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Reptiles/Pregnant bearded dragon


Chester\'s size
Chester's size  
QUESTION: Hello Dr. I bought two bearded dragons in Jun of 2013 and just last January they mated. They are about 8-9 months old (I think) and the female is full of eggs. I can feel the eggs when I run my fingers along her belly but she hasn't laid them yet. I am worried she either might be too young or too small and may die. I am worried she might be egg bound but I am unsure.

species: bearded dragon
habitat size: 50 gallon
substrate: sand
humidity%: N/A
bask/ambient temps: N/A
lighting: 100 watts
vet history: N/A
all food offered: mealworms, superworms, crickets, romaine lettuce, kale greens
feeding schedule: 7:00am, 4:00pm
supplements and schedule: N/A
last time ate: 4:00pm today
when and how water is given: Yesterday,  a bath (she drinks directly from the water)
when last defecated: yesterday in the bath
captive bred or wild caught: captive
shed recently: N/A
other animals living in same terrarium: male bearded dragon lives in a separate tank but they interact when I take them out

ANSWER: I'm not a doctor, but I am a rehabilitator who studies reptile medicine and a content contributor to a veterinary website, so, I teach veterinarians sometimes.  

She is too young. You've done exactly what I as a rescuer hate seeing, and that's people getting a male and female animal and then acting like a breed mill and making babies with them, especially when they're too young for it, and we have enough animals in rescue that need homes without more breeding operations. She very well pay pay the price and get egg bound being this young. I wouldn't say she's overdue until 6 weeks, but you should be making sure things are right just in case, and I'm going to need the below information.

If you're going to keep these animals, you need to have a much better idea of what is going on with the environment. I need to know what are current basking temps and what your UVB source is in detail. Do you have a basking and cool side thermometer? Do you have UVB lighting? If not, then you need to get both of those. Egg binding usually happens because females are too young, too small because they haven't grown well due to lack of UVB and lack of proper diet, because they have muscle weakness due to lack of exercise space, because of hypothermia, or nutritional deficiencies.

You listed sand as substrate. Is this play sand, obtained from outside, or where obtained?

You listed no supplement schedule. Are you using any supplements at all? She is making eggs, and this is depleting her mineral, vitamin, protein, and other nutritional stores to do so.  

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

QUESTION: I do have a heat lamp with the thermometers on each side. But I was unable to tell the temperature because I had the light off at night. The sand I use is bearded dragon sand you can find at a local pet store.

When I first got them, I thought they were males cause that's what all the pet stores said. I separated them because I didn't want them to fight. But I took them both out to handle them (my cousin held one while I had the other) and the male just jumped out and attacked and mated with the female. I didn't intentionally try to mate them. I didn't even know one was a female.

But what should I do to ensure that my dragon lives past this?

What you should do, is answer the questions I asked. That's why I have very precise process for questions. You haven't given a basking temp (you should reasonably know what it runs because it should be monitored until you have it relatively consistent). You also haven't given a description of your UVB...the supplements...Look, I work as well as run a reptile rescue...answer questions from all over the world here and on facebook. If you want help...DON'T make me repeat my questions. Go back over my first response and answer EVERYTHING I just asked you.  


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YOU WILL GET A REJECTION OF YOUR QUESTION IF YOU FAIL TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO QUESTIONER IN FULL!. I am primarily here to assist with health concerns. I am here for the more difficult questions. Not for questions that you could research & easily find the answer yourself. My standards are that you provide DETAILED and RELEVANT background history on your pet before you ask me any question about it other than GENDER or ID. The requested information is in the instructions to questioner. Failure to answer each of those questions to provide that background, will result in your question being rejected. I can answer questions related reptile husbandry, identification (esp. in Texas and the SW), legal aspects, and advanced level medical care. I am the director of Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue (TX), a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in reptiles, a founding member of The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation, a subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service,, educational content contributor to, and a Dept of State Health Services accredited animal control instructor (CE) for reptile handling. I do most of my own veterinary care in-house, including minor surgery and necropsy. I am most experienced in Chelonia with box turtles and common smaller tortoises; and in Squamata with everything from Anoles, Geckos, Beardies, and Monitors, to venomous snakes. I am most known for my expertise with horned lizards (Phrynosoma). With snakes, my primary expertise is in Crotalids (rattlesnakes), but I can answer a broad range of questions about various species. I am not aware of any reptile related question that I would not be able to provide some reasonable answer for. I have a direct style and may tell you something you did not want to hear; but the welfare of the animal comes FIRST with me, and I will always reflect that position in my answer, despite how it might make you feel.


I am a non-academic herpetologist with 25+ years reptile experience, and I am an accredited Texas Dept of State Health Services Animal Control Instructor for Reptiles (CE). I am a reptile rescuer, reptile wildlife rehabilitator, and subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service, wikivet, and article/journal content contributor to Lafebervet. I have medical and scientific resources available, and I perform in house reptile veterinary care for my rescues. I am not a vet, but I read from the same materials and have had to correct quite a few in the past. The average vet is not well versed with reptile physiology and medical treatments.

Animals that I am currently caring for, or have significant rehabilitation and husbandry experience with: Horned Lizards (5 species); Eastern and Western Box Turtles; Painted, RES, YBS, Soft-Shell, and Cooter aquatic turtles; Russian Tortoises; Fire Bellied Toads; Fire Bellied Newts; Ornate Horned Frogs; Green Iguanas; Desert Iguanas; Spiny Lizards; Long Nosed Leopard Lizards; Anoles; Racerunners; Collared Lizards; Bullsnakes; Eastern Ratsnakes; Great Plains Ratsnakes; Kingsnakes; Gartersnakes; Cornsnakes; Boas; Pythons; Bearded Dragons; Water Dragons; Massasauga Rattlesnakes; Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes; Leopard, Mediterranean, Golden, Indo-Pacific, African White-Spotted Geckos; Savannah Monitors; Jeweled Curly-Tailed Lizards; Long-Tailed Grass Lizards; Fox Squirrels; Deer Mice; Hispid Cotton Rats; Merriam's Pocket Mice; Eastern Cotton-Tails; Blue Bar racing pigeon; Budgies; Asian Forest Scorpions.


Co-Founder & Director: Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue

Founder: The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation

Publications contributor. The Horned Lizard Husbandry Manual - self published 75 pages of care information on genus Phrynosoma.

Wikipedia entry "Horned Lizards" - contributed to a majority of the content., and various reptile related forums and email lists under the handles "fireside3" and PhrynosomaTexas".

My hands-on field, rehabilitation, and captive husbandry experience beats a PhD any day of the week. I am also a state accredited animal control instructor for reptile handling.

Past/Present Clients

I was requested to provide my care manual on the Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos), for the Montreal zoo. My manual is also used by several other zoological institutions in N. America. I also teach reptile education to summer camps, and instruct wildlife rehabilitators on live saving and rehab techniques with reptiles.

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