How do I know if my baby dragon is getting enough water? I don't think he understands the concept of drinking water on

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Customer: How do I know if my baby dragon is getting enough water? I don't think he understands the concept of drinking water on his own yet because his water dish I have for him is always still full when I get home. I'm in the army so I can only spend time with him before work, during lunch and after work. This makes it difficult for me to see what he does while I'm gone. Also, the pet store gives me huge crickets along with baby ones so I always try to feed him the bigger ones first so they don't chirp at night. Should I tell the pet store owner to not give me large ones?
Answered by Anna in 1 hour 14 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,026 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello,

Pet store personnel often give out incorrect information. You should only get small crickets. Your beardie should never be given food larger than the space between his eyes. Also, you shouldn't leave crickets in the cage over night - feed your dragon when you can supervise. Crickets will bite a beardie if they get a chance, and the wounds they inflict can be serious. Besides that, the dragon can't digest the food properly at night. The last feeding should be at least two hours before you turn off the lights for the night. Your baby should be eating about 80% live prey - crickets, silkworms, and roaches - of appropriate size. The remaining 20% of the diet should be greens and other produce. The produce and greens must also be cut into pieces of the right size. As he gets older, he'll need more produce and less prey. The following link will give you more information on the best produce to feed:

http://www.repticzone.com/articles/lettuceandleavesstaples.html

You're on the right track with the spray bottle. Be sure to set the nozzle on a fine mist, so it will be less frightening. Make sure the water is not too cold. You should mist him several times a day. A bearded dragon isn't going to drink enough from a bowl for you to see the difference in an amount. Another way to help with hydration is to give your beardie a warm bath. Because you're a new dragon owner and obviously want to care properly for your beardie, I'm sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. I hope you'll take the time to read it because it's full of important information. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. The care sheet follows. I hope you enjoy many years with your new beardie.

Anna


JOAN’s 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 beardie's 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. It should be replaced every 6 months. 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: 105-115 degrees F
Cool side: 85-90
Adults: Warm basking spot: 100-110
Cool side: 80-85
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 the size of yours 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.
    * 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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