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:

sweetiepie9 Sicko
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Isn't that a great blankie just for Papa, he sure looks great, not anything like the dragon you brought home! Glad for the update, was wondering how he was doing!


Juvie Member
Love this story! Sweet Papa Smurf... You have done an amazing job. You love for bear dies is apparent! Thanks for the sweet story... Can't wait for more pics.


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Hemilover77":2jxvytfd said:
Love this story! Sweet Papa Smurf... You have done an amazing job. You love for bear dies is apparent! Thanks for the sweet story... Can't wait for more pics.

Thanks! I really do love these guys so much. Smurf has a pretty good story so far and he really does enjoy his life. Next month it will be a year since we got him! Hard to believe a year has passed. While he doesn't look like a perfectly rehabilitated fat dragon, he looks as good as I can get him. I can't get him to go over 305 grams to save my life, and he doesn't have parasites. He is sweet and very funny and I love his personality. He has started doing something really interesting - he has started to only poop in one area of his tank, kind of like how leopard geckos do. And he poops far away from where he sleeps. It's interesting to me that he started doing this and I wonder what in his brain made him get into this new habit. He makes teensy little poops with little urates, too. About 1/4 of the size of everyone else, but he eats small amounts so it makes sense.

He is slowing down a lot and only eating protein every other day, and not really eating much at all. He's not sick, he's just an adult dragon and that's what they do. Scares me - I worry about him brumating but I know they need to shut down and he couldn't brumate last year, so I've got to let him do his thing. I can't help but be nervous, though. I get home at about 4-5pm every day and he is usually sleeping but will open his eyes to my voice. When he really stops eating I will give him a hide and let him brumate. He went 2 days without eating recently and I thought that he would sleep but then day #3 he ate 10 silkworms. Next day, nothing. SO who knows???

And thanks, Deb - I love the blanket, too. And he does get a little smile on his face. Too sweet.


Juvie Member
I know what you mean about worrying. Odahviing is doing that eating like a horse then nothing for a couple days. She's also not pooping everyday anymore either. I thought maybe she was going to brumate at first, but then she ate a ton. So odd, what they do. Those little faces and personalities. <3 them!


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Papa Smurf still has a cute face...! He has brumated a few days at a time here and there, but mostly been awake for the winter, just a little slowed down. He's doing really great now, eating all his feeders on his own, even chasing crickets. I still hand feed him silkworms from time to time, but hand feeding is rare for him these days. He is still angry with other dragons and beards and stomps, but he's doing great.

Here he is on his fleece in his home, on the cool side.

And here he is on the new piece of furniture we got for the rescue room: a cat bean bag...! They love to bask there, and they will all stare at whoever gets that privilege. And whoever gets to be King of the Bean Bag always looks so smug. :lol:


Juvie Member
When I opened the page and saw the photos I actually said out loud, "I missed you, Papa!" I missed his funny face. <3 I always love that underbite. Odahviing has been minibrumating. I've gotten used to it. She's so much fun the day after she's had a few days of lazy, super active.


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Mini-brumating...? Yes sometimes they do that, and then other dragons just go into it like a bear and don't wake up for months. It's so weird! The mini-brumation is nerve racking in one way, but also interesting behavior. Papa has been doing the same thing, but I have to let him. His favorite place is the cool side, and I moved his basking light over there, but the UVB is fixed to the warm side, so I am starting to think I need to move it also. GAH.


Juvie Member
Odahviing has been going to the back of her dig box and hanging her head over the edge with her front legs draped down too... It's hilarious. She still gets light on her back, so at least I don't have that extra worry.


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It's hard to know when to shut the lights off on them. I've kept Papa's lights on but covered him for a few days at a time with fleece. He never fully sleeps hard like the others, and I'd raise the fleece and if he opened his eyes I'd remove it and let him wake up. Brumation is weird and they don't all do it the same! Nice that she is still getting light. Have you any new pictures of her? I will flip at how big she is, I know...!
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