There are different ways to decorate your bearded dragons home. You can make it simple and easy to maintain or you can make a naturalistic looking desert home. The look of your dragons home is entirely up to you.
I like to keep things simple and easy to maintain, but I love to see beautiful desert vivariums as well. I guess I haven’t had the motivation yet to make a great looking desert scene. This is something that I plan to do in the future. I also plan to give some tips for setting up a desert vivarium, so check back often.
Bearded Dragons Cage Decor
I am going to run through some things you can put in your dragons home to decorate it and make it funtional. These are just some of the things that you can add. You don’t have to add everything, but some things are needed. Here are some options:
Substrate / Bedding
Bearded dragon climbing material is an important addition to your dragon’s enclosure. Even though bearded dragons usually stay close to the earth, they still love to climb and perch.
Some dragons will spend most of the day perched up high looking over their home. Providing climbing material such as branches, limbs, wood and rocks is a much welcomed addition to your dragons cage.
There are different things that you can use for climbing, basking and perching. There are a lot of products on the market for this purpose. They can be found at most pet stores and can also be found at online reptile retailers such as reptile supply.com.
The products on the market will range from grapevines, driftwood, and rock like materials. It really all depends on the look you are going for in your dragon’s enclosure.
Using Materials from Outdoors
I like to use driftwood and rocks I found on the shore of Lake Superior. You can use any kind of driftwood or smooth round rocks. They don’t necessarily have to be from the shore of Lake Superior.
If you do use wood or rocks from outdoors, you’ll want to make sure that they are cleaned before putting them in your dragon’s enclosure. Also, you might want to stay away from pine, balsam, cedar and other woods with an oily resin. The safest wood to use is aspen, or other white and hardwoods.
I do this by using a strong bleach water solution and soaking the material for an hour or so. After soaking them in the bleach water, I soak them in fresh clean water until the evidence of bleach is gone. This will take about 2-3 soakings in clean water.
How to set up climbing material
There really is no right or wrong way to set up your bearded dragon climbing materials. It will really depend on how it looks and works for you and your dragon.
When providing bearded dragon climbing material, there are some things that you’ll want to consider. One is don’t go overboard on cage furniture.
Dragon’s still need ample floor space to roam around. Though, it is nice to give them a couple of things to climb around on.
Also, make sure that whatever you use for basking under the heat lamp won’t allow your dragon to get to close to the light. If your dragon can touch it’s heat lamp, it can receive severe burns.
The last thing you’ll want to consider, is how secure are the climbing materials. Climbing materials that aren’t secure can fall over when your dragon is on them. This can cause injuries to them. Bearded dragons like to dig, and can dig under cage furniture causing them to fall. This can potentially injure your dragon as well.
You can fasten branches, and other climbing material to the wall of your cage with any non-toxic adhesive. You might want to wait on putting your dragon back in the cage until the adhesive cures and the fumes are gone.
Veritical vs. Horizontal?
I have read just recently read that bearded dragon’s like to climb objects that are more vertical than horizontal. They do this in the wild by climbing and basking on fence posts.
You might want to add something in your dragon’s cage that will let them do this. I have tried this myself and found that my male dragon loves it. Though, my female doesn’t care much too much for it.
Though, it is entirely up to you how you position climbing material. Remember, all bearded dragons personalities are different and you should do what is best for yours.
Bearded dragon climbing materials may not be vital to keeping a bearded dragon, but they are welcomed by your reptile pet.
There are different products on the market that can be used with bearded dragons. You can also use smooth rocks or driftwood that you find outdoors, just remember to disinfect them first.
Climbing materials do provide benefits to your dragon. They help keep your dragon’s fingernails filed down, rocks do this especially well.
They also help the mental well being of your dragon. I don’t know this for sure, but I like to think that it’s true. It’s kind of fun to see your dragon perching up high and watching over their domain.
Whatever you use for bearded dragon climbing material, make sure that it helps and doesn’t hinder your pet. You can use things to make your cage as naturalistic or as functional as you want. The choice is up to you.
Providing a bearded dragon hide box in your enclosure can be a huge benefit for your pet. Even though bearded dragons are not skittish animals they will benefit from having a hide box, or two, or more depending on size of your cage.
I have heard conflicting views as to the importance of a hide box in a bearded dragons cage. I have had indifferent views in the past, but I now believe that a hiding place that is dark, tight and secure is a must for bearded dragons. Your dragon may or may not use it, but this decision is best left up to the bearded dragon and not us.
Bearded dragons will often retreat to the hide at night. They will also use it to feel secure when they are feeling overy frightened or stressed. A wide open cage with no places to hide may cause undue stress.
You can put a bearded dragon hide box wherever you think it will be best. Probably one of the best places is half way between the heat gradient, if you only have one.
It’s nice to have one on the warm side and one on the cool side. This will prevent your dragon from having to decide if it wants to stay warm, cool, or secure.
What Can I Use?
There are different products on the market that you can purchase for a hiding spot. You can also use a regular box with a hole cut into it for a door. It really depends on how you want your enclosure to look.
It’s also important to note that reptiles like hiding places that are tight fits. Huge cavernous hiding places will not have the same effect. A hide box that your bearded dragon can feel around him/her is recommended.
Some bearded dragon owners do not provide hide boxes. There is some debate on this topic, but I believe that providing hiding places are beneficial to bearded dragons.
There has been some debate on this topic recently and I have since changed my stance on hide boxes. I believe they are very beneficial to the well being of bearded dragons. Providing a tight, dark hiding place will give your dragon a place to retreat too if needed.
The decision is always yours to make and there is other information out there that you may want to check into. As for me, I highly recommend using them.
Using a food dish for bearded dragons does have some benefits. It’s true that you don’t have to provide one, and some dragon owners don’t. It is nice to keep seperate dishes set aside just for your dragons use.
There are no right or wrong things that can be used for a bearded dragon food dish. It can be one bought from the pet store or just an old dish that you have laying around. If you would like to use an old ash tray, be my guest. Just make sure it’s cleaned out really good before hand.
Why Can I Use a Food Dish?
Whether this is a store-bought one, or a dish you already own, there are benefits to using a bearded dragon food dish. The benefits are mostly for you, the owner.
The most important reason is providing greens and other bearded dragon approved fruits and vegetables. It’s important to offer your dragon a varied diet and you need something to put the food in.
Having a dish will keep the food from having contact with substrate. This will help your dragon to not ingest substrate such as sand.
I have also used food dishes for mealworms and waxworms, as well. I can’t seem to keep crickets in them, however. It would make life a whole lot easier, if I could make the crickets sit in the food dish.
If you are going to put mealworms or other types of worms in a food dish, make sure that they can’t escape. There are special dishes on the market that are specially made to keep mealworms from escaping. I just use small glass bowls that have tall sides.
If you do use a dish from home, make sure you use it exclusively for your bearded dragons. When you wash these dishes, wash them separate from your everyday dishes. You may also want to disinfect any area you used to clean food dishes and cage fixtures.
Food Dishes for Picky Eaters
If you have a picky eater, you know all to well they don’t want anything to do with a food dish. I had a dragon at one time that refused to eat anything that didn’t move. This caused some problems, because vegetables and fruits just don’t like to jiggle.
If you have a dragon like the one I described, you might want to check out this reptile food dish . It vibrates anything in the dish, causing your dragon to think that the food is moving. Problem solved, ’nuff said, lets go home.
Well, it might not be that easy, but this food dish might be worth checking out. Just don’t try to get your dragon to eat things like Doritos or potato chips, you know who you are.
I hope I’ve provided enough reasons for you to provide your dragon with a food dish. If you are still not convinced, you don’t have to use a bearded dragon food dish. No, really, it won’t hurt my feelings. I’m serious, I’ll get by…..somehow.
On a serious note. I like to provide food dishes for my dragons. I just find a good thing to include in my dragons home. If for nothing else, consider it a toy for your dragons. My dragons love to run through their food dishes and scatter their food everywhere.
Adding a bearded dragon water dish to your dragon’s cage is a nice addition but not essential. Bearded dragons usually will not drink out of a water dish. Though, this doesn’t mean that they can’t. Dragon’s seem unable to identify standing water.
Bearded dragons have adapted to living in an arid land and they only need to have access to water two to three times a week. Although this is true, I like to keep fresh, clean water in my dragons cage. Whether they drink or not will be up to them.
If you do keep water in your enclosure every day, make sure that it has good ventilation, so you don’t get too much moisture in the air from the evaporating water. Depending on the size of bearded dragon water dish, this won’t be much of a problem.
There are a lot of great water dishes on the market made for reptile enclosures. I really like the ones made by Exo-Terra. These are the ones that I am using right now. They are easy to clean, and have a smooth surface, making it easy to keep disinfected.
If you do choose to provide your bearded dragon a water dish, make sure that it is heavy and stable enough so your dragon can’t tip it over. Also, I like to clean my bearded dragon water dishes out every day. This helps keep bacteria from growing in the dish.
It’s recommended that you use distilled water because tap and well water can contain chlorine and other harmful substances. Although, I use well water and have not had any problems. I do, however, live in a small community, close to Lake Michigan, and the well water is really pure.
I like to provide my dragons with fresh water every day, whether it looks like they’re drinking or not. This is just my personal preference.
Remember, these are just some of the things you can use in your dragons cage. These are things that will make it simple and funtional. Some people use plants, backgrounds and other cosmetic decorations. I will provide tips on these in the future.
How To Decorate Your Dragon’s Cage
Decorating has a lot to do with personal taste. There are some things to keep in mind, however.
My personal tastes in decorating leave much to be desired, so bare with me. Actually, the things I will talk about have more to do with functionality than cosmetic.
Making sure that you dragons have some nice perching spots in their cage will provide benefits. It’s a known fact that bearded dragons love to perch. Actually, it’s one of their favorite past times, and they excel at it
Providing driftwood and rocks will let your dragon perch until it’s hearts content. It’s also a plus to have a perch under the basking spot. I usually have my driftwood and rocks close by or directly under the basking spot.
I keep the food and water dishes at the end of the cage opposite the basking spot. This helps the fruits and vegetables from drying out. This also slows the evaporation of their drinking water.
I also like to keep most of my climbing material toward one section of the cage. Bearded dragons love to climb, but they also need ample floor space as well. I also don’t have a hide box, but the driftwood and rocks are situated in a way that my dragons can hide if they want.
There are many different ways to decorate your dragons home. These are just some of the things I do. Don’t be afraid to experiment and be different. Just don’t get too crazy. Remember, decorating has a lot to do with personal tastes.