If you’re a first-time pet owner, getting a new pet can be a pretty hefty responsibility with an unexpectedly high price tag. Before you embark on the journey to pet ownership, you should be prepared for that level of responsibility and the expenses that you’re likely to experience. Every pet has its own list of needs and requirements that may have a steep price, and bearded dragons are no different.
There are a lot of things you’ll need to buy before you bring home your bearded dragon and those prices can stack up pretty quickly. You will also need to factor in how much your bearded dragon itself will cost. In order to plan for your bearded dragon and all of the responsibilities, you should have a clear idea of all of these costs and responsibilities.
Thankfully you have experts on your side to help you figure out how much it’ll cost to bring home your beardie and all the equipment you need to take care of them. We’ve compiled a basic breakdown of everything you’ll need to know about the cost of your bearded dragon and the cost of their necessities.
Short Answer : The first year of owning a a bearded dragon will cost you around $700 – $1000. It just depends on where you get your pet from and the type of habitat you’re willing to provide in the beginning. Read more for a better breakdown.
The Price of Your Bearded Dragon
Much like with the different breeds of cats and dogs, bearded dragons come in different types as well. They can vary based on their color and different morphs that they have which can affect their rarity and price-point. Bearded dragon morphs and colors can have such variance that one type of beardie can be far pricier than another type.
The price of your bearded dragon may also vary based on how common or rare they are. More basic bearded dragon breeds will be anywhere from 40 to 75 dollars, whereas a rarer breed might cost somewhere around 100 to even 400 dollars. There are of course breeds that fall in the middle and range from about fifty to eighty dollars depending on their coloring, size, and morphs.
The rarest morphs you can get may even lead you to shell out 500 to a grand on the bearded dragon alone. This is also highly dependent on where you’ll be purchasing your beardie as well. Buying from a pet store will actually cost you less than going through a breeder as your local pet shop is likely to only have more common breeds in stock.
A breeder may upcharge you as well because they took the time to breed their beardies and then bought all of the supplies to take care of the hatchlings. They will likely also have greater access to more diverse bearded dragon breeds like red, orange, or yellow bearded dragons, silk or leatherbacks, or even dunner and zero morphs in rarer instances. You will get this upcharge as most breeders can offer you bearded dragons that you won’t be able to find in your common pet store, which makes them ideal if you’re looking for something other than your basic tan or brown dragon.
Age also factors in as some shops or breeders may charge less for younger beardies than they would for a mature one. This can also vary greatly between shops and breeders as some may charge you more for younger bearders and less for older ones. Pet shops may seem like a good option but in actuality, they may honestly be a bad idea.
Many pet shops don’t take the kind of care for every pet that a good breeder will. Especially chain pet stores, they don’t have the kind of time or ability to devote to all of the pets they sell though they might try.
Initial Costs For Bearded Dragon Habitats
Bearded dragons require a lot of setup equipment in order to thrive properly in a domestic setting. Their natural environment has certain climate aspects that need to be adhered to so they can stay comfortable and healthy. They need a warm, dry environment so they don’t get issues like tail rot, respiratory infections, or sickness from being too cold.
They have a pretty big list of necessities for their quality of life and depending on what age you get them at, those needs change over time. A proper tank for a baby bearded dragon won’t suit them as they get older, so that is something you need to factor into your expected costs. If you are raising them from a baby you’re going to want to start with a 50 to 75-gallon tank but as they grow you’ll need to replace it with something from 85 to 120 gallons depending on how big they get.
The cost breakdown for these is as follows:
- 50 to 75 Gallon Tank: These tanks don’t typically drift below $100 and even if you might be tempted to buy a cheap one or to get a used one, it is actually better to spend the money upfront. Ones closer to the 75-gallon side might be more like $200 or $300 depending on how nice it is. A very popular option is the glass terrarium by Repti Zoo.
- 85 to 120 Gallon Tank: You can probably find yourself a tank of this size from about $300-350 to $600 on the higher scale. You’ll want to stick within this size range for your adult bearded dragons as anything too large can overwhelm them and anything smaller will be too crowded. This size of cage by Carolina Custom Cage would fit this description.
Substrates, lights, lamps, thermometers, and other accessories for their tank are also all necessary and have their own set of costs. Your bearded dragon will need UVA and UVB lighting to help them metabolize their food and to bask in to stay warm. They will need these things in order to maintain peak health.
The cost of these lamps and heating elements are:
- UV Lighting: Both the fixture and the bulbs themselves will be around $15 to $80 depending on the size of your tank and the quality of the equipment. These are a necessity as they do what the sun would to help your beardie metabolize their food and their calcium. They need it to stay healthy and ensure they don’t become ill. We recommend the Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 . You can see more of our lighting recommendations here.
- Basking Lamps: These will also run about that price, but depending on the quality they will range more from $18 to $60. Take a look at these Basking lamps.
- Ceramic Heating Tiles: These aren’t a necessity but they do run a bit cheaper than you’d expect them to be. They will likely run you anywhere from $12 to $30 depending on the size and quality.
- Thermostats: You’ll need to keep a careful eye on the temperature in your beardie’s habitat as they need certain temperatures in one half of their enclosure than they do in another. They also need higher temps during the day than they do in the evening. On the cheaper side, they’ll run you about $8, but if you want something more efficient and long-lasting they can be between $30 and $60. Try out this thermometer.
The rest of the bearded dragon accessories shouldn’t cost you too much more. Things like hides, plants, food bowls, and substrates won’t cost you much in comparison. The typical rundown for all of these things would be less than $100 in all. But these aren’t the only expenses that you should expect when you take on a bearded dragon as a pet.
Food and Supplement Costs
Of course, you’re going to have to feed your bearded dragon, but the insects, greens, and supplements they need have their own costs involved that you might not expect. Baby bearded dragons have a diet that is 80% insects and 20% vegetables and fruits, while adult beardies are flipped and need 80% fruits and vegetables and 20% insects. They also need a great deal of supplementation when it comes to certain vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy and strong.
Your baby beardie will need to be fed more frequently than your adult bearded dragon, needing multiple feedings a day. They can’t eat as much in one sitting, but they still need a good amount of food to keep them going in a day. You’ll want to keep a good supply of insects on hand weekly so you can gut-load them and prep them for meals.
Insects will typically run you up to about $20 weekly but could vary and be less or more depending on where you are buying your insects from or how much you’ll need for your dragon. The fruits and vegetables you buy for your beardie can be incorporated into your own grocery bill and those prices will also vary depending on what you’re buying and from where. The greens and fruits you supply to your bearded dragon are recommended to be organic so they don’t end up getting sick, but this isn’t absolute.
You will also need to think about containers for your insects as some will need to be kept cold, while others need to be at room temperature. Then you have to factor in the cost of bearded dragon supplements. They need a lot of calcium in their diet so you’ll need to purchase a calcium supplement as well as a multivitamin. The costs of these can vary but they will typically need to be bought on a monthly basis.
Calcium supplements will run you about ten to twelve dollars each time you buy and your multivitamin will typically be about twelve as well. These won’t need as frequent replacement as their food, but it is something to factor into your overall costs. You can even set up a recurring shipment on Amazon and sometimes that will save you and your bearded dragon a dollar or so off the regular price. If you’re looking for a good liquid product to use instead, we recommend Fluker’s Liquid Calcium Supplement or Zilla Calcium Supplement Food Spray.
You are going to have to take your bearded dragon to the vet. We cannot stress this enough that you should not avoid taking your bearded dragon to annual checkups. When you first get them, you should take them to see a vet to ensure there is nothing wrong with them as it is fairly common that pet shops, or even some neglectful breeders, will give you a sick bearded dragon.
Even if your beardie is perfectly fine, you should see a vet to ensure that they are healthy and fully well before you bring them home. This is another reason you don’t want to get used equipment as there is a chance they could transfer an illness from their pet to yours. If you do get used products you should clean them thoroughly first and sanitize them so nothing is transferred to your new pet.
Your bearded dragon should have an annual checkup regardless of age and if you notice anything amiss with them you should also take them in to be looked at. Depending on your vet this will run you 30 to 100 dollars depending on what is needed during the checkup like tests, or medication administration. You should try to budget as well for possible illnesses or even surgeries as you never know what will happen to your bearded dragon over the course of their life.
You may even want to look into pet insurance if your bearded dragon ends up sick relatively often.
You can’t expect everything that your bearded dragon will experience throughout their time with you, but you should be prepared to take on that responsibility. The price of a bearded dragon isn’t a cheap undertaking, like any pet, but you shouldn’t go into owning one without knowing what you’re getting into. They make a really wonderful companion but they do need the love, care, and equipment that will help make their life fulfilling.
If you aren’t prepared to take on that financial responsibility right away, it is definitely something you should save up for. A bearded dragon will be a loyal and wonderful companion who can bring a lot of joy and fulfillment to your life, so you should be able to take care of them properly when you have them. They are sweet creatures that will take your life up a level and should be treated with the same dignity and love that you would give a dog or a cat.
The upfront cost of bringing a bearded dragon into your life initially is certainly worth the years of love and companionship they’ll give you for years to come.