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New Beardie - Need Help

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by Bodikai, Oct 3, 2009.

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  1. Bodikai

    Bodikai Member

    My baby gecko died yesterday, I raised it since it was laid in an egg, so my mom got my a bearded dragon. It's A 1 year old beardie, and from what I believe its male. He has a black beard and he has started to get aggressive with me. :< His got side is 95 F exact, I cannot test the cool side because that's where he is laying down... Every time i get near him he
    gets aggressive and puffs his beard, flattens his belly, and opens his mouth to bite. I have him on paper towel for now. He is about a foot long. And he is in a 20gallon vivarium. I have a 55 gal., but im not sure if I should move him in it yet. I got all the supplies from the previous owners. They did care for him. I think... Tell me why he is aggressive and how I can fix it?

  2. DragonFamily

    DragonFamily Elite Member

    Well it sounds like you might be trying to do a little too much too quickly. Remember that any time you move an animal like this it needs time to acclimate to its new environment. This can take a few weeks. Have you reviewed the care sheet on this site for Bearded Dragons? If not, do so to get familiar with the basics:

    Bearded Dragon Caresheet (Pogona vitticeps)

    The fact that the Dragon is active and responding to you, albeit aggressively, is a bit of a good sign. When they lay in the tank inactively and are lethargic, it can often be a bad sign with respect to the lizard's health. Since this is a lizard that grew up for a bit under another person's care, it is possible it might not have been properly cared for too or just happens to be a bit on the aggressive side. In time, and with proper care, it may be calmer with you. Just be patient.

    The 20gal tank is not really big enough for that Dragon, in my opinion, and it will definitely end up needing more in the future. A 55gal isn't really the ideal size if it is a fish tank since it doesn't maximize floor space, but it is bigger than the 20 and therefore better. Just make sure you can get the proper heat and light to cover the larger tank.
  3. T-rex

    T-rex Elite Member

    He should be moved to the bigger tank. 20gal is far too small. He should be just about full grown or close to it. He needs time to settle in. He is in a new place and that's pretty scary for him... Give him a week or two before trying to handle him. If he was never handled he may need some work, but hold off for a week or two. Do you have a UVB source?
  4. wildheart

    wildheart Elite Member

    Welcome to HC!

    He is aggressive because he is locked up in a box and if you got that cage from the previous owners then it means his been locked up for a year already. He is depressed, bored senseless and hate humans for making his life miserable. His life is not worth living and he cant wait for the end of it.

    In order for you to have a happy dragon you really need to give him much more space. My dragons runs up and down, clime over their rocks onto the big branch, down and around, over the plants and on and on. They love 'playing' and gets bored very easily and then become lethargic.

    Maybe you can swap those two cages that you currently have for something much bigger? Or build him a cage.

    The good news is that dragons are VERY easy to tame, they love attention, love being stroked, love hugs and again LOVE attention. Even the abused - aggressive ones that I've helped with, tames withing 3-4 days. Ignore his show of aggression because that is all it is - a show. Go straight in - pick him up and hold him to your chest until he stops squirming around. Then you can loosen your hold and just slightly stroke him and talk to him calmly. If you do this twice even more times a day, you will have a dragon seeking attention in less than 3 days.;)

    You cant leave your dragon to settle in first because he has nothing to settle into.
  5. T-rex

    T-rex Elite Member

    New smells, New noises, and new surroundings. He has a reason to settle in. It isn't just a matter of him being in a new enclosure, but a new place altogether.
  6. wildheart

    wildheart Elite Member

    Yes I know that everything is new, but believe me this dragon will much rather be out of that box than in it. Keeping him in there for a week or two to settle in will definitely not make him feel better, secure, happy or less aggressive. He will much easier adapt to the new person who cuddles him than adapt to the box!

    If it was my dragon and I did not have a proper cage then I would have him out most of the time and spend as much time as possible in the sun with him.

    Dragons are different from other reptiles, they seek attention, love being around humans and love the contact. This dragon is not a baby anymore he needs to learn that life is worth living and humans are a great source of pleasure, he needs to learn it now.

    He needs to settle into the house, settle in with the care taker and not settle into the box and feel miserable and unloved.

    Dragons are different and what applies to other reptiles just does not apply to them.;) You can stick to that rule of hands-off for a week or two if the cage is perfect and only if the cage is perfect. But, I never had that rule with my dragons and they 'love' me too pieces. The same with the neglected dragons that I help take care of, I dont give them time to settle in, I just shower them with love from the first moment that I see them and they too do not want to let go of me.;) Trust me on this, that dragon will be worse off if left alone.
  7. T-rex

    T-rex Elite Member

    I stated he/she needed to be moved to the other tank. I didn't relize it was small also. I never said he/she should leave it in the enclosure he is in now. I meant after he/she got the Dragon into a suitable enclosure.
  8. wildheart

    wildheart Elite Member

    From what you have said above it sounds as if you think I am attacking you, believe me, it is NOT the case at all!:D You are 100% correct that this dragon needs to immediately move into the 55 gallon and under normal circumstances be left alone for a while.

    In this case, because the dragon is 1 year old and aggressive I would strongly recommend that handling must begin immediately. They are very intelligent and he saw that by 'puffing his beard, flattening his belly, and opening his mouth to bite' that it chased the thread away, therefore he will do it more and more aggressively. Another member even gave her dragon away because of this behavior that just got worse and worse, where handling would have solved the problem immediately.;)

    Get a bigger cage, 55 gallon is also not big enough but at least better than 20. We can help you build one at a fraction of the cost or try and trade the two for a bigger one.

    Take your dragon out as much as possible and if the sun is shining by you then go sit outside with him. He needs the UVB to be healthy.
  9. T-rex

    T-rex Elite Member

    Not attacked, just thought what I said was misunderstood. I didn't know that in a case like this handling should be done right off. I have only Dragons that I got when they were young, and spoke from my experience with them.

    I see why handling now could be appropriate with like you said the BD seeing that his aggression worked and the big grabby thing went away. haha
  10. wildheart

    wildheart Elite Member

    Plus that the cage is too small and he will be miserable inside it!;)
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    It makes absolutely no difference whether the animal is one month or one year old, it needs to acclimate for a week or two, also, the fact that you may be moving him/her to a larger tank in the very near future is adding to the stress. ( But I agree, you DO need a much larger tank). He/she is NOT aggressive, just afraid, puffing the beard and opening the mouth is the way they deter predators, which is exactly what you are at the moment!
  12. Bodikai

    Bodikai Member

    He DOES Have UVB on him... or atleast i think it's a UVB... They had him in a dark corner with a regular strip light on him, his UVB light, and his heat mat under him. It was a family of 3 - a son, mother? and grandmother. As he got older he started to be more aggressive so he scared everyone but the grandmother. Right now he is just under the paper towels laying down looking outside the cage...

    I live in a family of 3, my sister, mother and I... And since I'm the boy, all the reptiles stay in my room. Where my computer, bed, bookshelf, TV, and other leopard gecko tanks are stored. Might be hard for me to let him run around. a specially since i have 2 cats and my dog found out what it was and wants to kill it... My dog have him a HUGE scare the other day when she barked (she is a medium sized dog with a DEEP bark) and thats when he started to act aggressively with me.

    Oh, in my previous comment I was responding to the letting him run around thing. To many nooks and crannys also

    I would love to build him a cage though :)
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Can you move him into the larger tank now, (over the next few days)? Dogs and cats should NOT be anywhere near the reptiles, that will cause so much stress to the lizards!
  14. Bodikai

    Bodikai Member

    Yeah, I can, but it will be kind of rough, the sad thing is my friend is comign to watch over him because my mom and I are going to go visit our sister mid next week and won't be back for 10 days. Not sure who is going to take care of it yet. 2 people can and are willing but I'm still deciding, why she didn't get me him after I will never know. And can my leopard gecko stuff mix with the bearded dragons stuff? If so I might just switch my geckos cage with his, she is in a 55 gal alone waiting for some friends at the moment, never thought I would be getting a dragon.
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    As far as switching the tanks, you would need to thoroughly clean the geckos tank out before you put the dragon in it. Also, do your friends have experience with looking after these animals?
  16. Bodikai

    Bodikai Member

    How thoroughly do I clean it, only one does, I'm probably going to go with him. What about cleaning the dragons cage. ALSO the 55 gallon has a lead, but its made out of wood with holes (it was a home made cage that I got from a friend who got it from a friend) and I can't really put the UVB bulb on it, the bulb has a clamp but should I still use the lid for him? My gecko doesn't use the lid

    had a lid*

    and what about cleaning the dragons cage?
  17. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Yes, I should have made it clear, you need to clean BOTH tanks ! I don`t understand what you mean about the 55gallon has a lead? You have to have a lid to keep the heat in, (and the dragon) !
    It`s o.k., I see you meant a LID!!
  18. Bodikai

    Bodikai Member

    Yeah, It has a lid but it is made out of something like a mix of wood and cardboard. I don't trust putting a light on it. Though, it does have build in sockets on bottom of the lid I could use, should I do that?

    Also, what should i clean the tanks WITH? Soap, alchohol, what?

    also, should I use reptile carpet for both the beardie and my geckos? i heard it washable and I have been using paper towels for both. I WILL NOT use sand. And the people who owned the dragon previously had him on Pete Moss
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    You can clean the tanks with a solution of bleach and water: One part bleach to ten parts water, ask your mom to mix it for you, then you must rinse out thoroughly after. Or better still do you have a steam-gun/ machine? Yes, reptile carpet is good, or stick-on tiles etc..
  20. Bodikai

    Bodikai Member

    Yeah, we have a steam gun machine :D Could we just steam the tanks?
    That would be A LOT easier
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