Rehabbing a rescue beardie

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Rehabbing a rescue beardie

Postby RapscallionRed » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:17 pm

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Hello all,

I just rescued a very friendly 5 year old beardie named Rango yesterday. Unfortunately he has been living in deplorable conditions for the last few years of his life... before we got him yesterday we were told he had “everything he needed”. Turns out that was not the case.

Rango has been living in a 20 gallon tank his whole life, and it’s obviously stunted his growth. He’s about 12inches from snout to tip of his tail, which by the way is nubbed on the end ☹️. He never had a heat lamp or ANY lighting for that matter. We were told he was being fed crickets once a week, and otherwise came to us with a small bowl full of garbage bearded dragon pellets.

As soon as we got him yesterday we went out and got a basking bulb set up and a UVB light. We picked up some crickets and calcium powder, and I grabbed some kale, collard greens, blueberries, and blackberries. So far he’s only eating crickets, I don’t think he’s ever had salad. He’s basking and starting to move around more today but he’s very shaky and I’m pretty sure he has some amount of MBD.

I’ll be upgrading his tank to a 40 gallon as soon as I can afford it. I’m just worried about him. Any advice would be amazing. I’ve never owned a dragon, but I’ve done COPIOUS amounts of research in the last week when we found out we were getting him. I just want him to thrive and live out a good and healthy rest of his life! Please let me know what else I can do!
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Re: Rehabbing a rescue beardie

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:11 pm

Poor guy. I'm glad you are able to take him in and give him a good home. Unfortunately there are a lot of dragons out there who aren't well cared for but they are tough little guys and can bounce back from a lot with proper help.

I would go easy on food at first until you can make sure he is stabilized. Is he alert and active? Or is he acting sleepy and ill? If he's active that's a good sign. I would focus first on hydrating him. Drip water on his nose and see if he licks it up. If he does, you could try doing the same thing with some vegetable baby food. Try green beans, squash, and sweet potato. If he licks that up it will provide him with some nutrition without hitting his system too hard with a lot of protein if he isn't used to it. You can slowly introduce crickets if he is going after them but I wouldn't offer too much at once. It may take a while to transition him over to salads if he isn't used to it and the focus should be on getting him well fed and stabilizing his weight but he should eventually be transitioned into salads with a bug meal only a couple of times per week.

It's important that he has proper lighting as well. Investing in a high quality T5 UVB light is important as is getting a good heat gradient set up and keeping his enclosure nice and clean. This is an excellent option for UVB http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/22-t-5-ho-fixture-high-output-with-arcadia-d3-12-ho-bulb/ You'll want to set up a heat gradient so the surface temperatures on the basking area are around 100-105 and the cool side surfaces should be around 75-80 or so with a nice gradient in between. The UVB light should sit above the basking area. He will move around to get what he needs at different points in the day.
He will need a much bigger space than a 20g as you said so I would make that a priority. Your best bet in terms of cost is probably to build your own like this one https://beardies.dreamwidth.org/2145.html
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Re: Rehabbing a rescue beardie

Postby RapscallionRed » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:27 pm

Thank you for all the food options! I will try those. He hasn’t touched a lick of salad yet. I’m still messing around with the lighting and heat. My basking bulb is putting out adequate heat but I think I need a taller log or rock so he can get closer. He’s a little too weak to climb right now though. But he’s looking stronger than when got him!

Thanks again!!
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Re: Rehabbing a rescue beardie

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:31 pm

That's a good sign too. If he is still having trouble getting around I would try to keep everything relatively flat and easily accessible for now. Try different wattage bulbs or changing the height of the bulb if the temps need tweaking. If you have a halogen or incandescent bulb you might be able to hook it to a lamp dimmer to adjust the output a bit for fine tuning. I don't like having the basking light closer than about 12'' partly to keep it out of reach and party so it casts a nice wide beam and creates a big basking area.
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