I rescued a crippled bearded dragon from Petsmart (help)

user 666

Arachnobaron
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Jan 27, 2017
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I was getting crickets at Petsmart today when I learned they were giving away a bearded dragon with a crippled leg (left rear, and it looks like the damage is permanent).

Can someone point me to instructions on setting up an ideal enclosure?

I have the enclosure and just about everything to go in it, but I don't know what's best. I have not had a bearded dragon since 20 years ago when I lived in Las vegas (and caught wild ones).
 

GingerC

Arachnosquire
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Feb 10, 2017
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I probably don't know what I'm talking about, but don't bearded dragons come from Australia?
 

user 666

Arachnobaron
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I probably don't know what I'm talking about, but don't bearded dragons come from Australia?
Yes.

For some reason I was thinking of the horned lizards we have in the southwest and conflated the two. They look vaguely similar, only bearded dragons get a couple feet long while horned lizards stay quite small. (I've been researching, yes.)
 

Tanner Dzula

Arachnoknight
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So, As far as Ideal set up, you want a couple of things.


1. Heat/light source.
i personally suggest getting a All in one, UVB/UVA and her bulb. they are a little pricey but they last usually 1+ years and a lot easier to move/handle and replace the one bulb.

2. would be a hide. i personally suggest two hides, one opposite sides of the tank, One under the Heat/light source and one on the opposite side in the cooler half of the tank.
i personally went with a Hide/basking rock combo. about half the price of buying two separate items and it serves both functions.

i also usually include a large stick to Climb on, i went with the sand blasted Grape Vine, works nicely, Easy for them to grip and takes the heat and weathering nicely.



As for substrate/bedding, I've always been recommended and have always recommended Rabbit Pellets. They are basicly made from plant matter, they make a Easy clean up bedding(very very easy to clean), they are not harmful if the beardy happens to eat a few pieces(they don't like to eat it but you know, if a piece or two happens to be eaten) and they won't cause compaction. if you have a large enough tank a lot of people also suggest a Small sandbox type of set up in a corner though i personally have never done this and I've never had an issue with any of mine.


and as far as diet. depends on the age of the beardy. if its young you'll want a good amount of insects(crickets and if possible preferably Dubia roaches, High suggest not using any type of meal worm as it can cause compaction if its the only food source) and a good amount of greens(no spinach or kale) as well. as it gets older, progressively add more greens to the diet and less insects. once its fully grown and mature, you'll want primarily greens and insects a few times a week at most,

heres an example of my set up for my Beardy when i had first get everything set up in her new 40g, picture was taken in the middle of cleaning(theres a second hide meant for the Left side by the food bowl, But Osiris decided to use the restroom right on the top middle of it, so its currently being cleaned)
i would also suggest getting a Mount system for the light fixture if possible. i was currently waiting for mine to be shipped in, so the lights sitting on the mesh top for now.
Basics of the tank:
-40g breeder
-Rabbit pellet Bedding
- food bowl
-Grape vine to climb/ Bask
-basking rock/hide

these are the bare basics for the most part, and she has been using this basic set up for a few years now and she's been doing great.
 

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The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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Ancient recollections from my cuz. Reptile convalescence is greatly aided by minimizing how much the animal has to adapt to it's environment. IE if it doesn't have to pour energy into altering metabolism and vitals from changes in temperature, humidity, threat/danger levels and so on. IE IE Median unchanging temperature and humidity and as close to completely isolation as possible. Allow it go into a hibernative state.

He had a python that had a couple feet of tail smashed. He left it in a warm closet in a box for over a month, entirely undisturbed. Post surgery and anti infections treatment, somewhat recuperated it came back to earth by tagging him and wouldn't let go when he checked on it.
 
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user 666

Arachnobaron
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Jan 27, 2017
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351
The Petsmart has a Banfield franchise, and according to the vet report the fracture had already healed.

Only it healed crooked.
 

Tanner Dzula

Arachnoknight
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190
The Petsmart has a Banfield franchise, and according to the vet report the fracture had already healed.

Only it healed crooked.
thats very unfortunate :/
sometimes these things happen, and it sucks to see it that way.

my own beardy i got from a guy on craigslist, i just happened to stumble upon the ad looking for tanks for sale. basicly the guy was going to just leave it outside if nobody came and got it that day so of course i went a picked her up!

When we got there, he explained he got it from Petsmart sold as a "fancy" bearded dragon but it was missing all the Toes from its back right foot (basicly just 5 little numbs) and that they had been bitten off as a baby. its crazy to think about how they treat these animals and how they basicly just keep them healthy enough to produce babies half the time.

i really wish there were ways to crack down on these suppliers because the care for these animals is ridiculous most of the time.

i never used to believe the stories of people "finding" live animals in the trash behind pet stores until i witnessed it first hand at a local petco. apparently a Mother had bought a iguana for their child, and did little research on the animal before and for some reason felt they were capable of handling and caring for it equips with only the little petco care pamphlet and a small 10g tank. needless to say she came back few months later then the cramped iguana(which had originally been sold 75% due to it being "to large" to keep for much longer) had bitten both her kids and, apparently as she stated "charged" at her when she went to feed it. so the mom brought the iguana and the tank and everything back to petco and when they refused to take it back, she literally left it on the counter and stormed out with her crying kids. the manager on duty basicly tossed it in a bag and put the whole tank/bag set up in the dumpster behind the store, since they were in the middle of closing the store down.

absolutely terrible and watching that video just makes it that much worse.
 

grimmjowls

Arachnoknight
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May 1, 2016
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I'm going to address some incorrect information I've noticed in this post.

1. Mealworms do not cause *impaction. Bad husbandry does. They are, though, very fatty, and not a good staple insect.
2. A 40g tank is NOT large enough for an adult dragon, it's not even a minimum. 4x2x2 is the minimum for adults.
3. Again, saying that rabbit pellets won't cause *impaction like other substrates is horribly misinformed. Any type of substrate is just as likely to cause impaction. I've never used rabbit pellets, but they seem unsightly and just a choking hazard for younger dragons. Not sure how old your dragon is.
 

grimmjowls

Arachnoknight
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Kale is fine as well, as long as it's not a staple. My dragons enjoy kale because of the texture but it's not their main diet.
 

user 666

Arachnobaron
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i never used to believe the stories of people "finding" live animals in the trash behind pet stores until i witnessed it first hand at a local petco. apparently a Mother had bought a iguana for their child, and did little research on the animal before and for some reason felt they were capable of handling and caring for it equips with only the little petco care pamphlet and a small 10g tank. needless to say she came back few months later then the cramped iguana(which had originally been sold 75% due to it being "to large" to keep for much longer) had bitten both her kids and, apparently as she stated "charged" at her when she went to feed it. so the mom brought the iguana and the tank and everything back to petco and when they refused to take it back, she literally left it on the counter and stormed out with her crying kids. the manager on duty basicly tossed it in a bag and put the whole tank/bag set up in the dumpster behind the store, since they were in the middle of closing the store down.
Those kind of stories are why I jumped at the chance rescue this beardie. It had already been there for a week with no takers.

I know Petsmart's history, and even though I wasn't fully prepared for a bearded dragon I knew that I was a hell of a lot better than the alternative.
 

Tanner Dzula

Arachnoknight
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Feb 29, 2016
Messages
190
I'm going to address some incorrect information I've noticed in this post.

1. Mealworms do not cause *impaction. Bad husbandry does. They are, though, very fatty, and not a good staple insect.
2. A 40g tank is NOT large enough for an adult dragon, it's not even a minimum. 4x2x2 is the minimum for adults.
3. Again, saying that rabbit pellets won't cause *impaction like other substrates is horribly misinformed. Any type of substrate is just as likely to cause impaction. I've never used rabbit pellets, but they seem unsightly and just a choking hazard for younger dragons. Not sure how old your dragon is.

1. the internet seems to disagree with you.
its highly reccomened to keep any reptile away from Mealworms as a staple because of the Hard chitin. Now this does not include ALL worms, but Specifically mealworms, AKA Tenebrious monitor, especially in younger dragons. now I'm not saying feeding one meal worm is going to instantly cause impaction. but if you use it as a staple(which is something that I'm sure the petsmart he got it from probably tried to tell him, as they always do, because as we all know, they are usually pretty clueless) it has been know to cause impaction in younger dragons.
that being said, if Any worms are going to be fed to a dragon, especially a younger dragon, there are much safer alternatives with a much better "meat to chitin" ratio, and even better alternatives all togetrht to worms as it is( User 666 is a active member and just form his posts i can tell he has access to other, better, feeding materials)



2. did i say it was large enough?
2 things wrong with what you just stated.
first: i literally stated in my last post that it was a *****BASIC***** set up. of course he is going to want to upgrade it later, but this is assuming(because it came from a petsmart and they almost NEVER keep beards until fully grown if they can avoid it) its a younger beardie. and its not far off from the minimum, you stated 4 x 2 x 2 for an adult bearded dragon? look at this, Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 5.48.43 PM.png
its about 1 foot short length wise and 6inches short in height and width. for a Basic first set up, thats not far off and gives him time to save up for an adult enclosure(this was not a planned thing, and I'm not sure he has the money to immediately to spend on a full adult set up, and nor would he need One Right away, depending on the size of the beardy) i can imagine especially if its still a fairly young beardy? no reason to put a fresh young baby beardy thats possibly only 4-10 inches long in a 60+ gallon tank. absolutely no reason at all unless absolutely not wanting to ever rehouse him again.
its an option, but i wouldn't recommend it for a *Basic* set up.

Second: if you literally go back and read my post, i specifically stated this WAS the set up i had, this set up was from well over a year ago when my beardy was maybe ~6 months old and literally half the size she is now. i also stated that i had a similar situation where i basicly rescued mine. i was short on budget and the person was going to literally leave it to die outside(i live in arizona and it gets 115+ degrees in the day time in july, i was not going to let that happen) i also got a basic set up for the time being. and not for nothing, but it came in a 20g Long, i opted for a Larger tank immediately rather then keep it in the 20g tank.

i didn't post pictures of her CURRENT set up because it wouldn't be as beneficial to show my current set up for a Fully mature beardy if he has a young beardy. now if he was asking about a future set up, that would be different.
And not for nothing but the bare minimum for an adult Bearded dragon(one not exceeding 20 inches) IS a 40g Breeder Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 6.09.35 PM.png

Of course Ideal is 4x2x2, but i really don't think he has the time or money to Hunt down a Full size 120G Tank(recommended for ADULT sizes of 20+ inches or longer)

and AGAIN if its a juvenile or baby beardy, do you REALLY think sticking it in a full 120G set up is a good idea?

3. i am saying Rabbit pellets(alfalfa) won't cause Compaction because its literally made of "greens" its made edible material ( Alfalfa is even a recommended food to give to beards), versus Sand, Hampter bedding, or god knows what else he might find suggested on internet care sheets(or from the pet store he got it from). the biggest risk stated would be that they are basicly "dried". and obviously if the beardy starts eating a large amount, then sure you'd want to take it out, this is the same with ANY substrate. if your beardy started scarfing down sand from his dig box, would you keep the sand in? no.
sure a Young dragon might choke on a pellet, but its a lot safer using a natural digestible material, then something thats in no way digestible. and again would depend on the size.

let me ask you. if this is a Dragon small enough to choke on a rabbit pellet (between 1/4"-1/2") then why would you be saying that a 40g is below the minimum again? this would mean his beardie would have to be a baby/young juvenile and suggesting he buy a 75G or 120G for that size is very unnecessary. thats like suggesting a full 10g tank for a T. Stirmi sling.

I've raised multiple bearded dragons on them, I know many people who have and there has never been an issue.
on the inverse I've seen so many people lose dragons to them eating large amounts of Sand or other harmful or non-digestible substrates.
i mean, its all up to personal preference, but when something is listed as a non-dangerous food(alfalfa) and there is pellets made of it, why would there be a huge risk of impaction.
but as an alternate, you can use Millet Seed(another non dangerous alternative)
or Sand or other types of material for dig boxes. but again, all up to personal preference.

at the end of the day, NONE of us are truly experts, and as most people would agree, when it comes down to it, Experience is usually the best thing to go on.

i am simply sharing my experience of years of keeping and raising bearded dragons, and giving basic info.
not many other people have chimed in for much more then i have or to nit-pick my post needlessly. if you disagree, feel free to help him.
 
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user 666

Arachnobaron
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Jan 27, 2017
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My beardie is yay big:

P1040758.JPG

He's on an organic mulch substrate made of various things in a large kritter keeper with a heating pad. (not ideal, I know, but good enough to last until I can go to the reptile expo tomorrow and stock up)

He is active and has so far eaten a half dozen crickets and a half-inch dubia. I introduced him to a superworm but he wasn't interested.

I hadn't realized beardies ate so much or grew so fast, but luckily my dubia colony is about to start producing.
 

Nephila Edulis

Arachnoknight
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Food- Younger dragons need more protein so the majority should be insects if he's small. Preferably roaches. But if the dragon has a crippled leg I would suggest pre-killed food. If it's an adult more greens and fewer insects. Mealworms can be used as a treat but definitely not as a staple.

Enclosure- Ideal cage size for an adult is 4x2x2. Don't use sand as a substrate, try to find something proven to not cause impaction or try to use something similar to the substrate of their natural environment (clay, rock slabs, etc.). I've seen people ignore my advice and say "they live in deserts, sand is fine for them" when in reality they live in arid woodland and scrubland, they spend a lot of time in rock crevices and on trees and shrubs, they don't really live on the sand like a thorny devil. Provide two hides, maybe even three if your willing. Have them on opposite sides of the enclosure, one warm and one cold hide. You may also spray down the cooler hide for shedding on occasion, but not excessively

Heating- play around with the lighting and heating bulbs. See what's available for bearded dragons and make sure it's from a good seller who knows what they're doing and cares about the animals

Sorry if I've gotten anything wrong, I haven't kept a drain for years and all I really have now are four blue tongued skinks and my inverts
 

Tanner Dzula

Arachnoknight
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Feb 29, 2016
Messages
190
My beardie is yay big:

View attachment 240022

He's on an organic mulch substrate made of various things in a large kritter keeper with a heating pad. (not ideal, I know, but good enough to last until I can go to the reptile expo tomorrow and stock up)

He is active and has so far eaten a half dozen crickets and a half-inch dubia. I introduced him to a superworm but he wasn't interested.

I hadn't realized beardies ate so much or grew so fast, but luckily my dubia colony is about to start producing.

ohh yea, he is pretty small. and i can see what you mean with the leg! well hopefully with a dedicated owner like you he will be able to live with it :) i hate to say it like that but its actually somewhat good that it happened at that size, because atleasta s he grows, he will learn to live with it easier then if it happened as a adult. i wish you the best of luck!

i, personally, would *suggest* a 20g Long for him at most. large enough to last you several months, but not too big as to make it a chore to cross it back and forth with his leg that way.

with the leg looking that way it might be good to use a tile/ceramic base at the bottom. it'll be a little more taxing to clean, but wouldn't put any additional strain on his leg i don't think.

at his size definitely a lot more protein like @Nephila Edulis suggested and i agree about the roaches. a very good staple insect, and its super easy to Crush their heads and they still squirm to attract the beardies attention.
 

Ellenantula

Arachnoking
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I feel so many of the BD injuries are from housing them together -- they have a brief babyhood when they can safely share a tank and then it's carnage, imo. :banghead:

You've gotten a lot of information so I won't write my own tome. Just be sure to provide a warm basking side and not-as-warm side. They require UVB and basking lamps, a hide, mine adores his hammock as well as a soft fleece blanket to nap on. Mine does get mealies but since mine is an adult -- he has to earn them by eating some veggies too. Bathing for 20 minutes in warm (NOT HOT) water helps with hydration both for absorption through cloaca/vent as well as sometimes drinking some water during bath (and mine uses chooses to poop during a bath which ends bath time lol). I bathe twice weekly and trust mine gets enough moisture through wet veg/fruit.
I don't use loose substrate -- many people use tile -- I use a carpet (with a backup carpet) and keep the spare one clean. Carpets are probably a bigger concern if nail maintenance is ignored. Buy the biggest tank you can -- 40 gallon is minimum for an adult -- always go bigger if you can.

Best of luck -- BDs are amazing companion pets!
 

Tanner Dzula

Arachnoknight
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Feb 29, 2016
Messages
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I feel so many of the BD injuries are from housing them together -- they have a brief babyhood when they can safely share a tank and then it's carnage, imo. :banghead:

You've gotten a lot of information so I won't write my own tome. Just be sure to provide a warm basking side and not-as-warm side. They require UVB and basking lamps, a hide, mine adores his hammock as well as a soft fleece blanket to nap on. Mine does get mealies but since mine is an adult -- he has to earn them by eating some veggies too. Bathing for 20 minutes in warm (NOT HOT) water helps with hydration both for absorption through cloaca/vent as well as sometimes drinking some water during bath (and mine uses chooses to poop during a bath which ends bath time lol). I bathe twice weekly and trust mine gets enough moisture through wet veg/fruit.
I don't use loose substrate -- many people use tile -- I use a carpet (with a backup carpet) and keep the spare one clean. Carpets are probably a bigger concern if nail maintenance is ignored. Buy the biggest tank you can -- 40 gallon is minimum for an adult -- always go bigger if you can.

Best of luck -- BDs are amazing companion pets!

ahhh, the good old bathtub poops.

its amazing how such a simple thing as a warm pool of water can almost instantly trigger a bowl moment. Most of mine, like clockwork, within about 30 seconds of being put into a warm little bath, almost instantly poop haha.
 

G. pulchra

ArachnoGod
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Make sure you use a good quality supplement, personally I use Repashy. Just remember to supplement on a schedule with it.
 
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