What Type of Substrate Is Best for a Bearded Dragon?


Quick Answer

The best substrates for bearded dragons are newspapers, paper towels, ceramic tiles, or indoor/outdoor carpeting or special reptile carpeting. Because of the risk of ingestion, loose substrate such as sand should never be used for juvenile lizards. For adults, disinfected large-grain play sand can be used, although it is not necessary. Substrates such as nut shells, corn cob and wood shavings are all dangerous.

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Full Answer

When preparing a habitat for a bearded lizard, safety is a primary consideration. A tank for a single lizard should be at least 40 to 55 gallons with a screen covering. Bearded dragons enjoy hiding and climbing, so a selection of well-secured rocks, logs and branches is important. Shallow bowls can be used for chopped up fruits and vegetables, insect food and water. To remain healthy, bearded dragons need UV radiation and heat. The best way to provide these is to position florescent lighting above the tank. A temperature gradient of from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit up to 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit is important for bearded dragons. At night, it is acceptable for temperatures to cool to 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bearded dragon tanks must be cleaned daily to remove droppings and leftover vegetable waste. Food and water bowls must be cleaned often as well. If loose substrate is used, the best way to clean it is with an aquarium fish net or a cat litter scoop.

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