This list tells you what you will need
before you take your new dragon home.
You can get most items from pet stores
and some at lower cost from a hardware store.
- 10-20 gallon tank for juveniles; minimum of 40 gallon (50 for pairs) for adults
- Low tanks are recommended over high tanks as they give best access to the full spectrum light.
- Supply branches as basking sites, particularly in tall tanks.
- Many people construct their own housing for adult dragons.
- screen top (glass or plastic wont pass the critical UVB light)
- Again, many people make their own cage cover.
- basking site (wood, rock, piece of lumber) that lets your dragon get within 6 inches of the UVB light.
- hiding site
- e.g., piece of bark, small box
- some like a paper towel as a blankie to sleep under
- fluorescent fixture (striplight) that will work with a timer
- full spectrum fluorescent bulb that gives light in UVB wavelengths
- Reptisun 5.0, Iguana 5.0 or Vitalight are recommended.
- A UVB bulb is essential to prevent metabolic bone disease (MBD).
- Only fluorescent-type bulbs give UVB.
- An incandescent bulb is useless for preventing MBD.
- 30-60 watt light bulb for basking area
- Check actual temperature before using a higher wattage.
- Don't cook your dragon.
- fixture to hold the light bulb
- A metal holder with a ceramic center works well.
- Place this light at one end of the tank, not in the middle, to create a temperature gradient.
- You need 95-105 deg F at the basking site and 70-80 deg F at the cool end.
- Both lights should be on 12-14 hours a day (10-12 winters).
- Both lights should turn on an hour before you feed your dragon in the morning;
- Dragons must be warm to digest their food.
- Lethargic dragons might be ill, but more often they are too cold
a contentious area: opinions differ
- for juveniles:
- paper towels (my preference) or reptile carpet.
- I recommend that you avoid fine silica sand or crushed walnut shells
which can cause death by impaction, particularly in young beardies.
- for adults:
- rabbit pellets (my preference),
- calcium carbonate sand (crushed limestone)
Food & water:
- spray bottle for watering your young dragons or misting your older ones
- you don't need a water dish inside the cage
- DARK greens; e.g., collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, dandelions, parsley,
endive, escarole, etc.
- Juveniles will eat more insects than greens and more greens than veggies.
- e.g. green beans, squash, yam, carrot, parsnip, peas, radishes, fruit, etc.
- Chop well.
- crickets of the correct size:
- no longer than your dragons head is wide.
- Smaller is better.
- Overly large crickets will be eaten, but can kill your dragon: terminal indigestion.
- Superworms are good food, once the dragon is big enough
- (5-6 inches snout-to-vent length).
- AVOID MEALWORMS for younger beardies;
- They can cause impaction.
- You can feed them freshly-shed, white mealworms safely.
- Waxworms are good treats:
- Insect keeping supplies
- 5-10 gallon tank with screen lid or other container to keep and feed your crickets in
- egg crate, toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls for your crickets to hide in
- food for your crickets
- e.g., alfalfa, oatmeal, left over lizard greens and veggies, potato slices
- phosphate-free calcium supplement
- e.g., Rep-Cal; Powdered Tums work in a pinch.
- multi-vitamin supplement such as Herptivite
- Use sparingly, a pinch once every 2 weeks.
- High vitamin A, found in some herp-vitamin preparations, is toxic to dragons
- under-tank heater
- Do NOT buy a hot rock; they can badly burn your lizard.
- Dragons dont sense heat well with their tummies, and can be lethally scorched;
- They use their third eye to detect light levels for basking and adjusting their circadian rhythms.
- thermostat to control the heating element
- i.e., the light at the basking site
- extra 10 gallon feeding tank
- decorations for the dragon lair if you feed in a separate tank or feed by hand
- tree branches
- pretreat with 10% bleach to kill fungus and mites; rinse very well and dry,
- flat area with paper towels for litter training
- This ploy works only with some individuals
- for older dragons: casserole dish to hold superworms as snacks
- with some food for the worms
- The glass bowl in the picture above holds superworms;
- the red bowl holds greens and veggies.
- wadding pond (e.g., Rubbermaid container);
- Put it on your kitchen floor, fill it dragon-neck-deep with warm, not hot water
for a weekly/monthly swim.
- Warm water can stimulate defecation;
- you can soak your (adult) dragon
before letting him roam (under supervision)
to avoid accidents.