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Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
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Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Hello, I have 2 pygmy bearded dragons which are 3 months old.

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Hello, I have 2 pygmy bearded dragons which are 3 months old. Pumpkin is big and has shed twice. Porky is much smaller hence my concern. Porky has always been that little bit slower to catch crickets, and a bit clumsy? and not as good at hunting as Pumpkin. I am now so concerned that I have started confining Porky in a clear bottomless container (only for a short period at feed time) with 5 or 6 crickets so I can make sure it is eating and how much it is eating, and most of the time Porky will only eat one or two. Porky is also sleepy all the time. Their diet consists of fresh crickets and fresh veges. I also offer pellets (soaked as directed) but it still doesn't seem to eat much of anything.
Porky is small and kind of scrawny compared to Pumpkin. I have a red globe, a basking globe and a 10. / 26W UVB globe on each day,a moonlight globe at night and a heat rock near the mesh vent. My tank is not set up exactly like the diagram in the pdf below, but I will change the setup immediately. I do have a sand substrate and will change that to something you recommend. Look forward to your reply and thank you.
Regards Liz.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello Liz,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of Porky's problems. I have a few questions that will enable me to better help you. I see that you're offline now, so I'll check back tomorrow for your responses.

What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage?

Does Porky seem to pass normal droppings?

What vegetables do you feed?

Thank you.

Anna







Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Anna, thanks for your reply.


As yet I haven't set the temperature monitor so don't know the temperature.


 


The droppings are normal as described in the fact sheet.


 


I feed grated jap pumpkin and bok choy leaves mostly.


 


Porky has just dug out a little burrow under one of the rocks and is sleeping.


 


 

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. (I am not a fast typist). Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back as soon as I finish.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for waiting. I suspect that Porky is cold - that's usually what causes them to sleep a lot and bury themselves. It's absolutely essential that you get a digital probe thermometer to accurately measure temperatures. Proper temperatures are probably the single thing that is responsible for illness in young bearded dragons of any kind. The basking area should be kept at 110*F, and the coolest part of the cage should be 85*F to 90*F in the daytime. Night time temperatures can fall into the 70's. Pygmy (also called Rankin's) bearded dragons naturally live in a hot, dry desert area. We need to try to duplicate those conditions. That means high temperatures in the daytime, with drops at night. Your other dragon is probably not affected as quickly becasue he was bigger and helathier to begin with, but he, too, will be better off when the temperatures are adjusted correctly.

Porky may also be stressed out by Pumpkin. Bearded dragons are not social, and live alone in nature, except during mating season. When kept together in a cage, a larger one will often bully a small one. This can be in such subtle ways (beardie language) that we humans don't notice it. It can cause a dragon to lose its appetite, hide, and fail to thrive. As they reach maturity, real fighting with injuries often occurs. They should be kept in separate cages, regardless of what a pet store may have told you.

As you've probably figured out, pet stores give out a lot of incorrect information. Those pelelts they sell are nothing but junk food sprayed with some vitamins. I would get rid of them. Beardies this age should eat 80% prey insects (crickets and silk worms) and 20% greens. A variety of greens is very important. I'm going to give you a link to an excellent, reputable site on feeding. I recommend it to all new bearded dragon owners.

http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html

I recommend that you get an accurate reading on your temperatures, and adjust them as needed. Then there is a first aid measure you can take. Buy an electrolyte solution. In the USA, that would be unflavored Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). In the UK, it would be a product called Lectaid, which is sold in pet stores. In Australia, it’s a human product called Dioralyte. Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 electrolyte solution. Soak Porky 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 Porky has been at the proper temperatures for a few hours and has had a nice soak or two, you can try feeding him. Get some plain meat baby food. Drop a small dollop right on the end of hsi snout. Most of the time, they will lick it off.

If teh emasures above don't help Porky within a day, he is probably actually sick. He may have parasites or an infection. He'll need to be seen by a reptile vet. This link will take you to a directory of such vets in Australia:

http://www.wolfwood.com.au/rept2.html

I'm not sure what fact sheet you've been reading. I suspect you amy have come across a care sheet, written by Joan. In case that isn't what you found, I'm going to include it at the end of this post. Joan 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 beardies. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Porky will reach a full recovery.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!



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.









Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thank you again for your reply. There is so much to learn, now I feel bad for being an ignorant human ( I thought having a pair was a good idea - only to find it was actually a bad one!!)


I will get the theromostat up and running with the help of my teenager. It is very difficult to set - the instructions are maddening and unfriendly.


The bathing solution is a fantastic idea, a big thank you for that!


I will also get some reptile carpet.


Thank you again Anna, your advice has been excellent and is very much appreciated. I will talk to you again in a few days and hopefully can report good things to you about little Porky.


 


 


 

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome. Don't feel bad. This happens to almost every first-time reptile owner. Many people don't even realize anything is wrong until their pet dies. You figured it out and went looking for help, so you're doing a good job.

I hope Porky will respond well.

Anna
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Anna !!


 


i did the bathing thing, and also got Porky to drink drips of the water while he was sitting there in it. He has perked up considerably!!


 


I noticed that when Porky tries to eat he doesn't quite reach the item he is aiming for, that is, when he pecks at the food his mouth stops short of the food by 1/2 cm - ?? like he can't accurately judge the distance.



Also - there are times when he runs back and forth along the glass looking out, scratching at the glass and bobbing up and down which looks like he is trying to get out. The other lizard is nowhere near him or chasing him at any time. I feel sad for him because he looks distressed when this is happening.



Thanks again for the bathing info, I will keep that up for a few days (??)


I was just so excited with the result that I had to tell you :)

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I'm glad you got good results. That means Porky was dehydrated, and the bath helped.It's good idea to continue for a few days.

That running/escaping behavior usually occurs during mating season, but Porky is too young for that. So, I don't know what might be going on in his head. It's too bad they can't tell us.

Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 9397
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
Anna and other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes very pleasing result Anna. I will continue. I will report back in a few days with an update.


If you have any ideas on the last comment about the way he eats, and missing picking up the food when eating that would be appreciated.


Thanks heaps once again.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I'll give it some thought, and talk to some other people, too, to see if we can come up with any ideas.

JustAnswer sends out automated follow-ups, so you'll probably get one in a few days. You can let me know then how things are going. In the meantime, I'll see what I can find out about Porky's strange behaviors.

Anna
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks once again Anna, look forward to hearing any ideas from you.


 


More good news !! Have bathed Porky again, he had another good drink, and he has just eaten 4 crickets (smalls). And there is pumpkin and greens in there for them too.


 


I can't thank you enough Anna. xx

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Anna, Porky has improved markedly. I'm still bathing him and I'm sure its' helping him hugely.


However, he didn't like the baby food ( he seemed offended to have a blob on his nose and couldnt get it off fast enough). I was hoping he would take a liking to it and eat it. (That would make me feel better !....)


The upshot is that he still isn't eating very much and I don't really know what else I can do or what else to try to tempt him with. ( I can hand feed Pumpkin, she even eats the crickets from the tweezers one by one- but Porky just shuts his eyes and hopes I will go away.)


Were you able to come up with any ideas regarding his behaviour, or regarding his aim when trying to eat??


Look forward to hearing from you.


Thank you.


Liz.


 

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hi Liz,

I discussed Porky's behavior with Joan, who wrote the care sheet. (Thank you, Joan). There are a new possibilities for his glass running behavior. One is that some dragons wills see their own reflection in the glass and get excited about it. Another is that he simply likes to be taken out for some attention. Finally, he could be going through an early puberty. Some males do. You could try putting something nonreflective over the glass to see if that helps.

As for his poor aim in hunting, that would indicate his body and eyes are not well-coordinated, similar to poor eye/hand coordination in a human. This could be something he inherited, or it could be the result of a minor injury. A vet could examine his eyes to determine what might be going on, but there won't be anything you can do beyond helping him with his food.

Anna

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