How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food?

As the owner of a bearded dragon, you may experience different mood tantrums of the reptile, which as a beginner, might alarm you. However, early diagnosis and treatment can save you from significant loss. One of these symptoms, which is alarming for all bearded dragon owners, is when the pet bearded dragon stops eating for one reason or another. 

Food is the essential element for all body functions, health, and well-being of any living thing. Without proper nutrients and food, growth and wellness would suffer, which can ultimately shorten any living creature’s lifespan. Similarly, food regulates body function, helps in the growth and healthy life of a bearded dragon. However, despite the importance of food for the bearded dragon, it sometimes stops eating for an extended time.

There’s a specific time limit for a bearded dragon, which he can survive without consuming anything. This would be discussed in detail below.

How long can a bearded dragon go without food?

There are specific reasons that can make your bearded dragon avoid or resist food. It can be a change in their territory, sometimes stress, wrong temperatures, and many more. How long can a bearded dragon go without food? Is a question in this case, when your beardie stops eating, and you’re still trying to figure out the reason behind this.

An Adult dragon is already out of the growing stage of its life and can store the food it eats in the form of fats inside the body. An adult dragon can survive up to two months without food, only on the fats stored inside their bodies. However, it’s a threat for a juvenile bearded dragon to go without food for 24 hours, as the lack of nutrients can directly affect the growth of the beardie.

Bearded dragons go weeks without food at times, just because they are brumating, but they require a good amount of water for body function even in that time.

Why isn’t my bearded dragon eating?

A number of reasons add up to stop your bearded dragon from eating. Stress can be one of the most important reasons behind your beardie’s resistance towards food. If your bearded dragon has stopped eating, then there is a high chance that something is disturbing it; an illness, wrong temperature, or something off in their habitat. Following is a list of parameters that you must look into once your bearded dragon stops eating.

You recently altered their cage.

Bearded dragons are very sensitive about their cage and territory. Anything off in their habitat can put them off or stress them, resulting in a loss of appetite or resistance towards eating. If you have changed your bearded dragon’s enclosure, it would definitely be stressed enough and stop eating. 

In addition to that, changing something in their habitat abruptly will set them off, as they notice changes way too quickly. In both cases, try arranging the things in the new enclosure the same way as in the old enclosure. Furthermore, you can put old things back for some time and see how the beardie reacts. Finally, if you’re planning to change something in the bearded dragon’s enclosure, then do it slowly so as not to upset your bearded dragon.

Their Temperature is off

The bearded dragons need a specific temperature since they are from hot and dry areas of Australia. They need to bask in the heat and warmth to keep their digestion intact. The temperature you must maintain inside the terrarium for the bearded dragon as an imitation of nature is 95 to 105 Fahrenheit. If by any means, you fail to maintain the required temperature in the enclosure, your bearded dragon would stop eating.

They are under stress.

Stress can create many problems for your bearded dragon, one of which could be losing appetite or resistance to eating. In this case, look around in the terrarium or outside the terrarium to find the reason for stress. Your bearded dragon can get stressed even on things that you consider worthless. So watch out before you stress your bearded dragon.

Different reasons for stress can be some change in the terrarium, loud sounds around the bearded dragon, something in the surrounding which makes your bearded dragon feel intimidated.

They are not feeling their diet.

Introducing a new diet to the bearded dragon can result in appetite suppression. These reptiles are unique because of their ways of living and are very well known for being notorious and stubborn. Furthermore, they can be very picky about the food you’re providing them and would probably not touch it if it’s not what they desire or what they like to eat.

However, you must not give up! Providing just one type of food can result in increased fats in the bearded dragon, so you must keep changing the diet every once in a while to keep the nutrients balanced. Your dragon will get back to the food once it starts starving. Be patient and hold your ground till then. However, if your bearded dragon has begun to lose weight after going days without food, then try feeding them their favorite food. 

It’s that time of year again- Brumation!

Brumation is the hibernation time of the bearded dragon. Being an inhabitant of warm and dry areas and weather, the bearded dragons cannot adapt to the cold weather. Their metabolism slows down in cold weather, making it hard for them to digest and perform their physical activities. This will slow down the bearded dragon so that they can survive with less food.

For brumation, bearded dragons go into a deep slumber in a hole deep inside the ground. The bearded dragon during this time requires no food or water; however, be sure to provide enough water even during the time of brumation.

Brumation time can vary from one species to another; one bearded dragon may brumate longer than the other one, so you don’t have to worry if your beardie is brumating for less time or not to brumate at all.

They are ill

In some cases, your bearded dragon stops eating when it’s sick or going through some medical conditions. Check for different symptoms; try feeding your beardie using a spoon or a syringe. Get your bearded dragon checked by a vet to ensure its well-being and safety.

Why is going without food a bad idea for a bearded dragon?

Eating is essential for staying alive; all living things need to eat to gain energy and perform their daily activities. Similarly, the bearded dragons need to eat too to stay alive, healthy and grow. Especially a baby bearded dragon needs a constant supply of food for growth. If they stop eating, they will miss the nutrients required to stay healthy and grow well, making it essential for the bearded dragon to eat.

Why is going without food a bad idea for a baby bearded dragon?

As mentioned earlier, food is essential for living and growing; the baby bearded dragons are in the growth stage and grow rapidly, for which they need to eat 3-5 times each day. For a baby beardie, going without food can be a matter of life and death, as the hindrance in the growth because of not eating can shorten the lifespan of the beardie by weakening it.

Going without food during brumation.

During brumation, the bearded dragons would stop eating too. This is when because of not being able to cope with the cold climate, the bearded dragons sleep for a specific time. During this time, they do not eat or drink; instead, they use the fats stored inside their bodies to gain energy and stay alive. 

However, you juvenile bearded dragon should avoid brumating, as it is not recommended. However, an adult bearded dragon can brumate as it has a lot of fat stored inside its body.

What to do when they stop eating?

This can be handled by looking closely at why your bearded dragon stopped eating in the first place. You may check for the reasons mentioned above about why your bearded dragon stopped eating. If you find sickness symptoms, make a trip to the vet to have your bearded dragon checked thoroughly. 

If there is no sickness, you must look in the surrounding or inside the cage for the things stressing or bothering your bearded dragon. Furthermore, if you’ve changed their habitat/ enclosure or anything inside the enclosure, then revert it and go with the slow and steady rule.

Can you force-feed your bearded dragon?

 Yes, only with the recommendation of the vet. In typical cases, it is not suggested to force-feed your bearded dragon until necessary. Furthermore, force-feeding should be appropriately done as recommended and explained by the vet; otherwise, it can be perilous and affect the bearded dragon’s health.

How to force-feed your bearded dragon?

Bearded dragons like to eat food themselves; however, in some cases, when they deny eating anything, there is no choice but to force-feed them on the recommendation of the vet. The method is simple and yet tricky: you need to have a firm grip on the bearded dragon, pull their jaws gently to open them up, and finally insert the food using a syringe or a spoon. 

What do bearded dragons eat?

Bearded dragons eat both veggies and meat in the form of insects, which makes this reptile an omnivorous one. There should be a balanced amount of insects and greens in a bearded dragon’s diet to keep it healthy. Just like humans, there should be a balance in the diet that you provide your beardie, excess of one would be fatal for the health of the beardie.

Bearded dragons consume vegetables and fruits too, some of them are listed below.

  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Kale
  • Pumpkin
  • Peeled cucumber
  • Raw Asparagus
  • Raw Zucchini
  • Collard greens
  • Raw Bell peppers
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Yellow Squash

List of common bugs to purchase for the bearded dragon.

A significant portion of the bearded dragon’s diet consists of insects, as this creature eats an equal amount of meat as veggies. Some common insects that you can feed your bearded dragon are mealworms, crickets, roaches, silkworms, wax worms, king worms, butter worms. However, make sure that you don’t feed wild caught insects to your bearded dragon, as they can carry bacteria and other diseases to your bearded dragon.

Do they have to have live food?

Most bearded dragons can eat the frozen and dried insects provided in their diet. The portion of insects in the young bearded dragon is more than an adult bearded dragon. Any insect from the list provided above can be given to your bearded dragon; however, some bearded dragons might not be able to recognize insects that aren’t moving. So, in those cases, you can go on with providing live insects to your pet reptile.

How to feed a bearded dragon?

It can sometimes get tricky for a newbie to understand how he/ she can feed their bearded dragon. However, there is one rule of thumb that you must ensure to follow at all times: chop down the food into smaller pieces making it easier for your beardie to digest and swallow.

Material

Materials required for providing food to your bearded dragon are a cutting board, kitchen knife, vegetables, bowls/ dishes.

Instructions

Step 1: Wash and cut the vegetables finely.

Step 2: Use a spoon to mix the vegetables

Step 3: put finely chopped vegetables in the bowl and mix them well so that the bearded dragon can get a different variety of food items in their diet.

How often to feed a bearded dragon?

A young bearded dragon or juvenile needs to be fed more often than an adult, as it is in the growing stage of life. You can provide the young bearded dragon 2-3 times a day, and an adult beardie can be fed once a day as it has already grown. However, if you find your bearded dragon not eating as it should, you must find out the reason behind it, as going without food will affect your bearded dragon’s health. The table below can help you find the correct diet ratio for a bearded dragon of different ages.

AgeDiet RatioFrequency
Less than three months70% Insect30% Veggies3-5 feedings times per day
3-8 months 70% Insect30% VeggiesTwice a day
8-12 months 70% Insect30% VeggiesOnce a day
1+ 30% Insect70% VeggiesOne day salad, One-day insect, One day nothing and repeat

Conclusion

Finally, there are several reasons that your bearded dragon might be resisting food. So, in any case, do not panic; instead, use your wits to find out the reason behind their suppressed eating. Look around for symptoms of sickness, just to ensure the health of your pet. If necessary, plan a visit to the vet and get the bearded dragon checked by the vet properly.

If your bearded dragon is fine and well, look for the surrounding changes or anything that’s bothering your bearded dragon. This will help to resolve the problem.

About Tariq Aziz

I am working as Chief editor at MY BEARDIES. I have been working in the publishing business for over a decade now. I love reptiles and I love talking about them. I have years of experience in herpetoculture. I have cared for many reptiles including bearded dragons, geckos, and skinks since childhood.

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