How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food?

If you’re like most bearded dragon owners, then chances are you’ve witnessed your beardie show some pretty impressive (albeit alarming) self-control in resisting their food.

Whether you’ve recently moved them to a new vivarium, introduced a new diet, or perhaps even just placed new accessories in their tank, bearded dragons can stop eating for a wide variety of reasons.

So, the questions stands… just how long can a bearded dragon go with food?

How Long a Bearded Dragon Can Live Without Food?

The answer to this question, as you may or may not have guessed, depends for the most part on the age and health of your dragon.

Mature dragons with plenty of fat stores and weight to lose, can go up to 2 months without food, although this is NOT encouraged.

On the other hand, juveniles who are rapidly growing and stop eating, should be a cause for some concern as they need protein to grow up healthy and strong.

Dragons who are brumating, can be expected to go weeks if not months without eating, but should still be given water on a regular basis.

Brumating Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons that are brumating can go months without eating, but should still be given water.

Why Isn’t My Bearded Dragon Eating?

As briefly touched on above, there can be a wide array of reasons why your bearded dragon has stopped eat.

A new habitat, different diet, brumationan illness, stress, and many more reasons can contribute to a loss of appetite.

Read below to understand better why your dragon may have stopped eating.

You Recently Altered Their Cage

Perhaps you moved their terrarium to a new area of the home, put them in a different terrarium, or introduced new accessories into the cage (branches, hides, etc.)?

Furnished Bearded Dragon tank
A new setup can lead to initial stress in a bearded dragon.

Try removing the new items and seeing how the next couple of days to a week goes.

If their appetite seems to improve, toss whatever it is you removed.

Their Temperatures Are Off

If their cage isn’t hot enough (basking temp should be between 95 and 105 for adults, 100 and 110 for babies), dragons can definitely lose their appetite.

They need heat to have proper digestion, so without it, their bodies won’t feel the need to eat.

Also, make sure your dragons have a cool side of the tank to chill out (HA! See what I did there?) in, around 80-85 degrees.

Bearded Dragon basking under lights
Adults should have basking temps between 95 and 105, while babies should be between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

They’re Under Stress

Are they sharing a cage with another bearded dragon?

Can they see another bearded dragon?

Is there suddenly a lot of loud noises and/or shaking in the home that could disturb them?

Think long and hard about anything and everything that could potentially be stressing your dragon out and calm them down, as often times, it can be the smallest of things that leads to appetite suppression.

They’re Not Feeling Their Diet

If you’ve recently introduced new foods into your dragon’s diet, be prepared for the standoff of the century! Not really, but kind of.

Beardies are notoriously stubborn especially when it comes to food.

In fact, a quick Google search of “Why won’t my bearded dragon-“ and you’ll see many of the suggested searches have to do with dragons not eating certain foods!

bearded dragon in tank
It is not uncommon for bearded dragons to snub their greens, especially in the beginning.

So, the tricky part about this dilemma is that it essentially comes down to a battle of wills.

Your dragon can go weeks (even months) without eating and eventually succumb to the fact that they’re simply going to have to accept their new diet OR you can break down and feed them what they’re holding out for.

If you cave, your dragon is going to know that they have the upper hand and be way more likely to stop eating in the future again.

This is why I recommend sticking it out and showing them who’s boss.

Now, if they seem to be getting really weak and skinny then of course give them some food they will happily eat.

But if they’re just slowly losing weight and seem to be acting the same? I recommend toughing it out.

It’s That Time of Year Again – Brumation!

If you’re creeping into Fall, it is entirely likely that your little guy or girl is simply going with the seasons and getting ready for brumation.

Bearded Dragon Brumation
Brumation can be a confusing thing for many first time owners, make sure you do your homework!

If your dragon is showing signs of getting read to go through this process, I highly recommend you check out my in depth article HERE to fully understand the brumation process and what you can do to make it a success!

They’re Ill

In my experience, this is probably the least likely reason why your dragon outright stopped eating.

But if you suspect an illness is at play, by all means take them to a reputable reptile vet ASAP!

In the meantime, consider gently and lightly spoon or syringe feeding them stage 1 baby food like squash or chicken to try and make them gain weight.

Also, make sure they’re getting water with a few drips on their snout a day. Avoid bathing until you know what’s wrong exactly.

Bearded dragon at the vet
Bearded dragon acting sick? Don’t wait! Get them to a good herp vet ASAP.

How to Force Feed a Bearded Dragon

To be perfectly honest, I do not condone force feeding under very many circumstances.

Dragons do a phenomenal job of eating what they need (typically) and force feeding can lead to some health issues.

However, if your dragon is visibly weak and becoming alarmingly thin or you’ve been given the go-ahead from a trained reptile vet, then by all means try to force feed.

The actual method behind how to force feed is pretty simple.

Make sure you have a nice, secure grip on your dragon and that they are in a relatively comfortable position.

Next, gently open their mouth by pulling their lower jaw down.

Last, insert food. Simple as that.

Check out the video below to see force feeding in action!

In Conclusion

I hope you found this article helpful!

If your bearded dragon stops eating it is important to realize that 9/10 times it’s not for a reason worth getting worked up over.

Chances are, there are small changes occurring that have just suppressed their appetite.

Think about the time of year, the status of their habitat, your home, and their diet before freaking out.

Read These Articles Yet?

How Often to Feed a Bearded Dragon at ANY Age

How to Make a Bearded Dragon Gain Weight and Fatten Them Up

How to Get a Bearded Dragon to Eat

5 thoughts on “How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food?”

  1. My bearded dragon went missing on 7/22/19 and we found him 11/16/19. He was still on the same floor but found in the office in the corner of the house. He must have been surviving off of the warmth from the electrical strip and packs for my computer set up. As far as food and water, I am absolute clueless. This is so astounding to me that he survived almost four months. I presume he found bugs here and there but he def didn’t leave the office (and I’m not in there almost ever). The next room from the office is our living room which is heavily used.

    • Hi Danielle,

      I’m so happy to hear you were able to find your beardie! That is astonishing to me that he was able to survive that long without food! I would assume he’s lost quite a bit of weight during this time frame? I would be very observant of his health in the coming months considering he has been without calcium for quite some time. I highly recommend you take him into the vet ASAP to get a general overview of his current health.

      In the meantime, it might be a shock to his system if you try and feed him too much to make up for lost time. I have some great slurry recipes you can check out here with one being especially good for malnourished beardies.

      Just use your best judgement on the feeding! If he seems fine and isn’t very weak, maybe wean him back on solid foods slowly. If he’s really weak and underweight, I recommend giving the slurry a go.

      Best of luck.

  2. Hello! So my husband and I have fallen on hard times and can’t afford to buy crickets for a couple days. Is there anything else I could give them besides crickets or collard greens?

  3. Hi, thanks for the informative article.

    We just acquired a juvenille bearded dragon last week – probably 6 inches from snout to tip of tale. This is new to us and our little guy is not eating as we were told he should eat. In addition, the web is filled with contrary information (disinformation?) as to how much our young dragon should eat. The big box pet store said he/she should eat 12-15 crickets 3 times a day. Other websites say the same. Our dragon is probably averaging 3-6 crickets per day for this first week. Perhaps a couple of days he/she nibbled on the greens/red pepper mix. And maybe 2 or 3 meal worms over the course of the week.

    The dragon looks healthy, is somewhat active, basks under the heat lamp (about 109 degrees), goes to sleep at night when its ready and has taken water off its snout. While I am concerned that he/she is not eating the 30-45 crickets per day that the store and other websites advise, I also feel that our little one is okay and will eat when it wants to.

    Your thoughts?

    Many thanks!

    • We are experiencing the same with our very new 3 month old baby bearded dragon! He isn’t eating as many crickets as he’s “supposed” to and has our 12 year old son worried he’s not doing something right. I’m sorry I cannot help, but I’m curious for the answer you receive.


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