My female beardie's beard just turned black. We've had her for 1 1/2 and this hasn't happened before. The tip of her

Expert's Assistant chatimg
Customer: My female beardie's beard just turned black. We've had her for 1 1/2 and this hasn't happened before. The tip of her tail is now turning black. She hasn't seemed herself over the last 2 days, so I've been watching her closely. An hour ago, she threw up some tiny bits of her favorite: apples. I'm really worried. She's so lethargic! Could she be impacted, perhaps? I tried laying her gently into a warm bath to help, as I read that might do the trick, but she didn't do her business. Any advice, please?!!
Answered by Jav917 in 3 mins 12 years ago
Pet Specialist

27,324 satisfied customers

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


Can you tell me about the set up?

Diet greens/prey?



UVB? How old? Coil or tube and strength?





She's in a tank with a log, fake warming rock (that hasn't been plugged in since we got her), light weight reptile sand, and a large water dish/pool. Nothing has been changed since we got her 1 1/2 years ago. Her tank is near a window, so we use the natural sunlight to wake her each day (until winter). We have a heat lamp that we turn on each morning and turn off each night (again same for all this time that we've owned her). The bulb is a 75 watt (red) bulb. The light has been off for a little bit, but the temp reads just under 25 degrees Celcius.

We feed her Beardie pellets, freeze-dried crickets, fruits, and greens. She doesn't eat a wide variety of fruits - but prefers mostly fresh apple bits.


Do you have a UVB bulb. It is the type that supplies artificial sunlight? Joan

We do, but we don't use it in the spring, summer, or fall...only when the winter begins to make the days much shorter. She's been fine without it all this time.


The husbandry is a major problem here. First things to get rid of are the heat rock and the sand. Both are extremely dangerous. The heat rock can cause thermal burns and the snad can cause serious impactions in your Dragon. It is a must to use the UVB all year round as it supplies artificial sunlight and it helps metabolize the calcium in the body. it needs to run 12-14 hours a day except for the winter when we only run it 8 hours. That and a calcium supplement are extremely important for the health of the bones and organs. Without them your dragon can have metabolic bone disease. Next your temps are way too low. For an adult dragon they should be at 110*F in the basking area. The diet is another serious issue. The Dragon needs 80% fresh veggies and 20% live prey like crickets, silk worms, Phoenix worms or roaches. The canned crickets have all preservatives and chitin the outer shell and offer no nutritional value. The veggies that should be fed would be collards, mustard greens, dandelion greens, butternut squash, green beans. For fruit, you can give is apple berries all types. All food should be dusted with calcium at least 4 days a week and a vitamin 2 times a week. We can try some first aid. Please set up a soak of 50/50 warm water and Pedialyte. Place the dragon in the soak for 30 mins. while in there please gently massage the abdomen. This should stimulate a bowel movement. While in the soak try and get the tank warmed up and get the UVB light on the tank. Without the proper husbandry you can loose this dragon. if we cannot get a stool to pass a Herp Vet visit may be needed. I am going to give you my care sheet. Please hit reply for further help. 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 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: 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 meal worms. 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 wax worms, 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 depnding on the size of the crickets. 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.

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. This is for fruits and Vegetables


Walnut shell Graphic: calci sand


sexing bearded Dragons:


compact UVB problems:


Wow. Thanks for this info. The only problem I have is that my beardie doesn't want much to do with veggies or greens and is scared of any live insects, especially crickets. What do I do about that? For the veggies, I suppose if she is hungry she will eat them, but she won't go near crickets and is frightened of them. Have you ever seen this before? I got her from someone else who told me about it - but I have experienced it for myself, which is why I reluctantly went to the basically nutritionless freeze-dried crickets. :(


In a case like this I use silk worms or phoenix worms. or You can use a fruit baby food like a salad dressing as it gets them eating. I use my raspberries mixed in as they are drawn to the red color. Joan

How much of the worms do I feed her each day?


At this point you need to feed morning veggies and afternoon 7 large silk worms a day. The phoenix worms are much smaller and you will have to feed more. The big thing is 80% veggies and 20% live prey and get the UVB on. They do need to be replaced every 6 months Joan

Joan, One last question.... I was told to buy these foods for my Beardie. Are these worthless?...

Rep-Cal Fortified Daily Diet Adult Bearded Dragon Pellets - maintenance formula

Zoo Med Natural Adult Bearded Dragon Food with added vitamins and minerals

Thanks for all your help. I promise to leave you alone after this! :)


Not a problem! I am here to educate and help with problems. I keep pellets in my tanks for my girls, but it is like a snack food. They munch inbetween the greens and live prey. My girls are 13 and 14 years old. fairly old for Dragons. I can locate a Herp vet for you to have on call if needed with a state and city. Joan

We live near Madison, Wisconsin. We don't know if we'll need one yet, but if you can provide a name/number, that would be great.

Thanks for all your help! I hope we haven't done anything to harm our beardie! She's so sweet! We love her dearly!


This is one :

Arbor Ridge Pet Clinic
Dr. Shawn Hook
3048 Fish Hatchery Road
Madison, WI 53713
Telephone:(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Here is a link for others:

Visit Website - Get Driving Directions

Read less
27,324 satisfied customers
Pet Specialist
+ years of experience

27324 satisfied customers



Licensed veterinarians

31,131 satisfied customers

Pearl avatar
Pearl Wilson, Veterinarian's Assistant
116 Veterinarians are online right now.
Related Veterinary Questions
There rail is turning black. Bearded Dragon. A week or so. I
610 Satisfied Customers
I have a 5 year old bearded dragon. His tail tip has started
Dr. Sara
318 Satisfied Customers
My bearded dragon is laying in corner of tank, not pooping
Dr. Michelle
Pet Specialist
2,967 Satisfied Customers
A bearded dragon. We adopted her from a reptile rescue last
Reptile Expert, Biologist
5,214 Satisfied Customers
I am wondering why my female bearded dragon is acting so stressed.
Veterinary Technician
22,330 Satisfied Customers
How it works
logoAsk for help, 24/7
Ask for help, 24/7
Members enjoy round-the-clock access to 12,000+ verified Experts, including doctors, lawyers, tech support, mechanics, vets, home repair pros, more.
logoExpert will respond in minutes
Expert will respond in minutes
After you reach out, we match you with an Expert who specializes in your situation. Talk, text, chat, whichever you prefer.
logoSave time & money
Save time & money
No scheduling hassles, missing time from work, or expensive consults.
A JustAnswer membership can save you significant time and money each month.
Sarahesq and 87 other Veterinarian specialists are ready to help you.
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.
Why you’ll love JustAnswer
JustAnswer is the best way to get expertise on-demand from doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics and more. Since 2003, we’ve helped more than 9 million people in 196 countries and have an A+ rating with BBB and a 9.6/10 rating with TrustPilot.
Highly rated, verified Experts
We pride ourselves in our 8-step verification process including license and credential checks. Vetted by us and rated by customers, like you.
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
Web sites like ...leave nothing to chance.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
JustAnswer, Professional Services  General, San Francisco, CA
Google reviews
TrustPilot Reviews