How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food

How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food

Don’t worry, if your bearded dragon is not eating, he can survive without food. The true maximum ranges between 3 to 6 weeks before starvation claims an otherwise thriving lizard. Babies and juveniles succumb quickest at just 2 to 4 weeks sans substantial feedings. Seniors outlast their peak prime only by days at best. Even overweight specimens meet their end shortly beyond 30 days without nutrients.

Let’s not stop here, we’ve done some research on how long bearded dragons live without food and found some interesting facts. 

Many bearded dragon owners wonder how long their pet can go without eating before starvation sets in.

Confusion surrounds bearded dragon starvation survival for a few reasons. Guidelines often state time periods based on assumptions of ideal conditions. For example, some sources claim dragons should never go more than 2 weeks without food. While this may be true for a well-fed adult dragon with ample fat stores, babies and juveniles face higher risks. Sick dragons also tolerate fasting less.

Bearded dragons evolved for desert life where food appears seasonally. During lean times, their bodies automatically conserve resources through slower metabolism and activity. This biological adaptation enables impressive endurance – but only to a point.

Owners also underestimate how long their pet has actually gone without substantial meals. Bearded dragons enthusiastically chase feeder insects daily. But 2-3 small crickets or worms hardly qualify as survival fuel. Lack of weight gain indicates inadequate intake over prolonged periods. So perceived days of fasting become weeks in reality.

How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food

maximum ranges between 3 to 6 weeks
maximum ranges between 3 to 6 weeks

Bearded dragons can survive for longer periods without food than many other pets, thanks to their efficient metabolism which allows them to conserve energy when needed. An adult bearded dragon can potentially go without food for up to two months under certain circumstances, though this is not ideal and can be detrimental to their health. 

This ability to survive without food does not mean they should be left without a proper diet for extended periods. The exact duration a bearded dragon can go without food also depends on various factors such as its age, size, health status, and the temperature of its environment.

Juvenile bearded dragons, which are still growing, require more frequent feeding and cannot go without food for as long as adults. They typically need to eat daily and can experience health issues if they go without food for more than a day or two. 

If your bearded dragon is not eating due to brumation, shedding, or breeding, it can survive for several weeks or even months without food, as long as it is well-hydrated, has a healthy weight, and has a proper temperature gradient. 

You should still offer food to your bearded dragon every few days, and monitor its weight and behavior closely. If your bearded dragon loses more than 10% of its body weight, or shows signs of illness or distress, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.

If your bearded dragon is not eating due to illness or stress, it can survive for only a few days or weeks without food, depending on the severity of the condition and the availability of water. 

In this case, you should not wait for your bearded dragon to resume eating on its own, but seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication, supplements, or force-feeding to help your bearded dragon recover and regain its appetite.

How Long can a Baby Bearded Dragon go Without Eating

How Long can a Baby Bearded Dragon go Without Eating
How Long can a Baby Bearded Dragon go Without Eating

Most experts agree that a healthy, well-fed baby dragon can only go for 5-7 days without eating before starvation and health impacts begin setting in. Going longer than this puts them at extremely high risk of illness and death.

Their early and critical developmental stage leaves no room for extended fasting. Missing even one single day of feedings can stress a baby dragon’s body. At just 1 week without substantial food, deterioration compounds quicky.

By 2 weeks baby dragons display clear symptoms of starvation – lethargy, muscle wasting, dull coloration, constipation, etc. They rarely recover past this stage without immediate veterinary intervention. Allowing a juvenile’s health to decline this severely greatly shortens their lifespan long-term.

With appropriate emergency care, baby bearded dragons near starvation can sometimes be stabilized within the 2 week danger window. But lasting damage often already occurs. To avoid an already devastating situation, healthy babies must eat at minimum every other day.

Newly hatched dragons 0-4 months old should eat 3-5 small insect meals scattered through all daylight hours. This constant access ensures their tiny digestive systems stay actively processing the large volumes of protein and nutrients this age group requires daily.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Stop Eating?

Why Do Bearded Dragons Stop Eating
Why Do Bearded Dragons Stop Eating

Brumation –  This reptile form of hibernation occurs seasonally when daylight hours shorten. Instinct tells them to semi-fast to conserve energy through colder less plentiful months. It’s normal for healthy dragons but can alarm owners.

Shedding – Shedding is a normal process where bearded dragons replace old skin with new as they grow, which may cause appetite loss, irritability, and hiding for days to weeks depending on age. With proper humidity, bathing, and brushing, shedding poses no harm.

Breeding – Breeding is a normal spring and summer behavior for mature bearded dragons, causing appetite changes and restless displays like head bobbing for weeks to attract mates, which poses no harm with proper space, enrichment, and nutrition.

Parasites – Internal protozoa, worms, or coccidia often infect pet lizards. The parasites deplete nutrition levels and interfere with digestion causing inappetence. Vet exams and fecal tests identify parasites prompting treatment.

Respiratory Infections – Bacterial, fungal or viral respiratory illnesses are highly contagious between bearded dragons. Infected dragons go off feed since labored breathing rapidly drains energy reserves. Isolate suspected dragons and always seek vet diagnosis.

Dehydration – Dragons refuse food and drink less with improper hot temperatures. Critical organs eventually shut down if untreated. Provide a large hydration dish and cooler gradient between 95-100°F to encourage water intake.

Impaction – Consuming too much hard substrate or chronically poor hydration thickens intestinal waste. Compacted waste causes painful blockages, distends their belly and destroys appetite. Address husbandry issues and book a veterinary appointment.

Stress – Bearded dragons are very sensitive to environmental changes. Things like habitat modifications, temperature/lighting issues, loud noises, or improper handling can trigger stress that causes appetite loss. Look closely at any recent tweaks that could be causing anxiety.

Closing Words

Bearded dragons possess an impressive ability to survive without food for significant periods — up to two months for adults and much less for juveniles — this is a survival mechanism rather than a recommended practice. Factors like age, health, size, and environmental conditions play crucial roles in determining the duration a bearded dragon can fast without adverse effects. 

Prolonged periods without food can lead to health issues. It’s vital for owners to understand that regular feeding, aligned with a bearded dragon’s nutritional requirements, is essential for their overall health and well-being. If a bearded dragon refuses food for an extended period, it’s imperative to consult a veterinarian to address any potential health concerns. The care we provide should always aim at preventing such survival scenarios and ensuring a thriving environment for these resilient reptiles.


How many days can my bearded dragon go without eating?

A healthy adult bearded dragon can go without eating for 2-6 weeks before starvation sets in. Juveniles can only go for 1-2 weeks before perishing. Monitor weight closely and contact an exotic vet if appetite loss exceeds 5 days.

Can I not feed my bearded dragon for a week?

While adults may withstand it, juveniles cannot go a full week without eating. Healthy babies and yearlings require multiple feedings daily to fuel rapid growth. Skipping just a day stresses their systems let alone seven. Ensure young dragons under 18 months old get daily meals.

Does a bearded dragon need to eat every day?

Yes, juveniles under 18 months old should eat daily to support their still developing bodies. Multiple smaller insect meals properly fueled babies and prevented dangerous impactions. Adult beardies over 18 months old can safely skip a day occasionally but regular feedings remain vital to good health.

How do I know if my bearded dragon is starving?

Signs of starvation in bearded dragons include lethargy, disinterest in food, noticeable weight loss especially along the head and spine. Muscle tone deteriorates, scales fade and skin elasticity drops. Constipation and stuck sheds may also indicate malnutrition stress. Evaluate age, weight loss rate and habitat conditions to determine supportive next steps.

About Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.

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