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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11465
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Lack of energy, closed eyes, not going to the bathroom or

Customer Question

lack of energy, closed eyes, not going to the bathroom or eating
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear that Mondo is ill. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take. How old is Mondo? How long has he been sick? What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the enclosure? What brand and size of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb? What substrate do you use on the cage floor? What do you feed? Any supplements? Sorry for so many questions, but all this information is important. Thank you,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Anna, he is a juvenile and we have only had him(or her) for a few months. He has only been acting weird for two days. We feed him crickets, meal worms, and dried omnivore mix (from All Living Things). We replaced his heat light about a month ago. The temp is around 80 degrees and we use sand for the substrate. We occasionally add ReptiCalcium to his crickets.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for getting back to me. I'm working on your answer now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I'll be back shortly.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for waiting. I suspect you got your information on care from a pet store. Most people do. While we should be able to rely on such information, unfortunately, it is often wrong. They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After weeks or months of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Most of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why Mondo is having so much trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep him healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong. We can try to help him now, and hope that it isn't too late.

The biggest problem is that Mondo is freezing cold. A beardie who is cold will be lethargic, not want to eat a lot, and may even try to hide. The very coldest part of his cage should be 85*F to 90*F. For a youngster his age, the basking spot should be at least 105*F. The latest research on bearded dragons has shown that they can't even begin to digest their food properly until their internal body temperature reaches 98*F. Being cold-blooded, the only way for that to happen is for them to lie in a very hot basking area.You can increase the temperature by using a higher wattage bulb in the basking light fixture, lowering t he fixture itself (but not so low that he can be burned on it), or by adding a second fixture. If you need a second fixture, you don't have to buy something expensive from a pet store.If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a clip-on metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. Hardware and home improvement stores sell similar light fixtures as work lights.

I would discontinue the mealworms. They are not a good food because they contain too much chitin and can't be digested properly. They're OK for some other lizards, but not for beardies. That dry food is not good either. Crickets that are no bigger than the space between your beardie’s eyes area better choice. Silk worms are another excellent food. They also need fresh produce. 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:

The pet store sand substrate is not good. Despite the fact that it is highly recommended, more often than not, it leads to impaction. If you want to use sand, the play sand is a much better choice. However, a solid substrate, such as reptile carpet or ceramic tile is best. If you’d like to see the results of using sand, you can take a look at the following site. The pictures are graphic, so if surgery, etc. bothers you, you may not want to look. calci sand

I suspect Mondo is already impacted. I'll give you a first aid measure. Buy some prune baby food. Drop a small dollop right on the end of his snout. If he is not too weak, reflexes will cause him to lick it off. If he does, wait about 45 minutes for the next step. If he doesn't eat it, go right to the next step.Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants), and prepare a shallow warm bath consisting of 1/2 warm water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak your dragon for about 20 to 30 minutes; hold his head out of the water.. After the first 10 minutes, with him still in the water, gently massage his underside from front to vent for an additional 10 minutes. That may be enough to help him pass some feces. Be sure to supervise closely. Try these steps

It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out the UVB rays.

After you increase the temps, and give him a soak with massage, let me know if there's any change. If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope Mondo will be able to recover.


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!

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

Do you need any additional information?