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Reptiles/paralyzed back legs


just had someone drop off 2 bearded dragons. 1 is good and healthy. but the other 1 is smaller and its back legs are little to no function to them.askedd them and they said it has been like this for about 6 months now. is there any thing i can do to bring the use of its legs back. all they were fed was meal worms and lettus. i did try the soak in the tub and it flipped out so i held it in the warm water. it drank a lot of water at that time.what can i do.

Hi, Christine,
It's actually amazing that this dragon is still alive.  There are a few possibilities, some with a better potential outcome than others.  If the dragons had such a poor diet, the little one may have severe hypocalcemia, which can cause fragile bones and motor control problems.  (Both animals most likely have this issue, given what they were fed, despite the one looking outwardly healthy).  A good diet will correct it over time, but the little one may need more intensive treatment.

It's also possible the little one was fed prey items that were too large, and has hind limb paralysis as a result of compression of the spinal cord as the hard chitin of the prey passed through its digestive tract.  Bearded dragon digestive tracts wander perilously close to the spinal cord, and this issue is usually deadly.  It's seen most often in baby dragons who are fed overly large crickets or mealworms.  Perhaps your little guy survived it.  If that is the cause, it's difficult to say whether he will ever regain any hind limb function, considering how long he's been paralyzed.

Your best option is to take him to an experienced reptile veterinarian for a proper diagnosis, and treatment options.  Obviously no one online can diagnose a medical issue as serious as what you describe, and the above are only a couple of possibilities.


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Donna Fernstrom


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.


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.

Nebraska Herpetological Society (

I have many care sheets published on my own website.

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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