new beardeddragon owner

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I need a little help with my great new pet. How can I tell if it is a male or female? How many small crickets should I feed a day? Why does my dragon open his mouth at me sometimes and not otheres? How fast do they grow so I know when to get a bigger tank? Do they drink out of a water dish when their small or do I need to mist? I hope someone can and will help me. I love my new pet and want the best for him/her????? Can I put two together or do they live alone untill breading? If two can live together should I get the second one while their young? So many questions.
Thanks for any help you can give me
Lesley
 

TheWolfmanTom

Extreme Poster
Hi there,
Welcome to the forum. There is a great care sheet on here that I would suugest you read. I would put the link but Im just not that computer savey..lol. The mouth being open is probably something called gaping. That is how a dragon vents off excess heat. It could also be display. I never reccomend putting 2 dragons together. Although I have had some success in the past I freely admit it was by accident and I was very lucky. Beardies are for the most part very solitary animal.
 

spurlee01

BD.org Addict
Hi and congrats on your new baby,
TheWolfmanTom is right, you should NEVER put two dragons together. Often this ends with one dragon missing a toe, a limb, a tail, or sometimes dead. Dragons rarely drink out of water bowls. Most people bathe them every other day or every third day (just put them in warm water up to their armpit) to hydrate them. They will sometimes drink out of the bath water, but more importantly they are hydrated through their vent. Misting in the cage is not recommended because it can raise humidity and cause respiratory problems. As for the crickets, feed as many as she can eat in 15 minutes 2x a day. Do you dust your crickets? 2x a week they should be dusted with vitamins and 5x a week with calcium powder. Also, you should put some type of "salad" in his/her cage every day. http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Nutrition.html use this site as a reference as to what veggies to feed (not lettuce).
Dragons cannot be sexed until they are about 9" (some people can do it earlier, but if it's your first time this will probably be the size at which you can tell).

I have a couple of questions for you:

What type of substrate are you using? (repticarpet, sand, papertowel, tile, etc)
What TYPE and BRAND of UVB are you using?
How close can your dragon get to the UVB?
What are your basking, warm side, and cool side temps in your cage?
How are you measuring your temps? (Stick-on thermometer, digital w/ probe, tempgun)

Others may add questions, but these will get you started
 

lesleyhersom

Member
Original Poster
Thank you for your reply. It must be a display with the gaping mouth. He/she only does it once in a while when I go to pick him/her up. How can I tell if its male or female to give a proper name? I will read the care sheet. I have read a few things on them but I have gotten mixed information on feeding of the young ones. I have had many snakes and iguanas but this is my first bearded dragon. So cute and funny. love to watch the cricket chase. Thanks again and if any one else can help I am so open for the help.
 

lesleyhersom

Member
Original Poster
spurlee,
Thank you for you intrest. Substrate: sand. UVB: Zoomed 10.0. Bearded can get 3" from the UVB. The basking area is about 90F and down to 78F. I use a stick on thermometer. I do us a Cal. supplement and I feed the crickets as well. I have been giving veggie pellets that the store was using but I will start giving fresh if thats better. If you have any suggestions I am soooo open to all the help I can get. I will move my dragon to a 55 gal. tank when it get bigger. I am setting it up now so if theres a better substate than sand let me know. Its best to do it right and the best place to find that out is with the hobbiest who loves the animals, So any help I can get Im open for.
Thank you again
Lesley
 

Buggsy

Gray-bearded Member
Ok there are a few things that we could change, so ill go through them on by one:

Substrate: sand
Ok, so there is lots of debate about what the best substrate it, but if you have a baby, sand or any particle should be avoided. they tend to lick everything and can ingest bits, eventually they may get blocked up, or impacted. Alternatives incude paper towels, non adhesive shelf liner or slate tiles. If you did want to swich to sand later on, washed kids play sand is the best to use.

Zoomed 10.0. Bearded can get 3" from the UVB
Ok im not too familiar with that brand of UVB. reptiSUN 10 is the best strip bulb you can get and its the one most people recommend. Perhaps when its time to update in a few months you can swap bulbs.

The basking area is about 90F and down to 78F. I use a stick on thermometer.
Ok for a baby the basking spot should be 110-115 and the cool side 80-85. Also the stick on thermometers can be up to 20 degrees off! You need to replace it with a digital one with a probe or a temp gun. The temperatures are one of the most important parts of your husbandary and you cant afford to get them wrong. (sorry that sounds like im scalding you, im not, i used one for a long time i had to deal with the consequences!)

I have been giving veggie pellets that the store was using but I will start giving fresh if thats better.
Fresh veggies are a must for your dragon, but there are some that are better than others. The beautiful dragon nutrition chart (http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Nutrition.html) is the best thing to follow as its colour coded!

Hopefully all this can help some, but im no expert! Im sure youll be able to pick up alot from these forums! I think most people made there way here when things were going wrong so we've all had experience with correting husbandary and lots of other things! everyone is reall helpful!

Buggsy
 

spurlee01

BD.org Addict
Zoo Med makes the reptisun 10.0. Can you double check and see if you actually have the reptisun 10.0. Also is your bulb a tube or a compact (coil)? And I totally agree with the above poster that you want to get your baby off sand as soon as possible. Calci-sand, which is often what the pet store recommends, can be especially dangerous for young dragons. As the above poster mentioned the babies lick everything and Calci-sand clumps in their stomachs making it very hard for them to pass. Has your dragon pooped yet? If he/she hasn't pooped in a week, it is possible that he/she is impacted which basically means she cannot poop. If this happens let us know and we can help solve the problem. If you have paper towel at home I would immediately take the sand out and replace with paper towel. With my new dragon, I will start with paper towel then move her to tile eventually. My boyfriend uses reptile carpet, but this does need to be washed at least every couple of weeks so it doesn't harbor bacteria. As for the pellets, some people mix them in with salad. I would try to keep your baby familiar with pellets in case you ever have to leave her when she's older. And as the above poster emphasized, temperatures are very important. You need to get a digital thermometer with a probe to properly measure temps. You have to leave the probe for 45 minutes to get an accurate reading. The easiest way to raise temperatures is to raise the wattage of your basking bulb. Just make sure you measure temperatures when you do this so you don't make her too hot. I think that covers just about everything, but feel free to let us know as more questions arise. Oh, and about opening his mouth, it can be meant as threatening, but the more you handle your dragon, the less agressive he will get. (I actually got the open mouth because I STOPPED rubbing my boyfriend's dragon's beard the other day)
Hope this helps,
Sara
 

lesleyhersom

Member
Original Poster
Thank you so much. I need all the help i can get and you have been that and more. Why would the pet store sell this sand for the cage? Im going back there today and I will let them know. My dragon has pooped and I am removing the sand and will put in cage liner. The UVB bulb is a coil and it is 10.0. The tank is just a 10 gal. I am making ready the 55 gal. for when he gets a little bigger. I will get the proper themometer to day as well. And fresh veggies is no problem, i live on a farm and we have a garden. The boxer dog and now my new bearded dragon is the only house pet. My husband is so funny, he bought the dragon for me for our aniversury. Hes an attorney and never had any reptile pets growing up. I on the other hand grabed every reptile I could as a kid and have been known to still grab most snakes and move them to safe ground. I hate when the people a few acers over kill the snakes. One big snake was in the chicken coop just last night eating eggs. I told my son (who is getting my love for all animals and a great love for our newest little guy) not to bother with it, because it would get its fill and move on. Realy they can eat only so many eggs and this time a year we have enough to share. I grabed a coarl snake last summer so I could move it form the barn out to a feild so it wouldnt get any of my baby goats. Boy my husband had a fit. I had to calm him down by explaning how hard it is to get bit by one. 'To this day he still is upset. He hopes this dragon will keep me from draging in wild snakes and lizards. I just keep them a few days to show our son then we let them go again. We get alot of green tree frogs, anols, toads, box turttle (not realy turttles) and the coolest gecos hunting on the kitchen window screen were I have a UVB bulb in the window box for the my herbs, and this time of year we have to pull over and get a ton of snapping turttles out of the road (boy howdy they can pee on you if your not careful) well Im sure youv read enough about my life so thanks again and I never lie about my age and Im 29 again for the 20th year in a row. I read the care sheet and please keep the help comming.
Lesley
 

spurlee01

BD.org Addict
Unfortunately, as many of us have found out, pet stores are in the business for money. Often they know very little about the animals and products they are selling. (Let me say now that not all pet stores are bad- my boyfriend and I found a very good one who has given us great advice). Unfortunately, your bulb also needs to be switched. The coil kind do not emit the right UVB and can hurt their eyes. In my opinion and many will echo this, the reptisun 10.0 TUBE is the best bulb. It is about $40 in pet stores (when you can find it) and $20 on petmountain.com. I would try to return your other, but I don't know if they'll take it back or not. I know it can be VERY frustrating when you are trying to do the best for your new baby and the pet stores sells you all the wrong stuff. I admire you for being able to handle snakes. I have an irrational innate fear of them that I cannot get rid of. Of course part of that fear is probably because I cannot identify them and we live in an area heavily populated by copperheads and with some timber rattlers (I think I could identify the rattlers but not so sure aobut the copperheads). Bearded dragons are the first (and only so far) reptile that I have fallen in love with. In fact everyone who knows me is convinced I have lost my mind since I ordered a beardie. Let us know if you have any other questions.

Sara
 

lesleyhersom

Member
Original Poster
O.K. before I go out and milk the goats let me get this straight, Ive impacted my baby with sand, burnt out his eyes with a light and fozen or burnt him (not sure which) because the thermometer is bad and dehydrated him or given him an overload of bactiria due to the water dish they sold me. Well I think that trip to the pet stroe today (lawyer husband and young 11 year old son in tow) will be most interesting. wouldnt you love to be there for this. Ill be kind but firm. I have spent well over $200.00 on bad bad stuff. Well sham on them and I will be sure to get my money back and get the correct things, I will give them a copy of the correct care sheet and give them back theirs. I have removed the sand and put paper towel down, took out the water dish, turned off the coil light and moved his basking rock closer to the light and gave him a warm not to hot soak in water. I have noticed less activity from him last night and this morning and he is keeping his eys closed a lot. I sure hope I have not hurt the little guy. I just looked at the bulb and it says reptisun 10.0 UVB its not a coil its a compact bulb which fits in a hood for the top of the tank. Please let me know if thats ok. I paid almost $50.00 for it and the zoo med guide said it is what I should use. But Im not so trusting any more. Like I always say "you need to go to the true hobbiest for the real answers". Thanks again
Lesley
 

sara24354

Sub-Adult Member
Lesley,
Let me first congatulate you on trying to help your beardie!!!!! Now let me see what I can do to help. Hopefully you haven't done anything to hurt your dragon too bad and YES most(not all) pet stores are out to make a sale and will sell you what ever they can to make money. THe other posters have given GREAT advice.
The UVB needs to be a long flourecent light,not coil or compact,the coils and compats have been known to cause health problems such as with the eyes and not eating etc.... Fresk vegetables such as mustard greens and collard greens and turnip greens are best for staples with other things thrown into the mix the neautifuldragons website is great. I'm not sure how much good it is to point things out to a pet store as most will tell you it is company policy. If you have any more questions,please post them and we will try to help you figure things out.
 

spurlee01

BD.org Addict
Leslie,

I know how frustrating this is. Be glad that you found out this information early though; some people on here have not found out until their dragons are near death. If he is keeping his eyes closed a lot, this can be a sign of damage due to an unreliable UVB. But don't worry, since you have turned off the compact and are switching out the bulbs, he will be fine. If he continues to keep his eyes closed after he's been under the new bulb for 3-4 days, let us know. It is possible there is some type of underlying problem, but most likely it is the UVB. Also, does he have between 10 and 12 hours of "night" with no lights on? Do you use any type of red light at night (if not, good, they keep them awake). Sometimes if they aren't getting enough sleep at night they sleep during the day. Hang in there, you are on the right track now! And I applaud you for giving the pet store a "good talkin' to" about how to properly care for these animals. Ocassionally people on here have changed pet stores (not to mention it will make you feel better). As always, any more questions- let us know. Oh and UVB bulbs have to be replaced every 6 months so when you need to replace yours you may want to get it from petmountain.com. It's only $20 there instead of $40-$50 (altough make sure you leave plenty of time for shipping).
Good luck with everything- it should get easier now that you've straightened out the problems the pet store sold you.
Sara
 

spurlee01

BD.org Addict
Hey Lesley-
(whoops I just realized I spelled your name wrong last time- sorry!) I wanted to check and see how your baby is doing today. Is he/she better now that the changes have been made? I hope he/she has perked up now, switching to the reptisun 10.0 tube should help a lot.
Sara
 

lesleyhersom

Member
Original Poster
Sara,
Thanks so much for all your help and concerns. My baby is doing much much better thanks to all who have been such a help and even came down from the basking spot, chased and ate crickets and is now looking at me with both eyes open. My husband even held him. One more question maybe you can help me with? Why does he scatch at the glass like a dog? Then he just stares out at us. So cute.
Thanks
Lesley
 

spurlee01

BD.org Addict
My boyfriend's dragon does that too. There are a couple of reasons. One, if he can see his reflection, he may be checking it out to see if its another dragon. Two, he may just want out to explore (this is typically what it is). Three, and I havn't heard anyone else say this, but Tyson scratches the glass when he is getting ready to shed. When your baby is getting ready to shed you will notice that he/she lightens in color. During this time we usually try to give Tyson a bath daily to help moisturize his skin so it comes off easier (I'm sure I don't have to tell you this, but don't pull on the loose skin- it comes off when its ready). If you have a "dragon proof" area to let him run around in that would be great. Just beware- babies are FAST. Tyson is older now and a lot of times he is allowed to run around on the bed while we are on the computer or whatever. He loves climbing on top of people or the "mountain" I make out of a comforter.
 
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