The “treasure” of the Australian desert, the bearded dragon, also known as the bearded agama, proves a lot of docility, friendliness, and robustness, being one of the most beloved reptiles as pets. The bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), a diurnal desert lizard, belongs to the genus Pogona, the family of Agamidae. It prefers dry, warm areas, but also arid forests and scrub, and occupies most of the central part of the Australian continent, but can migrate to semi-arid areas in the east and south.
How Much Does a Bearded Dragon Cost?
Usually, the bearded dragons can be found at different reptile breeders or even at bigger-name pet stores like PetSmart. Depending on factors such as the geographical location where you adopt a bearded dragon, its size, quality, type, breeder, and age, it would cost anywhere between $50 and $150. A baby dragon, that is less than one year old, would cost anywhere between $35 and $70, while a more mature one would cost around $110. You should expect to pay even more than $520 for a rare color.
For instance, Petco and PetSmart have bearded dragons on sale at the cost of $35 to $90.
As you would expect, these costs will not include the setup and the recurring costs of taking care of your new pet. Depending on your preferences and what you buy, the costs of all the necessary supplies to start out will be anywhere between $420 and $700. Plan on spending a total minimum of $500 when you first buy a bearded dragon.
In the table below you will find the average costs of different types of bearded dragons.
|Average Price (for a baby)
Bearded dragon – short presentation
The attribute of “bearded” is associated with the name of the lizard, due to the endowment in the neck area with an extensible goiter studded with a lot of spiky scales. The spines are generally a darker shade than the rest of the body. The role of the spiny collar is to intimidate the attacker.
When the lizard is threatened, it retracts its spiny collar and opens its mouth wide, to appear larger and more aggressive. The bearded dragon is a medium to large-sized lizard, as its length can vary from 12 to 24 cm, with the tail measuring just over half of that value. It weighs between 0.77 and 1.32 pounds.
Color ranges from pale brown or straw grey/yellow to bright orange-red. In captivity, the color palette is even more diverse. The bearded dragon also has the ability to change color, not in a very obvious way like the chameleon, but can go through several close shades.
The bearded dragon has a lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
Types of bearded dragons
This type of bearded dragon is created by mating two leather lizards, resulting in an even smoother look. Similar to the leatherback dragons, the scales will have a smaller size, almost unnoticeable.
The leatherback dragon has a mutated gene that prevents the scales from growing to full size, offering the look of “smaller” scales. Due to it, the skin feels smoother and may increase the vibrancy of the colors. Similar to German Giant, they can have different colors. The majority of the breeders will mate them to obtain unique color mixes.
The German Giant is up to 50% larger than other species and can have different colors. When breeding, the majority of the breeders will make a unique color mix.
What are the additional expenses?
In order to live a sustainable, long life, bearded dragons will need some items for their tanks. In the beginning, a bearded dragon will need an aquarium that has a size larger than 50 gallons. Depending on the place you buy it from, the material it is made of, and its brand, this aquarium would cost anywhere between $80 and $190. Also, you may have to buy a lid screen that costs anywhere between $35 and $60.
Also, an aquarium can be decorated with some driftwood for the pet to lay out on while sunbaking, a small water bowl, and hiding boxes, depending on your preferences. Expect to spend $15 to more than $120, depending on what you prefer.
Heat lamps are a must as these animals are accustomed to a desert environment. Expect to pay $13 to $35 for a 60 to 100-watt light bulb. Depending on the watts, the cost of these bulbs would be anywhere between $2 and $8 per bulb. Also, it is recommended to buy a thermometer to make sure that the temperature is set at a comfortable level. Plan on spending $20 to $30 for a good thermometer. Because bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals, it is vital to keep their external body heat above 85 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. A hydrometer is highly recommended as well to monitor the bearded dragon’s humidity. Levels should be kept at 30% to 40%.
To make sure that the aquarium feels like the reptile’s habitat, you will have to use sand and rocks as a substrate. The cost of the sand is relatively low and would be anywhere between $5 and $8 per 25-pound bag, while for the rocks you will have to spend a little bit more. On the other hand, those who own bearded dragons advise against sand because these animals may swallow the sand while eating.
If you need to supplement the heat, you will have to buy an under-tank heat pad, that costs anywhere between $20 and $30, depending on the size.
There are people who choose to buy a bearded dragon harness, which is similar to a dog harness and allows you to walk your pet around.
Generally, bearded dragons feed on live food like mealworms, super worms, and crickets. As an average dragon can eat up to one hundred crickets per week, expect to spend $15 to $30 per week on their food. Also, reptiles may go on a veggie diet, which would be considerably cheaper at $6 to $12 per week. Vets recommend a diet made of 30% vegetables and 70% insects. It would be great to give your pet mineral supplements and some calcium every three months.
Similar to a dog or a cat, unexpected vet bills may appear from time to time. Plan on spending around $70 just for a vet exam. The costs for treating yellow fungus would be around $220, including the tests and checkup. Another common surgery performed on bearded dragons is the one meant to fix tail rot and this costs around $630.
Important things to consider
The bearded dragon may represent the number one choice for a beginner in such pets, but at the same time, it captivates even the most experienced reptile lovers. It lives without problems in captivity and does not bite people. For a family with small children, it can be a promising “scaly” companion for juniors. The lizard likes to be petted and is not aggressive.
Since the 1960s, trade-in lizards taken from the wild have been banned. Currently, specimens sold in pet shops come exclusively from breeding in captivity.
Remember that every state has its own laws and regulations when it comes to owning an exotic animal such as the bearded dragon. So, make sure you inform yourself about it before purchasing your pet.
Some of the common health problems a bearded dragon may have include respiratory disease, vitamin deficiency, and gastrointestinal disease.
Bearded dragons are smart animals that are capable of social learning.
Tips for saving money
Search online on websites like Craigslist for someone who wants to get rid of their pet, plus all the needed supplies. This is a good way to buy everything at once at a low cost.