Bearded Dragon Careguide

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Bearded Dragon Careguide

Post  Admin on Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:15 am

Scientific name (Pogona Vitticeps)

There are several types of bearded dragons described by enthusiasts the Pogona Barbonia, P. henrylawsoni, Pogona vitticeps pogona microlepidota,pogona minima,pogona nullarbour
Pogona vitticeps is the species most common to be found in the pet trade bearded are found in Central parts of Australia, including New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. Bearded dragons are terrestrial, sun-loving species and it is not uncommon to see them basking on the road side, on fence posts or fallen trees. Of all the reptiles commonly kept, bearded dragons are amongst the most popular, due to their availability and relative ease of care.

Housing: despite there relatively modest size they do require generous space an enclosure should be large enough to provide a wide temperature gradient both horizontally and vertically. Tanks must be well-ventilated, but they must also be capable of retaining heat. There is some debate about the best substrate to use there have been reports of intestinal impaction using sand. Newsprint, kitchen roll or ceramic tiles can be used these choices are cheap, easy to clean and hold no health risks to your animal. Prevention is better than any cure. Beardies have a very active metabolic rate, so plan on frequent cleaning.

Temperatures ; Although bearded dragons are primarily scrub or dessert dwellers, they do spend the hottest part of the days in relatively cool areas; as with all desert animals, too much heat can be just as dangerous as too little. The temperature for the basking spot you create should be around 110f for juveniles and can be around 95f for adults. Although I don't recommend any temps above 110f, within a few degrees of these basking temps will be sufficient. The cool side of the enclosure should be around 85f during the day. Once again within a few degrees of this temp is just fine. Night time temperatures can fall as low as 65f. It is fairly easy to keep your night temps above this even in the winter DO NOT use heat rocks as these can cause serious burns on your animal’s underside.

Lighting; Beardies need daily access to a UVB source UVB light is essential for many kinds of reptiles. The bulbs simulate the sun allowing the dragons to produce Vitamin D3 which helps them metabolize the calcium they need to maintain health. These lights need to be within 12 inches of the basking spot and need to be replaced every 6 months because the amount of UVB diminishes.

Diet ; Leafy greens must be offered daily. Greens include mustard greens, collard greens, dandelions, escarole, chicory, and arugula can be staples in their diet. Lettuces do not have much nutritional value and should not make up their whole diet or even a large part. Romaine could be given occasionally if you can’t find the other greens, kale, and swiss chard are both high in oxalic acids that bind calcium. They can be given, just not too frequently. Variety is always the way to go. Vegetables like winter squashes, green beans, parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, and others can be grated up and added to the salad. They need to be in chopped very small or grated pieces. Dragons can not chew large chunks and it will be hard for them to digest.

Insects;Insects should be offered to babies two or three times a day, and to juveniles and adults daily. As your beardie gets older he or she should be eating less and less insects and more vegetables. Too many insects all through their life will cause kidney damage. Veggies should make up about 10-25% of hatchlings diet and about 50% or more of adults diets. You can feed insects such as crickets and silkworms as a staple. Super worms can be feed occasionally to beardies over 12 inches. Mealworms and wax worms are high in fat and not recommended only as an occasional treat.Dubia roaches as become a very popular feeder mainly because the shell to meat ratio, they are 36% protein while crickets are 18.5% it would take 7 crickets to compare to 1 roach, there shells are softer making them easier to digest, Dust insects with a calcium d3 vitamin daily or when feeding live insects

Water; i do a provide water dishes for my dragons. However i find they either defecate in it and has to be changed sometime even twice. You can wet their greens when you feed them. You also should mist them with a spray bottle daily or put them in the tub weekly. Some dragons will drink from a spray bottle. A light spray dripped on there nose will usually run into their mouth. It’s tricky to figure out, but once your do most dragons will drink this way.

Health ;when considering buying any reptile finding a reptile vet is important to ensure your animals is getting the proper care it requires if they do become sick. Bearded dragons are generally very hardy and strong reptile however this being said they can still contract or succumb parasites

Calcium deficiency this is a serious problem and can have permanent affects, too little d3 can lead to MBD(metabolic bone disease)some early indications to this is shaking twitching or stiffening of limbs and separation of the mouth if its noticed quite early supplementation and exposure to natural sunlight can be good remedies. but this is possible to over supplement causing a myriad of problems.

Metabolic bones disease (mbd) ;they are likely to develop mbd if inadequate UVB lighting and phosphorus and calcium in there diet.UVB lighting is necessary to metabolize vitamin D3,most of this cannot be corrected but adding provisions it can stop it developing further
Gastrointestinal parasites (coccidian pinworm and flagellates) these can be fairly common in dragons and a simple fecal examination will show any underline problems and if necessary appropriate anti-parasitic should be prescribed by your vet

Hepatic lipidosis syndrome ; fatty liver syndrome in adult beardies is also common Typically amongst dragons who are obese, clinical signs usually anorexia and depression blood work is often remarkable but not always radiographs and ultrasounds may reveal an enlarged liver and possibly ascites,endoscopes liver biopsies or exploratory celiotomy and liver biopsy will reveal the diagnosis.Treatment involvessuportive care including fluids broad spectrum antibiotics,lactulose and assisted feeding.Daily warm baths are also beneficial

Bacterial and fungal dermatitis ;beardies are prone to BFD the condition usually seen on the head, extremities, lateral body wall, the skin colouration may look to yellow to grey and often appears moist, if left untreated deep ulcerations and crusts may form. A biopsy is often the way to distinguish between bacterial or fungal. Topical treatment and silver sulfadiazine cream and systemic antimicrobials may be necessary to stop progression

Mites; there are several products on the market that can take care of the problembut I always recommend checking with your vet firstly.

Respiratory infection ;clogged nostrils the presence of mucus and open mouth breathing these are problems normally down to low heat and excessive moisture be sure to always check your temps and humidity levels, often baytril is prescribed.

Periodontal disease ;beardies have acrodont teeth (not rooted but attached to the surface of the mandibular and maxillary bones) which predisposes them to periodontal disease, stomistis and some times osteomyelitis, regular oral exams should be carried out, if lesions are present, ensure they are taken to a experienced herp vet

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