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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18544
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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He all of a sudden lay down in the corner of s cage. Closing

Customer Question

He all of a sudden lay down in the corner of his cage. Closing his eyes and breathing seems shallow. He is shedding and we just got him a couple of days ago, so not sure if this is normal behavior.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the reptile. What is the reptile's name and age?
Customer: He's 6 months named Spikey
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Named?
Customer: No. He's been eating well and otherwise fine.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.


My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in reptiles and Reptile rescue.

What type of Reptile are we speaking about. I will have further questions.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A 6 month old bearded dragon
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

Can you tell me about the set up?


UVB light,how old, linear tube or compact coil, strength and brand?

Basking light?

Diet Veggies/Prey?

Temps in basking area, warm side and cool side?

How measured?

Please give me 30- 40 mins to post an answer It is extreely busy tonight.




Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Joan,He is in a dry tank with a terrarium liner, no substrate. We've been feeding him medium sized crickets and kale. We dust the crickets with Reptivite reptile vitamins with D3. It's what they had been giving him at the store. He's got dried meal worms in a bowl but hasn't touched those. He seemed hungry today and ate well. Everything in his tank is brand new. We got him on Saturday.
He has a 18", 50 UVB T8 Fourescent Bulb (linear tube) - Zilla brand, slimline desert fixture. For basking light (I've been wondering if we need to change this), we are using a 50W Infared ExoTerra bulb in a Fluker's clamp light. We have the light resting directly on top of the mesh on his cage with the basking light on one side and the UVB light on the other. I think we need to get him a full spectrum or UVA basking lightbulb. Right now we only have a temp gauge on the cool side of the tank which has been ranging from 75-80. I planned on ordering a digital thermometer for the basking light so we can see how how that gets. We have a log set up so her can get closer to the basking light but not all the way up to the mesh. There's about 6" between him and the basking lightbulb. He really seems to like to be under that.
He's been active, interactive and eating well since we got him. We've been visiting him at our local pet store for 2-3 months prior to getting him. He's always been healthy and happy.
Tonight, he just seems really tired. He will open his eyes if we make noise near his cage and occasionally scratch his side. His breathing is steady and seems fine. When he first layed down it was heavier, but them calmed and has been steady. It just happened very suddenly so we got concerned. I'm guessing he's like a kid who kept going and going and has now hit the wall with exhaustion due to new environment and shedding. We wanted to made sure this was normal behavior and not something concerning. We are learning about bearded dragons. First reptile family member.
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.


Diet is wrong No Kale or spinach for the Dragon. It binds calcium. The UVB light is not strong enough. You need a Reptisun 10.0 Linear tube and you need a Basking light. The Infrared bulbs are for heat on a cold night. Not for basking. The tank is way too cool. The Basking area should be 105-110, the warm ambiet temp shouold be 90's and the cool side 80's. I suggest a digital thermometer.

Diet should be under a year 80% live prey to include crickets, silk worms, phoenix worms and dubia roaches. No Meal worms, no dried prey and no supper worms ever. The meal worms are not digestible and the live ones can cause liver damage later on in life. Veggies should be curly endives, escarole, collard greens, mustard greens, butternut squash and dandelion greens and flowers. All food should be dusted with a plain calcium 5 days a week and 2 days with the reptivite.

I believe if you correct the lighting it should make a major difference in activity level. They do get quiet during sheds. you may want to give a soak to aid with the shedding. Please get the temps up too as that affects the activity level as well as the lighting does. Do no use the red light unless temps drop below 70*.


Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

This is my personal Care sheet and it is widely used all over the internet,

Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

  • Bearded dragons should be housed alone.
  • Can live aslong 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:

Basking area 105*-110*F

Wanm side mid 90's

Cool side: 85*-87*F

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 eat 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.

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.

Fruits and Vegetables

Walnut shell Graphic:

Sexing bearded Dragons:

Metabolic Bone Disease:

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