Small Breed Rescue of Southern California

Animal Care

Animal Type:
Lizard
Animal Breed:
Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon: Selecting an Enclosure



Selecting an Enclosure can be a daunting task. There are many things you need to keep in mind when it comes the the animals health, your interaction, cost, size, and availability. While its tempting the buy a small enclosure for a dragon to start off, most everything that you will need to complete that enclosure will need to be sized up when the dragon becomes bigger so you end up buying twice as much. It is much better to buy once with everything matched from the very start.




Glass Terrarium

Pros:

  • Available in very small to around 40 gallon, aquarium tanks can be found larger but will require a custom top
  • Inexpensive 
  • Readily available at most pet stores and online
  • Easy to sanitize
  • Handles high humidity well if your beardy dumps the water bowl
  • Easier to create a thermal gradient of cold side and hot side due to screen top shedding heat
  • Due to open top, it is easier to run lighting such as basking lights or mercury vapor bulb which generate a lot of ambient heat.

Cons:

  • Reaching in from above your Bearded dragon can be threatening to them
  • Lights and heaters often sit on the very top you are trying to remove, and sliding to one side often burns the plastic. Buying a stand for the heater often lifts it up enough to negate is effectiveness.
  • Glass does not retain heat very well so loss of heat and subsequent cost is a factor
  • Beardies can see there reflection in the glass and get angry at it.



Font Opening Glass Terrarium

Pros:

  • Available up to around 40 gallon but very few any larger
  • Reaching in from in front your Bearded dragon is less stressful for them than above
  • Easy to sanitize
  • Handles high humidity well if your beardy dumps the water bowl
  • Lights and heaters sit on the top and don't need to be moved to get into the tank.
  • Easier to create a thermal gradient of cold side and hot side due to screen top shedding heat
  • Due to open top, it is easier to run lighting such as basking lights or mercury vapor bulb which generate a lot of ambient heat.

Cons:

  • A bit more expensive
  • Can be harder to find, Petsmart Thrive brand is highly recommended for the features it comes with
  • Glass does not retain heat very well so loss of heat and subsequent cost is a factor
  • Beardies can see there reflection in the glass and get angry at it.



Melamine Wood Enclosure

Pros:

  • Available in a variety of sizes from small to very large exceeding 200 gallon 
  • Reaching in from in front your Bearded dragon is less stressful for them than above
  • panels are easy sanitize, but calking in corners can be problematic
  • Lights and heaters mount in the enclosure for a cleaner external look

Cons:

  • A bit more expensive
  • Can be harder to find, usually at reptile stores like LLL Reptile
  • Wood retains heat very well
  • Does not handle high humidity well if your beardy dumps the water bowl, particle board swells and disintegrates
  • You must have screens enclosing the light and heater for protection.
  • Can be difficult to get a good temperature gradient because these retain heat so well, may require heavy modification to add enough venting to allow for a cold side.
  • Due to lighting and heater being in the enclosure, it is much harder to run lighting such as basking lights or mercury vapor bulb which generate a lot of ambient heat which can turn these quickly into an oven.




Pvc Enclosure

Pros:

  • Available in a variety of sizes from small to large of around 100 gallon
  • Reaching in from in front your Bearded dragon is less stressful for them than above
  • Panels are easy sanitize
  • PVC retains heat very well
  • Lights and heaters mount in the enclosure for a cleaner external look
  • Does handle high humidity well if your beardy dumps the water bowl, particle board swells and disintegrates
  • Can be shipped disassembled

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Can be harder to find, usually internet only, sometimes in reptiles stores but at a premium
  • You must have screens enclosing the light and heater for protection.
  • Can be difficult to get a good temperature gradient because these retain heat so well, may require heavy modification to add enough venting to allow for a cold side.
  • Due to lighting and heater being in the enclosure, it is much harder to run lighting such as basking lights or mercury vapor bulb which generate a lot of ambient heat which can turn these quickly into an oven.






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