In this informative article, Anna Lad explores nine possible reasons why your bearded dragon may be exhibiting signs of lethargy. Bearded dragons are popular reptile pets known for their friendly nature and ease of care. However, it can be challenging for owners unfamiliar with reptiles to understand their behavior and address any issues that may arise. The article covers various factors that could be contributing to your bearded dragon’s lethargic behavior, including inadequate UV light exposure, constipation, indigestible substrate consumption, cold environment, lack of enrichment opportunities, preparation for brumation, improper nutrition, parasitic infestation, and dehydration. By understanding these factors and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can ensure your bearded dragon’s well-being and help them lead a happy and active life.
Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon is Lethargic
There are not enough UV rays
Bearded dragons are reptiles native to desert climates where they are exposed to strong UV rays from the sun. These UV rays are essential for their overall health and well-being. UV light exposure helps bearded dragons create vitamins, process metabolites, and interact with their environment. Without enough UV rays, bearded dragons can become lethargic and may develop health issues.
If your bearded dragon is acting lethargic, it’s important to check the quality of its basking light. The basking light should provide the necessary UV rays and be bright and strong enough for your pet. It should be positioned no more than 1 foot away from the surface that your beardie will bask on. If the basking light is insufficient, consider replacing it with a new one to ensure your bearded dragon gets the UV rays it needs.
It is constipated
Bearded dragons have a tendency to eat until they are stuffed, which can lead to constipation. If your bearded dragon is constipated, there are a few things you can do to assist the digestive process before rushing to the vet.
First, ensure that your beardie is getting sufficient heat and light. Maintaining the correct temperature in their enclosure helps with their digestion. Regular misting can also help provide enough moisture for your bearded dragon to pass the intestinal blockage. Offering warm baths can be beneficial as well, as the warmth can stimulate their digestive system. Additionally, massaging your bearded dragon’s belly can help move the digestive process along.
If the constipation persists despite these measures, it’s advisable to consult a vet for further evaluation and treatment.
It’s eaten substrate that it can’t digest
Bearded dragons may mistakenly consume substrate or bedding material in their enclosure, which can lead to digestive problems. While many types of substrate claim to be non-toxic to reptiles, it’s important to note that not all have undergone laboratory testing to confirm their safety. As a precaution, it’s best to remove any toxic or inorganic substrate from your bearded dragon’s enclosure.
Additionally, if you feed your bearded dragon insects that are too large, they may struggle to digest them properly. A general rule of thumb is to ensure that the insects’ bodies are smaller than the distance between your pet’s eyes. Insects have exoskeletons made of chitin, which is not easily digestible by bearded dragons. If the exoskeleton is too large, it can create an intestinal blockage that can be harmful or even fatal to your beardie.
To prevent digestive issues related to substrate and inappropriate insect size, be mindful of the materials in your pet’s enclosure and the size of the insects you offer them.
It is too cold
Bearded dragons rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature, as they do not generate heat internally. If their environment is too cold, they may struggle to maintain their energy levels, leading to lethargy.
The enclosure’s temperature should vary depending on the area and time of day. The basking area, where the bearded dragon gets the most heat, should be between 95 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime. Non-basking areas should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, the basking light should be turned off, and the whole enclosure can cool to around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ensuring that your bearded dragon’s environment provides the appropriate temperature gradients can help prevent them from becoming too cold and lethargic.
It doesn’t have enough enrichment opportunities
While bearded dragons are relatively simple creatures, they still have basic needs for mental and physical stimulation. Without enough enrichment opportunities, they may become bored, stressed, and ultimately lethargic.
To provide enrichment for your bearded dragon, consider adding a shelter for them to hide in, as well as rough sticks or branches for climbing and perching. Allowing your pet some supervised time outside their enclosure can also help them explore and interact with their surroundings.
By providing these enrichment opportunities, you can help keep your bearded dragon engaged and prevent them from becoming lethargic.
It’s preparing for brumation
Brumation is a natural phenomenon observed in reptiles, similar to hibernation in mammals. During brumation, bearded dragons slow down their metabolism, sleep, and hide in burrows, caves, or nests to conserve energy. This behavior is typically seen in reptiles from Australia and other regions with similar climates.
If your bearded dragon is preparing for brumation, they may exhibit a lack of appetite and begin digging large burrows under enrichment toys or substrate. The timing and duration of brumation in domesticated bearded dragons can be challenging to predict due to the effects of domestication. However, keeping a close eye on your beardie’s behavior can help you recognize when they are preparing for brumation.
During this period, it’s important to ensure that your bearded dragon is provided with a suitable environment, including a proper hiding place, appropriate temperature gradients, and a decreased feeding schedule. Consulting with a reptile veterinarian can also provide further guidance on caring for your bearded dragon during brumation.
It doesn’t have the right nutrition
Proper nutrition is essential for the overall health and vitality of bearded dragons. Without the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, they can become lethargic and weak.
One common mistake made by new bearded dragon owners is not providing enough protein in their diet. Protein can be found in insects such as crickets, cockroaches, and worms. However, it’s important not to overfeed these high-protein foods, as bearded dragons can become overweight. In addition to protein, vegetables are also a vital source of nutrients for bearded dragons.
Feeding your beardie a variety of vegetables, such as dandelion leaves, butternut squash, alfalfa, turnip greens, and prickly pear, can help meet their nutritional needs. It’s recommended to offer a combination of vegetables and insects, as some vitamins in vegetables are better absorbed when eaten with animal fats. By providing a balanced and varied diet, you can help ensure that your bearded dragon receives the right nutrition to support their energy and activity levels.
It may be infested with parasites
Bearded dragons that eat live prey, such as insects, are at risk of being infected with parasites. Parasitic infestations can lead to lethargy, digestive issues, and other health problems in bearded dragons.
If you suspect that your bearded dragon may have parasites, it’s important to observe their behavior and examine their stool for any signs of infection. Consistent vomiting can also be a possible indicator of a parasite infestation. In such cases, it’s advisable to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian who specializes in reptile care. They can perform tests and provide appropriate treatment to eliminate the parasites and restore your bearded dragon’s health.
Your bearded dragon may be dehydrated
Despite being desert animals, bearded dragons still require water to stay hydrated. In the wild, bearded dragons inhabit regions with infrequent rainfall or monsoon-like events. Providing moisture and access to water is important to prevent dehydration in captive bearded dragons.
To ensure your bearded dragon remains adequately hydrated, you can mimic their natural environment by regularly misting their enclosure, offering them shallow water baths, or even providing a small water dish for them to drink from. These measures can help prevent dehydration, which can contribute to lethargic behavior.
Lethargy in bearded dragons can be caused by various factors, including insufficient UV rays, constipation, inappropriate substrate consumption, low temperatures, lack of enrichment opportunities, brumation, inadequate nutrition, parasite infestations, and dehydration. By understanding and addressing these potential causes, you can help your bearded dragon regain its energy and overall health.