!!!ETHICAL DILEMMA!!!

clyde612

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Clyde
Hi everyone! I want to start by saying that I do think it is humane to have bearded dragons as pets. I love my little boy so much and he pretty much lives a happy stress-mark free life. Lots of owners, especially ones who take the time to go online to make sure their beardie is getting the best care, do a great job taking care of their dragons. Also, I think most people's best effort is ethically sound and accidents and misinformation does happen! Life is not perfect in the wild either. I am also aware that most pet beardie's are now somewhat domestic after generations of captive breeding.

That being said, I have met many owners in the real world who have no idea what they are doing, and don't know it. For example, a tweenage girl I babysat whose beardie has tremors––they didn't think it was a problem. The parents let her take the responsibility of care for an extremely complex animal so it is in no way her fault. But the little guy was clearly lethargic and not living the best life. I tried to educate but I'm not sure I got through.

What is more concerning is what I see in some reptile stores. Bearded dragons all being put together so that they are all missing tails, with wood chips for substrate, and crickets crawling around everywhere (a deadly combination that will surely lead to impaction and painful deaths). I recently visited a reptile store in called LLLReptile & Supply Oceanside because I ran out of my roaches that get shipped to my house. I don't like going there but I also hate Petco and Petsmart. I had seen baby beardies there before with missing tails and water dishes in their tank (too humid for that in SoCal very near the coast). This time when I went there were 4 baby beardies, and 3/4 of them seemed extremely lethargic, all were missing parts of their tails:

Big tank...
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but...
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the one closest to the camera was the only lively one, one of them couldn't open his eyes all the way even when he tried. Two of them looked very skinny and immobile, possibly impacted from the combination of wood chips and free-roaming crickets.
full


Then there was an older beardie with his own tank who was labeled "Baby Beardie with Nipped Arm," the arm was completely gone, probably because of a sibling. It was also missing the end of its tail:
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It just pains me so much to see these conditions. I never want to go back to this establishment ever again. Once I saw an adult beardie at a different store being housed in a 10 gallon tank, when I stopped to look at him he clawed at the wall to get away but he had no hide.

Knowing how special my little beardie is, and that other beardies just like him are being treated this way, it just makes the whole system seem not worth it. I think I would give up my bearide to end the suffering I've witnessed. That being said, I think what I would really love to see is more regulations for reptile stores. I am going to keep ordering roches from a site that doesn't sell reptiles in an effort to stop supporting these establishments––I HAVE been to a good reptile store... they are just much less common than I would hope.

As far as uneducated owners go, in a perfect world I think you should need to do some sort of easy and free online course or waiver before you purchase a beardie. Owners want to provide correctly for their pets, but so many beardies are an impulse buy and end up suffering because they were not well informed. I mean, why do pet stores sell you the wrong items?! Owners should be educated, not mislead, and I've seen so much misinformation in Beginner Pamphlets (i.e. "find outdoor bugs and feed them to your dragon" or "use sand substrate") and Beginner Terrarium Kits.

Anyways, I am sorry for the rant but I would really like to start a discussion because this has been bothering me. Also, if you are an owner who started out misinformed, no shame!!! It is currently SO difficult to figure out how to start and I think that should change! It would make things less stressful for the owners and safer for our beloved beardies.
 

Gail

BD.org Addict
Stores invest so little into baby reptiles that a death doesn't hurt them financially. I know a breeder who sold babies wholesale for $5 each to big distributors like lllreptile.
Even one sale can make that investment back. Then you have the "rescuers" who come in and buy the injured animals, keeping supply and demand alive.

We really do need more regulations in regards to live animal sales. Those stores should be required to have set standards and inspections.

I'd also love to see pet owners stop breeding. There is a surpluse of reptiles already, it just adds to the amount of unwanted animals.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
I think I know how you feel. It's heartbreaking to see them be kept in cruel conditions, especially after we've gotten to know our dragons and how great they are. Unfortunately, there aren't really any legal protections for them in the US. They are treated as property and don't usually fall under animal cruelty laws etc. Hopefully this will change soon.

It's also tough to see them bred at a high rate and stocked in stores all over for low prices. Spending your money with companies that don't do this is probably the best solution for now. I have no patience for people who are intentionally cruel to animals (especially dragons, but all animals really). I do think that in most cases, sub optimal conditions occur from people not having the correct information to make good choices for their pet. In those cases, I try to provide as much information as I can so people can do the best with the resources they have available. I try to do this in person locally, but forums like this are a good way to extend reach to as many people as possible.

By staying active here and on social media to try and assist people with information, it can help a lot of dragons have a better life, even if not perfect. The more people who are active and share information to help others, the better off the dragons will be. Unfortunately this and supporting rescue operations is more of an attempt to clean up the mess as much as we can rather than fixing the problem at the source. Hopefully that will be possible some day.
 

clyde612

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Clyde
Does anyone know how some babies are stored together without injury? I've seen babies together at serval places who have not nipped each other. And I know they only start fighting when they're a little older (especially the males). So why do I sometimes see babies that have nipped each other and other times they seem fine to be in the same tank? What methods are used to get them to not nip each other?

I once saw my beardie lick at his own tail (like it was a bug), not realizing it was his own I guess :lol: is there always just a risk that they will mistake each other's body parts for food? Do they nip if they are underfed? Are the missing ends of tails on babies maybe due to rot?
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Part of it may be conditions they're kept in affecting mood or appetite (lack of food) and part of it may just be luck that they weren't nipped when kept together after a while. I do think the aggressive behavior gets worse as they get older.

The missing toes and tail tips is often due to being bitten or attacked. In some cases the wounds heal over on their own and in other cases vets may have amputated the affected limb. Tail rot is more an infection of wounded tissue so if the wound has healed over without infection setting in, it doesn't tend to cause a permanent problem.
 

kingofnobbys

BD.org Sicko
You guys need a system like here in AU.

1) to keep reptiles you MUST have a reptile keepers' licence , no permit , you can't LEGALLY keep a reptile as a pet.
This not cheap.

2) most reptiles sold here in AU are sold by enthusiast captive breeders who will check for licence and interrogate customers to ensure
a) they under the care needs of the reptile
b) are knowledgeable enough to care for the reptile

You can't walk into a pet shop with cash or cc in hand and walk out a few minutes later with a bunch of reptiles.
See 1 and 2.
 

clyde612

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Clyde
kingofnobbys":14rze9g1 said:
This not cheap.

This sounds like a wonderful system except for the expensive license. What is "not cheap"? I don't think reptile pets should only be accessible to people with a lot of money. Surely it is necessary that you have enough money to actually care for the reptile (and extra for medical emergencies), but I wouldn't want to make reptiles a thing for only the well-off.

But this does sounds great <3 you guys are doing a great job taking care of beardies and other reptiles :) I really hope we can do the same in the US one day
 

kingofnobbys

BD.org Sicko
clyde612":2k55mvsr said:
kingofnobbys":2k55mvsr said:
This not cheap.

This sounds like a wonderful system except for the expensive license. What is "not cheap"? I don't think reptile pets should only be accessible to people with a lot of money. Surely it is necessary that you have enough money to actually care for the reptile (and extra for medical emergencies), but I wouldn't want to make reptiles a thing for only the well-off.

But this does sounds great <3 you guys are doing a great job taking care of beardies and other reptiles :) I really hope we can do the same in the US one day

screenshot-355.png

I just renewed my NSW reptile keepers' licence $63 for 2 yrs.
 
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