Bearded dragons are now the most popular pets worldwide, and their popularity among pet keepers is increasing daily. They are known for being easy to tame, low maintenance, and for their moderate size.
There are so many questions pet owners have about their pets, and when it comes to bearded dragons, one of the most important questions they have is how long can a bearded dragon go without food.
When talking about food, let’s get one thing clear about bearded dragons: they don’t have a complicated diet; they eat a variety of food items like carrots. Being omnivorous, they eat both live food and plant-based food. In this post, you will get all the answers to why your beardie is avoiding food, how long they survive without food, and what you should do in such scenarios.
How Often Do Bearded Dragons Need to Eat?
For beginners, figuring out the food items they should feed their beardie and how often they need to eat depends upon their age. Let’s get to know how often they need to eat at different ages:
Baby bearded dragon needs to eat multiple times a day. Beardies under three months need to feed five times a day, 3-6 months old need to eat 3-4 times a day, six months old need food three times a day, and when they are about a year old, they need to eat two times a day. Their growth rate is the highest at this age, so they need a good amount of food that contains all the nutrients required for their proper growth.
Those older than 18 months are referred to as adult bearded dragons. Adult beardies need to eat once every day. Even if you miss feeding them for a day, there is nothing wrong with that, but you definitely should feed them once every day so that they don’t strive.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go without Food?
It depends upon their age, health, and whether they are in captivity or the wild; only then can one answer questions like how long they can go without food.
Bearded Dragons in Wild
Bearded dragons have evolved to go without food for almost long periods and can live up to 2-3 months without food in the wild. They have fat storage in particular body parts; when they eat excess food, the fat gets stored in those body parts. They use their reserved fat to survive when they enter the brumation period. They move very little during the 2-3 month period.
So, an adult bearded dragon can go without food for about 2-3 months in the wild. Baby and juvenile dragons can’t survive that long because they don’t have enough reserved fat. It’s not like they can’t live without food at all, they can, but they can hardly go without food for a week.
Bearded Dragons in Captivity
In captivity, there is a change in their surroundings and behavior. And just because they can live without food for months in the wild, you can’t starve your beardie for that long. In captivity, you need to know how long they can live without food while not ruining their health.
A baby and a juvenile beardie can go without food for a few days (which is not recommended); you should never let them go without food. As they are in their growth phase and there is a high demand for minerals and proteins, you need to feed them regularly.
Talking about adult beardies, beardies with fat stored and need to lose some weight can go around two months without eating (but not eating for two months is highly discouraged); you should not let them go without food for more than a week if they’re not in their brumation period.
5 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon is Not Eating?
There could be numerous reasons why your beardie is not eating. Your pet not eating can make you worry a lot, and sometimes you can fix it. Let’s take a look into the reasons why your beardie is refusing food:
1: Illness Can Reduce Appetite
Your bearded dragon could be ill. The reason for refusing food due to illness could be a lot, some of the common illness-causing agents are pinworm, and they can also suffer from MBD. It’s better to make an appointment to see your vet if you feel something is wrong and they are not behaving as their usual self.
Just make sure to get your beardie checked out every time you are in doubt and get a qualified vet’s opinion.
2: They Can Be Stressed
When your beardie gets stressed, they will lose their appetite. Losing appetite can result in them eating very less or even completely refusing to eat.
The main reasons a bearded dragon can get stressed at home are another dragon, other pets, toys, and small objects (it can be mistaken for a predator by your beardie).
3: Incorrect Temperature And Humidity
If the temperature in their tank is not correct, then it can be a reason your beardie is not eating as much as they usually eat. Maintain a proper temperature of 24-29 degrees C and humidity of 20-40%.
Always remember that your beardie needs its optimal body temperature for digestion, and without the right temperature in its tank, it won’t be ready for any meal.
4: Transferred to a New Tank
Transferring your beardie to a new tank can make them stop eating. Being territorial by nature, they need some time to adjust to the new environment. Bearded dragons skip meals on certain days when you bring them home for the first time. So, there is nothing to worry about, as they will resume eating once they get used to the new surrounding.
5: Brumation Period
It usually happens during the winter. So, whenever winter arrives, and there is a drop in the temperature, your beardie gets ready to go for hibernation. Brumation is one of the most common reasons why they aren’t eating.
Tips For Bearded Dragons That Won’t Eat
Seeing your beardie not eating can make you worry about their health, but it’s unnecessary; they need to eat every day. They could be experiencing stress or other reasons for not eating, so give them some time to calm down and adjust.
If you’re a beginner and just bought a beardie, give them time to adjust. Make sure to feed them adequately.
Another thing you could do is call the vet and get your beardie checked and follow the instructions given by your vet, and soon your beardie will be eating as it used to eat.
Introducing new food items to your beardie might make them curious about trying new food, and they eventually will start eating again.
At last, you may try to force-feed your beardie; while it’s not recommended to force-feed them, you can give it a try when your beardie is losing too much weight. These tips will help you to feed your bearded dragons.
It can be so stressful watching your beardie go without food. There could be several reasons they are refusing to eat; some of them are new surroundings, stress, or they could be ill.
So, how long can bearded dragons go without food? When trying to get your beardie to eat, there are things you need to keep in mind, as the amount of food and the number of times they need to feed will depend on the age of your beardie.
The only time your beardie should go without food is during the brumation period. If they refuse to eat when they are not in their brumation period, then you need to find out why they are not eating and start putting your effort into making them eat. Keep them hydrated and feed them properly with a good heat and lighting system, allowing them to grow healthy.
How long can a bearded dragon go without eating in captivity?
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons should not go without eating in captivity. However, adults can stay without food for days without getting themselves sick, but not more than a week unless they are not in their brumation period.
Can you force-feed your bearded dragon?
Yes, you can force-feed your bearded dragon, but only if it’s visibly weak and becoming way too thin.
Why isn’t my bearded dragon eating?
There are several reasons for this, but the most common reasons your beardie isn’t eating are new habitat, brumation, stress, illness, or change in diet.