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Reptiles/beardies wont eat


I received a beardie at xmas time, so she would be about 6 months old now, was healthy and eating well when i received her. My partner also got one a month after me but his one was sick, not eating and impacted when he got it, took some time and alot of effort but she started eating very well to. They have proper heating and UVB, newspaper as substrate, they share a cage at the moment as we are in the middle of making them their own ones. They have plenty of space and their diet consists of 2 superworms a day and medium crickets, every now and then we buy them roaches aswell. We have also put beardie pellets in there for them, but are unsure if they graze on that. They also have a water fountain to drink from. We also try to give them greens and fruits but they wont touch those. They have sticks and rocks to sit on aswell. For the last few weeks they have completely stopped eating and constantly digging, They stay in the cold part of the cage and losing weight aswell. I read it cant be brumation at their age so was wondering if you could help me, i dont have enough money for a special reptile vet at the moment. Is there anything we can do to get them eating again?

ANSWER: Hello Lisa,

Do you have any pictures of them along with your setup that I could see?
Are they Eastern or Central dragons?  
Which type & brand of UVB are you using, is it a fluorescent tube bulb or a compact/coil light?  
What are the temperatures in the tank & what type of thermometer are you using to measure the temperatures?
So they are both females then?  
I am glad you are building them their separate tanks, they will probably do better that way.  
Well, at 6 months of age, they technically can brumate, absolutely.  However, if they are losing weight, I recommend getting a fecal done on them to be sure it isn't parasites or worms.  You don't want them going down with parasites or worms, they will come out of a brumation phase very ill.  You can get a fecal done at any vet, not just a reptile vet to determine if they have anything going on there.  
If they do have worms or parasites, the vet can prescribe Panacur as a dewormer & Toltrazuril or Ponazuril for coccidia.  If protozoans, then Metronidazole (Flagyl) is the best for those.  Don't let him give them Ivermectin as it is not really safe for reptiles & does little for deworming anyway on them.  
Their behavior sounds like brumation & I doubt it is egg laying behavior.  They can lay infertile eggs too!  
You could try getting some probiotics such as non dairy soy yogurt or non dairy acidophiliz to help with balancing out their system.  If you can find bee pollen, that helps with boosting the immune system & appetite, also.  Since they are losing weight, I would try getting some baby food such as chicken or turkey & mixing it with sweet potatoes or squash baby food.  Using a plastic dropper or syringe, you can drop it onto the end of their nose to see if they will lick any of it off.  They will need to bask of course, to digest that.  

Let me know how they are doing.


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QUESTION: im unable to get pictures at the moment, but i can try later on when im able to.

from what i can see i think they are girls but its hard to tell.

i use a coil UVB light, reptiglo i think, i cant remember.the temp on the hot end is between 40 and 42 celcius and the cool end is 30 celcius, i use a mercury thermometer, once there new cages are made we will be buying digital thermometers.

i will try the baby food idea as soon as possible, will that help them gain weight and get them eating crickets again?

what do we do for the brumation? do we need to give them a place to dig, or lower the heat or anything?

also for my partners lizard, its so much smaller than what it should be because when he got it she was very underfed and ill, is there anything we can give it to help boost her to her proper size or will she always be a bit smaller than normal?

thankyou for your help to, we have been stressing about this worried they were very sick, so we appreciate it very much.

ANSWER: Hello Lisa,

How are they doing today?
The first thing I would recommend is to replace the compact/coil UVB light.  They have very poor UVB emissions actually so they may not be getting enough UVB & can develop metabolic bone disease.
Since your partner's dragon is undersized, I wouldn't let him/her go into brumation yet, until she is a little older.  They need to be decent sized before brumating.  How large is yours?  
Is yours smaller too?
What brand are you able to get over there, Arcadia?  If so, Arcadia makes a T8 tube bulb as well as a T5 tube bulb which is a higher UVB output that you could consider.  You would have to get a new light fixture whether you get the T8 or the T5 tube bulb.  Or you you could look for the Reptisun 10 tube bulb or the T5 tube bulb also made by Reptisun too.
When they are not exposed to adequate UVB lighting, they are unable to absorb their calcium & or vitamins properly.  
That should help increase their appetite & weight gain.  

Let me know how they are doing & if you are able to find another UVB light.


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

QUESTION: They still havnt eaten today, im going to go out tomorrow to get the baby food and try that idea.

im not sure on brands but ill have a look around, i know we can get tube ones but not sure on brands.

my beardie is 14 inches long, and my partners is 10 and a half inches long, but his beardie has part of its tail missing.
in saying that my beardie is much wider and thicker than my partners.

how do you stop them from brumating? and if we were to let them brumate do we need to change anything in their envronment for it?

Hello Lisa,

The only two brands that I recommend are either the Arcadia or the Reptisun.  Any other brand really isn't very good, or not proven with UVB meter readings, etc.  There are some off brands, but a lot of them have inferior wavelengths of UVB which can be unsafe for them.
Let me know if you are able to find the baby food.  

That is hard to stop them from brumating, but you may be able to slow it down to where they don't fully sleep but just maybe slow down.  It is instinct & hard to go against nature.  How long do you have their lights on for?
I think also if you change out the UVB lights & make it bright in their tank it will help.  Are you using a bright white light for basking also?

Let me know how they are 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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