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Life of a bearded dragon

Updated on September 17, 2014

My name is Flames and I am a Bearded Dragon

I am very docile, and I love being handled. You want to know something about me and other bearded dragons, we make wonderful pets. New people that meet me for the first time are scared, I can sense that, but honeslty look at my sweet face. I have never bit anyone even while being fed. I can't speak for other bearded dragons, as long as I am not mishandled are treated rough and unfair I will never bite. I can myself and other beardies don't usually bite. We are like most other pets we just want love and affection. What other creature do you know that looks like a miniature dinosuar give so much love? Hmm I bet not to many more.

Bearded Dragons need to socialize, not necessarily with other bearded dragons, although that would be ideal, but with people, other family pets, and anything that will come up to our cage and talk to us. Did I mention I like being handled, I can sit on your arm for hours, and not move. I like my head and backed to be rubbed, I notice I almost drift off to sleep when that happens. I think I am spoiled and as long as they allow me, I will stay spoiled.

How to set up a Bearded dragon cage

The Habitat I live in

Well first off lets start with some must haves in your bearded dragon habitat. I like to have my tank nice and warm during the day, around 85 degrees. At night I like it cooler around 75 degrees and a bit cooler. I do require a basking light, and a uvb light. Under the basking light should be a stone, or big rock. The rock gets warm and I lay on it. The heat then warms up my belly and this helps my food digest. The uvb light is the next best thing to sunlight I will get in my cage or habitat. I will lay under the uvb light at times, when I need to work on my tan.

I need two spots in my tank, a hot spot and a cool spot. The cool spot, well some days I just need shade. I do require some water, but not a huge water bowl, just something that I can drink from when I get thirsty. Bearded dragons if exposed to a large water source can develop respiratory diseases. In the pet stores you can find an eight oz automatic water dispenser (looks like the dog water dispenser) and it works perfect. The food bowl can be any type of reptile food dish. I prefer just a small saucer, it allows me to reach my food better, and some days I am just lazy. If I don't eat every thing on the saucer, I will be back to finish it even as it starts to dry (veggies). To learn more about that you can read my meal section.

notes from James:

The cage in the picture is 32 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 26 inches tall. I have the basking lamp on the middle platform hovering over a large rock that Flames the bearded dragon can lay his entire stomach on. The bottom lamp is the uvb light and that is for synthetic sun. The very top shelf is the second hot spot. Flames like to get on the top shelf and just spread out enjoying the heat. I do have vent holes in the top to let some of the heat out, so he does not get to hot. The reason I have the vent hole is the front of his cage and the access point is glass. This allows the heat to stay in and not escape. When you have a reptile cage with a screen top all the heat escapes. By enclosing the box (habitat) like I did the heat is trapped. You can tell by the picture the box is not done, I still need to do touch up and paint. However I was in the process of buidling this bearded dragon cage when I cracked his other cage (while cleaning it).

On the bottom of the cage I used a plastic thin cutting board (easy to clean) and cut it to fit the entire bottom of the cage. I have a natural piece of driftwood that he climbs on from the bottom to the middle layer. I also built a ladder out of pvc pipe and dowel rods, this allows him to climb from middle to top shelf. The doors on the front of the cage is an old window I found at a buddys house, it is from windows he replaced. The doors slide nicely on a track, and they open wide enough so I can take everything out and clean the whole cage.

The actual box is from a really old 32 inch tv. I ripped out everything and cleaned it up, and built the bearded dragon cage out of it. The first reason is it was free. The second reason is it is heavy and built sturdy. I have on top of it a 30 gallon red ear slyder tank. With the tank on top full of water, and the set up on hard wood floor, I can easily slide everything out of the way if I need to. It may not look it now but my setup when finished could run over 300 bucks if not more custom built.

It is wide enough that he can move around in, but it is tall enough that he can climb. I tried him out in a long tank and he did not do well in it, that is why I decided to build a tall tank. He does appear happier in this tank, than the longer tank, plus I can control the temperatures better.

Bearded Dragon Basking light
Bearded Dragon Basking light

Important Light sources

all the lights needed

When setting up a bearded dragon cage you will have to take care in providing comfort. As well as providing as close as to its natural habitat as possible. Some will say that bearded dragons bought from pet stores do not know what their natural habitat is. Yes this is true, but when you hear natural habitat you are referring to what helps his body function correctly.

The most important things that should be added to a bearded dragon tank is the lighting. A bearded dragon requires at least two types of light. The two most important lights are a basking light and a uvb light. If the tank does not reach at least 85 degrees or a bit higher then a thrid light should be added. The third light is strictly for heat.

The basking lights main purpose is food digestion. There are other reasons for the basking light but the most important is for the food to digest correctly. When a beardie eats it will crawl under the basking light. The heat from the light and the basking rock will warm the beardies stomach, and this heat will help the food in the stomach digest. If the bearded dragon does not digest the food properly many ailements will occur. The most common in Bearded dragons is compaction. This is when the food does not digest correctly and gets impacted in the stomach of the lizard. This can be very dangerous and can be fatal to your lizard companion.

The next important light in a beardies cage is a UVB light. Even though natural sunlight is the best thing for a beardie we can not always accommodate. So a UVB light placed in your bearded dragons tank will substitute the sunlight. UVB contained in sunlight interacts with pigments found in skin, as well as that of reptiles and other animals. The chemical reaction that takes place forms vitamin D3. The D3 helps support a healthy bone system. The UVB light will get warm but it is not an adequate source of heat in the tank. So when getting a UVB light make sure there are other heat sources in the tank.

If you live in colder areas and it get colds at night. A fourth light can be added, this light is a red reptile light. The red light keeps the cage temperature up, but does not interefere with the beardies sleep. There are new light systems that can be set up in a reptile's cage. These light systems automatically turn different lights on during different times of the day. They also can monitor the temperature in the tank and regulate what temperature setting you have set. There are also heating pads and heating rocks for reptiles. These helps food digestion as well, but some of these can be dangerous and burn your reptile companion.

you will also need an area that is cool in the cage. Bearded dragons do like to have cool spots, and you will learn that they will spend a lot of the time in those cool spots. As in the natural environment there are cool spots and hot spots. The beardies cage needs both.

All these lights can get expensive but they are all needed for your bearded dragon to be comfortable and live a healthy life. If you look hard enough you can find cheaper versions of each light. The cheaper versions will not last as long but will last long enough to get your beardies cage set up correctly. The proper lighting in a bearded dragons cage is very important for to keep you bearded dragon living a long healthy life.

Are the Spikes on a Bearded Dragon Dangerous? - Flames Smiling for the Camera

Bearded Dragon photo Flames smiling for the camera
Bearded Dragon photo Flames smiling for the camera

If you will notice all the little spikes all over his body, though they will not hurt you they do feel prickly. The spikes do not hurt, will not cut, and you can hold a Bearded Dragon with out the fear of those spikes. The bearded dragon uses these spikes to help in defense, it makes them look intimidating. With these spikes they will flatten their body to look bigger, open there mouth and hiss, and puff out their beard. I have noticed my bearded dragon while basking in the light, will stretch the beard out. I am guessing this is some form of lizard yoga to keep flexible.

Bearded Dragon Diet

from a baby beardie to an adult

A bearded dragons diet as a baby bearded dragon eats mostly small crickets (gut loaded) and small meal worms. The baby bearded dragons will everyday, and seems like will eat until no more circkets or meal worms are gone. My beardie ate veggies mostly cabbage, spinach, carrots, and small slithers of apples once a week and sometimes not that often. The crikets should be no wider then the bridge of a bearded dragons nose. As the beardie gets bigger so does the crickets. The bearded dragons diet is pretty simple as a baby their main source fo food will be protein from the small crickets and meal worms.

As Bearded dragons diet and appetite will grow as they get older. The older they get the more they will eat, almost as if their stomach was a bottomless pit. By this time about 6 months old you can start feeding them super worms. Remember the rule of thumb, no wider then the bridge of their nose. As they get older they will eat more veggies. Bearded Dragons will let you know when they are ready to eat more veggies, by just doing it. As Bearded Dragons get older you can give them larger leaves ie; cabbage, lettuce, large apple peals, but will still need to cut up the carrots into smaller pieces. I guess that will be a common sense move, if it looks to big than it will be.

My beardie likes the freeze dried veggies mix from Healhty Herp, it is called adult dragon food instant meal. You just add water for a few minutes and they are ready to eat. Also my beardie likes the bearded dragon cubed meat, it smells bad but taste good. It has to stay in the fridge. The other thing that is good is the freeze dried crickets by Flukers (costly), and the Bearded dragon foritfied food, it looks like tiny pieces of dog food. All this food gives beardies variety and allows for complete balanced nutrition. Don't worry you will learn what your bearded dragons will love or just hate. They are all different and have different personalities. As they get older a bearded dragons diet will be more diverse.

notes from James

"When I started buying veggies for my bearded dragon they would go bad before he ate all of them. So I cut all my veggies up, and put them in a large ziplock bag. Then I froze them and now only take out what I know he will eat. I just let the veggies thaw out or when I am in a hurry I place them in a bowl of warm water (for quick thaw). This allows me to buy less veggies, but keep the ones I have for a longer period of time. The other thing I give my bearded dragon is reptivite reptile vitamins with d3 it is made by Zoo meds. I dust the crikets and super worms with this. It is full of vitmains for reptiles and promotes healthy bone growth"

fried crikets? I will stick to my chicken.
fried crikets? I will stick to my chicken.

My Best tips for Crickets

they stink, smell, and go bad

Ok guys this one is my favorite tips I will give on crickets to feed to bearded dragons. I was testing this before I wrote about it. Now that is working I would like to share with you. How to keep the bearded dragons crickets fresh and from going bad.

The one problem I was having was the crickets I bought my bearded dragon was dying and then rotting way before I could feed them all to my bearded dragon. Well first I could have fed all the crickets to my beardie in one serving. A bearded dragon is a bottomless pit, as long as you feed them they will eat, especially worms and crickets. So any way back to my story.

So I would buy about 4 dollars worth of crickets, 15 cents or so each. I bought so many because half would die and rot, and I could at least feed him half before they all were wasted. Why not feed all them to him at once? Well I like to keep more veggies in his diet. If I fed all at once to him, I guess you can say it spoile him. So in between veggies I give him worms and crickets. (off the path again)

So the problem: crickets die, rot, and then smell.

Solution: I bought another 4 dollars worth of cirkets. I removed everything out of the cricket container. The cheap thin plastic case, or the cricket bag they come in. Only thing left in the container is crickets. I then put the container in the freezer. After the crickets freeze I put them in another container that can not be seen through. So now if guest open my freezer to get ice or whatever they don't see crickets. When I want to feed crickets to my beardie I grab about 10 crickets, put them in a bowl, at room temperature for about an hour.

- my findings is the crickets don't go bad. So they don't rot or smell

- this is not inhumane or cruel, what do you think mother nature does during the winter

- my beardie gets the same nutrition because the crickets are gut loaded. If I need to I still can dust the crickets with repitvite

- My bearded dragon still loves the crickets, he will eat all the crickets with in seconds.

- if you want to buy your crickets in bulk you can do this, and again they will not go bad.

- you will not have hundreds of crickets chirping all night.

- this way is much cheaper then paying for freeze dried crickets in a jar.

I hate nothing more than smelly crickets. Seriously I tried raising crickets for my bearded dragon and other house hold pets, they stink and badly. Then when you buy them at the store no matter what they will not last to long. If you get a few that last the rest just rot and stink. So if you are having the rotten, smelly, gone bad, cricket problem. Try this tip out, it works well for me..

Crickets in Bearded Dragon Cage Overnight. (bad)

Usually my bearded dragon eats all the live crickets I give him. However there are those that happen to escape his wrath. When you have live crikets in the cage over night they can be annoying to the Bearded Dragon in 2 ways. Plus when the crickets dies they will start to rott and smell.

The first thing that left over crickets do is possibly keep the bearded dragon up all night. Yes this can be annoying especially in the habitat. The constant chirpping bounces off the glass or sides. Think about it if you were stuck in a box with crickets wouldn't it keep you up all night searching and looking. Bearded dragons are not nocturnal, they sleep at night and roam and play during the day. It has been stated like humans this can disturb the sleep wake cycle of Bearded Dragons. Eventually causing him or her to sleep during the day and be active at night.

This can be bad for the fact if the bearded dragon is sleeping during the day he or she is not getting proper heat and light. Bearded Dragons need to bask in the light to warm their stomachs. A warm stomach helps food digest, and keeps the bearded dragon eating correctly.

The second reason leaving crickets in the bearded dragon cage over night is crickets will eat just about anything. Including chewing on your bearded dragon while it is sleeping. This can and will be a bad thing to your bearded dragon, especially if your bearded dragon is young or a baby. When bearded dragons sleep they tend to sleep hard, and it takes a lot to wake them. So having crickets crawl and chew on the bearded dragon is not always going to wake him or her up.

The chewing and biting of the crickets can and will cause sores to form on the bearded dragon. I have seen bearded dragons with extreme sores and even met one that did not make it because of these sores. So if you are going to feed crikets to the bearded dragon do it a few at a time so you know all the crickets will be eaten.

I do not like the live crickets rock habitat you find in pet stores, you can put many crickets in the rock and leave in the cage. As the sun goes down the crickets come out of hiding. The more crickets in the cage the greater the chance of the bearded dragon being eaten alive. If you read my crikets advice module above it gives my best advice on feeding of crickets to the Bearded Dragon.

What to feed bearded dragon

"Insects, Vegetables, Pinkies oh my"

I have been testing and watching my Bearded Dragons eating habits. I do buy (as stated above) crickets, meal worms, and super worms. As with everything else in this economy those things can get pretty expensive. Depends on how much your beardie eats and how often. With the vegetables that is an easy one use uncooked cut ups from dinner vegetables. Keep a large bag and just fill and freeze, I discussed that earlier in this lens, and the same as fruits. I can use just one apple and it will last almost 1 to 2 weeks left in the fridge, cutt it into small slivers and pieces and mix with veggies.

Earth Worms:

What I have not discussed prior is other insects that I have found my Bearded dragon loves. Recently I took my daughter fishing, and had leftover worms. I remember that beardies and other reptiles love earth worms. So I took one out rinsed it a little and fed it to my bearded dragon. At first he was not sure, but when the worm started wriggling the game was on. My beardie almost sucked it up like spaghetti. (now during fishing season worms can be bought at walmart for 2 bucks a container) If you get a wild hair you can go looking under rocks, logs, and anything laying on the ground. There is a huge chance of finding a few earth worms. I know I don't have to say it but "free". If you catch enough you can actually start a worm farm. This will be a contious free supply of food.

Grasshoppers and Crickets:

On many occasions I take my daughter out and we go grasshopper and cricket catching. Now to many it may not be worth the effort, but to my daughter and I it was a blast. On the cool summer days we could be found in the fields with a large jar filled with grasshoppers, and crickets. This is free food for our beardie. Many people do not like this idea, they complain of insectisides and poisons, so it would be safe to not catch the little buggers near large farms with crops. Again free food, grasshoppers and crickets can get expensive. I have tried raising crickets but that was a failed adventure. Hey maybe you can be more successful. I know down south, you can buy fishing crickets a lot cheaper than what you get in the pet stores, that may be another option. Buy a bunch of crickets at a fishing price, and freeze them (discussed in my cricket tips section)The other free food for beardies if you are willing to hunt are grub worms. Grub worms can be found in dead logs and stumps.

Pinkies:

If you are willing you can by two pet store mice, male and female, when they have babies you freeze the babies and thaw out when feeding time. Now many people will complain about this one, but I buy pinkies for my beardie, and recently acquired a new tank for the purpose of raising pinkies. The mice are like 2 bucks for one. So the initial start up will be a few bucks but in the long run you will save more money DIY (pinkies are not cheap).

I enjoyed writing this section of my lens and will continue to add to it as I come up with money saving tips for feeding a bearded dragon.

More great reading on the care of Bearded Dragons

A few books on the care of bearded dragons: not your typical pet store pets, and not your typical pet store how to guides.

things to do

-Buy mealies

-clean out cage

-give flames a bath

-take flames for a walk

-rent Godzilla

Video of Flames my Bearded Dragon eating - a super worm.

I love super worms

Flames loves the camera - You did not know it but, Bearded Dragons Loves taking pictures

Great Stuff on Amazon - to help care for bearded dragons

When a Bearded Dragon Does not Poop - Bearded Dragon taking a Bath

Sometimes when owning a bearded dragon they will go through a phase where they just will not have a bowel movement. If your Bearded dragon has not had a bowel movement in about a week. Examine there stomach, feel for a knot or lump, this means they are clogged (compacted) and they need to poop. First give bearded dragons more fruits and veggies with high fiber, this should be in their daily diet anyway. Then after a day and they still have not pooped put just a little bit of olive oil on there food. Then if they still have not pooped or had a bowel movement, give them a bath. When this works the water will be nasty.

Fill the tub with enough water to cover half there body's thickness, make sure the water is warm to the touch. Please don't use hot water, do not want to hurt the little guy. Then just gently lay him in it. At first bearded dragons may not like this, especially if it is new to them. Once they get use to it they will love it. Do not leave them in the water more than 10 to 15 minutes. As stated before Beardies can developed resperitory diseases if they are around a lot of water.

Even if they are not having bowel issues, once a week or twice a month in a warm bath will be a nice treat. If this does not solve the bearded dragons issue it may then be time to go to a vet. This means more serious problems.

Brumation not Hibernation

a period of semi-dormancy

As I studied Bearded Dragons to learn the proper care I learned that bearded dragons go into a period of semi-dormancy , called brumation. Since I read this I was not scared when my Beardie became inactive and would not eat. I got him 6-5-2010 and around Nov of 2011 he brumated. Now don't get me wrong I worried because he was not eating and at times would not respond to my touch. I knew this was normal and just let him sleep. It was not until the end of January that he came out of his brumation.

What did I do to help him during this period? Well not much.

-I made sure he had fresh food, veggies and super worms, just in case he decided to wake long enough to eat. I also made sure he had fresh water as well.

-I kept the light and heat on during the normal time cycles, and made sure the cage temperature was at a normal heat range. Most people make the cage cooler. If you have a big enough cage then you will have a proper cool spot. So in having a proper cool spot you can keep the rest of the cage normal. My bearded dragon stayed on the lower level of the cage where the temperature is at least 15 degress cooler then the rest. I did this so if my bearded dragon came out of brumation while I was not home he could find his hot spot.

-I did not have to clean up poop, because during this brumation period he did not have a bowel movement. This bothered me but I checked his stomach once a week. I checked for lumps or bulges, to make sure he was not impacted.

Many books and articles will tell you how to prepare for your beardies brumation. Whenever your bearded dragon is showing signs that are different from his normal activity, it is best to have his or her stool checked for parasites and sickness. This is just to make sure your beardie is healthy and indeed going through a brumation period.

Keep in mind there is not a set time of the year for this brumation period. It all depends on your bearded dragon. Also you may have a bearded dragon that does not brumate at all. It is rare to have a juvenile beardie to brumate. If your bearded dragon is less then a year old then this may very well be a sign of sickness. Then it is advised to get your beardie checked out by a vet.

Things to think about when your bearded dragon becomes lethargic and does not eat. Do they have an impaction? Do they have some sort of an illness that isn't readily apparent? Do they have parasites? Are they under some sort of stress? Do they need to see a vet? Do they have inadequate temperatures, and improper UVB lighting. If you can answer these question with out doubt and know your beardie is healthy and have been properly cared for. Then allow your beardie to brumate and periodically check on him or her.

Other Interesting facts about Bearded Dragons - facts on dragons

bearded dragon
bearded dragon

Because Bearded dragons are social they will watch you, or maybe they are just nosey.

The Bearded dragon has a black beard or extra skin under their jaw that they stick out to act as a defense mechanism and make it appear larger and more threatening to potential enemies.

Bearded Dragon colors that exist: pastel oranges, violets and reds, with some popular morphs including "sand fire" and "tiger, no lizard green

The life expectancy of the bearded dragon is 7-10 years.

Adult males grow up 2 feet in length and that includes the tail

The bearded dragons are originally from Australia

Reptiles are territorial and may fight when caged together. A male and female Bearded Dragon can generally be kept together, however, the male may become too aggressive during the breeding season.

And Bearded Dragons are also called Beardies for short.

Bearded Dragons wil go from a light color to dark color in matter of seconds. I have heard that this is from a number of things, and temperature beaing one. I noticed that my bearded dragon will be lighter and almost an orange color under the heat lamp When he is in the shade almost his stripes become almost a black color.

At night when he is sleeping, he does scratch at the surface. I have been told that this is because bearded dragons are natural diggers in the wild. I think he is dreaming and trying to escape from a cat.

So what are you guys waiting on go get yourself a Bearded Dragon.

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Bearded Dragon Diseases

sickness, parasites, and complications

When it comes to Bearded Dragons keeping an eye out on those little guys can be hard, worrisome, and down right stressful. To be honest if you have your bearded dragons cage set up correctly most diseases, sickness, and complications can be avoided. There are some however that are not caused by an incorrect cage setup, some are caused by the foods, vitamin defieciency, and and other things that can be overlooked.

I know there is plethora of information on bearded dragons and their sicknesses but honestly its hard to find in one place. So with the knowledge I have and extensive research I hope I have listed everything possible on this module. If you bearded dragon is not sick I do hope you take precautions and keep him or her from getting sick. If you beardie is sick I hope you find a solution here, if not please take you little one to a vet.

Bearded Dragon Disease

1. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in Bearded Dragons

-Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is an umbrella term that covers a number of disorders related to the weakening of the bone or impaired systems function caused by an imbalance in vitamin D3, calcium and phosphorus.

1a. Symptoms

-bowed, or swollen legs, or bumps on the long bones of the legs

-arched spine or bumps along bones of spine

-softening and swelling of the jaw (bilateral) - sometimes called "rubber jaw"

-receded lower jaw

-in turtles, softening of the carapace or plastron (the shell)

-tremors

-jerky movements-twitching in the muscles of the legs and toes

-lameness

-anorexia

-constipation

-fractures of the bones due to bone weakness

-lethargy

-weakness and even partial paralysis (sometimes unable to lift body off ground)

1b. Prevention and treatment

-diet balanced in calcium and phosphorus, protein, energy and other nutrients

-exposure to UVA/UVB for diurnal reptiles - need fluorescent bulbs that are rated to provide UVA and UVB

-proper heat gradients (day and night)

-proper light/dark cycles

-adequate enclosure/room to exercise

2.Yellow Fungus in bearded dragons

or Flesh Eating Fungus is a contagious disease. It is thought to be caused by yeast infections in the digestive system, gotten from antibiotics, that then exits with the feces and infects the Bearded Dragon on the outside. Or it can be passed on from an infected dragon to an uninfected one. It is characterized by the appearance of yellow patches of fungus on your Bearded Dragon. Preventive measures include always using a probiotic when you are using an antibiotic. Once this disease is contracted, a vet is a must, because this disease can kill reptiles if left untreated.

3.Respiratory Tract Infection in bearded dragons and other reptiles

In reptiles, respiratory tract infection (RTI) are caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs. RTI is generally related to improper environmental conditions (being kept too cold, too wet, prolonged stress due to enclosure being kept at a single temperature rather than the species' required thermal gradient, prolonged psychosocial stress, etc.). If the reptile is not otherwise being cared for properly (dirty enclosure, inadequate feedings, etc.), this can exacerbate the condition, making it more severe and prolonging recovery.

Symptoms include listlessness, weight loss due to decreased appetite, swollen or bloated body, gaping, open mouth breathing, often with audible exhalations when in an advanced state. Wheezing may be heard, or clicking noises when breathing. Bubbly, stringy or sheeting mucous appears in the mouth. The head may be held in a raised position to facilitate breathing.

Treating a respiratory infection requires two things: an immediate evaluation of the day and night temperatures in the reptile's enclosure, with additional heat sources added or broken/malfunctioning equipment replaced, and the attention of a reptile vet who will evaluate the reptile for systemic antibiotics and fluid replacement.

Reptile with respiratory infections should be kept in draft-free but well-ventilated enclosures maintained at the species' day time temperature gradient both during the day and at night. For reptiles who require a hotter basking area, the basking area temperatures do not need to be provided at night, but the higher overall gradient does. This will not only enable the reptile's own immune system to function better, but increases the efficacy of the antibiotics.

If you see the signs of respiratory infection, and it is not related to being handled too soon after eating or drinking, get your reptile to a reptile vet now - delays will result in a weaker reptile, and depending on why the RTI was allowed to set in to begin with, may prolong recovery and stress.

4.Tail Rot in Bearded Dragons

This isn't a common problem, but it does occur. Bearded dragons with tail nips, or tail trauma of some sort seem more susceptible. While tail rot can lead to problems, if it is caught early it can be treated and reversed.

Tail rot is the term used when a bearded dragon tail tip darkens and gets infected. If tail rot is not caught early enough this will spread down the tail and may eventually fall off.

The first cause is trauma to the tail. Trauma can include, but not limited to, injuries from being crushed by cage décor (or anything else), and tail nips. The second cause of this is accumulated, unshed tail tips.

The first thing to do in prevention of bearded dragon tail rot, is make sure that there is nothing in your dragon's cage that can fall on or pinch their tail. Make sure that there is nothing that they are exposed to that can damage their tails. Another prevention tip is to give your dragon baths to help aid them with tough shedding. This will help stop unshed tail tips from accumulating.

If the tail rot is identified before it gets out of hand, it can be treated at home. Once you realise what was happening to your dragon immediately gave it a bath and also dip its tail in hydrogen peroxide. Using hydrogen peroxide will help soften the skin allowing its removal. Hydrogen peroxide will also treat the infection. Once you have done this you can also rub a little bit of neosporin on the tail.

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Bearded Dragon Disease Continued

oh help me Doctor I just ache

5.Mites and parasites

Bearded dragons can also be affected by parasites, both internal and external. Symptoms of internal parasites include loss of appetite, bloating, vomiting, sudden weight loss, sluggish movements, and constipation. Internal parasites should be treated by a veterinarian, who will generally prescribe a regimen of oral or injected medication.

Mites are external parasites that often afflict bearded dragons. They are tiny (a few millimeters in diameter) and difficult to spot. Mites will attach themselves to your dragon, bore through his skin, and suck his blood. If many mites are present, they can work together and quickly drain a significant amount of blood, causing a lack of appetite in your pet and a weakening of his immune system. Because of the severity of the consequences of mites, if you think your pet is infected you will need to act quickly.

There are three ways to rid your dragon of mites. First, try thoroughly bathing him, paying particular attention to the eyes, nostrils, vents, and skin folds, and housing him in a separate terrarium while you clean his home. When cleaning the terrarium, dispose of the substrate, any live plants, and other furnishings that are able to be thrown away. Any items that are kept should be wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in the oven at 275°F for two to three hours. Next, soak the terrarium in a bleach solution, letting it soak for 18 to 24 hours. Then, thoroughly rinse it and air it out.

Another method bearded dragon owners use to rid their pet of mites is to dip him in cooking oil (vegetable, olive, etc.). Dip him quickly, making sure his whole body is covered. Soak up any oil that remain on him, using a towel. Then, place him in a separate terrarium and clean the tank as detailed above.

One final option is to take your pet to the veterinarian. She will prescribe a mite killer that will usually need to be sprayed on both the bearded dragon and his terrarium. This treatment should soon eradicate all mites from your dragon and his home.

6.Abscesses

occasionally seen in Bearded Dragons, appear as hard tumor-like swellings anywhere on the pet's body. An abscess is an infected swollen area within body tissue, containing an accumulation of pus. They are less common in Bearded Dragons than in iguanas.

Abscesses occur when bacteria (most common) or fungi are introduced into the tissue by trauma such as a bite wound, a foreign body, a tumor, or certain parasites. Subcutaneous (just under the skin) abscesses are frequently encountered. Reptilian pus is usually caseous and thick, or like cottage cheese (not liquid). Abscesses often appear as a swelling somewhere on the body. They are diagnosed by appearance, palpation, fine needle aspiration or surgical exploration. Abscesses are treated by surgical excision or by lancing and flushing of the abscess. The material within the abscess will usually be cultured to identify the causative organism and determine the appropriate antibiotics to use for completely eliminating the infection.

7.Burns

One of the most common injuries to a pet bearded dragon is burns. Burns typically come from the artificial heat sources needed to keep the lizard home in its environment.

Although supplying proper heat is important for the bearded dragons health, there is a danger of it getting burns from the heat sources. You should Use a Screen Cover to Protect Your Bearded Dragon, Avoid Using Heat Rocks, Use Appropriate Heat Lamps, and Inspect for Faulty Wiring. If you follow these simple rules then you can avoid burning your bearded dragon.

8.Adenovirus

Adenovirus enteritis is an infectious virus of the small bowel caused by a dsDNA virus resulting in a secretory diarrhea. There is no treatment for the adenovirus; antimicrobials can be given for secondary bacterial infections. There are unfortunately no specific signs to watch for. Most of the bearded dragons that have been diagnosed with adenoviruses have had a history of being poor doers, sometimes showing poor appetite, and sometimes exhibiting diarrhea. Sometimes, they die. The young, especially those four to 12 weeks of age, appear to be affected more often than older specimens.

9.Salmonella (harmful to humans)

While the possibilities of you being infected with salmonella from your very own pet bearded dragon is extremely slight. The bearded dragon’s owner really needs to be following a couple guidelines while handling the bearded dragon, to make certain you and the pet dragon remain safe and secure. Salmonella is a bacteria which is found in the bearded dragon’s fecal matter. When infected feces is not properly cleaned up and is allowed to spread by contact, the salmonella bacteria is occasionally transferred to humans.

Safe Practises to avoid the spread of Salmonella.

- Always Keep the vivarium or tank Clean

- Keep your bearded dragon clean!

- Washing Your Hands Is Key After Handling the bearded dragon

- Find a vet if you suspect illness

10.Stress

Here are six signs that your bearded dragon might be showing signs of stress.

-Loss of Appetite

-Lower Activity Levels

-Darker Coloration

-Not Basking Enough

-Frantically Clawing at the Sides of the Terrarium

-Stress Marks

There are many things that can stress your bearded dragon. To help him or her you should make sure the enclosure is setup correctly with proper heat, light, and a place for your beardie to go to get away. A proper diet with proper nutrition, should be given to your beardie. A large enough enclosure for your beardie to move around and climb should be given. You should handle your beardie properly and at least daily.

Basically we can not avoid stressing our beardies no matter how hard we try. However if we provide the proper husbandry we can lighten the load of stress and make it manageable for our beardies.

How many species of Bearded Dragon are there?

9

What is a Bearded Dragon Morph?

and how many are there?

list of known up to date

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    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      Great - Informative lens! I really like it.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Flames is really cool and very photogenic! Thanks for the care information and tips. I'd like to adopt one of these beautiful creatures one day. We've had green anoles, but never had a bearded dragon.

    • MichaelWoods profile image
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      MichaelWoods 4 years ago

      @j-l-bardney: Well with out actually seeing him, If your beardie is still not sitff (i am sorry for your situation) then try a bath,, put him in a bath with warm water (but watch him and don't let him sink to the bottom) to see if that brings him back to reality. Often beardies will have spells and seizures. Being that he is 3 I am assuming you have a proper setup, lights (uvb and heat) and feed him properly. It is also not uncommon for a beardie to be impacted and have food pressing against their spine causing the beardie to be paralyzed. Often seizures are caused by not having the proper uvb setup, and impaction is caused by not feeding him properly.

    • profile image

      j-l-bardney 4 years ago

      This is going to sound really dumb but i'm confused...my bearded dragon is 3 years old next week, never been through brumation, and..well doing it was awful, i was on my way home and my mother said she was playing with my dragon and he was fine, until she put him in his cage and he put his beard out, she asked if he's ok, I assumed he was moody because she put him back but assured her I'd check when i got home. I have never seen anything like it, his hole beard was black and every time i touched him it looked like he was gagging, i then noticed his tale kept quivering I was so scared, it was late at night there were no vets so I called a friend who works in a reptile shop and went to veterinary school, he was in shock too he'd never heard of it but said he might be really p**sed off so leave him to it. I left him and checked on him regularly, when I went back a few hours later after it all started he wasn't moving, i nudged him, picked him up, touched his eyes gentle coz his eye lids would flicker...nothing. He doesn't appear to be breathing, and his tongues hanging out with drool down his beard which is tucked in but still black...I don't understand what's happened?! He's not cold or stiff either, we#re so confused! I'm heart broken, he was my 15th birthday present and i'm 18 in a few weeks, we celebrate our birthday together :'| he's like my baby, i love him :'| is he dead???

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Please say hello to Flames and let him know how nice it is to learn more about bearded dragons.

    • MichaelWoods profile image
      Author

      MichaelWoods 4 years ago

      @pool12: Well the first thing I would ask is how old is your beardie. The second would be about your husbandry of your little guy. If his tank is setup correctly with the right temps, on cool side and hot side. The third thing would be his diet. Assuming all of this is correct and your husbandry and diet is spot on I would venture to say he is starting to brumate if he is close to a year old.

    • profile image

      pool12 4 years ago

      what's wrong with my bearded dragon if it goes to sleep 3 hours before its normal time?

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      dinah-monast 5 years ago

      i'm not certain how i happened to come upon your site (i believe i was researching feeding beardies nightcrawlers and how to gutload them) but, it's wonderful that i did! i live in rural west virginia and have been getting totally burnt out messing with these darn crickets for my beardies. have no interest in breeding crickets, so this means ordering them shipped. shipments are small because, as you mentioned, they'll begin to die and smell. plus, if shipment doesn't arrive in time, i must drive 2 hour r/t to the nearest pet shop to purchase them.

      thank YOU for the freezing advice!! thank you, thank you, thank you!

      dinah

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      emy-n-luis-colon 5 years ago

      my bearded dragon is acting weird she will not move at all when i carry her when she usually does. but when i put her in the bath she moves. is this normal?

    • MichaelWoods profile image
      Author

      MichaelWoods 5 years ago

      @emy-n-luis-colon: When you say carry her what do you mean? I let my beardies rest on my arms shoulders lap, and they will stay there for hours if I let them.. If the bath is warm not hot, eventually your beardie will learn to relax in it and be still...

    • MichaelWoods profile image
      Author

      MichaelWoods 5 years ago

      @Draconius LM: Thank you for stopping by, reading, and leaving a great comment.

    • Draconius LM profile image

      Draconius LM 5 years ago

      Bearded Dragons are so awesome and by far the best lizard for anyone to raise!!Great lens

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      jacquelyn-kraemer29 5 years ago

      So mush great information!!!!! Thanks

    • profile image

      baymaac 5 years ago

      great lens... i was reading it with my beardie :)

    • MichaelWoods profile image
      Author

      MichaelWoods 5 years ago

      @Mermaiden: thanks for stopping by. I have been slacking with the pics, and really should add more. thank you..

    • Mermaiden profile image

      Mermaiden 5 years ago

      great lens! i love all the awesome pics!

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      joe-buck 6 years ago

      Like the lens and the dragons!