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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10923
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Hi I have 2 bearded dragons that live in the same viv they

Customer Question

Hi I have 2 bearded dragons that live in the same viv they are both from the same lot of eggs I am not sure on the sex and they are approx 12-14months old. One of my dragons who is slightly smaller in size within the last month prefers to sit up against the wall in the cooler end of the viv and every now and then hides underneath the false bush/grasses we have in the viv. It also seems very sleepy lathargic whereas the other one is always basking in the sun and is more active. Is this normal?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
I recently came online and see that your question about Neo hasn't been answered. I'm sorry that you've had to wait for a response but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.
I do have a few questions to ask first, if you don't mind:

1. Can you tell me about your set up?

2. How large is your enclosure? What size is it in other words?

3,. What type of substrate or bedding do you use?

4. Do you have a basking light?

5. Do you have a UVB light, or florescent tube or compact coil? If so, how old if the bulb, what strength is it and what is the brand name?

6. What are the specific temperatures in the basking area, warm side and cool side and how do you measure them?

7, What diet do you feed? Prey and veggies?


There may be a delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you and I may be offline at the time you respond. But I'll get back to you as soon as I can since I'm on the computer some part of every day.

Thanks for your patience. Deb



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi thanks for the response I have a 4ftx2ftx2ft viv with basking light at 100w I use a ground walnut substrate I have a florecent tube and I measure the tempreture a by a thermometer at each end of the viv at the hot end it is normally 90-105 degrees thank you
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the answers to my questions but could you also please tell me what you feed in terms of prey, vegetables and any supplements that you might give.
I realize that there's a time difference so there may be a delay between your providing the answers and my response. Thanks. Deb
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I normally feed prey every other day and watercress in constant supply also curly kale and grated carrot occasionally all prey is dusted with calcium powder
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
I just wanted to let you know that I've received your additional information but it's going to take me a while to type up a response to you (since I have quite a bit of information to share).
So, thanks again for your patience:) Deb

Kindly ignore the information request.
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.


There are a few husbandry issues which may need to be addressed which may be responsible for Nemo's symptoms:

1.You may or may not have issues depending on the gender of your dragons.If one of them is a female, then the male can over-breed her which means that she can become calcium depleted if/when she lays eggs.Females can lay eggs without the presence of a male because they can store sperm; so even if separated, she could continue to produce eggs.

In addition, bullying issues can occur and injuries be seen even between two males or females from the same clutch.

So, for now at least, I would suggest that you separate them but this LINK may help in sexing Nemo.

2The next issue to address would be the substrate.Walnut shell can be dangerous as can all loose substrates since it can be ingested and potentially perforate the intestinal tract

Alternate suggestions would be tile, cage carpet, slate or even paper.I would avoid sand since it can cause skin problems and corneal ulcers.

3. Temperatures and bulbs:The basking area should be between 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit; the warm side in the mid-90’s and the cool side of the tank in the 85 degree range.These ranges are important for digestion and passing of stool.

I also recommend two lights—a daytime basking bulb as well as a UVB light.

I like the Reptisun 10.0 florescent UVB tube since it can help prevent Metabolic Bone Disease (a real concern in dragons) since it works in conjunction with calcium to avoid this problem.

The UVB needs to be changed every six months.

4.The diet may also need to be modified somewhat. A dragon over the age of one year needs 80% veggies and 20% live prey. Appropriate veggie options include: Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, escarole and curly endive. Butternut squash and various berries are great for a treat.

The veggies should be supplied fresh daily and offered about an hour after the lights are on.

Live prey should include crickets, silk worms, roaches, goliath worms and phoenix worms. Canned prey looses its nutritional value and is high in chitin which is in the outer shells and can cause a blockage.

All veggies and prey should be dusted with calcium daily 5 days a week and vitamins 2 days a week. This LINK also provides a number of other options to consider.


As to how you can help Nemo now, the following are my suggestions:

A warm bath soak of 50/50 water and Dioralyte to which you have added some calcium for 20 minutes. Dragons can absorb fluids through their vent areas.

You can mix some baby food with the calcium powder and try to feed with a syringe by dropping a small amount on the snout and hopefully Nemo will lick it off.

It wouldn’t be bad idea to have Nemo examined by a herp vet if there’s no improvement within a few days. Internal parasite issues may also be causing Nemo's symptoms. If you don't have a good one, this LINK and this LINK will help you locate one.

I hope this helps and, again, my apologies that it's taken so long for you to receive an answer. Deb