Care Sheet and Policy
Hatchling - 8wks old: diced salad spritzed with water (collard greens, kale, mustard, turnip greens, moistened Rep-Cal juvenile bearded dragon pellets) after salad is eaten they get 1/4" crickets (crickets MUST be gutloaded with a nutritious feed like a commercial cricket gutload: Vit-All Gutload, etc. fresh veggies) they can be dusted with "Reptivite" for one meal ( link to supplier on navigation bar, "buy supplies") Small hornworms make an excellent additional source of top quality amino acids to these young dragons due to the wonderful gut load they consume. All feedings stop at 4:00pm. Any uneaten crickets or wigglers are removed at this time...every single one! Babies are offered watered with a eyedropper every two days as some do not get enough moisture from their spritzed salad. Babies dehydrate easily especially if kept in AC and under heat lamps..which is how most of us raise our babies. They do not have sufficient body mass at this age to safely go without water for long periods of time. A liquid human grade coral calcium is added into the spritz water for these fast growing age group dragons..some animals do not metabolize powdered minerals well or get enough of the powdered mineral, therefore we have used the liquid mineral with great success and no problems as an additional booster.
8wks - 14wks : chopped green salad sprayed with water (same ingredients as above). These guys eat one dusted (Reptivite) cricket meal in the mid morning and the rest of the feedings are not dusted. All feedings stop at 4:00pm and all insects removed from the stalls. Babies are watered with an eye dropper every 2 days.
Crickets or any live prey must not be larger than the space between the animal's eyes. If the animal is given a prey item larger than he can easily digest it will cause a problem. Feed impaction is not uncommon and can lead to tragedy. Some symptoms can be noted a few hours after feeding: hind legs not moving properly, animal darkening and not moving, open mouth gaping while clearly in distress and refusal to bask, flailing on bottom of tank. Soaking the lizard in warm water or lying dragon on a heat pad covered with a towel is the best way to stimulate the animal to defecate or take him to the vet for further assistance.
14wks-6mo: chopped green salad (same as above) as much as they will eat. One cricket meal in the AM (only dusted with Reptivite every other day) and one medium sized superworm meal in the afternoon. All insects removed from stalls by 4:00pm. Babies watered every 3 days with eyedropper.
6mo-1yr: Chopped green salad (same as above) as much as they can eat. One meal of superworm every day after salad and worms are dusted with reptivite every 3rd day. Hornworms (www.greatlakeshornworm.com) are a fantastic and nutritious addition to the subadult and adults feed program a few every couple of days really puts the weight on and adds moisture to the diet. These guys are taken out of the stalls and watered every 3 days in a shallow soaking pan alone...pan must be scrubbed with cleanser (lysol or clorox) before and after animal is removed..rinse pan in well in hot water. Animal is supervised...never left alone..they are not too bright with water and can actually drown themselves.
Wash your greens thoroughly!! Unwashed greens pass on virus and bacteria to your dragon and can make him very ill. Take a scraping from an unwashed leaf of collard greens and look under your microscope, don't faint...yuk.
All animals that are kept indoors are in melamine custom built cages that are 4X2X2 or 3X2X2 (depending on amount of babies in the cages) they can only see out the front, with a ReptiSun 10.0 flouresent strip bulb (link to our supplier on navigation bar, "buy supplies" ) and a 40 - 60 watt incandescent bulb (cages on bottom will register different heat temps than cages in middle or on top..therefore you must play with the bulbs and use your temp gun to check the temperatures if you have stack cages) this brings the stalls to 95-100 F at the basking spot in these cages until noon and then heat is shut off at noon and the stalls stay warm all day, the stalls will drop 10 degrees and will hold right around 90 on the hot end of tank in the summer in our dragon room until we shut them down, the UVB tubes stay on shut off time in the early evening. If you are using a vapor bulb such as a Mercury please check with the manufacturers label...we do not use these bulbs, but I believe that you should not supplement the dragon with a vitamin D if using these bulbs, however, please speak to a vapor bulb specialist or call the manufacturer and ask for this information as we have no experience housing the dragons with these bulbs and can not offer experienced information on their use.
If the dragons live indoors in the AC they will dehydrate easily just like you, your plants and other animals that are in the AC, you can keep a small humidifier in the dragon room . We do not over heat these lizards, they dehydrate easily..but if they are not kept warm enough they will not feed or digest what they eat. The lizards are up for 10 hours and all heat and light is off when they are down. We prefer bran cereal bedding or newspaper bedding here as I do not like the sand on my hands, although we have used sifted playsand in the past without a problem ever, it is imperative if you have playsand bedding that you do not feed a cricket that is too small for the dragon as it can take in sand instead of his prey due to the small size of his prey. All stalls are cleaned before each insect feeding...which means I clean the stalls a few times a day....the waste is removed with a plastic spoon and spoon is thrown away before moving on to the next stall if they are bedded or if the stalls have newspaper they are relaid every time before an insect feeding. If the dragon's habitat is bedded then bedding is removed on a monthly basis and stalls are cleansed with chlorine dioxide and then hit with the steam cleaner and rebedded. In the summer I house the dragons outdoors in screen cages on a rotational basis. Keeping them outdoors is practical for us, saves on electricity and has many healthy benefits for the lizards such as increased exposure to natural light, great ventilation, and better absorption of nutrients due to a natural vitamin D stimulus.
I do not house any animals in glass tanks as the top of the glass tank is screen and quite hard to keep the basking spot steady due to the heat rising out of tank, my glass tanks were very tricky to regulate and we switched to ABS plastic, melamine, and wood years ago as this provided a much easier environment to tweak the temperatures just right..there are many good custom built dragon cages on the market if you google the word reptile cage..Dragons4you.net does a good job building an ABS plastic cage that can be cleaned nicely as you can wipe it down daily with a wet cloth with some vinegar to combat odor.
Animals must be the same size to cohabitate, a smaller dragon will become a tasty snack for the larger dragon..it is best not to experiment in this area. All insects must, must be removed from cage before turning off the lights...check bedding for escaped worms as well..these will injure the dragons while they sleep. When dragons go down for the night they are extemely vunerable as they are in a semihibernative state and will not feel an insect biting him.
We administer a natural, homeopathic dewormer to the dragons starting at 8 wks old and follow directions on the back of the container, it is an herbal not a chemical dewormer or you can go to the health food store and purchase "Total Parra" a human dewormer with the same ingredients as parazap. The homeopathic dewormer is not as effective as a chemical wormer, however, it is a good practice for those purists who do not like to use chemical dewormers. We do not medicate the dragons with any type of antibiotics or routine chemical dewormers. If a lizard here is showing questionable behavior, he is seen by our vet and treatment is supervised by the doctor. Most lifeforms on this planet carry parasites (even worms have worms..ick), dragons are not exempt from this rule ....that is fine and normal, however, stress of any kind (shipping, adding new animals to the stall, changing stalls, changing bedding, cats, birds, kids running crazy, the dragon across the room bobbing his head, etc.) can escalate what was tolerable to the host before a stressful situation into a parasitic infection. I do not want to address how to diagnose and treat your lizard for these parasites if he is ill as it is impossible to do without the aid of a microscope, therefore a list of symptoms and medications will not be listed as we encourage a vet visit to properly treat your animal. We do not advocate routine use of a chemical dewormer or antiboitics for a dragon that is showing no signs of illness, the side effects of these medications outweigh a "normal" parasitic load the host is able to tolerate and if you feed insects you are putting the parasites right back into the dragon. However, if the dragon is unthrifty or ill and a fecal reveals abnormal levels of parasites..the dragon should be treated with the appropriate medication for such an infection and this treatment should be supervised by an experienced reptile veterinarian. A yearly checkup by your reptile veterinarian is suggested.
We ship out Monday - Thursday overnight UPS and the cost is $45. Upon the rare occurance there is a DOA, notification within 30 minutes after arrival must be received with an accompanying photo attachment and a full refund will be issued. If you are not there to receive animal and he sits on the doorstep for several hours after arrival this refund will not be applicable.
We need to be notified immediately if the animal appears disoriented or "strange" directly after arrival, very uncommon but animal must be inspected when you take him out of the box. If the animal becomes ill within 30 days and the care sheet has been followed properly, a return of the animal is necessary and a refund will be issued. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase..again uncommon, please notify me immediately and I will handle the situation to your satisfaction.
It is common for a baby to be frightened upon arrival and back off his feed for a day or two..it is common for the animal to come out of his box beautiful and then darken his skin pigment the minute he is put in his new castle..this is a stress related behavior and should resolve itself within 2 weeks. We never have hides in the cages or something they can get under...I think this promotes "hidey" behavior instead of a comfortable, bold behavior we want to encourage. It is imperative that his temps be 95 at one end of his cage and around 80 at the other end of the cage..he will not digest, feed well, or grow if the temps are low. On another note, temps that are high even in the 115 and above will either dehydrate , make him ill or make him very aggressive.
It is sometimes appropriate to cover several sides of a glass tank (if you must use glass...we encourage wood, melamine, vision,or plastic type cages) with newspaper for a week or so until dragon gets a feel for his new house.....if he is now alone..this is strange to him as he lived with at least 10 other buddies all his life. We do not have birds, dogs, and screaming children in the lizard room (they are used to seeing cats as Whitey is in the dragon room all day with me)..so if these are present in his new home his stress level could be high. Please be assured any animal sent out is feeding well and not showing any stress or behavioral issues. It is important if you do not have a vet or under a vet's care to please call us (not a pet store or other non veterinary sources) when questionable behavior is witnessed during the 30 day period, usually it is simple but, if left for a week or so the situation might not be so easy to rectify. We are always available to discuss your dragon's health and will assist you throughout the dragon's life for care support.