A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

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A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby Selkie1993 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:20 pm

Hey Everyone!

I hope you're all doing well :) During these stressful times, it's amazing how much comfort my beardie Drogon has offered.
This post contains two aspects:

1) Substrate: Sand or No Sand?
I previously heard that sand was a big no no with beardies, and perhaps with juveniles and hatchlings it's safer to keep them on reptile carpet or paper towel, etc.
However, I came across this amazing video on bearded dragon behavior and why they need substrate.
Check it out here:
https://reptifiles.com/does-loose-subst ... -203996928


2) My Dragon Potty trained himself!
Ever since I put sand in my dragon's tank, he started checking out his enclosure more, but I noticed he wasn't pooping... until I let him out :roll: This behavior continued with stinky accidents on the floor until I started putting paper towel under him just as he was about to go. He pretty much trained himself not to potty in his tank, so every time he sees paper towel on the floor, he knows to use the bathroom on it :) Afterwards, he gets lots of BSFL as treats. Not sure how this behavior started, but found it interesting to share.

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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby AHBD » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:06 pm

Hi Selkie, thanks for the very informative post. I agree with a lot of what it says as far as the real risk being dehydration, and even then the risk of impaction is really very low. I've kept my beardies on newspaper as well as sand or sand/soil mix and have raised beardies since the 90's and never had a problem. I personally think that tile is unnatural and possibly detrimental to a dragons bones over the years. Once in a while someone posts about concern for a beardie with a sore on one or more feet and I suspect that tile is a possible culprit. BTW, how nice to have a dragon that is potty -trained, helps to keep that sand clean. :) Here are some of my cages/tanks from the past with sand in them. The second one is a 300 gal. tank.
https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploa ... _large.jpg

https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploa ... _large.jpg

They also spend time outside in the grass in large cages.

https://www.beardeddragon.org/useruploa ... _large.jpg
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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby Selkie1993 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:18 pm

Wow what beautiful tanks!!

And your dragons are red/orange like mine :) [Click image to enlarge]
This is a pic of his outdoor enclosure !

I always find it strange that my beardie doesnt like to dig or hang out in his cave. Is that normal? He just loves basking all
the time :)

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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby AHBD » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:28 pm

They don't dig all the time, only if they're in the mood. Some will dig a lot more than others.
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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:40 pm

I'm not a fan of sand or another other particulate substrates for bearded dragons ( the risk of ingestion and then impaction from these is too high ) , even though many other Australian bearded dragon keepers "swear by Brunnings Dried Screened Playsand Mix" even for the youngest hatchlings.

My preference for hatchlings is a few layers of "scot-towels" .

My preference for adults is loosely laid ceramic floor or wall tiles , no grout , no glue with an area of scot-towels on top the tiles under the hides ( I typically have a warm zone hide and cool zone hide ).
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
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EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby ComicBookMama » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:17 am

I don't think we'll ever get a firm consensus on tile vs substrate... there's points to be had on both sides of the debate, and I think that whatever works for your dragon(s) personally is what you need to do. I personally worry about sand becoming a haven for bacteria, since no amount of scooping is going to get out all the liquid from the poops... that, and it looks like a bear to change when it's time to clean out the tank and put a fresh bed of sand in.

But I think that the enrichment of digging is good for them, yes, and if you can find a way to mitigate the ingestion/ impaction problems, you're golden!

How awesome that you've been able to potty train your sweetie! Figment is good about going only once a day in one place (99% of the time) and not tromping through it, and I don't take him out unless he's had a poo that day. But on the days when he hasn't gone, it would be nice to have him trained to go in one particular place outside his tank!
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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby AHBD » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:39 am

Yeah, there will always be some disagreement for sure. As for cleaning the poo from sand I used a child's play shovel to scoop a large section surrounding the poo. When some beardies poo on tile and walk through it it gets everywhere including their body + under their claws making more baths necessary and a big mess to clean in the tank. The beardie may have much more fecal matter on his body [ under belly, tail, feet, etc ] and when put in for a soak all the water gets contaminated as well as the rest of the dragon's body. I know it doesn't happen all the time but is more likely on a solid substrate.
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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby Selkie1993 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:10 am

kingofnobbys wrote:I'm not a fan of sand or another other particulate substrates for bearded dragons ( the risk of ingestion and then impaction from these is too high ) , even though many other Australian bearded dragon keepers "swear by Brunnings Dried Screened Playsand Mix" even for the youngest hatchlings.

My preference for hatchlings is a few layers of "scot-towels" .

My preference for adults is loosely laid ceramic floor or wall tiles , no grout , no glue with an area of scot-towels on top the tiles under the hides ( I typically have a warm zone hide and cool zone hide ).



Try checking out the video :) you may change your mind. The author mentions a lot of credible sources, research and reasons
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Re: A Debate On Substrate: New Ideas/ Potty Training Story

Postby Selkie1993 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:14 am

ComicBookMama wrote:I don't think we'll ever get a firm consensus on tile vs substrate... there's points to be had on both sides of the debate, and I think that whatever works for your dragon(s) personally is what you need to do. I personally worry about sand becoming a haven for bacteria, since no amount of scooping is going to get out all the liquid from the poops... that, and it looks like a bear to change when it's time to clean out the tank and put a fresh bed of sand in.

But I think that the enrichment of digging is good for them, yes, and if you can find a way to mitigate the ingestion/ impaction problems, you're golden!

How awesome that you've been able to potty train your sweetie! Figment is good about going only once a day in one place (99% of the time) and not tromping through it, and I don't take him out unless he's had a poo that day. But on the days when he hasn't gone, it would be nice to have him trained to go in one particular place outside his tank!



Lol! the weird thing is that when i just had regular vinyl flooring, he would poo in the same spot but then have tantrums if i didnt feed him right away and walk through his poo -_- With the sand, i noticed a huge difference in his behavior. Hes also shedding but still, he would always act up no matter what!
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