How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joan Your Own Question
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18341
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Type Your Reptile Question Here...
Joan is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My bearded dragon, very small, a few months old, is shaking.

Customer Question

My bearded dragon, very small, a few months old, is shaking. Twitching actually. Have kept dragons before, and the setup is perfect, UVA/UVB light, basking spot, heat pad etc. It is being kept on paper towel at the moment, so no chance of it being compacted. It was eating fine, but has now stopped. Have been very good with supplements etc thus far. it seems to get worse when handled. If I hold it near it's water bowl, it puts it's head down and drinks copiously. I have read many articles online, which all seem conflicting. Please could you advise possible problems and cures, as I live on an island with no reptile vets. Your timely advice would be much appreciated.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Age: <1; Breed: Pogona viticeps

Already Tried:
Nothing, just regular feeding.
Expert:  Joan replied 8 years ago.


What type of supplements are you using?

Are the UVA and UVB bulbs separate?

How old is the UVB Bulb?

Are you using an overhead heat lamp?

What is the diet? Greens? Prye?


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Using a supplement called NUTROBAL. Dusting crickets, mealworms, and greens with it. UVB = reptiglo 10.0 flourescent tube. Overhead basking light is 60watt. Using heating mat, not bulb. Day temp about 31, night, about 21. Feeding carrots, beans peas, broccili cailiflower. Hasn't eaten much greens yet. Entire setup is brand new, including the lights.
Expert:  Joan replied 8 years ago.


The beardie needs overheat lighting for basking. The heat mat does not offer the proper set up for the Beardie. The veggies are also no very good and may be binding the calcium that you are giving. I will give you may care sheet that should help. I would also like you to give the Beardie a nice soak in an Electrolyte replacer and water 50/50. This should with preventing dehydration. Joan


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. 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: 105-125 degrees F
Cool side: 85-90
Adults: Warm basking spot: 110-115
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.

*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 Hibermnation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights should be on a shoter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available during this period. Do not feed live pery 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.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask. I like to start people off with proper husbandry and then see if I can further assist. Joan This is for fruits and Vegetables calci sand






Customer: replied 8 years ago.

There is currently an overhead lamp for basking, as mentioned. I have used the same setup before, and it worked exceptionally well. I will try the eloctrolyte bath. It seems strange to me that the veggies are a problem, as I have fed them to my previous Dragons, which loved them, grew VERY well, and never had such problems. How sure are you that this is nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism?


If it is, what is the speediest remedy?

Expert:  Joan replied 8 years ago.


There are usually two reasons for the shaking that you have explained. The first is the begining of MBD metabolic Bone Disease. The other time we see the shaking in beardies is becasue of too much D3 in the dioet which can give the appearance of MBD or a neurological defict. I would include more plain claium into the diet. Certain veggetables can bind calcium, like spinach and kale for example. I have been doing Reptile rescue for over 10 + years, and even two of my own Beardies are 9 and 10 years old. I have found that most of the time we see this type of issue it is husbandry related or dietary issues. The other problem we see is related to parasites, that will bloom when there is a stress issue. I did include a dietary link for you in the post above that will give you a better idea on a good strond greens diet. I also like butterbut squash, hibiscus flowers and cactus pads and fruit. I think if you can regulate the diet and calcium intake you will find the problems will subside. Joan

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Ah thanks. I appreciate the time you have taken. I will attempt all that you have suggested, but my main concern is getting good healthy foods into it when it's not eating!! I already considered the calcium thing, I prefer plain calcium, but was given the nutrobal, so thought i'd give it a try. Will throw it out and replace with t-rex calcium, which I trust.


Whats the prognosis if it is a parasite rather than the abovementioned? anyway of helping it then?


Is it possible that mealworms have been the problem? I have always fed with mealworms, and never had a problem. This time I have been pinching off the head of the worm so as to make it even safer for the baby. But its stopped eating them too!


I've got a few wax worms that I will dust, and try them.


With regards XXXXX XXXXX veg, i thought spinach, and cale and such were the bad ones. I'm a horticulturist, so i've grown organic gardens for dragons before. are there any herbs/veggies that could possible by more beneficial than others? I've heard that bok-choi, and mizuna are somewhat medicinal.

Expert:  Joan replied 8 years ago.


The problems with meal worms is the amount of Chitin(outer shell is hard to digest). They cannot chew through an animal. I like crickets, roaches and silkworms, for the prey. As far as a parasite, you can take a fecal in and have it tested by any Vet. If anything you will find pin worms and coccidia. Those are ever present in Dragons and can bloom understress. I would start with the diet and supplements and go from that point. If you can get some Royal Jelly(vitamin supplement for humans) it can be dusted over the food and will help with appetite and nutrition. Joan

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Ok thanks for the help. Any way I can save these answers?

Expert:  Joan replied 8 years ago.


The answer will stay in the archieves or can copy and paste this to a blank word processor document and print it out for yourself. Joan

Joan and other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.