Bearded Dragon Feeding – Why Am I Not Eating?

In the 2 ½ years we have been beardie owners, we have undergone a rollercoaster of events with ours. That first year was so stressful because of all the information that is out there and all the warnings that our Bernie could get impacted so easily.

All the warnings – make sure his food is as big as the space between his eyes, make sure he eats his veggies, make sure he gets baths regularly, make sure his lighting is right…. The list goes on and on. The end result was always do this or he could DIE. No wonder, I was so stressed the first few months we had him.

During our experience and chatting with reputable beardie breeders, we found that the most common reason for beardies not eating was due to lighting and temperatures. Beardies body temperatures need to rise in order for them to realize they are hungry and properly digest the foods.

It is recommended that their basking areas reach between 95°F and 105°F. And their cool side should be around 85°F. Night temperatures should not fall below 65°F.

Another reason for not eating is not enough UVA/UVB exposure. The best exposure to these rays for our beardies is natural UVA/UVB light. For those that do not live in 85°F year round, we can’t provide outdoor exposure. The answer to this is using a good light bulb. We recommend the ReptiSun 10.0 tube. This particular bulb is effective up to 20 inches away from your beardie. It is also just as effective under a screen, where most UVA/UVB bulbs loose 50% of their wavelengths.

Calcium and Vitamin D come into play with beardies not eating too. Make sure you feed your beardie gut loaded crickets or canned crickets sprinkled with calcium powder a couple of times a week. Vitamin D is also a side effect of getting the right UVA/UVB exposure.

Your beardie may not be eating if he/she is not properly hydrated. We’ve never had luck with keeping water in our terrarium. So, we’ve taken the routine of a weekly bath and squirting water from a spray bottle every other day. If your beardie is less than a year old, baths should be more frequent – at least 3 times a week. Bernard enjoys the spray bottle and comes to greet us when he sees it.

Or perhaps your beardie is ovulating. We took ours to a herp vet last summer because his behavior was off. He wasn’t eating, he wouldn’t chase crickets, he slept during the day and he wasn’t pooping regularly. It turns out our he was a she and she was ovulating, which tends to put them in a dormant state similar to when they brumate. I know, I still reference our Bernie as a he. Some habits are hard to break.

So, if your little beardie is not eating, check your temps and check your lighting. If these things seem to be fine, you may want to consider a trip to the vets. They can pick up a number of diseases and your beardie may need some medicine to get better.