Tag Archives: bearded dragon diseases

Bearded Dragons

Little Critters Animal Hospital, Jill Patt, DVM



Bearded Dragon Hatchlings

By: Jill M. Patt, DVM

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: Desert of Australia

LIFESPAN: 10+ years of age

SEXING: Males have a beard that turns black during the breeding season

Males have pre-anal and femoral pores

HOUSING: – A large aquarium with a natural substrate bottom and multiple climbing branches and hide boxes should be used.

– The type of substrate is often debated but may people advocate bedding such as sand, outdoor carpet, decomposed granite, paper towels, newspaper… Regardless of the type of substrate used, hygiene is the most important aspect to consider. You should choose a substrate that you can keep clean and fresh for your dragon.

– Avoid: kitty litter, bird litter (such as corncob or walnut shells) and wood shavings.

LIGHTING: Full spectrum lighting can only be supplied in the form of fluorescent bulbs and the bulb must supply UVB spectrum light.

The light should be ~18 inches from the cage.

A basking light should be provided in the form of an incandescent bulb placed above a branch.

TEMPERATURE: A range or temperature gradient should be supplied with the cool end of the cage at ~75F and the warm end up to 86F. Night time temperatures can dip down to the 70’s. The basking light should provide a focal spot in the 90’s range.

WATER/HUMIDITY: A shallow drinking dish should be provided Occasional misting with a spray bottle can be provided.

DIET: – These guys are omnivores: they eat protein and veggies.

– Very Young: Pin head crickets must be provided, feeding these hatchlings too large an insect can result in their death. Assorted shredded veggies.

– Immature: larger insects – a variety should be provided.

– Adults: As the lizards grow larger they can be fed mice or other rodents.

SUPPLEMENTS: The insects should be dusted with a phosphorus free calcium supplement prior to feeding. A multi vitamin should be provided twice weekly.

MEDICAL CONCERNS: – Parasite infections are very common in bearded dragons and will often result in cloaca irritation and prolapse.

– Malnutrition and metabolic bone disease due to poor lighting and diet.

– Gut impaction

Remember: A yearly veterinary examination is needed to keep your dragon healthy.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The Reptile Room at: http://www.reptilerooms.com/Sections+index-req-listarticles- secid-1.html

Melissa Kaplan’s web site at: http://www.anapsid.org/bearded.html

Dr. Jill M. Patt’s web site at: www.littlecrittersvet.com