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Reptiles/malnutrition Bearded Dragon


We adopted a 2 year old bearded dragon. His previous owner told us that he was a little malnutritioned.

We've only had him for one night. He's in a 30gal tank with a spot light on the oneside through wire. I'm not sure what type of bulb yet she gave us, but she also gave us a red bulb for at night, which we haven't used.

My main concern is, I think he's really skinny. He doesn't move around very much and when he does he tucks his fronts legs under him and flops around. We gave him a water dish, some apple chunks, a few meal worms, and a handful of crickets. He has eaten some of the crickets, but it takes him a while to eat them.

We have the calcium powder and spray for crickets and the stuff to gut feed the crickets with vitamins from when we had anoles.
I know his previous owner told us to feed him 3 x a week, but I'm wondering if it would hurt to feed him 5 x a week until he gains weight and energy?

This is our first bearded dragon.

I'm also wondering if this bearded dragon may be dehydrated on top of malnutrition and what we need to do to make him healthy again?

Hello Susan,

Poor thing, it sounds like he was not well taken care of at all.
Do you have any pictures of him?  
Since he is so thin, initially go easy on the protein/insects until he has normal stools & a good amount of urates excreted.  This is to ensure his kidneys are functioning optimally.
Focus on greens/veggies with some protein.  I would feed him daily for awhile.  As an adult of normal weight, you can feed around 40-50 feeders per week with more focus on greens.  
As far as calcium intake, it sounds like he has metabolic bone disease if he is not able to fully support his body weight & has his front legs folding under him!
Use mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, arugula, etc.  Just a couple of them for variety but avoid kale & spinach as they are too high in oxalates.  Fresh squash is one of the best veggies for them, but you can use bell peppers, too.

The best UVB lights are either the Reptisun 10 tube bulb or the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb for UVB exposure for him.  You can get them at:

I would get some calcium powder or look for liquid calcium to help him out with the calcium deficiency.  You can look at the petstore to find Zilla liquid calcium & I can help you with dosing it or I sell it on my site, too.  
The best feeders are crickets, roaches, superworms (if he is 16+ inches), silkworms, or hornworms.  
Make sure the crickets are smaller than the space between his eyes, to avoid impaction.
What type of substrate did you put him on, tiles, paper towels, carpet?  
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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