The Herps & Habitats Bearded Dragon FAQs Page (2)

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Q: I have been feeding my Beardie crickets, mealworms and veggies since I got him and he eats all of them very well. He is 6 months old right now. I went to the pet store this week and they were out of mealworms so I bought some wax worms. The pet store person told me to pinch the heads off because the worms could eat the lizard from the inside out and kill it!! Have you ever heard of this?? I haven't been pinching the mealworm heads, but should I? Are wax worms more aggressive? Please help me with more information.

A: There is some evidence that in exceptional and unusual circumstances, supers and possibly mealworms might be able to inflict damage on a reptile. In most dragon cases, it usually turns out that the dragon was ill and then pestered by the prey insects which continue to bite as they foraged for food. It is usually a case of the prey insects eating their way in, rather than out. The digestive juices of a healthy bearded dragon would be WAY to powerful for even the most enthusiastic worm. And, waxworms as the culprit? NO WAY! They eat wax and honey in beehives, so they are about the softest and most fatty of all the prey insects. Here is a nutritional analysis of waxworms:

Find more nutritional information here.

Q: Is there a way to make cricket water gel without buying a product that has ingredients in it that I can't pronounce? I heard the cricket gel with calcium had polyacrylamide which is a main ingredient in plastic. That can't be good! Besides, I use so much of it that I thought it might be cheaper to make my own

A: Cricket water gel can be produce with the following recipe:

Mix water and agar and bring to a boil. Boil approximately 2 minutes. Pour liquid into a shallow cake pan and let sit in fridge for approximately 15 minutes. After the agar has set, draw a knife through the gel and cut to desired size chunks. Transfer the pieces into a plastic container, cover, and store in the refrigerator until needed.

This cricket gel formula will not disintegrate even in high temps and can be fed to any prey insects. You can add chopped veggies to the Agar mixture after it has boiled for variety. You can experiment and use diluted fruit juices instead of water.

Q: Do bearded dragons see straight ahead or to each side?

A: The visual field of a bearded dragon has a small degree of overlap when they look straight ahead, some limited binocular ("3D") vision, which they use to target their food. The rest of the dragons visual field, (off to the sides), gives them a pretty fair ability to detect movement and threats from a wide area. They have some shape detection, but even more movement detection. And they can detect a member of their own species from a pretty long distance. Some experiments suggest that the "third eye" at the top of the head has movement detection as well.

Q: What is coccidia? What are pinworms? How did my beardie get these things and how do I get rid of them? I am very worried about my dragon!

A: Coccidia is an endoparasite. There are several types such as Cryptosporidium, Microspora and the type most common to beardies, Isopora amphiboluri. Coccidia is very difficult to eradicate completely. In fact, most dragons have a certain tolerable amount of coccidia in the gut, naturally . It builds up if the dragon is under stress, and should always be watched for. Lethargy, lack of appetite and runny stool are common symptoms of coccidia. Albon is effective for treating coccidia. You can read more about coccidia here.

Pinworms are also endoparasites, as are tapeworms and roundworms. . Your vet will recommend that Panacur be used to treat the pinworm infestation. Generally, 1-3 treatments will eradicate these pests. Pinworms are a particular danger, because they can actually burrow through the intestinal wall, and end up in other organs such as the lung.

Q: I am a little confused on the vitamins and calcium supplements. I know rep-cal seems to be the most used calcium, but I cannot find it anywhere. Are herpivite and reptivite the same thing? I have had herpivite recommended to me by many beardie owners, but the only thing I can find in my catalogs is reptivite. Do these products labels tell you exactly how often to dust the crickets with each? I know you have to be careful not to overdose them on vitamins and such.

A: The primary difference between Herptivite and Reptivite is the type of vitamin A they contain. Reptivite contains active vitamin A from animal sources while Herptivite contains the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene.

The active vitamin A can potentially be overdosed while this danger is eliminated with a beta carotene source. The usual recommendation is to dust with either product about once per week. Despite what you may read on various internet groups, there is no real evidence to suggest that beardies are particularly sensitive to vitamin A. Overdose situations with vitamin A or any of the other fat soluble vitamins comes with frequent and excessive, and include a depression of calcium metabolism. If you are feeding a variety of greens and veggies, your beardie shouldn't need as much supplementation.

My vet used the following terms during my beardies last visit: direct smear, fecal float and a gram stain. What do they mean and how are they different? Is my beardie ok?

The following terms are often used by vets in relation to reptiles and parasites. Donít worry. They are used to detect parasitic infections. Here is a breakdown of the terms.

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