Bearded Dragon Costs: A Comprehensive Breakdown for New Owners

how much do bearded dragons cost

Bearded dragons are among the most popular reptiles kept as pets, cherished for their gentle demeanor and relatively easy care requirements. However, owning one of these fascinating creatures comes with various costs that potential owners must consider. From the initial purchase to ongoing care, this comprehensive guide will help you understand the financial commitment required to keep a bearded dragon healthy and happy.

Introduction How Much Do Bearded Dragons Cost

Bearded dragons, often affectionately called “beardies,” are small to medium-sized lizards native to Australia. Their popularity as pets has soared due to their friendly nature and relatively simple care requirements compared to other reptiles. However, like any pet, bearded dragons come with a range of expenses that new owners should be aware of. This article provides an in-depth look at the different costs associated with owning a bearded dragon, helping you make an informed decision before bringing one into your home.

Bearded Dragon Price

Cost Range: $40 to $1000+

The initial cost of acquiring a bearded dragon can vary significantly based on several factors, such as the dragon’s age, size, and, most notably, its morph. Morphs refer to the various color and pattern variations that have been selectively bred in captivity. These unique traits can significantly influence the price of a bearded dragon.

  • Standard Morphs: The most common and affordable morphs typically range from $40 to $100.
  • Rare Morphs: Unique and rare morphs, such as the Zero or Witblits, can cost anywhere from $200 to $1000+.

It’s essential to do thorough research and buy from a reputable breeder to ensure the health and well-being of your new pet.

Adoption: A Cost-Saving Alternative

Adoption is a worthwhile option for those looking to save on the initial cost. Many animal shelters and reptile rescues have bearded dragons available for adoption, often for a nominal fee or even free. Adopting a bearded dragon not only saves money but also provides a home for a reptile in need.

Initial Setup Costs

Range: $245 to $500+

Proper housing is crucial for the health and happiness of your bearded dragon. Here’s a breakdown of the essential items you’ll need for the initial setup:

  • Enclosure: Expect to spend between $100 and $300 on a suitable tank. A 40-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for an adult bearded dragon, though larger is always better.
  • Substrate: The flooring of the enclosure, known as substrate, can range from $20 to $50. Opt for reptile carpet, tile, or paper towels to avoid impaction risks associated with loose substrates like sand.
  • Heating Lamps and Bulbs: Proper heating is vital. You’ll need a basking lamp ($20-$40) and ceramic heat emitter ($15-$30).
  • UVB Light: Bearded dragons require UVB lighting to metabolize calcium properly. A UVB bulb and fixture can cost between $30 and $50.
  • Thermometers and Hygrometers: Monitoring temperature and humidity is essential. Expect to spend around $20 on these devices.
  • Décor and Hides: Enrich your bearded dragon’s environment with climbing branches, hides, and basking rocks, costing around $20-$50.

The Importance of Proper Setup

A well-set-up enclosure mimics the bearded dragon’s natural habitat, promoting physical activity and mental stimulation. Proper heating and UVB lighting are critical for their metabolic functions and overall health. Investing in a high-quality setup from the start can prevent health issues down the line, saving you money and stress.

Ongoing Costs

Estimated Monthly Cost: $108

Owning a bearded dragon involves ongoing expenses that add up over time. Here’s a breakdown of the monthly costs:

Vet Visits

While bearded dragons are generally hardy reptiles, regular vet checkups are essential to monitor their health. Annual vet visits can cost between $50 and $100, with potential additional costs for any treatments or medications. Budget around $8 per month for vet-related expenses.

Feeder Insects

Bearded dragons are omnivores, requiring a diet of feeder insects and fresh vegetables. Feeder insects such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches will make up a significant portion of their diet. Expect to spend around $30 to $50 per month on insects.

Fresh Vegetables and Fruits

In addition to insects, bearded dragons need a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. While the cost varies depending on local prices and seasonal availability, budgeting around $20 per month for produce is reasonable.

Substrate Changes

Regularly changing the substrate in your bearded dragon’s enclosure is essential for hygiene and health. Depending on your choice of substrate, this can cost around $10 to $20 per month.

Additional Supplies

Occasional replacement of heating bulbs, UVB lights, and other supplies will incur additional costs. Budgeting around $10 per month for these incidental expenses is prudent.

Yearly Cost Estimation: $1000+

When you add up the ongoing monthly expenses, you can expect to spend over $1000 per year on your bearded dragon’s care. This estimate includes food, substrate, vet visits, and other supplies. It’s crucial to budget for these costs to ensure you can provide the best possible care for your pet.


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Owning a bearded dragon is a rewarding experience, but it comes with a financial commitment that should not be underestimated. From the initial setup to ongoing care, the costs can add up quickly. However, with proper budgeting and planning, you can enjoy the companionship of a bearded dragon without undue financial strain.

Key Takeaways

  • Initial Cost: Bearded dragons can cost between $40 and $1000+, depending on their morph.
  • Setup Costs: Expect to spend $245 to $500+ on a proper enclosure and necessary equipment.
  • Ongoing Costs: Monthly expenses average around $108, adding up to over $1000 per year.

Before bringing a bearded dragon into your home, ensure you’re prepared for the financial responsibility. Proper care and attention will help your new reptilian friend thrive, providing you with years of enjoyment and companionship.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does a bearded dragon cost?

Bearded dragons can cost anywhere from $40 to $1000+ depending on their morph, age, and breeder.

2. What is the minimum size tank for an adult bearded dragon?

A 40-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for an adult bearded dragon, though larger is always better.

3. How often should I feed my bearded dragon?

Juvenile bearded dragons should be fed daily, while adults can be fed insects every other day and vegetables daily.

4. Do bearded dragons need UVB lighting?

Yes, bearded dragons require UVB lighting to metabolize calcium properly and avoid health issues like metabolic bone disease.

5. What is the monthly cost of owning a bearded dragon?

Expect to spend around $108 per month on food, substrate changes, vet visits, and other supplies

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