Question about Bearded Dragons

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Don Becker
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Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Don Becker » September 25th, 2010, 9:08 pm

Sorry, CBF isn't up any more, and I figure someone here would know. My sister is wondering if coco fiber can be used as a substrate for bearded dragons. I have never tried it, so I wasn't sure. I like coco fiber for some of my snakes because it stays dry, and helps feces break down and not stink things up.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by ChrisNM » September 25th, 2010, 10:29 pm

I've used it via various manufacturers (Bed-a-Beast, T-rex forest bed, etc) as media for lay boxes for various species, but never as a primary substrate outside of when I used it on my leopard geckos. Besides young beardies, I've always used a fine grain play sand. It works great as a moisture retention element within my own recipe of soil blends for various bio-active substrates/soils I've used within my naturalistic tanks.

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justinm
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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by justinm » September 26th, 2010, 7:11 am

A decade ago when I was keeping and breeding them they all thrived on Sand. It was large grained came in bags at Lowe's, had small bits of gravel in it.

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Matt J
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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Matt J » September 26th, 2010, 7:17 am

I also use Play Sand from Lowe's for my bearded dragon, cuz it's dirt cheap (yuk yuk). I've used coco fiber for other critters but it gets a little pricey after a while. Also Play Sand is very easy to scoop when cleaning, and it gives the terrarium a more "natural" look.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Grimleo » September 26th, 2010, 8:10 pm

I would say get tiles for the tank, but if that's not possible I'd tell you to just use paper towels or newspaper. I've seen so many different people(even I've had problems with it) have problems with sand or particle substrate that I just wouldn't risk it any more. Doesn't always look nice(I don't even like the look of tile over sand) but it gets the job done and IMO it's not worth the risk(beardies lick just about everything). Just my personal opinion, though.

Edit* p.s. coco fiber or any kind of bark-like loose substrate is probably the worst possible substrate you can use for a bearded dragon.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by justinm » September 27th, 2010, 4:08 am

Grimleo,

I'm sorry but I get irked by "deli cuppers" who think that all animals should live on friggin paper towels, newspaper, tile etc. Why not get an oxygen tank so that they don't breath the air with poor quality in your home. I could go on. If you look at what the Aussies post of habitat when they post Beardies, guess what they're on? Three guesses... It's not paper towels, newsprint, or tiles.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Don Becker » September 27th, 2010, 4:34 am

She had kept her previous bearded dragon on sand (it had a tumor and died), on sand, but I was talking with her about why I liked the coco bedding for certain animals, so she was curious if it could be used. She will probably just stick with sand.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Grimleo » September 27th, 2010, 8:33 am

justinm wrote:Grimleo,

I'm sorry but I get irked by "deli cuppers" who think that all animals should live on friggin paper towels, newspaper, tile etc. Why not get an oxygen tank so that they don't breath the air with poor quality in your home. I could go on. If you look at what the Aussies post of habitat when they post Beardies, guess what they're on? Three guesses... It's not paper towels, newsprint, or tiles.
I never said I liked it. And that doesn't change the fact that they lick just about everything. They're the only captive animal that I will keep on safe substrate because of that. If I wanted b-a looking beardies I would still be using sand, too. It's not like I'm saying absolutely not(I mean everyone else uses sand, right?). I just worry about the health of the animal, since I've run into nothing but problems using sand for my own beardies.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by chris_mcmartin » September 27th, 2010, 9:01 am

justinm wrote: If you look at what the Aussies post of habitat when they post Beardies, guess what they're on? Three guesses... It's not paper towels, newsprint, or tiles.
Would you include hawks and dingoes in a "naturalistic" beardie enclosure? :P :crazyeyes:

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by justinm » September 27th, 2010, 11:31 am

Grimleo wrote:
justinm wrote:Grimleo,

I'm sorry but I get irked by "deli cuppers" who think that all animals should live on friggin paper towels, newspaper, tile etc. Why not get an oxygen tank so that they don't breath the air with poor quality in your home. I could go on. If you look at what the Aussies post of habitat when they post Beardies, guess what they're on? Three guesses... It's not paper towels, newsprint, or tiles.
I never said I liked it. And that doesn't change the fact that they lick just about everything. They're the only captive animal that I will keep on safe substrate because of that. If I wanted b-a looking beardies I would still be using sand, too. It's not like I'm saying absolutely not(I mean everyone else uses sand, right?). I just worry about the health of the animal, since I've run into nothing but problems using sand for my own beardies.

I guess I don't understand your logic? However do these lizards make it in the wild? If they live on sand and not newsprint, paper towels or tiles? Sand is easy and it works. Don, I wouldn't use the coco fiber, that stuff sounds like an impaction waiting to happen.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Ross Padilla » September 27th, 2010, 1:03 pm

psyon wrote:Sorry, CBF isn't up any more
Its still up, its just not being used. Not the snake section at least.

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Don Becker
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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Don Becker » September 27th, 2010, 2:02 pm

Ross Padilla wrote:
psyon wrote:Sorry, CBF isn't up any more
Its still up, its just not being used. Not the snake section at least.
I thought Scott had pulled it down for the moment. He must have put it back up I guess.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by ChrisNM » September 27th, 2010, 2:41 pm

Grimleo wrote:
justinm wrote:Grimleo,
I just worry about the health of the animal, since I've run into nothing but problems using sand for my own beardies.
John hit on where I'm about to go...

I purchased my first leopard gecko as a hatchling in Oct 96. The first time he went on to sand was spring 97 when I paired him with 2 of 5 females I had at the time, which were kept on sand also. The sand I utilized was disinfected arroyo sand I'd sifted and cleaned; I'd later switch to play sand. I've kept beardies off and on, and both personally and professionally since 2000. Again on sand. I bred and raised Chondrodactylus on sand in 2001 while working at a mom & pop pet store. I currently have an adult pair of TX bandeds, found at the bottom of a 4ft deep water meter, on guess what...

Professionally, as the former Museum Naturalist at the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History I was charged with, among many other hats I wore, the maintenance of our live animal collection consisting of 39 species of reptiles, amphibians, and fish native to the Chihuahuan Desert. I kept all our animals on either straight sand, dependent upon habitat, or a mix of various soils (orchid bark, organic potting soil, orchid mix, jungle mix [which contains sand], etc) at different mixed parts to accommodate various soil types (think bio-active substrates). Not ONCE have I ever had an issue with sand or substrates with sand mixed into it, both personally and professionally.

The only animals I've never kept on sand, where sand was a warranted substrate choice, have been young bearded dragons and leopard geckos. In my best educated opinion, problems with sand or other substrate-based impactions stem from other husbandry issues other than just the mere use of sand and more often seem linked to an imbalance of supplements, or other words dietary.

Nevermind that some more prominent breeders/individuals keep or have kept their animals on such a particulate substrate with little to no ill effects.

BTW, I still have my first leopard gecko from 1996 and his first born son from July 97, both of which are on sand.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Bryan_Hughes » September 27th, 2010, 3:00 pm

Don't use cocofiber. Sand is questionable. Many keep them on it, but it can cause major respiratory problems if the sand isn't absolutely dust-free. The best thing you can do is get ceramic tile or adhesive-free shelf liner (cheap at home depot).

ChrisNM, the issues with sand is due to the variety of supply, some of which is very, very bad. Any of the "reptisand" crap at Petco is horrible for bearded dragons, and playsand being good or bad has a lot to do with the dust content. Natural or a mix of natural and different sized particulate is better, but you have to know what you're doing, which means it's bad advice for general care sheets. It also depends on the individual animal how much they injest either feeding for just for the hello of it.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Ross Padilla » September 27th, 2010, 4:16 pm

psyon wrote:
Ross Padilla wrote:
psyon wrote:Sorry, CBF isn't up any more
Its still up, its just not being used. Not the snake section at least.
I thought Scott had pulled it down for the moment. He must have put it back up I guess.
There might be some on going problems over there. Here's a couple of quotes:
People claim they can't even access this site, but I have no problems. I check it a few times a day, but nothing yet.
I can get to it maybe every 3rd or 4th time? there keeps being a thing saying it's down for maintennce
I was having the same problem for a while but it went away for me.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Chad M. Lane » September 27th, 2010, 5:47 pm

Sand impactions are not from simply ingesting sand especially by just licking it like Beard Dragons do. It's cause by ingesting larger amounts and dehydration, a perfectly healthy and hydrated animal can pass a mouth full of sand just fine.

I bred Bearded Dragons for five years, kept them for 12 I kept them on a mix of dirt that I made and produced roughly 5000 in 5 years with 10 females. I had a male live too 11.5 and lived his WHOLE life on the SAME dirt he made many burrows over the years. I know another keeper who just lost his first male at 9 years of age kept on dirt his WHOLE life.

I also didn't use a 20 or even 55 gallon tank either. They were kept in 4x4 cages with 20-24" of dirt.




Cheers,
Chad

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Grimleo » September 27th, 2010, 8:11 pm

I've had multiple bad experiences using sand myself, and I've decided it's not worth the risk. Beardies have been happy since I switched, so I'm happy that I switched. Not here to impress anybody, just trying to help out.

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Re: Question about Bearded Dragons

Post by Paul White » October 2nd, 2010, 5:12 pm

since the original question was about coco fiber, I'll chime in.
I've used it before and won't use it again. It has this nasty habit of getting all in the animals mouth and swallowed. I didn't get any health problems with it but I hated looking in and seeing a snake with a mouthful of the stuff. They'd go drink and dig in the coco fiber and get it in thier pits, in the lips...just not so great. Plus it always played merry hell with my allergies (seriously, after cleaning a cage with the stuff I'd be sneezing for hours). I"ve used coco fiber as part of soil mixes a few times and didn't have any problems with it then though.
I've seen people use sand with success, I've seen people that have problems with it....I won't use play sand due to the issues FR alluded to, but if if I find a good source of natural sand will give it a go if I have an appropriate species.

Right now I'm using mostly cypress for my critters.

edit: who the hell keeps a lizard as big as a beardie in a 20 long?? 55 I can see (although I'd say it's too narrow)...but a 20 long? Really? I won't use those for decent sized corns!

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