My Beardie died and I have no idea why

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I have had quite a bit of experience with reptiles having two geckos and one previous bearded dragon. I just went upstairs to find Charlie had died. I have no idea what could have happened he was very active today as usual and quickly chased his crickets and ate his veggies. He was fine when I went to turn off the light and now a few hours later I find him dead.

He is 6 months old. He has had no problems eating, his stool has been normal, he just had a huge bowl movement yesterday same as everyday. He was active, no discharge, no colour change. We have the UV light as well as a heating lamp. Like I can't figure out what could have happened, its like he had a heart attack or something cause there was no symptoms. It looks like he threw up what he had eaten today (crickets, and some lettuce) so he must have threw up after I turned off the lights.
Any thoughts as to what could have happened.


R.I.P. Charlie :(

spurlee01 Addict
First- are you 100% positive he is gone? Sometimes they do not breathe very heavily, especially when ill or asleep. If you aren't positive, put him in a warm bath and hold his head up to see if that rouses him.


Gray-bearded Member
Malibu has played dead a couple time i picked her up off thw window sill where she was
sleepin & actuall told my son she had passed....only to have her open one eye to give me the stink eye for waking her.


Original Poster
Yes I am 100% he is gone, His eyes are closed, and when I pick him up there is no muscle movement and rigormortis is beginning to set in.

spurlee01 Addict
I'm so sorry, I was hoping he was just playing for you...
A few questions that may help us determine what happened:
What TYPE and BRAND of UVB do you use?
What are temps: basking, ambient, and cool side? How do you measure temps (stick on, digi w/ probe, temp gun)?
Has a fecal been run on your dragon recently?
What type of substrate do you use?
What do you feed your dragon? How much does he normally eat each day?
How long was your dragon?
How long have you had him?
Has he eaten any wild bugs or plants lately?
Has your dragon ever vomitted before?
Others may have more questions, but this is all I can think of at the moment.


Hatchling Member
Cleo88":765af said:
Yes I am 100% he is gone, His eyes are closed, and when I pick him up there is no muscle movement and rigormortis is beginning to set in.

I have nothing to add but my sympathies; I'm very sorry to hear about this. :(


Original Poster
Okay I am going to sound really stupid but he is alive now. I swear he was not breathing like his chest was not moving at all I flipped him over on his back and there was no reflexes. I just went up there to check the brand of the lightbulb and then I saw movement. And low and behold he was breathing again. I picked him up and he was really limp so I took him and put him in a warm bath and then he opened his eyes and started moving again. I still don't understand he looked dead, there was no breathing at all, strange. He did throw up tho so that might be cause for concern I will see how he is doing tomorrow morning and keep you guys updated. Thanks for all your concern. :)

spurlee01 Addict
YAY!!! :blob5: :blob8:
Is he getting more alert now? Do you have a herp vet that can check him first thing tomorrow? You may still want to answer the questions so we can determine if something is making him sick. Don't feed any more lettuce, it isn't very good for them. Here is a link to good/bad veggies. Also, double check your temps if possible to make sure they didn't get too high with summer coming in.


Original Poster
Yea he is lying on the log look quite angry that I woke him up lol. I'm not sure that there is a reptile vet any where around here, we haven't been able to find one. That is the exact website that I use to figure out what to feed and what to not. It isn't romaine lettuce its the endive and other ones that are staples on that chart.

I can't find the box for the UVB bulb its a light bulb that kind of looks like a fluorescent lightbulb, the reptile pet store recommended it.
I'm not sure of the exact temperatures but I am pretty sure that are correct, its the same setup as my previous beardie and he lived for a long time.
As I said before I haven't done a fecal sample as I have no reptile vet nearby.
I use reptile sand, I am aware of the risk of impaction but have yet to see him have any interest in it, and all of my other lizards have lived on it there entire lives.
I'm not sure of the exact number of crickets but its around 10 or so, he usually eats all that I put in there, and he gets the green each day and sometimes eats them all or none. He usually gets a combination of dandelion greens and other storebought greens such as endive.
The only wild thing he has eaten is the dandelion leaves and I wash them and they are from our backyard and we don't use pesticides.
He has never vomitted before.

I will monitor him and see how he is doing tomorrow morning. Thanks for all your help.

vickson420 Addict
Retired Moderator
First let me say I am happy to hear he is still alive.How old is the UVB tube you have?You can tell the brand info by looking directly on the tube.It sounds like he may be having issues digesting his food.I strongly recommend you get a digital probe thermometer to measure those temps.If they are not correct he will not be able to digest his food or become impacted which is another direct cause of vomitting.Also the calcisand can as well cause the impaction/vomitting so I do recommend you switch it out to a solid substrate especially while he is ill.I understand that your previous beardie was housed the same but all beardie are different and since this one is obviously having issues with something its best just to change them out.How did he respond when you gave him a bath?Angry is ok but how is his energy level?



Hatchling Member

Cats have 9 lives they say, If those flea bags get 9...beardies should atleaaastt get 12...

spurlee01 Addict
Okay- glad it's endive, not lettuce. 10 crickets is not a whole lot. My girl is 6 months old and eats 20 most days but others say theirs eat 30-60. I have to feed her twice most days to get her up to 20. How long is your dragon? If there is anyway you can unscrew your UVB bulb to find the brand that would help a lot. Some of them cause a lack of appetite and lethargy, but I don't know if that's what's going on here. The repti GLO 10.0 is particularly troublesome and that is what I see in petstores most often. I urge you to get a digital thermometer with a probe (Acurite $12 at walmart if you're in the US) or a temp gun. Even if the setup i the exact same, temps can vary a lot. My boyfriend had the exact same set-up I have (same cage, same lights) at his house and struggle to get temps up to 100, but my temps hit 115*F (not even during the heat of the day) which could have caused brain damage had it not been caught quickly. As the seasons change, temps in the viv also change. Some beardies are more temperature sensitive than others. Any vet should be able to look at reptile poo and give you a parasite count (if there is one). If you post that count here, people can work with you on what dosing you need. For that you will also need to get a weight on your dragon- I just use a mail scale ($20 at walmart). Sand does not only pose a risk of impaction- it harbors bacteria. If you do find out your beardie has parasites, you will need to take out the sand. I just use paper towel so I can scoop up poo and pitch it. Let me know if I can help anymore
*edit- Sorry Vicki I started this post before you posted so there is some overlap*


Hatchling Member
Cleo88":171cc said:
Okay I am going to sound really stupid but he is alive now.

No, you don't sound stupid! If it was me, based off of what you originally told us, I'd think he was dead, too.

But yay! He's alive! :mrgreen:


Gray-bearded Member
Woo hooo! :)
Now i would take astep back and make sure eerything is right w/ your temps feeding & UVB
If you are feeding him crickets in his viv he is SURELY getting sand also.
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