Bearded dragons are unique and exotic pets, owning them sets you apart from all the other caretakers. If you are one of these special caretakers, you must know how different these lizards are from other pet animals. Their behavior can sometimes be very challenging, especially when they refuse to have their meal. This might make you wonder how long can a bearded dragon go without food!
Well, there are a few interesting facts about these reptiles. There are times when you must observe your bearded dragon’s behavior and know what to do next. When you notice your dragon is refusing to eat his food then firstly you should know how long can he keep up with it.
Healthy adult bearded dragons can go up to 2 months without food. The time period varies with the age, size, and species of the dragon. However, this is not healthy at all, and a bearded dragon should never be starved for so long. If ever, your beardie acts weird and refuses to eat his meal, you must put a check on him and figure out the reason behind it. Obviously, this behavior is unusual and you must figure out the reason behind it.
Why Isn’t My Bearded Dragon Eating?
First things first, you must observe the behavior of your pet and know the reason why your bearded dragon is refusing to eat food. There are a number of reasons why a bearded dragon goes long without food.
1. Off Temperatures
Reptiles are often sensitive to their surrounding temperatures. These cold-blooded lizards want the temperature hotter than a basking lamp. Due to their Australian origin, their body needs higher temperatures to carry out their physiological processes which includes digestion. If the enclosure is not set to the optimum temperature and is cooler than usual, then it means your beardie either feels sick or can’t digest the food he has eaten prior.
An adult bearded dragon needs a temperature of about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and a baby bearded dragon needs 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, check the readings of the thermometer first, if your beardie is having trouble eating. An adjustment in the heater should fix your issue within days.
2. Changes In The Enclosure
Remember that you are petting a very sensitive creature. These smart lizards sense changes in their environment very quickly and then change their behavior accordingly. They tend to protect their land and resist any invader that comes near them or their habitat. Therefore, if you add new furniture to its enclosure or cage, or even make some slight changes, it will change its behavior and might refuse to eat the meals you try to feed it.
In case you have changed its entire home or shifted your beardie to a new enclosure, your pet might be upset about it and refuse to eat for a few weeks. Dragons feel threatened or not safe in new places and so react differently. It is best not to make changes to the dragon’s home and the behavior usually wears off in a week or two. However, if your pet still goes weeks without eating, then you should take him for a checkup.
As mentioned before, beardies are sensitive creatures. They can be stressed out by the slightest of new changes. In such cases, a caretaker must do anything he can to comfort the pet and calm it down. A beardie can be stressed if it spots another bearded dragon or simply another creature. It can also be stressed if it has constipation or any uncomfortable object near it.
Figure out what is threatening your pet and get rid of it as soon as possible. A stressed dragon can go a week without food at most as stressing out takes a lot of energy and then it might want to eat some food.
4. Changed Diet
A common cause of not eating food is feeding a new or unfamiliar meal to your lizard. Bearded dragons can be very stubborn when it comes to the selection of food. These notorious reptiles are very picky about their meals and often refuse to eat new foods or foods that do not crave for.
However, you must not let them win this fight! Be more stubborn than them and keep giving them those same boring yet healthy greens until they are forced to eat them.
5. Brumation Period
Your exotic pet might be going into its brumation phase. Bearded dragons go into brumation once a year, and if a year has passed since its last brumation then this might be the very reason your pet hasn’t eaten for a long time.
Brumation is hibernation for bearded dragons when they prepare themselves for a long sleep or shut down during the cold season. During the brumation period, bearded dragons minimize their movements to almost none at all and stop eating. You will see them surviving on very less water. This lasts about two months.
The last cause of not eating food is sickness. If all of the above reasons are not the case with your pet, then you must immediately head to an animal doctor. It is not healthy for beardies to go months without food, it’s not how long can a bearded dragon go without food, but actually the reason behind it.
Hence if you spot foaming, an injury, glassy eyes, or any discoloration, rush to the doctor and get your pet checked.
How long can a bearded dragon go without food? The answer is 2 months for an adult bearded dragon. However, it’s not normal for a beardie to starve. There are several reasons for this stubborn behavior. It can be a change in environment, temperature, food, or stress. Brumation is yet another cause, but it must not be worried about as the beardie will start eating on its own once it is over. However, sickness is one of the rare reasons for a loss in appetite and you must take your pet to a reptile vet if you sense this is the case.
Can I force-feed my bearded dragon?
It is not the best idea to feed your pet forcefully, as it may harm your dragon and result in health issues too. You are only allowed to force-feed if your dragon has gotten weak due to starvation, that also only after you have consulted your vet. Remember, only force-feed using the instructions given by the vet and not use any of your forceful methods.
How often should I feed a baby bearded dragon?
A baby bearded dragon should be fed very often as it’s developing and growing. For a baby that is younger than 3 months, the frequency of feeding should be 3-5 times a day. Make sure its diet consists of 70% insects and 30% greens.
How often should I feed an adult bearded dragon?
An adult bearded dragon should be fed measured amounts of food and that too not very often. You can feed your pet only once a day. Choose one day for feeding a salad, the next day for feeding insects, and go the next day without feeding any meal. Remember that a fully grown beardie does not need too many calories.
Emma is a pet enthusiast, and her way with words makes her an expressive writer. Her interests lie in healthcare and planning nutrition for various pets. She has two girls, and she’s passing her passion to them through occasional volunteer projects in the small neighborhood zoo. Emma joined our team as an enthusiast and has added more years to her experience by researching more about various creatures!