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How Long Will It Last??

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by SammieLee, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member

    How long will stress from relocation last?? We got Red Sat. and he was eating a little but as of today he will not eat at all. :( I feed him 3 times a day and the first 2 he refused to eat crickets. The first couple days he even have a few bits of greens and wont eat any now. He did poop once today and it looks normal (well from what I have read it looked normal). He is still a baby and I hate him missing a meal much less 2 meals. How long before he will start eating better?? Thanks!!
     
  2. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Depends on how much other stress they have. For the forest week or two he should not be handled and the cage should not be opened except for doing a minimal amount of cleanup, water change and feeding. This method makes it so that most will eat in 4-5 days and be completely styled in by middle of week two.
    Additional handling will set his settling in back a bit and it can take up to a month before they are comfortable and feeding regularly.
     
  3. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    I wouldn't be going in his enclosure to feed him crickets 3x a day. I would provide a bowl of veggies that can remain in his enclosure all day that he can munch on when he pleases, and only offer crickets 2x a day. This will minimize the amount of time you're in his space.

    How are you feeding him crickets? Are you adding them to his tank, or do you take him out to feed him?

    If you're just dumping crickets in his tank - drop them in there, then back off, get out of the room, and leave him be for awhile. Come back a bit later (say 20-30 mins) and then see if he's eaten. Some reptiles won't eat if you're standing there watching them, especially when they're still adjusting. They need to feel like they're completely safe and alone before they'll be comfortable eating.

    If you're taking him out of his enclosure to eat, I would advise against that until he's adjusted. Like Thalatte mentioned, handling them while they're still adapting increases stress.

    Are there any stressors in his environment? Other people, pets, noises, lights, etc? They can affect adjustment time as well.

    It really varies for each individual animal - some will seem adjusted in a day, others in a week, others still in a month. My first leopard gecko wouldn't eat for almost a week when I brought her home, and then slowly started eating once she adapted, and at that point, I started handling her every day for about 15 mins at a time to get her used to me. Whereas my second Leo ate the day I brought him home, and was perfectly content with me picking him up and handling him. Even with him though, I left him alone for about a week to be sure he really was adjusted.
     
  4. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member

    So should I not be feeding in another tank?? It makes it easier and I dont have to move stuff in is tank to catch crickets. Other than feeding and one bath (last night) we have not be holding him. I have the lid on the tank open all the time so the UVB isn't having to go through the screen. My son does clean the tank as soon as he sees poop though. He is in our living room so there is always some one moving around since I have 4 kids. The tv is on a few hours a night.

    I am really confused on how we should be handling feeding time and still not cause to much stress for Red?? The feeding tank I have to hold him and feedign in his tank I have to move everything around to catch crickets he doesn't eat. Even when I only put in one or 2 at a time I still end up needing to fish at least one out.
     
  5. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member

    Thank you!
     
  6. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    People may have varying opinions, but what I believe with any reptile is that the more you can leave them alone when you first bring them home, the better. Now you shouldn't avoid them entirely; cleaning the cage and offering food and water is definitely important and it also gets them used to your presence.

    As it is, you need to look at it from your beardie's perspective; you are huge. He is small. In his eyes, he doesn't know whether you're a predator about to eat him or if you're harmless. Combine that with being in a new tank with unfamiliar surroundings, and he doesn't even have the security to know that he could hide somewhere if need be. He is completely helpless at this point, and that is very stressful. When stressed, he has no desire to eat.

    This is by no means the only or even necessarily the best way to go about this, but I'll give you my life example. I've cared for/owned a few beardies, and the one I have now I brought home when he was just a young thing, 2-3 months old. His enclosure was very basic - 40g breeder with a basking log, some climbing logs, a water bowl, a food bowl, and paper towel substrate. For the first several days, he was offered greens and bearded dragon pellets in a bowl, and was offered crickets morning and evening (around 8-9am and 5pm) in his enclosure in a small tupperware container that he could get into but the crickets couldn't get out of (broke their back legs off). Other than that, he was left alone. We didn't bathe him, we didn't handle him. We didn't avoid his enclosure - it was in the living room, so inevitably there were always people around and talking, but when we watched TV we kept it on low, there were kids around so we stressed the importance of keeping our voices down, and we kept him in an area that my cats couldn't get to.

    He didn't eat anything the first few days. Then the fourth day, he went after his greens and pellets. The fifth, he tried some crickets. Then he was an eating machine from that point on. It was then that we started taking him out of his enclosure to feed him in a large tub with crickets who had legs intact so he could really hunt and chase them. It was at that point that we started bathing him regularly. And it was at that point that he could be handled freely without any apparent stress.

    I understand the frustration of trying to feed baby crickets in a large enclosure, and that's why I use tupperware containers. I do this method with any of my reptiles in large enclosures because it's too easy for the bugs to get lost otherwise.

    You just need to give your beardie time. Young or old, all reptiles need to adapt, and it can't happen overnight, and any setbacks will mean it takes longer for them to get used to you and their environment.
     
  7. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member


    I read and read before we brought him home and did not know to just leave him alone. :( Is there an easy way to break 1/4 inch crickets back legs off?? How many should I put in there?? I read that if you put crickets in the fridge for a few min. this will slow them down. How long will it slow them down for?? Would that work instead of breaking off the back legs?? How big of a dish can a baby bearied get in but crickets can not get out of??
     
  8. Pharoahound

    Pharoahound Elite Member

    If you don't have any remorse for the cricket take a pair of sissors and cut all of its legs off. I did this with a sick tarantula because anything movie scared it away. Maybe try that?
     
  9. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Cricket sadism...that's an awesome mental image right there. ;)

    As a general rule, any reptile you bring home should be left alone for at least a few days until it adjusts. Different people will recommend different time spans, some say a week, some say two weeks, some even say a month. It depends on the reptile, it depends on your experience with them, it depends on how well they seem to be adjusting, etc. There is no hard and fast rule, as we have no way of gauging an animal's mental state to know how scared/stressed it really is. However, physical indicators - such as not eating, hiding all the time, bolting from you when you come near it, regurgitating food, lethargy, dehydration - any combination of these can indicate that a reptile is stressed and it needs to be left alone. With the exception of a select group of varanids, reptiles are not social creatures that crave human attention and interaction. In time, most will come to tolerate humans and some will even respond positively (as we perceive it) to attention/interaction from humans, but they never really desire it. As much as we'd like to think that holding and cuddling a reptile will make it feel safer, it in fact does the exact opposite. Hence why leaving it alone is the best way of helping it to adjust.

    Putting crickets in the fridge works to slow them down for sure, but the effects don't last too long, especially in the heat of your beardie's enclosure. Once your beardie is eating crickets, you could do that so he can hunt them, but if he's not even going for them now, they'll just thaw and escape.

    If the crickets have no back legs, then they can't jump, and any dish that's slightly taller than they are long (so they can't grip the top with their legs) and is smooth (like glass, aluminum, plastic tupperware coated with packing tape) will work fine. It doesn't have to be very tall at all, and your beardie will easily be able to get inside.
     
  10. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    What cassi said and don't worry dismembering crickets will not last forever. Once the beardie is settled in he will be comfortable eating crickets and will chase them down on his own.
     
  11. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Great advice guys and gals!
     
  12. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member

    Thank you all!! I put a dish with crickets in it and have left it in there. He has not eaten any but he did eat one piece of greens. Better than no food. I am just going to leave the crickets but I dont think he will eat them. :( He is sound asleep basking right now. It is about 2 hours earlier than he had been going to sleep. Hopefully tomorrow will go better.
     
  13. Genko

    Genko Elite Member

    This is just a suggestion, but what if you put him in your son's room for awhile, and gradually get him used to his new home, before putting him back into the living room...? I agree with everyone about only doing what is necessary at first. Let him see that your hands are friendly, and humans aren't predators.
     
  14. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member

    I would love to put him in my sons room but we live in a 3 bedroom place and I have 4 kids so he has to share and I don't think it would be good with the younger child that is in there. If he doesnt start eating better soon I will put him in my room where it is quite and let only my 9 year old in there during the day. :)

    Good news......he ate 5 crickets. My husband took tweezers and laid the crickets with no legs one at a time by him and he ate them :) He even took one right from the tweezers. We tried a cricket that still had his legs and he didnt care about it. So I will cut off legs and feed him one cricket at a time for now. I am so happy he ate. I do have a question though. I usually shut his lights off at 9:30ish but since he just ate I dont know what to do.....I will be up for a while so should I wait a couple hour to shut them off?? Thanks!!
     
  15. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    That's great news! :) Keep it up, and like Thalatte said, it's not forever; eventually, he will be more than happy to hunt them down on his own.

    If you ever end up feeding your dragon later than usual, it's ok to leave his lights on for a bit longer than usual to help him digest. It's not something I would make a habit of doing, but it is something I've done with both of my dragons before when they chose to have a late night snack. Depending on how he is in the morning, you may want to leave his lights off for a bit longer to compensate as well, but I would check on him first to see if he seems awake before you do. If he's awake, just let his lights come on at the usual time and resume the cycle.
     
  16. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Lights on for about 30-60 min after eating seems to work well for my lizards.
     
  17. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member

    Thanks! It will be 2 hours in about 15 min so I will shut off his lights then. He is still basking right now. He did get down once and run a round for a min but right back to basking. I will see how he acts in the morning to see if I turn the lights on at normal time or not. We are slowly figuring out this lizard thing.....this site has been so helpful! This is our first reptile so it's all new.

    Is there a way to tell when it's been long enough and I can shut the lights off?
     
  18. SammieLee

    SammieLee Elite Member

    Forgot to add earlier......when he was eating crickets I saw him wave for the first time. He waved one side then the other. My husband was asking me why they wave. I'm guessing mating reasons. So why do they wave? It was so cute :)
     
  19. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    The general consensus is that it takes about 2 hours to fully digest a meal, but of course that varies with the amount eaten and type of food eaten. However to be safe, it's advised to feed reptiles no later than 2 hours before lights out.
    If you've left them on for an extra 2 hours after he ate today, then that'll be plenty long enough.

    The waving is super cute. :) It's a form of communication, a sign of submission, and very common in young dragons. Females tend to retain this characteristic into adulthood, whereas males will bob and show off their mighty beard.
     
  20. Genko

    Genko Elite Member

    That is great! He seems to be adjusting well. What a relief, huh? :)
     

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