Strange Behavior and Dark Tail

Chris92

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Hi all,

In the past two months, my dragon (Khonshu), who is just over a year old, has definitely had some behavioral changes. He has been hiding in his cave a bit more since the spring, but as of a month or so ago he completely avoids basking almost entirely. The second his lights comes on, he will go into his cave. He will stay in the cave for almost the whole day, only coming out an hour or two before the lights turn off for the night. Additionally, if I take him outside in his play pen, he will pretty quickly seek shade (wherever the sun isn't striking in the play pen). He is also not interested in food.... outside of treats (hornworms or wax worms).

His enclosure/setup is good. I have already checked that on here (and with Tracie) due to prior concerns.
120 gallon tank (Zen Habitat)
100 Watt MVB (MegaRay) and 100W standard Basking bulb
10.0 Reptisun UVB HO uvb (he can get within 10 inches of)
Basking surface temperatures range from 95 F – 105F
Cool side surface temperatures are around 80 F
Ambient air on warm side is 90 F
Ambient air on cool side is 78 F

To be honest, I had originally attributed all this to brumation. Knowing that illnesses can often lead to similar behavioral changes though, I have been closely monitoring him.

So, about two weeks ago, I noticed that the bottom of his tail is quite dark (pictures attached). In one of the pictures, notice he's hiding in the shade of the play pen... (again, avoiding light). I also have a picture from the start of June showing that his tail didn't always look like this (again, see attached pictures).

Since noticing this change, it hasn't spread or anything. In fact, it hasn't changed at all. I'm wondering what this could be. To me, it looks a bit too dark to be a shed, but as you will see in one of the pictures from this post... he did recently shed his arm... (so, maybe?). Yesterday though, as precaution for tail rot, I started him on betadine soaks and neosporin (no pain killers) treatments. I should note that I am familiar with this process because when he was a baby (a year ago), he did have tail rot. He got this BEFORE I purchased him due to a bite from a tankmate. As a result of this, he had part of his tail amputated, which explains why the tip of his tail may look a bit different at first glance. He responded great to the procedure and had no issues until now. Furthermore, he has not had any other injuries since then, and has always been housed alone since I got him (I don't own another pet).

I'm not convinced that this is tail rot, and I'm not necessarily convinced he isn't just brumating. I do find the recent change in tail color strange and coupled with the behavioral stuff, I am just hoping for a second opinion on what all this could mean.

Thank you all in advance :)
 

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KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 6 and Blaze is 4
Hi all,

In the past two months, my dragon (Khonshu), who is just over a year old, has definitely had some behavioral changes. He has been hiding in his cave a bit more since the spring, but as of a month or so ago he completely avoids basking almost entirely. The second his lights comes on, he will go into his cave. He will stay in the cave for almost the whole day, only coming out an hour or two before the lights turn off for the night. Additionally, if I take him outside in his play pen, he will pretty quickly seek shade (wherever the sun isn't striking in the play pen). He is also not interested in food.... outside of treats (hornworms or wax worms).

His enclosure/setup is good. I have already checked that on here (and with Tracie) due to prior concerns.
120 gallon tank (Zen Habitat)
100 Watt MVB (MegaRay) and 100W standard Basking bulb
10.0 Reptisun UVB HO uvb (he can get within 10 inches of)
Basking surface temperatures range from 95 F – 105F
Cool side surface temperatures are around 80 F
Ambient air on warm side is 90 F
Ambient air on cool side is 78 F

To be honest, I had originally attributed all this to brumation. Knowing that illnesses can often lead to similar behavioral changes though, I have been closely monitoring him.

So, about two weeks ago, I noticed that the bottom of his tail is quite dark (pictures attached). In one of the pictures, notice he's hiding in the shade of the play pen... (again, avoiding light). I also have a picture from the start of June showing that his tail didn't always look like this (again, see attached pictures).

Since noticing this change, it hasn't spread or anything. In fact, it hasn't changed at all. I'm wondering what this could be. To me, it looks a bit too dark to be a shed, but as you will see in one of the pictures from this post... he did recently shed his arm... (so, maybe?). Yesterday though, as precaution for tail rot, I started him on betadine soaks and neosporin (no pain killers) treatments. I should note that I am familiar with this process because when he was a baby (a year ago), he did have tail rot. He got this BEFORE I purchased him due to a bite from a tankmate. As a result of this, he had part of his tail amputated, which explains why the tip of his tail may look a bit different at first glance. He responded great to the procedure and had no issues until now. Furthermore, he has not had any other injuries since then, and has always been housed alone since I got him (I don't own another pet).

I'm not convinced that this is tail rot, and I'm not necessarily convinced he isn't just brumating. I do find the recent change in tail color strange and coupled with the behavioral stuff, I am just hoping for a second opinion on what all this could mean.

Thank you all in advance :)
I am not sure how to help you w/ this one -- so I am going to flag AHBD and the vet tech on here --
@AHBD
@Drache613
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Hi there, beautiful dragon ! A couple of questions, have you always had the Mega ray along with the other heat + uvb bulb ? One thing [ or two ] that might be at play is too much heat or uvb. My adults never seem to like it above 95, especially factoring in that the cage decor retains heat as well.
Or the uvb might be bothering him , again, my dragons bask outside in the sun when it's in the low to mid 80's but go for shade at higher temps.
I don't think the tail is an issue BUT you are wise to keep an eye on it as you are doing just in case.
BTW are you sure you have a male ? Khonshu does look like a boy with that big, thick tail but sometimes we can be fooled, lol.
 

Chris92

Member
Photo Comp Winner
Original Poster
Thanks :)

Yes, I have always used this same light setup... though in the winter he also has an extra 50W basking bulb to keep temperatures where they need to be... I stopped using this extra bulb when temperatures started to rise in March/April. Up until recently this setup has kept him very happy and healthy. I have tried altering the lights (lower wattage) to see if that would keep him out of his cave, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. So, I used that to rule out too much heat. Like I mentioned, I had come to the conclusion that he was brumating (thoughts on this?).

I will say that the tail being dark is what has made me panic a bit though. This doesn't seem to be a symptom of brumation. I'm glad you don't think it looks alarming. It hasn't changed in at least 2 weeks and even stays that way at night when the lights aren't on. I just don't get why it would happen out of nowhere. I know sometimes dark tails can be stress-related, but he isn't showing a black beard or acting angry.

Also, Khonshu is definitely a male, vet confirmed lol
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
EDITED to add this reply is to Chris. It is slightly possible that he is doing a brumation type behavior since he has zoomed up to this huge size and actually has a little extra bulk on him. :) You might cut back on his feedings because of that, don't want to introduce something like gout or just too much protein that can be a little hard on their systems.
But yeah, just keep him hydrated and watch his tail. It hopefully is not a problem but just in case.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Ok, I’m thankful you posted this! I’m having the same issue with my almost year old Male. We just moved he hasn’t eaten in 5 days and his tail is partially black. I can’t get him into a vet until tomorrow so I’m just trying to figure out what to do.
Victoria can you start a thread for your dragon ? Otherwise the replies will get mixed up with this specific dragon's situation. Thnx !
 

Chris92

Member
Photo Comp Winner
Original Poster
EDITED to add this reply is to Chris. It is slightly possible that he is doing a brumation type behavior since he has zoomed up to this huge size and actually has a little extra bulk on him. :) You might cut back on his feedings because of that, don't want to introduce something like gout or just too much protein that can be a little hard on their systems.
But yeah, just keep him hydrated and watch his tail. It hopefully is not a problem but just in case.
He has cut back on his own. I can't really get him to eat much at all lately. Outside of taking a bug out of my hand every once in a while, he has shut down eating-wise. He pretty much just sits in his cave all day (sleeping or laying with his eyes open). If I take him out of his cave he will act alert and move around just fine though.
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Yeah they will do that when they are very hefty and they barely even lose weight when they go off their food during this period.
 

Chris92

Member
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Original Poster
Yes, his weight is definitely consistent.

So, would you chalk this up to brumation then? and any thoughts on why the tail would be dark?
 

AHBD

BD.org Sicko
Both are unknowns but yes, many dragons will hide for a bit like that and while it's not a true brumation it is common behavior. And the tail is nothing that I can say conclusively but just a " keep your eye on it " kind of thing. More likely nothing going on though.
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
They can darken like that and not show stress marks. It can happen if they are cool/cold, excited, mad, bored ect. I see it on and off with all my dragons 🐉. In the pic the very tip end caught my eye, but i don't know what his tail normally looks like. A little betadine or honey wouldn't hurt for a little bit just in case. The pics are from today, his tail goes from normal to dark all the time. It seems to darken mostly when he can hear Snickers scrambling around in her habitat.
 

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Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello Chris!

I emailed you back this past evening, so check your email.
His tail now, really looks pretty normal. You can always use some silver gel, a little bit of honey,
or antibiotic ointment if needed on the tail.
It is pretty normal for them to brumate or partially brumate this time of year with a lot of them.
He is a good sized boy & his eyes look good & aren't sunken in either.

Tracie
 

Chris92

Member
Photo Comp Winner
Original Poster
They can darken like that and not show stress marks. It can happen if they are cool/cold, excited, mad, bored ect. I see it on and off with all my dragons 🐉. In the pic the very tip end caught my eye, but i don't know what his tail normally looks like. A little betadine or honey wouldn't hurt for a little bit just in case. The pics are from today, his tail goes from normal to dark all the time. It seems to darken mostly when he can hear Snickers scrambling around in her habitat.
Thanks for sharing!

Yeah, I have seen them change their tail colors before, but usually it is temporary. His has been like this nonstop regardless of what is happening (even at night while he is sleeping).
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Hopefully it's just shed and not something more serious.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello Chris,

I think he will be perfectly fine! Check in on him daily if you would like, to say hi & be sure he
is resting well.

Tracie
 

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