Mean nasty little lizard

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Mean nasty little lizard

Postby mhudson » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:11 pm

I have a fairly new baby beardies named viper. I got him about 2 months ago, and has never been extremely friendly from the beginning. He was eating good, basking in a temperature of 97+ area, cool side 75-85, 18" uvb bulb, and plenty of room in a 29 gallon terrarium. He gets fed twice daily, dubia roaches, romaine lettuce, dried meal worms, beardies bites, and I was feeding crickets for an evening snack. Upon cleaning his tank, I found at least 15+ crickets hiding beneath his carpet. I tried to feed some of them to him while cleaning, like I do spike, my other dragon. Viper just closed his eyes and turned his head. Since then, I have not fed him any crickets, only insects that go in a bowl and can't escape. He had gone off of salad and wasn't eating like normal. After cricket removal, his feeding has picked up, but he is super aggressive. He lunges at my hands when i try to feed him, runs from me when I try to interact, which is several times a day, won't eat from my hands, and hisses. I am at a loss. I upped the bulb wattage to make it warmer thinking that might help. His uvb bulb is less than 6 months old. He just seems afraid of life and everything. I've been trying for 3 weeks to no avail. Please help. I want to hold my baby and not get bit.
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Re: Mean nasty little lizard

Postby Mysty » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:30 pm

For the time being, I would make things as safe as possible for you and a least threatening to beardie.

1. Approach the viv slowly not suddenly. Never approach from above. If he charges or is aggressive, back off. Try again later.

2. Handle him at night a few minutes before lights out. He should be tired and not up for a fight.

3. In the daytime, try simply putting your hand in the viv when beardie is calm. This aggression could be because beardie doesn't want to be handled as frequently as you want.

4. When safe to do so, handfeed to associate your hand in the viv with being given tasty food.
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Re: Mean nasty little lizard

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:33 am

mhudson wrote:I have a fairly new baby beardies named viper. I got him about 2 months ago, and has never been extremely friendly from the beginning. He was eating good, basking in a temperature of 97+ area, cool side 75-85, 18" uvb bulb, and plenty of room in a 29 gallon terrarium. He gets fed twice daily, dubia roaches, romaine lettuce, dried meal worms, beardies bites, and I was feeding crickets for an evening snack.

<<< for starters his diet is horrible and totally inadequate.

>>> no more mealworms alive or dead / dried , they are a impaction risk and very poor nutritionally.

>>> no more beardie bites , these things are NOT nutritious and are a waste of money (throw them the bin as they are not even good food for insects).

>>> if he's under 6 months old = THREE LIVE INSECT FEEDS PER DAY
choose from Good staple insects
>> BSF maggots
>> blowfly gents
and the pupae and flies , great for hatchlings and juveniles , naturally rich in calcium
>> silkworms
small (1-1.5 inch for sub 3 month olds)
medium (1.5 - 2 inch for larger hatchlings and juveniles)
>> crickets / roaches / locusts , must be gutloaded with calcium rich foods and greens & dusted LIGHTLY with calcium powder.

Repashi GRUBPIE is acceptable as a backup food.

greens : romaine lettuce is worthless to a beardied dragon, choose your greens and veg so they have higher Ca/P and protein content see http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutritionframeset.html

essentially your hatchlings is malnarished and starving and not getting the nutrition it needs.


It's OK to feed him in his viv PROVIDED you don't just dump a bunch of bugs in there and leave him at it - give him insects 2 - 3 at a time, if it takes 30mins before he looses interest so be it, cultivate patience , he is relying on you for everything he needs for his very existence.
Also by letting him see you give the insects to him , he will learn you are the food giver and he will learn to trust you. At the moment he doesn't trust you and he's perpetually starving.


Upon cleaning his tank, I found at least 15+ crickets hiding beneath his carpet. I tried to feed some of them to him while cleaning, like I do spike, my other dragon. Viper just closed his eyes and turned his head. Since then, I have not fed him any crickets, only insects that go in a bowl and can't escape. He had gone off of salad and wasn't eating like normal. After cricket removal, his feeding has picked up, but he is super aggressive. He lunges at my hands when i try to feed him, runs from me when I try to interact, which is several times a day, won't eat from my hands, and hisses. I am at a loss. I upped the bulb wattage to make it warmer thinking that might help. His uvb bulb is less than 6 months old. He just seems afraid of life and everything. I've been trying for 3 weeks to no avail. Please help. I want to hold my baby and not get bit.


Exactly what is the UVB bulb you have ?
Brand ?
Wattage ?
% UVB rating ?
and how is it installed ? ( in a reflector hood ? how far from his basking globe ? how far from his basking spot ? )

You say you have another beardie .
Are they sharing a viv ?
can they see each other ?

I suspect there are other issues too . Good idea will be review your setup and husbandry thoroughly with the help of this : viewtopic.php?f=6&t=234738&p=1806050#p1806050

How are you are approaching the new beardie ?
How are you going about bonding with him and earning his trust ?
how are you picking him up ?
I find it helpful to take things slowly at the start with new lizards, especially ones who may not be very keen on being handled.
He's only a hatchling, seriously, if he does bite you he is not likely to even break the skin , and he'll soon learn it's pointless.
Try handfeeding his first 2 or 3 bugs each day , it's dead easy .... and a great way to bond with a lizard.

Last edited by kingofnobbys on Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
CBDs: Puff ( RIP 10Dec2015 (3.2 years old (aneurism)) ,Rex (RIP 16Mar2017 at 4.6 yrs old (unexplained death)) , both adopted at 6wks old..Toothless & Peppa : (5 wks old 19dec2015).
Eastern BT Skinks : George & Mildred (born Sept 2010).
Eastern Water Skinks : Lucky (wild juvenile), rescued from a cat.Taken by a SI and far too soon, 9mths with us. RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles - (rescued injured), small lizard thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016.)
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Re: Mean nasty little lizard

Postby EllenD » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:49 am

I agree, no mealworms, but especially no freeze-dried insects at all, least of all mealworms!!! Baby beardies who eat live mealworms often become impacted, so they should not ever eat them, or superworms until they are near adulthood, and then only occasionally. They are full of fat, contain little positive nutrition, and are mostly hard, chitlin shell that babies cannot digest. I know several people who have lost beardies to fatty liver disease because Petco told them to feed mealworms, so they did from the moment they brought them home. Wax worms, hornworms, butterworms, etc. are only occasional snacks, and superworms cannot be digested or handled until they are at least 14-16" long. And freeze-dried insects or dead insects are like feeding your baby cardboard. They can't be gut-loaded, they contain zero moisture, and cause impactions, and they contain no nutrition to begin with. All of his insects must be alive, and it's much better if you gut-load them. Proper live, staple feeder insects include crickets (NEVER LEAVE LIVE CRICKETS IN HIS ENCLOSURE, FEED ONE AT A TIME AND REMOVE THE ONES HE DOESN'T EAT BECAUSE THEY BITE AND OFTEN THESE BITES BECOME INFECTED AND NECROTIC), roaches of several species, BSFL/Phoenix Worms/Calciworms/Reptiworms (all the same thing), silkworms, locusts, hoppers...And try to feed them healthy, nutritional greens and veggies.

No lettuce is good for beardies SUNY because it contains no nutrition, just water. So if you get your baby beardie eating lettuce it's not so bad because he's eating his live bugs mainly, but as an adult beardie who eats mainly greens, lettuce is harmful because they get zero nutrition from it. Instead, feed collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, arugula, endive, escarole, chard, bok choy...No kale or spinach, as they contain a lot of Calcium, but higher oxalates that bind to this Calcium and block any of it from being absorbed, and can actually cause a Calcium deficiency. A baby should also have his live bugs dusted with Calcium at least 5 times a week, and multivitamins 3 times a week.

At least two 10-15 minute live insect feeding sessions a day, where he gets as many live staple insects as he can eat. Three sessions a day is better for a hatchling up to 6-8 months, then cut back to two. He'll be happier once he's getting proper nutrition and he settles in.
"Dance like nobody's watching..."
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Re: Mean nasty little lizard

Postby mhudson » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:10 am

No my lizards are not sharing the same big. Spike has a 55 gallon big, in a corner away from viper. They both have been getting a greens mix I have been getting from my pet shop with dandelions, endive, escarol, and arugula, plus shaves carrots. This is offered all of the time. I feed both dubia roaches, and Phoenix worms. They get crickets at night, 2 hours before bed time.
No his bites do not hurt, but they are annoying, and I sure don't want him to make a habit of it. I try to hand feed him, but he turns his head away and won't even look at it.
His uvb light is right next to his to basking light. It is an 18" reptisun fixture and tube. It is on 14 hours, off 10.
I realize that putting the crickets in there for him to chase was a mistake now, and they have been removed. Spike is an aggressive eater and chases down all of his crickets. So naturally I figured viper would be the same.
I take him put of tank by reaching in under him and lifting him from the bottom. I then sit down and stroke him gently and talk quietly to him. I put him back after about 20 minutes, offer him a treat, and get bitten in the process.
I am not going to give up on him and obviously he needs different attention than spike, who I also got as a hatchling I'm March and has grown into a beautiful 18" citrus female. Thank you for your ideas.
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Re: Mean nasty little lizard

Postby mhudson » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:14 am

I have changed a few things within the last week trying to see if it helps. The dried worms are not a main staple, nor is the dragon bites.
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Re: Mean nasty little lizard

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:01 am

mhudson wrote:No my lizards are not sharing the same big. Spike has a 55 gallon big, in a corner away from viper. They both have been getting a greens mix I have been getting from my pet shop with dandelions, endive, escarol, and arugula, plus shaves carrots. This is offered all of the time. I feed both dubia roaches, and Phoenix worms. They get crickets at night, 2 hours before bed time.
No his bites do not hurt, but they are annoying, and I sure don't want him to make a habit of it. I try to hand feed him, but he turns his head away and won't even look at it.
His uvb light is right next to his to basking light. It is an 18" reptisun fixture and tube. It is on 14 hours, off 10.
I realize that putting the crickets in there for him to chase was a mistake now, and they have been removed. Spike is an aggressive eater and chases down all of his crickets. So naturally I figured viper would be the same.
I take him put of tank by reaching in under him and lifting him from the bottom. I then sit down and stroke him gently and talk quietly to him. I put him back after about 20 minutes, offer him a treat, and get bitten in the process.
<<< I see, he's new to the handfeeding lurk and hasn't quite got it down pat yet , the bites are accidential and he will figure it out pretty soon. When you offer the bug treat, give it to him from the side of his face, he's less likely to accidetially nip the fingers.

I am not going to give up on him and obviously he needs different attention than spike, who I also got as a hatchling I'm March and has grown into a beautiful 18" citrus female. Thank you for your ideas.
CBDs: Puff ( RIP 10Dec2015 (3.2 years old (aneurism)) ,Rex (RIP 16Mar2017 at 4.6 yrs old (unexplained death)) , both adopted at 6wks old..Toothless & Peppa : (5 wks old 19dec2015).
Eastern BT Skinks : George & Mildred (born Sept 2010).
Eastern Water Skinks : Lucky (wild juvenile), rescued from a cat.Taken by a SI and far too soon, 9mths with us. RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles - (rescued injured), small lizard thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016.)
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