I recently purchased two baby bearded dragons. Our local pet store gave us the wrong bulbs which did not include a uvb

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Customer: Hi. I recently purchased two baby bearded dragons. Our local pet store gave us the wrong bulbs which did not include a uvb bulb. Our one dragon seems healthy while the other lethargic and no appetite. We did some research and figure out it was because our pet store did not provide us with the uvb bulb. So tonight we bought a uvb bulb and shortly after introducing them to the light they seemed much happier. Except out of nowhere the smaller dragon head bobbed at the larger one. The larger one ran over and showed dominance by climbing atop the smaller one and even tried biting at him. This happened a couple times until we finally seperated them. Not sure if this is a dominance issue or if they were trying to mate. They got along fine until introduced to the light.
Answered by Anna in 12 mins 6 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,026 satisfied customers

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

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear that a problem has developed.

It seems the pet store gave you lots of inaccurate information. They usually tell people that beardies can be housed together, but unfortunately, it seldom works out long term. Many of them get along while they are small babies, but problems develop as they get older. I suspect that the incorrect condition kept the one dragon lethargic and apathetic. When the lighting was corrected, he developed more energy. That's when the dominance issues showed. They are too young to be mating, so this is dominance and/or territoriality. You were wise to separate them - we often have people come to us wanting to know what to do when one beardie bit the foot off of another one, or left a large wound on the face.

Your dragons will need to be kept separated. If your enclosure is big enough, it may work to put a divider in it. A separate cage is another option. If it hasn't been too long since you purchased them, perhaps one could be returned to the store. I'm sorry to have to give you bad news, but I believe you deserve honesty. The problem is not going to go away, and is likely to get worse if you keep the two together.

Because pet stores give out so much incorrect information, I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. Joan has many years experience keeping and rescuing beardies.Her care sheet is used on some reputable websites, so you may have even seen it before. 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 that whatever you decide to do, it will work out well..


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:
0-3 months- baby 3-12 months-juvenile 12-18 months- sub adult 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.

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: 105-115* degrees F (40.5 - 46*C)
Cool side: 85-90 (29.5 - 32*C)

Adults: Warm basking spot: 105-110*F (40.5- 43*C)
Cool side: 80-85 (26.6 - 29.5*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 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 eats 50-75 crix a day depending 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.
Fruits and Vegetables:


Walnut Shell Graphic:


Sexing Bearded Dragons:


Thank you. Yes the pet store did inaccurately state that if they grew up together they would be fine. I have a 40 gallon terrarium and i cut some wood flooring up to height to seperate them for now. Dont worry its sturdy! Currently heading out to purchase another set of lamps for thr othet half of the tank.

You're welcome. Pet stores almost always give out wrong information, and lots of reptiles end up sick, injured, or dead because of it. You have a good plan in place. I hope both dragons will thrive for you.

Thank you for your help and this website is a great thing! I have read several other articles on here about beardies that have helped me very much! Do you have any other suggestion for a better divider for the tank? I think plastic could melt and wood may get too hot but we are monitoring it well until we come up witb a better solution

I'll do a little research with some pet retailers and see if I can find a better divider. You'll receive an email when I post again.

All the characters mmercially available dividers I could find were plastic, made to be used in fish tanks. Some reptile owners mentioned making a divider of hardware cloth, which is metal sold by the foot in home stores and hardware stores,Mao you might check into that. If you go that route, get the type with very small mesh so they can't see each other very well. You could even use metal window screen.

I was thinking of making some sort of metal mesh or cutting up an old fish tank metal grated lid and caulking it in place. But thanks for the ideas!

It sounds like you are more skilled at construction than I am. That will come in handy for this situation. Thank you!

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Hes still very sluggish bee. Keeping him hydrated and he manages to get a cricket or two a day now. He has an appointment with the vet monday

I think the vet appointment was a good decision on your part. Let me know what you find out.

Took our little guy to the vet. He has been eating at least one cricket a day and occasionally some cabbage. Today he had 2 crickets and a mealworm! The vet says hes being sluggish from dehydration. I told him weve been bathing him everyother day in a pedialyte mixture and making sure he drinks and has fresh water daily. But he told me to bathe him twicea day in 100% pedialyte. And he also said to feed mealworms to fatten him up. Both dragons were tbe same size when i got them 3 weeks ago. And now the bigger one is almost twice little guys size. Hopefully mealworms baby food and pedialyte do the trick! Doing everything possible to keep this guy fighting!

I'm glad to hear you had a visit with the vet. Pedialyte soaks are always a good idea. I am concerned about the recommendation to feed meal worms. Vets don't really learn much about nutrition in vet school. They learn about diseases, injuries, parasites, etc. Meal worms are a good food for some lizards, such as geckos, but they are very high in chitin. A beardie's digestive system isn't designed to digest chitin. It can build up in the intestines and cause impaction. I suggest silk worms instead. They can be more difficult to find, but

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




Thank you for that info we will try some silk worms out!

I wish you success in helping this little one thrive.

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