Although I get to work with a lot of cool animals, there are a few occasions when I actually have to do some work. Last week my boss brought me a bearded dragon. The previous owners gave him away because he appeared sickly and the other beardy he was housed with had died. I agreed to take care of this sickly lizard basically because I’m a sucker for animals. Although I already have a terrarium set up at my house because I have a pet bearded dragon, Spike, I had to set up another one for the sick lizard. Did I mention it was about 10 PM when he brought the beardy over? Setting up a terrarium is not all that difficult. All you basically need inside of it is a few logs, water and food dish, a heat light, a spot where the beardy can bask, and some repto-grass. I am not going to lie, the little guy was in rough shape. Snapper, as I now call him since he bit me, was very thin and his coloring was not looking good all. Upon examining him I noticed that he had some scabbing near his mouth and some crust on his eyes. I am quite lucky that our veterinarian is a good friend of mine because I am pretty sure if he wasn’t he would not have answered the phone that late at night. I described the symptoms Snapper was experiencing to him and he concluded that he Snapper had salmonella. He told me to stop by the clinic the next day to get some medicine but that once symptoms of salmonella present strongly in reptiles their chances of survival are slim to none. Being the person that I am, I simply refused to accept that answer and give up. For the past week, donned in protective gear, I have been dosing Snapper with antibiotics. If you have never had to give a bearded dragon oral medication I’ll let you in on a little secret, they do not like it one bit. In addition to providing medication I have also had to force hydrate and feed Snapper to make sure that he gets the nutrients he needs. This process is very frustrating. It is not the easiest thing in the world to get a bearded dragon, who has all but given up on life, to open his mouth so you can pop a cricket in so he can chew it. By the way he gets fed at least 15 crickets, more than a healthy dragon would need but I am trying to give him the best chance possible. In general, he would also be getting greens and some fruits in addition to crickets and meal worms. Fruits and vegetables are impossible to feed him manually but I have left some in his food bowl, he seems to be eating some of it so that is a positive sign. The vet estimates that if Snapper makes it I will have to follow this set routine for about 5 weeks. Although reptiles are carriers of salmonella it usually is not a condition which affects their health. Snapper fell ill because he was not being properly cared for, either because he was lacking enough heat, which is vital for everything from movement to digestion, or his nutrition needs were not being met. I am working very hard to try and save Snappers life which was put in jeopardy because of poor care. If you have any type of exotic animal or are thinking about getting one , I urge you to look into the specific needs of that animal. Snapper would probably be fine if his previous owners had taken the time to learn how to adequately care for him. We have a long road ahead of us but I am hopeful that he will make a full recovery.