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Old 22-09-2015, 08:56 PM
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Default Bearded Dragon - Hide - yes or no....?!

My son has a bearded dragon and has had his for about 2 months now.

Since day one, he has provided a "hide" for the dragon (by creating one underneath a stone slab supported by a log) however, today, when my son and wife went to pick up some more food for the dragon, the lady who originally sold him the dragon told him not to bother with a hide.

She said that if the dragon stays in his hide all day (he doesn't stay in there ALL DAY but he does quite like using it quite a bit!), he won't get enough "sunlight" and will become depressed?! so she suggested to remove the hide from his enclosure, which we have now done.

Is this correct?!!

I feel a little upset now that the dragon can't go into his hide to stay out of prying eyes!!!!! We have a proper heat lamp in his enclosure (which stays on all day) and we also have a fluorescent tube (which is turned on from 8am til 8pm each day) in there.

Is the advice she has given us correct?! Will the dragon get depressed if he spends all day in his hide (we can't control how long he spends in there unless we remove it altogether!) ?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 22-09-2015, 09:09 PM
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No she sounds like an idiot for using the concept of depression. He's not going to get SAD; however stress is a very real concept in lizards and one that can be exacerbated by not feeling secure. if your lizard feels the need to hide then he should be allowed to do so. It's a natural behaviour in animals.

The concern of lack of access to light would be him not being able to metabolise calcium into D3 and the associated health risks (nothing to do with depression). Tbh, it would be enough to doubt most things she tells you.

I'd do the following; set up a few different hides, hot and cold end and ones that that he could hide behind but not be obscured from the wavelengths of his UVB source so if he wants both he can. Some live or fake bushy plants might be an option for achieving this if he still likes some cover.

I'd also make sure his viv is in a low traffic area and maybe just cut down handling for a little while to see if he hides less then. Is it a recent development?

If you do have a dragon that wants to hide more than others I would ensure your UVB set-up is fully optimised to ensure he receives maximum benefit when he is exposed. What do you use currently?
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Old 22-09-2015, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satch View Post
No she sounds like an idiot for using the concept of depression. He's not going to get SAD; however stress is a very real concept in lizards and one that can be exacerbated by not feeling secure. if your lizard feels the need to hide then he should be allowed to do so. It's a natural behaviour in animals.

The concern of lack of access to light would be him not being able to metabolise calcium into D3 and the associated health risks (nothing to do with depression). Tbh, it would be enough to doubt most things she tells you.

I'd do the following; set up a few different hides, hot and cold end and ones that that he could hide behind but not be obscured from the wavelengths of his UVB source so if he wants both he can. Some live or fake bushy plants might be an option for achieving this if he still likes some cover.

I'd also make sure his viv is in a low traffic area and maybe just cut down handling for a little while to see if he hides less then. Is it a recent development?

If you do have a dragon that wants to hide more than others I would ensure your UVB set-up is fully optimised to ensure he receives maximum benefit when he is exposed. What do you use currently?

Thanks for this - appreciated.

We currently have a vivarium with a thick log (which he likes to climb) and the stone slab (which was originally placed with one end on the log to create a hide). There are no plants or anything else in there (apart from his water dish!) but as it is now, there is nowhere for him to go to stay away from prying eyes apart from lying behind the log (he will still be under the heat lamp and uv tube during the day).

I,ll try and grab a pic of his set up.

Here is his enclosure :




As you can see - the hide was made from the stone slab resting up against the log, so the dragon could go underneath it - but we have now moved the slab away.

Last edited by deans6571; 22-09-2015 at 09:27 PM.. Reason: Pic attached
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Old 22-09-2015, 09:45 PM
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Ok a few thoughts, please excuse the brevity, I'm not at a computer.

Being all glass and floor level it's quite exposed, could you cover 3 sides and raise it up? Might make him feel more secure and want to hide less in general.

I'd use a white bulb for the day, you shouldn't need a night heater unless your home gets cold, this will give your lizard a more accurate day and night imo.

What are you using for substrate?

I'd get hides that are naturally elevated, he could knock that down and injure himself. Or use a deep sand / soil substrate and lay something he can excavate under on top. Getting some faux foliage might also help him feel secure. I do agree though he should have the option to hide if he wants it.

How are you measuring temps? Being near a radiator amd on the floor might make it tricky to control temps in the winter.

You mentioned a flourescent tube? Where is it positioned, do you know the make and model? How far so the basking bulb from the branch?
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Old 22-09-2015, 10:08 PM
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We have a thermometer in there with him - it's always around 90 degrees.

The fluorescent tube is in the roof of the enclosure - it was brand new when we bought it - recommended by the show where we bought the dragon.

Since having the dragon, we have not yet put the central heating on so the radiator at the back of the enclosure has not yet been used.

The stone slab is really quite heavy - there is no way the dragon could move it by himself (when it's propped up to create the hide).

Are you saying we should put the hide back them?

The basking bulb is less than a foot away from the highest point of the branch (he never climbs right to the top - he's more likely to just lie in the middle of it).
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Old 22-09-2015, 11:40 PM
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He definitely should have hides. But I would try adapting the enclosure too. Also please don't underestimate the capacity for rocks to move and fall.

Where does it read 90 degrees? That is fine for the warm end ambient but not for the basking spot which should be around 110. You need to use a temp gun or digital though, if it's analogue thermometer it could be well out. A foot away is fine for the light.

As for the UVB tube I'd check the make, the store you bought it from don't sound great. (Not your fault of course) is it set up with a reflector? how close to the tube can he get?

Also your substrate looks like some sort of wood chips?
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Old 23-09-2015, 12:04 AM
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Ok, so in answer to your questions:

The thermometer is located to the right of the stone slab (you can see it in the pic above) and yes, it's an analogue one but was new when we bought it (so was the heat lamp) and its always read about 90 degrees (under the heat lamp) - it's never got up to 110. Perhaps the wattage of the lamp is too low then (it's an Exo- Terra 75w basking lamp)?

Regarding the uv tube - not sure of the make (will have to check it when I next get a chance!) but as far as I am aware, there is no reflector. It just fits into the roof of the enclosure and is the entire length of the whole enclosure. It's on during the day and we turn it off at night (but leave the basking lamp on).

The substrate is not actually wood chip as we were advised not to use wood chip but yes, it does resemble wood chip - not exactly sure what it is but it's certainly not wood.
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Old 23-09-2015, 01:23 AM
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Ok cool

I'd get a digital thermometer or IR gun they aren't expensive and will tell you what's what at both ends of the via. An analogue can be out by tens of degrees.

Yes the bulb might need a higher wattage. But you don't need a reptile brand. I'd use white too and put on a stat, it's very important you get that up to 110 for his health. It should go off at night to give a proper day night cycle with lower temps. Unless your room gets below 65 then don't worry about background heat at night.

Do check the tube, again it's hugely important. It should be reflected and you may need to get the lizard closer access.

I'd switch to paper until you have your temps sorted, anything in chunks is an impaction risk. Once he has a basking spot that's hot enough then play sand on its own or mixed with soil is good.

Sorry there's a fair bit there. I'd get the hides sorted too, which was of course the initial question.
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Old 23-09-2015, 02:13 AM
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Firstly, I would move away from exoterra lighting products, they are poor quality and you are paying more for the branding than the product, the same can be said for 95% of their stuff... right the way down to their food bowls.

Lucky reptile, Arcadia, Reptisun all tend to be cheaper, lucky reptile make good food bowls, accessories and decoration stuff and also do a reliable range of cheap bits for digital thermomenters and the like, Arcadia do probably the best lighting currently available unless you want to look at mercury vapour (in which case they also do a very good product) ive read good things about Reptisun too but i would stick to Arcadia, good quality, same price as exoterra, and a year guarantee on most bits (Exoterra will be useless after 6 months)

I would look at the T5 Arcadia florescent tubes and controllers, they also do reflectors (be aware that exoterra bulbs are all T8 sizes and will not fit a T5 controller, you need the specific controller for the bulb type, and the longer the bulb length the higher the wattage needed on the controller so check the bits you are buying)

The basking bulb should really, really be white, you can even get proper visual spectrum white lights, this is to do with their eyes sight primarily as they need proper visual light or it can degrade the same as humans if you spend a lot of time with poor lighting.

I would suggest Buy Arcadia Basking Solar Flood 75w | Reptile Centre or a halogen bulb.
The one linked produce UVa which helps stimulate appetite and is a good colour spectrum to aid with vision. You can also still use it on a dimmer stat and where you have the bulb hood it will help direct the heat down properly.

It is highly unlikely you will need night heating, and if you do, its important you do not use a light emitting source as this can disturb their sleep pattern. Even red bulbs. Beardies see in full colour.
Night time heating should be a ceramid bulb, situated near the middle of the vivarium and on a low setting on a dimmerstate (approx 18C) and most setups dont need it at all unless your house gets REALLY cold (so maybe at winter if the temps are consistantly lower than 16C for most the night).

As for hides, if you are going to use the stone slab i would situate it so its below the basking lamp and i would find a way to permanently fix it.
This way they can use it both to bask on as it will hold heat and warm their stomach which helps digestion and also hide under as it will hold that heat after the lights go off and provide a warm place for it to fall asleep in. If possible, swap it out for something like natural slate (you can find it in a lot of garden/diy stores like Wickes)

It may also be worth getting some cork sections the can be leant up against the end of the branch or at an angle against the vivarium (you can get suction cups to use to fix it in place and then wire the cup through the bark or something similar).

Also, the substrate. I would get rid of it... theres been quite a few stories about some types being linked to impaction, and depending on your beardies age you can replace it with much better (Satch has suggested sand or a soil/sand mix i believe which is good, but i would keep this for beardies over a year old. Its also important that they are pooping well and not showing signs of dodgy digestion if you use substrate like this, if diahorrea or loose stools i would stick to newspaper, if under a year old again newspaper perhaps with a thin layer of sand, if under 6 months definately just newspaper.)

If i am honest i think you are tempting fate particularly where you say it looks like woodchip but its not, which makes me guess its something synthetic? So its going to be even less likely to be broken down if swallowed. I dont like wood chips at all it just looks like an accident waiting to happen to me. Particularly with their sticky tongues and their habit of scattering salad all over when eating.

I would warn against plastic plants in with beardies, there were posts on her about them dying from impaction where a beardie had eaten one of the leaves... so natural plants or none at all in my opinion.
Theres some good lists about what you can use (think i saw it in the habitat section on here).

Personally i use cork sections, have a basking/hide platform with ramp made from slate and chunky branches/Driftwood sections they can crawl under.

I would recommend maybe one or two hides, but make sure that if they hide in it a lot then they are still exposed to the UV tube as its important to their health (primarily D3 production for calcium metabolisation). If unwell or sleeping/hiding away lots it is really important they still get this UV exposure.
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Last edited by Azastral; 23-09-2015 at 02:18 AM..
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Old 23-09-2015, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azastral View Post
Firstly, I would move away from exoterra lighting products, they are poor quality and you are paying more for the branding than the product, the same can be said for 95% of their stuff... right the way down to their food bowls.

Lucky reptile, Arcadia, Reptisun all tend to be cheaper, lucky reptile make good food bowls, accessories and decoration stuff and also do a reliable range of cheap bits for digital thermomenters and the like, Arcadia do probably the best lighting currently available unless you want to look at mercury vapour (in which case they also do a very good product) ive read good things about Reptisun too but i would stick to Arcadia, good quality, same price as exoterra, and a year guarantee on most bits (Exoterra will be useless after 6 months)

I would look at the T5 Arcadia florescent tubes and controllers, they also do reflectors (be aware that exoterra bulbs are all T8 sizes and will not fit a T5 controller, you need the specific controller for the bulb type, and the longer the bulb length the higher the wattage needed on the controller so check the bits you are buying)

The basking bulb should really, really be white, you can even get proper visual spectrum white lights, this is to do with their eyes sight primarily as they need proper visual light or it can degrade the same as humans if you spend a lot of time with poor lighting.

I would suggest Buy Arcadia Basking Solar Flood 75w | Reptile Centre or a halogen bulb.
The one linked produce UVa which helps stimulate appetite and is a good colour spectrum to aid with vision. You can also still use it on a dimmer stat and where you have the bulb hood it will help direct the heat down properly.

It is highly unlikely you will need night heating, and if you do, its important you do not use a light emitting source as this can disturb their sleep pattern. Even red bulbs. Beardies see in full colour.
Night time heating should be a ceramid bulb, situated near the middle of the vivarium and on a low setting on a dimmerstate (approx 18C) and most setups dont need it at all unless your house gets REALLY cold (so maybe at winter if the temps are consistantly lower than 16C for most the night).

As for hides, if you are going to use the stone slab i would situate it so its below the basking lamp and i would find a way to permanently fix it.
This way they can use it both to bask on as it will hold heat and warm their stomach which helps digestion and also hide under as it will hold that heat after the lights go off and provide a warm place for it to fall asleep in. If possible, swap it out for something like natural slate (you can find it in a lot of garden/diy stores like Wickes)

It may also be worth getting some cork sections the can be leant up against the end of the branch or at an angle against the vivarium (you can get suction cups to use to fix it in place and then wire the cup through the bark or something similar).

Also, the substrate. I would get rid of it... theres been quite a few stories about some types being linked to impaction, and depending on your beardies age you can replace it with much better (Satch has suggested sand or a soil/sand mix i believe which is good, but i would keep this for beardies over a year old. Its also important that they are pooping well and not showing signs of dodgy digestion if you use substrate like this, if diahorrea or loose stools i would stick to newspaper, if under a year old again newspaper perhaps with a thin layer of sand, if under 6 months definately just newspaper.)

If i am honest i think you are tempting fate particularly where you say it looks like woodchip but its not, which makes me guess its something synthetic? So its going to be even less likely to be broken down if swallowed. I dont like wood chips at all it just looks like an accident waiting to happen to me. Particularly with their sticky tongues and their habit of scattering salad all over when eating.

I would warn against plastic plants in with beardies, there were posts on her about them dying from impaction where a beardie had eaten one of the leaves... so natural plants or none at all in my opinion.
Theres some good lists about what you can use (think i saw it in the habitat section on here).

Personally i use cork sections, have a basking/hide platform with ramp made from slate and chunky branches/Driftwood sections they can crawl under.

I would recommend maybe one or two hides, but make sure that if they hide in it a lot then they are still exposed to the UV tube as its important to their health (primarily D3 production for calcium metabolisation). If unwell or sleeping/hiding away lots it is really important they still get this UV exposure.

.....WOW - that certainly is a lot of info to take in so thanks!

Regarding the basking lamp - if you look again at my pic, we actually have a second lamp (the one in the middle at the top of the enclosure), which is a white lamp. I'm not sure of the wattage but we were told we could use this for extra heat (we haven't been using it). If the temperature under the red basking lamp is only hitting 90 degrees, is it worth also using the white lamp as well?

Regarding the stone slab - before, the slab was raised at an angle and propped up by the second stone (to the far right, in the pic) so to create a hide. When the dragon goes underneath the slab, no light whatsoever from any of the bulbs can get him - is this wrong?

Substrate - I've looked at other websites but they all seem to have pros and cons for different substrates?! Some say to use sand whilst others say that even sand can be ingested by the lizard and isn't good for him. Unless I go for newspapers or just simply remove the whole altogether, not really sure what to use?! The stuff we were given in the shop just came in a big clear bag and whilst the shop did confirm it is not wood chip, it isn't wood. I have a funny feeling they said its a type of cork (which is wood though isn't it?!?!)

Hides - if we re-introduce a hide back into the enclosure, is it best to create one where the light can still reach the lizard?!
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