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How to trim your lizards nails


Are their claws really that bad if they are cut fairly regularly?

      Water dragons do have sharp little claws and you will probably have your share of scratches when they decide they don't want to be held.

      If you do not handle your dragon very often then perhaps you do not have to consider trimming it's claws. However, if you are like most of the dragon owners that I know you will be handling your dragon frequently and may want to trim your dragons claws.

      Some people that I have spoken with are concerned that by trimming a dragons claws it will not be able to climb properly. This is not so. If only the very tip of the claw is trimmed the dragon will have no noticeable difficulty climbing immediately after it's pedicure.

     If a little bit more than the very tip of the claw is trimmed you may notice that the dragon has a bit of difficulty climbing but within a day or two of the trim the dragon will have sharpened the end of each claw to a finer point and will be climbing very well once more.

Where to trim

      The nails can be trimmed very carefully by using nail clippers to just clip off the tips. You must be very careful not to cut into the vein that runs down the middle of the nail though. If you cut in the vein the dragon could lose a fair amount of blood if you can't get it to stop! I've heard that some people just use either a nail file to dull the tips, or run the claws along some sandpaper to dull the tips.

      The dragons nails are thick where they join the toe, and it is in this thickened area that you will clearly see the vein that runs down the middle of the claw. The end of the claw tapers off into a very fine, almost triangular point. It is the very tip of this fine point that you want to cut off.

Preparing to trim the nails- supplies need

      If you are going to attempt to cut your dragons claws may I suggest that you have another person on hand to help you hold the dragon if it decides to struggle- at least for the first attempt. You can use human nail clippers, bird or cat nail clippers for the job. Have a stick of Stepcil (used to stop bleeding when men cut themselves shaving), or a small container or corn starch handy to help stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut into the vein in the claw. Also have a disinfectant such as Betadine or Novasolon handy to treat wounds if necessary.

How to trim the nails

      I place my dragons on the bathroom counter when I trim their nails. In this way I can stand over them and get at them from a number of different angles and for difficult nails I can have them drop one foot over the edge of the counter so I can get at each toe easily.

      My dragons are very used to this routine and mostly just sit calmly on the counter while I move around them picking up one foot at a time and cutting the tips off their nails. I trim their claws approximately every two weeks.

      When you have your dragon placed just the way you want it- or while the dragon is being held by someone else gently pick up one foot. Grasp one toe gently but securely in your fingers and place the nail clipper at the very tip of the nail and gently clip off the sharp point. Continue clipping the nails on each toe on each foot until you are done. If the dragon struggles or becomes agitated at any point please wait until it has calmed down again as you do not want to scare or injure the dragon.

      If you do accidentally cut into the vein when you are trimming a nail It is very important to stop the bleeding and to disinfect the wound too. I realize that a small amount of blood loss probably wont hurt them but If a wound continues to bleed for a period of time without stopping it could get serious. So make every effort to stop bleeding when it occurs.

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Water Dragon Books

Green Water Dragons, Sailfin Lizards and Basilisks (General Care and Maintenance of Series) by Philippe De Vosjoli

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      Basic but detailed information about the care, diet, and health of green water dragons, sailfin lizards and basilisks.

Anoles, Basilisks, and Water Dragons Anoles, Basilisks and Water Dragons : A Complete Pet Care Manual (More Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) by Richard D. Bartlett, Patricia P. Bartlett (Contributor)

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     Discussion of the general care of many species of anole, basilisks and water dragons. Excellent information regarding enclosures, cage building, and insect care and breeding.

Eat this Bug Eat This Bug : A Guide to Invertebrate Live Foods for Reptiles and Amphibians by Lynn Davis

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      This book is a guide for owners of reptiles and amphibians who feed insects and other live foods to their pets. Advice is offered for selecting , ordering and raising your own supply of live invertebrate foods. More than a dozen species of live foods are discussed. The book includes instructions on keeping cultures of insects, and recipes & diets for insects.

Last updated
April, 10, 2012

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