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10 Most Common Bearded Dragon Mistakes to Avoid

A pet bearded in its tank watching its owner

Keeping a bearded dragon can be a fun and rewarding experience. Well, that is until something goes wrong. There are some common bearded dragon mistakes when keeping them.

Mistakes are common – we are all human. However, there are times that mistakes can be quite costly for both you and your beardie. 

Thus, today we will be listing the top ten most common bearded dragon mistakes when it comes to caring for your reptile. Keep reading to avoid these sometimes fatal mistakes!

1. Bearded Dragon Mistakes, Not Doing Your Homework

Before you get any pet, it is imperative to know what is safe for them and what is dangerous. However, there is a general level of common sense when it comes to traditional pets such as cats or dogs. Yet, when it comes to more exotic pets such as bearded dragons, more often than not, they have very specific care requirements. This is one of the most common bearded dragon mistakes when keeping them.

Before bringing one home, you should always do plenty of research on bearded dragons. It is easy enough to find information on the internet. Reptile blogs and YouTube channels are some of the best sources of information regarding bearded dragon care.

You should also do your homework when purchasing a bearded dragon. Big box pet stores such as Petco and PetSmart have controversial husbandry practices. Many of their bearded dragons have bad genetics and frequently suffer from health issues. 

However, it isn’t difficult finding a healthy bearded dragon for sale. Online breeders such as CBReptiles and XYZ Reptiles offer quality bearded dragons that have been breeding them for years. You can also do a Google search and see if there are any local reptile shops in your area. 

2. Not Giving the Bearded Dragon Proper Heating

Like most replies, bearded dragons are cold-blooded. This means they are reliant on the temperatures of their environment to thrive. This is why it is crucial to ensure your heating is adequate. 

Don’t just assume that the temperature is warm enough for your beardie. You need a thermostat to measure the temperature within your enclosure. You need a basking spot on one side of your enclosure and hides for your beard is to cool off when needed. 

3. Not Providing the Bearded Dragon UVB

Just like you have to be very careful with your temperature, the same can be said about the correct UV radiation lighting. This is a critical aspect of the health and development of your beardie. Out in the wild, bearded dragons get their UV rays from the sun. Not providing UVB is one of the most common bearded dragon mistakes when keeping them.

However, when it comes to domesticated bearded dragons, this is not the case. This means the radiation has to be imitated and is usually done through specialized UVB light bulbs. 

To give you an idea of how important lighting is, without it, the bearded dragon can develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), which can result in pain, broken bones, and even death.

4. Incorrectly Dusting the Food

Just like humans need specific vitamins and supplements to survive, so do bearded dragons. Dusting their food is a vital aspect of their health.

When you dust bearded dragon’s food, you coat it with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. These supplements are available on Amazon or in some pet stores. 

Calcium is essential for both a bearded dragon’s skeletal structure as well as the bearded dragon’s ability to create calcium in its own body.

5. Not Finding a Specialized Veterinarian

This is where more homework comes in. Apart from finding out as much as you can about bearded dragons, find out which veterinarians in your area are familiar with reptiles. Otherwise, handing them off to an inexperienced vet with reptiles can be a costly mistake. 

How can you tell if they are familiar with bearded dragons? Well, do your research beforehand, and ask them questions about their experience with replies. You can also check a vet’s website and reviews to see if they deal with reptiles. 

6. Not Using the Proper Substrate

It may seem like common logic to use sand for your bearded dragon’s home, but in reality, there is a special kind of sand you need to purchase. Many pet stores sell calcium sand which can be dangerous for beardies. This is because they have the habit of swallowing the sand when they are eating and get an oversupply of calcium. 

Many people opt to use reptile carpet, paper towels, or tile. However, bearded dragons love to dig, so it’s best to replicate their natural habitat. The substrate we recommend is a product called Excavator Burrowing Clay from Zoomed. 

7. Having an Insect-Only Diet

Bearded dragons should have a well-rounded diet. This is especially relevant for your young bearded dragon. Although the majority of its diet should be insects, there has to be leafy greens added in there as well.

Otherwise, you may have to deal with an adult bearded dragon that is extremely picky and wants insects rather than plant matter (for which they then need to eat an 80% plant diet to stay healthy).

If adult bearded dragons only eat insects, they may struggle with obesity, resulting in a shortened lifespan. 

8. Purchasing an Inadequate Enclosure

This is another mistake commonly made when buying a young bearded dragon. This may not seem to be a mistake at first until you are constantly caught with having to upgrade as the bearded dragon grows in size.

In summary, you will be saving yourself a lot of money by purchasing a large enclosure in the long run. It may seem cheaper to buy smaller now, but you will need to upgrade in a matter of months which does not make the expenses worth it.

9. Cutting Daily Interaction 

All pets need attention, and bearded dragons are no exception. If you want a tame and well-behaved bearded dragon, you need to interact with it each day.

This is also a great way to bond with your bearded dragon. Interacting and bonding with your beardie daily will make the experience of owning a bearded dragon that much better!

10. Not Paying Mind to Behavioral Changes

Keeping a record of your bearded dragon’s poop, behavior, and appetite is essential. Why? Because this can help you notice differences and clues that may indicate a health issue. Keep track of your bearded dragons:

● Weight

● Appetite

● Level of Activity

● Frequency of Defecation

This can help you make sure your bearded dragon is healthy and happy! If you notice any significant changes in your bearded dragon’s daily habits, it could be a sign of a health issue. It’s better to catch these types of problems early on so you can deal with them promptly!

Most Common Mistakes Made by New Bearded Dragon Owners

And there you have it. We hope this list of common bearded dragon mistakes helps you take better care of your reptile!

Keep in mind these are not the only mistakes out there, and you still need to do extensive research to make sure you are fully aware of your bearded dragon’s needs.