Baby Bearded Dragon acting weird.. Need quick advise !

Discussion in 'Other Reptiles And Pets' started by Jennii, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Jennii

    Jennii New Member


    I'm getting worried about a new Bearded Dragon I got two days ago and I'm looking for some answers that could maybe help :)

    To explain the situation:

    I already have a Baby Bearded Dragon, must be two or three months old but I'm not sure of it's sexe. He's called Noopy, he is very actif, eats well and has a good health so we decided to get another one.

    The new one should be one months or less and they said it was a male.
    Since we put them together, the new Bearded Dragon is really acting weird, I don't think he looks to good :(
    The first time he was jumping around to catch crickets but since he hasen't been eating, just stayes flat on the floor with his eyes closed and definatly doesn't have an vigourous eye of attitude..

    I don't know if the is sick or if he is just adapting or not comfertable with Noopy but I have to call the place I got him from tomorrow to see if I should bring him back (Which I really don't want to do :( ) but if I could get answers it would really help!

    Thank you,

  2. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    What are the temperatures in the basking area and the rest of the cage?
    What brand and type (compact, spiral, long linear tube) UVB light are you using?
    What are you using for a substrate?
  3. laurie

    laurie Retired Moderator

    My first advice is separate them asap. If they are different sizes or worst yet, both males, then one of the two will most likely lose out on food. The first dragon in the tank most likely views it as his. Put another smaller one in and it won't do well, as you are seeing.
    Lancecham likes this.
  4. Texas Ranger

    Texas Ranger Avid Member

    That dosent sound good at all.there is a theory that all bearded dragons are born with worms and coccidia:eek: I have a little red leather back dragon I got from one of the best breeders in the US. When he sales a dragon he dose a full fecals test and mess before selling them. He told me 99% of all his baby dragons have coccidia and worms right out of the egg.why I don't know. But it sounds like you need to put him in his Owen tank and get a fecal done ASAP I am willing to bet that is what is wrong with your little guy.JMO.
    suzi likes this.
  5. Jennii

    Jennii New Member

    The général temperature is around 35-40°C , 45°C near the heating lamp during daylight time and dropes down to 21°C at night, we have a UVB liner tube light which heats, a heating mat on the flood (underneath the terrarium).

    I don't think the envirement is the problem as the first one we have (Noopy) is doing great and is in perfect condition, I unfortunately think Noopy is a male and that the new one isn't well with him :(

    Or that he is sick.. How could I know if he isn't in good health?

  6. Texas Ranger

    Texas Ranger Avid Member

    You need to get fecal test done on them both. Also get rid of the under tank heater. More dragons get hurt and die from those dang things every year. They do not understand that heat is coming from the bottom. They have what is called a 3rd eye in the center of there head that let's them know there temps and needs. From a lights.
  7. Jennii

    Jennii New Member

    Thank you for your reply Texas Ranger,

    but how can he suddenly be sick when he was doing perfectly well before we baught him? :S

    I really think they just can't stay together.. When we carry him he moves and is better, he did try and run after crickets to eat them but then Noopy got all big and black bearded which clearly shows agressivness, and the little new one did that knodding thing with his head they do when they are dominated..
  8. Texas Ranger

    Texas Ranger Avid Member

    It could be one just showing dominates over the other and stress is a factor now. O and a move from place to place and stress a reptile and if they have parisites the stress of the move has mad them week or any big changes to the environment will stress them too. And the parisite load starts to grow because the animal is week.JMO.
  9. Jennii

    Jennii New Member

    Unfortunately I guess I should give him back then :( I really don't think he's sick, I think he feels stressed and not well because of Noopy who has certanly already made the place his home.

    I saw the new one waiting Nooèy had finished eating before he could get a try.

    Can two males really not live together?
  10. laurie

    laurie Retired Moderator

    Having had beardies for years, my opinion is that 2 males can't live together. Sorry.
  11. Jennii

    Jennii New Member

    Yes I've heard that everywhere.. I only wishI could be sure of Noopy's sexe before taking any decisions, but really can't see what he or she is, too young :(
  12. davthevieled

    davthevieled Member

    Even if they are too young, male or female, one will try to display dominance over the area that they live in. As such, it will claim any and all food, basking spots, and fun spots in the tank as his or her own. When you have one that is a month older, that one is obviously going to be bigger, stronger, and faster than the little one and will therefore push the little one out of the way to food, basking, and such causing the little one to not eat or bask properly and eventually (as happened to my girlfriend's one week younger beardie) die. Get them separate tanks asap and get a fecal done on both just to be sure that nothing did get transmitted between them as a beardie can appear to be perfectly healthy while still carrying a small parasite load... it won't display serious symptoms until it is seriously sick.

    On top of that, don't be so hard on yourself. You may still be able to keep the two as long as they are separated. I like to think of it as... being a good reptile keeper isn't JUST by being able to follow the rules all the time but how quickly you react and care for your babies once something bad arises. EVERYONE has an issue at some point, it is how you handle it that makes you a good keeper. Asking for help is by far the sign of a good keeper, just get a tank for the other little one and care for it. You will be fine :)
  13. emilybier

    emilybier New Member

    As an aside, did you quarantine the new one at all before putting them together? New animals should be quarantined for 2-3 months to watch for any signs of illness whether they will be placed with another animal in a habitat or not to keep any potential illness from spreading. I'm sorry he's not well :( Hope he feels better soon!!!

    Davetheveiled couldn't have said it better.
  14. lindawaz

    lindawaz New Member

    I am way behind on this thread but you did get the correct information. They can not live together. Opposite sex-he will mate her til she dies because she can not leave and that is his instinct. In the wild it would be a new female each time, in the cage always her.

    Two males one always needs to be the boss.
    Two females can be done sometimes but need the space for each to have almost their own separate cage with in a cage.

    This is my viv for mine as an example and I would still not think it big enough to house two females safely. Each is 5.5 feet by 2.5 feet by 3.5 feet they have ramps to get to a second floor within their own space.

    I am very sorry you can not keep them in the same viv as you wanted :(

    Attached Files:

  15. fluxlizard

    fluxlizard New Member

    A few thoughts to confirm what others have said and to add a couple of notes of my own-

    Young dragons under 8" or so in length can sometimes go downhill very fast (within 24 hours) after appearing outwardly to be healthy. They can have pre-existing conditions (like parasites or somewhat deficient diet) kept in check by an active immune system, and then the stress of being moved to a new home, or stress of a new cagemate could cause them to crash. The older/larger the dragon is up to about 12" in length, the better. Unfortunately, the trend on the buyer, whether dealer or new pet owner, has nearly always been to buy them as cheaply as possible. As a breeder I find this very frustrating. I'm not pointing fingers at you- it is an industry wide problem and I believe most buyers really don't know the benefit vs the risk or even that slightly older animals are a better way to go. I've heard some kind of silly ideas about "bonding". Dragons aren't mammals and older ones will relate to you just as readily over time.

    Well, if you have had noopy for a few months and this new one is only a few weeks old, noopy should now be much larger than the new one. That is stressful for the new one, and dangerous as well. Smaller individuals start to look like tempting snacks to larger ones, and loss of limbs or tail can be the result.

    I go through and measure each and every young dragon I have and sort them into groups them according to size every week until they are sold or matured and put into breeding groups here. This week I'll have to do this with a few hundred. My dragons sometimes grow over an inch a week. But- what happens with these groups is very interesting. Each week as the groups are re-formed, in each group a few new dragons become dominant and these individuals grow faster compared to the rest. When dominant animals are removed from the groups, previously sub-dominant animals take their place in the pecking order and they then grow faster than the others.

    I did an experiment a couple of summers ago where I fed small insects every few hours to each of several groups. I was able to overcome this trend among the 100 in my experiment and grow my babies out at what I would have previously thought an unbelievably uniform rate over the summer to near maturity, and didn't have to sort them. But in the process I ended up seriously depleting my roach colonies - I fed out over 750,000 over the course of the summer months to grow out that 100 lizards!

    So- 2 suggestions- seperate your young dragons if they have a significant size difference (I keep mine in groups that are within an inch in length). This will help prevent stress and aggression. Otherwise, raise your pair seperately until they are at least 6" snout to vent. Over the years from experience I have learned this length is a safe size to add new breeders to established groups as long as it is outside of breeding season- I don't want them breeding until they are much larger (7.5" snvl). Nowadays I go the extra time and wait until they are 7" svl before adding to an established group or forming a new one.

    If you end up with 2 males. Always keep them seperate once they reach that 6" svl. Under that size, if they are within an inch in size from each other they can be raised together.

    If for some reason your smaller animal catches up with your larger one before this size, you may be able to keep them together until they grow if you can get their growth rate matched up. You may be able to give a good solid try by repeating my experiment- lots of smaller insects rather than fewer large ones, and smaller meals more often (3 or more x per day) rather than a single large one. I believe the reason this works is that the dominant lizards fill up and then the less dominant get new opportunities to feed when food is first placed in during times when the full dominant animals ignore the food. Less dominant animals wait until the dominant ones ignore the food and feeding response is greatest when food is first put in, so merely adding more food so some is left over is not effective for triggering optimal feeding of sub-dominant animals- adding fresh feedings does the trick. That is what I think was going on with my groups anyway.

    With adult males over 6" svl- Usually outright aggression isn't the problem, instead one male will do really well while the other slowly looses weight and does worse over time. Some books came out in the 90s that mentioned breeding groups of 2.3 being most effective. That is because the lizards were kept in really large (8'x8' or larger) outdoor enclosures and the dominant male becomes more territorial/interested in breeding at the sight of the other male. It isn't necessary and in smaller enclosures the other male always suffers. (I tried back in those days and the second male had to be removed after a few months every time because it just wouldn't thrive and would steadily loose weight).

    2 adult females- I've never had a problem that way, even long term without a male present. They do establish a pecking order, but both gain weight and maintain it and behave normally. Not saying problems are impossible, as with any lizards kept together, only saying according to my experience it must be pretty unusual for a problem between 2 females to occur. And not saying they do not have a pecking order- they do, and normally when a male is present when there is a social display confirming this order is going on, he will run over and lick the dominant female to end the display, taking care of the sub-dominant female and asserting his role as head of the group all in one step.

    Normally I keep groups of 1 male with 2 females and they are permanently housed together year round. A couple of times I have had females become the dominant animal in the group outside of breeding season- even down to where they behave like a male - black beard, head bobbing neck biting and everything. But during breeding season the males always became dominant and the females laid eggs confirming their sexual identity.

    In my experience (hundreds of breeders since 1994) males will not "breed females to death" or stress them much. Assertion of dominance does sometimes include behavior that appears to humans to be very similar to breeding or aggression with head bobbing, neck biting, followed by side to side shaking of the female and pressing her body to the ground but it is not followed up with actual copulation. Instead the male lets go and sits up and looks around. In spite of this behavior which may seem rough to humans, the females will maintain excellent weight and health. Normally the females deal with the males and discourage such behavior by arm waving and pressing their bodies to the ground for a few minutes when they see the males start to bob and run around. Often when they do this the male will be satisfied and not feel the need to continue. This behavior on the males' part typically occurs only a few minutes and only on some days- usually in the evening, and just long enough to make sure the pecking order is kept in tact. These events may occur on a single day or several days in a row and then go weeks without this behavior before it is repeated. During breeding season these displays as well as actual copulation are much more frequent and can be a daily affair- usually more active during the afternoon and evenings. As the season goes on, they become less and less frequent.

    BUT- new males under a couple years old are occasionally very antisocial and not suitable for use as breeders yet because their hormones are sometimes so active that they are more interested in dominance than in breeding, and such males will hurt females by excessive biting and driving on her in dominance displays. Such males typically tend to bite tails, legs and sides rather than the usual neck and shoulders- areas of attack that are signs of aggression, not mere assertion of dominance. Such males typically mellow out of this after they reach 3 or 4 years of age. In the meantime they have to be kept isolated or they will harm their cage-mates. Such males are maybe 1 in 100 or even less. They are not typical.

    Anyway, this is much longer than I intended- sometimes I don't know how to explain things briefly without explaining all the whys- sorry if everyone fell asleep by this point. Maybe someone will find it interesting. :eek:

    If to OP is just skimming all this blah blah blah-

    The point is- you probably need to seperate the lizards and if you want them both raise them seperately until they are 6" svl or better yet 7". And then if you have 2 males you should keep them seperately. If you have a male and a female, you might put them together as I do, or keep them seperate outside of breeding. If you have 2 females, I think it is pretty safe to keep them together once they are 6" svl or larger.

    Others may disagree, that's fine. I'm just sharing my experience and what has worked for me.

    Here are some of my breeder enclosures. I have 64 cages of breeders 1.2 adults per enclosure. I have been keeping and breeding them since 1994 over many generations. My oldest are at least 12 years old now (I'm not the greatest record keeper, but I know my oldest were full grown adults who had at least one breeding season behind them before I moved to my present home in 2001). My enclosures are slightly modified 4' long x 29" x 29" reptariums. It's a love/hate thing with these cages for the dragons. I patch them constantly and my goal is to replace them outdoors with in-ground enclosures the next couple of years.

    #15 fluxlizard, Nov 14, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011

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