Bony tail

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Hi all,
My bearded dragon Bear was doing fine - eating his salads every day and eating his bugs - until one morning the heat in the house had stopped working and it was about 60F in the house.
After that morning, he started showing signs of brumation, which I kind of suspected. I still offered him his salads and bugs whether he ate them or not.
Over the following weeks, he's still showing signs of brumation, my husband and I started noticing his tail becoming bony. In all 5 years, I've had him, I've never seen his tail get so bony in brumation.
When researching, we found that it could be a bone disease from not enough UVB light. However, he has a UVB bulb and often sleeps underneath it.
We also found that it could be a calcium deficiency. However, I am unsure of how to give him calcium if he is in brumation and will not eat any of the food that is offered to him.
I have provided a picture of his tail. I would also like to point out that he is defecating like normal and it looks normal. Always has some pee with it as well.
If anyone has any other idea on why his tail would be bony like this, please let me know.
and please let me know how to provide him calcium if that's what the problem could be.
Thank you.

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Hi there,

Can we get another picture showing his full body?

Bones being visible in the tail are an indication of malnourishment and depleted fat stores.

What does his daily diet consist of exactly? Quantities too.
Can you weigh him to give us his weight in grams?

And can you go over your setup with us? Mainly what your basking surface temp is, what you are using to measure it, and what uv source you are using.
It also looks in the picture like he is just lying flat down on the ground? He most likely is pretty sick and he is definitely not brumating.



Original Poster
Here is a picture of his set-up as well as a full-body picture.
His basking bulb is 100W bulb and his warm side doesn't get any hotter than 110'F
I'm pretty sure the UVB bulb is the zoo-med reptisun. However, I am unsure if it is 10.0 or 5.0.
His weight is 512grams.
His daily diet consists of turnip greens or kale. I also provide him carrots daily. I offer him bugs and fruit but he mainly eats the greens and carrots. I do not have a quantity of how much I give him, I just fill his bowl up and he eats a few bites when he actually decides to eat.

I would also like to reiterate none of his symptoms started until I woke up that one morning when the heat wasn't working in the house and it was 60'F in his enclosure. I am aware that his enclosure should not reach below 70'F at night, so I just assumed he had gone into brumation. This bearded dragon is my baby and I never ever meant for him to be malnourished. I still offer him his food daily, and I still give him baths as needed. He just will not eat anything I offer him. I've changed out green types and types of veggies to no avail.

(i always provide him water, even though it is not shown in this picture.)

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Wow, he has quite a bit of weight on him for having completely depleted fat pads on his head and in his tail.

This really wouldn't have anything to do with the temperature dropping too low at night. My temps constantly get to around 60-65 at night. And in the past I've had them get even cooler than that for short periods of time.

Did the fat pads on his head also suddenly disappear or have they been sunken like that for awhile.

So he doesnt have much of an appetite right now or will he still eat? What insects was he eating?

When he poos, is it well formed or really mushy like?



Original Poster
His fat pads sunk in suddenly.
He won’t eat anything for me at all. He was eating dubia roaches and occasional superworms. He loves superworms so I know something is wrong when he won’t eat them.
He watches them and looks like he’s interested but won’t run after them to eat them.
Also his poop is normal looking and always has pee with it.

KarrieRee Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Are you using a coil UVB? I dont see a fixture for a tube UVB? To me it looks like he is not getting enough UVB ---

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Ok that's good that the poos have been normal. Do the urates look nice and white? Or are they discolored and chalky?

Rapid loss of fat pads could mean a few different things but a reoccurring theme is organ failure/damage.

Do you have a reptile vet that you could make an appointment with?

You probably will want to start trying to give him some squash baby food. Hopefully he will eat that for you. You might need to start force feeding him but I really think he should be seen by a vet and preferably get bloodwork drawn.


Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

Oh dear, rapid weight loss isn't good I am sorry to hear that. I agree, I would think it likely to be
kidney issues.
Can you get him to the vets for a blood test possibly, that would give a lot of information on what
could be going on with him.
What is his age, do you know?
I looks like you have a compact/coil type of UVB or a MVB?
Definitely try to get some fluids into him & squash or sweet potato baby food, too.

Let us know how he is doing.


Original Poster
He is 5 years old. Yes, he has a coil type bulb. I wasn’t aware that the coil isn’t recommended, so I will be switching that out as soon as possible.
I will schedule him an appointment for Monday and I will try some baby foods tomorrow.
I will let you know how he does! :)

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Yes the coil bulb isn't really sufficient for our dragons and setups. It is very unlikely that it would have caused this issue but replacing it with a reptisun 10.0 or arcadia bulb would definitely be a good idea.

Let us know how the feeding goes. Some dragons easily take the baby food and will just eat it right off a spoon once they get a taste for it. Other times you need to be more forceful.

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