If you are a new owner of a beautiful baby Bearded Dragon, you may be pulling your hair out wondering why he won’t eat (Click here for my best Bearded Dragon guide, on Amazon). Well, I have some answers for you…
Why won’t your baby bearded dragon eat? He is either stressed, anxious or unhappy. This could be caused by an incorrect temperature in his enclosure, unwanted cage mates, uncomfortable new environment or just simply being fed the wrong food.
Now that you know what could be causing this, let me delve deeper and explain how these things occur, how you can avoid making these mistakes, what and how often you should be feeding him and more. Keep reading.
Other Reasons Why won’t Baby bearded dragon won’t eat?
The reality is there are a number of reasons why your baby dragon my not be eating, therefore, I will use this section to give you some suggestions to help you.
Has your baby Beardie just been moved in? If yes, don’t stress. It’s normal for a new baby to feel a little bit off of his food when he has first moved to a new environment.
Understand this, this happens to adults as well. However, for babies, it’s even worse.
This is because not only are they in a new environment, they have also been taken away from their siblings and mother, are you with me?
Typically you can expect them to need one or two weeks to adjust to their new environment. Meaning, expect some abnormal eating patterns within this transitional stage.
They don’t like the diet
Baby Bearded Dragons can be a bit picky at times. Especially if you’re not sure what to feed them. A safe bet is Size 2 crickets, they are a good choice and a good size for him.
However, you could also try Dubia Roaches. They love these roaches. In fact, you should find that he will love these even more than the crickets.
One of the common problems, which can turn baby dragons off their food, is them not feeling comfortable. In particular, feeling cold.
This usually happens if you haven’t set the temperature right in the enclosure. To give you an idea of the expectation, you need to provide heat up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in their enclosure.
I know this may sound very hot to you but bear in mind that bearded dragons originate from desert areas where this will be the norm.
You can achieve these temperatures in a couple of ways:
- Higher wattage bulb in the enclosure.
- Lowering the bulb, so it’s closer to your lizard.
If you opt for the latter, just be careful not to make it too low. This is so you can avoid injuring him with the hot bulb.
Large swings in temperature.
Another thing that could irritate your bearded dragon. Is large swings in temperature. What do I mean? Well, if you want to avoid the temperature going from 115 degrees F and then a massive dip down in the temperature in the cool area.
To cut a long story short you need to make sure the cool area doesn’t drop below 85 degrees F and ideally, it should be up to 90 degrees F.
If you are not close to these temperatures you may need to look into a second heating lamp which can match this.
What can you feed your Baby Bearded Dragon?
We touched on this a bit earlier but, I want to use this section to dig a bit deeper into the specifics. There are a couple of things that you can consider feeding your baby.
When you are thinking about crickets, it’s important to get the right size. You need to consider medium or small, depending on how your lizard reacts.
The challenge is if you go for crickets that are too small your lizard may not be interested in eating them. This is because they may be difficult for him to catch.
I mentioned this before, but just to re-iterate, they love dubia roaches. In particular, you need to get newborn Dubia roaches.
Locusts are another good food source for your baby bearded dragon. However, the reason I do not highlight these as much is due to their cost.
You can expect the locust to cost substantially more than crickets or dubia roaches. For that reason, some keepers avoid them.
How often should you be feeding him (& foods to avoid)
When you are feeding your baby bearded dragon crickets or dubia roaches as a general guideline you want to make sure that they consume as much as they can within a 10-minute period. Obviously, give or take a minute or two.
Firstly you should aim to be feeding your baby bearded dragon a few times a day. This needs to be done consistently for at least the first three months until they get bigger.
Foods to avoid
Firstly forget mealworms! Why?… The reality is, they do not have much nutritional benefit for these babies. And also, their skin is hard for them to digest. There are better options for them.
Be careful with crickets
Regarding crickets, even though they will eat and enjoy them, you have to be careful about how you manage them.
What do I mean?
I mean, when your baby beardie finishes eating them, it’s inevitable there will be some left behind. Instead of going off about your day and leaving them within the enclosure. You need to get rid of them, asap!
Because if you don’t, these crickets have a habit of biting. This can cause big problems for you and your lizard.
What supplements should you be using for your baby beardie?
Supplementation is an important part of your baby beardies diet. Especially if you want him to grow up healthy. And, you do, right?
For that reason a calcium supplement is mandatory. You should be supplying a calcium supplement on a regular basis.
Read the instructions the calcium supplement. But in general, it’s typically a pinch of calcium supplement dust once a day. But double-check dosages before, please.
There is another supplement called Nutrabol, be careful because some Pet Shops may try to oversell this to you and get you to use it every day. It’s not a bad product, but just be careful with how much you use.
How long until a baby bearded becomes a juvenile?
This is typically within six months. And you can expect them to be at this stage for one year. At which point they will be classed as an adult.
Don’t get freaked out by their wave
By the way, don’t be weirded out if you notice him doing a weird hand waving gesture.
What is this?
This is a natural indication to other male lizards that they are not a threat. It basically indicates that they recognize the other male’s dominance and they are not a threat, are you with me?
If you have not seen this before it is like they are standing on three limbs with one of their limbs in the air. Then moving their fourth limb in a circular motion, which almost looks like they are waving.
In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Baby bearded dragons. If you have any extra questions, that you feel I have missed. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Q: Do baby Beardies brumate?
No, baby beardies do not brumate. You can expect brumation to start from the adult stage. In particular after 12 months.
If you’ve never heard of brumation before, it is when a lizard effectively hibernates (not exactly, but you know what I mean).
Q: What are the effects of cricket bites on your baby Beardie?
Earlier I talked about the importance of clearing up unused crickets. Just to elaborate on that point, the dangers of these cricket bites are often underestimated, and can actually be quite serious.
The worrying thing about this is, it’s not always obvious its happened. Why? Simple, because these bites can be so small they may go unseen.
So the general rule is to clear out any uneaten crickets immediately.
Q: How can you stimulate their appetite?
If you are finding it hard to get your baby beardie eating. In particular eating vegetables. You can try different things to try and stimulate their appetite.
Firstly you can try different fruit and veg combinations to see if that interests them. You can also try combining the fruit and veg with insects. Such as Superworms or Dubia roaches to see if it’ll make a difference.
Q: When do bearded dragons reach sexual maturity?
You can expect them to reach sexual maturity anywhere between the ages of 8 and 18 months.
Establishing the gender of a bearded dragon can be quite difficult. Especially if they have not reached sexual maturity.
Once they are the adult size you can typically tell the difference between a male and female. Mainly because of the size difference. The male Beardie is typically bigger and has a larger head.