You wanted to buy yourself a pet and instead of getting a cat or a dog like other people you bought a bearded dragon and end up being the happiest person on earth.
You are busy playing and taking care of your new pet and suddenly realize that the new member of your family is not eating. It upsets you right? No matter what animal you keep as a pet if your loved pet is not eating it surely is a matter of concern.
A healthy bearded dragon is one that is active, eats, and drinks well. So if your pet has stopped eating it is a matter of concern. Instead of panicking in such a situation, you should take wise steps firstly by understanding why he is not eating.
Before listing the reasons why your is your bearded dragon not eating let us first dive into a little background about who bearded dragons are and some facts related to them.
Bearded Dragon Background
Commonly known as a bearded dragon, Pogonas or Pogona Vitticeps in Latin is a genus of reptiles belonging to the lizard family and are commonly kept by people as a household pet. Originally originating from the deserts of Australia, these reptiles are broad with triangular heads and flattened bodies. They have spine scales that are arranged in rows and clusters and hence the name bearded dragon.
They have a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years and can grow to around 45 cm or 18 inches in length.
They are cold-blooded reptiles and hence their temperature is reflective of the environment to which they belong.
Quite docile in nature they become a good friend of the children and prove to be a great companion.
These reptiles love to eat but the diet depends upon their age. A young bearded dragon requires more food compared to a mature and old bearded dragon. As I said that they love food, it is surely a matter of concern if your bearded dragon is not eating. Let me help you by listing down ten reasons why your bearded dragon has given up what it loves the most- food.
Why Is Your Bearded Dragon not Eating?
If you are wondering why my bearded dragon won’t eat, the reasons behind it can vary from something common to something actually serious.
Some of the reasons are listed below:
- Your Dragon is oppressed: Being an expressive reptile, a bearded dragon will often express its negative emotions by showing disinterest in food. One of the main reasons behind these negative feelings can be sharing their tank with the other dragon.
If you are putting more than one bearded dragoon in a single tank it will cause you a lot of trouble. Bearded dragons love being alone and hence do not like sharing their space with other representatives of their own species.
They might end up tolerating the new companion in their tank as they are of quiet nature but they will show their repulsion to them by avoiding food. If there are two dragons in the same tank and one is oppressive in nature, then it is most likely that the weaker one will end up dying. To prevent this either you need to give up one of your dragons or maintain separate tanks for both the dragons you want to pet.
- Brumation: Lizards have their own form of hibernation just like other mammals which is termed as ‘brumation’. When the temperatures drop, these dragons slow down their metabolism.
If you find your bearded dragon not eating, is inactive, and is hiding all the time then it is quite possible that it is time for him to hibernate or say ‘brumate’. While your bearded dragon is bromating keep in mind two things. First, don’t let the temperature fall too low, and second, make sure that your pet remains hydrated.
- Impaction: Just like humans who do not like food when they are constipated, your bearded dragon won’t eat if he is suffering from impaction, until and unless things begin to clear up.
Impaction can be a result of an excess of something in your bearded dragon’s diet, like too many insects. An improper ratio between vegetation and meat can also be a reason for impaction.
Wrong Tank Set-Up: If the tank in which you have kept your bearded dragon is not well equipped they are most likely to stop eating.
Though the dragon will survive in the tank which is quite different from their natural habitat they won’t like it much and will show their disinterest by giving up food.
It is quite possible and easy for people to maintain a tank setting that is close to that of the wild and natural habitat of bearded dragons. You will need a heat source to maintain multiple temperature zones within the tank. If the environment is not suitable within the tank your bearded dragon will die soon. Also, take care of the lighting in the tank as it affects their behavior and patterns of eating.
Vitamin Deficiency: It is essential to add greens to your bearded dragon’s diet. If you do not feed the appropriate amount of greens to your bearded dragon it will cause them health problems in the future.
If you are not giving a balanced diet or are feeding the wrong supplements to your reptile pet it can cause the deficiency of vital nutrients and vitamins which can further lead to loss of appetite.
- Parasites: A major portion of the sustenance of lizards comes from insects. If the source of the insects your bearded dragon is feeding on is not correct it will infect them with a parasite.
A parasite can cause your dragon to feel under weather and they may end up developing a disinterest in food.
Also, the reverse is possible, that they end up eating more as the parasites end up feeding on the major portion of your dragon’s food. You can look for moving red, black, or yellow dots to detect a parasite. If your pet dragon is showing some adverse symptoms then it is better to make a quick visit to your vet and get him examined.
- Infection: An infection in the mouth commonly called mouth rot might sound like a serious problem, but is a relatively common infection in them.
Since it is a painful infection they end up giving food. Some of the signs of this infection are swelling around the head, loose teeth, increased saliva production, and bleeding. It is a treatable disease and all you need to do is visit a vet and get your lizard examined by them.
- Illness and Injury: if none of the other reasons seem to appear, then it is quite possible that your dragon is suffering from some illness.
To be sure about what has happened to your bearded dragon make a visit to the pet. You can collect some of the lizard’s droppings, and send them for examining and testing which will help your vet examine better what has happened to your pet.
Also, these bearded dragons are not immune to injuries like bone breakage which can be a result of accidents or bullying and fighting with other lizards or due to mishandling of the pet. In such a case they express a suppressed diet and also there might be a swelling on their body. In such a case make an immediate visit to the vet to find out what has happened to your pet and to get him cured.
- Shedding: Bearded Dragons at an infant stage shed after every two to four weeks. Whereas an adult bearded dragon will shed every few months.
If your dragon has lost his appetite but is not showing any symptoms of some illness, injury or infection it is possible that your dragon is preparing to shed. Before and during shedding dragons become lethargic and inactive and start losing interest in food. Give your pet the required time and do not worry if he is not eating.
In the end, we can conclude that there are various reasons why your pet dragon is not eating. The reason behind their disinterest in food can vary from something natural to something which can be a reason to be worried about. If it is something natural, don’t worry and don’t panic. Just give your pet some time to complete its natural processes. In case it is something unusual then immediately visit the vet and get your dragon examined so that you don’t end up losing its life.