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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11061
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I have a 13 month old bearded dragon that has been gradually

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I have a 13 month old bearded dragon that has been gradually eating less and pooing less frequently. Right now it's been 12 days since he's pooed. We've tried a warm water bath the last 4 days, and he seems to look and behave normally.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dragon's name?
Customer: Blaze, we're just wondering if we should be concerned about these changes and lack of defication
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Blaze?
Customer: 2 months ago his diet was 15-20 crickets/day, 2-3 meal worms and greens, & veggies. Right now he's eating 5-7 crickets every other day, and some days hardly any veggies. He's also been less active when chasing crickets and sometime only eats when hand fed.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear that Blaze is having some problems. These changes are reason to be concerned.

The first thing to do is check your temperatures. Under the basking light, it should be 105*F to 110*F. The cool side should be 80*F to 85*F. When temperatures are just a little bit too cool, it can be months before we see the effects on a dragon.

I'll give you a first aid measure that may help with the constipation. Get some prune baby food. Drop a small dollop right on the end of his snout. Most of the time, reflexes will cause them to lick it off. Wait about 45 minutes. Then prepare a shallow warm bath consisting of 1/2 warm water and 1/2 Pedialyte (yes the kind for human infants). Soak Blaze for about 20 to 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, with him still in the water, gently massage his underside from front to vent (where droppings pass out)for an additional 10 minutes. That may be enough to help him pass some feces. Be sure to supervise closely.

I would discontinue the mealworms. They are not a good food because they contain too much chitin and can't be digested properly. They may be the cause of the constipation. Over time, the chitin accumulates in the intestines. They're OK for some other lizards, but not for beardies. . Crickets that are no bigger than the space between your beardie’s eyes area better choice. Silk worms are another excellent food. I'm going to give you a link to a reputable and easy to understand site for information on feeding because there is too much for me to explain here:

Please check your temperatures and adjust them if necessary. Try the prunes and the soak with massage. After you do that, let me know how Blaze is doing, and we'll proceed from there.


Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thanks for the advice. I put Blaze on the trampoline in the sun and he pooed with in 5 minutes. My question is how much should I be feeding Blaze and in what proportions at this age. i.e. how many crickets vs how many vegetables. Right now he gets collard or dandelion greens & squash everyday as well as a third type of green, fruit, or veggie. How much of the veggies and crickets he eats have been highly variable lately. Also, how often should I expect for him to have bowel movement at this age?
Thanks, Cindy
Hi Cindy. I'm glad to hear Blaze pooed. The warm sun must have stimulated his digestive system. There are no certain number of crickets or amounts of vegetables to give. Make the vegetables available first. Let him eat how many he wants. Then feed as many crickets as he will eat in about 10 minutes. Of course, if he won't eat at all or just picks at the food, there is a problem.As far as bowel movements, just as with humans, normal varies from dragon to dragon. Some will go every day. Others will only go once a week. That range and anything in between is OK.From this age on, you'll want to start increasing the greens and decreasing the crickets. By age two, he should be eating 80% produce and 20% insects. Those percentages can be hard to calculate, so just make sure Blaze has plenty of greens available.If he seems healthy in every other way, we may want to consider the possibility that he is brumating. Sometimes beardies over one year do go into brumation. I'll send you some more information on that in a separate post.

Beardies under one year of age don't brumate, but after one year, many of them do.Their bodies slow down in response to the shorter days of winter, even when they live in our houses. During brumation, you shouldn't feed any live prey, but make fresh greens available. Once a week, take him out for a soak to keep him hydrated. Supervise the bath carefully since he is sluggish.

Also watch for any symptoms to appear.He could develop an infection during brumation. Watch for eyes that are actually swollen shut, abnormal breathing, any swelling, sneezing/coughing, etc. If anything unusual happens, you'll want to se a reptile vet. Otherwise, just let the brumation run its course. Some dragons brumate for only a week or two, while others may go as long as four months.


My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star 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 after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
For the past month Blaze has only pooed when I placed him outside on the warm concrete deck or in water and he's only had a bowel movement once a week. Prior to that he pooed 2-3 times a week. Is this pattern ok? How do I prevent him from becoming constipated again?
If he passes the bowel movement without straining, the feces look normal, and he is eating well, once a week is normal. Young dragons often eat more, and thus have to defecate more often.There are several ways you can lower the chances of constipation occurring again. Never feed meal worms or super worms. Don't use loose substrates such as calci-sand or crushed walnut. It's too easy for a beardie to accidentally ingest some while hunting or exploring. Reptile carpet or ceramic/slate tile are better choices. Make sure the basking area is at least 105*F and the cool side 80*F. The digestive system functions better when warm enough. Give Blaze regular soaks.Let me know if you need anything else.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Hi Anna,
Blaze had another bowel movement this week. The first time without help in over a month. We replaced the heating bulb in his tank and the temperatures are what they should be. He's still not eating much and seems to spend a lot of time in his hide. However, when we pull him out he seems to be acting normally and doesn't appear to be ill. We're trying to hand feed him every day so at least he eats something. Is there anything else we should be doing?? The small amount of food he's actually eating is still concerning us.Thanks,Cindy

Hi Cindy,

You can try an alternate method of feeding Blaze. Get some meat (chicken, lamb, turkey, etc.) baby food. Mix in a little calcium powder. Drop a small dollop right on the end of his snout, just as you did with the prunes. If he licks it off, this will be a way to get more nutrients into him. It works for most dragons.

You might also try some silk worms. Most dragons absolutely love them.

There are companies that ship worldwide. Here are three of them:

Continue the soaks each day, too. We don't want him to become dehydrated. It's a good sign that
Blaze had a bowel movement without help, but we need more good signs. Keep me posted.


My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star 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. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. We can continue to communicate even after you do this. Thank you!

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