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New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:20 pm
by greenbeanette

Hi everyone,

Please bear with me, I know this is a bit long and full of questions. I've been researching extensively for the last few days, getting ready to adopt the bearded dragon my family has. I bought one for my (older) brother about 5 years ago, without doing much research, but it was his responsibility to take care of him/her. My parents took took over his/her care presumably after he got tired of it. During the power outage on the east coast they brought her to my dad's apartment since the house was very cold, and purchased a small temporary tank. Well I went to visit last week, and the tank probably around a 15g and it has a sand substrate. She's now been in there all winter and it seems they only feed her crickets and have some red pellet food in her tank. There is one dome (?) light shining into the tank through the mesh, and I'm pretty sure that it only a basking light/no uvb.The vet told them at one point that she was a female, but I'm not sure considering she has never laid eggs.

I offered to take her in after seeing that the tank was so small and that they don't give her veggies. I'm wondering what health issues I'll be looking at since she has probably seen very little other than crickets in her life and probably is uvb deprived?

I'm planning on buying a T10 from animal plastics (48"x24"x15") with three dome circle screens cut out of the top. I know it is a bit short, but the 18" and 24" high ones are 135 dollars and 144 dollars more respectively, for some odd reason. I figure I'll mount the uvb fixture on the back wall at the top, and set the basking light on top of the mesh. Accounting for a 2in for the fixture's height and mounting 1in away from the ceiling, should still keep the floor 11"-12" from the uvb. With a basking rock, s/he should be in 6-8". Right? Is this ok?

I plan on getting either the reptisun 10 or the Arcadia 12%, and the Lights of America 24" fixture here:

I'm also concerned about getting him/her on a proper diet. I'm guessing vitamins/calcium will be in order here, but I not sure which ones to use and how much/often. I know there is some controversy about vitamin A and D in supplements, so that's also making confused about what to do there. For feeders, she's been living mainly on crickets her whole life, so I'm wondering if maybe holding off on high protein foods such as feeders would be a good idea at first. I read that too much protein can cause kidney damage? When I do give feeders, I'm thinking silkworms and hornworms? Both are caterpillars, which honestly I'll tolerate a lot better than more wormy/grubby looking critters. I'm also ok with crickets, but I wouldn't want to house them, just buy as needed as serve immediately.

The last big issue at the moment is shipping her over here. I looked at the guide on ... -properly/

She would be getting shipped once the tank gets here (ordering it Friday), and from what I have read animal plastics can take a little while to complete an order. Would I have my parents use a heat pack or not since it will be pretty far along into summertime? Would they put her in a cloth bag, or is that only for snakes?

Thanks guys. This site has been great fun researching on :)

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:43 pm
by Feline
It's great to know that you will rescue/adopt the Beardie. Hopefully, s/he will have a second chance at a proper and comfortable life. I don't know anything about shipping reptiles but I would assume your Beardie will have to stay in a container that is NOT airtight and will require some hand warmers during shipment.

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:05 pm
by greenbeanette
Thanks for the response! Yes, I am happy to be giving her a chance at a good life, especially since she is kind of my responsibility since I purchased her in the first place.

I plan on getting the packaging material from their site: ... package-2/ ... package-2/

Either the winter or summer shipping package 2. So the box would be 15 x 11 x 7" and be Styrofoam lined. The kit also comes with a cloth bag, which I'm not sure is appropriate for lizards and temperature packs. Not sure whether I need cooling packing or heating packs (looking around early July probably).

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:56 pm
by MuhNamesTyler
While I don't have any answers to your questions, I just wanna say that you're awesome for doin this :D

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:23 am
Hi there....please post a picture of the beardie when you can. The type + amount of feeders you offer will depend partly on the condition it's in. Hornworms are a good idea because they're full of moisture and beardies can't resist them. Just be aware that once the beardie gets a taste of them, she may not go so eagerly for crickets. As for shipping , there's a site called shipyourreptiles that gives instructions that you need, and they will give you a discounted rate + guarantee arrival if you ship through them.

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:47 am
by greenbeanette
Tyler: Thanks :)

AHBD: I will ask my dad if he can take a picture, not sure if he'll do it though honestly. I live several states over from there so it's not something I would be able to do anytime soon. When I saw her last week, she was alert and enjoyed having her head pet. I also gave her some strawberries and lettuce (I realize now that's is not great for them) and she gobbled it right up. About a hour later she had a rather large, gross looking, stinky poop. She is a good size though, alert, and I didn't see any visible health issues (I'm no pro though).

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:32 am
by Feline
That's such good news!!! If she ate some strawberry and lettuce for you then it won't be hard changing her diet at all!!! Hopefully you will be able to take care of her soon. :mrgreen:

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:08 am
by greenbeanette
That's a good point! She actually ate the strawberries pieces off my fingertips :)

No one has commented on my enclosure plan, so I'm safe to assume that the 48"x24"x15" will be ok? Details were in my first post. I'm going to contact animal plastics tomorrow to begin placing my order. I also want to do slate tile, but since I don't know if she has pin worms from eating 5 years worth of petstore crickets, I figure I'm probably best off starting with shelf-liner, which should be easily disinfected/disposable.

I asked my Dad to take a couple pictures and to possibly get an overall length on her. I'll post those once he sends them over. I also asked him to get her some collard or mustard greens since he mentioned he was getting crickets today.

Thanks for your help everyone. I'm really enjoying this forum :)

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:34 am
by Feline
I am no Beardie expert as I am still learning but your T10 cage looks great!!! I think it should be spacious enough. My Beardie currently has a 40Gallon glass tank from Zilla and I think it's too small, so I am looking to upgrade to a bigger acrylic tank come this fall or winter because as of right now my Beardie spends his days outside in a giant enclosure (ABO pet tent) and then he sleeps next to me at night so he really doesn't go into his tank at all.

I am not familiar with shelf-liner but slate sounds like a good plan, good for her nails and easy to clean too.

Ask your dad to see if he is willing to purchase organic leafy vegetables. It might be too much to ask but it's worth a shot. :mrgreen:

When you get her please post a picture of her for all of us to admire. :mrgreen:

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:00 pm
by greenbeanette
I'm glad the T10 looks ok, I'll start the process rolling on that tomorrow. I'm wondering if I should use hood of some sort on the uvb, so it doesn't blind me when I look in the tank? How do you guys resolve that? I know the tank will not be tall enough to use a reflector, but maybe some type of cover that isn't shiny?

Here are the pictures my Dad sent over. He said she is about 13 inches from head to tail. That means she's probably stunted then, right?


Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:17 am
by greenbeanette
So, do you guys think she looks ok/healthy? I can't tell because I'm new to this.

I'm thinking about going with a Exo Terra terrarium for $160. It would be 36"x18"X18" which a 40gb but a bit taller. I'm thinking since she is so small, that would work ok. I'd take out the styrofoam wll, and mount the uvb in the tank with command strips. Not sure about the basking light, since I read that it will melt the plastic top.

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:53 am
by Feline
She looks healthy to me, but her eyes seem very bulgy or perhaps that's just her anatomy. She seems a little short in length for her age but as long as she's healthy, it shouldn't matter. It could just be genetics. There are short and tall people; just because you're short doesn't mean your growth was stunted. I hope not because I'm short. :mrgreen:

I assume it will be quite some time since you will take her. I would tell your dad to dump out the sand and put a towel (cheaper alternative than carpet) in the cage. At least the towel is washable and will not cause impaction if she accidentally ingests some sand when she eats the crickets/vegetables.

I think the Exo Terra terrarium should be okay, but keep in mind that if you will house her in there most of the time then Beardies will need more width for running than height. Of course height matters too for climbing and lighting. If you can have both then that would be awesome. Buy a terrarium that will last you a long time. Animal Plastics seems expensive but their cages have very good reviews and can be taken apart for transport/cleaning.

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:22 am
by greenbeanette
Thanks for the response :) I just got back from petsmart. I got the 36"x18"x18" Exo Terra Terrarium. I also bought a 24" fixture for the uvb from Walmart. She would be in there most of the time, but she will have out time too.

I'll be ordering the following from amazon:
-Zoo Med Deluxe Dimmable Clamp Lamp with 8.5-Inch Dome ... PDKIKX0DER
-Duck Cushioned Surface Non-Adhesive Solid Easy Shelf Liner ... X0DERZilla
-11513 Fresh -Air Screen Cover, 36 by 18-Inch ... PDKIKX0DER
-Zoo Med ReptiSun® 10.0 High Output UVB Fluorescent Bulb 17 Watts, 24-Inch ... PDKIKX0DER
-Chaney Instruments Acu-Rite 00891A1 Indoor and Outdoor Thermometer with Humidity ... OG4NHCL26V

That should do it right? What am I missing?

I'm glad she doesn't look obviously ill or malnourished. I'm not sure about her eyes. What would bulging eyes mean? I'm hoping since I'm getting the tank set up shortly, I'll be able to get her here sooner. The animal plastics cage would have taken a couple months. I'll ask my dad about the sand, but I highly doubt he'll do it. I asked him yesterday if they could do a fecal test for her, and he insisted that there was no way she could have worms and that the test is expensive. I'm concerned that with 5 years of eating petstore crickets she possibly/probably does?

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:10 pm
by greenbeanette
Ordered the things listed above, but I got the Zoo Med digital terrarium thermometer instead. I also got repcal with D3 and herptivite. Everything should be here later next week, at which point I can send the shipping kit from to my parents.

I'm excited about this :)

Any thoughts on her probable health condition and appearance would be appreciated. What might the budging eyes indicate? Does she look like she has a calcium deficiency? I read that you aren't supposed to take them to the vet right after you get them, but to wait a couple months because the tests won't be accurate? Wouldn't that just give her enclosure a chance to get infected with whatever could be wrong with her? Also, if she has worms, I would want to take care of that immediately. I don't want to catch them or have my dog catch them :puke:

Re: New to Bearded Dragons: adopting a neglected beardie

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:33 pm
by StaceysBuddy
I'm no expert by any means, I only know stuff from here and the internet and of course from my beardie of 2 years.
From looking at the pictures she doesn't look bad but her face, particularity her snout/mouth, look pointy to me. And what someone mentioned already, her eyes do look a but bulgy.. but I don't think that's a bad thing. Could be nothing for all I know but I just hope it's not any signs of something bad like MBD since you said she hasn't had a UVB bulb. She does looks stressed from her stress marks and she is a bit dark, which could be her color but I'm sure once you get her home she will still be stressed for awhile but I'm guessing once she gets comfortable she will lighten up a little bit.
Did you get any pics of the top of her, mainly the top of her head? You could look at her fat pads and see if they show or are sunken.. (Sunken = bad)

If it gives you any peace at mind, my ignorant self never gave Buddy a UVB bulb for months when I first got her. I was misinformed at the store. I don't think she got a proper bulb until she was 6-7 months old. And she doesn't have any MBD or any sickness, perfectly healthy.

I'll do some looking around and see what I come up with for early signs of MBD or anything, I bet you are in the clear. A mod or someone will chime in if they think it's really bad.
I think that you are doing a great thing by adopting her, and I'm sure you'll fall in love instantly!