Bringing a baby bearded dragon home is an exciting time for all involved, however, if your baby bearded dragon isn’t eating then this can quite quickly become a worrying time.
The first thing you need to do is stay calm as usually there is a simple reason for this refusal to eat and more often than not, once you work out the cause of the problem it’s pretty easy to get them eating again.
In this post, we will share the 11 common reasons why your baby bearded dragon isn’t eating and take an in-depth look at each of them so you can easily find a solution.
So why is your baby bearded dragon not eating? Here are the 11 common reasons why your baby bearded dragon is not eating:
- New home
- Change in surroundings
- Incorrect basking temperature
- Incorrect lighting setup
- Household pets
- Change in diet
- Due to injury
- Due to illness or infection
- Suffering from impaction
Read On to Learn…
Why Is My Baby Bearded Dragon Not Eating? (More Info)
When you first bring a baby bearded dragon home it can be both exciting and fun but it can also be a challenging period for both you and your baby beardie.
There are lots to get used to and over the coming weeks and months your baby bearded dragon will go through many changes.
Any negative changes to their environment and their body can cause your baby beardie to react in different ways including eating far less than normal or even not eating at all.
There are 11 common reasons why your baby bearded dragon might not want to eat and for, the most part, once you understand the reason why your bearded dragon isn’t wanting to eat you can rectify this pretty quickly.
As you read through the 11 reasons we have shared, It can be easy to go with the first answer that fits but this can often mislead you down the wrong path.
We recommend reading through all 11 reasons below and then using a process of elimination to eventually get to the source of the problem.
Let’s now take an in-depth look at the 11 reasons why your baby bearded dragon isn’t eating…
1. New to Your Home
One of the most common reasons why baby bearded dragons don’t want to eat is due to moving to a new home.
When you first bring your beardie home you need to give them time to settle in and adapt.
Remember that everything is new to them in your home and other pets and even you the owner could be considered a predator at first.
This initial move can cause a lot of stress for a baby bearded dragon and eating less or even refusing food altogether is common.
You obviously don’t want this to go on for too long as the combination of not eating and heightened stress levels isn’t good for bearded dragons over a long period of time.
The main thing is to give your baby beardie some time and space to settle into your home, don’t over handle them and keep any large pets away from their tank for the first few days and even the first couple of weeks.
Here are some tips to consider when first bringing home a baby bearded dragon:
- Give your bearded dragon time to settle
- Don’t over handle them
- Don’t keep changing their tank environment
- Don’t allow large pets to be in the same room as your bearded dragon
- Provide hiding places in the tank
- Don’t have TV & music loud or even on at all, to begin with
2. Change In Surroundings
A change in your baby bearded dragons surroundings is something that can cause uncertainty and stress.
This stress can then cause a lot of unwanted behaviours in your bearded dragon and a change in surroundings will often cause increased hiding and is sometimes accompanied by not eating.
No matter If your dragon is new to your home or has been with you for a while, if you are moving them around a little until you find the right spot in the room for their tank or adding new plants and decor then this will have an effect on their stress levels.
It can take baby bearded dragons a number of weeks to become comfortable with their surroundings and you as an owner so it’s advisable to try and not change too much in those early weeks until you are sure your beardie has fully settled in.
Always try and change one thing at a time if the changes are necessary and monitor how your dragon responds, this way you should be able to notice behavioural issues such as increased hiding and not eating.
3. Other Household Pets
Something that’s often overlooked is the way your bearded dragon will possibly see other household pets.
Your baby dragon could easily see other household pets such as cats and dogs are predators and this will leave them both stressed and constantly intimidated.
This can also be the case if your bearded dragon has been with you for a while and settled in.
For example, if you have a dog that your beardie was comfortable with but for some reason your dog starts barking at your beardie then this can cause a lot of stress also.
If you have other pets in your home, try and look at how your beardie reacts when they see your dog or cat and this could give you a good indication as to how they feel about your pet and if stress and worry could be potentially stopping them from eating.
4. Incorrect Basking Temperature
Having the incorrect temperatures in the tank can also a major reason why your bearded dragon doesn’t want to eat.
Bearded dragons need to be provided with the optimal basking temperatures to have the ability to digest their food and even feel hungry in the first place.
If the basking temperatures are too low then your dragon certainly won’t feel like eating.
If you are unsure what temperatures your bearded dragon will need to be healthy, digest their food and have a good appetite then check out our guide below…
Bearded Dragon Tank Temperature Guide
|Bearded Dragon Temperature Guide|
|Basking Area 95°-100°F|
|Cool Spot 75°-80°F|
As well as providing the correct temperatures You should always use a thermometer to check and monitor temperatures in the tank are correct.
Head over to our recommended tank equipment page if you want to know what thermometers we suggest you use…
Using good quality basking bulbs also makes a difference to the quality of heat your beardie will receive.
Check out our easy to follow guide that shares our 9 best basking bulbs for bearded dragons…
5. Incorrect UVB Lighting Setup
The UVB lighting setup is also highly important for creating an environment where your bearded dragon can effectively process nutrients.
UVB lighting is most commonly used for calcium absorption but is also vital for the absorption of other nutrients too.
If your baby beardie doesn’t have access to the correct UVB setup then they will suffer from many health problems including decreased appetite.
Using poor quality UVB bulbs or even old UVB bulbs can leave your bearded dragon will far less UVB exposure than they need to be healthy.
Head over to our guide that shares the UVB bulb we strongly recommend you use and why we wouldn’t recommend anything else…
Baby bearded dragons don’t usually go into brumation until they are older but this has been known to happen an is certainly a possibility.
When a bearded dragon is getting ready to go into brumation (the reptile equivalent of hibernation) you will generally see many changes to their behaviour including being lethargic and eating less food.
It can be quite dangerous for very young bearded dragons to go into brumation as they usually haven’t gained enough weight to see them through the 4-12 week period that they will be fasting and sleeping.
If you are unsure about how brumation works or you want to know the tell-tale signs of brumation then we recommend checking out our complete brumation guide.
If you are worried that your baby dragon is brumating at a young age then we would always recommend speaking to your local vet so they can give them a check over and further advice depending on the size, weight and age of your bearded dragon.
Shedding is something that bearded dragons go through throughout their lives but when they are young they shed far more frequently due to the fact they are rapidly growing.
Shedding can also be a tough time for beardies as unlike snakes, bearded dragons shed their skin in patches and tough pieces of shed can become itchy and sore.
This, in turn, can cause your baby bearded dragon to become irritated, hide more and even not want to eat.
These kinds of behaviours will usually only last for a short period of time and there are certain things you can do to help them through the shedding process.
Check out this guide that explains all you need to know about bearded dragon shedding including how to help your beardie shed their skin easily.
Impaction is basically constipation and it can be quite common in bearded dragons depending on their diet and other factors in their tank.
If you are providing your baby beardie loose particle-based substrates such as sand then there is a high chance that this will end up being digested by your dragon and will eventually cause digestion issues and impaction.
Loose particle-based substrates aren’t really advised for beardies of any age but even less so for baby bearded dragons.
As they are inexperienced hunters they can often grab a mouth full of substrate when trying to eat insects such as crickets.
There are many substrates that are safe for bearded dragons but the one we highly recommend is ‘sand mat’ as it’s
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean
- Good to keep nails short
- Looks & feels natural
- Doesn’t obtain any loosed based particles.
You can check out ‘sand mat’ here…
Last update on 2021-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Even though bearded dragons aren’t the most high-flying and adventurous of animals, they can still get themselves into situations that can cause injury.
If your baby beardie is injured then they will likely show signs of this when they are walking or by hiding more often than usual.
They can also have a reduced appetite or even stop eating altogether through the stress and pain that the injury causes.
You should observe your bearded dragon closely if you suspect that they could be injured in some way.
If this is the case then we would recommend seeking the advice of your vet as soon as possible.
10. Illness Or Infection
If your baby bearded dragon is ill or has an infection then this can easily cause them to stop eating.
Illness and infection can come in many forms and will usually result in your bearded dragon being lethargic and of course a lack of appetite.
The most common reasons for a bearded dragon to become ill are due to parasites or problems such as mouth rot.
Other illnesses can come in the form of metabolic bone disease or (MBD).
If you notice anything that you suspect to be either illness or infection then you should seek the advice of your vet straight away.
11. Change In Diet
Bearded dragons have their own personalities and while one beardie will love a certain food, another simply won’t.
If you are trying to introduce new foods to your baby beardie then there’s a possibility that they won’t like them and therefore will point blank refuse to eat them.
The obvious way to know if this is the cause of them not eating is to give your dragon insects and foods you know they enjoy.
If they eat those insects then you are probably just offering your dragon food they don’t like but if they don’t eat their favourite foods then there’s something else causing the issue.
How Long Can Baby Bearded Dragons Go Without Eating?
Adult bearded dragons that have plenty of fat stores can go anywhere from 1-2 months without food if necessary.
Although this isn’t advised and it can cause lots of health issues in the process.
When it comes to baby and juvenile bearded dragons, the length of time they can go without food is far less.
It’s difficult to put an exact time scale on exactly how long a baby bearded dragon can go without food as their specific age, weight, size, diet and fat stores will al have an effect.
The bottom line is that if your baby bearded dragon isn’t eating after 2-3 days then you should seek advice from your vet.
What Should I Do If My Baby Bearded Dragon Continues to Not Eat?
It’s never healthy for a bearded dragon to not eat and this is even more true with baby bearded dragons.
The early part of a beardie’s life is when rapid growth occurs and they need lots of food in this period to fuel that growth.
If you have gone through the reasons on this list, made adjustments where necessary and still can’t find a solution to the reason why your baby beardie isn’t eating then you need to take action.
If you are at all worried about the health of your bearded dragon then you should contact your local vet for an examination sooner rather than later.
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