My bearded dragon is making several squeaky noises while basking. He has never done this before. He recently shedded

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Customer: My bearded dragon is making several squeaky noises while basking. He has never done this before. He recently shedded skin the other day but I did notice while bathing last night, a very small end of his tail was bent and eventually fell off on last night and I also noticed a dark spot on the top ovf his head - maybe from shedding process but not sure. He is 3mos and we have only had him for a little over a week. Is he sick?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Has the Bearded Dragon been licking or rubbing the spot?
Customer: I held him after bath for about 20 mins to show him some attention and then fed him in his cage. I Friday notice him licking the spot or anything else last night. I did feed him a little more than normal on last night, could that be it?
JA: What's the Bearded Dragon's name?
Customer: Kyle
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: I also noticed that his stomach blots when bathing and when I take him out of bath, it goes back down to normal size. Wasn’t sure if that was normal or not.....
Answered by Anna in 33 mins 2 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,022 satisfied customers

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

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with over 20 years of experience keeping reptiles. I’ll be glad to help today. Some additional information may help me determine the best steps for you to take,

When Kyle makes the squeaking noise, does it come when he breathes in or out, or is it continuous?

When in the bath, did he drink a lot?

What do you feed him?

What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the cage?

Was the part of the tail that fell off black?

Thank you.

Squeaking happened for the first time this morning and he didn't appear to have problems breathing - we were all asleep and I heard him in my room. Not sure if he was trying to get our attention or specifically my attention because I do all of his maintenance and care. He resides in my son room but my son only talks to him and hold him sporadically but I do the bathing, rubbing, cleaning of cage, feeding etc. So not sure if he was squeaking call me from the other room or not. During his bath, maybe he drank a lot but I didn't notice because I left to go take a bath when he does his bath. I make sure his head is above the water always. I feed him crickets only but I'm going to start feeding him something for Calcium as well. His temps are normally between 30-40 in basking area and 20-30 in other area. Very top of tail fell off and it did appear to be just a tad bit darker than the rest so it could have been tail rot.
Tip of tail at the end

Thank you for getting back to me. I’m going to go to work on some information for you now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Can you respond via text, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Thank you for waiting. You can ignore the requests for phone calls. They are computer generated, not from me.Bearded dragons do not have vocal cords, and are unable to make noises to get your attention or for any other reason. They can hiss, but not deliberately make other sounds. When sounds come from them, it is usually a noise made by the lungs or the stomach, and those noises mean trouble in most cases. I’m concerned that Kyle may have a respiratory infection, even though his breathing seems normal.

Tail rot is a major concern, too. It often slowly spreads up the spine and becomes life threatening. The name tail rot can be deceiving. The condition is actually gangrene.

The black spot in his head may be related, but also could be a skin infection or the result of a scrape. With all these varied symptoms, a vet visit would be best. It’s always recommended to have a vet examine any new reptile pet shortly after purchase because many of them are sick and/or infested with parasites before they are even brought home. This site has a directory of reptile vets:

Kyle’s crickets should be dusted with plain calcium powder, so you are right to get that soon. The temperatures you were advised to maintain are a bit too cool and also too variable. The basking site should be 40.5*C to 46*C in the daytime. The cool side should be 29.5*C to 32*C. You can increase the temperature by lowering the light fixture (but not so low that your dragon could be burned by it), using a higher wattage bulb, or adding a second fixture.

Because you are new to beardies, and 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 beardie. If you have more questions, just let me know. I’m glad to help. I hope Kyle will reach a full recovery.


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 
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 

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 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 

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:

Sexing Bearded Dragons:

Thanks, ***** ***** my thought process as well.
What do you mean by dust the crickets?
Get rid of them?
I googled it, thanks.

Calcium supplements usually come in powder form. When you’re ready to give him crickets, you should coat them with calcium powder. That’s what is meant by dusting them. One if the easiest ways is to put some of the powder in a container with a lid or a plastic bag. Add the crickets for the next meal, and if they don’t crawl around, gently move the container to cover them with calcium.

Looks like our posts crossed. If you think of anything else, don’t hesitate to ask.


I meant you posted about googling the cricket dusting at the same time I posted about a way to do it. At any rate, I’m glad you got the information.

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