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Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by Sjshephard, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. Sjshephard

    Sjshephard Active Member

    In February, I bought my son a beardie for his birthday. This is my very first reptile and was pretty clueless in terms of habitat, etc. I have been obsessing about Yoshi since we brought him/her home because he/she is very small.

    After tons of research, I learned that the clerk who sold Yoshi to us did not have enough knowledge regarding the care of this animal. Needless to say, with the exception of feeding live crickets, I had been doing EVERYTHING wrong. The most important mistake was not having any kind of UVB light in his enclosure. And the calcium supplement this person sold me does not have D3 in it. Thankfully it does not appear as if Yoshi has suffered because of my inexperience. He/she is not lethargic and appears clean and healthy. Now that I have his enclosure set up properly (details below), his appetite has increased greatly.

    My questions are:

    How could lack of UVB exposure and no D3 supplementation have affected him/her?

    Are there things externally or behaviorally that I should be watching out for now?

    Should I expect to see a growth spurt?

    I take full responsibility for my ignorance and believe tat I have completely rectified the situation. If not, please let me know, in a respectful manner.

    I hope I have provided all the information needed. Thank you!

    40 gallon aquarium
    Warm side: 100 watt basking light (basking spot when checked with probe is between 100-105)
    Cool side: around 80, drops no lower than 70 at night
    24" Reptisun 10.0 17 watt linear light

    Attached Files:

  2. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Lack of uv and d3 means he was unable to process the calcium powder you were giving. In order for them to turn the raw calcium into a usable form they need vitamin d3 which they either get from supplements or from exposure to uvb they can make their own d3.
    Without proper calcium absorption the beardie will get brittle bones, loose rubbery lips, or in advanced cases Metabolic Bones Disease which is noticeable when the tail or spine will become kinked and crooked. MBD though takes a long time to develop so dont worry your beardie probably doesnt have it but pics of him would be appreciated.
    It is fairly easy to reverse the calcium problems. Feed him collard greens (found in the produce section of most grocery stores) and either dust his insects daily with the calcium that doesnt have d3. Then twice a week give him the calcium with d3. Also a multivitamin once a week is needed as well.

    things to look out for are loss of appetite or activity, wierd lumps (signs of a break or infection), missing toes or tail tip, swollen or discoloration around the mouth or in it, and/or persistant black beard.

    he isnt going to magically grow now that he is in a proper set up. Like you wont go in and notice him grow 3 in overnight but he should be shedding and growing at a faster rate.

    Also dont worry you arent the first one to be misled by store employees but atleast you are fixxing what was wrong.

    ps. are you aware he will need a 4ft long by 2ft deep and 2ft tall enclosure once full grown?
  3. Sjshephard

    Sjshephard Active Member

    Thank you so much for your quick response. I feed him collard greens every morning, replacing what he doesn't eat from the day before. He is not too interested in them though. I also have a small amount of juvi pellets for him which he picks at every once in a while.

    Yes, my husband is a carpenter and it has been his charge to make the ideal enclosure for him.

    Thank you again!!!!! :)
  4. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    With the pellets soak them in water so you dont dehydrate your beardie. They really dont get that interested in greens until they are older.
    You can also try offering phoenix worms as they are naturally high in calcium. These can be ordered from (cheapest prices that have been found online yet).
  5. Sjshephard

    Sjshephard Active Member


    Attached Files:

  6. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    He looks good. Could use a little more weight on him though.
  7. Sjshephard

    Sjshephard Active Member

    Right. He's scrawny...that's why I have been so worried!

    Phoenix much to feed daily? In place of crickets or in addition to?
  8. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    You can do it in place of crickets or in addition to its up to you. I feed them in addition to the other food I offer my beardie but that is mainly because I try to save most of the phoenix worms to feed to my baby animals (currently hatchling box turtles) since the adult beardie doesnt need as much calcium and eats his dusted salads.
    As far as how much to feed daily...well its hard to say. I just dump 100 in a bowl and leave the bowl in the cage until the worms are gone. Others drop them 1 by 1 in front of the beardie until the beardie shows no interest in them anymore.
  9. MelissaB

    MelissaB Well-Known Member

    I also had a problem with the expertise at the pet store I bought our Drago from. We decided to get a dragon a month or so before we got her, and I did a lot of reading beforehand, but I still trusted the store to make sure I had everything I needed. They did set me up with a uvb light, but it came with a plastic cover over the bulb and nobody told me to take the cover off. I kept reading that very young dragons would eat 40-100 small crickets per day, yet mine was only eating a dozen or so. I kept asking the store if that was normal and they kept telling me it was, but I read about two weeks after we got her that there should be no plastic between the bulb and the dragon. I immediately took the cover off, and the next day she ate 30 crickets. The next day 40, ended up eating 80-90 smalls a day before we moved her up in size. She also immediately got more active and started growing like crazy, constantly shedding. I felt awful that she had gone weeks without the uvb she needed! She was 6" long then and now, 4 months later, she's 14.5" with no residual problems, so she is fine. Yours looks good too.

    Anyway, I'm glad you figured out your problem when you did, and fixed it! I really wish that people who are selling reptiles all knew what they were doing, but knowing what I know now, I always do my own research and trust the vet more than the store. I've always fed crickets (dusted) but the more I research other live feeders the more I see about Phoenix worms being great for calcium, like the others said, especially since your baby is playing catch-up. Oh, and my pet store owner also laughed at me when I mentioned buying greens, and said she had never seen a dragon who actually ate veggies. I started hand feeding mine collards day one, which she ate a few bites of every day, then mustard and turnip (she prefers curly greens, not sure why), and after a while she started coming down on her own to eat them out of her bowl. Now she eats all those plus dandelion greens and green beans every day.

    I love the pics of your dragon! So cute!
  10. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    A few things I will add to this. But before anything else I gotta say you have a gorgeous fella!!!

    OK first of all you say you got him/her in Feb? I am NOT sure what your schedule looks like on a daily basis but first of all, try to offer small meals 3 or 4 times a day. At least twice. Like once about an hour after lights come on, then about an hour before lights go out. The reason I say this is that bearded dragons have a very fast metabolism and juveniles do well to eat multiple times a day.

    Ok second, variety is your friend with bearded dragons. Phoenix worms can be fed daily with other feeds. I myself HATE crickets I use Dubia Roaches instead but that is choice. IN my opinion they are better cost wise in the long run - but it is choice. Other good options include silkworms (absolutely fantastic feeders..but expensive), butter worms (50/50 your dragon will eat them), and wax worms as a treat are wonderful.

    Because of his/her age right now 70% insect/30% salad would be good. Once he/she is about 8-10 months or 14 inches you can go to 50/50 and finally as an adult 80% salad/20% insects. Good staple salad items are Dandelion Greens (watch for pesticides). Escarole mixed with other greens, Collard, mustard and Turnip greens are good, Spaghetti, acorn and summer squash are also ok. Alfalfa (not sprouts..the actually plant), wheat grass, and cactus pad without thorns are also good. Oh I also forgot? Things like carrot greens and celery greens are much loved by most!! There are flowers they can also eat. Staple fruits include Apricot, cherries, and papaya. You don't have to worry about giving them something different every day - just try to buy different things to feed each time. And with fruit, you really don't need to add much. Like when I buy some cherries for my kids, I will give 1 chopped up to each dragon. Papaya I do buy strictly for them on occasion because it is super high in calcium. You can find a good list here Nutrition Content

    If Yoshi continues to stay small, it may be worth it to take him in to a vet just to be checked for parasites. If you can get a fecal sample many vets will just charge for that because in reality parasites are parasites in any species. In my experience I have never had a beardie come from a pet store that did not have some type of parasite. One of them had so much wrong the vet and I were honestly surprised he lived!

    I'm sorry I wrote a novel here. I just understand what its like to have a pet and then realize you have taken care of it wrong. My first beardie came to me in horrible condition, the second was so mean you couldn't approach it, the third was a gift who is spoiled rotten (wait if I don't say this Thala will kill me....they are ALL spoiled!!) my fourth was so sick and small how he lived I don't know the last one was impulse! lol.

    Please keep us up to date on Yoshi, we all love to hear about bearded dragons.

  11. Sjshephard

    Sjshephard Active Member

    Thanks for your response! The pet store told me the SAME thing about the crickets. I had read before I got there that baby beardie's COULD eat upwards of 100 crickets per day. The store told me 5. Stupid me, I assumed they were right. Needless to say, I will be speaking with the store manager the next time I am there so they don't misinform customers. He had been eating about 15-20 per day but after having the UVB light on for only 24 hours, he seemed ravenous and was chasing them all over the place. I feel so much better and am hopeful he will show a marked improvement in growth. I also ordered Phoenix worms for him and am going to attempt to breed Dubia cockroaches because they are more nutritious than crickets. I need to fatten my little guy up!
  12. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    No problem, most folks around here will tell you beardie's are my herp of choice. I think I drive my best friend nuts with them! HAHAHAHA but she's super awesome and lets me ramble.

    Dubia's are not hard to raise (actually quite simple) the start up is expensive but once you get a good solid colony with only 1 dragon there is a high chance you could resell on places like Ebay. Believe me they sell like lemon-aid in August there. I will tell you from my own experience with Dubia Roaches that my babies grow better with a solid curve and in all honesty price to price in the long run its cheaper. The thing with Dubia that you have to remember is a guy your size will eat a medium dubia (which equals 4 crickets) so although it doesn't seem like he is eating as much..he honestly is and getting more nutrition to boot.

    If you need any help with Yoshi or Dubia don't hesitate to ask!!

    EDIT: Remember like us dragons see better in UV enhances colors because bearded dragons see in the same color spectrum we do. And it tends to make them more active because the 3rd eye knows its daylight when it senses UV
  13. MelissaB

    MelissaB Well-Known Member

    I have ordered some roaches too, and silkworms, because mine seems to be tiring of crickets and I'm looking for other, better, live feeders. I got some really good advice here. And TigerIvy is right, crickets are yucky and they smell. Not to mention the chirping when they are bigger. I kept telling myself to pretend I was in the country relaxing on a screened in porch listening to the crickets chirp...but it didn't work. We started ordering them 500 at a time and keeping up with feeding them, getting the spoiled food out of their keeper, etc, it's really a pain. And we can't leave any crickets in the tank overnight so it's also a pain chasing and catching them before lights out. Keep posting pictures of Yoshi as he grows, I already miss that part and mine isn't even full grown yet!
  14. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    Dont forget they bite, they can infest your house (unlike roaches) the death rate is higher, and Dubia have a lower chitin rate! And Melissa was it you I did the breakdown in cost for? Gosh I don't remember!
  15. MelissaB

    MelissaB Well-Known Member

    No, that wasn't me, but you did offer lots of other good advice and suggested the Dubia roaches. When my husband came home yesterday I met him with " I've ordered roaches..." Not exactly the norm around here but we are getting used to it! We do not belong to a circle of friends who deal with reptiles and feeder bugs, so it is such a relief to converse with people who love their reptiles! I do look forward to seeing how she does with new live food. Thanks!
  16. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    I feel the same way! Some people (names withheld lol) shriek touching roaches but honestly, I would rather deal with roaches then crickets any day! They are so quiet, and require so much less work then crickets in the long run!
  17. Sjshephard

    Sjshephard Active Member

    I will definitely continue posting pis o Yoshi. I amin agrrement ith you both, it is nice to have a place to discuss reptiles and bugs without the sound effects from non-retile lovers. Lol
  18. herpgirl250

    herpgirl250 Elite Member

    It is strange the lack do UVB which is obviously bad does not effect all dragons the same. I am about to take in my third beardie that was raised with no UVB or the coil bulb that has not been changed out in years. One thing that is common is a stunted growth around 16" but they are full looking dragons just really short. I guess they are really lucky. I am taking in my third rescue and the sub par care they got was surprising but the owners had no idea they were doing anything wrong they listened to what hey are told by pet stores. Forums like these are invaluable to getting the correct information on how to raise beardies so they can have a long happy life.
  19. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    It actually does effect them. Yes they are smaller because they cannot metabolize all the nutrients they need to grow properly. But the effects internally you cannot see is their immune system is weaker, they normally don't live as long and sadly are more prone to unusually illness then well cared for dragons. I have also noticed that bearded dragons without UV light tend to be much more lethargic then dragons exposed to UV.
  20. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    I'm not sure if this was covered or not, but just for future reference, while collards may seem like a solid staple item due to their extremely high calcium content they are actually not the best staple green. While fine in moderation collards contain goitrogens which, when eaten regularly and in high quantity, can cause hyperthyroidism, which would result in rapid weight gain and various other health issues. The same applies to most other greens within the Brassica genus (mustard greens, kale, turnip greens, bok choy and some found in 'spring mix' salads, such as tatsoi and mizuna lettuce). These greens, in addition to many others, should be limited. Options like curly endive, escarole, despined opuntia cactus, dandelion, common grasses, such as orchard or timothy grass, various edible flowers (namely hibiscus) as well as veggies such as winter squashes and french green beans will provide a much more balanced diet, IMO.

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