How long can a bearded dragon go without eating? Great question! Humans are naturally wired to want to eat every few hours and the thought of going a whole day, let alone a week, without food is a crazy thought to us! Well, that is not the same for your bearded dragon. In fact, a healthy bearded dragon can survive a while without eating without causing health issues. Below we’ll answer all your questions about your bearded dragon’s eating habits.
How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Eating?
Your bearded dragon’s diet depends on its size and age. For a healthy adult beardie, it is perfectly normal for them to go up to two months without eating. Although they can go up to 2 months, it is more likely they will go only up to 2 weeks without eating. If you have a juvenile bearded dragon or if you are an owner of baby beardies, keep in mind that they will need to eat a lot more often. Young bearded dragons require a lot more calories to maintain a balanced diet than adult dragons do.
Generally, adult dragons eat every 1-3 days even if you offer them food daily. They have a much higher metabolism and they digest their food a lot slower so it takes them longer to feel hungry again. Unlike adult beardies, baby beardies should be fed about 2-3 times daily so it is much more often. It is best to offer them many different food items but also make sure you are offering vegetables and insects as part of their varied diet. If you notice that they are mistaking inedible objects with food or are often biting their fingers, they may be looking for a food source.
Even if you are offering your bearded dragon food, they may not be eating it. It can be worrisome for pet parents but for the most part, it may be perfectly normal. They are more inclined to eat their food when they are alert and awake rather than when they are tired, so try aiming for that time period during the day when they are most active. If they have skipped several meals or are eating a lot less food than normal, consider taking them to the vet just in case. They may have underlying health problems that are causing them to skip meals.
Possible Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Isn’t Eating
There are a number of reasons why your bearded dragon may stop eating for a while. It’s important to know the signs of potential issues and when to be concerned that your bearded dragon isn’t eating. Take note of the last time they ate and try to figure out the root cause of them turning down food, especially if you own a baby dragon. Some possible reasons why your bearded dragon is refusing to eat are listed below.
1. Wrong temperature
You may notice your bearded dragon stops eating when their tank temperature gets too low in its environment. Bearded dragons evolved from the Australian desert and they very much rely on extreme heat to feel well and to digest. If they are living in low temperatures, they may not feel well enough to eat or digest food properly. Your beardie’s health is greatly reliant on that heat so it is a good idea to monitor their basking lamp and adjust as needed to be around 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Changes in their home or a new environment
If you throw off your bearded dragon, even adult beardies, by changing things in their environment, they may stop eating. They will show a lack of appetite with change and may stop eating their favorite foods. They can go a few weeks without food during this time but they will need that time to adjust. This can happen when anything in their environment changes such as a new piece added to the tank or something taken out. It will take them a few days to feel safe again and resume eating as normal.
3. Under stress
Look for possible signs of stress in your bearded dragon. Just like with humans, your beardie may not function the same under stress and therefore, may be refusing to eat. Sometimes, it may be something as simple as them being constipated or them feeling threatened. If they are stressed, they should only be going about a week without eating as stress can cause them to use more energy.
4. Being served new foods
If you’re a parent, then you have more than likely had to deal with a picky eater now and then. My kids are semi-picky when it comes to their food but nowhere near as picky as our pet dragon! They are more prone to refuse foods that are new to them or if they have recently had a high sugar food item. Much like toddlers, you should continue to offer your beardie that new food multiple times until they get hungry enough to try it. They can be stubborn little creatures! If it has been about a week and they are still not eating, maybe try to switch it up to something you know they will eat to avoid potential health issues. Don’t knock that food off their list though, keep trying to offer and see if they cave.
If your bearded dragon is in their brumation period they may go up to 2 months with no food and little water. This is a period of time when your beardie will be trying to escape the colder seasons by resting and not moving as much. Think of it as your bearded dragon hibernating.
Why Isn’t My Bearded Dragon Eating?
The best thing you can do for your beardie if you notice a loss of appetite is to assess all aspects of their environment. Is it too cold in their tank? Are they under stress or in a new environment? Remember, adult bearded dragons can go a lot longer than baby bearded dragons without eating so it may just be normal! My biggest advice to bearded dragon owners is to familiarize yourself with the main reasons for a hunger strike listed above, and if you are concerned about your bearded dragon, take them to the vet for a check-up. You can never be too safe when it comes to making sure your bearded dragon is in good health.
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