Why does my Bearded Dragon not want to eat?

Bearded dragons can be quite picky and moody, so don’t panic immediately. The problem might be as simple as your dragon adjusting to the stress of recent changes (such as moving from a pet store to your home) or you adjusting their lighting, to something in their diet changing. Think back on what you might have changed recently, and use that as a starting point. 


Keep in mind that lighting has a huge effect on your dragon. If the temperature in a dragon’s home is too hot or cold, or too humid, it will definitely affect their behaviour. Triple check to make sure that the temperature is optimal for your dragon, and that they’re getting what they need.

It helps to leave your dragon’s lights on for at least two hours after their last meal to aid their digestion. Some Bearded Dragons will also refuse to eat in the morning if they aren’t warm enough yet.

Keep in mind that Bearded Dragons need full-spectrum lighting for good health, and this includes UVA and UVB radiation. It helps to stimulate their appetite and promote high levels of activity.


Older dragons go through “brumation”: at certain times of the year, much like bears, they go into a type of hibernation. They’ll find cooler places in their enclosure to rest, rarely moving, and can go into deep sleep for short periods of time. Let them rest, but remember to keep them hydrated and monitor the temperatures inside the enclosure.


Your dragon could be impacted, due to something in its diet (such as too many mealworms), or perhaps due to ingesting certain kinds of substrate, such as coarse sand and wood chips. Check what you’ve been feeding them (especially if you’ve recently added something new to their diet), and consider changing your substrate.


Your dragon might be shedding: check whether its scales look dull in colour, or whether the tip of its tail is grey. They may not feel like eating while going through this itchy process.


If you think your dragon may be unwell, make an appointment with your local reptile vet as soon as possible. Take a sample of the dragon’s faeces along.


Younger dragons need to eat multiple times a day, while adult Bearded Dragons can eat daily, or every few days – they don’t need to eat as much because their rate of growth has slowed down.