Ball Python: Mouth Rot – What You Should Do Right Now

Ball Python Mouth Rot

Probably something like this just has happened to you: You enjoyed your amazing ball python, you were happy that everything is fine, but then you noticed it.

A weird spot around your ball python´s mouth or maybe even exzessive salivation or yellowish mucus around or inside your ball
python´s mouth? If that´s the case you really should be worried.

If your ball python really has mouth rot, this could end very badly. In this article you are going to learn how to identify mouth rot in ball pythons, what you can do now and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Is It Really Mouth Rot?

So before you start to worry to much, first you have to make sure that your snake really has mouth rot (or stomatitis). Often new snake keepers see a dark spot around their ball python´s mouth and think that it might be mouth rot even though it is just the normal color of the snake. So here is how you can tell if it is really mouth rot.

You might see a lot of mucus inside your snake´s mouth. Most probably your snake will open it´s mouth more often than normal. Exzessive salivation is another sign of a beginning mouth rot.

If you are brave enough, have a look inside your ball python´s mouth. Do you see any red dots? Pink or purple dots? Or even black areas? If you see several of these symptoms, your ball python most probably has mouth rot. The video below shows you how to open your ball python´s mouth safely.

What Causes Mouth Rot In Ball Pythons?

Of course you need to know how this could even happen. In order to prevent mouth rot, here are the things you have to keep an eye on.

Stress

You could call it the root of all evil when it comes to diseases. Not only in animals, as you know, even humans get sick from negative stress. So you should really make sure that your ball python is not stressed. In order to prevent stress, you need a couple of hides in your ball python tank. Further, if you keep your ball python in a glass tank, place the tank in a not too busy place. Your snake should have the possibility to hide at all times.

Too frequent handling could be a problem as well. Adult ball pythons are known for being very calm and friendly, but don´t handle it too often as the snake could get stressed even without showing it.

Wrong Feeding

In order to stay healthy, your ball python needs healthy food. So make sure that the mice or rats you feed are healthy as well. Don´t feed too often and don´t feed too seldom. In most cases, once a week is fine.

Glass Surfing

Some ball pythons rub their snout against the glass all day. If your ball python´s nose takes damage from that, it could lead to an infection that leads to mouth rot. You should check your tank setup if your snake does that.

Has my snake mouth rot

Wrong Tank Setup

Probably the most common problem. Maybe your tank is too small and your snake starts to rubb it´s mouth against the glass or plastic all day. Further your humidity could be too high, which could lead to several diseases as well. If your temperature is not right, your snake could get sick. Check your tank setup!

If you need help with humidity, read this article. If you struggle to get the right temperature in your ball python enclosure, read this guide.

What You Should Do Now!

Mouth rot is not a joke. Remember “rot” means that parts of your snake are dying while your snake is still alive. This disease can even attack your ball python´s bones which is very, very painful for the snake. Most probably your snake will lose teeth if the disease has spread.

Your ball python will die if the disease is left untreated, that´s why you have to take your ball python to a vet right now.

If the mouth rot has just started and you do not see any dark areas inside your ball python´s mouth you might be able to treat the mouth rot with this product called Rot Guard. You have to mix this powder with water and flush your snake´s mouth with it.

However if your snake does not get better you should take it to a vet quickly.

Rot Guard

This powder can help to cure a mild mouth rot in reptiles.

Nature Zone SNZ59331 Rot Guard Enhance Immune System for Reptiles

Conclusion

Mouth rot can be treated and it doesn´have to get bad for your snake if you start the treatment early. However if the mouth rot is too bad already or if you see that the disease is not getting better, you should visit a reptile vet as quickly as possible.

In order to prevent mouth rot, make sure that you have the perfect tank setup for your ball python. Most of the time this is where problems begin.

How Long Do Ball Pythons Get? No Need To Be Afraid

How Long Do Ball Pythons Get

If you are new to the snake world, or if you are thinking about getting a snake, you might be a little bit intimidated by the thought of owning a snake and you might hope that it doesn´t get too big. (Trust me, I felt exactly like this as well) Or, completely different, you are absolutely fine with having a huge snake, but you are worried about the space such a snake needs.

No matter what the reason is you are asking yourself how long ball pythons get, you are about to receive an answer. In this article your are going to learn how big ball pythons get and what you can do if you really want to get a ball python, but you´d rather get a smaller one, because you are a beginner and feel initimidated or if you don´t have enough space.

How Big Do Ball Pythons Get?

Actually, ball pythons do not get too big. While the hatchlings are around 10 inches in length, a full grown ball python can become 5-foot long. They can even become longer, but a 5-foot ball python is already pretty big. So it is likely that your ball python might stay a little bit smaller.

How big your ball python gets and how fast it grows highly depends on how you are feeding and how good your ball python eats. Ball pythons are known for being picky eaters. The size difference between a good eating ball python and a picky eater at the same age can be huge.

However that does not mean that you should “create” your own ball python size by feeding more or less, of course. While the ball python´s head stays rather small, their bodies can get thick, but definitely not as thick as your arm. So, it really is a rather small snake.

What Kind Of Enclosure Do You Need?

You might think now, that ball pythons need a huge enclosure. In my opinion, they need a tank that´s rather small. If you have a very small baby ball python, you can start with a long 10-Gallon tank. Although I would definitely recommend to start with a long 20-Gallon tank as the snake should have some space to stretch. Adult ball pythons need a wide 40-Gallon tank, but I recommend to go with a bigger tank, since most 40-Gallon tanks are only 36 inches in length. 48 inches in length is an okay size in my opinion.

Further you don´t have to get a glass tank. Most ball python owners keep their snake in a plastic box. It doesn´t look as beautiful as a glass tank, but it is cheaper and some think that it is easier to maintain the right humidity in it. Honestly, keeping the right humidity in a glass tank is not that hard, so get what feels better to you. Always make sure that the enclosure is as long as the snake.

Sterilite 41 QT Under Bed Storage Box

This plastic box is a very cheap solution and big enough for most ball pythons.

Sterilite 19608006 41 Quart39 Liter Underbed Storage Box

What Does Such A Snake Eat?

If you want to know how big ball pythons get, you might also be worried about the size of their food. It is a little bit weird for beginners to feed mice and rats to a snake. I understand that and I felt the same. You definitely get used to it though.

Baby ball pythons should eat adult mice. Adult ball pythons will eat full grown rats. If this gives you a weird feeling, I recommend to get your ball python as a baby. This way, you will grow with your snake and it won´t be that hard for you to feed a full grown rat to you ball python.

You can still feed your ball python frozen rats, if you don´t want to feed them alive, however it is more natural if you feed them alive.

What You Can Do If You Want A Smaller Ball Python

If you want a ball python that stays rather small, you should definitely take a male python. Female ball pythons get 3 to 5 feet long while males only get around 3 feet long.

There are no guarantees though. There are males that get as big as females. There are females that stay as small as males. You could also get a full grown ball python with a size that you like. As I said, growth depends on how well the python eats.

How big do ball pythons get

Conclusion

If you are a beginner and intimidated, don´t worry about it. If you really want this snake, get it and you will see that no matter how big your snake gets, you won´t be afraid of it. It is just a matter of getting used to it. They are not able to kill you and even if they were, they have no interest in doing so as they are pretty calm snakes as adults.

Ball pythons are amazing snakes, so do your research and get one if you really want to!

If you have any questions, just leave a comment in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Have fun with your ball python!

Your Ball Python Is Yawning? Why You Should Care About It!

Ball Python Yawning

I mean, this is the worst, right? You could an amazing pet and you are so happy about it, but then it shows an uncommon behavior and you just don´t know if that is okay or if you should be worried. Paranoia kicks in and now you are worried about everything.

Trust me, I know that too well. Happened to me a hundreds times when I was a beginner when it comes to reptiles and it also happened to me often when I bought a new reptile.

When you see a ball python yawning, most probably it is a normal behavior, however it could be a sign of disease as well. So here is why ball pythons yawn, what it means and when you should be worried about it.

The Number One Reason Why Ball Pythons Yawn

This is what every ball python owner will tell you first. Yawning is a normal behavior in ball pythons. Most of the time they do this after they ate. As you know, ball pythons can swallow huge meals without a problem. Most people think that they detach their jaws, but that isn´t the case.

In fact each side of the lower jaw can move independently and that´s why snakes can open their mouth so wide. What has that to do with the yawning though?

After your ball python swallowed a rat or something like that, it has to get the jaw back into a “comfortable” position. Sometimes it does not really fit and that´s why they open their mouth to position the jaws correctly.

So snakes do not yawn like we humans do, because we are tired or bored.

When Should You Be Worried?

You should definitely be worried if your ball python is yawning all the time. While it is normal that they yawn from time to time even if they did not eat, it shouldn´t be all the time.

Ball Python Yawn

Sometimes you can even see your ball python opening it´s mouth all the time or you might even hear your ball python sneeze. I know it sounds crazy and somehow cute, but ball python really can sneeze. If you something clicking in your reptile room, it could be your ball python sneezing.

We all know that ball pythons can be picky when it comes to food, but if your ball python does not eat anymore and is yawning a lot, this could be a bad sign.

What Could That Be?

That could be a respiratory infection or a lung inflammation, for example. You might be able to see something like a slime in your ball python´s mouth when it is yawning. It is definitely time to take your ball python to a vet now.

How Could That Happen?

Stuff like this most of the time happens if the temperature inside the snake´s enclosure is not right or if you have too high humidity in the ball python´s enclosure. If you need help to get the right temperature in your ball python tank, read my heating guide!

I know that many people think that ball python´s need a very high humidity. However the truth is that ball pythons do not come from a tropical area. They live in a rather dry area, so you should not have a too high humidity. If you need help to get the humidity in your ball python tank right, read my humidity guide.

Ball Python yawning all the time

Is There A Way To Help Your Ball Python Without Visiting A Vet?

I know that a lot of reptile keepers do not have a reptile vet near them. I also know that reptile vet bills can be pretty high. However there is absolutely no way if you are not a very experienced reptile keeper. You definitely should take your ball python to a vet.

Conclusion

As you see, yawning is absolutely normal for ball pythons and you should not be worried as long as you do not see the other signs that could show that your ball python might be sick.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

How Long Do Ball Pythons Live? Here Is The Truth

How Long Do Ball Pythons Live

Ball pythons (Python regius) are amazing creatures and most probably the most common pet snake. The problem with these snakes is that they are praised as beginner snakes and that there are so many available on the market with the most amazing colors ever. A lot of times this persuades interested people to buy this snake sooner that they should.

That´s why a lot of ball pythons do not get as old as they could. The fact that you are reading this article shows that you are doing your research and want to make sure that you are aware of everything when it comes to keeping ball pythons. That´s great!

In this article I am going to show you how old ball pythons get and which mistakes in husbandry you should avoid in order to guarantee a long ball python life.

How Long Do Ball Pythons Live?

So most of the time you will probably hear that ball pythons get around 15 years old in captivity. Some even had a ball python which got around 20 years old. This is definitely a good age, however ball pythons can even get way older than that. The oldest ball python I know of got 47 years and 6 months old.

As you see, this is a very long time. While it is not guaranteed that your ball python will get over 40 years old, it could happen. So if you are looking for a pet that can get really old, a ball python is the snake you are looking for.

Why Most Ball Pythons Only Become 10 To 15 years Old

Now you know that it is definitely possible that your ball pythong gets almost 50 years old, but why do most ball pythons in captivity only get around 10 years old? Here are a couple of reasons for that.

How Old Do Ball Pythons Get

Wrong Tank Setup

The age-old question: should I get a glass terrarium or should I get a plastic box for my ball python? Actually it doesn´t really matter. While I think that it is way more amazing to have a ball python in a glass terrarium, a plastic box can work just as fine. What´s really important is that you reach the right temperature and the right humidity in the enclosure.

That´s the problem here. Especially reaching and keeping the right humidity seems to be a huge problem for most keepers. If you don´t have the right humidity, your ball python will most probably have problems with shedding. You might know that this is a energy-sapping process. Ball pythons can even have a little bit of an attitude during shed. Shedding problems can end pretty badly. Further there might appear other health problems as well.

They Are Picky Eaters

The Ball python is known for being a little bit of a picky eater. Many ball python keeper feed to small mammals which can make feeding even harder. In my opinion it is better to feed bigger mammals, this way your ball python will grow better and you will not be that stressed if your ball python does not want to eat for a longer time.

Being a picky eater is highly related to the next point.

Stress

While baby ball pythons can have a little bit of an attitude, most adult ball pythons are pretty calm. That´s another reason why this snake is so popular as a pet snake, by the way.

The problem with that is that many keepers tend to handle the snake a little bit too often, even if the snake should be left alone. For example, handling the snake when it just moved in should definitely be avoided. Same goes for during shed. Most ball pythons just don´t like being touched during shed.

Stress can lead to not eating. That´s why I said that being a picky eater is related to stress. Don´t get me wrong here, stress is definitely not the only reason for being a picky eater, but in can be a reason. If your ball python might be stressed out, try to feed a dead mammal during the night. Bally pythons come out to drink and eat during the night and being alone and “safe” during the night, could lead your python to eat.

Ball Python Age

Conclusion

As you see, ball pythons can get very, very old and if you want your ball python to get old, the husbandry should be on point. Further you should get to know your snake. I think every snake keeper can tell if the ball python wants to be left alone or not. So you know bets when your ball python might be stressed or not.

If you make sure that your ball python is healthy, in a healthy enclosure and most of the time stress-free, you will have a ball python that gets very old. Further I want to say, that a little bit of stress from time to time, won´t kill your snake. However continuous stress should be avoided.

Bearded Dragon Supplement: Why You Probably Only Need This One

Bearded Dragon Supplement

When it comes to supplements for bearded dragons, there are a ton. Standing in front of dozens of different supplements in a pet shop is a really confusing experience. You might ask yourself, okay, what do I really need here?

If you go and get a pet shop seller to help you, you probably end up with 4 to 5 different things since you were told that you need it or to get it “just in case”. I don´t mean to bash pet shop sellers here, they are only doing their jobs, however this is not a website for pet shop sellers.

This is a website for you. I want to help you to take care of your bearded dragon. I want to help you to save some money, that´s my job here. So in this article you are going to learn, why you most probably do not need 95% of all the bearded dragon supplements.

The Only Supplement You Should Really Get

The only supplement you really need is a calcium supplement. I know that there are tons of different supplements that look good and seem to be good, but the truth is that you will most probably only waste your money. Further most other supplements do more harm than good. I will come to this later in this article.

There Are Two Different Calcium Supplements To Get

When it comes to calcium you probably have seen that there are different calcium supplements on the market. Some calcium supplements are with vitamin D3 and other are without vitamin D3. So what is so special about vitamin D3?

I explain it really simple. Bearded Dragons need vitamin D3 to stay healthy. The vitamin D3 is needed to process the calcium which is needed for their bones to stay solid and healthy. Without vitamin D3 and without calcium, your bearded dragon´s bones will get soft. After a while your bearded dragon will be completely deformed, it won´t be able to move normally and it won´t be able to eat anymore.

This horrible disease is called metablic bone disease. I wrote an entire article on that disease here.

bearded dragon vitamins

So Which Bearded Dragon Calcium Should You Get?

So given the fact that bearded dragons need calcium and vitamin D3 to stay healthy, calcium plus vitamin D3 seems to be the best choice, right? Actually that´s not the case.

If you have proper UVB lighting installed in your bearded dragon tank, you don´t need any further vitamin D3. (Need a lighting guide?) Your bearded dragon is able to produce enough vitamin D3 to stay healthy and to process the calcium properly. I recommend to get this lighting bulb, since it is the very best on the market. Get your calcium supplement here!

However there are cases where bearded dragon need more vitamin D3. That might be if you don´t have a proper UVB light or if your bearded dragon is sick and your vet recommends it. In this case, get a calcium supplement with vitamin D3 here!

How To Use Those Supplements

That´s actually pretty easy. Whenever you feed your bearded dragon with feeder insects, dust those insects with the supplement. You should definitely do this everytime you feed your bearded dragon, in order to make sure that your bearded dragon get´s enough minerals.

Why You Should Get Sepia As Well

This is what most people don´t do and that can be a big mistake. Your bearded dragon should have access to a calcium source all the time. If you break or cut off some small sepia pieces and offer it in a food bowl, your bearded dragon will eat some of it from time to time.

Your bearded knows exactly when it needs to balance it´s minerals. If you don´t do that, your bearded dragon might start to eat substrate (if you use any). If your bearded dragon eats too much substrate it might get impacted. This could end pretty badly. So get some Sepia here!

Exo Terra Sepia Bones

An excellent calcium source to offer your bearded dragon throughout the day!

Exo Terra Sepia Bones for Turtles

Why You Most Probably Don´t Need Bearded Dragon Vitamins

If you feed your bearded dragon the right way, you should not need any vitamin supplements. To make sure that your bearded dragon gets enough vitamins, you have to make sure that the feeder insects get enough vitamins and you have to feed the right insects of course.

If you feed meal worms all the time, your bearded dragon won´t get enough vitamins as meal worms are just fast food and not meaty at all. Your bearded dragon loves them, but all they do is making it fat, lazy and sick (if fed too often). Instead feed some crickets, or way better, dubia roaches. Dubia roaches are probably one of the best feeder insects you can feed your bearded dragon.

However, those feeder insects need to get some vitamins before you feed them. So you should gut load them. This means you should feed them healthy stuff before sacrificing them to your mighty dragon. Here is the best way to do that:

How To Gut Load

Get a cricket keeper like this. Your feeder insects will stay healthy in this box. They won´t start to attack each other because of too little space and none of them will die. Feed the feeder insects with bananas, carrots, apples or other fruits or vegetables. Do not let those vegetables rot in the box together with the insects. Leave them in for a day and then put new veggies or fruits in it.

Exo Terra Cricket Pen

Excellent for housing feeder insects and keep them alive and healthy.

Lees Kricket Keeper, Large

This way your feeder insects will stay alive and they will be gut loaded. Simply them with the calcium powder and your bearded dragon gets a healthy meal. If you need more diet tips, check this article!

If Your Bearded Dragon Needs More Vitamins

There are situations in which your bearded dragon needs some additional vitamins. Maybe you just rescued your bearded dragon and it was treated very badly, or something similar. It is very important to visit a vet in such a situation. If you need a multivitamin powder, I recommend to get this. Rule of thumb is to give your bearded dragon a little bit of it once a week. (Dust the feeder insects with it.

Conclusion

You see, there is no need to buy tons of different supplements or dry food or whatever you can get out there. Making sure that your bearded dragon gets enough vitamins is easy. Using vitamin supplements in addition to that could be toxic for your bearded dragon. Many bearded dragons die, because owners used those supplements in a wrong way.

Feed your bearded dragon like you read above and be attentive, you will know if something isn´t right. If you feel that there is something wrong with your bearded dragon, do not hesitate to take it to a vet in order to make sure that your husbandry is on point.

Have fun with your beardie!

Is Your Bearded Dragon Lethargic? This Is The Reason!

Bearded Dragon Lethargic

When it comes to our pets, all we want is that they are happy and healthy, right? If you are like me you are probably worried all the time about your bearded dragon. Sometimes it might be a little bit too much.

However, how are you supposed to know what is normal and when you should be really worried? In this article you will learn about a couple of reasons why your bearded dragon is lethargic and what you can do about it. And most probably if you should do something about it at all.

Before you start reading about the reasons I want to say that most of the times we are simply worrying too much. It most probably has a very natural reason why your bearded dragon acts like it acts right now. I hope I can take a little bit of your nervousness away with that. So without further ado, here are the reasons for your bearded dragon acting lethargic.

Very Often

Here are the most common reasons why your bearded dragon might appear weak and lethargic right now.

Low Temperature

Especially the hot spot has to have a temperature of 95 °F to 110 °F. If that´s not given, your bearded dragon is not able to get on temperature. If your bearded dragon is not able to get on temperature, it won´t move, eat or drink much. So always check your lighting if your bearded dragon is acting weird.

If you need help with creating the right temperature in your beardie tank, simply read my temperature guide here.

Bad Husbandry

What is bad husbandry? Well, it includes everything when it comes to bearded dragons. Is your lighting okay? Is the tank big enough for your bearded dragon? Do you feed enough? Do you feed to little? Does your bearded dragon get enough vitamins? Does your bearded dragon get enough exercise?

You see there are a lot of points you have to check, but if you do, or if you already did your research, you should have no problem to answers the questions above with yes or no. My bearded dragon care guide, might help you with that.

bearded dragon acts lethargic

Bad Diet

Unfortunately, a bad beardie diet is so common that I have to mention it again, even though it is a part of bad husbandry. The problem is that the majority of bearded dragon keepers feed their bearded dragon too often, too much and they feed the wrong food.

Adult bearded dragons should not eat too much meat, they should actually eat more greens. If you need some help when it comes to beardie diet, read this article!

Often

Here are the common reasons for such a behavior.

Your Bearded Dragon Is Sick

Bad husbandry is not always the reason for a bearded dragon being sick. Sometimes it is just bad luck. It happens, take your bearded dragon to a vet as soon as possible if you suspect a disease. A common disease in this case is metabolic bone disease, which is caused by a vitamin D3 deficiency. If that´s the case, you should definitely check your UVB lights!

Another common “disease” is impaction. Your bearded dragon might ate some substrate or you might feed feeder insects that are too big. Those things could get your bearded dragon impacted. In really bad cases, bearded dragons can´t move their legs anymore. In this case, you should definitely get your beardie to a vet as fast as possible. If you think it might be impaction, read my impaction guide here, to learn how you can help your bearded dragon.

Parasites

I know that the word parasites alone sounds disgusting. Unfortunately your bearded dragon could have parasites. Sometimes beardies get them through the feeder insects, so you should always make sure that you order from a trustworthy seller. Another reason for parasites could be a very dirty environment. Where do you keep your bearded dragon? In a tank? Outside? Are you making sure that the habitat gets cleaned often enough?

Parasites drain your bearded dragon´s energy, which can cause the lethargic behavior. You must take your bearded dragon to a vet, there is no way around it. If you do so, don´t forget to bring a stool sample as well. (Not yours, your bearded dragon´s.) 🙂

bearded dragon is behaving lethargic

Dehydration

Honestly, this doesn´t happen too often. Bearded dragons are actually used to being dehydrated. In the wild they often times do not find any water and get most of their water from plants and dew drops in the morning and from crickets, locusts and so on and so forth.

If your bearded dragon is lethargic, has sunken eyes, does not want to eat and lost a lot of weight, it might be the reason. However you should also see this symptom: Pull on your bearded dragon´s skin. If it does take a while to get back into a normal position, your bearded dragon might be dehydrated.

Also, your beardie´s stool might be very solid.

Too Much Stress

Bearded dragons are very calm and are praised as the perfect beginner reptiles, or kid´s reptiles. However this fact often leads to a too careless handling and behavior around the bearded dragon. Just because a bearded dragon doesn´t flee or bite, it does not mean that it likes what´s happening.

Further you should create a lot of hides in the bearded dragon tank. If your bearded dragon wants some alone time, it should always be able to hide in a quiet place. This is especially important if you just got your bearded dragon. Give your little dragon some time to get used to the new home.

bearded dragon is lethargic

Rare Causes

It is most probably not one the reasons below, however just because they are rare, it doesn´t mean you shouldn´t know them.

Brumation

Most people know that bearded dragons go dormant once a year. If you are new to reptile keeping and didn´t know that, don´t worry about it, we were all beginners at some time . Bearded dragons brumate most of the time at the beginning of November. They act a little bit weird before that, stop eating and drinking  and are very inactive.

If your bearded dragon still acts like that after the brumation, you should take your bearded dragon to a vet. It could be that your bearded dragon was sick before the brumation or your humidity, or your temperature wasn´t okay during brumation. If you need more information on brumation, read my brumation article.

Hypoglycaemia

Your bearded dragon might need some sugar. If bearded dragons are stressed as hell for a long time or if the feeding wasn´t okay for a very long time (or after brumation), it can happen that your beardie needs some sugar. You can give your bearded dragon some fruits in that case. Sugar will immediately cause a change in your bearded dragon´s behavior.

So I hope this article helped you to find the reason why your bearded dragon is lethargic. If you have any questions, leave a comment in the comment section below.

Do Bearded Dragons Make Good Pets? The Truth About Bearded Dragons As Pets

Bearded Dragons As Pets

You are probably thinking about getting a bearded dragon. You might be thinking about getting it for yourself, for your kids, for your grandkids or for your partner and and you are wondering if this is really a good idea.

First of all, that´s awesome. It is definitely better to prepare yourself and to make sure that this pet is really what you want before actually getting it. So do bearded dragons make good pets? In this article I will not only tell you what is so great about  bearded dragon as pets, I will also tell you what might be a little bit of a downside for some people.

I wrote this article for you to test yourself if a bearded dragon really is for you.

Great Things About Bearded Dragons

Hey, come on, this website is called beardeddragontank.com, of course I got to say good things about those little dragons first.

They Are Easy To Care For

I know it might be surprising for you that this is the first good thing I have to say about bearded dragons. Especially if you are a beginner. Getting started with bearded dragons can be quite complicated. However as soon as you know the basics about reptile keeping, you will realize that bearded dragons are quite easy to care for.

They don´t need high humidity,  they eat pretty well and they are really hardy. So they are very forgiving when it comes to mistakes in husbandry. However that should not mean that you can keep them in a poorly equipped tank, of course.

You Can Choose Your Size

This is a pretty weird reason, especially because it probably doesn´t make sense to you at the moment. However you actually can choose your size when it comes to bearded dragons. A “normal” bearded dragon probably won´t get longer than your forearm, which is a good size for a pet reptile in my opinion.

Some people, especially beginners, want a reptile that stays smaller though. The great thing about bearded dragons is, that there is a mini-me version of them. The dwarf bearded dragon which stays pretty small. So if you don´t have enough space for a bigger bearded dragon tank, or if you are afraid of a full grown bearded dragon, just go with a dwarf bearded dragon! If you want to learn more about beardie sizes, check this article out!

do bearded dragons make good pets

Two dwarf bearded dragons!

Adults Eat Less Crawlies

Even though most bearded dragon keepers feed feeding insects almost every day to adult bearded dragons, you should feed them more salad than insects.

Baby bearded dragons should eat crickets, roaches, locusts almost every day, there is no way around it, but adults should only get meat 2- 3 times a week. This might make you happy if you are grossed out by the idea of having crickets in boxes in your house each and every day. More on feeding bearded dragons here!

There Is A Very High Chance That You Get A Laid Back Pet

This is probably nothing new for you. Bearded dragons are known for being very calm. This makes them an exceptional good reptile for beginners and for kids. If you are a parent, or a grandparent you might be concerned about your kid getting bitten. The chances are very low if you get a bearded dragon. The rarely bite, and if they do, it doesn´t hurt that much. A bite from a baby bearded dragon doesn´t hurt at all. If you want to know how bad a beardie bite is, check this article out!

You Can Do So Many Things With Them!

Since most bearded dragons are so relaxed, you can do a lot of stuff with them which you could not do with other reptiles. For example, it is very common now to take bearded dragons for a walk. Of course, you got to have the right temperature outside for that, but it is possible. If you have a garden, you can take your bearded dragon with you outside, let it dig holes in the ground or simply enjoy the sun. Actually there are tons of things you can do with your bearded dragon for fun inside as well. Simply have a look at my toys and activities article here!

Their Appearance Is Absolutely Fantastic

It is a common reptile, but it is not a very common pet. Bearded dragons literally look like little dragons without wings. Who can say that they own a little dragon? Especially for kids, this is simply awesome. Imagine your kid talking to friends in school and telling everybody the new family member is a bearded dragon.

I can tell you, when I was a kid, this was one of my biggest wishes. Unfortunately, my parents were not that impressed with reptiles as I was.

bearded dragon pet

A majestic bearded dragon knowing that it looks majestic!

They Are Not That Expensive

Don´t get me wrong here, the initial costs for bearded dragons can be high. You need a tank, you need lighting, you need substrate and all that, but compared to the costs of getting a dog, this is actually cheap. 

And by the way, you can avoid huge costs for the tank setup if you do everything right from the start. This way you don´t have to buy everything twice, since most beginners make a lot of mistakes when it comes to their first reptile tank.

If you need help with setting up your bearded dragon tank, you can get my help here.

The Downsides

As I said, this article is about the truth. This is not another “10 Reasons Why Bearded Dragons Are Great Pets”-article. I want you to be aware of the things you MIGHT experience if you get a bearded dragon which are not so much fun.

They Poop…

I know that you know that bearded dragons poop. However the problem is that it often smells very badly. Trust me you don´t want to get one of their loads on your jeans. Legend says some people had to throw their jeans, their couch, their carpet away because a bearded dragon defecated on it.

Furtuntaley, this can be avoided. Very bad, intense smell and huge poops are often the result of a bad diet. That means, too much food and not the right food. This article will help you to avoid that!

Reptile Vet Costs

From time to time a fecal test should be done to make sure that your bearded dragon has no parasites and all that. It is not really expensive, most of the time you get this for under $40. In my opinion this is acceptable once a year. However, as all living things, bearded dragons can get sick. Are you sure that you are able to pay the vet bill?

pet bearded dragon

Vacations?

You can take a dog or a cat with you on vacation, but not a bearded dragon. You can leave an adult bearded dragon alone for 2-3 if you have the right tank setup for that, however if you go on vacation you need somebody to take care of your bearded dragon. Not many people like to feed a reptile they are scared of with insects they are scared of.

What You Should Know

As you see, there are not too many things that are really bad about bearded dragons. It is the same as it is with all pets: are you willing and are you able to take care properly of this pet? That´s the question you should ask yourself. If you read everything above, there will be no surprises.

 If you think now, “but what about my electricity bill?”, don´t worry about it. You won´t notice a huge difference. I you need more information about the costs of bearded dragons, check this article!

A lot of people are worried about salmonella when they think about bearded dragons as pets. I show you that you do not have to worry about that in this post.

Hope this article helped you… now go and get a bearded dragon, lol.

Should You Really Use A Leopard Gecko Heat Pad?

Leopard Gecko Heat Pad

There are many different opinions when it comes to heating in leopard gecko tanks. Some people will say that all you need is a heat mat and that´s it. Others only heat with a heat bulb. Some people use both, a heat mat and a heat bulb to create the right environment for their leopard geckos.

In this article you will learn if you really can heat only with a leopard gecko heat pad and what the best heat mats are. Further you will learn about a great alternative to a heat mat.

Do Leopard Geckos Need “Belly Heat”?

This is a common term, especially in forums or any other leopard gecko online communities. Most people say that leopard geckos need belly heat to be able to digest their food. This isn´t really true.

Leopard geckos are cold-blooded, like all reptiles. They need their environment to get their body on temperature. If they don´t have any possibility to get their body on temperature they can´t digest their food or move properly. The truth is, that they simply need heat, like all reptiles. That´s it, they don´t need especially belly heat or something like that to digest their food. 

So if the heat comes from above or from below is not really relevant.

Can You Heat Only With A Heat Mat?

I get this a lot: “Leopard geckos don´t need any lighting, they just need a heat mat!”
Sure, you CAN do that. Leopard geckos are nocturnal, that means they are active during the night and light is not as important for them as it is for bearded dragons for example.

Personally, I use a light bulb as well. In my opinion it is way more natural for leopard geckos to simulate a day and night cycle. Leopard geckos come out at night and in the wild they heat up on warmed up stones and through the last sunbeams. However, I can understand if people rather go with only a heat mat. Using only heat mats is cheaper than using bulb and mat and it is less work.

So you can do as you wish. Below are two of the best heat mats you can currently get. (When choosing the size of your leopard gecko under tank heater, make sure that the mat covers one third of your tank.)

Repti Therm

Under Tank Heater


This is definitely one of the best heating pads you can get. It is highly rated and already has over 1000 customer reviews. Further this is a very low priced product.

Zoo Med Repti Therm Under Tank Heater

iPower Small Seedling Heat Mat


This is another highly rated and low priced heat mat. You can also get this incombination with a thermostat here.

iPower Small Seedling Heat Mat

You Need A Thermostat As Well

Those heating pads can get hot as hell and I am not joking here. You can even kill your pet with them if you just plug them in without a thermostat. With a thermostat you can control the exact temperature. So if you get a heat pad, you must get a thermostat as well. Get a thermostat here!

Why You Might Want To Go With A Heat Stone

I learned about the benfits of heat stones when I talked to Esther Laue. Esther Laue is a german leopard gecko keeper who´s leopard geckos both are 38 years old. The oldest leopard geckos I know. I asked her about how she keeps her geckos and her approach is very natural. She uses a lot of hides and natural substrate. She also uses a hot stone as a roof of a little cave she buildt inside the leo habitat.

Her leos crawl inside the cave in the evening to get on temperature. Esther turns on the heat stone at night so that the cave gets warm and the leopard geckos have a great place for heating up.

leopard gecko heat mat

Esther Laue´s Leo Habitat! Amazing, right?

The great thing about that is, that you always can place the hot stone in a different spot of your tank. You can use it as the roof of a cave you buildt, like Esther does. You could also place it under a couple of stones to heat up the other stones around.

It is very easy to create different temperature zones in your leo habitat exactly how you want it. And if you want to change some things up in your tank, you can always place the stone exactly how you need it. Further the stone contributes to a natural looking habitat.

Get A Heat Stone Here!

Be Careful When Using Heat Rocks

Some heat rocks can get really, really hot. Reptiles do not feel if their skin gets burned. They just keep lying on the stone as long as they feel they need the warmth. Therefore I recommend to check how hot your heat stone really gets. If it gets to hot, you should place it under a couple of rocks, so that you leopard gecko has no direct access to the rock. Using this heat stone as roof for a cave might be the safest option if it gets really hot.

Zoo Med Rock Heater

One of the best heat stones you can find. Excellent for heating your leo habitat!

Zoo Med Repticare Rock Heater

Should You Combine Heat Mat And Heat Bulb?

You can definitely do that. You might ask yourself now, why you should do that, since you can go way cheaper with just using a heat mat. Simulating a day and a night cycle creates a very natural environment for leopard geckos. People like Esther Laue who are very dedicated when it comes to leopard geckos do exactly this and as you see, she is incredibly successful with it. Remember, her leopard geckos are almost 40 years old and still in great health.

I keep my leopard geckos the same way. I have a very natural leo habitat and I simulate day and night in my tank. So far I did not have any problems with my leo. It has never been sick. Although there are a lot of other factors that come into play when it comes to the health of leopard geckos, of course.

I use a normal heat bulb and slate slabs as hot stones. The slate slabs get warm during the day since they are placed near the hot spot. They stay warm for a couple of hours during the night, providing enouth heat for my leo.

Conclusion

It really depends on your situation and your beliefs. If you don´t have a lot of money at the moment you can definitely heat your tank only with the heat mat. If you want you can upgrade your tank with a light bulb later.

However there are a lot of people who only heat with heat mats and do not have any problems at all. Try it out. I showed you the best heat mats your can get for your leopard gecko above. Keep in mind that you can also use a heat stone instead, which is a more customizable solution and might be a great choice for a beginner.

10 Reasons Why Your Leopard Gecko Is Not Eating

Leopard Gecko Not Eating

If your leopard gecko is not eating you might start worrying about your little friend. Is it okay? Is it sick? Is this normal? Did I do something wrong. I get it. All you want is that your little gecko is happy and healthy and at the moment there seems to be something wrong.

However in most cases you shouldn´t be worried. It is absolutely normal for leopard geckos to not eat for a couple of days. Actually there are some leopard geckos that refuse to eat for months. This can happen if your leopard gecko is a little bit overfed. Your leopard gecko decided that it does not need any food at the moment and gets the required energy from it´s fat depots.

In this article you are going to learn about other reasons that causes your leopard gecko not to eat and when you should really start to get worried.

Your Leopard Gecko Is Stressed

Stress isn´t good for humans and it is not good for leopard geckos either. Stress can lead to unwanted behavior and a lot of horrible diseases. So here are a couple of things you should know about that.

New Gecko?

If you just got your gecko it is absolutely normal if it might not eat right after moving to the new home. In fact you should wait with feeding for around two days after you got your leopard gecko. Let it get used to the new environment. Let it calm down after the stressful journey to it´s new home.

If you just got your gecko there is really no reason to worry if it does not eat for a couple of days.

Another Gecko Might Be The Reason

I know that a lot of leopard gecko keepers keep more than one leopard gecko in one and the same tank. It is recommended to keep them in separate tanks though. Why? Leopard geckos can get territorial. You might think everything is okay, but what you might not see is that one of your leos gets suppressed by another.

Separating your geckos can help if one of your gecko really gets bullied. Your gecko will start to eat again as soon as it feels that there is no danger anymore.

leopard gecko not eat

Placement Of The Tank

Some leopard geckos are simply more sensitive than others. While one leopard gecko is not stressed at all if there is someone in front of the tank all day, another might be stressed out by it. It may help to move your leopard gecko enclosure to a place that is not that busy.

The Habitat

You might want to check your tank setup. Often times there are a couple of mistakes in the set up that cause unwanted behaviors in leopard geckos. Here are two major things you should check.

Is The Temperature Okay?

You should definitely check your temperature. If the temperature is to high your leopard gecko might get stressed out because of dehydration. You might see your leopard gecko run around in the tank all day looking for the right temperature zone to rest. Too high temperatures can even kill your leopard gecko. If you night help with heating, read my leo lighting guide.

If your temperature is extremely low your leopard gecko might go dormant. However you really have to have very low temperatures for that. In fact I would rather go with a little lower temperature than with too high temperatures. You can read here more about why it might be better to have lower temperatures.

why is my leopard gecko not eating

Hides

You need lots of, lots of hides in your leopard gecko tank. Those hides should have different temperature and different humidity so your leopard gecko can choose what it needs. If you need help with setting up a moist hide (which is very important) read my moist hide guide.

Your Gecko Might Be Picky

Believe it or not, some leopard geckos are simply picky when it comes to their food. Your gecko might eat mealworms like crazy, but as soon as you offer other feeding insects it doesn´t eat anymore. Most of the time leopard geckos start to eat anyway as soon as they are really hungry. 

However there are actually a couple of leopard geckos that refuse to eat as long as they do not get their favorite food again. It is a small number of geckos though.

Your Gecko Wants To Mate

This often happens around spring. Your leopard gecko refuses to eat and the tail might get a little bit smaller in size. If you have a female gecko the belly will become a little bit bigger and you might even see white points on it. That´s because your female starts to produce eggs.

That´s absolutely normal and you don´t have to worry about. As soon as your leopard gecko is ready, it will start to eat again.

If you have a male leopard gecko you might experience the same thing without the physical symptoms. Male leopard geckos are ready to mate during this time and their mind is so focused on finding a female and looking out for other males that might be competitors that they stop eating. Again, don´t worry, your leopard gecko will start to eat again after a while.

leopard gecko does not eat

Brumation?

Once a year leopard geckos go dormant. This is normal and you should support your leopard gecko during that phase as it is a very healthy process. Before the brumation your leopard gecko might stop eating and get inactive. You should cut down the temperature during that phase, but that is a whole other topic.

Your Leopard Gecko Is Sick

Definitely the worst case, but hey, it can happen. You should look for other symptoms like diarrhea. Is your leopard gecko getting thin really quickly? Does it look a little bit dull? If you see any weird behavior in your leopard gecko combined with not eating you should go and visit a vet.

The Only Thing You Have To Worry About If Your Leo Isn´t Eating

Okay now you know what might be the reason for your leopard gecko to stop eating. However when should you really get worried? The only thing you should really worry about is the tail. If the tail is around one and a half times bigger than the tail base, your leopard gecko is absolutely fine. It can be a little smaller than that and you are still not in trouble.

If the tail is really thin and you can see the spine through the skin, you definitely want to get your leopard gecko to a vet.

Leopard Gecko Lifespan – This Gecko Might Be Older Than You Are!

Leopard gecko lifespan

Imagine this, you buy a new pet and you love it like crazy, but it has a lifespan of only three years. That would be terrible, right? I mean if you are like most pet owners, you get pretty attached to the new family member and to lose it after such a short while is absolutely painful.

So no matter if you already have a leopard gecko or if you are thinking about getting one, you can calm down. The average leopard gecko lifespan is pretty long. However there are a couple of factors that can shorten the life expectancy of your beautiful gecko friend immensely. In this article you will learn how old leopard geckos can get and what you can do to increase their lifespan. Further I will tell you something about the oldest leopard gecko I know.

How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live?

What do you think? 5 years? 10 years? Maybe even 15 years? What you might have heard is that leopard geckos only get 7 to 10 years old. However they can get much older than that. In fact they can get from 30 to 40 years old. Isn´t that crazy?

So why do people often say that they only get 7 to 10 years old? Well, because it is true, but it does not mean that this is their true life expectancy. The reason for such a short life is wrong husbandry. The truth is that 90% of all leopard gecko owners keep their pet in a completely wrong way. All that happens because of misinformation.

Leopard geckos are praised as great beginner pets, because they don´t need a big setup and they are undemanding in husbandry. However this is totally wrong! They can survive a long time even if you keep them poorly, but as you know now, this will cost them half of their actual lifespan or more.

How Old Do Leopard Geckos Get

How To Increase Your Leopard Gecko´s Lifespan

I had a chat with a german leopard gecko keeper named Esther Laue. Believe it or not, her leopard geckos are 38 years old and they are still alive and in good health. Isn´t that absolutely amazing? Of course I had to ask Esther if she was willing to provide a couple of tips on how she was able to get their geckos that old.

She told me the exact things I praise as well. Keep your leopard geckos as natural as possible. Here are 6 things you can learn from Esther for a long leopard gecko life. (All pictures show Esther´s leo habitats and her geckos, how awesome is that?)

how long do leopard geckos live

Brumation

Especially beginners get a little bit nervous when their pet shows the first signs of an upcoming brumation. Geckos get a little bit lethargic and you could think something is from with them. However this is a very natural process and you should always support your leopard gecko during this phase. Let your gecko brumate. It is very good for their health since it is a form of resting and growing.

leopard gecko age

Substrate – Be Brave

I know you might be afraid that your leopard gecko could get impacted from eating sand or soil. That´s why you might use repti carpet or newspaper as substrate. That does not contribute to a natural leopard gecko habitat though. Esther gets her substrate from outside. She doesn´t even go to a pet shop, she digs a deep hole outside and uses the soil (which is actually a mix of soil and sand) to create the habitat.

She also believes that eating substrate is part of their behaviour and not dangerous at all. Well, how could I disagree with her? She has leopard geckos that are 38 years old. And just to let you know, Esther never had problems with impaction. However I can understand if you are still afraid of doing this.

So here is a tip that will help you with using such a substrate: make sure that your leopard gecko always has access to a calcium source. Most of the time they eat sand when they feel that they need to balance their minerals. I recommend to get this substrate(click). If you want to know more about a safe substrate, read my substrate guide.

leopard gecko soil

Let Them Hunt

Esther does not treat her leopard geckos like babies. She says that her leopard geckos have to earn their food just like they have to in the wild. So she lets the feeder insects run free in the habitat and watches how her leopard geckos go hunting.

This is actually another point I always mention. Hunting is a form of exercise and your reptile needs exercise. They are locked up in a small tank and most of them do not have much to do. So it is very important to give them stuff to do, as often as possible.

leopard gecko cave

Respect That They Are Nocturnal

You probably have seen your leopard gecko running around in the tank during the day, right? Every leopard gecko keeper has. This can happen if your leopard gecko does not find a good place to rest. You have to offer your leopard gecko a lot of hides with different tempertaures and humidity to avoid that.

Esther uses a lot of stones to achieve that. The little hides between the rocks at the top are warm and dry, the hides between the rocks at the bottom are colder and moist. This way the gecko can choose what it needs at the moment. If you don´t want to use rocks and need some help with your moist hide, click here.

Further you should not feed your leopard gecko during the day. Always respect that they are nocturnal. In the wild, leopard geckos leave their hide at night to find food. You should simulate that in your tank as well.

Natural leopard gecko hide

Use A Hot Stone

A problem that Esther sees in most leopard gecko tanks is that the geckos do not have an additional heat source to get on temperature when the hot spot turns off. That´s why she build a cave and uses a hot stone as roof. This way her leopard geckos can get heat from inside the cave and on the top of it. If you need a hot stone, have a look at this one, it is absolutely fantastic.

Leopard gecko coconut half

The Temperature

Esther does not believe in steady temperatures. That´s why she has variations in temperature in her tank from time to time. Further she makes sure that the temperature in the room where the reptile tank is located drop at night. She says that it is important to create a cold environment during the night. This way her leopard geckos can sleep deeply after hunting.

Most tanks do not get cold enough during the night since the temperatures in most leopard gecko tanks is very high during the day and therefore can´t cool down during the night. She actually recommends to go with a little bit lower temperature during the day and opening a window in the reptile room during the night.

Natural Leo Habitat

So that´s it. I know that you might not be able to implement all the points above. However just implementing a few might help your leopard gecko to get older than most other geckos and that´s what we all want, right? To have a very long and happy time with our leopard geckos.

Have fun with keeping your leo!