Best Bearded Dragon Habitat

Best Bearded Dragon Tanks : Make Your Beardie Perfect Habitat

If you want a reptile for a pet, you could never go wrong with the Pogona! This cold-blooded reptile hailing from Australia is among the friendliest animals in the world. In fact, Pogonas acknowledge their owners and respond to their touch. Now, that’s quite rare for a reptile. Even dressing up a Pogona is very likely!

Pogonas are also called Bearded Dragons or Beardies. Their moniker is derived from the guttural pouch, which is found under their necks that is covered in spiny projections that bears a resemblance to a man’s beard. When threatened, Beardies puff out their beards to make themselves appear stouter than they really are. Likewise, they display their affection by waving their hands and bobbing their heads. When upset or stressed, their beards turn ebony.

best bearded dragon habitat

Unlike their night-loving relatives, Beardies don’t keep you up at night. Rather, they are active during the day. They love to loll on logs and bask in the sunshine. Hence, Beardies make good pets for families who prefer to interact with their pets during the daytime.

So, have you decided to keep a Beardie as a pet? Just like any other pet, there are certain requirements you need to account for in order to keep your Beardie hale and hearty. One of those requirements is an appropriate enclosure. Bearded dragons are among the most popular reptile pets, so the market is bombarded with terrariums and cages galore!

If you’re a newbie, you may want to check our buying guide first. But if you’re already well-versed with what kind of habitat Bearded Dragons dwell, then go ahead and head straight to our top 5! Whether you are on a hunt for a multi-purpose functionality, a sleek design and whatnot, we are confident that we have what you need for your bad-ass pet!

Top 5 Best Bearded Dragon Terrariums

Buying Guide: Things to consider when buying a bearded dragon tank

Size

A baby Beardie needs to be housed in a 20-gallon tank, while an adult Beardie that measures at least 1 ft. in length needs a 40-gallon tank. Take note: a healthy Beardie can grow up to 2 ft. long (inclusive of its tail), especially when your pet is fed an ideal diet.

Rather than starting with a 20-gallon tank and buy bigger tanks progressively as your Beardie grows, just go for the 120-gallon tank and have your dragon grow into it. Regardless, you don’t necessarily have to stick with the minimum size requirements.

The best course of action is to get the biggest tank your budget allows. Doing so ensures your Beardie has all the space he needs to roam around and lallygag his tooshie. Most importantly, you can put in other interesting equipment to keep your pet occupied.

Additionally, be sure to consider the amount of horizontal floor space when getting your pet’s enclosure. Beardies aren’t cut out for climbing, unlike geckos or chameleons. Therefore, enclosures with high sides aren’t better suited for Beardies.

Type

Glass terrarium

Glass terrariums are the most mainstream type of cage for docile, cold-blooded reptiles. So, it comes as no surprise that this type of enclosure is one of the most economical choices. The main drawback of terrariums, however, is that they are heavy. It’s going to be a challenge to move the enclosure once it has been set up with your Beardie inside.

Melamine cage

DIY-ers like constructing their own melamine cage. It gives them the freedom to tailor the enclosure according to their preferences. They use a melamine board, which is a type of wood that is coated with a fire-resistant plastic finish. You may install artificial rock formations inside to mimic your pet’s natural habitat.

The only downside is that your Beardie is only visible from one angle. Melamine is also not as easy to work with compared to plywood. Lastly, melamine cages don’t provide adequate insulation. Bearded dragons may not have a problem with it, but a lower temperature could cause a change in your pet’s color.

PVC cage

A PVC enclosure is made of a heavy-duty plastic. It is very durable but also very light, so it won’t be difficult to move it around. Unfortunately, this type of confinement comes with a hefty price tag. Some pet owners also find it less appealing.

Verdict: As far as functionality, ease of assembly and price are concerned, it is wise to choose a terrarium. Many companies provide high-end terrariums for Bearded dragons that use professional-grade glass. It is also a tried-and-tested type of habitat.

bearded dragon terrarium

Security

Full Metal Screen

You don’t want your Beardie to break away from its cage and get hunted by Felix the Cat. Hence, security is a crucial factor when choosing your pet’s enclosure. Many terrariums are now specially calibrated for reptiles. The best ones are complete with a full heavy-duty metal screen cover that you can fit snugly on your pet’s enclosure.

Plastic screens are not recommended since they will melt due to the heating lamps that you will use to provide warmth to the enclosure. Glass is also inadvisable as it limits the amount of air that goes into the tank.

Locking Lid

A locking lid is also a beneficial addition, especially for families with small children. You don’t want your little Dennis the Menace to lay his hands on your reptile.

Durability

If you don’t want to buy terrariums at frequent intervals, especially for a pet that can live for 10 to 13 years, choose a product that is sturdy and long-lasting. Yes, Bearded Dragons can live more than a decade, provided that they are well taken care of.

bearded dragon tank

The Right Equipment

Getting the best cage for your Beardie is merely winning half the battle. To win the other half, you need to gather the right equipment. To keep your Beardie in top shape, prepare the following items:

1. Basking light

Did I mention that Beardies love to bask in the sun? Another reason why you shouldn’t opt for a glass lid to cover your terrarium is that it prevents you from using a basking light.

A basking light helps keep your Beardie toasty. Adequate UV exposure also allows Bearded Dragons to draw vitamin D in their skin. This promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption from their food, which is vital for numerous metabolic processes including muscle contraction, bone formation, and so on.

Otherwise, their bones will soften and break easily. They could also suffer from muscle tremors and organ failure that will eventually lead to their death.

2. Heating tool

It is best to employ both a heated lamp and a heated rock, particularly if you live in a cool environment. The rocks also add character to your pet’s enclosure.

3. Temperature and humidity monitor

Keep a weather eye open on the temperature of your pet’s habitat. Beardies are incapable of regulating their body temperature. Rather, they adjust to that of their environment. Know that their digestion, immune system, and metabolism are greatly influenced by their body temperature.

Thus, get a reliable temperature and humidity monitor to achieve the appropriate temperature gradient. Your Beardie’s tank should vary from 90 degrees Fahrenheit on one end so he can revel in UV light, to 70 degrees Fahrenheit on the other end so he can chill if he wants to.

Bearded Dragons also require adequate humidity to keep themselves hydrated in order to shed skin properly. Without it, your Beardie would retain its shed skin, which could hamper their eyesight.

4. Water dish

Bearded dragons draw out water from their food but they also like to get soaked occasionally. Choose a large, shallow dish so he could easily climb into it.

5. Substrate

They are not adept climbers. If there’s one thing Bearded Dragons are good at, it’s digging. Digging is a good exercise for Bearded Dragons. It also trims their claws. Sometimes, they dig to create a more comfortable basking area.

6. Hide huts

Another reason why Bearded Dragons dig is that they want to build their own cubbyhole where they can retreat away from prying eyes. So, give him a few places to chill.

7. Decor

Decorations add interest and color to your pet’s enclosure. Your Beardie won’t likely appreciate it, especially when he finds out he can’t eat the fake plants. Nevertheless, it transforms a drab cage into a beautiful centerpiece!

bearded dragon habitat

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be the temperature for a Bearded Dragon tank?

Bearded Dragons are native to the hot regions of Australia. So, you must simulate their natural habitat in captivity.

The basking area should be kept between 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Never let it go beyond 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooling area, on the other hand, should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It should never go down below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, especially at night.

What size tank do you need for a Bearded Dragon?

A good rule of thumb is to choose a terrarium measuring three times more than the length of your Beardie (inclusive of its tail).

A baby Beardie should be housed in a 20-gallon tank. The bare minimum for an adult Bearded Dragon is 50 gallons. However, simply adhering to the minimum requirement restricts freedom. About 120 gallons would be best.

Do Bearded Dragons need a water bowl in their tank?

Yes, they do although they don’t drink some. Bearded Dragons can’t detect stagnant water. The only reason why it is needed there is that it helps keep your Beardie hydrated. Even if he can’t see it, he will bump into it eventually and he will have an instant bath. Bearded Dragons also sip water occasionally.

Does my Bearded Dragon need special lights?

You need to supply broad-spectrum lighting for your pet’s enclosure. You can choose between fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, and mercury vapor bulbs.

All too often Bearded Dragons raised in captivity suffer Metabolic Bone Disease due to insufficient exposure to UV lighting. Special lighting ensures your Beardie receives adequate UV exposure, which is crucial for vitamin D synthesis in his skin.

Which type of substrate is most preferable for Bearded Dragons?

Sand is good but it is not advisable for baby Beardies as it increases the risk for impaction. Newspaper and reptile carpet liners, on the other hand, are more pet-friendly.

Can I use live plants instead of fake ones?

Yes, but it is not recommended. Any live plant you put in your pet’s habitat could get eaten in a week or two.

References and further readings:

  1. Grenard, Steve. (1999). The Bearded Dragon: An Owner’s Guide To A Happy Healthy Pet. New York: Wiley
  2. Forsyth, Gail. (2013). I Want A Pet Bearded Dragon. Cedar City, UT: Breed Profiles Publishing
  3. Petmd, Inland bearded dragon
  4. Bush Heritage, Bearded dragons
  5. Animal Planet, Bearded Dragon: Stats & Facts

Conclusion

Simply standing back and admire the beauty of a Bearded Dragon terrarium provides you perfect contentment. How much more when you have already brought home an amazing pet? That will surely send you to cloud nine. But that won’t turn into a reality if you settle on a shabby enclosure.

We highly recommend the Carolina Custom Cages Extra Long Terrarium as it offers a long list of useful features at a price that won’t cause you an arm and a leg. So, choose this terrarium! It is apparently the biggest one in this list, which is beneficial as it eliminates the need for size upgrades. Your Beardie will be a lot happier if he has ample running space.

So before the excitement of having a Beardie gets the best of you, be sure that there is already an assembled and fully furnished terrarium waiting for your pet.

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