmth, but should be supplemented with ceramic heating elements throughout the enclosure to ensure the correct temperature throughout the enclosure. This is especially important if you live in colder climates. Remember that your bearded dragon comes from the deserts of Australia.

The diet of bearded dragons is a big concern for their keepers and they wonder if the dragon should feed on plants or insects. The bearded dragon is an omnivore, meaning they will eat anything, so it is important that they get both animal and plant food.

In the wild, the bearded dragon spends most of its day foraging, eating edible plant material from a wide variety of plant species. So you should provide worms, insects (eg crickets and grasshoppers) as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables.

For a long and healthy life in captivity for your dragon you must provide it with a balanced diet. It is not possible to mimic the natural environment of dragons in an enclosure, so you will need to supplement some things.

Vitamin D may need to be supplemented to prevent metabolic bone disease, where the dragon’s body cannibalizes its bones for calcium and develops a type of osteoporosis common in postmenopausal women. But if possible the UV light source should provide this. Make sure you have a high-quality UV light source designed for reptile habitats.

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