Rescue Beardie, one of the worst I have ever seen

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So, I answered an ad on craigslist for a free beardie this morning. I could tell by the ill taken photos that it was not in good shape but, I reasoned that I have tons of herp experience and rescue experience so I figured I have time and space and obviously this guy needs some help...long story short, I was appalled and now I am needing some advice! This is an adult male beardie, unsure of age, about 24 inches tip of nose to very tip of tail. He is so malnourished that the fat pads on his head are gone. I can see every bone in this guys body and his skull in high contrast. Even his eyes are sunken in (I really have no idea how he can still be alive at this point). Was living in a 20 gallon tank (no not a 20 long, a 20 standard), no uva\uvb, no basking lamp, ceramic heat emitter, tiny water dish, DRY forest bed, cork log, screen lid, 9 VERY LARGE crickets as companions (he is too weak to even think about crickets) and no food. There was normal (although quite old) feces in the tank. I was given some story about them getting him from a friend and being told to only feed him crickets but, they also had juvenile beardie pellets on hand and they fessed up that they did not have the required uv inclination is that that it was their son's pet and he did not take care of it for a very long time.

Any way, I have begun baby food (fruit and chicken) with repcal, reptivite, and applejuice via syringe. He will swallow it but, he will not even lick it off of his nose. I have to open his mouth, squirt some in, and let him swallow. I have noticed that it stays in the back of his throat (in his "beard" area, if that makes sense) for quite awhile before he actually gets it down and he has regurgitated it once. Total today he has taken about 4.5 teaspoons of food (2 with calcium and vitamins, 2.5 without) I am hoping the sugar from the fruits will get him going a bit more. I have him on a human heating pad on low with a thick towel between he and it, with the heat emitter above. He can move away from the heat as he has once already (although I really have NO idea how he managed it as he has NO muscle mass left). He is currently in a rubbermaid tub with no lid on it. I soaked him hoping to get him to drink as I am sure dehydration is a MAJOR issue in this case but, no luck. I did sub water for the apple juice for 1.5 tsp. of slurry. He had a bowel movement shortly after his bath. Mostly clear amber colored gel, urates were white not chalky, some green in feces but, also clear gel type stuff. He appears to be stargazing (just with his head, not with his whole upper body) but, does lower his head at times. I am positive that I am also seeing MBD though jaws and legs are not soft or deformed and he is far to weak to move about and display shaking. Due to the low temps and obvious malnourishment and starvation I am not sure if he is stargazing due to a possible respiratory infection or neuro damage. He is completely unresponsive if you place him on his back and makes no attempt to right himself. His breathing is not agonal, it is regular and there is no mucus from his nose or mouth.

I just checked him again and he has regurgitated his last meal of water and baby food. (about 1.5tsp)

Any one out there have ANY ideas to continue to aid him..there are no herp vets within 100 miles of me so that is not an option.....(my local vet has made it clear that I am on my own..he is kind of an ass...)

I am feeling very strongly that he is not going to make it but, I have to give him my all. He deserves that.

BEWARE these are GRAPHIC pictures and are very disturbing!!!

Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

I would like to strangle the previous owner though, if I may say that. :cry: I am so sorry for him but I am happy he has you to be with whether or not he makes it, time will tell. I am quite sure though that he is grateful to have someone love him now.
I believe you are doing everything you can for him. Are you using a UVB on him yet?
The heating pad is fine, as long as he doesn't overheat. I would recommend using an overhead basking light, but only have the basking around 92 or so just so he doesn't get heat stressed since he is not accustomed to heat.
I would however, reduce the fruit though as it can cause diarrhea when in larger amounts. Focus on greens with no protein right now. You could even get some sweet potatoes & squash also. If he can keep that down & when his stools normalize you can start adding in the chicken or turkey for protein.
You can consider getting some critical care powdered formula also.
I would use calcium powder at least 4-5 days per week. If he improves slowly I would recommend getting liquid calcium to help him absorb his calcium better.
His recovery is going to be extremely slow.
How did he do in his bath?
That is hard to tell if he has a respiratory infection but the star gazing could be neurological, I will agree with that.

Let us know how he is doing.

Keep us posted.


New member
Original Poster
Thank you for the advice. I am heartbroken to report that he did not survive the night. He passed away warm, fed and peacefully. I am afraid he was just too far gone...I have the feeling that he was only alive because he was so cold with his previous owner.


Gray-bearded Member
I'm SO SO sorry for your loss. You are a truly wonderful, amazing, HUGE-hearted person for giving that beardie the chance to be loved. Even if only for a moment. I, too would like to not very nice things to whomever put that poor baby through the conditions you found him in :(

diamc Sicko
Staff member
I'm so sorry, you certainly tried to help him, at least he passed away with someone that cared about him with food in his belly and some heat. Poor thing, having to go through so much, he didn't deserve to be treated the way those other people treated him and neglected him. :angry5:

Thanks for rescuing him and getting him out of that horrible place. You are a very kind hearted person.


I am sorry he didn't make it, I'm sure he would have had a great life with you. At least he was able to experience being cared for, even for such a short time. I think you you were meant to find him and give him that comfort.

Drache613 Sicko
Staff member

I am so sorry he didn't make it. :cry: You were his angel & he was lucky you found him so he didn't have to be alone.

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