Papa Smurf - pretty on the inside - full of sweetness

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I'd like everyone to meet my new beardie, Papa Smurf. I met Papa Smurf at our local reptile shop last week. He was brought in by two pre-teen girls in a cookie tin, unable to walk, severely malnourished and destined for the freezer. They said they felt sorry for him and hoped he could be helped. He's has a severe case of MBD with jaw, limb and tail deformities. I was drawn to him and I wanted to take him so badly, but we already have our hands full and after the Holidays we were pretty broke.

But then PetCo had a $1/gallon sale and we got two 40-gallon breeders...and there was no excuse for not taking him. The shop owner said he would lend me an entire set-up if we took him saying he knew we would give him a good home, and even though we didn't take him up on the tank and lights loan, I just couldn't leave him there. :cry: :oops:

May I present the glorious Papa Smurf:

This was him the night I got him, December 28th. It took hours to set up the viv for him and the other new beardie we got that same day (yes we are insane LOL) so he got out of his pet carrier around 11:30pm. He looked so sad:

We gave him a midnight soak and he needed full support in the shallow tub water to keep him from drowning. :cry: I was worried I bit off more than I could handle with this sick boy, but after his bath he looked a little bit better. We noticed the blue sand in his eye and used a q-tip soaked in distilled water to gently remove it. Why do people house these poor guys on sand?!? His mouth had sand it in, it was caked on his vent, and his little arms and legs are stained blue. Now you see where he got the name Papa Smurf! He is little, grey-bearded and blue. :lol:

I hope this leg can straighten out. He has a really hard time walking because of it. I had some advice on here about vet wrap to protect his scales and I did buy some so we'll hopefully get him rehabilitated to be able to use this leg. I am kinda worried it may be broken or a prior break that healed wrong.

Here he is on December 30th, basking on his little low ladder in his jamming viv. He can't handle furniture right now because he is very crippled and can't really climb or get around, but he doesn't seem to mind. After mounting the UV inside the viv and raising the floor so he can be within about 6 inches, he really perked up. That UV is so important!

Here he is in his little bathtub with 1/2 Pedialyte and 1/2 water. Again he will drown if his head and neck aren't held above the water. He was drinking and drinking and all that thick saliva was running out into the water. After his bath he was swallowing and moving his neck as if we cleared out so much mucous. He looked much more comfortable.

And of course, after the bath we get a snuggle in the towel. He just lays wherever we put him and behaves so sweetly.

And here is how he slept. I was told here in my Beardie ER thread that he needed a night temp of at least 85 degrees since he is sick and it would help his immune system, and it really did make an improvement to the way he woke up the next day. He was much less stiff the next morning and ate breakfast right after waking up.

My husband, Otto, told me Papa Smurf may not survive and you just never know with a sick beardie. He is trying to make sure I have a realistic understanding of Papa Smurf's disease because he knows what a softie I am. I've cried over this little guy so much already. His poo is terrible and we know he has parasites. The medication to treat that is pretty harsh so he is worried the treatment may be too much for him. I've been giving him AcidolphiLiz daily hoping to boost that good gut flora in preparation for future veterinary intervention.

Papa Smurf is a sweet lover of a bearded dragon. He is tough and a fighter but gives the sweetest looks. He truly appreciates us and he knows we are trying to help him. He 100% allows us to do whatever we try to do with him and is a total doll. :love5:

Uh-oh I think I have fallen in love..... :oops:


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dylanravenj":1yqb2xvd said:
Bless you for taking in such a sickly dragon! I hope you'll be able to nurse him back to health.

Awww he deserves a second chance. :) Funny thing, when he was in the reptile shop he was blackbearding and being very aggressive in his tank. I thought I was going to really have to struggle taming him, but turns out he just hates every other living creature but loves people. :lol: :lol: :lol: I can only imagine his stress being surrounded by all those other animals! He was directly across from a HUGE male red iguana and I think it was just too much for him!

I really hope he will be okay. I'm worried on one hand but on the other hand I have a peaceful feeling when I look at him and just feel an unexplainable confidence...I think he will live and be fairly normal. :) It's just a gut feeling.

We are caring for him as if he were a person in a hospital. Around the clock care and I am writing down every single thing he eats, when he poos, temps, baths, everything. Kinda like a nurse charting on a patient. :lol: So we'll see....


Sub-Adult Member
I have been reading your ER post on Papa Smurf for the past few days often with tears but also with some joy at times. Now reading this I'm crying again! The poor boy! You are amazing for helping him and I know you can't help but love him. I have a thread in Beardie tales about 2 of my 4 rescues who were neglected in every way, very under weight, malnourished, no UVB, no calcium, little heat, were kept in a damp basement in a filthy empty tank, both with respiratory infections and various other issues. It makes you want to wrap them into your arms and hold them there forever! They were my first Beardies. I got them in August of this year off craigslist from a guy who fed them some kale and carrots every other day when he remembered :banghead: "but heck they are reptiles so they don't really need to eat that often anyways", :banghead: and an occasional "treat" of a dozen crickets. They were the saddest little things I'd every seen and I'm a nurse, I though I'd seen it all! I didn't know if they would even survive. I was inexperienced with dragons but I wasn't leaving them there after seeing them. I bought them and got them out of there. After much love and care, 8 vet visits, tons of meds, many long nights sitting awake holding them both upright on a heating pad across my chest, because to lay them down they would wheeze harder and have more labored breathing, fighting persistent respiratory infection for 4 months, over the moon counts of hook worms, pin worms, giardia, coccidia, several courses of parasite and worm meds and antibiotics from August thru November, baby food, bottles of pedialyte, syringe feedings, x-rays, blood work, and much time spent reading this forum for help, sometimes my head would spin and I'd cry thinking I was in a battle I couldn't win and I loved them so much! But I had underestimated my amazing Beardies. They worked even harder than I did to survive! Today my 2 neglected, sickly, underweight, infected dying Beardies Talon and Moya are mostly healthy, happy and spoiled rotten! They give me such love back! The whole hell of an experience was worth it every time I look into their eyes!
Your Papa Smurf is a fighter and he knows you love him and are helping him. He'll fight with you. Rescued Beardies are so very special! :love5:
All Good Wishes and Healing Thoughts to You and Papa Smurf. I'll be following him and always saying a prayer for him. We are all Gods creatures. Those of us who can help, should! YOU are Papa Smurf's Hero!


Sub-Adult Member
Poor baby, he looks so much better in the last picture then he did in the first. Glad you took him in. He has a loving home now.


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Bwalter":1vvw333h said:
Poor baby, he looks so much better in the last picture then he did in the first. Glad you took him in. He has a loving home now.

I'm glad we took him in, too. :) I want to start a bearded dragon and leo gecko rescue service here in my town but I don't really have the money and Papa takes a lot of time. I guess my best bet is to try and help people understand how to properly care for them. Maybe a free consultation service or doing seminars at the local reptile shop. I don't really know what to do. I just don't want to see anyone else suffer needlessly like Papa did.

Today he looks even lighter in color. He barely has the grey beard that we thought would be permanent. His head is lightening up really well.

Wish I knew what color he really is. I just don't have much past experience with beardies so I don't know what to think. His spikes are light grey to white.

Today for breakfast he ate 9 one inch silkworms. :D I dusted 4 of them with the calcium powder. I realized after I fed 5 of them that the powder sticks to them better than crickets. My boy only has 3 teeth on the left and one on the right so he needs soft prey. Can't wait until all the liquid formulas get here Tuesday. I'm going to go into Super-Nurse Mode. :p

He looked really pitiful today trying to walk. I've got to wrap that left leg next time and see if it helps

Making yummy face after breakfast! :D



Sub-Adult Member
That last pic is just priceless! He already looks so much better its unbelieveable!


beardie parents Sicko
I'm glad he's doing a little better but I do know it will take a while for him to get a lot better.
BTW: I like the name you chose for him, Papa Smurf. I like the Smurfs, even at my age.


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beardie parents":26rsnr9q said:
I'm glad he's doing a little better but I do know it will take a while for him to get a lot better.
BTW: I like the name you chose for him, Papa Smurf. I like the Smurfs, even at my age.

I love the name, too, and when I start saying his name he looks up at me. :) He already associates the Papa part of his name with me talking to him and trying to get his attention. Smart boy!!


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Kalyn876":3g9eag0q said:
That last pic is just priceless! He already looks so much better its unbelieveable!


He looks so freakin' happy. I was a bad mommy and went into my bedroom carrying Ginger just now and he is all blackbeard now. :( OOPS. All our other beardies are cool with each other as far as just seeing each other so I forgetted.... :oops:


Gray-bearded Member
Just want to say what a great thing you are doing! I'm sure you will get meat on those bones in no time! He's super cute. :love5:
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