Wednesday, July 20, 2016


One of the question topics I get asked about the most is Poop. 

Today poop is especially on my mind because I've cleaned up poop in 5 different beardie tanks. So let's talk poop. 

How Frequently--- 

It depends on the beardie. I have daily poopers and weekly poopers. My big boy Max normally poops every 2 to 3 weeks. Don't assume that healthy beardies *must* poop daily. 

Babies are the most likely to poop daily or more than once a day. Older beardies may poop less frequently. The key is to pay attention to your beardies. Over time, you will see what is "normal." 

How is it Supposed to Look-- 

A healthy beardie poop should be formed with a distinct white part, urates. Urates are the waste products that come from the kidneys. Since beardies don't pee, the urates collect in their guts and come out with their poop. It's the same with most reptiles. 

Here's some examples of Good Poop-- 

See? Solid, distinct white. Sometimes there will be extra fluid, sometimes not. It depends on how much the beardie has had to drink recently. 

Here's some examples of Bad Poop-- 

Blood. This one made me call the vet immediately and take in this sample!

Unformed. Diarrhea. 

Partially formed. 

Blood tinted liquid. 

Some Causes of Bad Poop-- 

The key with poop is you have to wait for at least a couple poops. You need to see a pattern. Even with the poop with blood tinted liquid, I'd wait for two poops. 

1- What they ate: new foods, extra fruit, etc often cause loose/runny poop. This is one of the reasons I wait for multiple poops. 

2- Stress: a change in location, a trip to the vet, the power being out, a sighting of another beardie, or anything else stressful can make a beardie's poop liquid. 

3- Parasites: the two most common parasites in beardies are coccidia and pinworms. There are other problems including nematodes, Protozoa, giardia. All of these are diagnosed by a fecal test (a fecal float and/or fecal stain). You can buy the supplies and train yourself to do them if you are willing to buy a microscope for around $120. Parasites are most likely to cause stinky, runny poops. 

Note- most beardies have some amount of coccidia and pinworms and are asymptomatic (they don't have any problems with it). My reptile vet prefers to not treat for parasites unless there is a problem (like diarrhea or weight loss). Your vet may have a different opinion. Parasite treatments are oral meds that you give for a couple days and then repeat in 2 to 3 weeks. Easy treatment. 

4- Sickness: there are some sickness that cause diarrhea in beardies. The biggest & most common is the Adenovirus. These have to be diagnosed by a vet and treatments vary. Talk to your vet. 

No Pooping Causes-- 

A beardie who is too cold or too dehydrated or too stressed won't poop. After several missed poops, a beardie's guts can become impacted and constant pushing & straining to poop can rip the delicate tissue of the intestines causing the beardie to bleed to death. That's why it's important to keep track of poop. 

1. Heat: you must have a basking spot of 95 to 105 degrees during the day and an overall temperature of 75 degrees or above at night. If your temps are too cold, fix them n

2. Water: dry pellets, no drinking, dry food can dry out the poop making it harder for a beardie to push it out. Offer daily baths and wet veggies (like squash) until poop happens. 

3. Sand and walnut shell: these plug up a beardie's guts! BAD! BAD! I know "calci sand" is supposed to be helpful. It's NOT.  Use a solid substrate. Don't agree with this? Feel free to find another beardie blog. I will not argue about it. You will never convince me that sand/walnut shell is okay. The list of beardies I've lost because of sand impaction is over a dozen. I've had too many beardies die on me from impaction and it's a terrible way to die. 

How to Help Cause Pooping-- 

Offer baby food prunes or applesauce (about a teaspoon for an adult, half teaspoon for juveniles) every day until poop happens. 

Give daily warm baths, 10 to 15 mins at a time. You can even do twice a day if you want. 

Give your beardie a few drops of olive oil. Just once a day until pooping. 

Take your beardie to a vet. A reptile vet can give an enema to help cause pooping. 

Let your beardie run around. Activity can help induce pooping. 

When in Doubt-- 

As always, if you have a question or concern or emergency, contact a reptile vet! I'm not a vet. This is just what I've learned over the past few years.