Reptiles/Bearded Dragon


Hi, I got a bearded dragon about a year and a half ago from a home where he was being abused. He was small for his age but still too big for a 10 gallon tank. The end of his tail curled up about a milimeter and the end of his tail has always been a faded, light brown color when the rest of him is vibrantly orange or dark brown. I was wondering if it is the syndrome where he needs to get it amputated?
Also, he has issues with his front claw. From the nails up to the joint of his arm its all very light colored, like his tail. He doesn't like to use the claw very much, although he does. The "toes" aren't as flexable as his other toes on his other claws are. He is a male, about 3-4 years old, a Red Bearded Dragon. He eats anywhere from 5-10 super meal worms (they are about 2.5 inches long), plus green beans and dry pellets. He is no longer interested in hunting crickets and just lets them co-exist in his tank with him. He gets fresh water everyday, has the UVB light that is a coil bulb, 2 UVA lights that are I believe around 60 Watts, he has a heater under his tank and a black heat light that is about 100 watts for at night. There isn't any vet who looks at beardies for about 75miles. There is a local expert who owns an exotic pet shop and he told me his tail curled up probably due to the fact that he was mistreated by the previous family. They didn't give him calcium or the right foods. What can I do to help him? I just want to make sure my baby is as healthy as can be!

Hello Lexi,  

That is too bad he was abused previously.  
Do you have any pictures of him?  It sounds like he has metabolic bone disease but need to see pictures.
The compact/coil light is not emitting much of any UVB light for him so he isn't able to absorb calcium.  I highly recommend the Reptisun 10 tube bulb or the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb.  You can get them here:

Based on his description & being lethargic in not wanting to chase his food, those are signs of metabolic bone disease.
How often do you give calcium?
What are the temperatures in the tank & do you use a digital probe or temp gun to measure the temperatures?  
Does he eat insects daily?  It is not a good idea to let crickets roam/live with him as they can bit him causing terrible infections.  Remove the crickets after a little while if he does not eat them.  
You should be able to determine if he has feeling in his tail or not, simply by lightly pinching the tail to see what type of reflex he gives.

Let me know how he is doing.



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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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