Monday, November 06, 2006

Bearded Dragon Health

The bearded dragon requires a certain amount of care to maintain a healthy and happy life. They generally do not suffer from many diseases may be able to catch parasites from worms as well as develop disorders if they do not receive an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D3.

Good bearded dragon health depends largely on adequate calcium levels. Dragons must have calcium and full-spectrum UVB lights in order to maintain proper bone growth. If these are not available to the bearded dragon, they will suffer from metabolic bone disease. This may cause your bearded dragon lizard to become deformed as well as cause fatal injuries.

Most beaded dragon health diets have been optimized for maximum calcium and vitamin D3 levels. Rep-Cal is a non-phosphorous calcium supplement that may be added to both insects and vegetables. Tums may also be used as an emergency source of calcium. Calcium supplements may be sprinkled on vegetables and insects should be placed in a plastic bag and shook up with the calcium so that it will stick to them.

Herptivite may be used every two weeks or once per month. This is a multi-vitamin supplement. These supplements may be high in vitamin A and may cause many health problems if used too often. This is because they may cause the calcium levels of the bearded dragon to become depressed. The bearded dragon should also not be given any additional phosphorous because the

Bearded dragon health is very dependent on lighting. The bearded dragon will benefit greatly from being exposed to natural light as often as possible. Full-spectrum lighting is necessary but it does not take the place of natural light. The operative wavelengths for the bearded dragon are in the ultraviolet UVB range. These are offered by full-spectrum florescent-type light bulbs. Zoo-Med Reptisun UVB 5.0 is available at most pet stores and have been used by many bearded dragon owners and breeders. These light bulbs must be replaced every six months, as they will lose their UVB component. UVB light rays are not capable of passing through glass or plastic, so you must not use a glass top in your bearded dragon’s enclosure.

Incandescent light bulbs are also necessary for your beaded dragon’s health. These light bulbs may be used in a heat-reflector fixture. Bearded dragon health depends on its enclosure being properly lighted so that they are able to warm up enough to digest their food. The bearded dragon must have a body temperature of one hundred degrees in order to digest their food. The gradient should range from the mid 70’s to 80’s on the cool side of their enclosure and 95-105 degrees on the basking side of their enclosure. Lights should be adjusted so that they do not overheat your bearded dragon lizard. Under tank heaters may also be used to keep the bearded dragon’s stomach warm. These may also increase the growth rate of your bearded dragon lizard.

Hot rocks should be avoided by all means. These rocks have been detrimental to many a bearded dragon’s health. These rocks are capable of overheating and burning beaded dragon lizards. The bearded dragon is less sensitive to heat and may not realize they are burning until it is too late. The rocks may also ruin the heat gradient of the tank.

Both types of lights should be placed on timers. The bearded dragon should have twelve to fourteen hours of light and the lights should turn off at night. Erratic lights will mess up the bearded dragons day length and will ruin a bearded dragon’s circadian rhythms. This will make your bearded dragon appear lethargic and sick. The bearded dragon has a “third eye” called the parietal eye, through which they detect environmental cues that are important for their circadian rhythms. The lights turning off at night will replicate night time and will allow the temperatures to fall appropriately in the bearded dragon’s habitat. The temperature may drop to the 60s or 50s without harming the bearded dragon. These temperatures replicate the semi-desert nights that the bearded dragon has adapted for over time.

The bearded dragon lizard’s habitat will run effectively and efficiently for your bearded dragon once it is properly set up. The bearded dragon will live a happy and healthy life as long as his lights are properly functioning and the bearded dragon is able to receive proper amounts of calcium. Calcium is especially important to gravid females, as they must receive adequate calcium to properly form and lay their eggs.



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2 comments:

claudia said...

I agree with almost everything except the fact that you recommend reptisun 5.0 lights. That is nowhere near enough uvb for a bearded dragon. They need reptisun 10.0. Although my personal preference is Zillas Desert 50 series tube uvb bulbs because I've used the new versions for a while and I like them a lot. But the reptisuns are good too as are the mvbs. But yea the 5.0 are not adequate for a bearded dragon.

Amber Nowell said...

In response to the information about UVB lighting:
I recommend reading this before choosing a light source. There have been studies showing that certain high UVB florescent compact lamps and tubes have been shown to cause eye problems in BD's and other reptiles.
Here is the study:
http://www.uvguide.co.uk/phototherapyphosphor.htm#intro