Bearded Dragon Mites and Parasites

Bearded dragons can pick up mites and/or parasites for a number of reasons, and there are a few ways of avoiding this or, treating it if it were to happen. The important thing to know is, that a bearded dragon can either internal or external parasites, with mites being an external pest. Both will be discussed, treatments, shown as well as prevention.


Internal parasites

These are parasites within the stomach or intestines.

What are the symptoms of internal parasites?

  • Runny poop
  • Lack of appetite
  • Poop with a really bad smell
  • Rusty or orange color in the urinate that is not related to the diet
  • Traces of blood in the stool.
  • Traces of undigested food in the stool.

Take note: Not all of the above symptoms will be present and some symptoms will only occur when the situation is bad.


Any treatment for internal parasites?

If you suspect parasites, you should take your bearded dragon to the vet as soon as possible. A fecal sample will be taken to confirm and medication will be prescribed to get rid of it. It will not cure by itself without medication and thus a vet visit or proper medication is the only way to cure it.

Pro-biotics for reptiles are “good bacteria” and should be given on a regular basis to prevent parasites and digestive tract problems.

how to take care of a bearded dragon

Mites & Parasites on the Skin

Bearded dragons have thick skin with scales. Mites and parasites will target the places where the skin is sensitive and thin. They will try to suck the bearded dragon’s blood and then transmits diseases and sicknesses among your bearded dragon. The most sensitive places on a dragon are the eyes, ears, mouth, and stomach.

Mites and/or parasites can also crawl under the scales on their stomachs, making it appear as if though there are black spots or patches on the bellies.


What can I do to treat and prevent mites or parasites?

You will have to purchase a mite or parasite spray to get rid of the problem. Follow the instructions on the product label.

Keep the enclosure clean!  A dirty enclosure makes room for all kinds of parasites to breed. If your dragon has these, the enclosure will have to be cleaned every day until your dragon is completely free from them and all mites or parasites are killed.


Bearded Dragon Care


Bath your dragon at least once a day till the problem is solved. Thereafter once a week. Bathing them regularly will make it hard for the mites or parasites to survive. You can use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub them, it will get rid of the parasites/mites much faster. Again, do it gently, you do not want to injure the soft scales of your dragon and cause an infection.

Bearded Dragon Care


Do not leave feeder insects in the enclosure after feeding. Some feeders like crickets are common parasite carriers and can infect your enclosure.


What is the Cause of Parasites and/or Mites?

Feeders – Insects that are kept in unsanitary conditions will contract parasites or worms and it will be passed on to your dragon. Crickets are one of the main culprits since they do tend to die and rot up the enclose much faster. Always keep the feeder container clean and be sure to buy your feeders from a trusted supplier. If possible, breed them yourself in a clean environment.

Dirty cage/terrarium – Be sure to clean your bearded dragon’s home on a regular basis. Unsanitary conditions are the perfect breeding ground for parasites. Clean soiled areas ASAP to prevent bacteria from growing, hence the reason why newspaper, tile, and paper towels work so well. Easy to keep clean. Remember never to clean with strong chemicals! Or to rinse and air out if the situation calls for it. Keep Dragon away until properly cleaned, rinsed, and aired out.

Good bacteria turning bad – A bearded dragon has a good number of good bacteria (gut flora) that are beneficial for its digestive system. These organisms are kept in check by a healthy immune system. However, stress, starvation, an improper diet, dehydration, and incorrect temperatures will cause the good bacteria to die and make room for bad organisms. These will reproduce and cause severe problems. Excessive antibiotics, also kill their good bacteria, which is why probiotics are a must when they are on antibiotics.


4 comments:

  1. Hello,

    In the last week, our 8 month old beardie has become very lethargic and weak, with swollen joints, and jerky movements/tremors. He/she is not eating well, was dehyrdrated, and back right leg swollen and pale. I took him to the vet, they said he had coccidia and started him on Albon. After reading online, I am thinking he also has metabolic bone disease. When we bought him, we were told to limit his diet to 4-8 crickets a day and that was it. I think he is also malnourished because of this. We were also not told about UVB lights which I have now purchased, or supplementing his diet. I am worried it is too late. I am bathing him everyday for 20 minutes, cleaning his cage everyday with clorhexamine solution, giving antibiotics, encouraging food (greens, crickets, squash, worms), and administering probiotics. The nearest certified reptile vet is three hours away. Any further advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. Do you have a Facebook profile? If so, you can add me and I will recommend a Facebook group that will be able to give more accurate advice to get him healthy. On there you can send us pictures and the group will be able to help more accurately.

    https://www.facebook.com/christene.swanepoel

    4 - 8 crickets a day is by far not enough food for him/her. They should eat at least a minimum of 30 + or as much as they want to eat within 5 - 10 minutes. Should also get calcium supplements every second day if MBD is expected, preferably liquid calcium. If he is at a point of not eating at all, you should force-feed him a supplement called critical care. Baby food is also an option, butternut and sweet potato are the best.

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