9 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon is Not Eating

In the article “9 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon is Not Eating,” Anna Lad explores the various factors that may contribute to a bearded dragon’s lack of appetite. From parasites and fullness to transitioning diets and stressful events, this article sheds light on the potential reasons behind a bearded dragon’s refusal to eat. Whether you’re a beginner owner or a seasoned reptile enthusiast, understanding these factors can help you identify and address the issue to ensure the health and well-being of your beloved pet. So, let’s delve into the nine reasons why your bearded dragon may not be eating.

Reasons why your bearded dragon might not be eating

It has parasites

Parasites can cause weight loss and gastrointestinal issues in bearded dragons. These parasites reside in the intestines and can either consume the food that the dragon consumes or suck blood from it. This leads to bloating and a feeling of fullness, which can result in a loss of appetite. If you notice visible eggs or worms in your bearded dragon’s stool, it is important to schedule a vet appointment immediately.

It is full and doesn’t want to eat more

One common reason why a bearded dragon may not be eating is simply because it is full. The eating habits of these reptiles are influenced by various factors such as temperature, geographical location, and age. Male bearded dragons tend to eat more than females, so if you have only owned males in the past, you may mistakenly believe that a female is not eating enough. To determine if your bearded dragon’s food intake is normal, compare it to the average rates of other dragons. Keeping a record of its food intake can help you identify any potential issues.

It’s growing from a baby to an adult

Bearded dragons undergo a transition in their diet as they grow from babies to adults. While baby dragons primarily eat insects, adult dragons rely more on plants. This transition can be stressful for both the dragon and its owner. If you are currently going through this transition, it is important to consult your animal handling book for guidance. Keeping a record of your dragon’s food intake during this period will also help you monitor its progress. Even if it initially refuses to eat vegetables, continue to offer them as its taste buds may change over time.

You’re feeding it the wrong food

Feeding your bearded dragon the wrong food can result in a loss of appetite. Overfeeding it with insects can cause it to reject them or become overweight. Feeding it something poisonous can make it ill and cause it to avoid all food options. Each bearded dragon may also have its own personal preferences when it comes to food. Some dragons may prefer certain vegetables over others, while others may not mind eating the same thing every day. It is important to understand your dragon’s dietary preferences and adjust its diet accordingly.

It’s about to enter brumation

Brumation is a hibernation-like state that some bearded dragons enter into on a seasonal or yearly basis. Before going into brumation, a bearded dragon prepares by clearing out its digestive system. As a result, it may refuse to eat in order to complete the digestion cycle before entering this dormant state. If your dragon is displaying signs of preparing for brumation, such as digging a burrow, it is normal for it to reduce its food intake.

Your bearded dragon is experiencing a major stressful event

Bearded dragons generally lead quiet lives, but there are certain events that can cause them significant stress. Sudden changes in their habitat, threats from larger animals or lizards, competition with other animals in the same enclosure, or lack of hiding places can all contribute to a loss of appetite. Bringing a bearded dragon home from the pet store can also be a stressful experience for the dragon. It is important to create a comfortable and secure environment for your dragon to help it relax and regain its appetite.

It is sick

Sickness can greatly affect a bearded dragon’s appetite. When a bearded dragon is in pain or discomfort, it may not feel inclined to eat or forage for food. Its immune system may also be working overtime to combat potential illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Unfortunately, there is still much that is not known about how bearded dragons indicate that they are sick. If your dragon is displaying signs of illness, it is crucial to seek veterinary care.

It is about to die

As with many animals, bearded dragons often refuse food and water when they are approaching the end of their lives. In the wild, bearded dragons typically live for 5-6 years, while in captivity, their lifespan can double or even triple. As they reach the older stages of their lives, they may exhibit a loss of appetite and signs of aging, such as lighter-colored skin. It is important to provide care and comfort to your dragon during this stage.

Temperature in the enclosure is too hot or too cold

Bearded dragons require the right temperature to maintain their metabolic processes, including digestion. If the temperature in its enclosure is too hot, the dragon may refrain from eating in order to avoid overheating from the heat generated during digestion. On the other hand, if the temperature is too cold, the dragon may lack the necessary energy to hunt and eat. Providing a heat lamp and maintaining proper temperature levels in the enclosure is crucial for ensuring your dragon’s eating habits are not compromised.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why a bearded dragon may not be eating. It could be due to parasites, fullness, growth, incorrect feeding, brumation, stressful events, illness, nearing the end of its life, or improper temperature in the enclosure. By understanding these factors and addressing them accordingly, you can help ensure your bearded dragon’s health and well-being. If you are unsure about the cause of your dragon’s loss of appetite, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.

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