Bearded dragons require specific living conditions to thrive in captivity. These include temperature, humidity, lighting, substrate, the overall setup, aeration, etc.
But the available space is also critical because it impacts your beardie’s mental and physical health just as much.
So today, we will discuss how much space your bearded dragon actually needs and how you should decorate its habitat properly.
Bearded Dragon Tank Size Requirements
Bearded dragons require different tank sizes based on their age. So, you will need to upgrade the enclosure over time as the lizard grows.
Here are some general recommendations in this sense:
- Baby beardies – 20 gallons are sufficient for one baby beardie, but the problem is that lizards grow fast at this stage. So, a 20-gallon setup should be enough for a while, but you will need to upgrade the enclosure soon, probably within 2-3 months. So, I recommend going for a 40-gallon piece instead, which should last considerably longer.
- Juvenile beardies – A juvenile beardie will do fine in a 40-gallon enclosure at first, but the same rule applies to them as well. They will eventually outgrow their enclosure. So, consider investing in a 75-gallon piece instead.
- Adult beardies – The recommended space for an adult beardie depends on the reptile’s overall size. Not all adult beardies are of the same size, as there are multiple factors influencing the animal’s growth potential. These include genetics, which isn’t changeable. So, I say go for 100 gallons for an adult beardie, although you may need to jump to 125 for a larger adult.
However, keep in mind that the lizard’s body size isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing the tank’s size. So, let’s assess the rest of them.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Tank Size
When choosing the right tank for your beardie, consider the following factors:
Size of the Bearded Dragon
We’ve already discussed this point, but it’s worth reiterating because it’s the main factor to consider. The larger your bearded dragon is, the larger the tank should be to accommodate the reptile.
Bearded dragons are fairly active lizards that like to climb and explore their habitat incessantly, and they need the space to do so.
Unfortunately, you can’t really tell how large your bearded dragon will grow, assuming you’re getting it as a baby. Which you should because it makes the reptile easier to tame and bond with.
So, you will most likely need to upgrade the enclosure 2-3 times along the way, although this may differ.
Not all bearded dragons exhibit the same behavior and temperament, and some may not be as bothered by the lack of optimal space compared to others.
The Bearded Dragon’s Personality
This ties in with the first point. Some bearded dragons are simply more active, playful, and inquisitive than others, which means they demand more space.
You should always adapt to your beardie’s personality to make sure it matches the available ecosystem.
Number of Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are among the few reptiles with a pretty well-developed social sense. They can live in pairs and even in groups at times, although they don’t exhibit the ability to cooperate or interact with each other in any meaningful manner.
The only instance where that happens is during the mating season, where it’s either love or war. Usually both.
So, it’s not uncommon for people to own more than one beardie in the same enclosure. In such a case, the number of bearded dragons needs to inform the necessary available space.
If the dragons are overcrowded, they will get aggressive and territorial with each other. An overcrowded environment will also get dirty faster, requiring more frequent cleaning and maintenance.
Also, keep in mind that some bearded dragons are more territorial than others, in which case they may require more space than normal. And, finally, some bearded dragons are simply not built for a community-based lifestyle. This is especially true for males, which tend to exhibit more territorial aggression than males.
So, if your beardie male is naughtier than you would like and you can’t mitigate its aggressive tendencies, consider looking for a new home for it.
Types of Equipment and Decorations
The type of equipment and decorations you’re using also make a world of difference. Bearded dragons feel the most comfortable in a natural-looking setup that mimics their native ecosystem. So, rocks, wood, tunnels, and branches may be necessary to support your beardie’s comfort.
Large flat stones for basking may also find their way into the tank, and these will occupy a good chunk of the available space. A humidifier and thermometer may also be necessary, in which case you need to portion the available space wisely.
If you can’t decorate or fit all the equipment as necessary, consider upgrading the tank as needed.
This may burn your pocket more than you’d like, but it will be worth it. The new, larger habitat will house your beardie for years to come.
Two aspects matter here the most:
- The tank itself and
- The number and type of decorations necessary
The first point is pretty much brainless. The larger the tank, the more expensive it gets.
The material will also influence the pricing, but for this topic in particular, we’ll consider that the material stays the same, no matter the size. In that case, the size will make the difference in terms of costs.
But the decorations to use also boost the expenses considerably, simply because you need more and larger decorations to fill up the space properly.
‘Fill up’ may not be the proper wording here because bearded dragons require open space, too, for resting and moving around. So, you shouldn’t clutter the enclosure with too many decorative pieces. But you get the idea.
If we were to throw in a new variable, a larger tank also requires more effort in terms of cleaning and maintenance. This effort may not translate into expenses, but it’s worth mentioning anyway.
You also need to consider the depositing space available. You can’t first acquire the tank and then figure out where to place it. What if it doesn’t fit?
Even if you can return it and exchange it for a smaller piece, the trouble of dealing with that in the first place isn’t worth it if you could do things right the first time.
Not to mention that transporting the piece to and from your home could result in damages, which may or may not be your fault. But are you willing to risk it?
So, you should always assess the available space before acquiring your tank. Doing so eliminates any unfortunate and unpleasant surprises that may occur along the way.
Bearded dragons demand quite a significant amount of space to live comfortably and happily over the years.
How much space that is, exactly depends on the lizard itself, its personality, and the decorative elements you plan on using.
I hope today’s article has provided you with a more detailed insight into the matter.