Charlie the Library Lizard

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Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby saraho » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:02 pm

One of the best things to come out of the Covid-19 shut downs was that during a brainstorming session at the library where I work (I'm the Children's Librarian), we started talking about a library pet/education animal. I contacted our local zoo for some advice on what would be a good choice, and bearded dragon was high on the list. Less than 24 hours later my friend at the zoo called me back and said she knew of a beardie who needed re-homing. Charlie grew up in a 1st grade classroom before coming to live with us at the library.

The shutdown gave me time to bond with Charlie and also to work out the kinks in his habitat. We worked for weeks to get his tank temperature correct, the building temperature made it difficult. But now, thanks to a custom built tank lid, he has it cozy-warm and the new lid is locking to prevent anyone from handling him without permission.

Thank you for all of the great info on the site -- today I learned I've been dealing with seminal plugs and no one had warned me that could happen. Thanks to your forums I know he's going to be just fine.
https://www.watertownsd.us/993/Charlie-the-Library-Lizard
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:20 pm

Great pics of Charlie --- the only thing I would recommend is to get rid of the sand -- it harbors bacteria and can cause impaction --- what kind of UVB are you using this is extremely important --- brand and bulb coil or tube and where in the tank is it -- if you could post pics of Charlies tank and lighting that would be great
https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploads/ click on XIMG at the top of the message box then click on the pic it should post
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby saraho » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:20 am

Image
This is Charlie's current set-up. When we first adopted him, the all that the previous owner had in the tank was paper towels, a piece of wood and a rock. There was a lid included but the mesh on it had very large openings. She also gave us the lighting set. Once I realized the tank needed more insulation to maintain temperatures, I asked our maintenance man to build something. The new lid works very well for our purposes. The tank sits in a southern window and gets a fair amount of morning sun. Charlie likes being able to see outside too. The final piece to the heating puzzle was to add heating pads under the tank.
Image
The cool side of the tank has a mesh lid with a cover that we can remove if we need to let heat out.
Image
The hot side of the tank has the light fixture secured to prevent anyone accidentally pulling it down. The ambient temperature at the library drops at night so we need to keep the heat lamp on all night. I was told the red light was best for that. As you can see, both sides are locking, to prevent any tampering.

I'd like to change out his substrate. The walnut "sand" was given to us when we adopted him but its been in there for awhile. I'd like to buy some excavator and make a den and some tunnels for him. I know he will probably want to dig in it as well.

I've heard varying opinions on the water in his tank. I'm not overly fond of the fountain we have, but I thought I could scavenge the pump out of it and add it to a simple water dish to give him a place to soak.
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:41 am

The whole lighting set up needs to go I am sorry to say ---the red colored bulb I am seeing is bad for the eyes and can cause long term eye damage and the coil I am assuming is a UVB --- no good inadequate -- Charlie needs this UVB https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... -hood.html this is out of stock on this website but I wanted to show you what you need - you need a 24" fixture for that tank -- this bulb https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... vb-t5.html a 22" or you can use this one its a great bulb as well https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/arc ... -bulb.html 22" bulb
Charlie needs a bright white basking bulb https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... bulbs.html these lights are the most important thing in the tank --- you need to replace ASAP---
Next please get rid of the walnut substrate --- here is a article on walnut
Crushed walnut shell is dangerous and should only be used to clean up oil spills. This substrate is NOT digestable and if too much of it is eaten it will cause impaction. I have seen this occur first hand with reptiles ranging from lizards to tortoises. Stay away from this product please.
The heating mats are no good as well -- dragons heat from the backs not the stomachs ---- if you need extra heat in the tank you need to get a CHE ceramic heat emitter ---- if Charlies tank falls below 65 at nite then you need it if its above and in the 70's at nite then that is good they need cooler temps to sleep at nite ---- no lights on at all ---- my suggestion is to move him away from the window in the winter months --- it will be too cold --- if you have any more questions please ask
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby saraho » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:48 am

Thank you so much for your advice! I knew the substrate needed changed, but I didn't know the lighting was an issue. I spoke with our maintenance man and he said he could build a new top for the tank that would accommodate the hood fixture. I will be in a bigger town this weekend and I should be able to get what I need there at Petsmart. Our local pet store is great but her inventory is limited. She doesn't have the excavator substrate I've been wanting to get and she is kind of pricey. The only real issue with making these changes is the cost. Charlie technically belongs to the library, I'm just his caretaker. There is no budget line for him, so the money we have put into him has mostly come from our own pockets. We have introduced him to the public though, and he is a big hit, so we might be able to find the money for reimbursement. I'll keep you updated on our progress.
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:03 am

Ok sounds good but the lighting does need to be changed out ASAP -- at this time hes basically getting no UVB and the red bulb is a big no no --- he will not be able to digest his food w/ out the bright white basking bulb -- his temps need to be 95-110 for basking and taken w/ a digital probe thermometer --- NO stickons they are inaccurate --- the UVB will need to go inside the tank approx 12-15 inches directly above his basking decor --- these are the lifeline for Charlies health over all ---- w / out them he will get sick ---
keep us updated on the progress please
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby saraho » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:46 am

We think we found a way to pay for the necessary updates without breaking any budget rules. We've ordered the supplies and I'm excited to get his habitat updated!

I also discussed the possibility of Charlie coming to my house for the winter. He'll be much warmer and get a lot of interaction with my family.

Thank you again. We kind of dove into getting a beardie without much preparation. I spend a fair amount of time reading about their nutrition, health, habitats and personalities. I love this little dude dearly and I want to make sure he has a long and happy life.
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:00 am

How old is Charlie? If he is under a year old he needs insects dubia roaches crickets or silk worms or BSFL for a staple feeder fed 5 x per week dusted w/ calcium D3 once per feeding and vitamins w/ beta carotene 2 x per week once per feeding --- along w/ salads every day --- here is a nutrition website
ignore the kale thing its a good staple feeder -- http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html
I would get a glass or ceramic bowl that insects cant get out of looks like this https://www.amazon.com/OMEM-Worm-Dish-R ... 01&sr=8-20 you want a large one
No pellets for food along w/ packaged frozen or canned or jarred --- salads can be rinsed before serving and that will provide hydration I recommend dubia roaches for a staple feeder -- they are better nutrition wise --- I can provide websites to get insects and worms for Charlie -- if you need them please ask
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby saraho » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:06 pm

Nutrition was one of the first things I educated myself about. Charlie is 2, but he's small. The previous owner told me he didn't eat well as a baby and was considered stunted. I don't know if he will grow any more, but he has been shedding -- isn't that a sign of growth? I don't think he was fed greens of any kind before he came to live at the library. She mentioned that he liked strawberries but he won't eat them for me.

He really hates kale. I've tried, and he won't eat it. One day I decided to try julienne cut carrots since they are shaped kind of like super worms (dumb, I know, but I was desperate). He loves his carrots. I've experimented with other vegetables and fruits, but broccoli and red peppers are the only other foods he's been remotely interested in. He does love super worms and meal worms, but I recently learned that dubia cockroaches are better for him, so we will be switching to them the next time we buy live food. The lady at the pet store said he could have the extra large ones (all she has right now is the tiny ones and the extra large) but I don't feel comfortable giving them to him. They are almost bigger than his head, he is a small lizard. I haven't been giving him the live food daily, just fresh vegetables. His food is dusted with Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3, does he need any other supplements? I saw you mentioned beta carotene.

I ordered the new light fixture, as well as the bulb that provides light and heat. I know I will have to have some sort of heat source at night so I ordered a ceramic coil heater too. The maintenance man is going to rebuild the lid of the tank to accommodate the new lights. We also ordered the excavator substrate so I can create a real hide for him. And we ordered a new water dish and food dishes. He will stay in the window until the cold weather hits in a couple of months. Then he will either move into my story room where there is less air flow so it's always warmer, or he will go home with me. During the warm months the nighttime temp in the library is 65 F. In the winter it drops below 60 F. Too cold for my baby!
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:51 pm

NO X large roaches they are too big for him and will impact him ---- here is a website for ordering roaches -- your going to need dubia food and carrots or some sort of water source for the roaches -- you cannot feed Charlie carrots too if your feeding the roaches too much Vit A -- broccoli is not a good staple feeder please look at the website I posted for you -- do not listen to the pet store woman -- Charlie is growing but he has had not the proper lighting Charlie should be over 300 grams and should be around 18-20 inches long for a full grown dragon - to be honest I am surprised hes alive -- and not suffering from MBD -- what UVB did you get for him? Iam going to post some websites later for Charlie to get him some worms and some dubia roaches ---
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:57 pm

Here are some websites for roaches and silk worms-
http://www.reptilianarts.com if you order in bulk they will come small like 50 they are out of stock now you will need to order food for them and feed daily and clean containers out daily- they also have roaches you will need a 10 gallon aquarium or tote and feed them dubia food along w/ carrots for hydration dont feed Charlie carrots too to much Vit A
http://www.coastalsilkworms.com I cant remember if they come w/ food or not check the website when ordering
http://www.mulberryfarms.com they have butter worms and super worms and usually have silk too - those are good worms -
http://www.dubiaroaches.com this is where I get my roaches from they are usually pretty fast but pandemic has slowed them down - they have good roaches and worms
http://www.xyzreptiles.com they are out of Palmetto Bay Fl and ship Fed Ex they are fast and have good silk worms -- they come w/ food --
check these places out for Charlie
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby saraho » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:44 pm

I’m going to a bigger town for shopping on Saturday. They have a PetSmart. I will see if I can get dubia roaches there. I didn’t trust her, as a friend had a gecko choke to death on a cricket that was too large that the pet store lady said would be okay. She means well but she’s not an expert.

The broccoli was a last minute idea, as I had some on hand for my own lunch. I often let him share in my fresh vegetables.

He does spend at least 30 minutes a day outside. I take him out, weather permitting, to play in the library yard. I have also been able to take him on adventures to city events for kids. Since our pool never opened we have weekly fire hydrant parties. Charlie and I spend two hours a week meeting and greeting kids and exploring the great outdoors.
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:55 pm

What UVB did you order? The outside is going to give him the UVB Ray's he's not getting in the tank- did you get rid of the red bulb? You need a bright white basking bulb ASAP- he's not going to be able to digest his food
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby saraho » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:40 am

I ordered 2 of the 100 watt white light basking bulbs. One will be a spare, since the other slot in the original fixture will have the CHE in it. The CHE will run 24 hours a day. The tank hood was harder to find. I had to order on Amazon (our budget work-around) and ended up having to go with a 36" hood and a Zoo Med OS36 T8 ReptiSun UVB 10.0 HO light. He also has new bowls and excavator substrate on order. I can buy replacements for them here in town if necessary. I expect the new bulbs to be here on Monday.

I don't think the excavator substrate will be enough to build up on the side for a hide and cover the entire bottom of the tank. Should I combine it with another type of material? I've seen reptile carpet and tile used in terrariums. I want his home to be as natural as possible.

Our outside trips will have to stop in the early fall. South Dakota starts to cool down in October, unless we have a late summer. I try not to take him out unless the temp is over 80 F and then I wait until mid afternoon so the sidewalk has time to absorb some of the sun's heat.

Today I made him a salad of mustard greens and turnip greens with meal worms hidden in it. He's a sneak and ate all of the worms and pretty much ignored the greens. I put the salad into his tank and that's what he will get for now, I'm hoping he'll be like a toddler and his pickiness will lose out to his hunger.
“Let me tell you: the only way to get rid of dragons is to have one of your own.”
― Evgeny Shvarts,
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Re: Charlie the Library Lizard

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:55 am

What is the length of the tank? You dont want the fixture the whole length of the tank --- its going to need to go inside for a T 8--- and you want the basking decor piece directly under it 6-8 inches -- so when it comes look back on this post if you cant remember --- you dont want Charlie hiding from the UVB rays - he needs to be able to get out of those rays if he wants w/ out hiding --- have you replace the red bulb for a bright white one? The CHE will not need to be on 24 hrs w/ the warm weather -- only during the winter - his tank should be 95-110 on his basking side and 90's in the middle of that tank and 80's on the cool side -- not below 65 at nite and 70's during the nite w/ NO lights on!!
Substrate the excavator clay is good for one area if you want -- most on here use either a slated ceramic tile from like Home Depot or a textured NON adhesive shelf liner from Home Depot -- its easier to clean and less expensive --- the reptile carpet is hard to keep clean and expensive- we do not recommend sand at all -- too much risk for impaction and it harbors bacteria--- there are people on here that have bio tanks but I have not a clue as to how to set them up or what they use or anything on that one -- to me they sound like they are a lot of up keep and things have to be just right in the tank or it gets mildew and I dont know what else --
Do not put Charlie on the sidewalk -- you can burn him -- better place for him is on the grass -- just make sure you watch him they tend to eat things they arent supposed to -- :)
Make sure you have a digital probe thermometer when taking the basking temps-- you dont want to burn him up-- place the probe on the place where he bask and wait 10 min then get the temp
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