Newbie, just adopted two- help please

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Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby martiangdm » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:49 am

Hello! First post here and brand new beardie keeper. My spouse and I had been reading for some time now about different reptiles, trying to decide what the best fit would be for us. We decided on getting a bearded dragon recently and started talking with our local reptile store planning to set everything up prior to purchasing our beardie baby.
In the midst of this time frame, we happened upon an online post from someone local trying to rehome their bearded dragons. They sounded desperate to rehome them, and although we only wanted one dragon, they had two that needed somewhere to go. :(
Their prior care taker stated she could not afford them and only had them for one month.
She gave us some superworms, a 50 gallon enclosure, one basking light/fixture, and a hide for them. She believed the two were male and female and stated she had no idea how old they were.
They both appear to be in the middle of shed, and are about 14 inches in length. The "male" displays a lot of dominating behaviors (fast bobbing and standing big) but the two seem to get along okay. For the most part they ignore each other while in the enclosure. The "female" is a bit larger, she seems to be quite fat in her mid-section (no offense) and very dusky (we were told it is shed). The prior caretaker stated the female was previously used to breed and is a "leatherback" morph. Both are eating well and have no issues moving around their enclosure. They did not have a UVB light and had not been fed veggies at all from what I was told (only worms and dubias).
They take well to handling in small amounts, though the male seems to be a bit territorial/fiesty. Anytime we touch the female he will get protective/defensive of her.
I'm not sure how to proceed with the two of them, from what I have read online they should not be housed together at all. I originally planned to rehome one of them but am partial to both of them, so may need a new set up for one of them. The previous caretaker said they were handled daily and housed together as long as she was aware.

How can I make sure they are healthy? (I'm unsure about the "female"s health right now due to her bloated appearance and dusky coloring) Can we determine their age?
How can we best help them to adjust to their new home with us?
We don't know how old they are or how they lived prior, but we want to give them the best life with us now that we have them.
(I've already changed the substrate to a reptile carpet, added a better hide for them, added an additional basking area, and got the uvb set up for them now)
Thank you in advance, we want to do the right thing for them.
Last edited by martiangdm on Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adopted newbie-help please

Postby martiangdm » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:10 am

martiangdm wrote:Hello! First post here and brand new beardie keeper. My spouse and I had been reading for some time now about different reptiles, trying to decide what the best fit would be for us. We decided on getting a bearded dragon recently and started talking with our local reptile store planning to set everything up prior to purchasing our beardie baby.
In the midst of this time frame, we happened upon an online post from someone local trying to rehome their bearded dragons. They sounded desperate to rehome them, and although we only wanted one dragon, they had two that needed somewhere to go. :(
Their prior care taker stated she could not afford them and only had them for one month.
She gave us some superworms, a 50 gallon enclosure, one basking light/fixture, and a hide for them. She believed the two were male and female and stated she had no idea how old they were.
They both appear to be in the middle of shed, and are about 14 inches in length. The "male" displays a lot of dominating behaviors (fast bobbing and standing big) but the two seem to get along okay. For the most part they ignore each other while in the enclosure. The "female" is a bit larger, she seems to be quite fat in her mid-section (no offense) and very dusky (we were told it is shed). The prior caretaker stated the female was previously used to breed and is a "leatherback" morph. Both are eating well and have no issues moving around their enclosure. They did not have a UVB light and had not been fed veggies at all from what I was told (only worms and dubias).
They take well to handling in small amounts, though the male seems to be a bit territorial/fiesty. Anytime we touch the female he will get protective/defensive of her.
I'm not sure how to proceed with the two of them, from what I have read online they should not be housed together at all. I originally planned to rehome one of them but am partial to both of them, so may need a new set up for one of them. The previous caretaker said they were handled daily and housed together as long as she was aware.

How can I make sure they are healthy? (I'm unsure about the "female"s health right now due to her bloated appearance and dusky coloring) Can we determine their age?
How can we best help them to adjust to their new home with us?
We don't know how old they are or how they lived prior, but we want to give them the best life with us now that we have them.
(I've already changed the substrate to a reptile carpet, added a better hide for them, added an additional basking area, and got the uvb set up for them now)
Thank you in advance, we want to do the right thing for them.


I do not have photos of them yet. Here are the photos I was sent by the prior caretaker
Together in tub:
[Click image to enlarge]


"Female"
[Click image to enlarge]


"Male"
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Adopted newbie-help please

Postby martiangdm » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:41 am

Also here is the only photo I have right now of their set up. It needs some adjustments for sure (like an entirely new enclosure for one of the dragons) The lamps (basking and UVB) are clamp lamps, there is no lid for the enclosure. It seems to be a fish tank type we were told its 50 gallons. It is much bigger than the tanks I have seen in the local pet store, very long. (The "male" was climbing over the female here, she moved to the hammock after)
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby KarrieRee » Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:31 pm

To be honest they look in horrible shape! Please separate them ASAP-- even if you haft to put one in the biggest tote you have then you need to get proper uvb-- your going to need two 24" fixtures w/ reflector and a Reptisun 10.0 T 5 bulbs--- the enclosures need to be 50 gallon plus - optimal tank for a full size dragon is 75-120 gallon - basking temps need to be 95-110 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer- dragons should never be housed together your female is in distress- w/ the male -- one becomes dominant over the other one -- I can't stress enough to get them separated- the two most important things in the tank are the UVB and basking temps
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Re: Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby martiangdm » Thu Feb 25, 2021 7:32 pm

KarrieRee wrote:To be honest they look in horrible shape! Please separate them ASAP-- even if you haft to put one in the biggest tote you have then you need to get proper uvb-- your going to need two 24" fixtures w/ reflector and a Reptisun 10.0 T 5 bulbs--- the enclosures need to be 50 gallon plus - optimal tank for a full size dragon is 75-120 gallon - basking temps need to be 95-110 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer- dragons should never be housed together your female is in distress- w/ the male -- one becomes dominant over the other one -- I can't stress enough to get them separated- the two most important things in the tank are the UVB and basking temps


Thank you! We are looking to rehome one of them and are going to get updated lighting this weekend. We are doing our best with what we were given :(
We really want to help them get better, not hurt them more. They have UVB and basking now (but it's coil bulbs and I know we need to get a tube fixture/bulb ASAP and we will). Their temps we check with temp gun, basking area is 90-95 and the "cool" side is around 78-80. Im not sure if they are really male/female.
Can you tell me what seems to be wrong with them as of now? I see that the "male" is shedding, but I'm not a dragon expert and I want to know what else could be going on with them that we should treat/look for.
Thank you
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Re: Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby KarrieRee » Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:20 am

Please post pics of the vent straight on w/ tail in the air - we can sex them --- the coils you have are no good and will do nothing but hurt them so I express urgency to replace NOW -- my go to place is out of stock but this is what you need https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... -hood.html a 24" w/ this bulb https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/zoo ... vb-t5.html 22" --
I still recommend you get them separated -- basking temps should be 95-110 taken w/ a digital probe thermometer the gun is good but sometimes the material of the decor will throw that temp off - lack of UVB is one thing that is making them sick -- and the coil is not going to help --- please look on Amazon or try your local pet stores for the fixture I posted --- the T 5 bulb is going to help them tremendously and I would not adopt out to someone who has no experience w/ the dragons --- and when you do tell them NO coil UVB or give them this website for help ---- now that you have them in your care you dont want to give them to someone who has no experience w/ dragons-- this site is going to help you alot there are alot of experienced people on here
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Re: Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby CooperDragon » Fri Feb 26, 2021 7:37 am

It does look like one is shedding and the other is a leatherback. They look like they may be a bit overweight, but not too bad in general. The female may be carrying eggs which could contribute to the larger appearance. I would watch her behavior and look for signs of digging/burrowing and restlessness.

I do agree that they should be separated, but don't necessarily need to be re-homed. You can buy (or build) enclosures that stack in a space efficient way to allow them each their own space. Having enclosures with front opening doors is also a huge benefit in terms of being able to easily access the enclosure without having to reach over the top or move lighting out of the way. I understand that you're doing the best you can with what you've been given for now. Just saying that there are some reasonably good long term options for housing multiple dragons safely.

I would prioritize getting enough lighting so that each of them has their own basking area (so they aren't competing for resources). The T5 UVB lights that have been linked in previous posts are good options. Even if you get one for now, you could put a divider in the center of the enclosure and put the UVB light over it so each gets half and build the basking spots along the dividing wall kind of like a duplex house. They'd still need their own heat light, but those can be made using the existing clamp fixtures and an incandescent or halogen bulb from the hardware store - the key there is just to produce bright white light and surface temps of about 100-105ish.
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Re: Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby martiangdm » Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:07 pm

CooperDragon wrote:It does look like one is shedding and the other is a leatherback. They look like they may be a bit overweight, but not too bad in general. The female may be carrying eggs which could contribute to the larger appearance. I would watch her behavior and look for signs of digging/burrowing and restlessness.

I do agree that they should be separated, but don't necessarily need to be re-homed. You can buy (or build) enclosures that stack in a space efficient way to allow them each their own space. Having enclosures with front opening doors is also a huge benefit in terms of being able to easily access the enclosure without having to reach over the top or move lighting out of the way. I understand that you're doing the best you can with what you've been given for now. Just saying that there are some reasonably good long term options for housing multiple dragons safely.

I would prioritize getting enough lighting so that each of them has their own basking area (so they aren't competing for resources). The T5 UVB lights that have been linked in previous posts are good options. Even if you get one for now, you could put a divider in the center of the enclosure and put the UVB light over it so each gets half and build the basking spots along the dividing wall kind of like a duplex house. They'd still need their own heat light, but those can be made using the existing clamp fixtures and an incandescent or halogen bulb from the hardware store - the key there is just to produce bright white light and surface temps of about 100-105ish.


First, I want to thank you for the help and suggestions! Sorry I did not reply sooner.

As for now, my husband has become attached to both of the dragons and said he does not want to rehome either of them. We have ordered two new enclosures so we can keep them both. In the mean time we went to PetSmart (for the light) and a local reptile shop to get some help from employees. We got calcium, dubias, hornworms, greens and dried flower treats, organic natural baby food (to entice them to eat veggies as they have not been fed veggies before), and we got an electrolyte additive for their bath. We've been reading everything we can about them and they seem to be adjusted well. Both are active, eating, and pooping. I will get a pic of the vents when I have a chance next.



This is the new light we bought for them and we will buy another one once we get the second enclosure. (We also made sure to put it unobstructed so they get the full use of the UVB)

https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/enviro ... 55932.html

https://www.petsmart.com/reptile/enviro ... 55892.html
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Re: Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby KarrieRee » Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:24 pm

The fixture will be ok but please take the bulb back and get a Reptisun 10.0 T 8 make sure there is no clear plastic cover over the bulb and inside the tank the basking distance should be 6-8 inches directly above the decor piece-- the bulb is extremely important and is one of the best on the market as of now-- when you get the new enclosures what did you get?
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Re: Newbie, just adopted two- help please

Postby AHBD » Tue Mar 02, 2021 4:25 pm

Hi there, how exciting for you to get these new scaly friends and they don't look bad at all. :) One is shedding like the other poster mentioned so they should look good when it's done. A toe missing on the back [ I think ] is common when housed together from the other dragon biting. You guys are doing a great job in jumping to try to get things sorted out and it sounds like soon you'll be having fun with these guys. BTW, no need for electrolyte to put in the water, just a money maker for the company.
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