Let’s face it! Whether you are a breeder, a keeper, a collector, or whatever else you might want to call yourself, there is a topic NO ONE ever mentions when it comes to reptiles. If you guessed “the chores” then you my friend are exactly right! My goal today is to share with you Bearded Dragon weekly prep with BTD that helps make caring for our reptiles easier!
So let’s get started, shall we?
I am going to break this down into the 7 steps I use:
- Outside UVB time
- Tank cleaning and disinfection
- Cleaning décor, feeding bowls, and water bowls
- Replacing substrate
- Checking lights and temperatures
- FEEDING and MEAL PREP
- Weighing your animals
STEP ONE: Reptile soaking and some fun in the sun!
First, pick a day! You want a day that will always be your day to weekly prep. A day preferably off work and at a time that you can take an hour or two to yourself. My days? Sunday…. During naptime for the kids! Depending on if the whether permits, we always try to give our reptiles some outside time to soak in some natural UVB from the sun! I use pop up tents I bought from Amazon for 20 bucks each you want something with a lid just in case you get escapees! Not only is this step is great enrichment but it's super helpful because it gets them OUT of the area that needs to be cleaned. Which leads us to step two!
STEP TWO: Tank cleaning and killing those germs!
Once the reptiles are out of the area that I intend to clean and EVERYTHING is out of the tank, I spray it down. For weekly cleaning/disinfecting, I use a solution I make myself of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water, and some lemon. This is great for a disinfectant and safe for your reptiles. Every month, I disinfect with a veterinary grade disinfectant that you can purchase from Amazon or Chewy. I set everything from inside the enclosure to the side on the counter top for when I have some free sink space.
STEP THREE: Décor, bowls, and hides, oh my!
Once the dragons are outside, I run some hot water. My sink water gets scalding hot, so I use that to steam and disinfect everything. You can use boiling water or if you are lucky enough to where your water gets as hot as hell, then you should be good! I add some dawn soap and let everything sit so it is easy to clean. Then… I scrub.
STEP FOUR: Substrate is a lifesaver!
This step in my opinion is the MOST IMPORTANT STEP! Reptiles are DIRTY!! I personally use Kraft paper I buy in rolls through Amazon as a substrate. I cut everything into rectangles and set these aside for the week. I fold and fit to line the bottom of the enclosures. This makes daily poop cleaning SO MUCH EASIER. Simply remove the paper and replace it with the pre-cut ones you had prepared for the week! Done and done!
**This is just a little disclaimer to clean the poop daily. This helps prevent respiratory infections, other illness and sickness, and provides a better quality of life for your dragon.**
STEP FIVE: Let there be light!
Now it is not new to us to know how important providing the correct lighting and UVB for our reptiles is! Weekly I check UVB output on ALL my bulbs! I use a solar meter to check the output. These are a bit expensive, but are SO WORTH IT! Every keeper should eventually invest in one of these. If you do not have one and can’t afford one at the moment, have no fear! You can use UVB strips you can purchase off amazon for like 8 dollars to test your bulbs and make sure they are working properly.
**It is recommended to change Reptisun bulbs every 6 months and Arcadia bulbs every 12 months.**
STEP SIX: PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME
Now that you will probably have that song stuck in your head, (you’re welcome) let’s continue prepping! Every Sunday, after the cleaning has ended, I meal prep! Not just for myself... but for my reptiles! I chop the greens and place them into a big container for the week. I also make some Repashy Beardie Buffet/Grub Pie, chop it up, and throw it in the container with the fruits/vegetables. This way every morning, you can pull out the containers, set out your bowls, and fill them up quickly.
STEP SEVEN: WEIGHT WATCHERS
Before putting my animals in their new and freshly cleaned enclosures, I weigh them! I write everything in a little journal with their weekly weights so I know who is growing and how fast they are growing.
**This can help identify issues early on and can let you know if your reptile may need a vet check! I have a link below for a chart you can print, save, and use!**
ARE WE DONE OR ARE WE FINISHED?!
This weekly prep if applied, I'm sure will help make things a lot smoother for you and your dragon during the week. It will make the not so fun parts of owning a reptile go by a little faster so you can enjoy what is most important: some quality time with your dragon that doesn’t involve poop! Chores are a pain, but they must be done!!
I hope this Bearded Dragon Weekly Prep with BTD helps you on your reptile keeping endeavors! As always remember while reptile keeping may be hard at times, the good always outweighs the bad! Please feel free to ask us any questions or if you want to say hi reach out to us!!
-Tifani and Whitney @Blackthorn Dragons!
Free downloadable weight chart
Links to supplies mentioned in blog & enclosures