Why Not Get A Bearded Dragon? Guide to Getting Pet Reptile

Bearded Dragons may be popular pets, but they shouldn’t be kept in captivity as house pets – here’s why. Though their natural habitat is the warm and arid scrublands of Australia, they are captively bred and sold as pets in many retail stores like PetSmart or Petco. But despite their popularity, they are not well-suited for living in human homes due to their needs.

Bearded Dragons require special diets that cannot adequately be provided by pet owners. They need to feed on crickets and other insects which easily escape from tanks in a domestic environment. Furthermore, Bearded Dragons also need specific temperatures and light levels that cannot always be provided in our homes – making them difficult to keep properly healthy and safe.

Why Not Get A Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons Are Bred In Cruel Reptile Mills To Supply Pet Stores

Bearded dragons are being bred in cruel reptile mills across the United States, despite Australia having banned their export more than 50 years ago. This is due to a lack of regulation by the federal government, as reptiles and amphibians are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act. As a result, these animals suffer extreme neglect and mistreatment in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

The effects of such conditions include a high mortality rate and a lack of access to proper veterinary care – both of which are seen as acceptable costs within these reptile mills. Unfortunately, when customers purchase bearded dragons (or any other animal) from pet stores or online shops, they’re effectively supporting this cruel industry without even knowing it.

Captive Bearded Dragons Require Temperature Control And Uvb Lighting

If you’re looking to keep a captive bearded dragon in your home, it is essential that you provide them with the right environment. This includes temperature control and UVB (ultraviolet) lighting. Bearded dragons rely on external sources of heat, like the sun, to regulate their body temperature, so unless your home naturally stays at 100 degrees Fahrenheit all the time, they will require an outdoor or indoor tank that has a basking area and space for cooling off.

Additionally, if kept indoors, they’ll need an artificial source of UVB light as well. Without this light, they won’t be able to properly synthesize vitamin D or absorb calcium – both essential parts of their health and well-being. While often described as ‘easier’ than other reptiles when kept in captivity, these two requirements show how important it is that we maintain a natural environment for these animals when held in captivity – something which simply can’t be adequately simulated indoors.

Bearded dragons’ natural behaviors are restricted in captivity

If you own a bearded dragon, you know that these creatures are incredibly interesting and beautiful animals. But it’s important to remember that their natural behaviors are severely restricted when kept in captivity.

In the wild, bearded dragons would typically roam around the Australian landscape, soaking up the sun and digging tunnels and caves for shelter. They have the freedom to choose who they mate with and what they eat. Unfortunately, in your home, none of these activities can take place – either because they’re impossible or significantly restricted.

Additionally, simply sitting on your couch is not enough for these animals either – essentially, they’re over 10,000 miles away from their natural environment so they need special lights and external heat to stay healthy and thrive.

Bearded dragons can transmit serious diseases

Bearded dragons can transmit serious diseases – a fact that is backed up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of cases infected with Salmonella from these pets has risen in recent years, with an outbreak occurring in 2020 involving 11 states, resulting in 18 people being infected and 11 requiring hospitalization. That’s why the CDC strongly cautions families against keeping reptiles or amphibians as pets if there are children under five living at home.

It’s important to recognize that reptile mills have led to more bearded dragons being put up for adoption, yet adopting is not enough to truly protect them – we need to make sure that no more are subjected to the pet trade in the first place. That’s why it is so important for large companies like PetSmart to phase out their sale of reptiles and amphibians and help ensure all future bearded dragons live a safe life where they belong – in the wild.

Social, active, and easy to tameVery specific diet requirements
Friendly, curious, and docile temperamentNeed special UV lighting and heating
Relatively cheap and easy to care forRequire frequent cleaning
Long lifespanHealth risks
Exotic dragon-like appearanceLarger males can be difficult to handle

Should You Want To Get A Bearded Dragon As A Pet?

If you’re considering getting a bearded dragon as a pet, do your homework first! While bearded dragons make great companions, it’s important to know all the information about owning one of these animals. Are they easy to take care of? What are some common medical treatments for them? And what will you do with your beardie before you go on vacation?

These are important questions you should ask yourself so that you know what kind of commitment comes with owning a pet like this. Knowing what’s involved, and whether or not you’re actually equipped to handle a pet like this can help you decide if it’s the right decision for you. So before embarking on your journey with the dragon, be sure to read up on all the ins and outs of being a responsible owner!

Why You Shouldn’t Own A Bearded Dragon

It is important to consider that owning a bearded dragon should not be taken lightly. Bearded dragons require a lot of specialized care and attention which many potential owners may not be able to provide. They are highly sensitive animals who can suffer from stress from handling, improper diets, and other environmental factors.

Are bearded dragons hard to care for?

Here are some considerations to take into account before getting a bearded dragon.

Their Poop!

Bearded dragons are known for having some pretty distinct poop! Depending on the age and diet of your bearded dragon, the frequency of its bowel movement may vary. Babies typically go 1-3 times a day, whereas adults usually only go about 1-7 times per week.

It’s important to consider what your bearded dragon eats when evaluating how much poop they are making. High-calcium foods can cause them to go more frequently than normal. However, it is to be expected that beardie poop will smell as crickets, roaches, and worms tend to be odorous and they are among their favorite foods.

On the plus side, you can use their poo as an indicator of their diet and health. So you should make sure to spot-clean both your dragon and its environment regularly – which might be something you need to take into consideration if you were thinking of getting one!

Frequent Cleaning Required

When it comes to litter training a bearded dragon, frequent cleaning is required in order to keep your pet healthy and odor-free. Although it may be difficult for some, regular spot-cleanings of your dragon, as well as their environment are necessary.

For spot-cleaning, your beardie, fill a sink with warm water up to their biceps and use a soft toothbrush to gently brush the underside of their tail and feet. This will help remove any stuck poop which they may have acquired throughout the day. Even with a healthy adult beardie, who only poops once daily, this should be done at least once daily as well.

In terms of their environment, different substrates may require different methods for keeping clean. Sandy substrates can simply be scooped out in the same manner that you would do with kitty litter whereas other substrates may need more thorough cleanings in order to maintain them properly.

Meal Preparation

Meal preparation for bearded dragons is no easy feat! You can’t just give them a scoop of bearded dragon chow or open a can and expect them to be getting the nutrition they need. For optimal health, your bearded dragons need a diet rich in both protein and vegetables.

In order to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need, you’ll want to focus on feeding them insects and veggies that are small enough to fit between their eyes. You should also make sure your diet contains a balanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 2:1 – too much or too little calcium can lead to MBD (Metabolic bone disease). To maximize your dragon’s absorption of these nutrients, you may also consider “gut-loading” the insects before giving them as the food your dragon – think of it as giving them vitamin pills covered in bacon!

Finally, dusting crickets with supplements like vitamin D3 is essential for maintaining a healthy beardie. And don’t forget about UVB stimulation! You’ll need to provide ample UVB lighting for your dragon in order for them to be able to properly process calcium – something that has been proven invaluable for preventing MBD.

Are You Afraid of Live Insects?

Are you afraid of live insects, like worms, crickets, and roaches? If so, you’re not alone! These little creatures make up about 20% or more of the beardie’s diet. In the wild, they rely heavily on these insects as their source of protein and fat.

Some of the most common feeder insects for beardies include crickets, dubia roaches, and phoenix worms – but don’t forget to give your bearded dragon a treat now and then by offering some higher-fat worms as an occasional rich snack; just keep in mind that it is possible for your pet to get overly plump with too many fatty treats!

Although freeze-dried insects might sound more appetizing than live bugs, unfortunately, they almost always lack some vital nutrients that are needed by your beardie. Put simply: Fresh is best.

High Cost

Bearded dragons are generally considered a higher-cost pet, with the initial purchase price ranging from around $50 to $150 USD. However, this cost does not include other necessary items such as food, supplements, and proper lighting. Depending on the brand and size of these items, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars for each item.

High Cost at Startup

If you’re considering getting a bearded dragon, then you’ve probably already done your research about the costs of getting them started. Pet stores will usually charge around $30-$60 for a young dragon, while adults might end up being more than $100 depending on where you purchase them from. And that’s just the start of your financial investment – breeders will also have their own pricing structure which can vary widely.

Now beyond purchasing your little friend in the first place, there is an amazing range of setup equipment you should consider to give your pet the best possible care. Everything from housing and UV lighting to proper nutrition and veterinary checkups comes with a cost associated – hence potential owners should be prepared to spend some money if they intend on caring for their bearded dragon properly.


Vivariums are the perfect home for your reptile. It’s an enclosed space that allows them to stay warm and secure, much like a cage does. However, a vivarium is different in that it is made of either glass or plastic in order to keep the heat from escaping or insects from entering.

Unfortunately, these enclosures come with a hefty price tag: a 120-gallon tank for an adult beardie can set you back anywhere between $470 and $550. However, if you are working with a tighter budget, you can shop around and look at used tanks on places like Craigslist or eBay. Just be aware that the quality and prices may vary significantly!

Heat Lamps and UV Lights

As a bearded dragon owner, you know that these lizards need the right environment in order to stay healthy and alive. To do so, your dragon needs a habitat with temperatures ranging from 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why you will want to invest in both heat lamps as well as UV lights. Heat lamps provide the necessary warmth while ultraviolet (UVB) lights are needed for proper absorption of vitamin D and calcium metabolism – making sure your beast is full of energy and remains strong.

The cost of heat lamps and fixtures ranges between $10-$30 and the fixture itself can cost around $10. Meanwhile, UV bulbs come with their own fixtures which can cost up to $80 – depending on the type you get – such as UVB fluorescent tubes with terrarium lids or mini compact fluorescents with UVB light domes, etc.

Ultimately, when it comes to keeping your dragon happy and healthy, having the right combination of heat lamps and UV lights allows for just that!

Plants, Rocks, and Hideaways

Creating the perfect habitat for your beardie involves making sure that they have plenty of places to explore, climb, and play. Stable, clean branches and rocks provide the perfect perching and basking spots while also giving your vivarium a natural look. If you want to add some plants in, there are some hygienic faux plants available too!

You can choose from realistic replicas like the Cactus Plastic Plant Ornament, or go for something intricate like the Driftwood Centerpiece with Plants. For low-care natural plants, you can select from options such as the Boston Fern from Exo Terra or Boxwood from Exo Terra. To make it more interesting, you can even opt for hanging silk terrarium plants that add a pop of vibrant color!


If you’re considering what type of substrate to choose for your reptile’s enclosure, you’ll have a few options. Reptile carpets are great because they provide good footing and can easily be sanitized. Sand or dirt may look closer to nature, but there’s always the risk that your dragon could accidentally ingest it while catching its dinner.

On the other hand, ceramic tile is simple and easy to clean – but not so fun to run around on due to its slippery surface. Price-wise, substrates generally cost between $3 and $10 dollars per roll/bag, however,, keep mind that you may need to empty and refill the substrate from time to time.

High Running Costs

If you’ve ever owned a Bearded Dragon, you know that the costs can add up very quickly. From food to lighting and from vets to medical bills, all of these running costs have to be taken into account when setting up your beardie’s habitat.

For starters, food is usually one of the biggest expenses as crickets can get expensive if not bought in bulk. Plus, you’ll need to factor in the cost of bulbs for heating and UVA/UVB lighting which wear out once or twice a year and are essential for your beardie’s health. This doesn’t even include the electricity costs needed to run these lights!

On top of this, your beardie will also need annual check-ups with an exotic animal vet which could set you back $100 or more. And if they, unfortunately, require any medical attention then additional costs such as treatment and medication will increase too.

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the high running costs involved in owning a Bearded Dragon before taking on such responsibility.

Vets Are Hard to Find

Finding a vet for your bearded dragon can be challenging, especially if you don’t live in a big city. Even if you do live in a major metro area, exotic pet specialists may not be up to speed with the specifics of caring for bearded dragons. And the few vets who specialize in herpetology may come at quite a cost, especially when you factor in any travel expenses that may be necessary.

They May Carry Salmonella

Bearded dragons may carry salmonella, and it’s essential to take precautions when handling them. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause serious health problems in humans, with symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Though often associated with food poisoning, it can be contracted from reptiles too.

The most common way for humans to become infected is by coming into contact with bearded dragon feces. There’s no definitive way to tell if a particular bearded dragon carries salmonella, so extra care needs to be taken whenever handling one. People with weakened immune systems or children under the age of five should avoid having them in the house entirely due to the risk of salmonella infection.

You Need Lots of Space

Having a beardie as a pet is no joke – you need lots of space! You see, Pogona vitticeps dragons can grow up to 24″ long, so you need at least a 75-gallon tank to house them. 120 gallons would be even better.

It isn’t just the size of the tank that you need to consider either – a well-maintained space means special lighting and heating, a certain degree of humidity, and even a heat gradient throughout the tank must all be taken into account in order to create an ideal home for your scaly friend. And when we talk about their diet, make sure it’s varied and adequate.

In short, while having a bearded dragon can present some unique benefits, they’re not for everyone. The amount of effort and responsibility needed to keep them healthy is no small task! Once you’re able to provide all these things optimally for your new pet, then you can anticipate months (or even years) of companionship with your bearded dragon!

You Cannot Keep More Than One

If you are thinking about getting a pet beardie, you cannot keep more than one in your home. This is because bearded dragons are solitary reptiles and do not like to live in close proximity to others. In the wild, they prefer their own space, so it is best to provide that for them as pets as well.

Forcing two or more beardies to live together can be disastrous as they will often fight for dominance, heat, and food. If multiple males live together they can become aggressive and display dangerous behaviors, such as ‘stacking’, which involves higher-ranking individuals laying on top of the lower-ranking ones to block their access to light and heat. Therefore, it is important to keep each bearded dragon separate if you decide to get more than one.

They Come With Some Health Risks

Bearded dragons are an incredibly popular pet, but keeping them comes with some risks. It’s important to keep in mind that contact with these reptiles can lead to Salmonella infections. This means that even if surfaces or poop appear to be clean, you must still practice caution and follow strict hygienic cleaning practices whenever handling, feeding or cleaning any bearded dragon.

Salmonella outbreaks can often be linked to pet bearded dragons, so potential owners must factor this into their decision-making process when considering getting one. Keeping the safety of both themselves and those around them in mind is paramount if they decide to bring a pet reptile like this into their homes.

Spikes Aren’t For Everyone

Bearded dragons may look very cool, but it is important to remember that spikes aren’t for everyone. Their spikes and claws are made for climbing rocks and trees – not the human body. The points of these spikes can dig into your skin when handled, making them an uncomfortable and unpleasant pet to handle.

Many people who are considering a bearded dragon as a pet often ask if they’re cuddly, and the answer is no. If you’re looking for a pet that you can comfortably hold or one that will be affectionate with you like other pets like dogs, then a bearded dragon may not be the best choice for you.

Overall, although bearded dragons are generally much more social than other reptiles, it’s important to keep in mind that their spikes and claws make them uncomfortable to handle, so if that’s something important to you then you should look into other pets instead!


There are many reasons why a bearded dragon may not be the right pet for you. From the amount of effort and responsibility that comes with keeping them healthy, to their solitary nature, to the potential health risks associated with them, it is important to consider all of these factors when deciding if this is the right type of pet for you.

If you’re looking for a cuddly pet, then a bearded dragon may not be the best choice. However, if you’re up for the challenge and ready to provide your new pet with everything they need, then you could have years of companionship ahead of you!