Mako and I Want Your Input

Hi there!

I'm a first time Bearded Dragon owner and Mako is my 11-month old rescue. She was taken into foster care when she was found with burns on her because her previous owner was putting the heat lamps in the enclosure. She has spent the last 5 months with a foster and we took her in on the 24th.

I've attached a picture of her enclosure setup currently and would love any input on things that look good, wrong, or otherwise. The humidity is between 20-30%, cold side is between 78-84 on the cool side and 85-90 in her basking hammock (measured with a temp gun).

Since we've brought her home her behavior has not given us a ton of confidence (although, it might be normal for the transition). She ate 2 crickets and a few of her greens quite a while after we put them in the cage, but she has not really left her hide. Yesterday, she ate nothing (we put 5 large crickets and 5 large mealworms in her dish along with dandelion greens). This morning, we reclaimed the crickets that were in the dish and replaced them with a couple more, along with some fresh mealworms and greens. She hasn't eaten still so we tried to hand feed her some dubia roaches. She quickly gobbled two of these but scorned the third. Because we haven't seen her drink, or even move to her water, we gave her a light misting on her head.

Last night we gave her a bath (98 degree water) for 15 minutes. The previous owner said she hasn't had a movement for several days and that the bath might stimulate it. Still no poo going on day 4.

As I said, she's been in her hid almost non-stop. Today she was doing a significant amount of scratching at the corner. We have tile for the substrate, so I cut some clean scraps of fleece for her to push around. I've read up a bit on this and apparently it can give them some comfort.

I'd much appreciate any advice, scolding, encouragement, or other input that will help Mako have a great, long stay with us!

Thanks!

~Mako and Chris
 

cptlaurion

Member
Original Poster
I forgot to add the images. I built the enclosure shelf yesterday as well. It has some extra deep shelves below so the roaches and crickets can stay mostly in the dark in their enclosures. This hopefully keeps them healthy and around as long as necessary.

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cptlaurion":30p383oy said:
Hi there!

I'm a first time Bearded Dragon owner and Mako is my 11-month old rescue. She was taken into foster care when she was found with burns on her because her previous owner was putting the heat lamps in the enclosure. She has spent the last 5 months with a foster and we took her in on the 24th.

I've attached a picture of her enclosure setup currently and would love any input on things that look good, wrong, or otherwise. The humidity is between 20-30%, cold side is between 78-84 on the cool side and 85-90 in her basking hammock (measured with a temp gun).

Since we've brought her home her behavior has not given us a ton of confidence (although, it might be normal for the transition). She ate 2 crickets and a few of her greens quite a while after we put them in the cage, but she has not really left her hide. Yesterday, she ate nothing (we put 5 large crickets and 5 large mealworms in her dish along with dandelion greens). This morning, we reclaimed the crickets that were in the dish and replaced them with a couple more, along with some fresh mealworms and greens. She hasn't eaten still so we tried to hand feed her some dubia roaches. She quickly gobbled two of these but scorned the third. Because we haven't seen her drink, or even move to her water, we gave her a light misting on her head.

Last night we gave her a bath (98 degree water) for 15 minutes. The previous owner said she hasn't had a movement for several days and that the bath might stimulate it. Still no poo going on day 4.

As I said, she's been in her hid almost non-stop. Today she was doing a significant amount of scratching at the corner. We have tile for the substrate, so I cut some clean scraps of fleece for her to push around. I've read up a bit on this and apparently it can give them some comfort.

I'd much appreciate any advice, scolding, encouragement, or other input that will help Mako have a great, long stay with us!

Thanks!

~Mako and Chris

First off, welcome to the forums. You can learn a lot from here. I am not a pro, and I am sure some of the more experienced owners will chime in.

Looking at the photos that you posted, is the UV light on top of the cage? It should really be inside the cage. The screen will cut down the amount of UVB that gets into the cage. If it is a T8 bulb, the basking spot should be 6-8 inches from it. If its a T5 High Output, 12-15 is recommended.

Basking spot should be approximately 105-ish.

Take out the analog temp and hydro gauges you have and replace them with digital ones. Analog gauges are unreliable and not very accurate. Try to find an Indoor/Outdoor temp gauge with probe on a wire.

In regards to her being in the hide most of the time and not defecating; she may be in brumation (hibernation) mode.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
I would take out the huge water bowl if shes not using it --- the scratching is she scratching or digging - if its a female has she layed eggs before? the scratching is normally a sign of trying to get comfortable mine do it -- the not coming out of the hide she may be trying to brumate -- please get a weight on her now w/ a kitchen scale weigh in grams and keep track of her weight- they can lose some during brumation but you do not want her to lose a lot - she should sustain it -- if shes losing a lot there is another issue- the screen on the tank is a fine mesh like a screen door or a wide hole type ? If its a fine mesh it does need to go in to the tank like the other poster recommended -- she will also go thru relocation stress so her eating will be off and w/ brumation time of year that too will effect her eating - it is not uncommon for them not to poop for long periods of time 4 days is not long mine dont poop for like a week or sometimes longer -- if shes eating less shes going to poop less -- please do not leave crickets in the tank at all -- they will come out at nite and bite causing infection -- please keep her hydrated -- if she comes out you can offer food and get a weight and offer water -- either by dropping on her nose misting her or bathing her they will drink from the bath if she is thirsty just dont let her gorge herself she will aspirate -- and please get some digital probe thermometers for actual basking temps - the probe needs to sit on the place where she would bask 10 min or so then get the temp
Karrie
 

cptlaurion

Member
Original Poster
Thanks Shawn and Karrie!

So Mako has been crashed in the back of her hide since I posted this. If we walk up she peeks at us and then closes her eyes again. Definitely brumation in my inexperienced opinion. We're taking her out for a 15-minute bath tonight (which we'll do weekly until she's back out and about). We won't offer her any more food until she's active as well. We'll be sure to grab a weight on my digital food scale so we can monitor her health while she rests.

I have replaced her analog garbage sensors with new digital ones and have compared them to the temp gun readings and they're accurate. No probes, but the temp gun comparisons give me confidence. I think I need to get a stronger bulb for the basking light as it's not reaching the ~100-105 temp that everyone says is optimal. I also need to find a good method for hanging the UVB light inside the enclosure. This is on my to-do research list today.

I'll remove the water dish while she continues brumation.

Thanks again for all of your help!

On another tangent, does anyone have any Bearded Dragon care books that they highly recommend?
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
I would only bath once every 10 days to 2 weeks don't disturb her more than that---- I have things to help hang the fixture-- I will.post later today
Karrie
 

cptlaurion

Member
Original Poster
Updating on Mako.
Definitely would appear to be brumation. We took her out for her first bath since and she was alert. Soaked her and put her back on her basking spot (with new 150W bulb). She sunned for ~5 minutes and then returned to her hide. We'll take her out in another ~10 days for another one. I assume I don't offer any food until we see her leaving her hide?

Also, I need to get the UVB light into the enclosure, but I'm VERY hesitant to use hook and loop with an adhesive backing. The heat generated causes those adhesive stickers to fail and I would not want to drop my light onto Mako! I'll look for something with bailing twine or another sturdier method. Thank you for all of your help so far!
 
cptlaurion":1himllgp said:
Updating on Mako.
Definitely would appear to be brumation. We took her out for her first bath since and she was alert. Soaked her and put her back on her basking spot (with new 150W bulb). She sunned for ~5 minutes and then returned to her hide. We'll take her out in another ~10 days for another one. I assume I don't offer any food until we see her leaving her hide?

Also, I need to get the UVB light into the enclosure, but I'm VERY hesitant to use hook and loop with an adhesive backing. The heat generated causes those adhesive stickers to fail and I would not want to drop my light onto Mako! I'll look for something with bailing twine or another sturdier method. Thank you for all of your help so far!

What fixture are you using, and is the tank a standard aquarium tank with removable hood or is it a front opening terrarium? I am using the Sunblaster fixture in a 40g breeder size front opening terrarium. I have my fixture mounted with 3M Dual Lock. I installed the 3M so its vertical not horizontal and it covers the reflector and the housing of the fixture. I think I have it in four spots.
 

cptlaurion

Member
Original Poster
Hey everyone,
I just wanted to post a quick update here. Mako still hasn't come out of brumation. So it's been a near solid two months. We've been taking her out every 10 days or so for baths and she appears to be alright with this and responsive to the care. She not leaving her hide once she's returned and finished a few quick minutes of basking. She hasn't eaten since 24DEC20. I'm sure this is perfectly normal but it's stressing me out!
 

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