Here he goes!
And the nab.
This is the innocent bystander who ended up in his aquarium the other day. It was a standoff. Kronk’s crickets are on the window sill.
Going from smallest to largest. A while ago I wrote about Kronk the Bearded Dragon‘s (he doesn’t live by the sea, and Albi the Racist Dragon was exiled to a cave) Metabolic Bone Disease. Kronk was very weak this past winter and had to be spoon fed soy yogurt and babyfood chicken and squash mixed with multi-vitamins and calcium powder. Since then, under his new UVB lamp which allows for absorption of calcium, and being taken outside, he has very slowly gotten stronger. First he started sticking his tongue out to get the food off the spoon instead of having to have it drip into his mouth off of his snout. His head has quit shaking from Rickets when he tries to lift his body off the rock, and he is able to hold himself up for longer periods of time. We haven’t tried to give him live crickets again yet because I’m not sure he could chase them, but when some slower bugs have been placed before him, he will now snatch them up.
Pippin the Corgi and Kitty the cat are getting along very well. Pippin, who has slowed down in his old age, has perked up considerably, especially in facial expression since we got her. He and Kitty play short games of hide and seek and like to ambush each other around corners. This is mostly second hand from the kids because when I’m around, Pippin stays close to me and doesn’t seem to think he should mess with the cat. This is probably because when we brought her home as a little kitten, and he was too aggressive with the scared little thing, I was the one who kept him on a leash and made him leave her alone. I’ve tried to tell him it’s okay to chase her now that she’s not scared anymore, but he still waits till I can’t see or hear it.
Adult Bearded Dragons brumate, or hybernate, from about December to February, during which they sleep most of the time and are lethargic and anorexic the rest of the time. We thought that Kronk appeared to extend this through March due to our extra cold, longer winter this year. But last week when he fell off of his perch and arched his head back and to the right in an apparent spasm we knew something was wrong. He will be 5 years old this summer, which is the minimum life expectancy of his species in captivity. Was this the end? After doing some research on the web, I believed that he was suffering from dehydration and calcium deficiency, the latter a common problem in bearded dragons. He’s had this before, but it was when he was active and eating, and it was just manifested by swollen feet. We remedied the situation then by adding more calcium dust on his live crickets and making sure he had a reptile heating lamp that supplies UV rays which aid in calcium digestion.
I told Jeremy to give him some calcium dusted turnip greens since he was refusing his dried meal worms which he’s been living off of the last couple of years. He refused them too. Then we tried putting him in a warm water bath, which usually relaxes him, but he panicked and spazzed out even more. So we put him back under his heat lamp and gave him some water with calcium powder in a syringe which he greedily and thankfully lapped up. He seemed to relax a bit, but still wouldn’t eat.
I thought maybe he wanted to go back to his live crickets, so we went to the pet store and got him a couple of them. The next day we put him in his sand with the cricket and he slowly dragged himself towards it. Jeremy herded the cricket towards him and he finally caught and ate the lethargic thing (it’d been in a plastic bag all night). I gave him some more water with calcium and he was done.
We went back to the pet store and bought him some more crickets and put them in a cricket keeper with cricket food and water, but since then he has refused them. I don’t know if he’s lost his mojo or if his calcium deprived bones hurt too much to chew crickets. In doing more research, I discovered that his symptoms, which also include periodic head shaking, distinguished from territorial head bobbing, is a sign of rickets. This is often due not only to calcium deficiency but to improper UV lighting. They apparently require UVB as well as UVA. Sure enough, the reptile light that the Pet Store recommended only has UVA – not adequate. So we bought an additional UVB tube and fixture which he has parked himself under ever since. I also read that soy yogurt, baby food squash and baby food chicken with not only calcium powder but reptile vitamin supplements are good for Beardies in this shape. Last week I dropper fed him these things mixed and diluted with water. I’ve never been that close to Kronk, but desperate times, you know.
This week he is much stronger. He lifts his weight bearing chest off the ground again and is more agile and coordinated. His head still shakes when he exerts himself, but he has more energy. He still doesn’t want his crickets and hard to chew greens though. He may have gotten too depleted and suffered too much nerve damage to recover fully, but he’s happy being hand fed. Jeremy is now able to do this with a spoon since he can tolerate a little bit more at a time now.
I added too much water for a spoon to work this morning, so Jeremy’s using the dropper.