German giant bearded dragons have to be one of the coolest reptiles you can own. All beardies are friendly, low-maintenance, and easy to find in the pet market. But German giant bearded dragons, the largest bearded dragon morph you can buy, might be a little trickier to locate.
What constitutes a German giant bearded dragon? They still have all the same alluring traits that normal-sized beardies do—just bigger. By the end of this care guide, you will know whether one of these fascinating cold-blooded critters is for you.
German Giant Bearded Dragon Facts
Here are some basics about German giants so you can get an understanding of their wild, natural habitat and what their story is.
Bearded dragons have really gained traction in the past few years, becoming available in the US in the 1990s. Since their introduction, you can now find them across pet shops and online breeding websites plentifully.
Bearded dragons became popular reptiles for enthusiasts because of their amiable and interactive nature. But what’s better than an everyday bearded dragon? How about a giant one.
The German giant bearded dragon is the largest of all bearded dragon morphs—and they’re scarce.
You can find this Australian lizard in desserts, subtropical woodlands, and savannah areas. Beardies thrive in dry climates but not desolate regions. They require semi-frequent rain to drink and moisten their rough skin.
Many factors play into the total lifespan of your German giant bearded dragon, but the average is 5-8 years—which is a few years less than small morphs who live 10 to 12 years.
German giants are omnivorous creatures, feasting on both plant material and insects. Some German giants might even kill small mice or rats.
Are German Giant Bearded Dragons Good Pets?
German giant bearded dragons can make excellent pets, depending on your lifestyle. While they are relatively low maintenance and easy to care for, they do have some unique requirements.
One neat fact about the German giant is that the breed is diurnal, meaning they are awake when you are—sleeping through the night. You can get them out of their cage anytime during daylight hours to lay on your shirt while you read a book.
Bearded dragons aren’t comparable to cats or dogs in terms of affection. They might love the warmth of your body and come up to you curiously, but they don’t show emotion like mammals. That doesn’t mean you can’t interact with them in play.
Where Can I Get a German Giant Bearded Dragon?
There are claims that you can’t buy authentic German giant bearded dragons anymore, but many breeders argue against that notion.
You can buy a German giant bearded dragon from a local breeder, pet shop, or online website. You might also be able to find a person looking to rehome their beardie, which has its perks—it cuts out a bulk of startup costs.
How Much Does It Cost To Own a German Giant Bearded Dragon?
On average, it’s roughly $350 to buy your German giant. Costs will vary depending on the breeder, but that’s a good middle-ground price.
Then, it’s up to $200 for annual care—which can go up or down depending on vetting. Your largest expense will be in the beginning when you have to buy all of the supplies and the beardie itself.
Afterward, owning a beardie is relatively cheap. But because they are larger, their tummies need the appropriate amount of food—so, if you’re used to a regular beardie, get used to doubling food costs.
Keeping a German giant might be relatively inexpensive compared to owning a dog, but unexpected expenses might still arise. You have to factor in vet care with possible costs, as you never know what conditions they might be developing.
Some issues are emergencies, too. So you should always have a little side money stashed away for unforeseen events.
What Kind of Home Does My German Giant Bearded Dragon Need?
When your German giant comes home with you, they might not be very ‘giant’ at all. How could this tiny thing possibly grow into a 25-inch beast? Well, they absolutely can and will. So, having an appropriate tank is essential from the start.
Owning a German giant means learning about humidity, heat, and substrate—the good, bad, and ugly of each. To have a healthy, happy beardie, many components need to come together harmoniously. Let’s discuss each.
For a happy beardie, you should have a whopping 100-gallon tank—at least. They might look tiny in it at first, but you’ll be surprised how quickly your boy or girl blossoms into a beefy giant.
It would be best if you always used a safe beardie-approved substrate for your big guy. Tiny particles like sand can be ingested, which could lead to potentially serious issues like impaction.
Try to select reptile carpet, tiles, or something simple and cheap—like a newspaper.
Your German giant will be perfectly comfortable basking under a warm light most of the day. At night, however, they require darkness just like we do.
Bearded dragons are coldblooded, meaning they require heat to maintain their body temperature. Daylight basking hours should fall between 88 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, they should have temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some people set up cages to have a warm and cool side, so your German giant can bask or cool off as they please.
You can buy a hygrometer and keep the enclosure moisture levels between 20% to 40%.
To stay healthy and fit, bearded dragons need plenty of choices for perching and climbing. You can offer your beardie an area to bask, whether it be a rock or log. They also need places to tuck away, such as under a piece of bark or in a human-made hide.
Since bearded dragons don’t gauge enjoyment out of playing with toys, there is no need for additional cage activities.
It may make you feel bad to have a single bearded dragon in a cage, but it might be better that way. Two males cannot be together, as they will wound or kill one another after sexual maturity—they’re highly territorial.
Females can be together, but even they could fight in some scenarios. A male and female might get along, but you run into the chance of overbreeding—which can have serious consequences.
While it is up to your discretion, it’s best to keep one German giant per enclosure unless you have a bonded female pair.
What Should I Feed My German Giant Bearded Dragon?
German giants are omnivorous creatures that benefit from insects, fruits, and veggies. It might be surprising just how vast the bearded dragon diet really is. Because your German giant is going to be larger, they will need a calorie-rich diet to keep up with their metabolism.
Always offer daily fresh water to your beardie. It’s best to spray them on top of the head to mimic rainfall—or you can get a fountain your dragon can sip from at their leisure.
How Do I Take Care of My German Giant Bearded Dragon?
To care for your German giant, you need to ensure every component of care is covered. Here’s how your weekly beardie care will go.
As you might have already guessed, your German giant is going to be a big boy or gal—and they will love mealtime. Bearded dragons prefer a variety in their diet, consisting of 75% plant matter and 25% insects.
You should offer your adult bearded dragon a variety of food on a set schedule. In a three-day rotating schedule, you should feed your beardie a buffet of protein, a load of delicious veggies, and then no food on the third day.
Juveniles should also have mostly protein in their diets, eating daily portions. A juvenile bearded dragon should have 50% insects, 50% plants. But unlike adults, they need insect protein daily.
You should allow them to eat as many crickets, dubia roaches, earthworms, and superworms as they will take in one feasting session. When your German giant is young, calcium supplements are essential for their growing bones. You can buy calcium powder and dip the insects into it before offering.
Beardies are famous for their personable nature. They won’t be hard to handle, having little to no issues with being out of their cage. In fact, many owners swear their beardies have a special bond with them.
You can hold your beardie in 15-minute intervals about two times per day. With supervision, you can also let them out to explore. Just make sure they can’t escape or get hurt before you let them loose.
It would help if you tried not to handle your beardie during an active shedding period. They can get a bit frisky or moody during this time.
Juvenile bearded dragons shed about once every few months during their first year. Once they pass 18 months, it slows significantly. A fully grown bearded dragon only sheds about twice per year.
When your German giant is shedding, you want to keep their skin moist to make the process easier. You can even run a warm bath to submerge them in the water for a while—beardies love the tub!
Surprising to beardie newbies, the German giant adores swimming—and they’re pretty good at it, too. You can snap a few pictures of your big guy floating on the water peacefully.
Juvenile beardies should have a bath a few times per week. Once they reach adulthood, you can decrease bath time to about once per week. Essentially, you really don’t have to do much aside from supervising while they splash around.
Be sure to dry them very well after baths and put them back in their cage to bask.
Because bearded dragons are cold-blooded, they go through a period called brumation over the winter. Through the colder months, you’ll notice your beardie totally slowing down—but they don’t undergo deep sleep like some other hibernating animals.
During this time, eating and drinking will slow down, too. Your beardie might not want to interact too much—so just try to give them space.
It would be best if you kept your bearded dragon’s enclosure free of any waste or old food. Beardies won’t go to the bathroom often, but you need to be on the lookout for any poop in the tank.
Bearded dragons are also incredibly sensitive to different chemicals, so never use household cleaner in their enclosure. A simple wipe down of dish soap and water will do.
How Do I Know If My German Giant Bearded Dragon Is Sick?
German giant bearded dragons have the same primary health concerns as their smaller cousins, but you should always know how to spot sickness. Early detection can be the only thing that saves your beardie, so if you think they are sick—act fast and get them to a vet.
Some common beardie ailments include:
Always have an exotic vet for both general visits and emergencies. Your German giant should also get to the vet for checkups once per year.
Finding a German giant bearded dragon can be a little bit of a wild goose chase, but you’ll make it. If you would love to bring one of these guys home and you think you have the tools to give them a good home—shop around.
Just remember to buy from a reputable person. And remember, sometimes owners surrender beardies and other pets if they run into hard times. Check with bigger city shelters that accept a variety of animals.
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Featured Image Credit: valleyboi63, Shutterstock