Mapping out the costs of owning a bearded dragon is an important process that every potential owner should go through. While these pets aren’t very expensive, you obviously want to know what’s coming financially!
This guide will help you figure out all of the typical bearded dragon costs to be aware of, with price information for all of the supplies that you’ll need.
Let’s get started.
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How Much Does A Bearded Dragon Cost?
The average bearded dragon cost is anywhere between $30 and $100 depending on its age. However, that only reflects the price of the beardie itself.
When you consider the costs of their enclosure, necessary care supplies, and an initial vet visit, you’re looking at an additional $300 to $600. This brings the average upfront costs of purchasing a bearded dragon to $300 to $700.
Where You Buy Them Will Impact The Price
For the most part, bearded dragons are relatively inexpensive to buy, but many factors will determine the price. One of the biggest is where you buy them!
A common supplier for novice reptile enthusiasts is usually a local pet store. Bearded dragons are quite popular, so these reptiles are readily available from most stores. You can find them in Mom-and-Pop shops as well as big chains.
Even within a pet store setting, you might see some price fluctuations based on the age of the reptile. Younger juvenile bearded dragons are cheaper, setting you back between $30 and $60. However, mature lizards will cost closer to $100.
But while pet stores are an easy route to go, it’s not always the best.
Those with a bit of experience typically go to dedicated breeders. Not only do breeders offer a better quality of life for bearded dragons, but they also offer lower prices.
Generally, breeders will be 10 to 20 percent cheaper than a pet store. Plus, they may have unique color morphs available.
Another option is to go to a reptile show! These events are held all over the world. They bring together a ton of breeders and enthusiasts to one place, so it’s a great place to connect with local breeders.
Bearded dragons from reptile shows are around the same price as what you’d get from an individual breeder. But the big difference here is your options! With so many breeders around, you can easily find exotic and rare color morphs.
Expert Tip: If you want a beardie with a distinct appearance, be prepared to shell out a lot of cash. Rare bearded dragons can cost well over $1,200!
If you’re on a budget, you can also find bearded dragons for adoption. Adoption and rescue groups collect beardies that previous owners gave up for one reason or another. Rescue organizations are all about helping the reptile find its “forever home.”
As a result, prices are very low. In most cases, you’ll only have to pay a modest adoption fee.
Finally, there are private sellers. You can find some great deals on social media and other marketplaces. However, exercise caution if you go this route. You never know how the lizard was raised or what kind of home it’s coming from. You’ll need to let a vet check out the lizard before you commit.
The Cost Of Required Supplies
Purchasing your bearded dragon is only one part of the equation. Before you bring your beardie home, you need to set up its new enclosure.
This is where most of your upfront costs are going to come from. Below are the main items you’ll need to purchase.
The enclosure will likely be the most expensive single purchase. Bearded dragons need a sizable enclosure with plenty of space to get comfortable. Don’t skimp here!
Expert Tip: It will cost you more to make upgrades down the line, so it’s better to get a suitable enclosure from the start.
There are a lot of different enclosure options out there. For a simple reptile tank, you can expect to spend around $75 to $150. However, a high-quality vivarium-style enclosure will cost $300 or more!
Plus, you need to invest in a tight-fitted screen lid. This will cost you an additional $30 or so.
As long as the enclosure is the right size, there’s no right or wrong choice here. Pick a habitat that matches your budget and needs.
Of course, you can always save money by going second-hand. But, make sure that you take the steps to fully sanitize the enclosure before setting it up.
There’s a lot of wiggle room here. You can go as complex or as simple as you want!
For the essentials, plan to get a food bowl, a water bowl, a couple of hide boxes, some toys, and a few places to relax. Relaxation accessories should include things like a hammock, a climbing branch, and a basking spot.
Those are just some simple furniture items that can make your bearded dragon more comfortable. You can certainly get more! If you have a larger enclosure, you can add artificial plants, caves, and a slew of natural decor.
As long as you have all of your lizard’s bases covered, the rest is up to personal preference. On average, you can expect to spend between $30 to $80 on furniture.
Choosing the right substrate for your bearded dragon is important! This is the material that will act as the base of the enclosure. It’s what your beardie will make contact with, so you need to take some time in selecting the right material.
Substrate is a big point of contention for bearded dragon owners. You can use everything from newspaper to premium slate tiles.
Generally, one of the better choices is a reptile carpet. This substrate is available at most pet stores for about 10 bucks.
Lighting & Fixtures
To create a suitable environment for your lizard, you’ll need to buy lighting and fixtures. Bearded dragons require basking lamps and UV lamps.
The basking lamp is what’s going to create heat for your beardie. Don’t cheap out and rely on standard incandescent bulbs. Instead, purchase a dedicated basking light.
The light fixture will cost around $10. It may cost more depending on the quality of the clip or security mechanism. The bulb itself will usually cost around $15 to $30.
Expert Tip: Don’t forget that these reptiles need both UVA and UVB bulbs.
The UV lamp is more expensive. But, it’s a crucial part of the tank setup that you can’t ignore. Bearded dragons rely on the UV lamp to properly synthesize calcium and stay healthy.
UV light fixtures cost, on average, around $20 to $30. The bulb itself will set you back around $20. If you have a larger tank, bulbs can cost upwards of $50.
Those prices reflect fixtures and bulbs that are specifically made for reptiles. Sometimes, you can get the equipment for slightly less at a hardware store.
Additional Heat Source
Now, if you live in a relatively warm climate, the ambient temperature may be adequate for a bearded dragon. But if nightly temperatures fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need additional heat sources.
You can’t use basking lights at night. These lizards need a traditional day/night cycle, so you must rely on ceramic heating elements or nighttime bulbs.
Both options run about $5 to $15. Ceramic emitters are slightly more expensive, but they are considered the better choice. You must also factor in the cost of an additional lighting fixture, which is another $10 or so.
Second-guessing temperature is not the right way to go about maintaining optimal conditions. You need an accurate thermometer to get things just right.
We recommend getting two; one for the cool side of the enclosure and one for the basking area.
Prices will range from $5 to $20 depending on the model and features. For better precision and accuracy, choose a unit with digital readouts and a probe.
Another thing you can’t go without is a hygrometer. Hygrometers measure the humidity levels of the enclosure.
Prices are comparable to thermometers, so you can expect to pay $5 to $20. Some models combine a hygrometer and thermometer into one for convenience.
Food costs are ongoing (obviously). Bearded dragons can eat a wide range of foods. However, their primary diet should consist of live insects and fresh greens.
You have a lot of choices for insects. But some of the most commonly fed bugs are brown crickets and Dubia roaches. A full-grown bearded will eat a lot of insects a month. We’re talking upwards of 800 crickets!
Note: Here’s a resource to help you determine how many crickets to feed your bearded dragon.
Crickets are readily available online and at most pet stores. Expect to pay roughly $20 for 500 crickets. Dubia roaches are more expensive and prices can vary dramatically depending on the source. However, it’s a worthy investment to mix these in because the roaches have a higher protein content.
Regardless of what insect you choose, the average costs are going to be between $30 and $80 per month. That’s just for the insects. You also have to factor in food for the bugs and additional costs that come with gut-loading.
As for your greens, ongoing costs are generally much lower. With a nice mix of leafy greens, you can expect to spend $40 a month on the higher end. But, there are a lot of ways to source more affordable vegetables if you want to keep costs low.
All in, you’re looking at $40 to $120 every month on food. That’s a pretty big range, so you have a lot to work with in terms of budget.
On top of that monthly food cost, you have to provide supplements.
Expert Tip: Supplements will keep your beardie healthy and help you avoid any dietary issues that come with living in captivity. These reptiles require calcium, Vitamin D3, and multivitamins. All of these come in powder form, making it easy to dust insects before feeding.
All combined, those supplements typically cost around $30 to $60. But, you’re not going to pay this every month! A standard-sized tub of supplement powder can last well over 6 months with a weekly supplement schedule.
Ongoing Veterinary Costs
Annual trips to a herpetology vet or exotic animal vet are another cost you have to consider.
When you first bring your bearded dragon home, you must visit the vet within the first two days. Your vet will perform a series of tests to ensure that they are healthy and don’t have any potentially dangerous parasites.
That initial visit will usually cost around $75 to $150.
Moving forward, veterinary costs can be a bit unpredictable. If your lizard is healthy and has no major problems, annual costs are usually $60 to $100.
However, unexpected illness could raise that annual cost significantly. It all depends on what’s affecting your lizard. Diagnostic tests alone could cost several hundred dollars. On top of that, treatments could be pricey.
Expert Tip: There’s no way to plan for the unexpected. That said, you can do your part to avoid surprise problems. Take your lizard to the vet annually for a general wellness checkup. General examinations can do a lot to help you catch health issues early on before they become a major expense.
Compared to other pets, the costs of owning a bearded dragon are fairly modest. Once you’ve purchased the lizard itself, the remaining supplies aren’t too expensive!
This is yet another reason why these reptiles make such good pets. Not only are they a joy to own, but they’re affordable!
Let us know if you have any questions about common bearded dragon costs that weren’t answered in this guide. We’re always happy to help.