How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Food? Expert Answers and Care Tips

Bearded dragons are popular with reptile enthusiasts due to their docile nature and ease of care. However, owning a bearded dragon is responsible for providing proper nutrition.

A common question among owners is how long can a bearded dragon go without food.

The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as the bearded dragon’s age, size, and overall health.

Generally, adult bearded dragons can go up to two weeks without food, while juvenile dragons should not go more than a week without eating.

It is important to note that while bearded dragons can survive without food for some time, it is not recommended to withhold food as it can lead to health complications intentionally.

Owners should also know that bearded dragons require a balanced diet of live insects and vegetables.

A lack of proper nutrition can lead to health issues such as metabolic bone disease and malnutrition.

To ensure the health and longevity of a bearded dragon, it is important to provide a consistent and nutritious diet.


Understanding Bearded Dragons’ Dietary Needs


Bearded dragons are omnivorous lizards that require a balanced diet to maintain their health and wellbeing. They feed on various insects, vegetables, fruits, and flowers in the wild. They can be fed live insects, fresh produce, and commercial diets in captivity.

The nutritional requirements of bearded dragons vary depending on their age, size, and activity level. Juvenile dragons require more protein and calcium than adult dragons, while pregnant and nursing females require more nutrients to support their reproductive functions.


A balanced diet for a bearded dragon should include the following:


  • Protein: Crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and other insects are excellent protein sources for bearded dragons. Commercial diets that contain animal protein can also be used.
  • Vegetables: Dark leafy greens, carrots, squash, and bell peppers are some of the vegetables that can be fed to bearded dragons. These vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Fruits: Bearded dragons can be fed small amounts of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and bananas as treats. Fruits are high in sugar, so they should be given in moderation.
  • Calcium: Bearded dragons require calcium for healthy bones and egg production in females. Calcium can be provided through supplements or by dusting insects with calcium powder.

It is important to avoid feeding bearded dragons foods that are toxic to them, such as avocado, rhubarb, and spinach.

Feeding them too many high-fat foods like mealworms and waxworms can also lead to obesity and other health problems.

Bearded dragons can go without food for several days but should not be deprived of food for an extended period.

Juvenile dragons should be fed daily, while adult dragons can be fed every other day. Pregnant and nursing females may require more frequent feedings.

Overall, understanding the dietary needs of bearded dragons is crucial to their health and longevity. Owners can ensure that their pets are healthy and happy by providing a balanced diet and avoiding harmful foods.


How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Food

Short-Term Fasting


Bearded dragons are known to fast occasionally, especially during the winter months when they go into brumation. During this time, they may not eat for a few weeks or months

. However, it is important to note that bearded dragons should not be fasted for more than two weeks, even during brumation.


Long-Term Starvation


While bearded dragons can survive for a while without food, long-term starvation can have severe consequences.

If a bearded dragon goes without food for more than two weeks, it can lead to weight loss, muscle wasting, and even death.

It is important to note that bearded dragons require a balanced diet to stay healthy. They need a variety of insects, vegetables, and fruits to meet their nutritional needs.

If a bearded dragon is not eating, it may indicate an underlying health issue and a veterinarian should be consulted.

In conclusion, while bearded dragons can go without food for short periods, they should not be fasted for more than two weeks.

Long-term starvation can have severe consequences, and a balanced diet is essential for their health and well-being.


Factors Influencing Food Absence Duration



The age of a bearded dragon can significantly impact how long it can go without food. Younger dragons require more frequent feeding intervals as they have a faster metabolism.

Hatchlings and juvenile bearded dragons should be fed daily, while adult bearded dragons can go longer without food.

However, elderly bearded dragons may also require more frequent feedings as they may have a decreased ability to digest food.


Health Status


A bearded dragon’s health status can also affect how long it can go without food. If a bearded dragon is ill or recovering from an illness, it may require more frequent feedings to aid in its recovery.

A healthy bearded dragon can go for several weeks without food, but if they are already malnourished or underweight, they may not be able to go as long without food.


Environmental Conditions


The environmental conditions where a bearded dragon lives can also impact how long it can go without food.

If a bearded dragon is kept in a colder environment, their metabolism will slow down and require less food.

However, if a bearded dragon is kept in a warmer environment, their metabolism will speed up and require more food.

Additionally, if a bearded dragon is stressed or anxious, it may not eat as much or go longer without food.

In conclusion, several factors can influence how long a bearded dragon can go without food. Younger dragons, sick or recovering dragons, and those living in different environmental conditions may require more frequent feeding intervals.

Monitoring a bearded dragon’s health and behavior is essential to determine its needs and adjust its feeding schedule accordingly.


Effects of Prolonged Food Absence

Physical Changes


When a bearded dragon goes without food for an extended period, it can significantly affect its physical appearance. One of the most noticeable changes is weight loss.

The body will start breaking down fat reserves and muscle tissue to obtain energy, which can decrease body mass.

Another physical change that can occur is a decrease in skin elasticity. This is because the body will start using its fat reserves, which can cause dehydration.

As a result, the skin can become dry and less elastic. In severe cases, the skin may even start to shed.


Behavioral Changes


In addition to physical changes, a bearded dragon that has gone without food for a prolonged period may also exhibit behavioral changes. One of the most common changes is lethargy.

The dragon may become less active and spend more time sleeping or lying still.

Another behavioral change that can occur is aggression. The dragon may become more irritable and easily agitated due to hunger.

They may also become less social and less interested in interacting with their owner or other dragons.

It’s important to note that the effects of prolonged food absence can vary depending on the age and health of the bearded dragon.

Younger dragons and those with pre-existing health conditions may be more susceptible to the negative effects of starvation.

Overall, ensuring that a bearded dragon receives a balanced and nutritious diet is essential to prevent any potential negative effects of prolonged food absence.


When to Seek Veterinary Care


If a bearded dragon hasn’t eaten for an extended period, it is necessary to seek veterinary care. The following signs indicate that the bearded dragon needs medical attention:

  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Abnormal feces
  • Discolored skin
  • Respiratory problems

If the bearded dragon has not eaten for more than two weeks, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. The veterinarian may conduct a physical examination and perform blood tests to determine the cause of the bearded dragon’s anorexia.

If the veterinarian suspects the bearded dragon has an underlying medical condition, they may recommend further tests, such as an X-ray or ultrasound.

Treatment options may include fluid therapy, medication, or surgery, depending on the underlying cause.

It is crucial to seek veterinary care promptly to avoid further complications.

Delaying treatment may result in irreversible damage to the bearded dragon’s health.




In summary, bearded dragons are hardy reptiles that can survive for weeks without food. However, it is not recommended to starve them intentionally or neglect their feeding schedule.

Based on research and expert opinions, a healthy adult bearded dragon can go without food for up to two weeks. On the other hand, juvenile bearded dragons should not be left without food for more than a week.

It is important to note that the duration a bearded dragon can go without food varies depending on several factors, such as age, health, and environmental conditions. In addition, bearded dragons that have underlying health issues or are pregnant may require more frequent feedings.

It is crucial to monitor the feeding habits of bearded dragons and ensure they receive a balanced diet that includes live insects, vegetables, and fruits. Owners should also seek veterinary care if they notice any illness or abnormal behavior in their bearded dragons.

While bearded dragons can survive significantly without food, providing them with proper nutrition and care is essential to ensure their health and well-being.

Mike Grover

Mike Grover is the owner of this website (Reptiles and Amphibians), a website dedicated to providing expert care and information for these animals. Mike has been keeping reptiles and amphibians as pets for over 20 years and has extensive knowledge of their care. He currently resides in the United Kindom with his wife and two children. Reptiles and amphibians can make excellent pets, but they require special care to stay healthy and happy. Mike's website provides detailed information on how to care for these animals, including what to feed them, what type of housing they need, and how to maintain their health. Mike's website is a valuable resource for keeping your pet healthy and happy, whether you’re considering adding a reptile or amphibian to your family or you’re already a pet parent.

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