Lizard Not Moving But Breathing: What To Do

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When you come across a lizard that’s not moving but still breathing, it can cause concern. Lizards are known to be active creatures, and seeing one in a state of stillness can be alarming.

However, it’s essential to understand that this behavior is not always a sign of distress or illness.

Possible causes of a lizard not moving but breathing can range from natural behavior to environmental factors.

For example, some lizards may enter a state of torpor, similar to hibernation, during periods of extreme heat or cold.

Additionally, stress from changes in their environment, such as moving to a new enclosure or being handled too frequently, can cause temporary stillness.


Key Takeaways

  • A lizard not moving but breathing may not necessarily be a cause for concern.
  • Possible causes can include natural behavior or stress from environmental factors.
  • Observing the lizard’s behavior and taking appropriate action if necessary is essential.

Possible Causes of Lizard Not Moving But Breathing



Lizards are known to go into a state of brumation, similar to hibernation in mammals.

During brumation, lizards can appear to be in a state of suspended animation, where they do not move but still breathe.

This natural process occurs during the winter months or when temperatures drop. A lizard in brumation should not be disturbed, as it could harm their health.




Another possible cause for a lizard not moving but still breathing could be illness.

Lizards can suffer from various illnesses, including respiratory infections, parasites, and metabolic bone disease.

If a lizard is sick, they may become lethargic and not move around as much. Taking a sick lizard to a veterinarian specializing in reptiles is essential to receive proper treatment.




Stress can also factor in a lizard not moving but still breathing. Lizards can become stressed due to changes in their environment, such as a new enclosure or a change in diet.

They may also become stressed if handled too much or housed with incompatible species. It is essential to provide a comfortable and stable environment for a lizard to reduce stress.

In conclusion, there are several possible causes for a lizard not moving but still breathing, including brumation, illness, and stress.

It is essential to identify the cause and take appropriate action to ensure the health and well-being of the lizard.


Immediate Actions

Creating a Comfortable Environment


If your lizard is not moving but still breathing, it may be a sign of stress or illness. The first step is to create a comfortable environment for your lizard.

Ensure the temperature and humidity levels are appropriate for your lizard’s species. Provide a hiding place and a basking spot for your lizard to regulate its body temperature.


Feeding and Hydration


The next step is to ensure that your lizard is well-fed and hydrated. Offer a variety of appropriate food items for your lizard’s species.

Make sure the food is fresh and free of any contaminants. Provide a shallow dish of clean water for your lizard to drink from.

It is important to note that if your lizard is not moving and not breathing, it may be a sign of a serious health issue. In this case, it is best to seek veterinary care immediately.


When to Seek Professional Help


If you notice that your lizard is not moving but still breathing, it may be a sign of a severe underlying issue. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek professional help to ensure the health and well-being of your pet.


Identifying Serious Symptoms

It is essential to be able to identify any severe symptoms that may indicate a more significant problem. Some symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Lethargy or lack of movement
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Abnormal behavior or posture
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose, or mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms, taking your lizard to a reptile vet as soon as possible is essential.


Finding a Reptile Vet


Finding a qualified reptile vet can be challenging, but seeking a professional with experience working with lizards is essential. Some resources for finding a reptile vet include:

  • Local reptile clubs or organizations
  • Online directories of reptile vets
  • Referrals from other reptile owners

It is essential to do your research and find a knowledgeable and experienced vet for treating lizards.

When you bring your lizard to the vet, please provide as much information as possible about their symptoms and behavior. This will help the vet make an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

Remember, if you notice any serious symptoms in your lizard, it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible. You can help your pet recover and thrive with the right care and treatment.


Preventive Measures

Proper Habitat Maintenance


A suitable living environment is essential to ensure your pet lizard stays healthy.

This includes maintaining a clean and spacious enclosure, providing adequate lighting and temperature control, and ensuring that the substrate and decor are appropriate for the species.

Regular cleaning and disinfecting of the enclosure will also help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and parasites that can negatively impact your lizard’s health.


Balanced Diet


A balanced diet is essential for your pet lizard’s overall health and well-being. Their diet may include insects, vegetables, fruits, and even small rodents, depending on the species.

It is essential to research the specific dietary requirements of your lizard species and provide them with various food options to ensure they receive all of the necessary nutrients.

Feeding your lizard a diet that is too high in fat or lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can lead to health problems and a weakened immune system.


Regular Check-ups


Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for monitoring your lizard’s health and detecting potential issues early on.

During these check-ups, your veterinarian can perform a physical examination, check for parasites, and provide necessary vaccinations or treatments.

It is recommended to schedule a check-up at least once a year or more frequently if your lizard has any underlying health conditions.

By following these preventive measures, you can help ensure your pet lizard stays healthy and happy for years.


Understanding Lizard Behavior

Signs of a Healthy Lizard


Lizards are known for their calm and collected demeanor, but it can be concerning when they don’t move. However, it is essential to understand that lizards are cold-blooded creatures, and their metabolism is slower than that of warm-blooded animals. Therefore, it is normal for them to take long periods of rest.

Here are some signs of a healthy lizard:

  • Regular breathing: Lizards breathe through their lungs and need to maintain a steady breathing pattern. Observe their chest movements to ensure that they are breathing normally.
  • Alertness: A healthy lizard will be alert and aware of its surroundings. It will respond to stimuli and move around when necessary.
  • Appetite: Lizards have a healthy appetite and eat regularly. Ensure they get a balanced diet, including live insects, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Shedding: Lizards shed their skin periodically, a sign of a healthy lizard when they shed regularly and completely.

Signs of an Unwell Lizard


When a lizard is not moving but breathing, it could indicate an underlying health issue. Here are some signs of an unwell lizard:

  • Abnormal breathing: If a lizard is breathing rapidly or has difficulty breathing, it could be a sign of respiratory issues or stress.
  • Lethargy: A lizard not moving, even when stimulated, could be lethargic and weak. This could be a sign of an underlying health issue or a lack of proper nutrition.
  • Weight loss: A healthy lizard will maintain a healthy weight. A lizard losing weight rapidly could be a sign of an underlying health issue or a lack of proper nutrition.
  • Dehydration: Lizards need to stay hydrated, and they must be provided with fresh water regularly. If a lizard is dehydrated, it could indicate an underlying health issue or a lack of water.

In conclusion, it is essential to understand lizard behavior to ensure they are healthy and happy. If you notice any signs of an unwell lizard, it is necessary to seek veterinary care immediately.



Frequently Asked Questions


How long does a lizard typically stay in one place?


Lizards are known for their ability to stay still for extended periods. Depending on the species, a lizard may stay in one place for several minutes to hours. This behavior is often seen in lizards that rely on camouflage to avoid predators.


What is brumation, and how does it affect a lizard’s movement?


Brumation is a period of dormancy that some reptiles, including lizards, enter during the year’s colder months. Their metabolism slows down during this time, and they may stop moving or eat less. Brumation can last several months, affecting a lizard’s movement when it emerges from dormancy.


What are the typical dietary needs of a lizard?


Lizards have varied dietary needs depending on their species. Some lizards are herbivores, while others are carnivores or omnivores. It’s essential to research the specific dietary requirements of a particular lizard species to ensure they receive the proper nutrition.


What are some potential reasons for a lizard to stop moving?


There are several reasons why a lizard may stop moving, including brumation, illness, injury, stress, or environmental changes. Observing the lizard’s behavior and environment is essential to determine the cause.


What are some signs that a lizard may be in distress?


Signs that a lizard may be in distress include a lack of movement, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, lethargy, and changes in color or behavior. It’s crucial to seek veterinary care if a lizard exhibits these symptoms.


What steps can be taken to help a lizard that is not moving but still breathing?


If a lizard is not moving but still breathing, ensuring they are in a warm and comfortable environment is essential. It’s also crucial to provide access to water and food if the lizard is capable of eating. If the lizard does not show improvement, veterinary care should be sought immediately.

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