How to use a feeding syringe + crop needle to feed a dragon

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kingofnobbys Sicko
Recommended size (gauge) of needle and volume of liquid/puree/slurry to give according to lizard size (body weight)


updated 25-9-2019

This is what crop / feeding needles look like


8 Gauge Length/ Internal Diameter- 150mm/4mm and 100mm/4mm
10 Gauge Length/ Internal Diameter- 100mm/3mm
12 Gauge Length/ Internal Diameter- 100mm/2.5mm
14 Gauge Length/ Internal Diameter- 90mm/2.0mm
16 Gauge Length/ Internal Diameter- 90mm/1.5mm
18 Gauge Length/ Internal Diameter- 60mm/0.6mm

Procedure to force feed a dragon directly into his stomach using a crop / feeding needle


Updated 25-9-2019

Hope this helps.

Crop needles can also be attached to disposable plastic syringes when needed to give liquid calcium and liquid vitamins and oral medicines where you only want to get the supplement or medicine into the dragon's mouth and past his lips and his teeth.

crop feeding VetaFarm video at 1m 30secs , is a parrot , similar approach should work for a lizard .


1. Hold the reptile as shown, with the tip of your thumb under the neck, pulling the bottom lip down. The reptile should be comfortably restrained, do not use excess force.

2. Put the needle ball into the reptiles mouth, then gently advance the ball into the back of the mouth. Align the needle with your thumb.

3. Using a to-and-fro twirling motion gently pass the tube into the stomach. The ball of the needle will be felt along your thumb as it moves toward the stomach.

4. Administer solution from attached syringe. Return the reptile to horizontal position. Remove tube gently.

NOTE: Know the recommended volume to give by crop needle before administration.


Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Frank Ocean
Thank you so much for this, my Lenny was diagnosed with bacterial gastroenteritis yesterday, and although he easily takes water from a syringe, and eagerly slumped up the critical care, he did not want the Baytril. I was able to administer it thanks to your instructions here!

kingofnobbys Sicko
Original Poster
RachelG":1ztbee0n said:
Thank you so much for this, my Lenny was diagnosed with bacterial gastroenteritis yesterday, and although he easily takes water from a syringe, and eagerly slumped up the critical care, he did not want the Baytril. I was able to administer it thanks to your instructions here!

Glad someone found it of use.... betting a few others have too but they elected not to say anything , that's OK.


New member
I have a dragon with bone cancer and she was recently diagnosed with Adenovirus. She hasnt eaten on her own in almost 2 years. Last week while at the vet for her check up, my amazing vet suggested I try to feed her with this set-up. Ive been doing it for a week now and its SO much better than spending 3 hours a day to feed her 4 or 5mL of the critical care food we get from the vet. All in one shot she can eat 6mL, and in about 20 seconds we are done for the day. It has to be less stressful on her, I know it is for me (although I was scared to do it the first few days!).

I had never heard of this before the vet showed me the crop needle. Great instructions!

kingofnobbys Sicko
Original Poster
Bought a few SureFlo Catheters to replace the old couple I've been using for nearly 10 years.

This is what they look like disassembled

The flexible white Teflon tube is the bit that's useful in administering liquids and oral meds to lizards, the metal needle assembly is disposed off (carefully !! VERY DANGEROUS AND SHARP).
Best to stay with 22G for fluids, is more durable than the larger bore version where the lizard has teeth.

Edit : be careful the dragon doesn't chew pieces of plastic of the end of the plastic tube. I found the 14G tube very soft and too easily crushed and holed.

I've had success using this

to get nasty tasting antbiotics and nice tasting CalciVet into skinks , the trick is to get the plastic tube past the lips and teeth at the back corner of the mouth , not necessary force the mouth open but is a two person job
one person restrains the lizard
the other person slips the catheter tube into mouth and pushes the syringe plunger.

I've also used this kind of setup

to get HerpaBoost , VetaFarm Reptile Critta Care and viscous liquid meds into the mouths of lizards, got to get the mouth enough to get the nozzle into the mouth , again a two person job unless the lizard is prepared to lick the paste off it's nose and lips , works well

and for really difficult situations this works and is indestructible and wont hurt the lizard's teeth, gums , jaws or mouth

You can keep more than one feed of liquid food in the syringe if you have a syringe cap that replaces the catheter tube or feeding needle or feeding nozzle between feeds :

kingofnobbys Sicko
Original Poster




If you have source in your country , feel free to share it ….. someone will eventually need to know and these are not easy found and EXPENSIVE if sold to you by your vet (if the vet is willing to sell one to you).

Feeding syringes : see

procedure I use :
I've found putting a drop of honey on the end of the needle helped get the feeds started .

You will need one person to restrain the dragon , while the feeder gets the mouth open a crack and operates the syringe.

A tip …. get hold of some stiff plastic business cards or playing cards for a stubborn lizard who refuses to cooperate..
These can folded in half (one long fold) .
Cut a hole big enough to slip the feeding needle into the mouth in the middle of the fold.
slip the folded card between beardie's lips and upper and lower front teeth, hold it there an slip the business end of the feeding needing past the teeth , only needs to go maybe 5mm in and then inject some paste/slurry , remove card and needle let lizard swallow , repeat , a little at a time.

kingofnobbys Sicko
Original Poster

CooperDragon Sicko
Staff member
You can often find this sort of thing in the farm supply stores in the rural areas of the US. Places like Theisens, Fleet Farm, Blain's Farm & Fleet etc.
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