Having a baby bearded dragon is great fun as they truly are one of the most fascinating reptiles on Earth!
Having said this, the feeling of fun and excitement can soon turn into worry if you notice your bearded dragon isn’t growing as you would expect.
Worry can then be compounded if you just can’t find a logical reason why your bearded dragon isn’t growing.
In this post, we will share the 10 common reasons why both baby and juvenile bearded dragons aren’t growing so you can get to the root of the problem and help your young beardie to grow both happy and healthy!
So why isn’t your bearded dragon growing? Here are the 10 reasons why your bearded dragon isn’t growing:
- Not Enough Food In The Diet
- Unbalanced Diet
- Not Supplying a Good Quality Calcium Supplement
- Incorrect UVB Setup
- Incorrect Tank Temperatures
- The Tank Is Too Small
- Sharing a Tank With Another Bearded Dragon
- Lack Of Appetite
- Breed Of Bearded Dragon
Read On to Learn…
The 10 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Isn’t Growing? (More Info)
When you first bring home your baby beardie, It’s an exciting time for all the family as bearded dragons are amazing reptiles to own and always seem to share new and fascinating behaviours.
There’s also a lot of care elements to get right in this period for new owners and it can be easy to overlook something simple that makes a big difference to your bearded dragon’s long term health if it’s not spotted and put right.
You may even notice that your beardie has slowed growth or even stops growing altogether.
The main thing is not to panic and to look logically at all possibilities as usually, you can find the solution pretty quickly.
Here’s a closer look at the 10 reasons why your baby or juvenile bearded dragon might not be growing…
1. Not Enough Food In The Diet
One of the most obvious reasons and a good place to start is checking if your bearded dragon is getting enough food in their diet.
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons are growing at a frantic pace and they need vast amounts of high-quality insects and vegetation to allow them to grow to their full potential.
Here’s a guide that will help you to understand how often to generally feed your bearded dragon depending on their age…
Bearded Dragon Recommended Feeding Guide (By Age)
|5 down to 4||4 down to 3||3 down to 2||2 down to 1||1|
Also as a good rule of thumb, it’s recommended to feed your baby bearded dragon as many crickets as they can in a 10 minute period and then end the feeding.
You should repeat this process for as many feedings as they need for that day, depending on their age.
Your bearded dragon will also require a different balance of insects to greens as they become older as we will cover in the next section.
2. Unbalanced Diet
As well as feeding your baby beardie the right amount of food each day, it’s also important to ensure that the number of nutrients they receive is also balanced.
You should aim for 70% insect proteins and 30% vegetation for both baby and juvenile beardies and then move to 30% insect proteins and 70% vegetation when they become adults.
Even though insect proteins should be more abundant in the diet of young bearded dragons, the importance of greens and veggies shouldn’t be ignored.
Greens and veggies provide much-needed calcium and other key nutrients that are vital to the health and growth of your bearded dragon so keeping a balanced diet is vital to ensuring your beardie grows to their full potential.
Without a healthy and balanced diet, your bearded dragon could struggle to grow to a normal size.
This moves up nicely onto our next reason why your bearded dragon might not be growing and that’s the absence of a good calcium supplement.
3. Not Supplying a Good Quality Calcium Supplement
Even if you are feeding your baby beardie all the food they need and you are offering them a balanced diet, it’s still vital that you provide them with a high-quality calcium supplement.
Without as calcium supplement, bearded dragons would likely suffer from illnesses such as MDB as well as finding it difficult to grow as calcium supports both muscle and bone growth.
The quality of UVB that captive bearded dragons get when compared to wild bearded dragons is low and this means that adding a calcium supplement on top of a healthy and balanced diet is needed to ensure your captive beardie gets all the calcium they need.
In fact, we have shared an article that covers exactly how wild beardies get calcium and if captive or wild beardie consume the most? And you can check out the results here…
There are many calcium supplements on the market but the only one we would recommend providing for your bearded dragon is Rep-Cal.
Rep-Cal is the most trusted and used calcium supplement by reptile uses and we suggest you also go with this brand.
You can check out Re-Cal below…
- Rep-Cal Ultrafine Powder Is An Excellent Source Of Calcium For All Reptiles And Amphibians
- Scientifically Formulated From 100-Percent Natural Oyster Shell Phosphorous-Free Calcium Carbonate With Vitamin D3 To Aid In Absorption Of Calcium
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
4. Incorrect UVB Setup
The UVB setup in your bearded dragon’s tank can have a huge impact on how they grow and even their long term health.
UVB rays contain vitamin D and beardies need vitamin D from those rays in order to absorb and utilize the calcium they consume.
Your bearded dragon could have a great calcium-rich diet, but if there isn’t an adequate amount of vitamin D also present, then most of the calcium will go unused.
This, in turn, can cause many problems such as weak and underdeveloped bones, muscle issues and ultimately serious issues like MBD or (metabolic bone disease) as previously mentioned earlier.
The bottom line is that not rough UVB rays will almost certainly have an effect on the way your bearded dragon grows.
If you are at all unsure if your beardies UVB lighting is set up correctly then head over to our tank lighting set up guide that shares all you need to know.
5. Incorrect Tank Temperatures
Another issue that can have a high impact on how well your beardie grows is the temperatures within the tank.
Bearded dragons need optimal basking temperatures in order to digest their food.
Without the correct temperature, your beardie would find digestion near impossible and have a lack of appetite too.
This would obviously have a huge effect on how many times per day they eat, how much they eat per meal and ultimately the overall number of nutrients your beardie would consume.
All this will certainly slow and even stop growth in young bearded dragons so it’s vital that you provide them with the temperatures they need to digest the large number of meals they will consume each day.
Here is a guide that shares what temperatures we recommend for your bearded dragon…
Bearded Dragon Tank Temperature Guide
|Bearded Dragon Temperature Guide|
|Basking Area 95°-100°F|
|Cool Spot 75°-80°F|
If your bearded dragon has parasites it can cause weight loss and even stop them from growing altogether.
They live inside the digestive system and eat the food your beardie consumes. The more parasites there are, the more of your beardies food they will consume.
This means that your bearded dragon can potentially only get a small portion of the nutrition they need to be healthy and grow.
Parasites are often overlooked as they can be hard to detect at first. With this being said, parasites especially pinworms can be quite common in the digestional tract of beardies.
Diarrhoea or weight loss are two telltale signs of parasites but often there are minimal visual signs to self diagnose the problem.
If you can’t find another reason why your bearded dragon isn’t growing or you do suspect parasites are present then the best thing to do is see your local vet.
Your vet can do a faecal test that will determine if your dragon does have parasites and if so, they will then guide you on the best course of action to get rid of the parasites.
It’s important that you do take action though if you suspect parasites are present as this could certainly be a major cause for your bearded dragon not growing.
7. The Tank Is Too Small
Something that most owners overlook is the size of the tank. If your bearded dragon’s tank is too small then it is thought to have an effect on their growth potential.
While this might not be the sole reason why your bearded dragon isn’t eating, it’s certainly worth making sure that your beardie is in a tank that is large enough for them and fulfils their needs.
When your beardie is just a baby, it’s not actually recommended to provide them with a tank that’s too large to begin with.
You will house them in a larger tank as they grow and reach full adulthood.
Here is a guide that shares tank size recommendations depending on your bearded dragon’s age…
Bearded Dragon Tank Size Chart
|Baby Bearded Dragon||Juvenile Bearded Dragon||Adult Bearded Dragon|
8. Sharing a Tank With Another Bearded Dragon
If you have 2 or more bearded dragons sharing a tank then this it’s really common for one of the beardies to stop growing.
This is due to the fact that bearded dragons are extremely territorial and don’t usually like the company of other beardies.
This can result in bullying and the weaker beardie will get less food, basking time and not to mention elevated stress levels.
All these factors combined mean that the submissive bearded dragon will find it difficult to grow and be healthy in general.
9. Lack Of Appetite
If your bearded dragon isn’t growing as much as expected then they could simply have a lack of appetite.
There are many factors that can cause your beardie’s appetite to be less than it should but the most common reason is stress in some form.
Again, stress can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Your bearded dragon is new to the home
- Intimidation from other pets in the home
- Over handling
- Not enough places to hide in the tank
- Poor placement of the tank in the room
- Too much loud noise in the room
If you are providing your bearded dragon with enough food as recommended earlier in this post but they simply don’t want to eat, then there is a chance that one of the above factors could be at play (especially if your bearded dragon is new to your home and still settling in.
While you can’t simply assume that one of these reasons is definitely the cause, you do need to take them into consideration and eliminate them one by one.
For a more in-depth look at why your bearded dragon has a lack of appetite, you can check out our full guide – The 9 reasons why your bearded dragon isn’t eating!
10. Species Of Bearded Dragon
Something that’s often overlooked is the actual species of your bearded dragon.
While the majority of bearded dragons sold and housed throughout the world are Pogona Vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon), there are lots of other bearded dragon species that are naturally smaller.
Knowing for sure what breed of bearded dragon you have will just allow you to know if your beardie is actually not growing as expected or if they are just growing in accordance to the natural size of their species.
Here is a guide that shows the different bearded dragon species and how big you can expect them to grow on average…
Bearded Dragons Species & Size
|Pogona Vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon)||20 – 24 Inches|
|Pogona Barbata (Coastal Bearded Dragon)||20 – 24 Inches|
|Pogona Minor Mitchelli (Mitchells Bearded Dragon)||14 – 18 Inches|
|Pogona Minor (Western Bearded Dragon)||14 – 18 Inches|
|Pogona Nullabor (Nullarbor Bearded Dragon)||11 – 14 Inches|
|Pogona Minor Minima (Dwarf Bearded Dragon)||9 – 12 Inches|
|Pogona Henrylawsoni (Rankins, or Lawson Bearded Dragon)||9 – 12 Inches|
|Pogona Microlepidota (Drysdale River Bearded Dragon)||4 – 6 Inches|
How Fast Does The Average Bearded Dragon Grow?
To know for sure if your bearded dragon isn’t growing to the expected size for their age, first, you need to have some data to compare to.
We have added a table that shares the average size for a bearded dragon from birth right up to 24 months (full adulthood).
The species of beardie we have chosen to use is the Pogona Vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon) as it is the most common beardie owned throughout the world.
Bearded Dragon | Age & Average Growth Chart
|24/months (Adult)||18-24 Inches|
How Big Should My Bearded Dragon Be When Fully Grown?
Bearded dragons can reach different sizes depending on a number of factors (mainly the ones mentioned throughout this post) and all of them can have a large impact on the adult size of your bearded dragon.
Assuming you have a Pogona Vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon), then you can expect them to reach anywhere from 18-24 inches by full adulthood with good care from birth.
What Should I Do If My Bearded Dragon Continues to Not Grow?
If you have gone through all the reasons outlined throughout this post and you can’t find a solution to why your bearded dragon isn’t eating, then we would recommend speaking to your local vet.
Talking to your vet may uncover something underlying such as an infection or even one of the previous factors mentioned that’s still not quite right.
Either way, if you can’t get your young beardie growing then you need to speak to your vet and let them give your dragon a check over and help you get things back on track.
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