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Reptiles/Bearded Dragon - Tish


QUESTION: Hello.  My bearded dragon is about 5 months old or so, I bought her at petsmart around December 14th 2014. Up until recently she had always loved to bask and really chase crickets rabidly, now she doesn't bask nearly as long and she barely eats unless she is hand fed. She doesn't even seem to look at her veggies but she will eat crickets only if i hand feed them.  The behavior has been more noticable the past 2 weeks. Also she has hardly pooped ( about 4 times the past 2 weeks, just a guess).  She seems to be able to walk around and run just fine, when I take her out of her cage she can move just fine so I'm not thinking it has anything to do with lack of calcium or UVB.  I try to spray my bearded dragon with water every other day, however I have never witnessed her drink water one time.  I have tried to train her to drink from her water dish.  

Things I am currently going to try
Temperature - I know the temperatures haven't been the warmest for her, so I have tried a few things here:  I just set her cage on a dresser the cage was on the floor and cold air sinks so i think getting her off the ground will help. I have a 100W basking bulb and the basking area only will get sub 90F i have a a dual light fixture and I am starting to leave both bulbs on and the basking temp reaches up to 120F degress.  I also have a top for her cage that i had to build because I can not find a decent 38 x 18 top for the cage, the top i built does not snuggly fit around the cage...would that hinder trapping heat in the cage?

Baths - I am going to try to bathe her more because I do fear she is dehydrated a little.  Going to bathe her every other day and spray her with water every day.  Also hopefully this will help her poop more often.  

I really would like to see my beardie more active again when she is hungry.  Her lack of appetite is very disturbing to me.  All she seems to do is sit in her hide now a days : (

ps I will provide any pictures or additional information as requested. Hope to hear from you soon and help my baby Tish Tish out!!!  Thanks a whole lot

ANSWER: Hello Joe,

I am sorry about Tish not doing well right now.
Based on her behavior, it could be calcium issues as it does come on slowly sometimes.  
Are you using a UVB light also for her?  If so, what type & brand is it, a tube bulb or compact/coil light?
What are you using to measure the temperatures with, a stick on type of thermometer or a digital probe?  The recommended basking is a range of 95-110 with a cooler area of 78-82.  If it is reaching 120 at the basking spot she will be too hot & can get dehydrated.  You are using how many basking bulbs?  
How often are you giving calcium?  As a youngster, she needs calcium once daily or two light dustings daily, 5 times per week since she is growing.
You can try bee pollen to help with appetite & to boost the immune system, also.  If she isn't eating very much right now, you can also get some chicken or turkey baby food with squash or sweet potato baby food & syringe or dropper feed it to her.  
Also, you could consider getting a fecal done on her also to test for worms or parasites, too.  That can dampen the appetite & behavior, too.
What type of substrate are you using, carpet, paper towels, or tiles?

Post some pictures of her if you can & let me know how she is doing.


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

QUESTION: Thanks for the reply.  I have been watching her the past few days after I ordered her some bigger crickets and she seems to be doing better now. But the previous behavior is still concerning.  She still really likes to be hand fed a lot,

I use a fluorescent uvb light.  I know coils are no good.  I am not sure of the brand but it's a little over five months old if I had to guess.  I am gonna build her an outdoor enclosure soon for the summer.  

To measure the temperature I have a dial thermometer in the cage and a laser thermometer.  I use one basking bulb.  I recently set the cage in a counter, it used to be on the floor...cold air falls.  The cage was a little cooler on the floor.

I dust her crickets and veggies everyday every feeding.

I use ceramic tile.

I attached a picture of tish

ANSWER: Hello Joe,

That is a great picture of Tish, she has terrific colors.  
Have you readjusted the basking temperature for her to a bit cooler?  You really only want it to reach around 110 max at the basking.
Do you happen to know which brand the tube UVB is?  Not all of them are good.  I only recommend the Reptisun 10 tube or the Arcadia D3 12% tube either one to give good enough UVB exposure.
I would double check the brand to be sure it isn't a Zilla, or a Reptiglo tube as they don't emit near as good of quality of UVB.
An outdoor enclosure is nice, she would enjoy some sunshine as long as she can get out of the sun & heat when needed.
Are you hand feeding the crickets to her now?  Has she maintained her weight?
How many feeders does she get weekly?   

Let me know how she is doing.


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

QUESTION: I attached a picture of my digital termonator on reading her basking rock. The warm side tends to staY around 90.

I am not 100 percent sure what brand the UVB is but unthinking is zoomed. I guess that because it's what petsmarts main vendor is.

I hand feed her, yes, but she will also eat if the crickets run across her sometimes. She does not chase them like she use to.

I feed her crickets twice daily. I do kit necessary count them, but I order about 500 crickets biweekly.

I would say she seems to look the same weight. She does not look malnourished.

Hello Joe,

The basking temperature of 102F is fine.  You may want to consider trying to get the cooler end to around 78-82 to try & maintain an ambient temperature no higher than 85 or so.  If the overall temperature is too hot they wont want to bask & can overheat.
The Reptisun UVB, is it a compact/coil or a tube bulb?
The compact/coil lights are not very good & do not emit good quality UVB emissions like the Reptisun 10 tube or the Arcadia D3 12% tube bulb.  Try to check the UVB for me.  She may be starting to have some calcium issues if her UVB light is not emitting enough for her.
When they are growing, their bodies need a good amount of calcium but if they are not receiving adequate UVB they are not able to absorb calcium or synthesize D3 properly.  You can always order online, too.
I am glad that you are able to get her to eat right now.  Let me know how Tish 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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