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Bearded Dragon Concerns

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by Kasmut, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Kasmut

    Kasmut Well-Known Member

    I'm probably just being paranoid, as I know it usually takes a while for beardies to acclimate to a new area, but I just have these concerns that I might be doing something wrong. So I got my new beardie (about 8 inches) from BBD on Friday. He was really calm out of the box, and he kinda just sat in the spot I placed him in his enclosure all night. I held him a little and he seemed ok, but obviously a little disoriented and scared. I gave him a fresh salad that he didn't eat any of, and offered a few roaches he showed no interest in.

    So I let him be til' the next day and gave him a soak in the morning. He seemed to like it for a little but freaked out when I tried to towel dry him. NBD, I held him a little and then put him back in his enclosure. He won't even go near his salad. I try to put it up to his lips and he'll reluctantly open his mouth for me to place a bit in, but that only lasts for 1 or two bits of greens. I tried putting 1 roach at a time in his enclosure, and he ate about 4-5 the first night but then just got totally disinterested. I left the rest of the roaches in his cage hoping he'd eat them while I wasn't looking if he is a shy eater.

    Then today I tried putting the Tupperware dish in with about 10-15 roaches. When I put it in he got excited and jumped in and ate about 2 or 3. Then he started freaking out that he couldn't get out of the Tupperware, and wasn't interested in eating any more. I had to help him out, and then put the rest of the roaches in his cage with him, but he didn't seem to care.

    My concerns are that leaving the bugs in with him stresses him out more. They obviously skitter off to go hide in various places and I can't be sure he is even eating them. I know dubias don't chew on beardies like crickets do, but I don't want a bunch of dead roaches in there with him. I also noticed he doesn't really use his basking spot much. It is mostly just a few scattered flat rocks underneath the bulb, not very high though because the bulb is too low due to a dimmer. He likes to climb on a step-platform thing i have in the back corner with leaves on it. He is there a lot, as well as sometimes on a piece of driftwood I have this is sort of near the basking spot, but only gets to about 90 degrees at most. The basking spot temps range from 108-114 so I don't know if he just doesn't feel like basking or what.

    Should I bathe him more often since he isn't eating as much? I read that 1-2 times a week is usually good though. Should I not be letting the roaches loose in his cage? They have a lot of place to scurry and hide so there's no way I can clean out the ones he doesn't eat without having to take apart all the deco which I think would freak him out even more. Should I try to feed him in a different tub even though he freaks out just from a small Tupperware that I put IN his cage? I try to tong-feed him each roach but he doesn't even look at them if they aren't skittering around. I'm just concerned. x_x He has been showing stress marks also. He doesn't seem lethargic, I've caught him wandering around the cage and he seems very alert and kinda wary. Idk, any tips?

    Also he hasn't pooped once since I got him, but I do not think he's impacted.
  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, as you yourself say, it takes time for them to acclimate to a new enclosure, but you haven`t allowed the lizard any time at all to do that!
    I recommend not handling at all for the next week or so, just the necessary cage cleaning, leaving food and water, etc.
    Can you give some details of enclosure size and type, and the conditions inside; both ambient and surface temps, and type of heat/lighting you`re using, and do you have a few photos? Thanks!
  3. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    I agree^ - you need to stop handling him and let him adjust. Usually a week-two weeks, depending on the reptile, is sufficient. He's not used to you or his environment, and until he feels secure in his new home, further stresses such as handling and baths will only agitate him. He will be fine without a bath for a bit. For now, like it was mentioned, only go in his space to change out his food and water and spot clean, but otherwise leave him be.

    How old is your dragon?

    For food, I would suggest placing a bowl of veggies in his enclosure in the morning, and then later in the day offer some roaches. Try offering them in a very shallow tupperware container, with a step of sorts leading up to the container so it's easy for him to get in. Just put a few roaches in there - say 5 - so they're not overwhelming. Then leave the room. Many beardies, while they're still getting used to you, won't eat in front of you. If he eats those, then add some more.

    You could also try offering crickets instead for the first little while. They less intimidating than roaches, especially if you have a young dragon.
  4. Majora

    Majora Elite Member

    Murrindindi and cassicat gave you good advice. What he's doing sounds normal. He may not eat at all until he's settled in and fully acclimated to his new home, and that may take a few days to a week. Trying to force him to eat by putting food up to his face and handling and bathing him will only make that settling-in period longer and more difficult. Just place the food in his enclosure and clean up after him if he goes to the bathroom, but other than that try staying hands off for a while.
  5. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    You need to stop holding him and touching him for a week. During that time only get into his cage to clean and put food in but ignore the dragon completely. He needs the settling in period to get used to his cage. Leaving the roaches in his cage won't stress him out but the constant handling can. Give him awhile to settle in before handlin and the stress marks will reduce.
    As for the poop if he isn't eating muh then no need to poop.

    Edit: I see others posted so this is redundant...oops.
  6. Kasmut

    Kasmut Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the advice guys. I realize now I have been stressing him out more than necessary. I've just read so many different opinions on how to handle it, so I tried a little bit of everything at once lol.

    He is in a 4x2x18 critter condo. I am using a 12% T8 Arcadia UVB tube, and a 100w 'intense' powersun basking bulb from zoo med on a dimmer. Both the UVB and basking bulb are on a 24 hour timer, the lights come on automatically at 11:00 AM and go off at 12AM. I use a probe thermometer and a temp gun. The cool side stays around 75-80, his basking spot his usually 108-114. Ambient on the hot side is usually 85-95ish.

    poo1.jpg poo2.jpg poo3.jpg poo4.jpg
    poo5.jpg Q2Rar.jpg vKQrE.jpg 6iosY.jpg

    I just took the ones of him in the enclosure. He was trying to climb up and the sides and was glass surfing. x_x
  7. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    So he lights are on for one hour? I may be reading that wrong but they only need to be on for twelve hours. A good way to set the times is go by what time the sun rises and sets in your area. For instance my lights of on at 6am off at 6pm
  8. Kasmut

    Kasmut Well-Known Member

    No they are on for 13 hours. 11am in the morning until 12am midnight
  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again, thanks for the details and pics, apart from the premature handling the conditions sound good. As babies/juveniles they need much more protein in the diet, though you should still offer the vegs (I doubt he/she will eat the bowl full you provide though)! ;)
    Edit: How many inches/cm is the UVB tube from the lizard (it needs to be within approx 10inches or less to be effective).
  10. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    That makes sense then. Why the late hours? Is that when you are there?
  11. Kasmut

    Kasmut Well-Known Member

    Yes, I sleep in late due to my schedule, and the way his enclosure is in my bedroom, if the lights came on at 6am I would have a rude awakening every morning lol (light sleeper). The UVB distance depends on where he is standing. At the lowest (from bulb to the tile) it's about 12-13 inches. :/ A bit far but the higher up he climbs the more he gets and there's not much I can do as I can't lower the fixture. I could put him more bricks or rocks to walk on. I actually planned on getting another thicker piece of wood he can support himself on when he gets bigger. I can set that under the UVB and see if it helps. The positioning of the fixtures in the critter condo is really awkward. I know it's best for the UVB to be near his basking bulb, but it's not really close in the enclosure. x_x
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  12. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Agree with the above^. Everything you've shown looks good, and your dragon is a cutie. :) He seems healthy and alert.

    I believe the only issue is that he hasn't settled in yet. Offer food daily, both veggies and protein, and yes, at this age he will need more feeder items than veggies (75% protein, 25% veggies). If you can contain it in a bowl that would be ideal (especially based on your setup, it would be difficult to hunt down all the food items). Otherwise, if you want to just let the prey loose in his enclosure as it is, try putting a piece of potato in there as well. That way if they get hungry, they'll munch on the potato and not your dragon.

    And then just remain completely hands off for a bit. Yes, it's hard, but it'll be worth it in the end. :)
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    O.k, then you need to make the basking area higher so as the dragon`s thermoregulating it gets the benefit of the UVB. Is it possible you could drill a small hole in the lid to pass the electric flex through and put another bulb fixture closer to the tube?
  14. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Another option is that you could try a different type of UVB. Reptisun 10.0, for example, has an effective range of up to 20".
  15. Kasmut

    Kasmut Well-Known Member

    I'm not really sure about the adding a fixture thing. I'm not very handy and would probably break everything. I might ask my brother to take a look and see if it's doable though.

    I read that Arcadia is better than reptisun, but for the type I got I can't find how far the range is. :/ Does anyone know? Here it is
  16. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    You're right, I do believe Arcadia is considered to be better, but they're not available here so I don't have firsthand knowledge of that.

    Do you still have the box your light came in? On the Reptisun, it describes on the side its effective range.
  17. Kasmut

    Kasmut Well-Known Member

    No I actually threw it away like two days ago.. kicking myself lol. On the website it says they recommend to keep it within 12" so I think it'll be alright if I add a few more climby things right near the bulb for him.
  18. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I used to use the Reptisun tubes, they are recommended to be within 12inches, though in reality it`s best if they are closer than 10inches (even 5 to 6 inches is fine as there`s very little heat), if you can make the basking platform higher.
  19. SpookyCheerios

    SpookyCheerios Elite Member

    Aracadia is much stronger than reptisun and need to be quite a bit farther away. We actually just discussed this on the last page of my "Dracarys' Progress" thread if you want to check it out ^^
  20. Kasmut

    Kasmut Well-Known Member

    Well that works out then haha. I also tried what you guys suggested. I put about 6 roaches in a shallow tupperware, and they were all gone when I went back to check on him. So I refilled it with 5 more and watched him for a while, and he leapt in and ate one up. Yay success! :)

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