Reptiles/Bearded Dragon


Hello, my name is Daniel. I have a three and a half year old bearded dragon and recently he has been acting odd. He won't eat, will rarely drink, won't close his mouth, and is extremely sluggish. I know it is not his brumation because I have seen it before and it is not like this. I am worried that he could starve or do some serious damage to his body. I am currently feeding him mealworms, lettuce, and carrots. Please help me I need to know what is wrong with him!

Hi Daniel,

No, you are correct. That does not sound at all like brumation. None of the symptoms you mentioned are specific to any particular illness. Even if you could e-mail a top reptile veterinarian they could not tell you exactly what is causing the problem without examining him and running other tests. Getting him to a reptile vet is his best chance. It could be anything from dietary deficiency to infection, intestinal parasites or even intestinal blockage.

You didn't mention anything about your lighting or use of calcium/vitamin supplements. One of the more common problems with bearded dragons in captivity is calcium deficiency. It is usually caused by a lack of calcium in the diet and lack of UVB lighting. Calcium deficiency can cause muscle weakness and soft bones in the legs and jaw. That is one of the situations that can produce the sluggish behaviour and open mouth behaviour you are seeing.

The problem can be made worse by an improper diet. Carrots are high in oxalates which interfere with calcium absorption.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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