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New Dragon Owner - Worried I'm messing this up..

LuxDreamer0521

New member
Hi everyone! I hope this is the right place for a post like this, I apologize if it isn't!

I've owned my leopard gecko for over 7 years now, but recently we decided to get a Bearded Dragon - a baby, that we got from a breeder in BC, Canada. (we live in Ontario, Canada). She's a beautiful little girl, hatched on Dec 20th and arrived to us in the beginning of February. We named her Calcifer.

I have spent countless hours reading countless care guides, watching countless videos and going over and over the same information over and over again. Yet, I cannot shake the thought that I am doing something wrong and this site has been a great resource so I thought I would take a chance and just .. ask people who actually have dragons.

She is in a 36 x 18 x 18 Exoterra (this is temporary, we are getting her a 4 x 2 x 2 enclosure from Zen Habitats in June).
We have a thermostat with the probe on the basking point, an overhead 150W light, and an Arcadia T5 36 Inch. ( this one https://www.reptilesrus.ca/arcadia-pro-t5-uvb-kit-with-12-desert-lamp-39w-35/ )
She is primarily fed a diet of Black Soldier Fly Larvae when it comes to insects, however she does get a few occasional crickets, wax worms or hornworms to give her a treat and variety.
She generally gets mustard greens with bell peppers as her salad, but she tends not to eat it much. I am told this is normal for baby beardies, as they are primarily insectivores at their age. I hope this is correct.
Her temperature gradient is 78 on the cold side, and 110 on her basking spot, with the hot side being around 94 (all of this in fahrenheit). Her humidity hovers around 20-30%.
We do dust her food with Calcium with d3, and also with ReptiMultiVitamin Powder.

My biggest concern, is the way she behaves when we go near her. She is terrified of us, if I walk in the room (I'm always really quiet, and I speak in a soft voice when I do talk to her) she bolts under her rock or hides in a corner. If I try to touch her (I always come from beside or behind, never from above her head) she kind of opens her mouth and goes black. So I back off immediately.

We have had to change the tank a few times since we got her, as the set ups weren't working (couldn't maintain the right heat gradients). I am worried this is the reason she is so upset/seems so stressed out and therefore won't let us handle her.

Have I completely messed this up somehow, or is this just the way a baby behaves? Or did we mess up changing her tank so much ... and eventually she might calm down? :( I just want to give her the best life possible. Sorry for the long post!
 

loljelloclowdz

Juvie Member
When I got Mari I immediately started handling her multiple times even if she freaked out about it. I never gave in when she showed signs of distress and literally by day 3 she was totally fine with me and would even fall asleep on me. (She's now almost 18 months old and is currently asleep on my chest wrapped in a blanket. It didn't mentally scar her for life because she likes being handled.) You need to not "reward" fear by putting them back or backing away when they freak out. Remove the hide and just let them figure out that you're a cuddly friend and not a big scary monkey trying to eat them.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Every time you have moved her shes gone thru relocation stress-- she needs to acclimate to the tank and surroundings - every dragon is different w/ personalities -- I would start getting your hand in the tank as much as possible - do your thing in the room and let her just watch and learn - she is going to haft to learn to trust you it may take a while - get a piece of cloth or blanket w/ your smell on it place it in the tank like in her hide try hand feeding the BSFL so she gets used to your hand as friend not foe talking to her and spending time w/ her while shes in the tank she will eventually come around - shes little in a big world and doesnt know what to expect --her diet should consist of the insects but she should be eating salads as well -- here is the nutrition website ignore the kale thing its good staple feeder http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html
your UVB is inside the tank or on top of the screen?
 

LuxDreamer0521

New member
Original Poster
Hi!

I forgot to mention I do feed her salads! We vary up what we give her - but her favorite right now seems to be Bok Choy, Cucumber and Bell Peppers. Getting her to eat them is tricky, sometimes she will and sometimes she wont. We did order some Bee Pollen, so just waiting for that to arrive as the breeder recommended it.

The UVB is above her tank, we had to replace the mesh top with one we made ourselves out of plywood (so the uvb is screwed into the plywood, but we designed it so its raised above the tank and not sitting inside it because it wont fit) because we have cats and I worried about them breaking through. I do worry we may have gotten a UVB that's to long - its 35 inches long and her tank is 36. But do you think it would be okay for now, since we are moving her in June to her big one?

We have been leaving her be mostly the last few days, other then feeding and talking to her when we are in the room and she does seem less stressed out today.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
The UVB is a T 5? If so make sure you have a piece of basking decor directly under it -- can she escape out of the UVB rays? She needs to be able to do that w/ out hiding from them--- we dont recommend the same length of the tank because of this --- she needs to be able to be out in her tank w/ out hiding from the UVB --
 

LuxDreamer0521

New member
Original Poster
Yes its a T5 and yes she has a nice big peice of driftwood to bask on under the uvb. I was worried that the bulb was to long, so we may need to add in some slate to give her a place to hide from the rays until we can move her to her bigger tank. Or get a smaller kit. Thanks!
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
You can keep the 35" for the 48" tank --- but she does need to be able to sit in her tank w/ out having to sit under the UVB as well --- I am using 24" fixtures in my two 48" tank - and distance is crucial as well -- also if she starts getting runny stools I would cut out the green pepper and cucumber - you can feed just not as a everyday staple- adding more greens like collards mustard kale and turnip and arugula or other wise known as rocket --
 

LuxDreamer0521

New member
Original Poster
Yeah we did notice the stool issue with the bell peppers so we are limiting them (if they are in her dish she will only eat those which is frustrating)

She does seem to love Arugula as well. We are currently growing Dandelions indoors to be able to provide her greens so thats something to look forward to (the area I live in sadly doesn't have access to specialty greens or fruits. Id love to get her prickly pears but I just cannot find them).

Distance wise she's about 10 inches from the bulb at the highest point of her log, and it goes down from there. We gave her differing heights on both the cold side and warm side so if she got to hot but still wanted the UVB she could still bask under it without overheating.
 
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