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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11548
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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She is running irractic in her tank, That's what I want to

Customer Question

She is running irractic in her tank
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the reptile?
Customer: That's what I want to know
JA: Where does the reptile seem to hurt?
Customer: She doesn't seem to be hurt. She's shedding
JA: OK. No obvious pain. What is the reptile's name and age?
Customer: Sandy 6 months
JA: Is there anything else important you think the veterinarian should know about Sandy?
Customer: No she seems to be healthy
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 11 months ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear that Sandy is having some issues. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.What kind of reptile is she?Is she running into things, digging frantically, clawing at the glass, etc.?How long has she been shedding?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage!What do feed her? Any supplements?What brand of UVB light do you have?What substrate do you use on the cage floor?Does she have her normal appetite?Thank you.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
She's a bearded dragon and yes she is running inti glass and digging franticly and at the glass been shedding about a month now
Expert:  Anna replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. If she were older, I would suspect she wanted to lay eggs, but she is too young for that. Can you give me the rest of the information I asked for - it could all have something to do with what's going on.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Temp is between 80-90 degrees on heat side and 60-70 on cool side and I use 10.0 UVB lights I feel her fruit veggies and krickets no supplements and I have sand on bottom of tank and normal appetite
Expert:  Anna replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. I'm going to work on your answer now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience, and will be back shortly.
Expert:  Anna replied 11 months 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 months of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Much of what you have been told is wrong, and I suspect that is why Sandy is having so much trouble. Even though you have been trying so hard to keep her healthy, when you didn't have correct information to begin with, things are going wrong. When a beardie becomes frantic as Sandy has, it means she is in distress. Shedding for a month is also a sign of something not being right.

I’ll start with a first aid measure.Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak Sandy for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely. The soak will help with dehydration and may loosen the shedding skin so it can come off.

Next, we need to make some changes.

The biggest problem is that Sandy is freezing cold. A beardie who is cold will be lethargic, not want to eat a lot, and may even try to hide. I'm surprised that at these temperatures, she will even eat when handfed. The very coldest part of the cage should be 85*F to 90*F. For a youngster this age, the basking spot should be at least 105*F to 110*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 the fixture itself (but not so low that she 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.

The sand substrate may be why Sandy is having shedding problems. Pet stores often recommend it because it is a money maker, but it does frequently lead to serious health problems, including impaction. It’s also a leading cause of eye infections, respiratory irritations, and skin problems. Here is a reputable site where you can read more:

I'll post this much now, and will be back with more in a few minutes.

Expert:  Anna replied 11 months ago.

It is very important that Sandy receive a plain (no vitamin D3) calcium supplement. The reason we provide UVB light is to enable the body to metabolize calcium. Without calcium, the UVB light does no good. The result will be Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), which causes a slow and painful death. Crickets should be dusted in plain calcium powder.

Some vegetables are actually not good for dragons, and fruits should be used as treats only.

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:

Sheds that take too long can be the result of low temperatures, skin irritations, nutritional deficiencies, or fungal/bacterial infections.

In summary, I recommend the following:

Begin Pedialyte soaks as soon as possible.

Remove the sand. Replace it with reptile carpet, ceramic tile, or plain paper towels.

Increase temperatures to the proper levels.

Adjust the diet if necessary and begin providing calcium powder.

If Sandy's behavior doesn't change after you do these things, and the shedding continues to be stalled, she will need to be seen by a reptile vet. This link will take you to a directory of them:

If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope Sandy will be fine.


My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star 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 after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
OK thank you I don't need you anymore
Expert:  Anna replied 11 months ago.
You're welcome. I wish Sandy a speedy return to normal.