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Had my bearded dragon for around 2-3 months now, he is 7-8 months old, and he seems to be rather fussy when it comes to eating and drinking. I'll offer him food but he shows little to no interest in it but on some days he'll eat like 14-16 roaches. He also shows no interest in his water bowl, I've tried splashing in the water and at 1 time he came over to investigate but nothing since then. I have used a syringe and he has drank from that several times and I mist him with water every day just to keep him hydrated.

This seems to be going on for a while and it's starting to make me think that maybe I shouldn't have him and should give him a better home with someone who will know what to do.
 

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food

What are you feeding him? Have you researched to ensure they are suitable foods? There are lists online which detail what is and what is not suitable / safe.

He should be bathed once a week for hydration - I've not heard of anyone misting Beardies as bathing is much better as they absorb some liquid through their vent. It also keeps them clean and if you put a little F10 sc in the water helps to prevent any skin infections.

Have you had a fecal test done? This is important to check for any digestive parasites - these are very common. If you add a pinch of Avipro Plus onto his food once or twice a week that acts as a prebiotic.

What are his temperature range? He should have a range from 29C up to 40C daytime. What size and strength and brand UVB? Arcadia 12% D3+ is the best and that needs changing once a year and should be reflected and span 2/3rds of his viv. Their T5s are the best but their T8s are sufficient also - remember the reflector!

Are you giving him calcium on his foods? This is important.

However if all the above is done and fine then do not worry too much. I would restrict his livefoods a little to encourage him to eat some veggies but younger beardies need more livefood in their diet than adults. I believe (if i remember correctly) that young ones need 80% live and 20% veggies which is reversed once they are adults. As he ages slowly reduce the quantity of live and he should eat more of his greens. Monitor his weight to ensure he is growing. Try to breed your own live or buy from a trusted source (not a store) so you can be more confident that it is the nest nutritionally and parasite free. Feeding him dehydrated and malnourished store bought crickets is a bit of a waste to be honest and carries risks from unknown pathogens / parasites. If you breed your own live or feed and house them well for a few weeks before offering to your beardy at least you know they are 100% as healthy as possible and disease free.

My adult male weighs around 550g and doesn't eat much to be honest. I am often amazed he still seems to grow considering how little he eats. Each beardy is different - just like people. Some have faster metabolisms and eat more and others slower and eat less. As long as he is wormed and gaining in weight and eating some veggies and all his environmental parameters are the best then you shouldn't need to worry. However a vet checkup is always recommended.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm feeding him dubia roaches purchased from a online live stock site called rick live food. He seemed to very much enjoy the last batch I ordered which is why I've ordered from them again. I have noticed that the roaches are kinda small, think I might have ordered roaches that are too small. I've been giving him spring greens mostly and tried giving him a bit of banana and strawberry before but he didn't seem to like it, he licked the banana then refused to eat lol.

Temperture go from 40c around the basking area to 28c during day, the uvv tube is a 12% reptile d3 mounted on the roof with a reflector. I do dust his food with calcium every day I feed them to him and dust them with a calcium and vitimin dust 2 times a week as this was recommended to me.

The misting is just to stop dehydration as he has been a little dehydrated before so using a spray bottle helps prevent this. I have not done a fecal test but have been meaning to take him to a vet however due to not having the £57 right now I am unable to do so as I'm not sure if the vets near me accept credit card, will check on Monday.

I have a slight issue with bathing him as he seems to hate it. I used to just pick him up and put him in the water, temperature of around 100f, sorry the ir gun is always set to F, and place his rock in there so he has somewhere to go when he doesn't want to be in the water however he always just sits on the stone with his tail in the water and has only spent like a minute out of 15 minutes in the water and that was when he was trying to get out as I wasn't quick enough to scoop out the poop.

He seems to be shedding as the top part of his tail is very grey, has been for about a week now and I'm not sure how long it should to shed the skin. Also he seems to close 1 of his eyes when he's basking or sat on bark getting some uv rays, is this normal? He seems rather alert like he'll react if there's a sudden noise or movement, although he doesn't react to movement all the time.

Here's a picture of his tail, not sure if it's normal or not


Here is his vivarium, he spends most of the day where he is in this pic, usually climbs to the top when he falls asleep
 

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100F is far far too high for bathing in, also, its not natural behaviour for them, it takes some time to get used to it. try water that is about 75F.

Stay with him, rest him on your hand and gently submurge his legs and belly, while he is on your hand he will feel safe as he has something solid to sit on.
Shallow water, no more than an inch or so.

Shedding can take a while to complete, the baths will help soak the skin and loosen it. Just dont pick at it whatever you do.

The one eye closed thing while basking seems to be normal behaviour, basically hes just soaking up the rays and relaxing.

With his food, it sounds a bit like he is binge eating, they dont need to eat every day, and over feeding can be an issue. Try to regulate his food, give him half the amount of roaches but offer it daily, see if you can level out his feeding habits. Always leave salad in his viv, try spring greens, some cucumber, rocket and kale all chopped up and dusted with calcium.
Also put the salad in first in mornings and feed insects at lunchtimes.

You can then add treat things like bell peppers, apple, strawberries as occational treats... Bearded dragons can get picky with food if they are used to having "tasty" foods too often and then wont eat the staple foods that are good for them. at 7 to 8 months he should be roughly 60% insect 40% with live food and veggies. As they go towards adulthood 918 months to 2 years) the veggies should be more than the insects. (sliding scale, 80% insect to 20% veggies @3months, 50/50 at about 12 to 14 months and 20% insects and 80% veggies at 2 years as a rough sort of guide)
 

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Ok to be blunt, Mel your advice regarding hydration is wrong.

Bathing is not better than misting and driping water off the nose. It's unnatural and there is zero evidence that water is absorbed through the vent. If you need to be prophylactically use topical treatments to prevent skin infections your husbandry is wrong. Daily access to hydration is more valuable than a single weekly occurrence.

When you mist, keep an eye on humidity, do it early in the morning and it should evaporate quickly.

I'd cut the bathing completely, I'd agree the temps of the water you were using was too high, but if he doesn't like bathing there is no need unless he gets dirty.

I do agree that a fecal test would be a good idea and probiotics wouldn't be a bad idea as would getting a scale to keep an eye on his weight, he should still be eating a lot at his age and I would continue to try to feed him daily. How big is he?

Does your vitamin have additional d3? It shouldn't if you are using the correct lighting. Some time outside wouldn't hurt when it's a nice day.

I'd try some other insects and worms as well I would also raise the basking spot to 110. Which brand is the UV?
 

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wrong

Ok thanks for that. I do not know you, or your credentials or experience so to be frank I would rather trust my reptile specialist vet and a local breeder of high end bearded dragons who buys and sells nationally with many years of experience. What I do is checked and endorsed by both. However your opinions are noted and I will mention them to them to see what their response is. I am not an expert in Bearded Dragons at all, only having the one. However I do know other reptile species much better. But I was attempting to help someone with the care information I have been provided by two, in my opinion, very specialist and knowledgeable people in this species.
 

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wrong

also stating that bathing is incorrect as it is not a natural behaviour is a little dubious in my opinion. What, frankly, is natural about being kept in a vivarium in a completely unnatural environment, eating unnatural foods supplemented with unnatural vitamins and minerals? Whenever we keep non-native or even native animals in unnatural habitats then we must accept that we must sometimes do or provide unnatural methodologies for their health. Hinting that putting a little F10 sc in bath water indicates there is a "need" to do so is also incorrect. It is a preventative measure only and a means to maintain high standards of hygiene and health. Is it necessary all the time? probably not. Is it a useful preventative? I have been instructed that it is. Is it harmful? no. so why not do so? I am sure providing artificial UVB is also unnatural but should I cease doing so and rely solely on supplements? I sincerely hope you would not endorse such a practice! I value your opinion of course and realise there are alternative methododligies but ask that you do not criticise others who may do things in a different manner but which are demonstrably equally effective. My Bearded Dragon is 3 years old, weighs more than 550g and still growing and has just been vet checked by a reptile specialist and is in very good health. I have had him since he was around 6 months old and he has never, once, ever, had access to a water bowl, been misted or offered water in any way other than as a component of his food and his regular baths. However if you choose to hydrate your dragons differently then that is your choice and I will not criticise. I will however not choose to do so upon the instructions and warnings I have been given about the potential risks of doing so.
 

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Mel

Apologies if you took offence it could have been phrased less candidly. I do agree there are multiple ways to achieve the same outcome when keeping reptiles and would not tell someone they where explicitly wrong if it was a matter of opinion (I might offen an alternative opinion). Your post is somewhat hypocritical though, you where more than happy to tell the OP that his method was 'wrong'.

Please ask your expert associates to provide evidence of the absorbtion of water through the vent. If they are in possession of something scientifically robust I will apologise unreservedly to you; however I have never found any, yet the advice is repeated far too often. As far as I'm aware it is a myth and that is the point I felt necessary to comment on.

I'm not going to dissect your keeping methods or question the health of your lizard, I'm also light years away from being an expert.

You are right, captive environments are inherently unnatural. You make the point about providing UVB, but surely that is to replicate natural sunlight. Providing dietry supplementation in lieu of it would be the less natural option, so is in no way analogous to my point.

Likewise, I maintain providing the lizard with moisture in a from is recognises as drinkable, on a daily basis is more natural and gives the animal greater control over its requirements than bathing once a week on an impossed schedule. (Along with the correct diet If well hydrated insects and plant / veg matter).

I also wonder if the provision of deep substrate of varying humidity would also be beneficial in the way it is crucial for varanids to regulate their hydration. That's not something I'm stating as fact, just something I'm curious of.

As for the adding of F10 to the water, I don't like the idea of using topical pharmaceuticals unnecessarily especially in water you hope will be ingested but it's your choice. I don't have evidence it is harmful, but I don't feel safe saying it would be harmless if drunk by the lizard. I'd also be keen to know the evidence that supports a once weekly use in bathing water as be being an effective preventative measure against skin problems. (Again, I'm not saying it isn't possible).
 

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Its been annoying me for a few days and i thought i could ignore it but i keep remembering it....


Firstly, Mel, your advice is wrong, satch was right.
You may know a bearded dragon breeder, and you may know a vet, but the information they are giving you is about 10 years out of date in two places....

Firstly, hydration via the vent.
Nonsense, If you want evidence of this then i suggest going to a libary and reading up for yourself, just like i spent three years in university lecture halls doing ecology, biodiversity, microbiology genetics and biochemistry.
It was THOUGHT by many people through layman observation of the reptiles that they absorbed water this way, you will notice bathing a bearded dragon its skin will lighten and it will inflate.

This is a instinctive response coupled with biological conditioning to being submersed in water and the relative temperature increasing, water also conducts heat better than air at a more stable ratio (you can go and look at something called specific heat capacity and learn about convection while you are at it and you will understand what i am speaking about a little better)
So the lizard inflated to stop itself from drowning and lightens its skin to slow the absorption of heat.

Dehydrated lizards have exactly the same reaction when put in a bath and afterwards return to the exact same dehydrated state, it is ONLY when they physically drink from the water that physical symptoms of dehydration lessen. Bearded dragons skin has evolved to retain water, not absorb it. the vent is the entry into their digestive and reproductive tracts, unless you were going to give the dragon an enema it will NOT absorb any significant amount of water through its vent. Even then you would have to pump water right up inside the lizard and wait for the blood vessels within the intestine walls to allow osmotic effect to kick in. It would probably kill it.

Think of it like this, if you have a bath do you suck water up through your arse when you havent had anything to drink all day?

Second point, F10 in its bathing water.
This isnt going to cause any direct harm, however, its a bad idea.
(Btw if it was the vet that told you this they need to be suspended and never allowed to practice again it is incredibly foolish to blanket medicate ANYTHING) Although F10 is labelled as a safe disinfectant for reptiles, ingested in quantity WILL do the reptile harm. Where it says its save it is referring to the lizard licking small quantities off of a surface that it has been in contact with, NOT drinking water which has F10 in it.
These are two VERY different things.
Even if you dilute it down, it is still a bad idea, one of two things will be happening.
Either its diluted down so far that injesting the water is truely harmless which at the exact same time means the F10 is also no longer capable of doing its job, it wont kill bugs or moulds or fungus it has reached such a level of dilution that the molar concentrations have dropped below minimal effect.
This means you might as well be bathing your reptile in plain tap water anyway.
Option two is that the concentrations will still be high enough to have an effect and you are exposing your reptile to regular levels of a chemical not mean to be in its system, if it drinks the water you are killing beneficial bacterium in its digestive tracts and you are screwing with his internal body chemistry. You will also be producing resistant strains of any mould or fungus spores should he be unlucky enough to be exposed to them (i would imagine the whole idea behind giving him these "medicated" baths would be do kill any surface bugs/moulds/fungus that he happens to come in contact with to prevent them from having a chance to take root?)
Basically, if the F10 is still left at a level it has any effect, you will be doing the complete opposite to what you are trying to achieve, instead of killing of moulds and fungus you will be killing the weaker strains and the stronger ones will build resistances up to the F10, meaning that F10 will eventally be ineffective in killing them and if they do take root, you will have a fungal growth ten times harder to get rid of.

The F10 disinfectant is meant to be effective at the concentrations it states and meant for TOPICAL use if being used in a bath like you are doing, meaning that it is used to tackle actual skin conditions, not prevent them.
The vet should have known better than tell you to do this if it was the vet, and if its the breeder then i suspect he/she has absolutely no chemical knowledge whatsoever.

Theres a reason why people are TRAINED and spend years learning about chemistry before they start playing around with different chemicals and seeing what their effects are under different controls.
What you are doing is foolish, there is no other way to describe it, and potentially you could be creating a monster problem for your dragon if you are ever unlucky enough to get any actual strains of fungus or mould take root in his skin.

How do you think your skin would react if you took a bath in diluted bleach everyday? essentially this is what you are subjecting you lizard to, just because his skin is more resilient than yours does not mean its good for him. And in the same way you do not take antibiotics unless you are actually ill, you shouldnt be medicating a lizard unless theres actually something wrong.

I really dont care what your breeder friend or vet tells you, the advice is ill-placed, foolish, uneducated and based on false science and if you dont want to believe me, take yourself down your local university libary, pull out half a dozen books on physical biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, cell development, biodiversity and pharmacology and learn it for yourself.
 

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I apologise for the tough love approach but it really is a very very poorly educated point of view, even irrespective of reptiles just as a generic set of ideas, if you wish to be stubborn and believe what your breeder friend and vet are telling you then carry on, i would suggest you were more proactive and went and learnt for yourself as i am 100% sure their info is old and outdated.

I am however curious as to how a 5 year old bearded dragon can still be growing... dont you mean getting fat?
Plus i am concerned that you say it has a low appetite mel, is he a very active lizard?
 
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