A bearded dragon vivarium is an enclosure that is considered safe and comfortable for this type of pet lizard. Vivariums are usually made out of glass, though some also feature wood on the top and around the sides. A vivarium is considered better for a bearded dragon than a metal wire cage, because wire cannot hold heat in the enclosure, and it also is likely to result in the lizard getting its nose or legs stuck between the bars of the cage. A 15-gallon (about 57-liter) vivarium is usually fine for a young bearded dragon, but adults typically need a 60-gallon (about 227-liter) home. Bearded dragon vivariums can be expensive, particularly the larger ones, but some people save money by buying a used enclosure or building their own.
Reptile owners have a choice between wood and glass vivariums. Wood is considered more durable than glass, because it is less likely to crack over time. This material also tends to hold in heat better, and can reflect light better than a glass bearded dragon vivarium. For this reason, it is usually best to choose wood in colder areas, which has the added benefit of allowing lizard owners to save on heating costs. On the other hand, glass vivariums are typically fine for areas with warm weather most of the year.
Even wooden vivariums feature a lot of glass, which is why it is important to consider the durability of this material. Many of the top-quality bearded dragon vivariums are made of toughened glass, which is difficult to break. In addition, if it does break, it usually smashes into blunt pieces instead of shattering into tiny, sharp fragments. Another feature that both glass and wooden vivariums should have is at least two vents, which prevent the enclosure from becoming too humid for the lizard. Finally, the typical high-quality bearded dragon vivarium comes with sliding doors so it is easy to get the creature and his food in and out of the enclosure.
The point of a vivarium is to create an ecosystem similar to the reptile's original home, which is Australia. This means the enclosure needs to be kept dry and warm, but not uncomfortably hot. For example, the enclosure should typically be kept in a range from 78° Fahrenheit (about 26° Celsius) to 88°F (about 31°C). A bearded dragon vivarium that is too cold can lead to digestive issues for the reptile, sometimes resulting in serious illness stemming from its inability to absorb nutrients. For this reason, a good bearded dragon vivarium also should have enough room for at least two lamps under which the lizard can bask when he is cold.