Babysitting a sickly Bearded Dragon *Updated photos*

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Babysitting a sickly Bearded Dragon?
I agreed to babysit someones beardie for a week, I only know the guy from my son's bus stop and had never seen his beardie until yesterday. The beardie has MBD (his tail is useless and totally crooked) from calcium deficiency and is so weak he cannot walk and his tongue hangs out because his jaw line has deteriorated and is very weak. What can I do to get him in better shape (anything, I know it won't be a miracle) by next Monday so I can give the guy some hinters and maybe he will listen since there was improvement. The beardie is 3 years old and is tiny his eyes are bulging, oh it is so sad. My female beardie knows something is wrong because she won't go near him (they are not in the same tank I just put her about 4 feet away in my beardie playroom) and she almost seems saddened, the little guy tries to wave his arms but one gets stuck under him and it takes every bit off strength and his whole arm shakes and his fingers just dangle. It is heart breaking because he has spirit and the owner does care but is apparently uneducated about beardies. So if you have any hints please share them, he did take a bite of turnip greens yesterday, I think the only thing he has been fed is super worms so I am having a hard time finding something to stimulate his will.


Lizzie, my beardie and the sick one

Here are the updated photos from today Wednesday.

I have been following everyones advice, back off on protein, supplemented veggie babyfood with Rep-Cal, calcium with Vit.D3, pedialyte and a warm water soak. I kept the UVB with no heat on him overnight but he was able to get away if he wanted so I doubt it messed up his schedule to bad. I think he looks better and he actually got a little frisky in the bath. I know there is still a long way to go and this process could hurt him but I think it worth the risk.


Is that a spark I see in his eyes?


whats the temperature in his cage?
the eyes bulging is another way of yawning or i get the hint he is just about to shed. My beardy is about 4 months old and hes perfectly fine but whe he shed he shows signs of MBD but after hes done shedding he is fine. He needs calcium but not too much give him a fair amount.. try getting crickets in his cage and see if he will move. handle him more than daily so he knows hes in good hands :)


get him in warm temperature and get some calcium in him
do you have a cage for him at the moment?


Original Poster
Yes, I have set up a spare cage with lighting and a basking area. I have also put supplements in the food I am offering and have veggies available to him at all times and he has now taken two bites one yesterday and one today.


chasedasea":7d398 said:
Yes, I have set up a spare cage with lighting and a basking area. I have also put supplements in the food I am offering and have veggies available to him at all times and he has now taken two bites one yesterday and one today.
he will start to feel better than eat more just wait :)

Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

How long are you going to be watching him for? I suggest you get a UVB light for him, if it is going to be for a period of time. Also, do you plan on educating the owner regarding his care?
His dragon has advanced metabolic bone disease & will not continue to live if he keeps that up. I realize that you know that but perhaps you should review the husbandry with the owner, he could use some knowledge in that area.
Poor guy, I hope you can get him back to health a little bit.



Original Poster
I will be caring for him for eight days and I have a UVB set up already so I guess I am on the right track. I do not know the owner very well only in passing (only met him two weeks ago at my son bus stop) and saw him holding a bag of super worms. Yes I would like to share my husbandry knowledge but was just seeing if anyone has any extra tips. It would be much easier to convince him he needs to change his methods if he saw an improvement, I am keeping a log of what he eats and the times and am also taking photos that I will turn over to the owner next Monday. Honestly my hope is to keep the beardie for awhile longer and teach the owner what changes he can make to give his buddy a better quality of life. Thanks, just a big softie.


Extreme Poster
Oh gosh that boy does look like he's in a bad way.
Personally in order to kickstart his recovery Id syringe him some babyfood (chicken+squash/chicken+veggies/veggies flavour)with calcium/vits mixed into it. I think getting them into him ASAP is a good idea.
Id try syringing him about 5mls in stages at first and continue to up the amounts.

Poor boy doesnt look like he's been recieving any suppliments whatsoever.

Im sure it might be a difficult situation for you but if the guy doesnt agree to change the way he cares for his beardie that he needs to be reported to an animal rescue agency, Im not sure by the looks of him that he could last much longer with such improper care.


Original Poster
Thanks great suggestion, I am going in to town this afternoon so I will grab some babyfood, probably a few different kinds and a medicine dropper syringe. What's sad is he actually looks better on film, so you can imagine my heart strings especially since he is 3 years old. I appreciate all of your suggestions and am always open for more.


Hatchling Member
:angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5:

If the owner does not agree to change the way he is taking care of this poor guy, please please please report him to someone. There is no reason for this guy to suffer like this.

:angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5: :angry5:

This makes me so angry!


Gray-bearded Member
In addition to the uvb and babyfood- Bathe him. He is prob dehydrated along with everything else. Handle him very gently as his bones don't look strong at all. What on earth is wrong with people? :banghead: It doesn't take training to see this animal needs help. Thank you so much for helping him.
Give his owner this web site and a printed copy of the Beautiful dragons food list. Offer to take "this poor sick animal off his hands, so he doesn't have to look after it anymore". After all if it dies on him at Christmas it will depress his kid. Hopefully that wil work.

Sandy H


Original Poster
Less than 24 hours in the correct lighting and he is now an eating machine, well as much as he can be in his state. Six gutloaded dusted crickets and I am slowly adding the babyfood and supplements, much to his delight. He is actually moving around or should I say dragging himself but it is something. I am trying to do it slowly over a period of time because it does appear he was starving.

Is it the same for reptiles as it is with mammals as far as eating too much after starvation and possibly causing death?

RE: Sandy thanks, I am going to try a shallow warm water soak tomorrow and yes he is a brittle little thing. Maybe I should rename him after Samual L. Jackson's character in Unbreakable because his name now is Fatboy :shock: .

MissT Addict
chasedasea":fc631 said:
Is it the same for reptiles as it is with mammals as far as eating too much after starvation and possibly causing death?

From the info I have gathered on this website, yes it is... too much protein too quickly can cause problems with the liver/kidneys (from what I can remember). Introduce protein slowly - try a veggie babyfood to start with, adding a little chicken baby food after a few days or even a few feeders (if you can stomach the blending of them).

I really hope you can make a big difference to this little guy to convince his owner! He is such a little cutie!!
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