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Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 9529
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My baby Bearded Dragon wont eat and refuses to move around.

Customer Question

My baby Bearded Dragon won't eat and refuses to move around. He was eating 5-6 crickets at a time, but now he just stands there while they crawl on him. He's losing weight and is very lethargic. I've tried wax worms, greens and pellets, but he won't eat. What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Hello,
Can you tell me about the set up?

UVB lights? How old? Tube or coil? Strength and name of the bulb?

Basking light?

Temps and how measured?

Supplements?

Substrate/bedding?

Has the Dragon had a Vet Check?

How old is the Dragon

Joan

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

UVB brand new 10.0 tube exoterra.


100w day, 75w night.


100.5-103 in bask spot, 75-85 in cold side large swing in temp range due to Alaskan weather and installation heating.


calcium powder on most food.


cloth substrate


No vet check yet.


dragon is about 3 months.


 


diet was crickets mainly until he started brumateing, now it is difficult to get him to eat a wax worm a day. bowel movements are happening. he is sprayed 1-2 times a day with water and given a warm bath once a day.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for getting back to us. Joan and I work together, and she has asked me to help you. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back shortly.

Anna
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for waiting. I'm happy to see that you have a good UVB light, and that you don't use a loose substrate, such as sand. I see two things that may be the source of the problem. Babies this young don't brumate, so when they become lethargic it means they are cold or sick. Your basking area should be a bit warmer. Fro one this young, aim for 105*F to 115*F. That sounds hot to us, but to a desert animal like a bearded dragon, it is just right. You can increase the temperature by using a higher wattage bulb or by lowering the basking light (just not so low that it could burn your dragon). Those large temperature swings on the cool side are very risky. That side should be 85*F to 90*F for a baby. You may need to add a second smaller basking light to maintain those temperatures.

The crickets crawling on your dragon pose a serious risk, too. Crickets will bite resting lizards. The bite wounds are small and we can't even see them, but they are very prone to infection. Such infections quickly become systemic and life-threatening. any crickets not eaten should be removed within a few minutes.

There's a good chance your beardie is already sick, so the best thing to do would be to take him to a reptile vet. This link will take you to a list of Alaskan reptile vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/alaska.html

I'll also give you some first aid measures. Buy some unflavored Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak your beardie for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely.

After Jose has had a nice soak and has been warmer for a few hours, you can try feeding him. Get some plain meat baby food. Mix in a little calcium powder. Drop a small dollop of it right on the end of his snout. Most of the time they will lick it off.You can feed him this way until he eats on his own again.

When you go to the vet, take a long a fresh sample of droppings in a plastic bag. The vet can then check for parasites.

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan. She has many years experience keeping and rescuing beardies. I suggest that you use the care sheet as a check list to provide the best possible care for your beardie. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Jose will reach a full recovery.

Anna


Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

* Bearded dragons should be housed alone.

* Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:

1. 0-3 months- baby
2. 3-12 months-juvenile
3. 12-18 months- sub adult
4. 18 months + -adult

* Bearded dragons live as much as 10-12 years if well cared for properly.
* Bearded dragons have a very good temperament as long as they are cared for and handled.
* When you bring your baby home, it may be quite stressful to him/her to get use to new home. May not eat well the first 2-3 days. They may not need to be handled the first 2-3 days if skittish and nervous.
* Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate: Loose substrates can cause impaction (not being able to go Poop) in all ages of bearded dragons- they lick their environment to explore .It is difficult to keep germ free and clean. Ceramic tile, newspaper, non adhesive shelf liner and reptile carpet is what is most recommended. Use paper towels for the little one and as they get bigger you can change to something else.
* Be sure you keep your beardies home as clean as you can. Clean up by spot cleaning when needed. Clean & sanitize entire tank every 10-14 days. A good cleaning solution is a 20% bleach solution. If you choose to use wood climbing branches etc, these should be soaked in the bleach solution and rinsed well. Then bake in 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.
* Need a climbing accessory: to bask and to warm up under basking heat light and lower branches or platforms to come down and cool off.
* A hide of some sort like a cave.
* A food dish and water dish.
* Plastic spray bottle
* Can use artificial plants when they get older- 3 months or so.
* Digital thermostat and/or temp gun
* Tank size: Minimal size tank for this age is 20 gallon long
* Minimal size for older beardie: 4 months of age: 40 gallon breeder is the minimal tank size for older dragon. Can divide a 40 gallon breeder for a smaller dragon. Must have two lights for your beardie.

1. A UVB light source-best is 10.0 Reptisun that runs the length of your tank. Your dragon must have this light to metabolize calcium. If not he will get metabolic bone disease, a serious condition. You can also take your beardie outside to bask in the sun for 15 minutes each day if your temps are 80 degrees or above outside. You can purchase cages or reptariums from your pet store. Never leave a beardie outside unattended.
2. A basking type light that puts out heat and warmth above basking spot. Your beardie must have warmth to digest food & thrive.

* Lights should be on for 12-14 hours each day. Follow the seasons and light timers are a great luxury if you can get them. 6 dollars at Lowe's. No lights or warmth needed at night unless your temperatures get below 62 degrees. If they do, there are ceramic heat emitters that put out no light, only heat. Use these at night if temperatures fall below 62 degrees.



* Temperatures have to be kept at the following ranges during the day:

Babies: Warm basking log: 110-125 degrees F (43.5* to 51.5*C)
Cool side: 85-90 (29.5* to 32*C)
Adults: Warm basking spot: 105-115F (40.5*C to 46*C)

Cool side: 80-85F (27*C to 29*C)

Measure temperatures with a digital probe type thermometer or a temp gun-these are most accurate. Stick on thermometers unreliable.

* Feeding a Beardie: Beardies eat live prey consisting of crickets, roaches and/or silkworms. Never feed any size of mice to your beardie. Never feed mealworms. They also must be given greens/veggies everyday. The younger they are the more live prey they should have. As they grow older the live prey decreases and the veggies/greens should be the major part of diet. Never feed anything bigger, than the space between your beardie's eyes. This includes both live prey and pieces of veggies/greens,
* A chopper or food processor is a huge help when your beardie is small. Always offer greens and veggies: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, cabbage, red cabbage, fresh green beans, yellow summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, cactus pad. Apricots, strawberries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe- fruits are treats only.
* What is live prey? The easiest and less expensive live prey is crickets when you have a young or first beardie. The other live preys you can feed are silkworms, and special types of roaches. You can learn to raise your own live prey. Treats can be waxworms, super worms, and tomato/goliath worms. You may find that ordering live prey from the internet is the way to go..... Never leave live prey or greens/veggies in tank overnight. . Crickets can bite your beardie when sleeping.
* Babies should get 80% live prey, and 20 % greens/veggies. But since the greens/veggies are a must when they are older, get them eating their greens/veggies very early. Give greens/veggies in small pieces everyday. You should eventually start decreasing your older dragon's protein intake when they are about a year to 15 months old. Their protein intake decreases to 20 % live prey and 80% veggies/greens.
* A baby can eat 50-75 crix a day. Never feed crix or veggies bigger than the space between your beardie's eyes. Use this guide when buying crix or chopping your greens/veggies.
* You must provide calcium dust without D3 and multivitamin dust for your beardie. You should dust the live prey with calcium one time a day, and vitamins 3 times a week. Just collect your live prey into baggie and add enough calcium and vitamin to dust them. Then pour a few at a time into your tank. Some people feed their beardie in a separate tank so that no crickets can hide. Or some take out "furniture" from tank and feed this way. As they get older, 4-5 months or so dust live prey with calcium 3 times a week.
* Feed the veggies/ greens 1st thing in morning after lights on for one hour at least. Then after 2-3 hours offer crix. Then freshen green/veggies. Then give more crix. Make sure after last crix feeding there is at least 1-2 hours of lights so that they can digest their food before night time.

*Beardies over the age of one year old during the winter months will go into a Brumation like most Reptiles and Herps. It is a form of hibernation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights should be on a shorter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available during this period. Do not feed live prey during Brumation.

Water: Mist your little one with the spray bottle 3-4 times a day. You can also offer a small dish of water in your enclosure but be sure your dragon is not too small to drown in it. It is recommended that when your beardie is 2 months old you can bathe your baby in a small plastic container with warm water- not hot. It will help them to stay hydrated. As they get older you can move up to the bathroom sink and then to the bathtub. Very important for bath enclosure to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to bath time. Clean between dragons too if bathing more than one.

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  • Anna

    Reptile Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2652
    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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