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How Much Does a Bearded Dragon Cost Per Month?

Bearded dragons are gaining in popularity as pets due to their docile nature, unique behaviors, and comparatively simple care needs. However, having a beardie isn’t a one-time purchase; it requires ongoing financial and time commitments. As a result, it’s common for enthusiasts to inquire about how much does a bearded dragon cost per month.

From setup costs to the hidden expenses that are often overlooked, this article will dive deep into the financial aspect of caring for these fascinating creatures. 

How much does a bearded dragon cost per month?

Reptile Bearded Dragons
Reptile Bearded Dragon by Gerhard from Pixabay

The cost of keeping a bearded dragon as a pet can vary significantly on a monthly basis based on a number of aspects, including the animal’s age, size, dietary habits, and medical requirements. On average, it’s reasonable to anticipate spending around $50 or more each month.

Key Takeaways:

  • Depending on the desired setup, the initial cost of having a bearded dragon might range from $150 to $1000.
  • Their monthly expenses could average around $50 per month on the low end
  • The cost of a bearded dragon itself could be as low as $30 for a common baby to more than $2,000 for rare variants

What is the average monthly expense for a bearded dragon?

The price of owning a bearded dragon varies based on the initial setup expense and the monthly maintenance cost. Initial setup for a bearded dragon habitat, including the terrarium, lighting, heating equipment, substrate, and tank decorations, can cost anywhere from $150 for a basic setup suitable for a very young dragon to $1000 or more for a more elaborate setup. 

The monthly expenses, which include food, supplements, substrate replacement, and heating and illumination electricity, can range between $50 and $100. It’s important to remember that these are only averages, and real costs can vary based on things like the dragon’s dietary habits, the quality of equipment used, and unexpected costs like veterinarian fees for sickness or injuries. 

Price of a bearded dragon

Central bearded dragon on rock
Central bearded dragon on rock

Several types of bearded dragons are popular as pets in the US. The most common are:

1. Common bearded dragons

These bearded dragons are the most common, and they range in color from tan to brown. Depending on the dragon’s age and size, the price could vary from $30 to $100.

2. Leatherback

Leatherbacks have a mutation that causes them to have smaller, smoother scales, giving them a unique look and feel. Because this is a more unusual variety, they often cost a bit more, typically around $100-$500.

3. Silkback

Silkbacks have an even more extreme mutation than Leatherbacks, causing them to have no scales at all. This results in a silky, almost skin-like feel, which is aesthetically pleasing to some. You can usually find these for around $100 to $200.

4. Different Morphs

These dragons are bred for specific colorations or patterns and can include morphs such as red, zero, translucent, and many others. The prices can vary widely depending on the rarity and desirability of the specific morph:

  • Red morph – $150 to $600
  • Orange morph – $100 to $700
  • Yellow morph – $200 to $700
  • Translucent morph – $150 to $700
  • Zero morph – $300 to $2,000
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Essential equipment before bringing them home

1. Tank or enclosure

Bearded dragons require a substantial quantity of space, and the recommended aquarium size for these creatures is 30 to 50 gallons, which costs around $100 to $250. 

2. Lighting and heating system

TEKIZOO UVA UVB Sun Lamp High Intensity Self-Ballasted Heat Basking Lamp/Light/Bulb for Reptile and Amphibian (125W)

Bearded dragons require UVA and UVB illumination for their metabolic processes and to simulate their natural habitat. In addition to lights, you’ll need a warming heat lamp to make a basking spot in the tank. Lighting can cost anywhere from $15 to $80, and heat lamps can cost anywhere from $15 to $30.

If you’re looking for a quality lighting option for your bearded dragon, consider the TEKIZOO UVA UVB Sun Lamp available on Amazon. This lamp is designed to provide the necessary UVB lighting for your pet’s health and well-being. 

3. Substrate and decorations

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Floor Liners Green 33L/40L/55 Gallon, 11.75" x 47.5"

Various substrate types for the bottom of the tank are available, including rubber shelf liner, reptile carpet, or ceramic tiles. Avoid sand and loose substrates, especially for young dragons, as these can irritate if ingested.

They also need logs, trees, hammocks, and hide boxes to hide and climb on. These can range in price from $5 to $50.

4. Food and water dishes

You’ll require shallow dishes from which your bearded dragon can readily consume. A water container is also required, although many beardies prefer to obtain hydration from their baths and diet. This can cost between $5 and $10. 

5. Thermometer and thermostat

Aiicioo Reptile Heating Pad - Hermit Crab Heater Heat Mat for Reptiles Snake Lizard Terrarium 16 Watt

A thermometer is required to ensure that the tank is at the correct temperature, and a thermostat governs the temperature by turning on or off the heat source. These can range in price from $5 to $40.

How much is the cost estimation for monthly feeding?

Bearded dragons consume a diet consisting of various foods, including fruits, vegetables, and insects. You should budget anywhere from $20 to $60 monthly to feed for your dragon, but the total cost will be based on the dragon’s age and size. The total monthly estimate above was for a juvenile dragon. 

Keep in mind that these rates are subject to change depending on the region, the time of year, and the particular dietary requirements of your bearded dragon.

Also, as your pet matures, it’ll consume less protein and more fruits and vegetables, which could slightly reduce feeding costs. So just because your beardie is getting bigger, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be getting more expensive to feed. 

Healthcare costs

Several factors must be considered when calculating the cost of healthcare for bearded dragons. Regular veterinary examinations and possible treatments for health problems all contribute to the total price.

1. Veterinary check-ups

Regular veterinary examinations can range in price from $50 to $100 per visit on average, but this isn’t something you would need to do monthly. 

2. Treatment for health issues

Like any other companion, bearded dragons are susceptible to health problems such as metabolic bone disease, infectious stomatitis, respiratory infections, and injuries.

The cost of treatment for these conditions can range from $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on the severity of the situation and the treatment required.

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This is hopefully something you never have to worry about, but it should be budgeted into the potential costs of ownership just in case. 

3. Supplements

Bearded dragons require frequent calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent deficiencies. Each container of these supplements typically costs between $10 and $20 and can last several months.

4. Pet Insurance

Insurance prices can range from $5 to $20 per month, depending on the level of coverage. This is certainly something you would want to look into and get some quotes. For just a few dollar per month you can have peace of mind knowing your pet will have the best care should the need arise. 

Are there any hidden costs in owning a bearded dragon?

There might be a few “hidden” costs associated with caring for bearded dragons that contribute substantially to the overall cost of pet ownership, but aren’t obvious right away.

Some of them would be equipment replacement, as over time, equipment such as heat lamps, UVB lamps, and the terrarium itself will require replacement due to normal wear and strain. 

A higher electricity bill could also be considered, as the cost will depend on your local electricity rates and the wattage of your equipment. Maintaining a clean environment for your pet is essential for its health, including regular terrarium cleaning and substrate replacement.

You’ll need cleaning supplies, such as disinfectants that are safe for reptiles, brushes or scrubbers for scrubbing the aquarium, and substrate materials. 

Aside from these things, nothin else major comes to mind. 

Final Thoughts

Having a bearded dragon involves multiple initial and ongoing expenses. Potential owners should be prepared for monthly costs of $50 to $100, and sometimes more, in addition to the initial costs of $150 to $1,000 for establishing a suitable habitat.

These regular expenses include the replacement of various equipment as well as necessities like food, vitamins, electricity to power lights and heating. It can get expensive quickly, but if that’s not an issue then owning a bearded dragon can be incredibly rewarding.