Choosing a proper enclosure for a bearded dragon is one of the first important things you must decide on before buying it. It is better to acquire an enclosure that is suitable for the bearded dragon’s entire life span to begin with.
It can become quite costly if you purchase a small enclosure then need to purchase a larger enclosure later on as it grows to become an adult.
The best long-term solution for a bearded dragon enclosure is a standard 125-gallon tank. This tank measure 72″ long by 18″ wide by 16″ tall, and will provide adequate space for even a large adult to roam around. An enclosure that is less than 55 gallons is not recommended.
Bearded dragons need more horizontal floor space than height as they are not huge climbers like chameleons, or geckos. Because of this, tanks with roomy floor space are much better suited for bearded dragons than tanks with high sides.
It is important to take floor space into account when acquiring an enclosure for a bearded dragon.
The most common bearded dragon habitats are made of glass, like a fish aquarium.
They are very easy to maintain and provide an excellent way for you to view your bearded dragon (and for it to view you). A glass enclosure can last the entire life span of your bearded dragon with proper care.
You can also buy an enclosure made from plastic or acrylic. These enclosures are lightweight, but tend to cost a bit more.
Many of them feature convenient front, sliding doors that make access a snap. Unfortunately, they tend to scratch very easily which can be bad for a bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons have sharp toenails and will often scratch along the sides of the enclosure. After a while the sides of the enclosure can become blurred, or have a sandblasted look. Acrylic tanks can also hold humidity and moisture which can be detrimental to your bearded dragon over the long term.
Many enthusiast prefer to use large plastic tubs or baskets as enclosures for their bearded dragons. There are some advantages to this type of open-air enclosure such as improved air flow and a large floor space. The down side to using this type of enclosure is it is not very attractive, to you or the bearded dragon.
An important factor when choosing an enclosure is the security of it. You don’t want your bearded dragon to be able to easily escape during the middle of the night, or while you are gone. Many fish tanks, or vivariums specially designed for reptiles come with a heavy metal screen cover that fits snugly on the enclosure. These are ideal when using a glass or acrylic enclosure.
Make sure it is a full metal screen cover for maximum security and safety. Plastic screens can easily melt when using heat lamps to warm the enclosure. Also, never use a glass top on your enclosure, as they will filter UVB rays that are important to your bearded dragon’s health.
It is also a good idea to use a locking lid if you have small children or other pets in the home. You don’t want young children, or Felix the cat to go exploring in your bearded dragon’s home.
I recommend using a 125-gallon glass enclosure with a snug-fitting heavy metal screen cover for your bearded dragon enclosure. It is relatively inexpensive and will last you and your bearded dragon for many years!