It is a very rewarding experience to recreate an animal's natural habitat so that it can live comfortably as your new beloved pet. You essentially get to become the creator of an environment of its own which must sustain and accommodate the needs of that animal. This type of setup is usually required for all types of fish and reptiles. This includes bearded dragons, which are a fantastic reptile to keep and can be very enjoyable. As an owner, you have an enormous responsibility to ensure the welfare of your dragon and maintain the optimal environmental conditions at all times. To do this you will require the following: A reptile tank
Basking rock or perch
The size of the tank required will depend on its age, size and species. From now on, 'Bearded Dragon' and the nickname 'beardie' will refer to the most commonly found species of dragon in the pet trade, the Inland Bearded Dragon.
An appropriately sized tank is necessary to keep your beardie active, alert and happy. This is important as this is where your beardie will spend most of his time. It's recommended that an adult be housed in a 180 gallon tank. Baby and juvenile bearded dragons do not require as much space, however young beardies don't stay young forever so investing in a quality tank from the start will save you the expense of upgrading later.
To allow your bearded dragon to feel safe and secure, you should also make sure you cover a wall of the tank with a non see-through material.
Substrate is an essential item in your enclosure. It is used to make cleaning the tank quick and easy and to provide a surface in which your pet can run and rest on comfortably. It also prevents the floor, which is usually made of glass, from overheating and burning your dragon. It absorbs fluid and some contain and absorb odors and supply nutritional benefits if consumed.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded creatures which mean they require an external heat source to help regulate their body temperature. To do this you will need to provide an artificial light that gives off UVA and UVB rays. The light should be out of reach of your bearded dragon to prevent burns occurring but be close enough to maintain an appropriate heat.
With this said you will need to add a basking rock, branch or other perch to allow your bearded dragon to bask. This is a natural behavior which they have often been seen to do on roads and highways in Australia. Yes, this can be highly dangerous, but really points out how necessary it is for beardie survival. In saying this however, they also need shade. This gives them a place to cool down when they get too hot. In fact they're usually seen moving between the hot and cool areas of their enclosure on a regular basis. This is how they maintain their body temperature and is a perfectly normal behavior.
This outlines the major items required in an enclosure. However no bearded dragon can live without food and water. Providing a food and water dish is a good way to keep the enclosure clean and keep it looking tidy.
Bearded dragons are fairly easy to keep happy. As long as they have plenty of space, heat, shade, food and water you and your beardie should enjoy many years together. You might even like to add some extra accessories to the enclosure such as extra branches, rocks, caves, plants, etc. These can be very appealing and will only improve the living conditions of your dragon.
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