This evening I was surprised when my next door neighbor asked if I wanted their bearded dragon. Apparently, their very young son had lost interest in her and they didn't want to pay for her things if their son didn't want her any more. I've taken care of this Bearded Dragon when they were on vacation before and I really like her, so I agreed to take her in and she was brought over.
The problem is, she is very fat. She's two years old now, and has been living in the same tiny tank since they got her at a few weeks old. She has very little room to move, and spends about half her time lounging on top of a rock precipice and the other half digging at the side of the tank. She has also been fed nothing but dried mealworms, dried crickets, and iceberg lettuce her entire life. I'm going to get her a new (much larger- probably a 30-gallon) reptile tank as soon as possible, but I need to know how to go about safely switching her diet to something healthier (how long should I drag out the diet switch? I usually do it over two weeks for my mammalian pets, but I have never had a lizard before), and what that new diet should be. I would like to switch her over to live crickets, assuming that she even knows that they're food at this point.
I'm also a bit concerned about her substrate-- she's on reptile sand at the moment, but I've heard that sand can cause blockages. The sand definitely gets into her food and water dishes, so I know that she swallows some of it. I had snakes several years ago and used paper towels for their substrate- are they recommended for use with bearded dragons?
As for her "heat lamp," it seems to be just a normal desk lamp with a 60-watt bulb. She has a tank light at the top which she seems to bask under (on top of her rock), and she does seem to appreciate sitting in front of the lamp, but I need to get her an actual heat lamp.
Here are some pics of "Rex" and the tank she's been living in:
(Edit: Thanks so much for letting me post pics, mld! ^^ )
Thank you so much!