What are the costs of owning a bearded dragon

What are the costs of owning a bearded dragon

Are you considering buying a bearded dragon? These cute pets are growing in popularity and are extremely loveable but trying to find out the costs involved in buying and looking after them can be difficult. We have done the research for you, so review the detail on how much bearded dragon’s cost and start thinking about when you are going to purchase one.

How much is a bearded dragon?

Bearded dragon’s cost from £40 to over £200 and there are many places to buy them from, retailers such as https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/ and many specialist breeders.

There are several factors that affect the price of a bearded dragon, we have detailed a few:

The breed of your bearded dragon

Simply, the rarer your chosen breed of bearded dragons the more expensive it is going to be. They can be different breeds, patterns, sizes and colours. Take your time in choosing the one that you like. If you want a Bearded Dragon with unusual colours, or a specific size, then it may be more expensive and take longer to purchase. Specialist breeders can often have waiting lists.

The age

Younger bearded dragons cost around £40 and are generally cheaper than older bearded dragons. Be careful when buying younger breaded dragons and ensure you are buying them from reputable sellers, as younger bearded dragons are more susceptible to illness than older bearded dragons.

Where to buy your bearded dragon: Before purchasing any bearded dragon, you need to ask the seller if it has had any health issues that may cause him or her further problems down the line. Also, check that your breaded dragon has not been in contact with any other bearded dragon who has had any contagious diseases. If possible, take an expert with you, but check specialist groups, forums, social media and review sites. Spend time on this as this could save you heartache later.

Insurance requirements

Once you have purchased your bearded dragon, make sure you review your bearded dragon insurance policy, you can purchase this from as little as £8.25 per month at www.britishpetinsurance.co.uk

Bearded dragon setup costs

Before you purchase your bearded dragon make sure you have worked through your checklist of equipment and ticked them off and understand any on-going costs.

  • A vivarium, tank or enclosure
  • Basking or spot lamp
  • Heat lamps
  • UVB lighting
  • Dimming and Pulse thermostats
  • Thermometers to measure the temperature in the vivarium
  • Flooring or Substrate
  • Furniture
  • Food

The average cost of setting up a vivarium is around £350-£400 based on purchasing a new vivarium with a heat lamp, UV light, thermostat, lino substrate and hide.

The first decision is what kind of vivarium do I need, there are many variations available, but they fall into two distinct camps:

A naturalistic vivarium

Is one where you are trying to match up as closely as possible to a bearded dragon’s natural environment. This can include the substrate, branches, rocks as other items you think would make it fun.

A clinical vivarium

Is practical but doesn’t seek to replicate the natural environment of your bearded dragon. They can be seen as cold and sterile. Both designs have their pros and cons which you should consider before making up your mind.

Always remember that your bearded dragon will react to the environment it is in. There is always an abundance of second-hand options, but always check what you are getting for your money and why it is being sold. Always ensure the equipment is cleaned and sterile for your new bearded dragon.

You can get carried away with your purchases, as it is quite exciting to set it all up. Be mindful of costs and ensure you don’t forget to change the UV bulb regularly, a common issue. If in doubt about anything do you research and if its about insurance cover give us a call, we are happy to help,

Spot or basking bulbs provide an intense source of light and heat for your bearded dragon, they are trying to create heat and light that mirrors the sun. There are many choices but trending well is the BYB infrared heat emitter, which you can buy for around £25.00

How much does bearded dragon lighting cost?

A light strip can provide either UVA or UVB or both and costs around £25, do you research and get help from friends, as to where to buy.
Remember, to check out the detail on the light as you will need to replace your UV bulb normally every six months or sooner.

How much does bearded dragon substrate cost and what should I use?

We have deliberately not detailed costs under this section as it varies significantly. Please bear in mind that buying the right substrates will ensure your breaded dragon enjoys a long healthy life. Don’t buy purely on price.

Best – loose substrates

These substrates mimic a bearded dragon’s natural environment in Australia, making them the best. They are burrowable, which means that your dragon can dig in a nice thick layer of these substrates to its heart’s content. “Loose” substrates, that are composed of natural materials that bearded dragon’s digestive tracts are built to handle do not pose an impaction risk according to the research detailed below. Pack the substrate 4-6″ deep for best results.

Still not convinced that loose substrate is safe? In a 2017 study (A survey of diseases in captive bearded dragons: a retrospective study of 529 patients by S. Schmidt-Ukaj et al.), despite most of the dragons having been housed on loose substrate, very few patients were impacted. Most of the few impaction cases that there were already sick with other conditions such as parasite infestation and MBD, which were attributed as causing the impaction.


These substrates retain heat well and are more attractive. They also help keep your dragon’s nails filed down and may offer burrowing value.

  • Zoo Med Excavator Clay, if you can find it.
  • Slate tile


These substrates are cheap, sterile, and make cleaning easy, but they’re better for quarantine than for long-term housing.

  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper


These substrates pose significant health risks to your bearded dragon!

  • Calcium sand — leads to impaction if ingested due to presence of calcium carbonate
  • Vitamin sand— leads to impaction if ingested due to presence of calcium carbonate
  • Ground nutshell — dusty and causes impaction if accidentally ingested
  • Wood products (bark, shavings, etc.) — causes impaction if accidentally ingested
  • Linoleum — produces VOCs
  • Shelf liner — produces VOCs
  • Reptile carpet — fibrous nature traps and breeds bacteria, can also catch claws and break toes

What’s the big deal about sand?

Sand might look good, but it can cause a LOT of problems…

Using sand for bearded dragon substrate is highly controversial. However, when done correctly it can be an attractive and enriching part of your bearded dragon’s captive environment.

Here are some common risks of sand and how to circumvent them:

  • Dust – can be prevented by using high-quality sand. Play sand is the dustiest of them all.
  • Dyes – are easy to spot. If you see sand in an unnatural colour (for example green, pink, yellow, or black), it’s likely to be dyed, and will dye your dragon in turn. If you’re not sure, do some research on the product.
  • Odour — unavoidable. You can only keep the smell under control through regular replacement and diligent spot-cleaning.
  • DO NOT use calcium sand, Vita-Sand, Reptilite, or whatever else they’re calling it these days. Though it is advertised as a substrate-based calcium supplement, it has a nasty habit of clumping up inside reptile intestines. The calcium carbonate also can neutralize stomach acid, preventing proper digestion. So even if it is digestible, it can still interfere with digestion. Bottom line: don’t listen if the pet store people say otherwise — JUST SAY NO.

Lots to take in, but as always don’t rely solely on this blog, do you own research.

Now on to what your bearded dragon’s like to eat.

Bearded dragon feeding costs

So how much does it cost to feed a bearded dragon? Here we provide a selection of food and prices. Obviously check out with your expert friends and what works for them and where they buy. As omnivores, bearded dragons require a varied diet consisting of both insects and vegetation, essential to keeping them healthy and in top shape.

The age of your bearded dragon will affect the size and amount of live food that they consume. For example, if you have a juvenile bearded dragon, they will need to be fed live food two or three times a day, in order to get enough nutrients to support their enormous growth spurt. As they get older, this will be reduced gradually, so that as an adult, your bearded dragon will only be eating live food two-three times a week but will be eating a lot fresher vegetation during this period.

Food type | Quantity | Cost

Locusts | 50 | £3.29
Waxworms | 15g | £2.79
Blackfield Cricket | 150 | £2.09
Brown Crickets | 250 | £2.09
Fruit Beetle Grubs | 10 individual | £2.89
Calci Worms | 250 individual | £2.89
Live food prices were sourced from Swell Reptiles

Bearded dragon insurance

Unfortunately, your bearded dragon may get ill, if it does then your vet bills can be very high. Make sure you take the time out to get some cover, there are many options to suit your budget. Give us a call on 01444 708840.

British Pet Insurance Services offers a range of exotic pet cover levels, insuring; lizards, snakes, tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and small mammals. With up to £5,000 vet fees and a range of optional extras, select the level of cover to suit your needs.

Get a quote today