Bearded Dragon Not Staying in Heat Source

Discussion in 'Bearded Dragons' started by Karlee, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Karlee

    Karlee Member

    We have two beardies (one currently missing), our younger one, Cici, will move away from heat sources and hide under her log. I have several heat lamps but she tries to avoid every one of them. She is freezing cold when ever I pick her up and I don't know what to do with her. She is too young to be going through brumation which really confuses me and the vet said she was healthy. Any ideas of how to fix this problem?

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    How old is she?

    I've actually heard of some pretty young dragons brumating, although it is incredibly rare.

    How are you measuring the temperatures? Also, what kind of UVB source are you using (brand, distance from it, etc)?

    Reason I ask: there was an issue with a particular brand of MVB a few years ago that resulted in dangerous outputs of UV. Because they are capable of detecting these wavelengths, dragons would avoid basking under the bulbs. The same can be true if the animal is allowed to get a little too close to a high output bulb.
  3. Karlee

    Karlee Member

    She is about 3 months old and we measure the temperatures between 90 to 95 degrees year round with a cool spot of around 80 to 85 degrees again year round. We use Zoo Med Powersun 100W Bulb for both our dragons and its about half a foot to a foot away from her.
  4. Karlee

    Karlee Member

    I noticed something else as well. I was holding her just now and she tried to wedge her head between my fingers.

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    -Do you know roughly how old the powersun bulb is?

    -Also, what specific kind of thermometer are you using? The only ones hat can be trusted to yield accurate readings are digital thermometers with probes and tempguns. A lot a "stick on" and plastic analog thermometers sold at stores can be terribly inaccurate. You actually want things quite a bit warmer in there... the cool end is fine, but immediately under the basking area should read ~105, especially for juveniles (they can actually take a few degrees warmer with no issues, though adults like things in the 100-105 range due to their mass). If you get much lower than about 95 degrees its difficult for them to maintain a proper metabolism and digest food.

    You really don't want the MVB to be any closer than 12" from the dragon. These bulbs produce UV radiation in a conulary output, where the line going straight down from the center of the bulb is the most intense. So intense, actually, that when you are immediately next to bulb or within 3-6" the output is dangerously high.

    Just to put things in perspective, the output of UVB radiation from 0-3" of a Powersun can be anywhere from 500-2000 uW/cm^2. This is enough output to do permanent eye damage, and severely damage our skin (and reptile's skin). The frequent output of most UVB producing flourescent tubes at 6" is generally between 20-50 uW/cm^2 and this is more than adequate exposure to keep a beardie healthy.

    MVB's are high output bulbs and should never really be placed closer than 12" away from the animal. I would raise the bulb up and/or decrease the height of the basking area so that she cannot come so close to the bulb. Because beardie's can actually see these wavelengths, it could be something intimidating to her and making her reluctant to bask. In addition, Powersun was actually the brand that was giving problems a few years ago, though I believe Zoomed has remedied it in newer bulbs.

    Now: I might as well ask a couple of additional questions in case the issue isn't just related to the heating and UV elements. A dragon who does not bask often has a jeopardized immune system, which is where I would be tempted to look before brumation. A few additional questions:

    -When the vet looked at her, was a fecal perfomed? This is the only accurate way to determine if there is an internal parasite or infection - a VERY common issue in dragons.

    -Is she losing weight?

    -What kind of supplements is she being given and at what frequency? How often is she eating and what is she eating?

    -What kind of substrate are you using?

    *I've made a " - " on the lines that have questions in them to make things easier to follow.*
    Here is a nice link to some info on UVB producing bulbs. The Powersuns are known to run a little on the cooler end in temp output, so you might need to install another lamp with a simple low wattage household incandescent bulb to up the temps just a bit on the basking area.
  6. Karlee

    Karlee Member

    the bulb is only about a month old. and i do have a digital themoter which came with its cage and substrate when i ordered it online. I use gravel as substrate for them both. And i did bring the vet a fecal sample on a tissue. She hasn't noticable loosing weight, but it doesnt seem as she is gaining any either. And I give her five crickets every morning that have been powdered with Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3. I also feed her 2-3 mealworms in the afternoon and five more crickets 2 hours prior to me turning off the lights, mealworms and evening crickets being unpowdered. She eats all of the crickets and maybe all of her mealworms, normaly only 1-2.
  7. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Just going to jump in with a couple things.

    1. Did you move the MVB further away or lower the basking site yet?
    2. Did you raise the basking temperatures yet?
    3. Is that all the food you are offering or will she not eat any more? Ten crickets and a couple mealworms a day is a frighteningly small amount of food for a 3 month old beardie. A typical baby beardie should be devouring crickets like nobody's business. If she's not going through 2-3 dozen a day at the very least, I'd be surprised. A couple more diet tips: I would really cut out the mealworms from the diet. Mealworms are just difficult for beardies to digest, and pose a high risk of impaction due to their thick chitin shell. Have you tried offering any greens yet? While juvenile beardies should be eating mostly feeder insects, it's always a good idea to get the in the habit of eating greens at an early age.

    Finally, gravel is really not a suitable substrate for bearded dragons. Go ahead and check out our Beardie Substrate Guide for some better options.
  8. reptile boy

    reptile boy New Member

    mybe shes lonely
  9. Karlee

    Karlee Member

    thx for the tips. I moved the uvb further away from the highest point in here cage (her basking log), i raised the temperature of the basking sight, and that's all she eats. We try giving her more but that's all she is willing to eat in a feeding session. Hardly that. We have remvoed the mealworms from their diet and replaced them with the occassionaly wax worms which i only give her when she is on her basking log. And we do offer them greens. Kiki would take them right out of our hands but Cici still seems to be stubborn on that. But Cici will eat them if we feed it to her before offering feeder insects.
  10. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Well hopefully those adjustments should get her back on track. One final question: (Sorry for what seems like an interrogation, lol.) I know you mentioned having two beardies, Cici and Kiki. I know Kiki is missing right now, but was she being housed in the same tank as Cici before her escape? Or, if she was being housed separately, was she in sight of Cici's tank?
  11. Karlee

    Karlee Member

    Kiki was never even on the same floor as Cici, let alone in eye sight. And we don't have any other pets Cici can see since the dogs arent allowed upstairs. I think that also answers the question if they are seperated or not.
  12. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Great, that's good to hear. I was just asking to make sure she wasn't feeling dominated which may have caused the small appetite, but it sounds like you've got that all covered. =)
  13. Karlee

    Karlee Member

    Thanks, she is ascting normal now and she is starting to grow her beard (or she is getting chin fat;)). She stays in her basking spots even though she still enjoys being in tight spaces. She is starting to eat normally again as well (we have her up to twenty crickets a day (y)).
    JEFFREH likes this.

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Good to hear!! Keep up the good work, and keep us posted on her progress! = )

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