Bearded Dragons also known as beardies by their owners are great reptile pets. They are friendly, social, gentle, and easy to train. They love hanging out and playing with their owners and are just so cute!
This will be a guide to how to get the best out of your new family member.
What You Will Learn
- Habitat – How to set up the best environment for your beardie so they can live their best life
- Nutrition – What to feed your bearded dragon
- Grooming – How to make your beardie looking his best
- Behavior – What are normal things a bearded dragon does and what does it mean
- Medical – What are some of the top illnesses bearded dragons face and what to do if your bearded dragon is sick
- They can live up to ten years. The oldest bearded dragon was named ‘Sebastian’ we lived for 18 years, 237 days
- They can grow up to 24 inches (2 feet).
- They are venomous but their venom does not affect people
- There are over 250,000 bearded dragons born each year by breeders with and much more being born by pet owners
Never get an all in one enclosure. This is the biggest mistake most new owners make. It might seem convenient you end up wasting money and not using or replacing most of the items in the package.
This is the first thing you want to decide on for your beardie. There are many different types and it depends on your budget. All have their pros and cons. We even did a review of some tanks recommend.
These are the same ones that people use as fish tanks.
- 360-degree view
- Easy to find
- Doesn’t hold heat well
- Can’t Stack
Made with PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) similar to the stuff they make PVC pipes from.
- Light Weight
- Smooth Finish
- Customizable with different colors and installed lighting
- Holds Heat
- Can Stack
- Hard to keep Humidity low
Made with ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic. Computer keyboards and LEGO blocks are made from the same plastic.
- Easy to Move
- Easy to Clean
- Don’t have Plastic Odor
- Very Expensive
Made from a single piece of plastic and typically have built-in fixtures for lights
- Lights built-in
- Very Easy to Clean
- Light Weight
- Chemical Resistant
- Very Expensive
Melamine is a manufactured wood that is like particleboard. A laminate layer is glued to the outside to add style.
- Strong and Durable
- Holds Heat Well
- If using white, it will reflect more light
- Ruined if gotten wet.
The size of the tank needed depends on the size of the dragon. The bigger the dragon the bigger the tank. If you decide to put more than 1 dragon in a tank (which is not recommended) you will need a larger tank than the ones recommended below.
10 inches (25 cm) or fewer dragons
Baby dragons should get a 20 gallon tank. This is big enough for them and the smaller size lets then catch food easier
10-16 inches or 25-40 cm dragons
Juvenile dragons need at least a 40-gallon tank. The larger the better. The larger the tank the larger they will grow.
16-20 inches or 40-50 cm dragons
They will need at least a 50-75 gallon tank
20+ inches or 50+ cm dragons
They will need a minimum 75-gallon tank but a 120-gallon tank would be ideal.
It is better to have a wider tank than a taller tank since you want more space for your dragon to roam around. Longer tanks will be harder to light and heat throughly.
Lighting is important for the health of your bearded dragon. You will need a UVA/UVB fluorescent light and a Heat Lamp or Basking Light. You will need to have the lights on 12-14 hours a day. We suggest you get an automatic timer so you don’t have to worry about turn the lights on and off. Just one less thing to remember.
UVA / UVB Lights
UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays are essential for a bearded dragon.
UVA stimulates appetite, provides heat, regulates sleep cycle, and improves mood. UVB helps convert Vitamin D into Vitamin D3 and is essential for bone health. UVB helps create a healthy metabolism, allows for the digestion of calcium for healthy bones. You want a bulk that offers 5%-10% UVA/UVB radiation and it needs to cover 80% of the tank. You don’t want to cover the whole tank because you want your bearded dragon to be able to get away from the UVB light if they have had enough. Another option is to have a hide.
You will want a 10.0 bulb. 5.0 blubs are for small tanks for smaller reptiles.
The number of watts is less important. The stronger the watts the bigger the bulb. So the larger the watts the further away you want the light from the tank, the lower watts the closer you want it to the tank.
You will need to replace your UVA/UVB blub every 6 months because even if the bulb still lights up the amount of UVA/UVB rays coming out from it decreases over time.
Heat Lamp / Basking Light
A heat lamp/basking light provides heat for your dragon. A heat lamp allows your bearded dragon to regulate their body heat when their bodies get too cold. The heat lamp should take up 20%-30% of the tank and heat up to 90 – 100 degrees F (32 – 37 degrees C)
You should put a branch, rock, or platform under the light so that your dragon can come 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) from the light.
If at night with the lights off if the temperature goes below 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) you will need to purchase a ceramic heat emitter that produces heat without light.
Substrate / Flooring
If you want to get a group of breaded dragons mad, just mention loose substrate (flooring). We will discuss good options and ones to avoid.
Easily soaks up liquid. Do not use a fresh newspaper if possible. To print ink from leaching you should let the paper sit in a room for a few weeks before using them.
Easily soaks up liquids and no need to work about ink leaching
These have started to become a popular option. They are cheap and come in many styles of colors. Easy to clean and cut to the exact sizes you need for your tank. Some lizards don’t like it because they cannot grip it making it hard to move around.
Look for the tiles that have texture and look like stone and sand. Try to stay away from the smooth ones that are in bathrooms. They are inexpensive and with the proper tools, easy to cut. They do retain a lot of heat so you don’t want them directly under your heat lamp/basking light because it could get too hot and burn your beardie.
The most decorative of all the options. Slate provides grip for walking around and it helps wear down nails so you can reduce nail trimming. It is a lot harder to clean because they have pores in which poop and other bacteria can hide and grow. You will have to clean very well.
Cheap and easy to find. They do get dirty quickly and will have to be replaced often. Make sure to get one that does not have any loops because their claws and fingers can get stuck which can hurt them.
You would think that since bearded dragons are from deserts sand would be an obvious choice but it is not. Sand can cause impaction which is a huge health hazard for bearded dragons. It is one of the toughest to clean.
Some recommend this because of the anti-microbial properties but it can also cause impaction. It retains moisture that causes respiratory infections.
Never use wood shavings. This is unnatural for bearded dragons and can lead to impaction. Some wood shavings also contain chemicals.
Cover and Lids
You will need a screen cover or lid that is strong enough to hold the weight of your lights and can withstand the heat from your heat lamps. If you decide to go without a lid your dragon can escape. You should not get a glass or plastic lid because they restrict airflow and can cause dangerous humidity levels for your dragon. Glass also prevents UV light from getting into the tank. Glass can also overheat the tank.
There should be 2 sides to every tank. A warm zone that has the temperature between 95-110 degrees F (35-43 degrees C) and a cool zone where the temperature is around 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). You should use 2 temperature gauges/thermostats for the 2 zones to make sure that the tank is properly heated. Get digital thermostats that also measures humidity because they are easier to read. Never get headed rocks because they can burn the underside of your dragon.
The humidity of the tank should be between 20%-40%. If your thermometer doesn’t measure humidity you should get a hydrometer (a device that measures humidity). If the humidity is too low you can lightly mist your tank once a day. If the humidity is too high make sure the tank is getting proper ventilation. If you have a water bowl in the tank you might want to leave it in only a few hours each day. If the humidity is because of the weather in your area you will have to purchase a good dehumidifier, run the AC or open a window.
Furniture / Accessories
This allows them to get closer to the basking light to regulate their temperature. This platform should allow them to get within 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) from the lamp. Branches and logs are good options for this.
This is something where your dragon can hide from the light as well as from people looking at them. Hides are especially important during brumation (dragon’s version of hibernation). Some owners like to put the hide under the basking light so that the hide doubles as a basking area. Without a hide, your dragon will get stressed. Even they need their private time.
Bearded dragons love hammocks. They love to swing and lounge around. The make special hammocks for bearded dragons that have suction cups and hooks so you can put them anywhere in your tank.
Backgrounds help your beardie feel more at ease and comfortable because it copies the beardie’s natural environment. Desert backgrounds are best.
Branches and Logs
Bearded dragons love to climb so you should have at least 1 branch in the tank. Climbing on the branches also helps from keep their claws short. If you decide to get branches from outside instead of purchasing one from a pet store make sure the bake it at 320 degrees for at least 30 minutes to kill any parasites and insects.
Types of to avoid are Eucalyptus, Cedar, any wood with thorns, and any chemically treated wood.
Some owners add plants to give the tank more color. Some plants that look great and a safe for bearded dragons are
Callisia Repens (Turtle Vine)
Carex buchananii (Red Rooster Ornamental Grass)
Your bearded dragon might end up eating the plants so they will have to be replaced. You could also put fake plants if you don’t want that to happen.
One of the best parts of owning a bearded dragon is watching them eat. That was one of the things my kids looked forward to the most when we got ours. It also helps me get over my fear of roaches. Here we will tell you everything you need to know for feeding your beardie.
Size of Food
This is so important I want you to read this first. Bearded dragons don’t chew their food so the size of what you feed your dragon is very important. If you feed them something too big it can cause paralysis. You should only feed your dragon food the size of the distance between their eyes.
Eating something larger will cause digestion issues. The food will put pressure on your bearded dragon’s spinal cord during digestion which is why this can lead to paralysis.
Your bearded dragon’s diet largely depends on how old your beardie is.
Babies/Young (hatchling to 5 months)
This is where you will have to be most active. Your dragon is grown fast and needs to eat a lot of protein (e.g. insects) to keep up with their growth. Their diet should be 80% insects and 20% fruits and veggies. Just like people every dragon is different so you will have to experiment to see what types of insects and greens your baby will like to eat. It is normal for your baby to eat 4 or 5 times a day. Think of a newborn baby and how many times you had to feed your baby then. Your dragon is no different right now.
Juvenile (5 months to 18 months)
Your dragon is still growing but it has slowed down a bit. This is where you start having a more balanced diet. Your dragon should be eating 50% insects and 50% fruits and veggies. Continue to try new and different things to give your dragon. They should be fed around three times a day.
Adult (18 months or more)
Congrats! You have a fully grown dragon! They don’t need as much protein now and should be eating 20% protein and 80% greens and should only be eating once or twice a day.
It is important to provide a good diet so your dragon and live a long happy life with you.
Types Of Food
Your dragon will eat 3 main types of food.
We will discuss the good, the bad, and how to keep your food for your bearded dragon.
Insects are the main source of protein for your dragon. We will go over the most common types of bugs to find you bearded dragon, a larger list of bugs you can feed your dragon, and a list of bugs you want to avoid.
Bugs to Feed Often
Available in different sizes Pinhead (which are the size of an ant), 1/8″, 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″ and adult. Remember, they are crickets so think about where you store them if you don’t like the sound they make at night.
A great feeder insects because they are full of nutrition and dubia roaches can’t fly, jump or climb smooth surfaces to escape
Hornworms are large, soft-bodied caterpillars. They are bright green and grow up to 4 inches. Their natural green color stimulates feeding responses in fussy eaters and those who refuse to eat.
Bugs as Treats
Black Soldier Fly Larvae
Unlike most live feeder insects they contain the perfect amount of calcium so there is no need to dust. They can also be stored in a fridge (we recommend the door) for up to a month
Butterworms make a great snack! Butterworms are low in fat and are high in calcium. Butterworms are 1.25-1.5″ in length
Slightly slower moving than Crickets, they are easier for lizards to catch and eat.
Also used for composting, these worms are a favorite with some bearded dragons. The benefit is that you can compost while storing them.
Coming in sizes of 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ or more. Keep them in the fridge where they become dormant in their larva stage and stay in perfect condition for 30-45 days.
These soft-bodied worms are high in protein and calcium. They are fattening and should be fed as treats.
They have low fat, high protein, and calcium. The extremely high calcium content makes them ideal for pregnant (gravid) bearded dragons.
Lively and very nutritious worms. They can also be used for fishing and composting so there are multiple uses when ordering in bulk.
5x larger than a mealworm. The size difference comes from a superworm having more chitin (their shell). This gives them less meat, but a higher concentration of calcium, fiber, and fat.
Bugs to Avoid
Also known as lightning bugs are toxic to bearded dragons and will cause death
Found around boxelder trees and are toxic to bearded dragons.
Other insects to avoid include:
- Venomous insects, such as bees, wasps and scorpions
- Any insects that glow
- Insects you found outside
- Insects sold as bait for fishing
- Insects found inside your home
Vegetables and Fruits
All vegetables should be finely chopped and no bigger than the distance between your breaded dragon’s eyes. They should be wash to remove any dirt, pesticides, or chemicals.
Vegetables that are Safe to Feed
- Acorn Squash
- Alfalfa Hay Or Chow
- Artichoke Heart
- Asparagus (Raw)
- Beet Greens
- Bell Peppers (Raw)
- Bok Choy
- Butternut Squash
- Cabbage (Raw)
- Celery Leaves
- Collard Greens
- Cooked Sweet Potato
- Cucumber (Peeled)
- Dandelion Greens
- Green Beans
- Green Cabbage
- Kohlrabi Leaves
- Lentils (Cooked)
- Mustard Greens
- Okra (Raw)
- Red Cabbage
- Snap Peas
- Spaghetti Squash
- Sweet Potato
- Swiss Chard
- Turnip Greens
- Yams (Raw)
- Yellow Squash
- Zucchini (Raw)
Vegetables to Avoid
- Beet Greens – contains high amounts of oxalates, which can be fatal in bearded dragons in high doses.
- Spinach – contains high amounts of oxalates, which can be fatal in bearded dragons in high doses
- Oxalic acid is dangerous because it binds to calcium preventing its absorption. Diets composed primarily of these can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
- Avocados (Toxic) – very toxic to bearded dragons and should be avoided completely.
- Rhubarb (Toxic) – very toxic to bearded dragons and should be avoided completely.
Fruit should be cut larger than the space between your breaded dragon’s eyes. They should be wash to remove any dirt, pesticides, or chemicals.
Fruits that are Safe to Feed
- Apples (Remove Seeds)
- Apricots (Fresh, Pit Removed)
- Cherries (No Pit)
- Grapefruit (Remove Seeds)
- Grapes (Seedless)
- Honeydew Melon
- Peaches (Pit Removed)
- Prickly Pear
- Star Fruit
Knowing which greens and fruits to eat is one thing. Getting your beardie to eat them is another. Check out our 12 tips and tricks to get your bearded dragon to eat their greens.
Some beardies don’t eat and this gets stressful. After all, you don’t want your baby to starve. So what should you do if your bearded dragon doesn’t want to eat?
- Try hand-feeding them. Just put the food in the palm of your hand and bring it close to your beardie
- Let them chase their food. This brings out their instincts. Just make sure you are in a space where the bugs can’t make a getaway.
- Make a salad. For those picky eaters that don’t like to eat their veggies try mixing in the insects with the vegetables
- Let them go hungry. It sounds harsh but some times it is necessary to get them to eat their veggies.
Bearded dragons are used to dry weather so they need little water. You can add a very shallow bowl with water so your beardie doesn’t tip over the bowl. You have to change out the water daily since they like to poop in the water. You can also mist your vegetables and fruits as another way to provide water.
Vitamin D3 & Calcium
These are the most important of all the vitamins. It helps strengthen and grow their bones. Calcium is really important if your breaded dragon is pregnant (gravid) because she needs a lot of calcium when making eggs. You will have to find a supplement that includes BOTH calcium and vitamin D3 because bearded dragons cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D3.
The amount you need to give your dragon depends on the age.
Babies/Young (Hatchling to 5 months)
Babies need the most calcium since they are growing constantly. Young dragons need a daily dose of Calcium and Vitamin D3
Juvenile (5 months to 18 months)
The bearded dragon’s growth has slowed down but is still growing. They will need Calcium and Vitamin D3 3 or 4 times per week.
Adult (18 months or more)
Your dragon is fully grown at this point so you don’t give them as much anymore. They will need Calcium and Vitamin D3 only once per week at this point.
Bearded dragons get enough iron from the vegetables they are eating. If your dragon is not eating vegetables you might need to provide him with a supplement but consult your vet because too much iron will cause health problems.
Bearded dragons get enough Vitamin A from the vegetables they are eating. If your dragon is not eating vegetables you might need to provide him with a supplement but consult your vet because of too much cause vitamin A toxicity.
Just like any pet, you will need to bath your dragon. Each dragon has a different personality. Some will love the water and some will hate it. Both are normal.
How often should I bath my dragon?
The times you should bath your dragon are:
- They are dirty
- They are dehydrated
- They are shedding or are having a hard time shedding
- You need to treat an open wound
If your dragon hates bathes then the above are the times you need to bath them. You don’t want to stress your bearded dragon out if they dislike baths.
If your dragon loves bathes then bath them every day if you want.
You can use the time that your dragon is out of his tank to clean it up and do you scheduled husbandry.
How to bath your bearded dragon?
- Water the water to 85-96 degrees F (26-35 degrees C)
- DO NOT add any soap or chemicals to the water. Your bearded dragon will take a few drinks of water during their bath so you don’t want to contaminate the water.
- Use a plastic tub, sink, or bathtub and fill the water up to the top of the limbs of your bearded dragon. Dragons do not know how to swim so if you fill the water up to high they can drown.
- Get a cup and slowly pour water over your bearded dragon
- Keep them in that bath for 15 mins. If your beardie loves bathes you can leave them in longer but no more than 30 mins
- After the bath is done place your beardie on a towel and pat dry. DO NOT RUB your dragon.
Babies/Young (hatchling to 5 months) and Juvenile (5 months to 18 months) bearded dragons shed often. Adults (18 months or more) shed 1 or 2 times a year.
When shedding starts the color of their scales will start to dull and their eyes will look puffed out. Don’t be scared, this is normal and a good sign.
You want to keep their skin hydrated to help with the shedding. You can do this by bathing them or misting their body.
Let the shedding process happen naturally. Do not try to pull off the old skin. You can damage your dragon. It is like pulling off a scab that isn’t fully healed.
Keep on eye on the shedding at the end of the tail and the fingers and toes. Sometimes the skin doesn’t come off easily and tighten and restrict blood flow which can hurt your dragon.
It can take up to 2 or 3 weeks for your dragon to fully shed their skin but it can take less time if your dragon a baby or juvenile.
Climbing, digging, and walking helps keep your dragon’s nails short and healthy. If you see that their nails are starting to curl under their toes it is time for a trim.
There are 2 ways to trim your dragon’s nails
You will need a clipper that is used for dogs and cats. Bearded dragons have a vein that grows in the nail so you don’t want to over clip. You just want to clip the very end of the nail. If you did over cut the nail will start bleeding. To stop the bleeding you can use Q-tip and put flour, baking soda, or cornstarch on the bleeding nail. You also use an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
Filing is safer but a lot slower and could stress out your dragon. Run the file over the tip of the claw a few times until the tip is smooth.
Dragons do the strangest things which makes them so lovable. Learn all the common actions a bearded dragon does and what it means.
Your beardie is standing and looks like it is waving. Are they saying hi? Yes, it is known that beardie wave at their owners. They also wave to other bearded dragons. They also wave as a sign of submission to another dragon.
Your bearded dragon is moving their head up and down as if they are rocking to a beat. This is known as head bobbing. It isn’t dancing but a show of dominance between dragons. The faster the bobbing the aggressive the action. Males tend to do this to females when mating. Dragons also do it to other dragons if they are trying to protect their territory. Learn more details about head bobbing.
Black Bearding / Fluffing Their Beard
Their beards are more than just cool looking. Your bearded dragon can puff up their beards and the beard can turn black. This is to make them appear bigger if they feel threatened. Similar to when rattlesnakes shake their tale.
There are 2 main reasons your bearded dragon is digging. One is to create a comfortable space for them to bask. The other reason is if your dragon is a girl is to create space to lay her eggs.
Lying on top of each other
Often mistaken for cuddling and hugging this is aggressive behavior. The dragon on top is trying to prevent the other dragon from getting the UV rays it needs to survive. If you see this happening separate the dragons right away.
Mouth Open / Gaping
Your dragon has their mouth wide open as if it saw something incredible. The most common reason is that your dragon is trying to control its temperature. Your dragon can’t sweat so they open their mouth to let cool air enter to lower the temperature. A more serious reason is that your beardie could have a respiratory disease.
Your bearded dragon is making their best cat impression and twitching their tail. Some dragons do it while they are hunting. It could be a sign of stress. Lastly, some dragons do this during mating. It is nothing to be concerned about.
Hissing is a sign that either your dragon is angry or feels threatened. It is similar to a dog growling at you.
This is when your bearded dragon is trying to climb out of their tank as hard as they can over and over again. From the bottom, it looks like a surfer paddling out to the waves. There are a few reasons for this. Your pet might see the reflection in the glass and want to interact with the reflection. Your bearded dragon doesn’t know that there is glass there and continues to try to go through it. There is something wrong and the dragon wants to get out. If this is the case, check the tank to make sure nothing is wrong. Check the hot zones 95-110 degrees F (35-43 degrees C) and cold zones 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) are correct. They are getting reading to lay eggs and are looking for a place. Lastly, some dragons just want to go for a stroll and are tell you, similar to dogs trying to open the door.
Metabolic bone disease (MBD)
Also known as nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, this disease is most common in bearded dragons. Generally, it is caused by a bad diet that is high in phosphorus and low in calcium or vitamin D3. MBD can lead to deformed and brittle bones.
- Swelling of the lower jaw
- Softening of jaw
- Legs tremor or twitch when walking
- Crawling instead of walking
- Loss of Appetite
- Loss of Energy
- Bumps in the legs you can feel or see
- Jerky movements
Metabolic bone disease can be treated with a proper diet, correct UV light, and temperature if the disease is caught early. It could be fatal if not treated right away. If you suspect that your dragon has this you should take them to the vet right away.
Mouth Rot (Infectious stomatitis)
Mouth rot is a bacterial infection in the gums and/or jaw bone. It causes swelling in the jaw.
- Gum Swelling
- Excessive Thick Mucus
- Bleeding in the Gums
- Loss of Appetite
- Loose teeth
- Inflamed or red oral tissues
- Yellowish/White Substance in and around the mouth
- Swelling of the head (common in severe cases)
- Dead tissue in or around the mouth
Catching this early is the difference between a quick recovery or a long and expensive treatment. You should take your bearded dragon to the vet right away.
Parasite infections are usually transmitted from other dragons or from the insects that are part of their diet. The common parasite infections in bearded dragons
- Weight Loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Loss of Energy
You should bag up any vomit or stool to take into the vet for a test. Your vet will provide the proper medication depending on what they find.
This is an infection of the respiration system. Respiratory infections can be because of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
- Bubbles from mouth or nose
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Loss of Appetite
- Loss of Energy
- Puffing up of body or throat
- Excess mucus around mouth or nose
- Breathing with an open mouth
ANY change from normal is a cause for concern and should be immediately taken to your veterinarian.
Atadenovirus (adenovirus, star-gazing disease, wasting disease)
Atadenovirus is a contagious disease that is spread from beardie to beardie by direct contact. The Adenovirus attacks the liver. Some dragons can have normal lives and are just carriers.
- Loss of Appetite
- Loss of Energy
- Swelling of Belly
- Swelling of Chin
Ask the vet to check for this during your next visit
This is one of the most common illnesses. This happens when the dragon’s intestines have something blocking it preventing your dragon from having bowel movements. This is very common when there are loose substrates (ie. sand, wood shaving, and aquarium pebbles) is used. This disease is fatal.
- Stop going to the bathroom
- Stop using their hind legs
- Stop eating
Visit your vet as soon as possible.
Just like you, your dragon will have diarrhea from time to time. This could be caused by eating some bad food, dirty water, parasites, a change in diet, or stress. If it comes and goes there is nothing to worry about. If diarrhea is having over a few days you should take your beardie to a vet.
Your dragon needs a small amount of water to survive. Your dragon will get most of its water from eating fruits and vegetables. A simple test to see if your beardie is dehydrated is to gently pinch the skin with your fingers and the skin doesn’t go back immediately your dragon is probably dehydrated.
- Sunken eyes
- Your dragon perks up after drinking
- Wrinkled skin
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of energy
To get your dragon to drink you can try giving your dragon some clean water. If that doesn’t work try mixing Pedialyte of a sports drink like Gatorade with water (1 part water with 1 part drink). Bathing your dragon might also work. They might drink some water during their bath. If that still isn’t working you can try using a small dropper or syringe.
One of the more serious illnesses. It is normal for your dragon to extend their back legs while basking. To test for paralysis try touching a limb or body part to see if it moves. Some possible reasons are:
- Digestive Track is blocked
- Serious Impaction
- Metabolic Bone Disease
If your dragon is paralyzed get to a vet as soon as possible.
Too Much Vitamin A (Hypervitaminosis A)
This happens if you overfed a vitamin A supplement to your dragon.
- Swelling in Eyes
- Swelling in Throat
- Swelling in body
- Loss of Energy
Take your dragon to a vet to get blood work done. Bring all the supplements you are feeding your dragon to the visit.
Lack of Vitamin B1 (Hypothiaminosis)
This happens because your dragon eating enough greens and vegetables. Make sure their diet contains the proper amount of greens and vegetables. Babies/Young (hatchling to 5 months) should be 80% insects and 20% fruits and veggies. Juvenile (5 months to 18 months) should be eating 50% insects and 50% fruits and veggies. Adult (18 months or more) should be eating 20% protein and 80% greens. Make sure to give your dragon fresh veggies. Vegetables that are frozen or stored for extended periods lose their vitamin B1.
- Muscle Twitches
Start adding more vegetables to their diet and get your dragon’s blood work done when you have a chance.
Egg Binding (Dystocia)
Egg Binding happens when a pregnant (gravid) bearded dragon cannot lay eggs. This is because the female can not find a place to lay her eggs. As a results, the eggs continue to grow in her and become too big and get stuck in the dragon. This becomes fatal to the dragon.
- Swelling around the mid-section
- Constant digging
- Anxious movement
If you see these signs set up a place that your beardie can nest and call your vet immediately
Renal Disease (Kidney Failure)
This is a disease that happens to older dragons, usually 4 years or older. This is a type of kidney failure.
- Loss of weight
- Loss of energy
- Bad breathe
- Always laying down instead of sitting and standing
This is highly fatal where only 1 out of 4 breaded dragons survive. Take your dragon to the vet immediately.
Yellow Fungus (Chrysosporium Anamorph of Nanniziopsis vriesii)
It is called Yellow fungus because it causes the scales of the dragon to turn yellow and eventually fall off. This fungus will cause the skin to fall off your beardie. It is spread by direct contact or through the air.
Take your dragon to the vet if you suspect your dragon has this.
- Small yellow to brown crust on the surface of a few scales that grow
- Bad shed that leaves behind dull scales with a roughened appearance
- Constant shedding
- Discolored Scales
- Random Troubling Wounds
Cancer effect everyone, even your beardie. If you are buying from a breeder, check to see if any of his reptiles have a history of cancer. Feel for lumps, especially in the stomach and chest. If you suspect anything, take your bearded dragon to a vet to get an X-ray.
Retained Shed (Dysecdysis)
This is when the shed has problems and the old skin does not come off around the tail, toes, and feet. This restricts the blood flow and causes injury and could end in them losing the body part. If you notice this trying bathing your dragon and after the bath just a towel to try to rub old skin away. Rub, do not pull at the skin as this can damage your dragon if the shedding is not complete.
You can also rub cocoa butter or aloe vera on the area once or twice a day.
Tail Rot is an infection that causes the tail to fall off. It could also lead to organ failure in serious cases. The causes include
- Bad husbandry
- Lack of calcium
- Tail injury
- Retained Shed of tail
- Blood clots in the tail
- Darkening of tail
- The tail is inflexible, hard and dry
- Lack of appetite
- Abnormal Behavior
If you suspect this is the issue take your beardie to the Vet ASAP
Who doesn’t love watching their dragon eat up insects? They love them and it just looks cool. Still, if you don’t give your dragon the proper diet it could let to being over-weight and just like us, it will cause health issues. Make sure that your dragon is having a balanced diet. Babies/Young (hatchling to 5 months) should be 80% protein and 20% fruits and veggies. Juvenile (5 months to 18 months) have a diet of 50% protein and 50% fruits and veggies. Adult (18 months or more) only get 20% protein and 80% fruits and veggies.
When a blood artery grows larger than normal. If the blood vessel bursts, it causes internal bleeding. Aneurysms can happen anywhere on the body of your dragon. They are most common on the head. If the Aneurysm is in the brain it can cause immediate death. It is still unknown what causes aneurysms. If you see a bump growing on your dragon go to the vet to get the lump examined.
Burns are mostly bearded dragons getting to close or touching a heat lamp. They can also get burns if they are under the heat lamp for too long. Make sure that your dragon can not reach a heat lamp but using a screen. Remember to turn off the lamp daily after 12 hours or get a timer so you never forget. Never buy heat rocks for your tank. If your dragon gets burned take them to a vet to get the proper treatment.