A-1 Reptiles has hand selected breeding stock from around the world for the most diverse bloodlines and striking colorations available on the bearded dragon market today.
Bearded dragons are social creatures and are very interactive with each other. They make excellent class room projects for teachers and students and can be a very personable pet.
Through selective and diverse breeding very colorful and beautiful hybrids have become available and highly sought after. Red Crimson Super Blood bearded dragons will be available in 2009.
Twenty years ago normal bearded dragons, gray in color, were rare and expensive. Through the selective breeding processes, highly colored specimens are now available on the market in rich reds, oranges and lemon colors and available at an affordable price.
Make sure a shallow water dish is available at all times.
Adult bearded dragons may be fed once daily. Their diet should be varied and may consist of crickets, mealworms and fruits and vegetables and a protein source. A variation in diet is the key to good health and growth.
Vegetables and fruits should be offered twice weekly. Fruits and vegetables may include kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, parsley, shredded carrots, shredded sweet potatoes, squash, apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Collard greens are very high in calcium and should be a part of every meal.
Bananas are high in phosphorous and may cause some blocking of calcium intake so only use banana once weekly.
Kale is high in iodine and they need some iodine in their diet but it should be used in moderate amounts.
DO NOT use Boston, Iceberg or Romaine lettuce as they contain very little nutrition.
Apples should be used only occasionally as they are a bowl irritant and will cause loose stool.
Scrambled or boiled eggs can be added to any salad mixture for a nutritional protein source. Bearded dragons love eggs and eggs are an excellent source of protein and fat for babies and adults.
Bearded dragons are omnivore's so their diet should consist of a balance of protein, plant matter, fruits and crickets of the appropriate size for their age.
All food items should be dusted with a high quality calcium powder with D3 such as Rep-Cal w/D3. A vitamin supplement should be used once weekly such as Nekton Rep or Herptivite.
Crickets in themselves are not a nutritional source of food but are used in the reptile industry because of their large abdomen and ability to be gut-loaded. Crickets should be gut-loaded for twenty-four to forty-eight hours with a high protein and multi grain mix prior to feeding them off to the bearded dragon. Remember what the cricket eats is what the bearded dragon is eating as well.
During the breeding season it is very important that females be given a diet rich in calcium and vitamins to maintain good health following egg laying.
In the fall adult bearded dragons may become very sluggish, dark in color and have lack of appetite. This is the bearded dragons "estivation" period leading into a cool down prior to breeding season. This lack of appetite and prolonged periods of sleep and muddy coloration is perfectly normal.
Although bearded dragons will breed at ten to twelve months of age they do not reach their full growth potential for twenty-four months. A cool down should be provided for six to eight weeks during the winter (Usually December & January) prior to breeding season. Without a cool down your bearded dragons may not breed. Daytime & night time temperatures should remain 65-70 deg f during your cooling cycle.
A basking light should be provided at one end of the cage. The temperature at the basking area should reach 90 deg f with the other end of the enclosure being room temperature 72 deg f. Improper basking temperatures will result in poor muddy coloration of the bearded dragon and improper digestion of food and poor organ function. It is imperative that the temperature be controlled and monitored by a digital read thermometer.
Exposure to natural sunlight, whenever possible is very important. Make sure the enclosure you provide outside for your bearded dragon allows for good ventilation so that the animal is not overheated while being exposed to sunlight. A shaded area should also be provided within the enclosure. Ideally exposure to the sun should take place once weekly with a minimum of thirty minutes of exposure through the warm weather months.
Indoor enclosures should have a high quality full spectrum light with UVB producing capability. Full spectrum lighting, however, does not take the place of natural sunlight. Follow placement of the UVB light exactly as stated in your instructions that come with the UVB light. Basking lights should remain on during the day, following a natural light cycle but UVB lighting should only run four hours out of the day or eye damage may occur.
A word of warning. There have been reported cases of photo-kerato-conjuctivitis reported caused by compact UVB bulbs (burning of the eye) manufactured with phosphors. If you use compact UVB bulbs follow the directions for placement distance exactly. Use bulbs manufactured with linear and not phosphors. If your not sure the bulbs contains phosphors call the manufacture and ask.
UVB bulbs are not heat emitting so you will still need to provide a basking light with a heat emitting bulb for your basking area. A regular household bulb will emit enough heat for a proper basking temperature of 90 deg f. Failure to provide the correct basking temperature will result in respiratory infections.
It is possible to sun a bearded dragon through an open window if outside temperatures permit the opening of the window. UVB rays will go through the window screen but will not penetrate window glass. DO NOT use glass tanks for sunning as they overheat to dangerous temperatures.
If you use the window method for sunning your bearded dragon monitor your inside cage temperatures so that the enclosure does not overheat. Maximum temperature inside the enclosure should not exceed 90 deg f and a shade area should be provided as well with a temperature of approximately 80 deg f. Temperatures above 110 deg f will cause heat stroke and death in reptiles.
DO NOT use sand as a substrate in bearded dragon enclosures. Substrate materials should be free of sand as sand causes impaction in reptiles. DO NOT use ground calcium carbonate (simulated sand) as there have also been reported cases of impaction in necropsy's with bearded dragons kept on ground calcium carbonate . I'm not sure how sand ever got suggested as a substrate source for the bearded dragon specie but it is very detrimental.
Peat Moss and store bought topsoil mixed (free of perlite and fertilizers) in equal parts is an excellent substrate for bearded dragon adults and babies. Peat moss and top soil are organic and digestible and control odor naturally.
Minimum housing requirements for an adult pair should be 32" x 32" x 32", which is similar to the dimensions of a rabbit hutch. A fifty-gallon long aquarium is also large enough to house an adult pair.
Babies should be housed in a minimum of a twenty-gallon long aquarium tank with a screen lid on top. A basking lamp can be placed on one end of the screen top. Climbing branches should be placed on the basking side and end approximately six to eight inches from the light. The basking area on the closest branch to the light should be 85-90 def f. The opposite end of the tank should remain room temperature. A simple sixty watt household bulb is sufficient to achieve a 85-90 deg f basking area for a twenty gallon long aquarium tank.
DO NOT use ten-gallon tanks to house babies. Ten-gallon tanks do not have enough surface space for heat from the basking lamp to dissipate. Using a ten-gallon tank to house any reptile can have deadly results. A ten-gallon tank with a basking lamp will act as an oven and dehydrate or literally bake the animal to death.
To date all data suggests the bearded dragon specie have genotypic or chromosomal sex determination unlike other reptile species where sex determination is determined by the temperature the egg is incubated at.
Male bearded dragons have a larger and wider head. The femoral pores are very pronounced in male bearded dragons. Female bearded dragons have a narrower head and are shorter and heavier than their male counter part. The males also develop a bulge on each side of the tail just above the cloacol opening which quite evident at five months of age.
Resting the bearded dragon on your hand and facing away from you gently lift the bearded dragon tail towards the head of the bearded dragon. The males will have a pronounced bulge on each side of the tail just above the cloacol opening with an indent in the middle between the bulging area. Female bearded dragons tails appear flat with a slight poof in the center.
In sexing baby bearded dragons hold the baby bearded dragon in your hand facing away from you. Grasp the baby's tail with your thumb and index finger. About half way down gently lift the tail towards the head turning the tail from left to right. Just as the adults for males there will be a slight indent in the center of the tail with a slight raised area on each side of the indent. In females the tail appears flat when twisted from side to side with a slight poof in the center. This sexing method works well but it is not 100% accurate in determining sex of young baby bearded dragons.
Specimens profiled on A-1 Reptiles available catalog page under the age of five months are site sexable but in babies there is no guarantee on sex due to their small size. Juveniles are site sexable at the age of five months and sex is guaranteed on specimens five months or older.
Bearded dragons will begin to breed at anywhere from twelve to fifteen months of age. The females abdomen will expand quite considerably when carrying eggs.
Pregnant females should be provided with an egg laying box that is at least eighteen inches in depth and twenty-four inches long. The box may be filled with peat moss and top soil. Failure to provide females with egg laying boxes may cause egg-binding and will result in death for females.
Female bearded dragons will lay anywhere from fifteen to thirty-five soft shelled eggs at one time. Females will lay each clutch of eggs in thirty day intervals and may lay anywhere from three to six clutches in a breeding season.
After the eggs have been laid they can be removed for incubation. Hoovabators are commonly used and may be purchased at any local livestock supply store. Temperature inside the incubator should remain at 85 deg f throughout incubation with a hatch time of about sixty days.
Vermiculite or Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss are excellent incubation mediums. I prefer to use Vermiculite. The Vermiculite should be kept moist and not wet. A slight indent should be made in the Vermiculite and the eggs should be placed within the indent. The top half of the bearded dragon eggs should remain exposed. The bearded dragon eggs will hatch in approximately sixty days at an incubation temperature of 85 deg f.
Bearded dragon babies should be fed twice daily. Size of the feeder crickets is critical in this specie. Baby bearded dragons should be fed pinhead crickets for the first two months of life. At the age of three months the youngsters may be graduated to 1/8th inch crickets. At the age of four months they may be graduated to 1/4th inch crickets. As a rule baby bearded dragons should be fed insects "smaller" than the distance between their eyes. At the age of five months 1/2 inch crickets may be fed. After the age of five months the juveniles can pretty much eat anything you throw at them. Always house animals of similar size together to prevent accidents.
DO NOT feed mealworms to young bearded dragons under the age of five months. Baby bearded dragons do not chew mealworms up properly and sometimes swallow them whole. Mealworms have a hard outer shell and are hard for babies to digest. This will make them sick and they may even regurgitate partially digested mealworms.
Very finely chopped eggs, fruits, greens, and veggies should also be offered to baby bearded dragons. Remove and discard all large stems from greens.All food items should be chopped fine and no single component should be any larger than half the size of a bee bee. After the age of five months all fruits, greens, veggies may be offered in their course state.
WARNING: Lightning bugs are toxic to reptiles. Ingestion of lightning bugs will cause death. Do not use lightning bugs as prey items!
Below are A-1 Reptiles Orange German Giant X Blood babies enjoying their morning greens. These babies are larger than the size of normal bearded dragon babies but they still require very finely chopped food items.
Our Orange German Giant X Bloods originate from European stock and are unrelated to U.S. stock. Offspring from these lines became available for the first time in 2007.
Feeding prey items any larger than indicated above will result in hind leg extension certain death. The most common cause of neuromotor problems in bearded dragons is feeding pray items or foods that are to large. It's just that simple. Fruits and vegetables must be very finely chopped as well as already stated above. An electric chopper works fast and does a good job of finely chopping food items for babies.
Buying feeder insects from local pet shops can be very costly and they do not tend to carry the proper size crickets for rearing baby bearded dragons. It's much less expensive to purchase crickets from a bulk supplier and they carrier all sizes required to successfully rear baby bearded dragons. We highly recommend Millbrook Crickets 800-654-3506.
A-1 Reptiles suggest you soak your bearded dragon in warm water once weekly to help clean and rehydrate youngsters and adults. Make sure the water is shallow and do not leave the reptile unattended while soaking.
If you house bearded dragon babies together its important to maintain their feeding schedules as they will not hesitate to to bite off the hand or tail of a cage mate.
Many different colorations are available in the bearded dragon specie. Red bearded dragons are actually orange in color and have an overall orange body color. Blood bearded dragons are extreme rich red in coloration. Red gold bearded dragons are golden in color and have red or copper highlights. Gold bearded dragons are simply golden in color. Pastel bearded dragons are lighter shades of yellow and/or pink. Citrus bearded dragons are electric yellow in color. Beige bearded dragons are light tan in color.
Coloration is more apparent as bearded dragons mature. Coloration is fully developed at the age of ten to twelve months.
Like all other reptiles bearded dragons shed their skin as they grow. Shedding appears as a ghost like color and may take up to two weeks or so to complete a total body shed. In photo one below is an adult female who's head and arms have already shed and her body is beginning to shed as well. Notice the ghost like appearance of the body prior to shedding. Photo two was taken two weeks later just as the back and head have begun to shed. Just after the two week point a total body shed is complete as shown in photo three.
Bearded Dragons are one of the hardiest reptile species available. They have very few health problems and when problems arise it is usually due to poor diet, hygiene and lack of proper supplementation.
To little calcium can lead to MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). Early signs of MBD can include shaking, twitching of arms and legs and soft jaw bones. Make sure the calcium supplement you use has vitamin D3 added to aid in absorption of the calcium consumed. Natural sunlight is also a good source of D3.
A single pair of bearded dragons may produce three to six clutches in a breeding season with twenty to thirty-five eggs in a clutch, making them quite profitable to breed. If you are looking to make extra income you can't go wrong with a pair of bearded dragons. Their ease of set up and diet make them a most desirable investment.
A-1 Reptiles newest line in red bearded dragons coming out in late spring of 2009 and these will be the Red Crimson Super Blood bearded dragons. These red bearded dragons came in from Europe as well and have an extreme red coloration we've not seen on the bearded dragon market until now.
We are very excited to announce we are currently working on Translucent bearded dragons,White Italian Leatherback bearded dragons, Red Italian Leatherback bearded dragons and Belgium Leatherback bearded dragons. Offspring from these four projects will be available in the summer of 2010.
After consulting with a genetics professor at Bowling Green University on Leatherback bearded dragons, what people are calling a co-dominant gene is actually a dominant trait (one dose of the gene and you see the trait). The term co-dominant does not meet the classic definition of co-dominant trait as used by geneticists. Therefore the Leatherback bearded dragon gene is actually a dominant trait.
When breeding a Leatherback bearded dragon to a "normal" bearded dragon the offspring from this pairing will produce what is called visible hets. Roughly half of all offspring produced from this pairing will be Leatherback bearded dragons and the other half will be normal bearded dragons. This dominant gene appears to interfere with the scale formation in the developing embryo hence the term Leatherback bearded dragon.
When breeding Leatherback bearded dragon to Leatherback bearded dragon the offspring produced from this pairing will be approximately one-half Leatherback bearded dragons and one forth Silkback bearded dragons and one-forth normal bearded dragons.
Silkback bearded dragons are an extreme version of the Leatherback bearded dragon. Silkback bearded dragons can have shedding problems and some breeders have gone to using cow udder cream to protect and aid in skin problems. The skin of the Silkback bearded dragon can also be easily damaged by another cage mate or an advance from a prospective breeding partner.
Translucent bearded dragons first appeared in an English breeders breeding colony in 2001. The Translucent gene lacks white pigments. This is what gives the Translucent bearded dragons the appearance of see through skin. They also have solid black eyes.
When breeding a 100% Translucent bearded dragon to a "normal" bearded dragon the offspring from this pairing will be 100% het Translucent bearded dragons. When breeding a 100% het Translucent bearded dragon to a normal bearded dragon the offspring from this pairing will be 50% possible het Translucent bearded dragons. When breeding 100% het Translucent bearded dragon to a 100% het Translucent bearded dragon the offspring from this pairing will produce one-forth Translucent bearded dragons (with solid black eyes), three forth normal looking bearded dragons of which two-thirds of them carry the recessive "black eye" gene hence they are called 66% possible het Translucent bearded dragons as these 66% possible hets can not be identified until they have bred.
Being in a captive environment bearded dragons nails grow very quickly and can be trimmed with a regular nail clipper. If nails are allowed to grow to long they will curl and cause mobility problems. You can also place rocks and bricks inside the enclosure to help bearded dragons naturally wear down their nail ends. In the event a nail is clipped to short they will bleed quite so keep some Styptic powder on hand and dip the bleeding nail in the Styptic powder and the bleeding should stop immediately.
Bearded dragons should be treated twice yearly for parasites and worms just as you would your dog or cat. This can be done quite safely with over the counter med's. If you do not feel comfortable administering medications please consult your vet for your routine treatment. As a rule bearded dragons should be treated in the fall prior to estivation or their semi-hybernation period and in the spring prior to egg laying.
I can not say enough about the bearded dragon. I highly recommend them if you are contemplating getting into reptiles or any other aquarium type pet. There is nothing, on the planet earth, that compares to the bearded dragon.