Bearded dragons can be fantastic pets, but only if you are willing to properly care for them. Healthy bearded dragons can live for up to 10 years! Even though this is true if they are kept in optimal conditions, many bearded dragon owners do not adequately care for their pets.
Bearded dragons normally make their home in the deserts and forests of Australia. They come from a naturally hot and dry climate, with lots of sun. Some owners mistakenly think they can let their bearded dragon run about their house, in their garden, or just outdoors. This would be somewhat akin to putting a penguin in a tropical rainforest. It just is not done. You could be exposing your beloved beardie to unexpected danger. Instead, you must invest in a proper bearded dragon cage. Proper bearded dragon cages can make the difference between life and death.
Choosing the Right Types of Enclosures for your Bearded Dragon
Glass Aquariums and Vivariums
These are commonly used enclosure for bearded dragons despite their inadequacies. Some of the biggest drawbacks for using glass enclosures is their small size (four foot is not large) and the lack of airflow, mix that with humidity and heat leaves potential for respiratory diseases and a number of other illnesses. This in turn changes husbandry practices (such as not providing the correct humidity) which can result in health issues down the track and certainly will not encourage providing any natural habitat.
Melamine Cages or Enclosures
These are constructed out of melamine board. The drawbacks of melamine are that if moisture gets between the the outer finish and the wood it will warp the underlying wood. This can be avoided by ensuring all edges are sealed or cannot come in contact with moisture. When sealed properly these can make ideal enclosures for indoors and provide plenty of room for adequate ventilation. Aquarium grade silicon makes an ideal sealant and assists in providing less knocks and crannies for any unwanted pathogens to harbor and grow over time.
Enclosures purchased specifically for reptiles are typically not very large, however they are easy to build from panels purchased at hardware stores or buy a kit pantry cupboard and convert it by adding some perspex or similar doors (also purchased at hardware stores). If the climate allows, then at least one door can be made from bird wire to provide additional ventilation. For the cooler weather a perspex cover can be made to cover it. Ensure the wire is not sharp or fine as bearded dragons do love to climb and are at risk from tiny toes being damaged or cut off.
Vents can be purchased from hardware stores and installed in the enclosure if home made or added to any prebuilt melamine enclosure if the existing ones are insufficient.
PVC (or ABS)
These cages are similar in form and function to the melamine wood cages, but are both lighter and generally more costly, due to the plastic that is used to make them. This makes this type of cage significantly more mobile, letting you move your bearded dragon around to different areas of your home. ABS plastic doesn’t have that plastic style odor that PVC setups can sometimes be plagued by. PVC is easily cleaned but can restrict ventilation, care should be taken when selecting the right enclosure.
These are almost always professionally constructed, and are popular with those who breed bearded dragons as they are modular in nature and ready-made for stacking and storing. These cages are expensive and usually small.
Outdoor enclosures can be purpose built or as simple as a modified aviary or even a large kennel. Where a aviary, kennel or similar type of cage will be used ensure the wire is of a guage that will not cut toes when climbed on and is not a wide enough weave taht they can attempt to get through or even get stuck in.
Note: Australian states provide guidance on enclosure sizes. NSW Government, Environment & Heritage – Code of practice for the private keeping of reptiles
What to Look for in a Bearded Dragon Enclosure?
The basic requirements for a bearded dragon enclosure include:
- Must allow for proper air circulation. Two main factors are height of the enclosure and the material used to create the enclosure.
- Must be able to retain the correct temperature. If it loses warmth quickly, heating costs will increase as it will need to be compensated for.
- The shortest dimension should be no less than the length of the adult bearded dragon.
- Must be secure enough that your bearded dragon cannot escape and other critters cannot get in.
- Must be able to be cleaned properly including the ability to kill any unwanted additions such as viruses, fungi, helminthes and bacteria.
- Needs to be able to house at least basic furniture without cluttering the ground excessively.
- Must be able to ensure that your bearded dragon can never come in contact with heat lamps. They can and do get burnt.
- The enclosure should not emit any toxic fumes from the materials used to create it especially when heating is applied.
- The enclosure should not be capable of melting or warping from the exposure to heat, in particular around the heat lamp.
- If the enclosure will be outside (even if only part of the year) then it must be given both sun and shade to allow for movement between the two as required by the inhabitant, and protected from cold drafts, rain and excessive heat.
- It must be high enough to allow to accommodate the bearded dragon’s arboreal activities.
Best Bearded Dragon Enclosures
|Zoo Med ReptiBreeze Aluminum Screen Habitat||KollerCraft Flat-Backed Reptile Habitat||Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit|
|Read Detailed Reviews Below|
|Ability to Retain Correct Temperature|
|Easy to Clean|
1. Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures
Official Website: Zen Habitats
Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures is relatively new in the market, but it has become one of our favorite enclosures for bearded dragons. This beautifully designed cage has plenty of room for your bearded dragon to run, jump and climb. As this is a huge cage, you can easily add branches, hammock, and other stuff to make an ideal habitat for your bearded dragon.
The front sliding doors make it easy to clean as well as minimize the stress when approaching your beardie. One of the things, why we like Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures so much, is its bamboo finished panels. Bamboos are better than glass at retaining heat.
Aluminum framing, bamboo-lined panels, galvanized steel screen top, and acrylic front-sliding doors make Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures one of the best cages for bearded dragons.
2. Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium; Easy Assembly
Carolina Custom Cage is similar in many ways to the Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium and is one of the most popular in the bearded dragon’s community. It’s available in 18 different sizes. Every model of the cage features a waterproof base and key-lock security to keep your beardie safe.
Carolina Custom Cages comes in equal size plates of glass and screws together easily at the corners. The base is one part as it the top with larger doors that make cleaning and arranging easier. The cage also features a heavy-duty screen top that will give plenty of fresh air to your bearded dragon.
The door comes with a lock that every bearded dragon owner loves, but it misses a door handle that makes it difficult to open and close the door. The cage is shipped in parts, but the assembly is fairly easy.
3. Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium
Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium is a beautifully designed cage for reptiles with a more “natural” feel. With a realistic sandy backdrop, your bearded dragon will feel right at home. The large swinging doors make the cleaning a lot easy.
This bearded dragon cage is available in 7 different sizes but make sure you get the “Large wide” one as oppose to “large tall” one for your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons spend most of their time on the ground than climbing so, the “Large wide” model with bigger floor area is the most suited cage for them.
Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium is shipped fully assembled, meaning you don’t have to worry about assembling and fixing different pieces together. As they ship a fully assembled cage, it sometimes gets cracked in the transportation so be sure to check for any defects before putting your dragon inside.
4. Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit
Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit is actually too small for housing a bearded dragon, but we would still like to include it in the list of top bearded dragon cages due to the number of features it offers. Despite its smaller size, it’s still one of the best options to get started.
This cage comes with a basking light, rock, decorative pants, UVB and Heat lamp, saving you another shopping trip in case you forgot them. Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kits are designed for aquatic turtles; thus it holds water very well. You can simply fill the tank with sand for the bearded dragon.
It features a large removable screen top that provides plenty of fresh air, but make sure you weight down this top to prevent your bearded dragon from pushing their way out. Since this cag is designed to hold water that is why it lacks the swinging doors and a security lock. This makes it challenging to interact with the beardie.
5. Zoo Med ReptiBreeze Aluminum Screen Habitat
The Zoo Med ReptiBreeze Aluminum Screen Habitat is designed especially for arboreal lizards. This cage can be assembled very easily without the need for any tools or technical knowledge. The whole process of assembling the cage can be done with a single screwdriver.
This cage features a wide floor panel that can be decorated with different colors of your choosing. It comes with two doors— the main door at the front of the cage while a smaller door at the bottom. The bottom door is handy especially in the cleaning of the cage.
The whole cage is made up of aluminum that resists rusting and corrosion which means the cage will last for many years.
6. KollerCraft Flat-Backed Reptile Habitat
KollerCraft Flat-Backed Reptile Habitat is one of the best options available if you are looking for a stylish bearded dragon cage. This cage measures 10 x 19 x 12 inches with a 5-gallon capacity which is large enough for a bearded dragon and many other reptiles.
This cage features a large sturdy screen top that provides good air circulation. Since it has plenty of space, you can add branches, hammocks and other stuff to make it an ideal habitat for your bearded dragon.