Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bath Time For Lizard

When you have a bearded dragon, certain things that aren't normal just sorta become normal through repetition.  That is why I don't think twice when it comes time to give a lizard a bath in the house.

Wawel, our year old beardie, loves the water but doesn't appreciate the time we spend getting his bath ready.  That is why we have made bathtime as quick and efficient as possible.  If you have a beardie and are looking to maximize bath time and cut down on clean up and fuss, here is how we manage.

Prepare the Bath:

First, go out and buy the largest kitty litter pan you can find.  You won't need the top part, just the bottom tray.  I don't recommend using the bathtub or sink just because you don't want any more exposure to possible salmonella than you have to, and I don't feel like deep-cleaning my tub or sink after every lizard bath.  Give the kitty litter pan a good bleach soak the first time you get it and scrub it out well.  After the first cleaning, you can clean this 'tub' out with vinegar in a spray bottle and water, reducing bleach exposure to your animal and yourself.  Give it a good bleach clean once in a while just as a precaution.

Once you have the 'tub', go and fill it about an inch to 2 inches deep with the hottest water from your tap.  Let it sit out until it stops steaming.  (This gives the bleach in the city water a chance to disperse, as well.)  You will want the bath water between 95-100 degrees F.  Any warmer, and your lizard is going to jump out of the tub and cling on to you for dear life.  I HIGHLY recommend buying a digital temperature gun if you own reptiles. One great use for it is checking bathwater temperature.

If the water is too warm and you need to get moving, have a gallon of room temperature water nearby.  I use tap water in a jug, but leave it out for a night with the cap off to let the bleach dissipate, then cap it and use as needed, though you may want to use bottled/filtered water depending on what your tap water quality is like.

Lizard Meets Water:

Gather up your lizard from where ever the lizard wandered off to.  

I recommend to sit with the lizard near the tub.  I usually try to have the lizard go in on his own, and will sit near the water and splash the water a bit with my fingers to draw his attention to it.  If this gets no reaction, I take him and, while supporting under his chest, lower his tail and back feet into the water slowly.  This gives him a chance to adjust to the temperature (or claw into my arm if he thinks it is too hot.  I repeat - buy a thermometer gun.)

Once in the water, just let the lizard sit as long as he's willing and you have the time, or until the bath water starts to drop below 85 degrees F.  I will usually wiggle my finger to make the water move until he goes for a big, long drink.  Lizards do not like drinking still water, so making some splashes and ripples will entice them to drink.

After he drinks, I will liberally splash water over his body and dribble water over his head (I try not soak his head so no water gets in his ears.)  Then I take my finger and rub at any particular dirty spots on him - usually carrot stains on his chin.  Sometimes Wawel will just sit there the whole time, and sometimes he gets into swimming and splashing at me.

When he is done, I take a towel and wrap him up in it.  Then, I put him on a heat pad wrapped in his towel while I empty and clean the tub.


For clean up of the tub, I dump the water in the toilet, spray it with vinegar, rinse and let it air dry.  That's it.  Clean, warm lizard.  Tired and sometimes wet owner.  Oh well, he is so cute, it is worth it.  

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