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Reptiles/Bearded dragon stressed


QUESTION: Hello, I have a question about my bearded dragon I've had for 2 years, ever since it was a juvenile. I am not sure of its gender, but recently Kira has been glass surfing daily which is unusual, and use to have a really good appetite, but now just wants to eat crickets and nothing else. Its been going on for about 2 weeks, I'm worried that if Kira is a female, she might have to lay eggs? There has been no recent changes in the environment, but he/she just hasn't been acting normal. What should I do?

ANSWER: Hello Joleen,

We definitely do need to figure out what the sex of your dragon is!  At age 2 or older you should be able to determine that.  Do you have pictures of her/him you could send over?
Get one of the ventral (tummy) side showing the inner legs, etc on him.  Then, gently lift up the tail to see if you can tell whether or not there are hemipenal bulges on the lateral edges of the base of the tail.  
If you see that he has heavy femoral pores you likely have a male but if they are very small or hardly visible you have a female.
If this is not usual behavior for your dragon, then it is very possible that you have a female & she could be needing to lay eggs.  Has she completely stopped eating or is she eating quite a bit still of the crickets?
Are you using a UVB light for her & if so what type & brand do you use?  What supplementation are you giving to Kira, calcium & vitamins & how often do you give those to her?
What are the temperatures in the tank?  

Let me know how she is doing.

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

QUESTION: I am thinking female, not sure though. She eats every cricket I offer her, but hasn't ate any of her regular food or vegetables. I do use a UVB light it's a 13 WATT all living things, desert compact fluorescent. The temperature is 85 on the warm side, and 78 on the cool side. I am using Flunker's Calcium with vitamin D3, I usually dust the food once a week with it.

ANSWER: Hello Joleen,

Yes, she is a female, absolutely.  :-)  The bulge in the middle of the tail base gives her away.  LOL
The All Living Things compact/coil UVB light is not a real good one.  It doesn't emit very good quality of UVB & it tends to emit low wavelength frequency of UVB.  Those wavelengths are not conducive to D3 synthesis.
I would recommend getting either a Reptisun 10 tube bulb or an Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb, either one is great.  That way she will receive much higher quality of UVB emissions.
She will need calcium powder at least 3 times per week.  Especially if she does have infertile eggs developing, you can increase the calcium to 4-5 times per week to be sure she is getting plenty of calcium during that time.

How is she doing today?


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

QUESTION: I will definitely get a new light then! She still has no interest in any food other than crickets. And ran around glass surfing for about an hour, then went back to basking. I will start dusting the crickets since that's all she wants to eat. How long does it usually take to lay eggs? This has been going on for about 2 weeks.

Hello Joleen,

Kira is a great looking dragon, she is smiling in the picture.  :-)
I think she would probably love having a higher quality of UVB exposure, plus it will help her absorb calcium more effectively too.  Egg laying can take a lot from them, if this is what is going on.  In the later stages, she will start to look somewhat like a pear shaped dragon as the eggs drop lower, ready to be laid.
It normally takes 3-5 weeks for them to fully develop then be laid.  
It sounds like she isn't ready yet, but you could go ahead & get an egg laying bin made up for her just in case.  At least she is still eating though, she needs it for the eggs.  I am happy she is basking too!  They would be infertile eggs, correct?  Just checking.  
You can get her out a couple of times per day though for social time & exercise too.

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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