Hiding Over Two Weeks - Brumating or Sick?

Sabra

Member
Beardie name(s)
Neo
My wife and I are going insane trying to figure out what is wrong with our bearded dragon. His name is Neo and he is about 10-11 months old. We don't know his actual age because we bought him from Petco on October 1st 2022 and they told us he was 6 weeks old which would put his birthday in mid august. He has everything he needs. Temperatures from 95*F in his basking spot, 88*F mid cage and on the far cold side its around 82*F. He also has a hide on the warm and cooler sides. He has a 10.0 ReptiSun T5 UVB bulb mounted inside his cage. He was eating veggies/bugs daily and pooping every few days. He's a big boy, around 17" but I've never weighed him as I gave up my weed days years ago and threw out my gram scale lol.

On May 24th, after basking from a meal of roaches he went down into his hide on the hot side and did not come out for a solid week. We assumed he was getting to maturity and was entering his first brumation. I was worried that he went under with food in his stomach but he did bask so I think it was probably digested. After about a week he emerged and was really responsive and ate some food. He still did not poop. We gave him a bath and tried to assist him in pooping but figured he needed some time to get his bowels moving again after brumation.

A few days later he went into his hide again and fell asleep. Now he has not pooped his prior meal and he just ate a recent meal after coming out of brumation and he's brumating AGAIN? So we let him go for a solid two weeks and then got worried and removed him from his hide this saturday and tried to get him to poop again. We thought maybe feeding him would help so he ate now a 3rd unpooped meal. Well guess what, he went into "brumation" again.

At this point now my mind is racing. Maybe he wasn't bumrating and its been its too hot all along!?!?! Why would he be brumating in SUMMER I thought it was when the weather got colder? But he was DEFINITELY asleep. Oh wait, I just read an article that says some bearded dragons brumate when its WINTER in Australia which is our summer? Oh Shoot, maybe he's impacted and he's hiding because he can't poop? Oh I know, its a sperm plug! I read that can cause a form of constipation / impaction. I'm going INSANE it could be millions of things and now I'm changing light wattages, removing his hide, giving him baths, feeding him olive oil.

I hate bearded dragons and I regret ever getting one. Animals don't belong in cages, they belong in the wild. But I have committed to Neo's care so I will see it through to the end but NEVER AGAIN - the level of stress and anxiety this has brought me FAR outweighs any small moments of joy we've had with him.

What the hell do I do? I know someone is going to say bring him to the vet. I cannot afford it. I've already paid a pretty penny to get his husbandry correct so that I wouldn't need to bring him to a vet. I've attached pictures of him, his hide (thats currently blocked) and his entire enclosure.
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
My wife and I are going insane trying to figure out what is wrong with our bearded dragon. His name is Neo and he is about 10-11 months old. We don't know his actual age because we bought him from Petco on October 1st 2022 and they told us he was 6 weeks old which would put his birthday in mid august. He has everything he needs. Temperatures from 95*F in his basking spot, 88*F mid cage and on the far cold side its around 82*F. He also has a hide on the warm and cooler sides. He has a 10.0 ReptiSun T5 UVB bulb mounted inside his cage. He was eating veggies/bugs daily and pooping every few days. He's a big boy, around 17" but I've never weighed him as I gave up my weed days years ago and threw out my gram scale lol.

On May 24th, after basking from a meal of roaches he went down into his hide on the hot side and did not come out for a solid week. We assumed he was getting to maturity and was entering his first brumation. I was worried that he went under with food in his stomach but he did bask so I think it was probably digested. After about a week he emerged and was really responsive and ate some food. He still did not poop. We gave him a bath and tried to assist him in pooping but figured he needed some time to get his bowels moving again after brumation.

A few days later he went into his hide again and fell asleep. Now he has not pooped his prior meal and he just ate a recent meal after coming out of brumation and he's brumating AGAIN? So we let him go for a solid two weeks and then got worried and removed him from his hide this saturday and tried to get him to poop again. We thought maybe feeding him would help so he ate now a 3rd unpooped meal. Well guess what, he went into "brumation" again.

At this point now my mind is racing. Maybe he wasn't bumrating and its been its too hot all along!?!?! Why would he be brumating in SUMMER I thought it was when the weather got colder? But he was DEFINITELY asleep. Oh wait, I just read an article that says some bearded dragons brumate when its WINTER in Australia which is our summer? Oh Shoot, maybe he's impacted and he's hiding because he can't poop? Oh I know, its a sperm plug! I read that can cause a form of constipation / impaction. I'm going INSANE it could be millions of things and now I'm changing light wattages, removing his hide, giving him baths, feeding him olive oil.

I hate bearded dragons and I regret ever getting one. Animals don't belong in cages, they belong in the wild. But I have committed to Neo's care so I will see it through to the end but NEVER AGAIN - the level of stress and anxiety this has brought me FAR outweighs any small moments of joy we've had with him.

What the hell do I do? I know someone is going to say bring him to the vet. I cannot afford it. I've already paid a pretty penny to get his husbandry correct so that I wouldn't need to bring him to a vet. I've attached pictures of him, his hide (thats currently blocked) and his entire enclosure.
Ok w/ all the changes it is not good --- dragons do not like changes --- how are you getting the surface basking temp- I tried to get the pics you posted clearer and closer but they wont so I wanted to get a good view of the tank -- digital probe thermometers are best for getting accurate surface temps- the rock your using is it a slate rock? If so those temps on that rock could be hotter than what your getting for a reading- how old is your UVB bulb? Those should be changed out every 10 - 11 months --- him not pooping is normal - dragons tend to slow down on the pooping times so if he goes 3 weeks to a month that is fine- if all is on par w/ your surface basking temps and UVB hes gonna poop - the sleeping could be a slow period for him - my oldest has been in his hide for the last 3 days and not come out - I peek in on him and hes awake - has Neo been tested for parasites? When he poops what do the look like? If you want him to poop feed him some baby food pumpkin that will make him go - make sure he is hydrated this too helps the pooping process -- please unblock his hide --- I would get a weight on him now kitchen food scale and keep track of it - weigh in grams --
 

Sabra

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Neo
Ok w/ all the changes it is not good --- dragons do not like changes --- how are you getting the surface basking temp- I tried to get the pics you posted clearer and closer but they wont so I wanted to get a good view of the tank -- digital probe thermometers are best for getting accurate surface temps- the rock your using is it a slate rock? If so those temps on that rock could be hotter than what your getting for a reading- how old is your UVB bulb? Those should be changed out every 10 - 11 months --- him not pooping is normal - dragons tend to slow down on the pooping times so if he goes 3 weeks to a month that is fine- if all is on par w/ your surface basking temps and UVB hes gonna poop - the sleeping could be a slow period for him - my oldest has been in his hide for the last 3 days and not come out - I peek in on him and hes awake - has Neo been tested for parasites? When he poops what do the look like? If you want him to poop feed him some baby food pumpkin that will make him go - make sure he is hydrated this too helps the pooping process -- please unblock his hide --- I would get a weight on him now kitchen food scale and keep track of it - weigh in grams --
I use a hand-held digital thermometer gun. On the slate rock the temperature is 92*F and when I put my bare human hand on it its not hot to the touch. I will say he never really basks on it for more then an hour. He always moves to his log. The UVB bulb was purchased in February of this year, so about 5 months, I bought a two pack so I have a backup.

Yeah the slow pooping is what is really worrying me and causing all these changes. I agree with you and will stop making changes. I will unblock his hide, I know he needs to be able to feel secure. If he goes back down there for a while should we just let him be?

He has not been tested for parasites. The last time he pooped it was pretty solid with a healthy soft urate. But I am worried it could be parasites. We fed him some olive oil today to hopefully help him poop. We can try baby food but he is super picky lol. If we can get him to poop I would like to get it tested, just for peace of mind.

Thanks for your response. I'll keep you posted :)
PS I just attached the picture of his enclosure at a much larger size for you to view.
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
I use a hand-held digital thermometer gun. On the slate rock the temperature is 92*F and when I put my bare human hand on it its not hot to the touch. I will say he never really basks on it for more then an hour. He always moves to his log. The UVB bulb was purchased in February of this year, so about 5 months, I bought a two pack so I have a backup.

Yeah the slow pooping is what is really worrying me and causing all these changes. I agree with you and will stop making changes. I will unblock his hide, I know he needs to be able to feel secure. If he goes back down there for a while should we just let him be?

He has not been tested for parasites. The last time he pooped it was pretty solid with a healthy soft urate. But I am worried it could be parasites. We fed him some olive oil today to hopefully help him poop. We can try baby food but he is super picky lol. If we can get him to poop I would like to get it tested, just for peace of mind.

Thanks for your response. I'll keep you posted :)
I would get his weight- his poop sounds good and would not be concerned w/ the parasites then - if it was really runny and smelling so bad it makes you leave the room then yes a parasite test would be in order - but w/ what you described it sounds like good poop-- I would recommend 2 digital probe thermometers - IR guns are good but can be inaccurate on certain materials -- your basking bulb is a solid clear bright white bulb? No off white or yellowish or daytime bulbs --- examples of bulbs are Exo Terra Intense -- Arcadia Halogen or Flukers basking bulbs --
 

Sabra

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Neo
Hmm...yeah, I never considered the color temperature the of basking bulb. I figured its just a heat source. The light is a GU10 Halogen bulb, box doesn't say the color temperature but it does have a yellowish tint not exactly bright white.

I just ordered a kitchen food scale, I am curious of his weight. I'll keep track of it daily especially if he goes back into his hide for a few days...

As for his basking spot, you've got me thinking maybe he doesn't like the slate rock? But, he's never really had an issue there before. His routine would be to go to his basking spot right after eating for about 30-40 mins and then he sits on his log so he can keep his eye on his food bowl. He would occasionally go into his hide during sheds (he likes rubbing his head against the roof) but he always came back out.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Hmm...yeah, I never considered the color temperature the of basking bulb. I figured its just a heat source. The light is a GU10 Halogen bulb, box doesn't say the color temperature but it does have a yellowish tint not exactly bright white.

I just ordered a kitchen food scale, I am curious of his weight. I'll keep track of it daily especially if he goes back into his hide for a few days...

As for his basking spot, you've got me thinking maybe he doesn't like the slate rock? But, he's never really had an issue there before. His routine would be to go to his basking spot right after eating for about 30-40 mins and then he sits on his log so he can keep his eye on his food bowl. He would occasionally go into his hide during sheds (he likes rubbing his head against the roof) but he always came back out.
I would change out the basking bulb for one like I mentioned- please weigh him every 2 weeks- start w/ the bulb and get the digital probe thermometers - you can order flukers bulbs and the probe thermometers from www.petmountain.com
 

hdochow

Sub-Adult Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Sir Henry of Scales
another general thing to mention is as they age, they don't wind up using the bathroom every day. when sir henry goes through a slow down period, which sounds very much like you are describing, it can be about 2 weeks.
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Hydration needs to be on point also. Just giving baths don't work unless they drinkn in the bath. Thay have to actually take water orally to be hydrated. The best way is to use an eyedropper to drip it on his snout. I don't recommend using a syringe because it's harder to control the amount of water. If he won't start lapping the water off his snout you can add in a little none citrus fruit juice to give it flavor. Be sure to use a wet cloth to wipe away any that runs down his chin. No need to take a chance on causing bacteria or fungus in his scales.
Good hydration will help keep his bowels moving.
Be patient and go at his pace. If you try to force the water or rush him you could aspirate him. Sometimes it tajes them a little while to realize it's water, but once he gets used to it it'll be easier to get him to drink. You should offer it at least a coulpe times per week.
 

Sabra

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Neo
Hydration needs to be on point also. Just giving baths don't work unless they drinkn in the bath. Thay have to actually take water orally to be hydrated. The best way is to use an eyedropper to drip it on his snout. I don't recommend using a syringe because it's harder to control the amount of water. If he won't start lapping the water off his snout you can add in a little none citrus fruit juice to give it flavor. Be sure to use a wet cloth to wipe away any that runs down his chin. No need to take a chance on causing bacteria or fungus in his scales.
Good hydration will help keep his bowels moving.
Be patient and go at his pace. If you try to force the water or rush him you could aspirate him. Sometimes it tajes them a little while to realize it's water, but once he gets used to it it'll be easier to get him to drink. You should offer it at least a coulpe times per week.
I have never seen Neo drink a drop of water. When I put him in the bath he does not drink. I've angled his head down to show him its water he will not drink. I use an eyedropper with water right on his snout and he will not lick it. I lightly spray his face so its dripping wet, he lets it drip off never ever licks it.

This is one of the reasons I was SO worried with his long "brumation" / hiding. He gets his water from food and if he's not eating it makes me worried. I will try the citrus juice and maybe he will take interest in it then.
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Not citrus, none citrus. Any citrus fruit is hard on their digestive system. Juicy juice has some that's like apple,pear,and cherry. Straight apple juice can work, grape juice, cranberry might be ok but i haven't researched that one. It don't take much.
Another thing you can do if your carefull. Place your hand in the shape of a C, your fingers above his head, your thumb under his chin. You can use your thumb to gently pull his lower lip open. (It opens really easy this way) your not trying to open his mouth, just his lip. You then can insert just the tip of the eyedropper into his mouth. Keep it outside his teeth, and don't try to force water into his mouth, just drip it onto his gums. Sometimes they still will refuse water even this way, but I've never had one refuse flavored water this way.
Oh btw it's best to use a plastic eyedropper just in case they bite it, they can break the glass ones. This also works with a syringe if you should ever have to feed slurries. Once they taste something, they will usually go on and except it.
 

Sabra

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Neo
Not citrus, none citrus. Any citrus fruit is hard on their digestive system. Juicy juice has some that's like apple,pear,and cherry. Straight apple juice can work, grape juice, cranberry might be ok but i haven't researched that one. It don't take much.
Another thing you can do if your carefull. Place your hand in the shape of a C, your fingers above his head, your thumb under his chin. You can use your thumb to gently pull his lower lip open. (It opens really easy this way) your not trying to open his mouth, just his lip. You then can insert just the tip of the eyedropper into his mouth. Keep it outside his teeth, and don't try to force water into his mouth, just drip it onto his gums. Sometimes they still will refuse water even this way, but I've never had one refuse flavored water this way.
Oh btw it's best to use a plastic eyedropper just in case they bite it, they can break the glass ones. This also works with a syringe if you should ever have to feed slurries. Once they taste something, they will usually go on and except it.
Oh sorry you did say non Citrus. Got it. I will try to gently open his lips to hydrate him as you suggested, thanks!

I did weigh him today, he's 534g right now. I've also measured him and he's ~19 inches. I bathed him hoping he would poop but no luck. His last poop was on 06/24 and he has a few good meals in him since then so...I'll remain patient.

I also tried to open his anal vent to see if anything is blocked (sperm plug) but it seems to be sealed shut. I gently pulled on it and could not get it open, I did not want to apply any pressure so I gave up.

I am going to leave him alone now, if he goes back to his hide I will leave him until he comes out on his own. Here are some recent pictures of him bathing / basking.

IMG_1204.jpg


IMG_1205.jpg
 

jabda

Hatchling Member
I bathed him hoping he would poop but no luck. His last poop was on 06/24 and he has a few good meals in him since then so...I'll remain patient.
Have you tried going outside on a hot sunny day leaving him soak up some natural UBV. When I let my BD to it, within 10 minutes poop city.
No more than 20 minutes is my rule.
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Oh sorry you did say non Citrus. Got it. I will try to gently open his lips to hydrate him as you suggested, thanks!

I did weigh him today, he's 534g right now. I've also measured him and he's ~19 inches. I bathed him hoping he would poop but no luck. His last poop was on 06/24 and he has a few good meals in him since then so...I'll remain patient.

I also tried to open his anal vent to see if anything is blocked (sperm plug) but it seems to be sealed shut. I gently pulled on it and could not get it open, I did not want to apply any pressure so I gave up.

I am going to leave him alone now, if he goes back to his hide I will leave him until he comes out on his own. Here are some recent pictures of him bathing / basking.

View attachment 82109

View attachment 82110
His setup looks nice 👌
He is a handsome boy to!
I agree with Jabda, a goos soak in natural uvb is really good for them, just be careful not to overheat them.
 

Sabra

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Neo
I bathed him hoping he would poop but no luck. His last poop was on 06/24 and he has a few good meals in him since then so...I'll remain patient.
Have you tried going outside on a hot sunny day leaving him soak up some natural UBV. When I let my BD to it, within 10 minutes poop city.
No more than 20 minutes is my rule.
That is a great idea, yes I will do this tomorrow! I usually like to give him roaches on the back porch so he runs after them to get exercise but since he's been hiding I haven't taken him out there.
 

Sabra

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Neo
So I think we figured out the problem. We took him outside today and let him bask in the sun for about 10 minutes until he warmed up and then gave him a bath and he pooped!!!

Now, he really had to push, he pushed hard about 3 times until poop started coming out. This is not normal for him at all, usually it slides right out (gross I know lol).

One thing to note is that his urate was about 1.5 inches long and hard. Usually its soft and pliable. So this tells me he was dehydrated? I'm assuming this dehydration took place when he "brumated" for a few weeks without eating or drinking.

The other question I had for you all is about roaches. I've been feeding him about 1-2 LARGE fully grown roaches daily. Could this have impacted him slightly? Should I just feed him the smaller roaches?

Anyway, I am glad he pooped and now I am just trying not to repeat whatever issue caused it initially.
 

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