Beardie Crisis Advice

lesschops

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Hey guys, we have a crazy situation that I need some advice on. My partner had been talking about getting a bearded dragon for her birthday in April. I decided to organise it, and offered to split the cost with her brother.

Her brother in his infinite wisdom just went out and bought the dragon without telling us, or without anything to keep it in. He just handed it to her randomly one day and said happy birthday, even though her birthday was just under two months away. We had to rush to the pet store after work to get an enclosure, lights, thermostat and food etc. (As a side note, it is super irresponsible to gift people animals they had no idea was coming and aren’t prepared for. Always discuss it with the person first.)

Where I live in New South Wales, Australia, you need a reptile license to have beardies, and I have an R1. However we need to register it as a transfer from the breeder so we need his license number, so we contacted him and he won’t give us his license. We spoke to her brother and he doesn’t even have a license despite purchasing it from a breeder.

On top of that, the (female, estimated <1yr old) beardie, is barely eating. She won’t touch crickets, or greens, or fruit. She eats the occasional superworm, but when we got her to actually eat a whole bunch of them, she ended up regurgitating a lot of it up overnight, and we don’t know why. She’s very inactive, barely moves, and very thin, but is awake and responsive and basking constantly.

My partner has grown quite attached to the dragon but is worried that the breeder is mistreating his animals and doesn’t have a license to keep these animals in the first place, so she doesn’t want to send it back, but it’s also like super illegal to have these animals without having it registered to your license.

Any advice would be excellent, as we have no idea what to do. We want a beardie, but not under these circumstances.
 

Herpetology

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Breeders don’t give out their license to people who didn’t buy animals from them, because those people are usually the ones that use the breeders license number to sell their illegally acquired animals to unknowing

tell your brother to call the breeder and ask for license (using your license number and info In exchange)

if still refuses to give license, you have 2 options, 1: report the breeder to relevant authorities, your beardie will be destroyed if you tell them you bought an animal off them and they indeed do not have a license
2: hope the WL authorities don’t randomly knock on your door after making this post

Wild accusation to make linking no license = mistreating, you haven’t even provided your setup information, could be your partners setup causing issues, especially if you went to a pet shop to get items, hopefully you didn’t get sucked in by a sales person
 
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lesschops

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Breeders don’t give out their license to people who didn’t buy animals from them, because those people are usually the ones that use the breeders license number to sell their illegally acquired animals to unknowing

tell your brother to call the breeder and ask for license (using your license number and info In exchange)

if still refuses to give license, you have 2 options, 1: report the breeder to relevant authorities, your beardie will be destroyed if you tell them you bought an animal off them and they indeed do not have a license
2: hope the WL authorities don’t randomly knock on your door after making this post

Wild accusation to make linking no license = mistreating, you haven’t even provided your setup information, could be your partners setup causing issues, especially if you went to a pet shop to get items, hopefully you didn’t get sucked in by a sales person
We have contacted her brother and he is contacting the breeder, but that should have been the first thing he asked for when he got the beardie. Why would the breeder not give their license to him, or require to see the license of someone purchasing an animal? My plan was to go to a pet shop that I have legally purchased reptiles from before, but he totally jumped the gun by about 2 months. We didn’t even have an enclosure or know he was planning on getting one. It’s just ridiculous that he’d even put us in this position.

The enclosure we got is a glass reptile enclosure, about a metre long. I set it up myself and I know what I’m doing because I kept snakes for years and I was already in the process of researching beardie husbandry when he just dumped this lizard on us. It has a 150w day basking lamp, set to about 41 degrees on a thermostat, a UVB bulb, hides big enough to fit a beardie, a perch, a hammock, a water bowl and food bowl. We are using paper towel and newspaper as substrate as she is in quarantine from our other reptiles. We have offered crickets, superworms, leafy greens, bananas, carrots, and strawberries.
 

Herpetology

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YOu are right, he shouldnt have done that and its totally wrong on you guys, but its happened and now you're in posession of an unlicensed reptile as i said before you have those 2 options ^^^...

is it a known breeder in nsw? (i feel like i can almost guess *cough* camo *cought* ) or some random person who breeds them?

On your licensing record you can put in "seller did not provide License" in the seller license section but include their details: name, Phone, address etc its really the least you can do


Im not gonna comment on the setup as i am no bearded dragon keeper... but get rid of the hammock, this isnt america! @dragonlover1 might be able to assist here

Yep. Pet shops just complicate things. Selling you stuff you don't need.

well that and also this is a thing : Ridiculously overpriced, makes me wonder what cost he was planning on sharing with partners boyfriend, 1500$ each or 100$ each :eek:
2dXBRsG.png
 

Tobe404

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I don't know if I'm missing something but how long have you actually had the Dragon?

If the Beardie has just been moved into a new surprise home... It'll take a while for it to settle in.

Glass enclosures probably isn't the best as it's most likely open/see through on all sides? So might be stressed because of that. Also not the best for keeping heat in. Probably just get tangled somehow in the hammock too.

Does it have anything to actually bask on? Like a pile of rocks/tiles? What exactly is the perch?

I'd also give Woodies a try at some stage too if you haven't already.
 

Pythonguy1

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well that and also this is a thing : Ridiculously overpriced, makes me wonder what cost he was planning on sharing with partners boyfriend, 1500$ each or 100$ each
Yeah it's stupid. And the annoying thing is that you have people coming into pet stores taking any advice given to them because they haven't researched for themselves, and in the end people are getting sold stuff that they just don't need.
 
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dragonlover1

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Okay this post has got me confused, apart from the fact you have an unlicensed dragon that wont eat. It is in a glass enclosure that most reputable reptile keepers will tell you won't hold heat,(why do reptile shops continue to sell this rubbish?)
Dragons should be in wooden enclosures that open from the front, partly because they are less frightened of the giant hand from the sky and also because they are kept at more stable temps.As for the hammock ,I don't use them but I know of many people who do.
Beardies should have a sand substrate, I know your's is in quarantine so that's fine. There should also be a branch at an angle and a rock to bask under the light.
If the "cough cough" breeder won't supply details he is obviously a shonk and you should either return the dragon and get a refund or else report him to OEH, he has already been reported and should lose his license permanently. You will prob have to surrender this dragon, but then you can buy a quality dragon from a GOOD breeder and have no further problems.If you are in Sydney I can point you in the right direction.
 

dragonlover1

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'cause it makes 'em go ???
People seem to like the big glass enclosures though, despite the fact that they suck at holding heat.
If only reptile one made more wood enclosures.
Newbies don't know what is good or bad, they just buy whatever crap the shop sells. It is only when you have more knowledge that you understand you have been sold a load of crap. When I sell my babies I try to educate the new people on what to avoid and where to buy the better products. After more than 20 years of keeping I have learnt a lot but newbies don't have this knowledge unfortunately.
 

Pythonguy1

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Newbies don't know what is good or bad, they just buy whatever crap the shop sells. It is only when you have more knowledge that you understand you have been sold a load of crap. When I sell my babies I try to educate the new people on what to avoid and where to buy the better products. After more than 20 years of keeping I have learnt a lot but newbies don't have this knowledge unfortunately.
100% agree dragonlover1. That's why when I sell products to customers I try to educate them as much as possible about which products they do need and which one's they don't.
I can't stand it when I hear people saying things like, Diamond pythons need UV and people recommending heat mat wattage's that are just unnecessary. I'm the only one at work who actually owns snakes so you can imagine my frustration when I hear people giving costumers any old s**t.
 

Bluetongue1

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@lesschips, you are to be commended for your prompt action in setting up appropriate housing for the beardie and your efforts in trying to feed it up. What comes through loud and clear is that your primary concern is for the reptile’s wellbeing. Let’s address your most pressing concerns about health first.

On the information provided it does not sound good. The fact that it vomited up food already in its stomach is definitely not a good a sign. That, plus its evident loss of appetite, lack of activity and time spent basking, it sounds like you have a very sick lizard on your hands. To be perfectly honest with you I suspect the ultimate outcome is not likely to be good. Here are some things you check to help to get a better idea of what the nature of the problem may be…
  • You said the dragon is “very thin” and barely moves and has little appetite. Is it able to bear its own weight on its limbs? Does it ever lift its tail off the substrate at any time. They swill often do so when moving around. If no, it may well be suffering from Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), which once it takes hold is fatal.
  • Dehydration can be indicated by loose skin and sunken eyes. It can be tested for by gently pinching a small fold of skin. If it that stays ‘tented’ rather than rolling straight back to its original shape, dehydration is indicated. To rehydrate an animal, don’t simply just give it water. It will have lost body electrolytes which need to replaced at the same time. Secondly, this needs to be done gradually to allow the kidneys and liver to cope with detoxing of any built-up wastes. You can se an electrolyte fluid from the chemist, such as Hydralyte, or a sports electrolyte drink such as Staminade or Gatorade, but diluted half to one third strength.
  • Body condition is assessed by observing fat deposits and skeletal features. Bearded dragons have fat depositions either side on top of the skull, between the position of the eye and the eardrum. If normal, these should provide a smooth, rounded out shape to that section of the head and feel slightly pliable to touch. If this area appear sunken and feel hard, it is indicative that the dragon is emaciated. Other signs of emaciation are the ribs being visible, the spine and pelvic bones (hips) jutting out, the base to the tail being thin (laterally compressed and angular) rather than plump and rounded, and the same for the upper portion of the limbs.
I did a bit of checking on the what is required for reptiles to change hands in NSW… Animal Record Form (nsw.gov.au). As you can in the example, both the seller and the buyer are required to record the full name and address of the other, plus their licence number, in the electronic or paper Native Animal Keeper Record Books, that are all held by legal keepers. Clearly, the lizard was sold illegally. Licensed keepers are required to account for every single reptile on their books, so why would a keeper try and dispose of a legally held reptile to someone without a licence, which is illegal? They wouldn’t! You have a sick lizard that cannot be legalised. My recommendation is that you give the lizard back to her brother and tell him to go and get his money back. Alternatively, you may be able to hand it into a wildlife carer, where at least it will get vet assessed rather than just automatically euthanised. Personally, I would be seriously considering reporting the seller, but that’s not my decision to make.

There a few other points I like to make, but this post is long enough (and late enough, due to some computer related issues I have been having of late).
 

murrindindi

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We have contacted her brother and he is contacting the breeder, but that should have been the first thing he asked for when he got the beardie. Why would the breeder not give their license to him, or require to see the license of someone purchasing an animal? My plan was to go to a pet shop that I have legally purchased reptiles from before, but he totally jumped the gun by about 2 months. We didn’t even have an enclosure or know he was planning on getting one. It’s just ridiculous that he’d even put us in this position.

The enclosure we got is a glass reptile enclosure, about a metre long. I set it up myself and I know what I’m doing because I kept snakes for years and I was already in the process of researching beardie husbandry when he just dumped this lizard on us. It has a 150w day basking lamp, set to about 41 degrees on a thermostat, a UVB bulb, hides big enough to fit a beardie, a perch, a hammock, a water bowl and food bowl. We are using paper towel and newspaper as substrate as she is in quarantine from our other reptiles. We have offered crickets, superworms, leafy greens, bananas, carrots, and strawberries.
Hi, first you need to put a photo up of the whole enclosure then say what the basking surface and lowest ambient (air) temps are and how you`re measuring the surface temp especially.
Setting the thermostat @ 41c is probably too high, you need to set the lowest ambient first (between approx 21 to 24c) then adjust the basking surface temp by either lowering the bulb or raising the basking object to get a surface temp of between approx. 40 to 45c , those are the only two temps to worry about during "activity time" (daytime).
Nighttime, I personally would not go lower than approx. 19c (unless the animal is brumating).
You haven`t mentioned the humidity range, what is it?
If this dragon is a definite female you also need to provide suitable nesting at all times, because you do not know when she will become gravid, paper towels are of no use in that respect (I understand you have the animal under quarantine conditions but nesting is life threateningly important).
What type is the basking bulb (just light and heat or those plus UVB? Sorry for the late response I`ve only just seen your thread.
Edit: Regurgitating may be due to stress or too high/low temps. I agree, the hammock is useless as a basking object, you need to use something solid that holds the heat.
 
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Bluetongue1

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Edit: Regurgitating may be due to stress or too high/low temps. I agree, the hammock is useless as a basking object, you need to use something solid that holds the heat.
Quite deliberately I did not list the possible causes of regurgitation, so as not to over complicate the issue. Those things that I’m aware can cause this in a bearded are: The temperature inside the tank is too low; Dehydration; Over eating; Eating food that is off or contains irritating toxins; Having a high coccidia count or other intestinal paransites; Impaction; Suffering digestive problems due to illness e.g. salmonella infection; Rough handling too soon after a meal. One might consider the last of these as a form of stress, but a reptile suffering from general stress will usually not eat at all. Excessive heat might affect eating and hydration but should not affect not digestion.

I disagree that a basking spot under a radiant heat source has to be solid (and therefore hammocks are useless). I have personally observed bearded dragons in the wild sun-basking on the top of green foliage, on spread-out flower heads and perched on dead twigs, none of which are solid. Even solid timber, be it living or dead, does not provide a significant heat reservoir. This is because wood is a good insulator, so the heat does not penetrate much below the surface. While I do not like hammocks, this is to do with aesthetics rather than not being solid.

A couple of relevant pics from the net:
1618113364874.png1618113411614.png
 
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