Though the conditions within your bearded dragon’s habitat must be monitored closely, setting up a vivarium is actually quite simple. Vivariums are specially designed to create climate controlled environments; often with sliding glass doors for security and fixtures for heat and lighting equipment. Single adult bearded dragons require a vivarium with a minimum length of 90cm with the minimum length increasing to around 120cm for pairs and trios of dragons.
Getting the heating and lighting right in your pet’s habitat is essential. A UV light must be installed in the vivarium and set on a timer for 12-14 hours per day. This provides your pet with the optimum levels of UV they need to absorb calcium and grow healthily. Since these animals originate from the desert, a basking lamp must also be installed to create an area of increased light and higher heat.
The temperature within the vivarium should vary because of this basking lamp. Underneath the lamp temperatures sound reach around 35oC, with the rest of the habitat at around 20-25oC and at night the ambient temperature will be cooler but should not fall below 15oC. If you are concerned about the temperature at night or at cooler times of the year, heat mats or stones may be purchased to offer your pet additional heat.
With a suitable sandy substrate and some decoration to provide the bearded dragon with somewhere to hide the habitat is almost ready for a bearded dragon to move in. The next thing to consider is the correct food and a method of delivering water.
Unlike most other reptiles, bearded dragons enjoy fresh foods as well as insects. These should be provided in a shallow dish for easy access. Similarly, water should be provided in a shallow dish for bathing, though bearded dragons actually drink small droplets of water – as they would drink morning dew in the wild – and young dragons should be sprayed with water until they learn to bathe.
As a guide, your initial shopping list for a bearded dragon should include: