Before we start this review, I want to say that I am not a fan of starter kits. It is true that for those who are starting in the reptile world they are a quick and relatively cheap solution.
However, I want to emphasize that the Exo Terra Bearded Dragon Starter Kit offers many advantages when it comes to starting to breed a JUVENILE bearded dragon. But it has flaws that any experienced herpetologist could easily point out
What is included in the Exo Terra Bearded Dragon Starter Kit?
This starter kit includes:
- Exo Terra Large/Low Natural Glass Terrarium, 36 x 18 x 12 inches (WxDxH), 33.6 gallons.
- Lighting system composed by:
- Exo Terra Reptile Dome – 8” (up to 160W)
- Exo Terra Solar Glo 125W Basking Bulb
- Exo Terra Light Bracket
- Exo Terra Terrarium Thermometer
- Exo Terra Sand Mat Large, 24.6” x 16.9”
- Exo Terra Water Medium Dish
Exo Terra Bearded Dragon Starter Kit Valorisation
|Vital Space||2||The volume provided by the 33-gallon terrarium is insufficient for an adult bearded dragon, being practical only for a baby or juvenile bearded dragon.|
|Decoration||3||It includes a reptile mat, and containers for water and food but excludes other elements such as hiding places, branches or platforms, and ornamental plants|
|Lighting system||3||Incomplete lighting system. It only includes the basking lamp, missing the fluorescent lamp. Also does not have a timer that guarantees day and night cycles.|
|Heating||3||The 125-watt lamp is insufficient to guarantee the correct temperature gradient, being necessary as a secondary heating source as the ceramic lamps. In very cold environments you might need to use heating pads. This starter kit only includes a single analog thermometer, which is insufficient to monitor and control the temperature in the terrarium.|
|The volume provided by the 33-gallon terrarium is insufficient for an adult bearded dragon, being practical only for a baby or juvenile bearded dragon.|
|It includes a reptile mat, and containers for water and food but excludes other elements such as hiding places, branches or platforms, and ornamental plants|
|Incomplete lighting system. It only includes the basking lamp, missing the fluorescent lamp. Also does not have a timer that guarantees day and night cycles.|
|The 125-watt lamp is insufficient to guarantee the correct temperature gradient, being necessary as a secondary heating source as the ceramic lamps. In very cold environments you might need to use heating pads. This starter kit only includes a single analog thermometer, which is insufficient to monitor and control the temperature in the terrarium.|
Verdict: It’s a good starter kit for a juvenile bearded dragon, although you have to add items for a better setup.
What do I need to set up a bearded dragon terrarium?
Before we rush to the store and buy the first terrarium we like, we must know the reptile needs we intend to take home and the level of complexity involved in its maintenance.
Fortunately for us, the bearded dragon is an easy reptile to breed, so it is recommended for people who are new to the world of reptile breeding. However, you need to fulfill hundreds of conditions for your bearded dragon to thrive and grow healthily.
Bearded Dragon Vital Space
The first one we must take into account is the living space.
The adult bearded dragon can reach 16 to 24 inches and reaches maturity in less than a year, so if you have a small specimen, you must take into account that it will grow quickly and a terrarium of 30 or 40 gallons will be unfit.
Instead of using the small 36″ x 18″ x12″ terrarium you could use a 67-gallon Reptile Tank, 36″ x 24″ x 18″ or a larger one.
The Exo Terra terrariums are without a doubt the best on the market, but when it comes to hosting medium or large-sized reptiles the Carolina Custom Cages terrariums are the best choice.
67-gallon Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium Features
- The Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium is very easy to assemble.
- It is built up with premium glass and aluminum for long-lasting live and eye-catching design.
- The 36” x 24¨ x 18″ model features dual front-hinged doors and key-lock security.
- 7.5” deep waterproof base, allows to set up complex habitats.
- It comes packed with tough cardboard and extra Styrofoam for double “box-inside-a-box” packaging.
The bearded dragon is a diurnal animal, hence its need for light (solar or artificial). It uses light to regulate its body temperature with sunbathing that regulates its digestion and behavior, being necessary to guarantee light and dark cycles (circadian rhythm).
Another advantage of providing ultraviolet light is that it is beneficial for the production of vitamin E and the synthesis of calcium, which prevents the appearance of metabolic bone disease.
For the bearded dragon lighting system you will need:
A fluorescent lamp (UVA/B)
A light bulb and its dome for basking
A 24-hour mechanical or digital timer
The bulbs can be either halogen or mercury vapor and their power will depend on the size of the terrarium, the ambient temperature, and the distance of the bulb from the highest point of the branch or ramp in the terrarium. The base of the dome should be made of ceramic to withstand high temperatures.
Bearded dragons, like all reptiles, are unable to regulate their body temperature, so they depend on room temperature to regulate their temperature.
To do this we must ensure that the heat sources (infrared ceramic lamp, heating mats) are capable of supplying the temperatures required by our reptile.
A Clamp Lamp Fixture + Ceramic Infrared Bulb
A Digital Thermostat
Three Digital Thermometers.
If you need to increase the temperature you may use a secondary heating source. In some places, temperatures drop too much at night. If you live in a very cold climate you may need several of these, or install an under tank heater.
Below are the bearded dragon temperature requirements:
Substrate and Habitat Decor
When it comes to terrarium decoration, no one has had the last word. However, certain guidelines must indeed be followed if we want our terrarium to be pleasing to the eye as functional.
Let’s say that you have already chosen the reptile tank. A terrarium between 67 and 75 gallons in capacity. Then you place the substrate of your choice and just add the rest of the decoration.
Mid-sized Reptile Hideouts
Reptile Carpet, 36″ x 24″ (WxD)
Mid-sized Food and Water Bowl
There is debate over what type of substrate is best. Many praise the eco earth, others opt for coconut husks. In my case, I prefer to save than sorry. That’s why I use reptile mats in almost all my lizard’s setups. I know many will say that reptile carpets don’t allow reptiles to burrow in, others will say that they are difficult to clean.
But for me, they are the best solution because they give the terrarium a natural look, without compromising the safety of the reptile. In all terrariums that use loose substrates, it is a risk that reptiles will ingest it by accident.
An example of this is the desert sand, which causes hundreds of reptile deaths per year by impaction.
Reptile mats are cheap, sturdy, and durable, can be adapted to almost all commercial terrariums, have excellent heat transmission in case you are going to use a secondary heat source such as an under-tank heater.
Bearded Dragon Setup Ideas
Looking for inspiration to built your bearded dragon’s Terrarium? Don’t worry! Take a look at this video. It will show you amazing settings for the bearded dragon cage
If you have not yet decided on a bearded dragon as a pet, you might like to see these excellent starter kits