How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Food? All You Need To Know

Sometimes your bearded dragon shows some impressive self-control in resisting eating their food. How long can bearded dragons go without food? Bearded dragons have nutritional needs that we must regularly fulfill for ensuring a healthy lifestyle. Then again, a bearded dragon can go up to 2 months without eating any food.

Wondering how this contradiction is possible? And ever thought that what exactly would happen if they stay hungry longer than the recommended time? You must have witnessed your bearded dragon showing some impressive self-control in resisting to eat their food. Let us find out about how long exactly your beardie can go without food and under what circumstances.

Bearded Dragon

The bearded dragon is a friendly reptile that can be tamed and trained for keeping as a pet because of its friendly personality. They are easy-going and relaxed reptiles adapted to a wide range of habitats, including the woodlands, jungles, shrublands, and deserts.

Their dietary habits are omnivorous and are primarily comprised of insects, veggies, and fruits. Some breeds of bearded dragons can camouflage and can adjust their body temperature according to their surroundings.

They don’t have very aggressive behavior, due to which they possess some defense mechanisms to intimidate the predator.

Brown and Beige Lizard on Stone

How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food?

If you are a beginner in adopting a bearded dragon as your pet, it may seem very complex for you to care for their nutritional needs and other necessities.

Moreover, in such a situation, if your beardie stops eating food and continues the same for days and weeks, you might get worried that this is an indication of their end-of-life phase?

This assumption is common to newbies having a pet because of the conception that pets stop eating food when they see their death near.

In the case of your bearded dragon, this unusual fear isn’t always justified. Lets us know more about a bearded dragon’s alleged intermittent fasting.

how long can bearded dragons go without food

Generally, the duration for which a bearded dragon can live without food depends on its age, weight, health conditions, etc. However, an ideal fully mature bearded dragon can live without food ranging from approximately a few weeks to 3 months.

The circumstances under which they don’t eat food may be due to different reasons. Young or baby bearded dragons can’t stay hungry for such long spans as their body is in the stage of rapid growth, and they necessarily need a daily nutritional diet to maintain robust health.

The reasons dragons stop eating may be the change in environment, any fatal sickness, acute digestive issues, body malfunctions, changes in diet, or brumation.

Although food becomes a matter to abstain from, we must provide constant hydration to your beardies by keeping water accessible for them at all times.

The age of bearded dragons plays a vital role in deciding how much longer they can stay without food:

Adult Bearded Dragons

Adult bearded dragons are entirely independent about their necessities, and if you have one, it is not a burden for you to feed them plenty of times and give them attention all the time.

Adult dragons don’t need to be fed frequently, like juveniles and babies. Feeding them once or twice a day when they feel hungry is completely fine by them.

Adult beardies can go for a few days without any food, and they won’t be much affected by it because they have low metabolism, can break down the body fats, and convert them to energy for sustenance.

Close-up Shot Of A Bearded Dragon

Domesticated bearded dragons are conditioned in lenient environments, which is why they can go only a few days without food. But the wild dragons can live for several weeks without eating anything and rely on reserved body fats to fuel their bodies.

So, if you wish to experiment with this hunger tolerance test on your bearded dragon, you can do it for a couple of days or maybe a week easily without causing any harm to your buddy. They will survive those days pretty well.

Juvenile Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons at the juvenile or young stage can be left alone for a day or two with worries of getting hurt and starving themselves due to no food.

Juvenile beardies are also in their growing stage, and that’s why you need to feed them more often to give proper nourishment every day to ensure the growth of the dragon.

Brown and Gray Lizard on Brown Grass

The growth rate of young bearded dragons gets relatively slower than that of the baby dragons, so cutting a little bit slack on a high protein and nutritional diet becomes necessary to fulfill the nutrients adequately and make the beardies grow strong and healthy.

However, it is excellent to leave the juvenile dragon unattended or without food for a day because they have some amount of stockpiled energy to use for almost a day easily.

This skipping of meals can be okay and harmless if done in rare emergencies but don’t make skipping daily meals a habit because it affects the growth rate negatively and creates a nutritional imbalance in the body.

Baby Bearded Dragons

If you ever observe a baby bearded dragon, you would notice that they are always hungry and constantly eat throughout the day. They need a rich nutritional diet every day to provide them with essential nutrients that promote rapid growth.

Lizard, Bearded Dragon, Orange, Reptile

Baby dragons consume more food than adult and juvenile dragons because of their high requirements. Their growth rate is so fast that you would see them change physically every day; this is why they need plenty of nutritional food daily.

Baby dragons need foods with proteins and other vital nutrients to maintain a healthy body and robust metabolism. Hence, it implicates that the baby dragons cannot live quite long without food and their delicate structure requires pampering and your undivided attention.

It is your responsibility to check on their regular meals that should provide adequate nourishment to them for rapid growth.

How Often Do You Need To Feed A Bearded Dragon?

The frequency of diet and regular meals are decided depending on the size, age, and medical health condition of a bearded dragon.

Regulating the meals is necessary to ensure that the dragon consumes only the advised amount of nutrients each day, neither less nor more. However, we must follow some general rules regarding the dietary routine to keep your beardie healthy and robust.

See also  Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini? All You Need To Know

The diet is primarily comprised of insects and leafy greens. An insectivorous diet like worms, crickets, and roaches provides protein, some fats, and moisture. In contrast, the greeny diet includes veggies and fruits that provide the rest of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

This combination of omnivorous dietary sources makes a bearded dragon’s diet completely nutritional and adequate to promote good body growth.

Initially, a baby bearded dragon requires a lot of protein and fats for bodybuilding and rapid growth fuel. Insects usually fulfill these requirements, so they have a regular and hardcore insectivorous diet with few green veggies.

Bearded dragon on brown background

Gradually, when the dragons grow and build mass, they require equal amounts of insects and greens in their diet for fulfilling the nutritional necessities of macros and micros both simultaneously.

Finally, as the beardie grows and matures, it completely switches its dietary preference from insectivorous to herbivorous.

It consumes more green leafy veggies and fruits instead of insects and builds a consistent healthy dietary routine that remains the same for its other life and helps it live an ideal lifestyle.

Ultimately, it can be said that the frequency of meals and the diet decreases with the progress in age. Baby beardies eat more than the juveniles, and the juveniles eat more than the adults.

If you want to understand the layout in brief, refer to the following points:

  • Age < 3 months ( 70% insects, 30% veggies ) (30-80 insects per day) – 5 feeding sessions a day
  • Age is 3-8 months ( 70% insects, 30% veggies ) (30-80 insects per day) – 2 feeding sessions a day
  • Age is 8-12 months ( 70% insects, 30% veggies ) (30-80 insects per day) – 1 feeding session a day
  • Age > 1 year ( 70% veggies, 30% insects ) (50 insects per day) – 1 day insect, 1 day veggies, 1 day nothing, and repeat the cycle

Why Is Going Without Food a Bad Idea For Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons are hardcore food lovers, just like the majority of the animals on earth and the humans too. So, they need food for sustainability, and that’s an undeniable fact.

They are not some miraculous creatures that may live without food or sacrifice one or the other basic necessity. Food is not an optional choice for them, and they would die if not fed properly.

Bearded dragons need to have food for the same reason we humans do, which is to help sustain our bodies by providing energy for complex involuntary processes in humans.

Food is the pseudo-soul of a human whose absence is destructive for our very existence. Consumption of food helps us grow, keep our organ systems and senses healthy, ensure smooth functioning of our body, and maintain our mental sanity.

Similarly, bearded dragons also require food regularly to keep them healthy and strong. You could research in detail the effects of stopping food for a beardie and observation regarding the changes it goes through.

Animal, Lizard, Agame, Reptile

Bearded dragons have a natural ability to live without food for a specific time, but that means they would be missing out on the essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, antioxidants, etc., every day, resulting in an inefficient body functioning and degradation in body growth.

Beardies can live for some days without eating anything under the circumstances and conditions that they have enough stored fats stored for future use.

However, starving your lovely bearded dragon isn’t recommended at all. You must consistently feed them according to their balanced dietary needs and fulfill their necessities daily to get as healthy as possible and survive to their fullest.

Why Is Going Without Food a Bad Idea For Baby Bearded Dragons?

Food is exceptionally vital for adult bearded dragons.

Compared to that extremity, the need for food for baby dragons is exponentially more necessary than the adults because it is their prime growing stage that defines their whole life ahead by proper body formation and organ functioning.

The growth rate of baby dragons is so rapid that they strictly need to eat 3-5 times a day with a nutritionally rich balanced diet to promote their rapid growth.

Lizard, Reptile, Dragon, Stone, Scales

It is true that if in case of an emergency, you don’t feed your baby dragon for a whole day, it’s okay and not harmful for your tiny beardie but starving your baby dragon is strictly not recommended.

Food is a necessary fuel supply for baby beardies who suffer hindrances in their growth and health, affecting their proper evolution.

It is advised to you that you feed your baby bearded dragon with live feeders, fresh drinking water, finely chopped veggies, and supplementary powders every day as a part of their balanced diet to ensure healthy growth.

Is It Unhealthy For a Bearded Dragon to Go Without Food?

Yes, it is unhealthy for your bearded dragon to live without food because it’s the energizing fuel for its body, and its deprivation can cause severe health disorders or death.

Just like humans, dragons also need nutritional values from food consumption to survive a healthy life.

Starving the dragon would make them deficient in nutrients like proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals which is fatal for them and may have toxic effects on their health. So, it is best if you don’t even think to skip their feeding sessions.

The only acceptable circumstances for periodic and scheduled fasting of your beardie would be:

  • Brumation
  • Treatment of a severe disease
  • If the vet suggested so for any reason

8 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Always Hungry!

It is always a good habit for bearded dragons to eat everything correctly when you feed them and not waste any food; a good appetite like this is a great advantage because it ensures that your beardie never will be malnourished.

However, if your beardie is always hungry and you are never enough for satiating its hunger, that might be an alarming situation demanding medical assistance.

So, if you are still wondering why is your bearded dragon always hungry, go through the following eight reasons which may relate somehow with your beardie:

Bearded Dragon, Australia, Lizard

1. You are feeding them incorrect foods:

If you are accidentally feeding them certain food items that are potentially toxic for their health or not suitable for them, they will not eat it after trying it once. Consumption of inappropriate foods leads to diseases and digestive disorders.

Dragons avoid those foods from next time onwards; If you still try to feed the same wrong foods, they will stop eating until you provide them with a better and nutritional alternative suitable for them.

Processed foods, allium veggies, and some fruits are unsuitable for bearded dragons and should not be fed to them to keep them safe.

Dragons are familiar with their healthy food by smelling senses, so they would go on a hunger strike for sure when they don’t get their favorite insects and veggies.

2. They are still Young and Growing:

It is the most common reason due to which bearded dragons look like always hungry. It happens because they are young and require a high amount of nutritional value daily for assisting rapid growth and body formation.

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Baby and juvenile dragons need a lot of healthy food in their stages to ensure fast-paced growth and smooth body functioning.

Baby and juvenile beardies come in the category of ‘always hungry’ due to their ongoing growth phase, which is true because a reptile of that tiny size eats at least 3-4 meals per day for calming their uncontrollable hunger.

Feeding them at all times may seem a tedious task for you in the earlier stages, but once they get adults, they won’t be much difficult to handle.

3. They are Underfed:

If your beardie appears hungry even after eating a meal, it might simply mean that you aren’t providing them enough food that they require for satiating their hunger and fulfilling their nutritional needs.

Feeding them with an appropriate amount of insects and veggies is mandatory daily to have healthy growth. A general rule suggests that it is recommended to feed as much as appropriately sized crickets or roaches your beardie can consume in 10 minutes.

Although, beardies can eat the approximately same amount of crickets or roaches in a day on average. Follow the quantity measures stated below if you think you are most likely to underfeed your dragon:

Baby – 30 to 80 crickets

Juvenile – 30 to 50 crickets

Adult – 10 to 15 crickets

Bearded Dragon, Reptile

4. You are providing them a Poor quality diet:

You may be feeding your bearded dragon a balanced diet with food choices having the correct ratio of insects and veggies, and still, they are refusing to eat their food which may trigger their hunger.

It may be because they live feeders and veggies you are feeding them must be of poor quality and unsuitable for eating.

It is necessary to buy the live feeders from a well-reputed supplement store so that the insects don’t have any toxicity or defects in them and are gut-loaded properly for optimal results.

Also, the veggies you feed should be organically grown with minimal pesticide usage and must be fresh to eat. Providing an overall fresh and nutritional diet with high quality is a must for your beardie’s safe health and overcoming hunger issues.

5. Insect to veggie ratio is inappropriate in their diet:

The provision of adequate nutrients is the primary focus for feeding a balanced diet. If you disturb the recommended food ratio of insects and veggies in their diet, the nutritional requirement will get imbalanced, which might cause health issues in your dragon.

Baby dragons – 70% insects and 30% veggies

Juvenile dragons – 70% insects and 30% veggies

Adult dragons – 30% insects and 70% veggies

Also, with progression in the dragon’s age, they change their diet preferences according to their needs.

In that case, if an adult beardie that craves green veggies is fed with lots of insects in their diet, they would react unusually at the start and would gradually stop eating and feeling hungry every time because that’s not what they want to eat once they get mature.

So, following the dietary ratio according to the bearded dragon’s age is essential and shouldn’t be disrupted.

6. If your female dragon just laid eggs:

Female bearded dragons frequently get hungry after laying their eggs because it uses plenty of calcium and protein from the body of the beardie, due to which the nutrition gets depleted rapidly in them.

To fulfill those quickly used up nutrients, female dragons need frequent meals rich in protein and calcium to stay strong and lay healthy eggs.

They will eat frequently and replace the nutrients they lost, and this is an entirely natural process and must be encouraged. Ensure proper diet, calcium dusting supplementation, and plenty of hydration in female dragons after their laying period.

7. Parasitic infections:

Parasitic infections in the intestinal tract are the most neglected reason for the constant hunger of bearded dragons.

Still, it is significantly valid because microscopic parasites like the pinworms and tapeworms are present in the dragon’s intestines that often eat up some portion of the diet you provide to your beardie.

The possibility of hunger and undernourishment arises in this case because the adequate amount of nutrients required by your beardie are not fulfilled and instead consumed by the parasites which inflict hunger issues.

These parasites are undetected in earlier stages because they show no signs of their presence in the body, but if you suspect that this really might be the issue, performing a fecal examination b your vet would give you the diagnosis and any possible measures for treating it.

8. Setting up better lighting:

The lighting setup of the enclosure or the environment is a factor we can consider for proper food consumption and better digestion. Suppose you observe that your bearded dragon gets hungrier than before when you changed your old lighting setup to a new and improved one.

It is because now it feels more comfortable, and the temperature is more suitable for smooth digestion.

Good exposure to the UVB or basking bulbs is favorable for bearded dragons. It would help have an efficient feeding session with better digestion, quick nutrient assimilation, and health benefits.

How To Tell If A Bearded Dragon Is Starving?

Bearded dragons are wild reptiles that are naturally supposed to habituate in the forests.

Most dragons are domesticated nowadays and probably spend their whole lives in captivity, making them clinically obese. They are always healthier than the standard weight because of overfeeding and under-exercising.

Weighing your bearded dragon once in a while could help you to keep a check on their weight to detect any visible obesity or undernourishment. Take appropriate measures for maintaining their health depending on how much weight they gained or lost.

Abnormal fluctuation in weight is an alarming situation for your beardie, so consult your vet immediately in such a case.

Another way of detecting a starving dragon is by looking for sunken fat pads on top of their heads. That area just behind their eyes has a reasonably prominent padded structure responsible for storing fats for future use.

Bearded Dragon, Lizard, Reptile, Pet

If the pad seems a little deflated or sunken, it either means that there are no stored fats in the pad, or it may be a sign of dehydration as well.

Apart from the fat pads located on their head, bearded dragons also have another one on the base of their tails. They are pretty secretive and are not easily visible but can be felt through touch. It is located just behind their rear legs and under their tail.

If the skin around that tail pad seems a bit saggy and you can touch the tailbone, it’s a sign of no stored fats in it because the fat stored tail pad feels soft on touch.

Can you force-feed your bearded dragon?

Yes, you can force-feed your bearded dragon only if your vet has recommended you to do so due to some possible medical reasons. Force-feeding may be allowed in cases where the dragon needs a strict balanced diet but refuses to eat for unnecessary reasons.

When the beardie is starving itself intentionally for silly reasons, that’s not acceptable and would be harmful to their health.

Generally, force-feeding is never suggested until necessary. If your vet allows you to force-feed your dragon, do it appropriately and precisely as the vet advises so that you don’t accidentally harm them or affect their health.

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How to force-feed your bearded dragon?

Bearded dragons like to eat their food by themselves, according to their needs and mood. However, if, due to some reason, your vet recommended you to force-feed your dragon, you don’t have a choice but to do what was advised.

Bearded Dragon, Dragon, Lizard, Reptile

The method of force-feeding is straightforward and exactly like how humans feed their babies in the infancy stage.

You need to firmly grip your beardie, then gently pull their jaws apart to open their mouth and insert the food with a spoon or syringe.

Dandelions For Bearded Dragons

Yes, Bearded dragons can eat dandelions safely. Dandelions are very nutritious for consumption and have plenty of vital nutrients like Vitamin A, K, C, and calcium.

Organically grown dandelions are best for your dragons to eat because the edible parts suitable for your beardies, like the flowers, leaves, and stems, are healthy only when enriched with organic nutrition.

Lizard, Colorful, Head, View, Exotic

Wild dandelions that grow in polluted areas or forests are heavily toxic for bearded dragons and can even kill them if consumed by mistake because they have chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and lead dust that are highly toxic for ingestion.

Few parts of the dandelion are edible and healthy for bearded dragons to eat as it provides them with a lot of necessary nutrients.

Flowers – rich in antioxidants and beta-carotene

Stems – rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium

Leaves – rich in Vitamin A, K, C, E, B6, B12, and minerals like magnesium and folate

There is a considerable difference between the wild dandelion and the edible type of culinary dandelion. Wild dandelions are found almost everywhere, growing in the fields beside roads and livelihoods, but that kind is highly toxic due to day-to-day exhaust pollution.

On the other hand, the culinary dandelions are grown in the most organic fields that enrich the plant with numerous nutrients and make it edible for humans as expensive dishes in high-end restaurants or for animals like bearded dragons as their crunchy, juicy, and delicious snack.

What Colors Can Bearded Dragons Be?

Bearded dragons are reptiles with a rough body texture, and caliginous colors adapt to the wild habitat and camouflage in the forests. A bearded dragon’s most commonly found colors are yellow, red, tan, and olive green.

Bearded dragons are widespread pet choices for people choosing a reptile pet because of their appearance, behavior, and necessities. The increase in demand for the dragon made it evident that people breed it in various ways to produce a new range of colors.

Herpetologists mated bearded dragon morphs to introduce new types of dragons that had distinct colors and patterns. After a significant amount of research, they could produce almost 20 types of bearded dragons with different colors. These brand new morphed colors were:

  • Red
  • Translucent white
  • Snow white
  • Black
  • Albino gold
  • Citrus
  • Lemon Fire
  • Sandfire gold
  • Green
  • Tangerine
  • Sunburst
  • Dunner leatherback
  • Orange
  • Sandfire
  • Yellow
  • Silkie
  • Ivory gray
  • Translucent blue
  • Translucent purple
  • Ruby red
  • Brown
Bearded Dragon, Lizard, Prickly
Bearded Dragon, Spur, Head

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Butterflies?

Yes, butterflies can be fed safely to bearded dragons only if you acquired that butterfly from a source that confirmed its safe consumption by reptiles.

Generally, it is recommended that butterflies should be avoided as a live feeder for bearded dragons because you never know which butterfly is safe to eat and which is poisonous.

Also, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between butterflies and wild moths, which makes this decision a clear no.

Some varieties of moths are okay to feed a bearded dragon. Still, bright-colored and beautiful butterflies are a tough decision to make as we don’t know its actual constituency based on its nutritional value and non-toxicity.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wild Grasshoppers?

Bearded dragons are wild reptiles and have no problems eating many different insects that habituate in the wilderness or are caught from your garden. Beardies can safely eat grasshoppers and gain various nutritional benefits from their consumption.

Dwarf Bearded Dragon, Agame, Reptile

Still, wild grasshoppers are a tough choice because they are generally found in the urban or livelihood area and are affected severely by pollution, exposure to pesticides, and contact with harmful chemicals.

These toxins are harmful for indirect consumption by bearded dragons.

However, not all wild grasshoppers are toxic due to pollution, but it is not a risk you should take for your beardie. Feed them grasshoppers that are bought from a well-reputed feeder store or the ones that you raise.

Conclusion

Your bearded dragons can stay for a different amount of time, depending on their age, weight, and health conditions. This duration ranges from a day for baby dragons to a few weeks for adult dragons.

However, the longest time that a bearded dragon can spend without food is their brumation period, where they hibernate for up to 2 months and require no food.

Under normal circumstances, you should never keep your dragon starving and ensure that they get frequent meals regularly to maintain their health. If, for some reason, your dragon stops eating food, consult your veterinarian and try to resolve the issue of avoiding food.

It is also recommended that if you observe any symptoms indication any kind of illness in your dragon, immediately take the advice of your vet for treating it and continuing a healthy routine again.

Always remember to feed your pet on time, ensure proper quantity and quality of the food, provide necessary hydration, and look out for any disorders to treat within time. Having a regular check on these factors will keep your bearded dragon healthy at all times.

FAQs

How long can a bearded dragon go without eating before dying?

Bearded dragons can go without food for days or weeks depending upon their age, weight, and health conditions. Adult dragons can stay approximately a few weeks without food and still be alive. Beardies usually stay for two months without eating during their brumation period when they don’t require any nutrition.

Do bearded dragons stop eating sometimes?

Yes, bearded dragons sometimes stop eating due to several reasons. But their body gets affected due to the absence of nutritional intake, so intermittent fasting should be avoided in bearded dragons and a regular balanced diet should be a routine.

How do I know if my bearded dragon is hungry?

Every individual bearded dragon has a distinct personality. Once you get a beardie, you will notice their normal behavior very well. Whenever they behave quite differently from the normal, you surely know that something is up with the beardie. The majority of the dragons show some basic signs of hunger like staring at the place where you store food, showing empathetic body language, getting aggressive if hungry for too long, getting slouchy or lethargic, start eating or biting on anything they see around them.

What happens when bearded dragons stop eating?

If bearded dragons stop eating for a small period that is suitable for them and doesn’t harm their body or diet routine, it’s completely fine but if they stay hungry for too long, they may get sick and suffer various disorders due to the absence of a healthy nutritional diet.

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Gulshan
Hi, I am Gulshan, a pet blogger, and author. I've been working with the local pet groups for the past five years. I have been fascinated by our pets and am here to share that wonder with you.