Bearded Dragon Won't Eat? The Solution is Simple

Bearded Dragon Won't Eat? The Solution is Simple

Informative — It can be scary, especially for new owners, when a bearded dragon is not eating. Rest assured, bearded dragons are very different from us, and sometimes they stop eating for days or weeks without any danger. Bearded dragons are designed to endure through rough circumstances and averse conditions.

Nonetheless, it's important that the bearded dragon is eating most of the time. We want our scaly pets to be happy and healthy!

There are a number of reasons why a baby or juvenile bearded dragon may not be eating or moving around much. If your young bearded dragon is not eating and sleeping a lot, this could be a dangerous sign. Older bearded dragons may be not eating for other reasons. Typically, bearded dragons can go downhill quickly. This article will outline the possible explanations and solutions.

The Enclosure is Too Cold

Generally, the number one reason a bearded dragon is not eating is temperature. If it is too cold in the enclosure, they will not be able to digest their food. As a result, they will not eat. It is critical that there is adequate heat in the enclosure.  

Bearded Dragon Enclosure Temperatures

As the graphic above depicts, the basking spot (typically a branch, rock, or hammock) should range from 100-105° Fahrenheit. This figure is a surface temperature. Common probes and analog thermometers cannot gadge surface temperatures. It is best to use an infrared thermometer instead.

In addition, Infrared thermometers are far more accurate than other options, and they aren't going to break the bank. In our facility, we use several of the Etekcity Lasergrip 1022 model.

They Need More UVB Exposure

Sometimes, bearded dragons may stop eating due to inadequate exposure to ultraviolet light. As caretakers, we must supply bearded dragons with the nutrients that they would normally get from the sun when in the wild. Bearded dragons need UVB lighting for 10-12 hours each day. We recommend going with a 22-24" T5 or T8 bulb rather than a standard base UVB. Below are some of the bulbs that will serve your bearded dragon well.

The World Has Become Too Stressful

It's hard being a bearded dragon! Constantly having to do nothing all day must really take a toll. If your bearded dragon is stressed, they may stop eating. Bearded dragons that have just shipped may not eat for the first few days. Keep handling to a minimum. Aquariums can also cause stress for bearded dragons.

One easy way to tell if a bearded dragon is stressed is by looking at their underside. If a bearded dragon has dark lines on their stomach (stress marks), this is a tell that something is stressing them out. Remember, not all bearded dragons show these.

One easy way to tell if a bearded dragon is stressed is by looking at their underside. If a bearded dragon has dark lines on their stomach (stress marks), this is a tell that something is stressing them out. Remember, not all bearded dragons show these.

If you are housing your bearded dragon in an aquarium, ensure that the three walls are covered from the inside. When a bearded dragon sees their reflection, they will stress.

Perhaps your bearded dragon is still stressed. If so, consider covering the front of the enclosure as well. This will create a stress free environment away from distraction. Try to keep handling and noise to a minimum.  

Brumation

When it starts to get colder in the winter months, there is a change in barometric pressure on the Earth. This causes your bearded dragon to into a state of brumation. Brumation is a mild form of hibernation that is particularly beneficial for breeders. If your bearded dragon starts to sleep more and is eating less in the winter, this is perfectly normal. Keep an eye on your bearded dragon's weight during this time.  

Don't Worry, Yet

We know it can be scary. If your bearded dragon only hasn't eaten for a few days. They're likely just fine. Bearded dragons may slow down eating based on growth spurts and a number other factors.

If none of the solutions above have helped, you may also try experimenting with different kinds of feeders or a liquid Carnivore Care supplement. Watch your bearded dragons activity and weight. Click here to read about healthy bearded dragon weight. If your bearded dragon is losing weight quickly and acting lethargic, it may be time to contact an exotic veterinarian.  

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