Inland Bearded Dragon – enclosure
While they can be kept outdoors it is generally easier to keep Inland Bearded Dragons in indoor enclosures unless housing them within their natural range. The higher humidity and cooler temperatures of coastal NSW especially over the winter months can increase the possibility of health issues.
The minimum spatial requirement for Inland Bearded Dragons are based on the extended length from snout to tail tip of the longest animal to be housed in the enclosure and written as L.
Enclosures must be no less than 4L2 (2L x 2L) with no dimension less than 0.75L. For example, if a lizard is 20cm in length, the enclosure must be a minimum of 40cm x 40cm.
It is always recommended to provide more space for Inland Bearded Dragons if possible so they can move around as they would in their natural habitat. An adult Inland Bearded Dragon should never be kept in an enclosure less than 120cms in length and 60cms wide. While some species of reptiles must have an appropriate sized enclosure for their current size, Inland Bearded Dragons can be kept in a larger enclosure than the minimum requirements state and juvenile animals do not need a smaller enclosure than adult animals.
Large glass aquariums/tanks can make suitable indoor enclosures for Inland Bearded Dragons but custom made enclosures or specially designed lizard enclosures that are available commercially may be better. The top of the tank must be securely enclosed to prevent escapes and objects that could be harmful to animals falling into the tank. A metal framework attached to the top of the tank with mesh secured over the frame is recommended. The enclosure must be inside a room that can be secured and locked to prevent escape, theft and attack by predators.
If housed in outdoor enclosures, Inland Bearded Dragons can be content in a fairly large enclosure that replicates their natural habitat. Outdoor enclosures must be extremely secure as lizards can climb and jump. Outdoor enclosures must have a solid base e.g. concrete and be completely enclosed on the sides and roof and be fitted with a lockable gate to prevent escape, theft and attack by predators.
Suitable substrates that can be used on the floor of enclosures include sandy soil, rocks and leaf litter. Indoor enclosures can also be lined with paper however a more natural substrate is recommended if possible. The substrate should be kept dry to reduce humidity in the enclosure.
Small branches, hollow logs and rocks should be provided in the enclosure to replicate the natural environment and provide perching. Due to their habit of climbing and digging, it is essential that all furniture within the enclosure is secure, stable and will not shift. Rocks and logs should be placed on the base of the enclosure rather than on top of the substrate. This will prevent lizards digging under furniture and causing collapses and injury to themselves.
It is also essential to provide a basking area under the heat lamp. Flat rocks or branches can be used to create the basking area and allow the lizard to get close to the basking lamp. The basking area should be large enough for the lizard to stretch out on and large enough so that the lizard can move to the edge of the basking area, away from the direct heat to find an appropriate temperature. The heat lamp should be placed to one end of the enclosure to assist with this.