Impaction & Constipation
Impaction occurs when a dragon eats large amounts of something that is not digestible and it becomes stuck in their bowels. Sadly causes a high mortality rate in bearded dragons, especially in hatchlings, and it is avoidable. Substrate is to blame in 90% of cases related to dragons. In many cases surgery can remove the impaction but sadly most dragon owners do not know that anything is wrong until it is too late. If your dragon is not pooping regularly, is lethargic, not eating, limp, spends all day with its eyes closed or vomits there is a chance it is impacted. Seek out a reptile vet's assistance as soon as possible. The other 10% are related to what type of feeder insects dragon is fed. Over feeding 1 type of feeder bug is never good, super worms, dubia roaches and crickets are great feeders but should be fed intermittently with several other food choices to prevent the possibility of the shells causing a minor impaction.
Photos on this page are from google images
Safe vs. Risk of Impaction
Safe vs. Risk of Impaction
Substrates to use:
Solid one piece bedding that can hold up to high heat without melting can be used but these are what I recommend.
* Paper Towels
* News Paper
* Slate Tile
* Reptile Carpet
* Or any combination of these
Substrates not to use:
Don't use any substrate that has pieces that a dragon could eat.
Ground Walnut Shells
Dried Corn on the Cob
Constipation is very different from impaction and it usually due to over feeding and lack of exercise. As dragons grow they become less active, and like and animal being active simulates bowel movements. It is mainly seen in adults and constipation is rarely a serious issue. Hatchling dragons up until about 1 year old should poop daily, for adults, 1year + every 2-3 days is about average depending on their time spent active outside their enclosure. For adults I would only be concerned if your dragon did not poop once a week, for hatchlings and juveniles they should be pooping daily. To stimulate a dragon's bowel give them a very warm bath. Use your best judgment on temperature as you don't want to burn the dragon but without warmth it will not relax the muscles and help the dragon pass it's stool. If you feel it has been a very long time since your dragon has had a bowel movement, and they seem lethargic and limp contact a vet as it is possible for a dragon to get a minor impaction from the insects it is fed, especially if they are under 1 year old.
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