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Reptiles/My 9 month old beardie


QUESTION: My boyfriend got me a beardie for christmas. At first I didn't know anything about bearded dragons, but I started researching a bunch. My beardie is very active. He eats well and poops regularly. I don't know if his poop is normal or not. Sometimes itll have the white part and sometimes not. I don't know how to tell. He has walnut sand and gets a little in his mouth every time he eats crickets. Probably not a good thing. But I don't know what else to do. Also some of his toes look deformed or broken. I dust all his crickets with calcium. And drop some liquid vitamins on his veggies. I only have a temperature gage and that's it. Do I need to get humidity? He has one long UVB lamp, basking lamp and night lamp. I give him a bath like 3 times a week. I can never seem to get his temp up to 100. It's always like 95 :(

Another thing, is it normal for him to hold his mouth open just a tiny bit like all the time? He has a small bump on the back right side right before his leg. I don't know if it's a broken rib or impaction?

I just want my beardie to be the happiest he can be. Because I'm already so attached to him. Please help! Thanks :)

ANSWER: Hello Katie,
Oscar is a little cutie pie!  
It looks like he has a touch of metabolic bone disease but it is from previous care though.
Which tube bulb brand are you using?  
I would change out the substrate as it can contribute to impaction.  Using paper towels or non adhesive shelf line or tiles are the best for substrate choices.
What type of temperature gauge are you using, a stick on type?  You will need to get either a digital probe or temp gun to have better temperature readings.  What wattage of basking bulb are you using & is it a bright white light or a colored light you are using for basking?
The basking range can be 95-110 with the cooler end around 78-82.
Is the lump on his stomach area?  
It could be impaction, from the loose substrate you are using.  They don't always excrete the urate but most of the time they do.  
The calcium powder should be used once daily.  You don't need to use it more than once daily so he doesn't get too much.  Does he eat greens at all?  How many crickets or insects does he eat daily/weekly?
Let me know what brand of UVB light you are using.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: All his lights are zilla brand. His basking light is a bright white. Wattage is 100. Yes it's a stick on gage. He eats about 6 crickets a day. And different varieties of veggies that are available throughout the day to him. I make sure he doesn't get too much dust. About the bump, is there anything I can do to relieve the impaction? I'll put paper towels in his cage instead. Also do you think if he does have mbd, will it reverse? Or stop forming? Overall does he look healthy to you?? Maybe I'm worrying too much? Haha

Thanks again!

ANSWER: Hello Katie,

Oscar is very sweet looking.  
Metabolic bone disease can be stopped, but not reversed really.  Once the damage has been done the bones wont revert.  
I forgot to mention that it is not normal that his mouth stays open in that manner.  His jaw just may not be completely aligned or he could be too hot.
The stick on types tend to be off on degrees by quite a bit.  

The bright white light is fine!  However, you will need to change the UVB tube light.  This light can be hazardous to their eyes & it does not emit the correct wavelength which is conducive to D3 synthesis.
You will need to get the Reptisun 10 tube bulb or the Arcadia D3 12% either one.  Their wavelength is much better.
If you suspect impaction, try giving some sugar free applesauce along with some canned pumpkin with a drop or two of olive oil to help.  A warm bath is helpful also in case of impaction.

I am glad to hear he does eat his greens & veggies.  Which greens are you feeding him?  
You can also dust his greens/veggies also, if he doesn't eat enough crickets.  Make sure the crickets are not larger than the space between his eyes.

Let me know how he is doing.

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QUESTION: For greens I feed him romaine lettuce. I will save up some money to get a new UVB light for him.and a digital temperature reader.  :) I'm going to try applesauce and olive oil. Also is a 40 gallon tank okay for him if hes 9 months??
Thanks so much for the help! Means a lot.

Hello Katie,

Try feeding romaine as a secondary green, mixed in with mustard or collard greens.  The romaine has a lot of water & less nutrients than the darker leafy greens.  Avoid kale & spinach too as they have too many oxalates.
Yes, a 40 gallon is ok, you can increase that to a 75 or larger once he is over a year & full grown.
Send more pictures when you have his new light.  I hope you find it for a decent price.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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