Juvenile bearded dragons should be fed more frequently than adults, with 2-3 small meals per day. Adult bearded dragons can be fed once or every other day, depending on their size and activity level. It’s important to monitor their weight and adjust their feeding schedule accordingly. Offer a variety of foods, including crickets, mealworms, waxworms, kale, collard greens, and other leafy greens.
It is important to note that overfeeding a bearded dragon can lead to obesity and other health problems. On the other hand, underfeeding can lead to malnutrition and other health issues. Therefore, finding balance is key to keeping your bearded dragon healthy and happy. In this article, we will explore how often bearded dragons should be fed at different stages of their life and provide tips on creating a healthy and balanced diet for your pet.
Factors that Affect Feeding Frequency
- Age: Younger bearded dragons require more frequent feedings than adults because they are still growing.
- Size: Larger bearded dragons require more food than smaller ones.
- Activity level: Bearded dragons that are more active or have a higher metabolism may require more frequent feedings.
- Health: Sick or injured bearded dragons may require more or less frequent feedings, depending on their condition.
- Diet: The type and amount of food your bearded dragon eats can also affect how often they need to be fed. A diet high in protein may require less frequent feedings than a diet high in vegetables and fruits.
- Season: Bearded dragons may eat less during the winter months when they are less active and may go into a state of brumation (similar to hibernation). But it is completely normal according to the RSPCA.
Signs of Overfeeding Bearded Dragons
Rapid Weight Gain
One of the signs of overfeeding bearded dragons is rapid weight gain. I’ve observed this with my dragon after feeding him too much. It can quickly increase weight, leading to health problems such as fatty liver disease. Therefore, it is important to ensure that a bearded dragon eats appropriate food based on age, size, and activity level.
Fatty deposits, or adipose tissue, can indicate overfeeding in bearded dragons. These deposits can accumulate in various body parts, such as the tail base, neck, and underbelly, leading to health problems over time. Therefore, regularly monitoring your bearded dragon’s weight and body condition is important to maintain a healthy size and shape.
Lethargy or sluggishness is another sign of overfeeding in bearded dragons. If a dragon is passive or not moving around as much as usual, it could indicate that it has consumed too much food.
Overfeeding can cause the digestive system to become overwhelmed and sluggish, leading to a lack of energy and activity in the dragon. Therefore, it is important to monitor the energy levels of your bearded dragon and adjust its feeding schedule accordingly to ensure they are getting the appropriate amount of food.
Diarrhea is one of the signs of overfeeding bearded dragons. Overfeeding can cause digestive problems, leading to diarrhea, loose stool, or even runny stool. If you notice any changes in your bearded dragon’s stool, it’s important to adjust its feeding schedule and consult a veterinarian if necessary.
Muscle weakness is not commonly observed as a sign of overfeeding in bearded dragons. However, muscle weakness can occur if a bearded dragon is not getting a balanced diet or not getting enough food. It can also be a sign of an underlying health issue or disease. For example, suppose a bearded dragon is exhibiting muscle weakness. In that case, it is important to consult a veterinarian specializing in reptile care to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.
Signs of Underfeeding Bearded Dragons
Reduced appetite or disinterest in food can be a sign of underfeeding in bearded dragons. They may also become lethargic and less active, lacking energy. In severe cases, they may develop metabolic bone disease due to insufficient nutrition. Therefore, monitoring their feeding habits and adjusting their diet is important to ensure they get the right nutrient balance.
Reduced Activity Level
Reduced activity levels can be a sign of underfeeding in bearded dragons. They require a certain amount of energy to maintain their activity level, and if they are not receiving enough food, they may become lethargic or less active than usual. Other signs of underfeeding may include a sunken appearance of the eyes or reduced muscle mass. Therefore, monitoring your bearded dragon’s weight and overall health regularly is important to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition.
Sunken eyes can also be a sign of underfeeding in bearded dragons. When a bearded dragon is not getting enough food, it may start to lose weight and become dehydrated. This can cause the eyes to appear sunken in, as there is not enough fat and moisture to support the skin around the eyes. If you notice this symptom in your bearded dragon, it is important to ensure it gets enough food and water and consult a veterinarian if necessary.
Dehydration can be a sign of underfeeding, but it can also be caused by other factors such as lack of water or too much heat. Signs of dehydration in bearded dragons include dry skin, sunken eyes, lethargy, and reduced appetite. If you suspect that your bearded dragon is dehydrated, it is important to provide them with fresh water and ensure that it can be drunk. In severe cases, dehydration may require veterinary intervention.