Reptiles/Lizards

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Question
Bearded dragon
Bearded dragon  
QUESTION: My bearded dragon is almost 3 months and 8 1/2 about. Is this the right care for her:
40 gallon tank, with desert background.
Basking spot 96-105
UVB bulb
Cooler side 73-84
10 crickets twice daily with greens
Vitamins once a week, dusted on crickets
Calcium every other day, dusted on crickets
Bathed once a week
Here is  a picture of her!

ANSWER: Her basking spot temperature is just slightly too low - it should be 100 to 115, with 106 being ideal.

Don't count her crickets, but let her have as many as she can eat in one sitting, and remove leftovers after 15 min.  Twice a day is fine.  Be sure crickets are not too large.  What sort of greens are you using?  Be sure they are types appropriate for bearded dragons, and offer a variety.  Offer greens in the morning, a few hours before the first insect meal, and keep them available.  Offering them before insects are given encourages the dragon to eat them, though young dragons usually eat less greens.

Dust crickets with calcium every time, but only use D3 every other day, if you're using a calcium supplement that contains it.  (In other words, get plain calcium to use the rest of the time).  Crickets are high in phosphorus, so they must always have calcium added to balance them.  If you offer more balanced insects, such as phoenix worms or silk worms, for variety, they won't need to have calcium added.

Be sure you're using a desert bulb for UVB - dragons need high UVB.  The mercury-vapor reptile lights that provide both UVB and heat are ideal.  Fluorescent bulbs only throw UVB about 8 inches below the bulb, so elevated basking spots are crucial if you use fluorescent UVB bulbs.  Do not use compact fluorescent UVB bulbs.  They have been linked to eye damage and have inadequate UVB output.

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

Zoey
Zoey  
QUESTION: Thank you for answering my question, but I have more! How many times does a baby bearded dragon shed? What are the growth rates for them? And, do you think my bearded dragon is healthy overall from the picture and info?

Answer
She looks okay.  She could be a little plumper, but fixing the heat and amount of food offered will take care of that in no time.  

Bearded dragons shed and grow on their own time line.  They are all individuals, just like human kids.

Here's a growth chart, showing differences between several young dragons, to give an idea of what's normal:
http://www.dachiubeardeddragons.com/dragoncare/growthcharts.html

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Donna Fernstrom

Expertise

My particular focus is on snakes and lizards, but I have a decent smattering of knowledge of turtles and crocodilians as well, plus the experience to get relevant information quickly if I don't have it on hand in my brain. I can answer questions on captive care, diet, breeding, incubation of eggs, starting hatchlings, and more. I am particularly experienced with ball pythons, Lygodactylus geckos and other small lizards with similar care requirements, leopard geckos, and garter snakes.

Experience

I am a professional breeder of ball python morphs, Lygodactylus (dwarf) geckos, and mourning geckos. I have begun working with Irian Jaya carpet pythons, and plan to expand to include more gecko species in the future. I also have a background breeding leopard geckos, and have kept several other species of small lizards, snakes, and a water turtle.

Organizations
Nebraska Herpetological Society (nebherp.org)

Publications
I have many care sheets published on my own website.

Education/Credentials
High School Graduate. Extensively self-taught due to high interest in wildlife and reptile care.

Awards and Honors
Fauna Classifieds board of inquiry Good Guy Certification

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