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Reptiles/bearded dragon with no legs or tail


QUESTION: My daughter wants to bring home another bearded dragon from the pet store that was born without a tail and back legs.  I have a few questions concerning this. How often does this kind of thing occur? and how well will he do as well as his chances for survival? We already have 1 male bearded dragon and he's 10 months old. He's a great pet and he is out of his tank more than he's in it. He is great with the whole family, he's sitting on my shoulder as I type this. I don't want him to get ignored if we bring another one home that will require more attention. I also worry about them not getting along. I guess I want to know if they can live a normal happy life without his tail and back legs?  Thank you for any assistance you can give to me, I really hate to think what will happen to that poor little guy if no one adopts him.

ANSWER: Hello Renee,

Wow what a kind heart you have to consider bringing him home.  
Do you have any pictures of him you could send me to see?  Poor guy, he has had a rough time.  This is most likely from inbreeding.  The breeders are not all ethical & inbreeding causes an array of health issues along with deformations, too.
There are a lot of unfortunate dragons who are missing limbs, tails, etc who seem to get along just fine & live great lives.  It is all in how much time you want to spend/devote towards making his home livable for him.  It sounds like you are willing to help him have a wonderful home.
Do you have any kids who would devote time to him?
He is male?  If you did bring him home, you would have to be very careful with allowing another male near him as they do tend to get aggressive towards each other.  Females can become somewhat aggressive but not quite as bad as the males.  They would have to be supervised together to be sure he wouldn't get injured.
I think you would manage to divide your time evenly between the two.  At first it may be hard but you would get the hang of it.

Let me know what you decide.


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

    I don't really have a question I was just following up to let you know that we brought the beardie home.  We were also misinformed at the pet store, she was not born deformed, she was attacked in the tank. She is missing both of her back feet and half her tail, but it doesn't slow her down at all. She has been a wonderful addition to our family, I 've attached a picture so you can see our new baby! Thank you again for your help.

ANSWER: Hello Renee,

I figured that would be what the problem was.  That is why they are not supposed to be housed together.  
She has very nice colors & I am sure she will get along just fine.  Scarlett is a great name for her, too.  
Is she eating really well also?  At her age, she will eat a lot of insects & probably just a few greens.  
Let me know if you have any questions & how she is doing in your family!


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

    I actually do have another question for you. Scarlet has grown almost 2 inches since we brought her home two weeks ago, is it possible that she is a German Giant (I think that's what they are called)and how do we tell? I'm only concerned because we have started to build her habitat and I want to make sure that it will be large enough. The dimensions of the new tank are 4x2.5  She eats like there's no tomorrow, probably 8-10 small crickets and 4-5 meal worms, she doesn't seem to like veggies yet, but we will keep trying as she gets older. We also have a problem with our other bearded dragon, he attacked Scarlet and grabbed her back leg. She was bruised and kept that leg up for a day but she's fine now. We didn't purposefully put them together, my daughter had Scarlet and Hunter (the older male# was on my shoulder, she walked by and he jumped landing right on Scarlet. # I was a little impressed with his jumping and aim) But we had to pry his mouth open to get her leg out. Now every time they are even in the same room once he sees her, he gets puffy and tries to get to her. Is this going to be a problem for the rest of their lives? We never planned on letting them interact anyway and they definitely would not share a tank but it would be nice if we could be in the same room without trying to hold him back all of the time. The other problem is we take the dragons with us when we leave and this could become an issue. They are out of their tanks more than they are in them, they are with us all day. We don't have pets to just let them sit in their cages all day, I feel that is wrong. Do you think that this behavior will continue, is it just because there is another dragon in the house or does it have something to do her being injured? I found it strange that he went for the one back leg when he could have easily grabbed ahold of her head. Thank you for your help I really appreciate your input.

Hello Renee,

I am sorry about Scarlet!  Is she ok?
How old is your male you have?  I am not really sure why he would have grabbed her leg.  How does it look, it is not going to become necrotic is it?  
He could just be jealous & acting out.  Eventually he will get used to it but it may take some time.  
I agree, I am the same way.  We have ours out all of the time, too.  Just be sure they get the proper heating & lighting for the day also.
I think in time, you wont have to worry too much, but since she is still new to your family he hasn't adjusted yet.
I think that size of tank, the 4x2.5 is fine.  Is it 4x2x2 basically?  She will have plenty of room to move around.  
Do you have a picture of her leg?
Is she eating or acting stressed?

Let me know how she 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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