Bearded Dragons are part of the Agamid Lizards family and most of these species are called dragons. The bearded dragons live to their name because they are actually covered and equipped with armor or better said spiny reptilian scales.
Those scales additionally include a “beard” which are the spikes that are under the lizard chin and they also can puff them up depending on their mood. Right now at the moment, eight different species of bearded dragons are recognized so far and all of them are called “beardies.”
This species is among the most popular when comes to reptiles that can be kept as pets and these bearded dragons are very curious and gentle animals that are active during the day.
When we talk about this family of lizards you should know that the central bearded dragon Pogona Vitticeps is one of the most common species that people are deciding to have as a pet.
Some other common names in the US for this group of lizards are Eastern bearded dragon, Black-Soil Plains, Kimberly, Small-Scale, Western, Dwarf, North-West, Nullarbor, Central, and Inland Bearded Dragon (the names depend on species).
The natural habitat of Red Bearded Dragons
Out there the Bearded dragons can be found across the whole of Australia and in many different areas of this country and this is something expected since we know that Australia is one of the warmest places on earth with plenty of deserts and parts that have huge temperatures, especially during summer times.
The Bearded dragons prefer to stay in warm areas, subtropical woodlands, deserts, scrublands, savannas, etc.
One interesting fact is that Australia banned the export of wild bearded dragons in the 1960s because of excessive abuse. Because of that reason, people started to breed them in the US, and the process is going on for decades on American soil where they use them for the pet trade.
Right now in the US, you can find these bearded dragons in many different colors (morphs) that cannot be commonly found in wild.
For bearded dragons, a warm natural habitat is a perfect place to live. They depend on external sources of heat in order to raise their body temperature because they are cold-blooded. They use to lie under the sun in order to keep themselves warm and additionally they are able to burrow underground to avoid bigger predators or extreme heat.
Diet of Red-Bearded Dragons
You should know that bearded dragons have strong jaws that help them clench and crush insects that are hard-shelled just like beetles.
Bearded dragons are not picky eaters and as omnivores, bearded dragons eat fruit, flowers, leaves, and sometimes small lizards or rodents (squirrels, hamsters, mice, rats, porcupines, etc.)
Bearded Dragons Behavior
The bearded dragons are known for being territorial which means they are marking and trying to protect “their” area from other insects, lizards, or animals.
Grown and adult bearded dragons can show their aggression to defend their territory from other bearded dragon males, they compete for females, and also they fight for food.
In some situations, adult male bearded dragons (temperament bearded dragons) can attack females in cases when females are not showing submissive behavior.
Using a beard as a way of communicating
Yes, you read that well, the bearded dragons are using their beard as a way of communication. Both males and females have beards and when they feel under threat they use to open their mouths, raise their chins, and puff out their beards to appear bigger and to scare the predator away. In some of these cases, their appearance is accompanied by a hiss which is used to scare their enemies.
Bearded dragons have other ways of communication also and they can communicate by head bobbing or changing the color of their beards. A slow bob and arm waving is a sign of submission and a quick head bob is a signal of dominance.
When seasons are changing the bearded dragons may go through brumation which is a type of hibernation, where they stop eating and they only drink water occasionally. This hibernation phase is happening mostly in winter times when temperatures change drastically and there is less light.
Breeding and Courtship
In order to get the full attention of a female, male bearded dragons are starting their courtship ritual by pounding their feet on the ground, bobbing their head, and waving their arms. When mating the male bearded dragon will pursue the female and bite the back of their necks.
Another unusual thing is that female bearded dragons have the capacity to store sperm and can lay two separate clutches of 10-30 eggs from a single mating.
Since we are already familiar with Bearded Dragons, how they live, how they eat, and how they reproduce now we will put our attention to the Red Bearded Dragons where we will explain how to get one and how to take proper care of Red Bearded Dragons in details.
The Red Bearded Dragon is a morph of the popular Bearded Dragon and it is often called the “red-morph” or “red beard.” Similar to other bearded dragons, this read-bearded dragon is also considered a rewarding animal to own.
While the Bearded Dragon is widely considered a good pet for beginners, it does have some complex requirements that may be difficult for some people to meet (such as feeding gut-loaded insects or dusting them first).
If you are considering taking on this species of lizard as a pet, read our article in order to learn more about their requirements before deciding if they are right for you!
Red Bearded Dragons Appearance
Very similar to other lizards, the bearded dragons as a reptile species are having that prehistoric appearance. They are having spines, scales, and a spiky collar that they can puff up when they are trying to attract a mate or when they are stressed.
Older dragons can grow to 24 inches long and weigh 1 pound. Their tails account for approximately half of their body length, and the exact coloration varies according to the morph.
One of the morphs that are easy to spot is the red-colored bearded dragon and they are bred in captivity since this transformation doesn’t happen in the wild. The shade of red depends on the precise morph—fully red or ruby red attracts high prices for pet owners who are willing to pay for a rare animal.
Are red bearded dragons good pets?
Bearded dragons are often considered to be the best lizard or reptile pet for beginners because they tolerate and even enjoy being handled by their owners.
On the other hand, taking care of these red bearded dragons is not easy and they are considered to have high care requirements because of their special dietary needs and the demanding habitat that you will need to make for them.
However, for the people that have enough space to make a large tank, a concentration to maintain their temperature and humidity levels, and time to deal with the specific and proper ways of feeding their pets, the red-bearded dragon can be a great pet for them.
How to properly take care of Red-Bearded Dragons
For you to have a healthy bearded dragon you will need a proper setup. Bearded dragons require larger space for living and because of that, you will have to build him a decent home that has enough space for him.
Setup, Habitat, and Tank Conditions
Bearded dragons should be kept in tanks that have a 55-gallon capacity and will benefit from having a larger tank with additional space.
A larger tank will also allow you to replicate their natural habitat in captivity. Bearded dragons are arboreal animals and spend some time in trees between leafy greens when they are free in the wild. This means that replicating their natural surrounding will give them additional comfort and make them enjoy their new home.
Rocks, logs, and branches will provide some elevation for your bearded dragon’s habitat. Having a half-log installed in the tank will double up as a hide for your dragon-bearded pet and because of that, it is important to include this log in your tank’s décor.
Additionally, you will need to do a partial cleaning every day to remove the waste and get rid of dead insects. People that will do a regular and good partial cleaning will only need to make a full cleaning once a month.
When we talk about full cleaning we mean removing everything, replacing the substrate with fresh, and disinfecting.
Temperature and Humidity
Ensure that you provide a temperature gradient across the tank, with an end that is cool and the other end warm. There should be around 80º F at the cool end of the tank and higher temperatures as high as 105º F at the other end of the tank.
To provide decent heat for your pet, you can use mercury bulbs, ceramic heaters, or incandescent light. For you to be able to regulate the temperature and keep it at an optimal level in your tank you can make use of thermometers.
When it comes to humidity the level of humidity in the tank should be between 30% and 40%. If there is any need to raise the humidity this will be an easy job for you, but in case you are trying to lower the level of humidity, it can be a little challenging.
Using a hydrometer will enable you to monitor and maintain humidity in your tank easily.
Red Bearded Dragons have a need for UVB light and because of that reason, they need to be exposed regularly to UVB light. In order to do this step properly, you will need to provide your pet with special fluorescent lighting that is going to offer the right UV spectrum for him and you will also need to make sure that your beardie will be able to get within 12 inches of the lighting bulb.
To correctly replicate your beardie natural habitat, you will need to make a 12-hour day-night cycle in which your pet will be able to get a sufficient quantity of UVB light.
Everyone that wants to replicate the arid environment their bearded dragon lives in normally, will have to choose the right substrate. You will need to take care and get a decent substrate to place on the floor of your bearded dragon’s enclosure that will not cause damage if it gets infested with insects or any other foods that bearded dragons are consuming.
Washed play sand is going to allow burrowing but you will need to take care when choosing sand and avoid silica sand. If you are looking for other options, you should know that you can also use a reptile carpet or paper towel.
Another important thing when you are creating a habitat for juveniles is to avoid sand altogether and to choose a different surface for them.
Feeding your Red-Bearded Dragon
Feeding your Red Bearded Dragon can seem complicated for many people because their food is a mixture of insects, fruits, and vegetables. The feeding of your red bearded dragon will become even more complicated especially because there is a need to gut load and dust feeders.
What is most important here is the fact that once you make feeding your bearded dragon a habit it will be easy to maintain, which means that you may have some difficulties at the very beginning but later it will be a lot easier for you.
It is important to know that a young bearded dragon needs a diet to sustain its growth because it is growing very quickly. During this time the young beardies should be fed with 75% insects and 25% plants. Young hatchlings should be fed with insects every 15 minutes and after two months they will still need to be fed with proteins at least three times a day.
An adult dragon (adult beardies are considered those who are older than 18 months) should be fed with 75% plants and 25% insects once a day. To keep your Red Bearded Dragon interested in his food, you will need to change the types of plants and insects that you are feeding him with.
Keep in mind that you will need to gut-load the insects at least a day before you feed your beardies with them. For those who are not that well informed, you will need to feed the insects with nutrient-dense vegetables which will increase the nutrients your beardies are digesting in their meals.
How to keep your Red Bearded Dragon healthy?
Maintaining great habitat conditions is the key factor (as with many other reptiles) that will keep your red bearded dragon healthy and happy. To monitor and adjust accordingly the humidity and temperature, you will need a hydrometer and thermometer. At the same time be sure that you are feeding your dragon a nutritionally appropriate diet.
Red Bearded Dragon – Common Health Issues
Like every living creature, the bearded dragons can also have some health issues. It is good to know and be informed about them because in some situations they will help you understand the illness of your pet better.
Some of the most common health problems for the bearded dragons are:
- Infectious stomatitis – Mouth rot is a bacterial infection that can lead to swelling of the gums and thick mucus.
- Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) – This disease can be caused by a poor diet that is high in phosphorus and very low on calcium, this illness can cause swelling of the jaw and trembling in the legs.
- Respiratory infections – They can be caused by bacteria, parasites, or fungi, and those respiratory infections including pneumonia can cause your beardie to sneeze, and additionally, you will be able to notice bubbles from their mouth and nose.
- Parasites – Pinworms can be found during a regular parasite fecal examination and they are most common when it comes to the health issues with red bearded dragons. In most situations, they will cause diarrhea and that will lead to weight loss.
Red Bearded Dragons Lifespan
The Red bearded dragon in captivity is usually expected to live between 5-10 years. In comparison with this, the bearded dragons that are living in their natural habitat have a lifespan of 10-15 years and sometimes even longer.
Keeping the tank clean and taking care that your beardie is having a healthy lifestyle will definitely extend their lifespan but it is not going to be that significant.
Once the breeding is successful you can expect the female to lay eggs after 4-6 weeks. Once the pair have bred, make sure that you separate partners because the males can become very aggressive. You should offer a lay box which is practically a plastic box that is lined with soil so they can feel more comfortable.
You will need to remove the eggs and they will need incubating because beardies are not very maternal and most of them can just ignore the eggs once they are laid.
Are Red Bearded Dragons Friendly?
You should know that bearded dragons are not very aggressive by nature. This means that bearded dragons very rarely bite, but when they do, in most cases is with a good reason. Most bearded dragons are great when they come in touch with humans and it really seems they enjoy the time they spend in human arms and hands.
Make sure that you are always washing your hands before you touch your bearded dragon and you will need to start with a couple of minutes a day, and increase that time but not more than 20 minutes a day.
Always remember that a bearded dragon needs the warmth and confines of its place (the tank) and because of that reason you shouldn’t keep him out of his tank for a long period of time.
What to expect when it comes to Shedding?
It’s good to know that young bearded dragons shed every few weeks and when they become adults you can expect them to shed every few months. These species usually shed in patches which means they are not shedding their whole skin at once.
How much is a red bearded dragon?
The bearded dragons are very common and because of that reason, a typical morph costs around 50$ which is a very low cost. On the other hand, the Red Bearded Dragons are a lot rarer, they have a bigger price and you can expect to pay between $200-$400 for a good red morph.
Those prices can become even bigger and that is usually for the bearded dragons that have darker red colors.
Do red bearded dragons bite?
As we already mentioned Bearded dragons don’t usually bite but it is very normal that if you keep your animal stressed there is a chance for him to act in self-defense. Even if something like this happens you shouldn’t worry because there is no real issue for humans.
If the bite doesn’t break your skin you can be 100% sure there will be no issues. As we previously mentioned you should wash your hands after handling your pet and this situation is no exception.
In case the bite breaks your skin you should treat it like any other scratch or cut. All you will need to do is to wash and disinfect the place and alcohol, Neosporin, or peroxide are all good options in that situation.
We want you to take seriously the disinfection step because beardies can carry salmonella. This is usually found in their stool but it is always a great option to be on the safe side.
Are Bearded Dragons Venomous?
Bearded dragons do indeed secrete a mild venom when they are biting their victims. However, you should know that venom is harmless to humans and the worst scenario that can happen if you get bit by them will be slight swelling.
Do Bearded Dragons have sharp teeth?
Bearded dragons have sharp teeth and baby and juvenile bearded dragons that don’t have their teeth fully out feel like bumps on their gums. After they grow up and develop you will be able to notice a row of small and sharp teeth that are specially designed for catching and eating their prays.
From our article, you can see that Red Bearded Dragons are one of the most popular pet reptiles. They have great and easygoing nature which makes them great pets, especially for beginners.
Red Bearded Dragon is a very unusual morph and because of that reason it is more costly than others, however, it is not going to break your bank if you decide to get one.
Always remember that you will have to feed him daily, keep your eyes on him so he can remain healthy and fit, and keep his tank clean with the right temperature.