Why Wont My Bearded Dragon Eat?

Having a bearded dragon that refuses to eat can be concerning for any pet owner. These reptiles are typically hearty eaters, so a sudden loss of appetite can indicate an underlying issue. In this article, we will explore some common reasons why bearded dragons may stop eating and provide potential solutions to help address the problem.

Possible Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Won’t Eat

Environmental Factors: Bearded dragons are sensitive to their environment. If the temperature, lighting, or humidity levels in their enclosure are not suitable, it can affect their appetite.

Stress or Changes in Routine: Bearded dragons can become stressed by changes in their surroundings or routine. Events such as relocation, introduction of new pets, or rearrangement of their habitat can disrupt their eating habits.

Illness or Injury: A sick or injured bearded dragon may lose its appetite. Parasites, respiratory infections, mouth sores, or metabolic bone disease can all contribute to a decrease in appetite.

Brumation: Bearded dragons, especially adults, undergo a period of brumation, which is similar to hibernation in other animals. During this time, they may eat significantly less or even refuse food altogether.

Digestive Issues: Impaction, a condition where the digestive system becomes blocked, can cause discomfort and loss of appetite in bearded dragons. This can occur if they ingest substrate material or if their diet lacks proper fiber.

Dietary Preferences: Bearded dragons may become picky eaters, refusing certain foods or flavors. Offering a variety of nutritious options can help encourage them to eat.

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Solutions to Encourage Eating in Bearded Dragons

Ensure Optimal Enclosure Conditions: Maintain proper temperature gradients, provide appropriate UVB lighting, and monitor humidity levels to create a comfortable and stimulating environment for your bearded dragon.

Minimize Stress: Avoid sudden changes in their habitat, handle them gently, and provide a consistent daily routine to minimize stress.

Monitor Health: If you suspect illness or injury, consult a reptile veterinarian for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment.

Facilitate Brumation: If your bearded dragon is in the brumation period, create a suitable brumation area with lower temperatures and reduced lighting. Ensure they are hydrated but do not force-feed during this time.

Address Digestive Issues: Provide a proper diet with a balance of insects, leafy greens, and vegetables. Avoid feeding them large prey items that may lead to impaction. If impaction is suspected, seek veterinary care immediately.

Offer Variety: Experiment with different food options and textures to determine your bearded dragon’s preferences. Ensure the diet is nutritionally balanced and meets their dietary requirements.

When to Seek Veterinary Assistance

If your bearded dragon’s appetite loss persists for more than a few days or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, or diarrhea, it is crucial to consult a reptile veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination, conduct tests if necessary, and provide appropriate treatment for your bearded dragon’s specific condition.

Remember, every bearded dragon is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find the right solution to encourage eating. With patience, proper care, and attention to their needs, you can help your bearded dragon regain their appetite and maintain optimal health.

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FAQs About Bearded Dragons Not Eating

Q: How long can a bearded dragon go without eating?

A: While every dragon is different, a healthy bearded dragon can typically go a few weeks without eating. However, it is important to address the underlying cause of appetite loss as soon as possible.

Q: Should I force-feed my bearded dragon if it’s not eating?

A: It is not recommended to force-feed your bearded dragon. Instead, focus on identifying the underlying cause and addressing it appropriately. Consult a veterinarian for guidance.

Q: Can stress cause a loss of appetite in bearded dragons?

A: Yes, stress can significantly impact a bearded dragon’s appetite. Minimizing stressors in their environment and providing a calm and stable routine can help encourage eating.

Q: What should I do if my bearded dragon refuses to eat vegetables?

A: If your bearded dragon is not eating vegetables, try offering a variety of options and experiment with different preparations, such as finely chopping or pureeing the vegetables.

Q: Can brumation affect a bearded dragon’s appetite?

A: Yes, during brumation, bearded dragons often eat less or stop eating altogether. It is a natural behavior, but monitor their weight and overall health during this period.

Q: Are there appetite stimulants for bearded dragons available?

A: There are no specific appetite stimulants approved for bearded dragons. Addressing the underlying cause and providing proper care are the best approaches.


When your bearded dragon refuses to eat, it can be a cause for concern. However, by understanding the possible reasons and implementing appropriate solutions, you can help address the issue. Ensure optimal enclosure conditions, minimize stress, monitor their health, and provide a varied and nutritious diet. If the problem persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consult a reptile veterinarian for a thorough evaluation. With patience and proper care, you can help your bearded dragon regain their appetite and maintain their well-being.

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