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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
If you have a House Gecko, maybe its new to you, or you just bumped into it in your house. You may be wondering if you can pick it up. And more importantly, what will it do if you pick it up?
Can you handle a house gecko? Yes, you can handle a house gecko. However, you have to be careful with them. This is because they are quite fragile. In the event that they bite you, the reality is, their bite is not dangerous. If they do bite, it’s unlikely to break your skin.
Now that you know that they are quite harmless, let me explain some necessary hygiene, how long you should wait to handle them if you wish to have them as a pet. I will also explain how not to pick them up, and more. Keep reading.
According to Wikipedia, a House gecko (Scientific name Hemidactylus Frenatus) is a native to the South East of Asia. It actually has a number of aliases such as:
It is non-venomous lizard by the way, so no need to worry about handling it.
It is advisable to wash your hands after coming into contact with them, which is generally common sense with most animals, right?
Why though? Because sometimes they may have diseases or parasites that could be passed on to you.
If you have a domesticated house Gecko which you are hoping to look after. It is advisable to be patient and wait till at least your Gecko is one year old before you attempt to handle him.
Because if they are exposed to a new environment, handling them too early can unsettle them. If you try and handle them too early, this can make them anxious and become fearful of their surroundings.
Once they are mature and become an adult they are more susceptible to humans handling them.
In addition to this, they will get used to you being around them and feel comfortable in their new environment.
If you have a house gecko inside of an enclosure because you are caring for it. You may be wondering how long you should you wait until you take it out of the enclosure, right?
Well, you need to be patient. As discussed earlier, it is better to wait at least a year before attempting this.
In reality, you will need to wait a little bit longer than this. Because you need to start off with handling it within the enclosure, then graduate it to handling outside, are you with me?
When you feel comfortable to take it to the next stage and take him out of the enclosure, be very careful. Why? Because they run fast and can escape into a hard to reach the areas.
Also while you are handling them outside of the enclosure, and they attempt to run away from you, you can get tempted to grab them.
This is dangerous because you risk the chance of injuring. Or, even cause their tail to break off if you grab this. Don’t worry the tail will grow back, but in all honesty, it will never be the same as it was before.
When you decide that it is a good time to handle your House gecko. It’s important that you never grab them from their underbelly. This may feel natural to you but you run the risk of them getting spooked and “running for the hills”.
Instead, you should be holding them from the top of their body. Making sure to hold them securely. Then place them into the palm of your hands and making sure that they do not escape.
When you do this, hold them in the palm of your hand and take care not to grab their tail. As discussed earlier, you run the risk of breaking their tail.
Also, make sure that you wash your hands before and after holding them. This is because you can introduce illness and sickness to your lizard. You may not notice, but you too may have harmful bacteria in your hands that can be passed onto your lizard.
If you wondering if you can make a wild House Gecko a pet, the answer is you can. But understand this, because they are wild they will take longer to get used to the domestic lifestyle.
To consider doing this, ideally, you need a 20-gallon tall tank enclosure (Click here for my best Lizard Enclosures) for them to feel comfortable.
You can have more than one House Gecko in an enclosure. But, be careful with males.
Because Male house geckos, like most lizards, are very territorial. It’s almost inevitable that mixing more than one male together will end with fighting.
Females, on the other hand, are fine for mixing. Because they have a different temperament.
The substrate should be capable of holding moisture. Ideally, you need something such as coconut fiber substrate (Click here for a great one here, on Amazon) or something like that.
Sand and Reptile carpeting is not ideal for House Geckos. Why? Because these substrates do not create a humid environment, which is required for these lizards.
These lizards are nocturnal, therefore, lighting in the night is not really required. However, you will still need UVA/UVB lighting for the daytime. This is important.
The reason is, they are regarded as pests in some parts of the world. In some countries, for example, Southeastern Asia, they have many house geckos. They unfortunately infiltrate their houses to look for insects to eat. Therefore, some people regard them as pests.
Obviously there are people that care for them as pets, but there are just as many people, on the opposite side of the fence, who see them as a problem.
In addition to this, they are known to make weird noises in the night which spook the average person (Why do House Lizards make noise? Click here to see why).
In this section, I will answer some related questions to House Geckos. If you have some extra questions you need to be answered, feel free to drop a comment below.
Yes, you can expect house geckos shed their skin. In fact, every six to eight weeks, in patches. The confusing thing about this shedding stage is it can seem to be quite uncomfortable and unsettling for your lizard.
However, even if this is the case, do not be tempted to try and help it along by peeling the skin off.
Because this can cause extreme pain and discomfort to your lizard. And, it will not help it. If you ensure your enclosure has the right humidity, temperature and facilities, then their skin will naturally deal with the shed in the expected way.
Yes, like other lizards, you will need supplementation such as calcium. The best way to apply this calcium supplementation is to dust the insects that they are about to eat. For example mealworms or crickets.
Some people argue that it is advantageous to feed them wild insects because this naturally varies their diet and has nutritional benefits.
This can be confusing because there are opposing arguments that say that wild insects can introduce parasites and diseases so take this into consideration.
No, house geckos along, with leopard geckos (Click here to see if Leopard Geckos can live off just Mealworms), and fat-tailed geckos are purely insectivores. Meaning there will only consume insects.
However, there are some geckos that will consume fruit, mainly in its purified form. But, on the whole, they mainly are a meat-eating lizard.
If you are concerned about your Bearded Dragon (Click here to see my best Bearded Dragon Guide, on Amazon) not eating, you may be scratching your head, thinking how this has happened and how long can this go on for. Let me explain…
How long can a bearded dragon go without eating? Bearded Dragons can last up to 2 months without food. This is quite a long time. But I must say, this is not a target, its an average limit. Meaning, you should never have a pet getting anywhere close this, know what I mean?
Now that you understand how long they can last without food on average, let me explain why your Beardie might not be eating, how to look out for red flags of abnormality, and more. Keep reading…
If you notice that Beardie is not eating, the reality is there are a number of potential issues causing this. For that reason, I will be listing some potential issues here, so you can compare your situation to see if it matches.
Believe it or not, little changes in their habitat, or environment can unsettle your pet. This can make them feel uncomfortable and lead to them stopping eating. Have you moved recently? Or changed their enclosure? If yes, or anything remotely similar, this could be the issue.
Beardies like to have familiar surroundings. If they are moved about this can unsettle them and bring them out of their routine. If they feel unsettled, they may stop eating.
One thing to consider. It could be a simple thing like a change in their diet. Beardies can be picky sometimes, and this could turn them off their food. In some cases, it could be a subtle change on your behalf, for example, you may change the particular supplier of a certain food source. Little things like this can trigger him to stop eating.
Depending on the season, you could be facing issues with Brumation. What is this? Think of brumation as the lizard equivalent to hibernation.
It is usually season-specific, hence the reason I said that it depends on the season. During this time, you will notice your lizard’s behavior slow right down, to borderline nothing.
While they brumate, they are not expected to consume any food. They can go up to two months without food during this time. However, they will still need a source of water during this time.
This one is obvious to an extent. Have you ever stopped eating because you feel sick? Well, this is the same for Beardies. The list of health issues is impressive, so I won’t list them all here. But, I think you get my point, right?
Stress is a complex one. There are various delicate triggers that can cause your Beardie to go off his food because of this.
For example, you may have introduced another cage mate, and your lizard is just not feeling her. This could trigger stress and anxiety.
Or maybe, you mistakenly paired up two males, and he is losing the game of dominance? Even things like too much noise in the enclosure could trigger these issues.
Understanding why its happening is one thing. But, the best thing is understanding how to look out for these issues ahead of time. For that reason, I will share with you some red flags that you can look out for.
Has your lizard stopped defecating? If yes, it could be because he is “backed up”. Basically impaction is when he consumes something that could not be digested correctly. If he is not eating, could be related to this issue.
The confusing thing is, your lizard still may eat if this is the case. So, if you see a lack of feces, rather than second-guessing, consult your vet for a professional diagnosis.
This is almost the complete opposite of impaction. You lizard will show some obvious signs of loose feces. It will typically look very runny. During this time he may go off his food.
Parasites are another prime candidate for lack of eating. However, it is not always easy to diagnose this as a Lizard keeper. Sometimes there are obvious signs, such as small moving parasites, that almost look like little dots.
They can vary in color, such as yellow, red, black, etc. The best thing to do is to consult your vet to check to see if your suspicions are correct.
If you figure out that your lizard is not eating due to diet. You may find that it’s linked to what type of food you are feeding it. Some squirmish lizard owners try to cut corners and feed their Beardie frozen insects and other workarounds. Why? To avoid live insects.
The reality is, yes, you need to feed your Beardie live insects. This is not all they eat, but it’s the staple part of their diet. You will find, in most cases, they won’t be stimulated to eat insects unless they see movement.
Why? It’s part of their instinctual behavior, are you with me? Even in captivity, these instincts are hard to shake. It’s like, why do humans naturally drink water? We just do, right? Same thing.
So, instead of trying to go “against the grain”, if you like, follow what they want. This will make life easier for you.
In this section, I am going to answer some related questions to Bearded Dragons and their diet. If you have any specific questions in your mind, that you feel has not been answered, please leave a comment below.
Do bearded dragons poop every day? Yes, if they are hatchlings or Juvines. However, for Adults, this largely depends on their diet. If your Beardie is fed mainly insects like Silkworms, there is a good chance he will go daily.
However, if there is more of a mix of veg, crickets, etc, then this could vary. You may see them go 3-4 times a week for example.
Can I leave my bearded dragon alone for 3 days? No. It is not ideal. If your bearded dragon is a baby, then not even overnight is acceptable. Why? Because when they are this young they have fast metabolisms and require frequent feeding and care.
As they get older, according to this site, say, Juvenile, you can consider overnight, but more than that is a stretch. For Adults, there is a bit more flexibility. Because their metabolism has slowed down by that time. However, even then, a couple of days should be fine but not anything more.
How can you tell how old your Beardie is? You can measure them if they are under one year old. This is not an exact science by the way, but it will give you a rough idea of their age. If you have ever had children, you will have seen your midwife use a similar technique, measuring the babies size from within a pregnant mother. Similar concept here.
Do Bearded Dragons Like to be picked up? The reality is they don’t (Click here for my full article on this – do Beardies like being handled). This is not natural for them. But, in captivity, with training, you can handle them without a problem. Typically they prefer their owners, rather than a random person though.
Can Bearded Dragons be potty trained? Yes, as crazy as this sounds, they can be trained. Typically you will be able to condition them to use one particular area of the enclosure. So, it is not necessarily potty training in the purest sense.
If you are thinking of feeding your lizards the best insects, you may be wondering if you should choose Superworms (Click here for the price of my best Superworm selection, on Amazon) or Mealworms. Let me explain…
What’s the difference between a Superworm and Mealworm? Superworms are typically five times bigger than Mealworms. They can last as Larvae (which is the state most Lizard keepers favor) longer, but Mealworms have the added benefit of being able to be refrigerated for storage.
Now that you know the general differences, let me explain in more detail. Such as how Giant Mealworms size up to Superworms, the nutritional differences and much more. Keep reading.
In this section, I am going to summerise the main differences between a Superworm & Mealworm. At a glance, they can seem very similar, if not the same. Especially when you compare the Superworm to the Giant Mealworm (more on that later).
One of the more obvious differences is the size. But, before I continue, let me clarify, I am comparing the standard Mealworm with the Superworm, ok?
One of the major reasons for this size difference is the extra Chitin, as well as their shell. The downfall of this (well, for your lizard) is, they appear bigger, but they have less meat. However, they make up for this with a higher level of Calcium, Fiber and also fat.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Its a fiber type substance that contains polysaccharides.
One of the biggest drawbacks with Superworms, when comparing them to Mealworms, is the fact that you can not refrigerate them.
But, why would you want to do that?
Simple, to prolong their lifespan in storage. When Mealworms are put in the fridge, they can last a long while. They will stay in a larvae state, in storage. Giving you time to feed them to your lizard. However, this is not possible with Superworms (More on this later).
Before we go any further, let me explain exactly what is a Mealworm. To make sure we are on the same page. According to Wikipedia, Mealworms (Tenebrio Molitor) are Mealworm Beetles in their Larvae form. This Beetle is known to be a species of the darkling Beetle.
This beetle has four key stages of growth, with one of them relevant to this article (the Larvae stage):
So you can get an idea of their size, you can expect to see the Mealworm Larvae growing up to about approx. 2.5 cm. With the adult Mealworm Beetle growing up to 1.8cm.
Maybe you have heard of Giant Mealworms before. If not, let me give you the low down. They are really just the same as a regular Mealworm, apart from one key thing, they are a lot bigger.
Well, they are bigger because they have been artificially treated with growth inhabitor hormone. This sounds quite scientific, but in reality, it means they have been treated to delay their pupation stage.
This means that their Larva form is bigger than normal. This is obviously a bonus to Lizards (& their keepers). As they are typically a lot bigger and juicier.
This is the reason, I mentioned them earlier, as being quite similar to Superworms, at a glance. There are chances that they will pupate and transition to beetles.
However, this is not a big concern, because they are sterile, due to the fact that they have been treated with the growth hormone.
The Superworm (Zophobas Morio), according to Wikipedia, is a species of the Darkling Beetle. They are known by a few different names, such as:
As discussed earlier, their Larvae looks very similar to Mealworms (In particular Giant Mealworms), growing up to 2.25cm on average. The main give away, however, is their black coloration, on the ends of their bodies.
As briefly discussed earlier. The Mealworm can be stored in a fridge. While they are stored away, they can last months. This is ideal for keepers because they can rest there until you need them.
Also, during this time, they will not pupate and grow, giving you a great storage advantage.
Superworms, on the other hand, cannot be stored in the fridge. To be honest, if you try this, you will get a bad surprise, they will die in there.
Therefore, before you order them, you have to be sure that order what you need at that point in time.
In this section, I am going to explain the kind of life expectancy you can expect from these worms.
Superworms can last a long time in a larval state. To put this into perspective you expect them in this state for up to one year. This more than makes up for the lack of refrigeration options you have with them, in my opinion.
They typically will not pupate unless they are separated from their family of larvae. However, they are quite reactive to temperature and humidity changes.
To give you an idea of the life cycle of a super worm. You can expect anywhere from 100 to 500 eggs to be laid in one lifetime. As eggs, they typically last for up to 19 days before they hatch into their larval state.
In their pupation state, this can be up to another 19 to 20 days. Adult beetles can be expected to live anywhere from 3 to 15 years, depending on how their environment is.
Mealworms are quite different from Superworms in this case. A mealworm will only last up to 50 days if it is not refrigerated. That’s why refrigeration is quite important for Lizard keepers.
You can expect up to 100 eggs in a Mealworms lifetime. Also, they do not need to be separated from their larvae to trigger pupation. They typically last up to 12 days as eggs, before they hatch out to Larvae.
In their pupation stage. They can last up to 20 days. As adult beetles, they last considerably less time than a super worm. Living up to an average of 90 days.
To have successful breeding with super worms you need to make sure that the adult beetles are fed on the same food source as the larvae. This is important to ensure they are well fed.
Because if not there is a good chance that they will actually eat their own eggs once they are laid. Meaning, you will be stuck in a cycle of breeding eggs, without ever seeing any end product, are you with me?
The best food for them is fruit and vegetables. Just make sure you do not give them potatoes.
The Beatles need to be stored in tubs. However, you will need egg containers within the tabs to give the beetles room to hide and lay their eggs. In addition to this, it will help with transferring them, which will be required during their breeding process.
Once the eggs are laid you can expect them to hatch out within 7 to 10 days.
In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Superworms and Mealworms. If you have any questions that you feel have been missed, feel free to leave a comment below.
Are any of these worms aggressive biters? Yes, the super worms are known to be quite aggressive and will bite. Also, they have quite a sharp head spike which is known to be used as a defense mechanism against Predators.
Therefore, you need to be careful when giving them to your lizard. In reality lizards naturally, know of the risk or learn very quickly.
Will super worms eat mealworms? Yes, one thing about super worms, they are quite aggressive. They are known to eat mealworm eggs without hesitation.
It’s even been known for Super worms to eat their own super worms as well. So, if you ever consider mixing them you have to bear this fact in mind.
Will mealworms bite? No, mealworms will not bite. In contrast to super worms, they are very unoffensive. They will not cause you any issues when it comes to fighting or aggression.
However, Superworms will bite. But they will not cause many issues to us humans. If you are bitten by one it won’t really be much of a major problem.
Can mealworms drown? Yes, they can drown if they are submerged in water. However, like most living things. They do need a source of water to keep them alive. But, you need to avoid submerging them in the water.
If you have a Leopard Gecko, you probably understand that they love Insects, and why you need to supplement them with supplements (Click here to see my best Calcium Supplelemnt for Leos, on Amazon), but can they eat Human food?
What human food can leopard geckos eat? They can’t actually eat any human food. They are not built to consume the food that humans typically consume, such as fruits, veg, etc. This isn’t because they don’t prefer it, it isn’t physically possible for them to digest some of these human foods.
Now that you know why they cannot eat human foods, let me explain what they can eat, why they can’t eat fruit and veg, alternatives if you hate insects and more. Keep reading…
The reality is they are an insectivore. Meaning that they eat meat, in particular, insects. There are specific reasons why they can’t eat any other food (but more on this later in the article).
They will eat pretty much any wriggly insect that is put in front of them. This includes:
No, they cannot eat fruit and vegetables. This is because their body is designed to consume insects only.
The reason why they can’t consume fruit and veg is they do not actually have a Cecum, this is the part of the body which breaks down cellulose, which is found in fruit and vegetables.
Another issue that they have is the size of their digestive tract. This is typically smaller than a herbivore, who has a longer digestive tract and it is acidic. Whereas a Leopard Gecko’s digestive tract is alkaline.
If you don’t like handling insects and you want to feed your leopard gecko, truthfully, your options are quite limited.
However, there is an alternative that you can consider. But, the chances of your leopard gecko enjoying this is quite slim.
Because the option I’m going to present to you does not include live insects. And, they typically prefer to see the movement to get them stimulated to eat, are you with me?
Repashy Gel (Click here to see the price on Amazon) is a powdered form of food, which can be processed and set into a gel. Once the gel is set you can cut it up into pieces and offer it to your Leopard Gecko.
It contains nutrients to keep your Leo fulfilled. But, taste and preference are another thing. As mentioned earlier, they prefer to eat live insects. So, there is a chance your Leo will not take to this.
However, if you are really squeamish about insects this could be something that you could try.
The leopard geckos jaw and skull is designed for consuming insects. It is smaller and more robust than a herbivore giving it the perfect structure to consume insects.
Some people believe there is new research to suggest that leopard geckos can consume fruit and vegetables.
Let’s address this now. Being able to consume fruit and vegetables is one thing. But actually digesting it is another, are you with me?
As discussed in the previous section, they cannot consume and digest fruit and vegetables. Their body cannot do this. Therefore, to save any disappointment and wasted investment it is best to stick to live insects which they will devour.
Leopard geckos natural habitat is in the desert, in particular, the Southeastern regions of Asia. The reason I mention this is because it is quite a dry area with limited food supply.
Therefore, leopard geckos have to be clever and store a good source of fat inside their tails to maintain themselves in these conditions, are you with me?
Therefore, they are not expected to eat every single day. So their body has evolved to naturally store fat. So, they can deal with these “lean days”, when there is no food available.
This works perfectly in the wild, in their natural environment. However, in captivity, this can work against them.
Because in captivity they are fed regularly, in fact as long as you are caring for them correctly, their food intake is border-line predictable.
However, their body will continue storing fat in its tail and building up fat reserves in this body, as if it was starving in the desert. You see whats happening here?
If this is done on a regular basis and they are overeating this can lead to obesity.
If you are concerned or curious to understand what is classed as a “safe weight” for your Leo, or what is deemed as overweight or obese, let me share a general rule with you.
The general rule is the tail should always be wider than its stomach, which is quite easy to see visually. Also, their stomach should remain flat, unless they have just eaten. If they have just eaten, this would obviously cause a bit of a bulge until the food is digested.
Other things to look out for, if you are worried about signs of overfeeding, is regurgitation. If you see some food regurgitated, this is a clear indication that your Leo is eating too much.
Also, he may appear to be lethargic, which is quite subtle but another red flag. If this is the case you need to cut back on the food that you are giving to him. Also, you can consider cutting back on fatty foods such as Superworms (Click here to see what worms are good for a Leopard Gecko) or Butterworms.
Another interesting dietary behavior that you may notice with your leopard geckos is the fact that they eat their own skin.
Immediately after they shed they will devour their old skin.
This is a clever defensive mechanism to avoid any predators picking up on the fact that they have been in the close vicinity. Basically, hiding their tracks.
If they consume their skin, they leave no evidence of them being there and therefore the Predator will not pursue them, get it?
There are a couple of food groups that you should always avoid when thinking about what foods to feed your Leo:
Fireflies and lightning bugs should be avoided because they possess a certain chemical which is required to give them the glowing and flashing effect that make them attractive.
If you feed these to your lizard, it can cause them to be ill or stomach infections. For this reason, they should be avoided.
If you have a leopard gecko in captivity. It is not advisable to allow them to eat wild insects that are roaming around the house.
Even though, on paper, they can actually eat it.
It is unknown where these insects have been. They can cause infections and introduce parasites to your pet which cause major health issues.
In captivity, Calcium and other nutrients are a very important part of their diet.
A lack of calcium can lead to bone-related issues, abnormal joints and a number of other health-related problems.
So you may be wondering how is it possible to feed them these nutrients if they only eat insects and don’t consume other foods such as fruits and vegetables…
To get around this a lot of lizard keepers dust or gut load (click here to see how to gut load Superworms and why you should bother) their insects before feeding them.
Dusting is a way that you can prepare their food by dusting calcium supplementation on to the insects and then directly feeding it to your leopard gecko.
Got loading, on the other hand, is a way of pre-feeding the insects with supplementation so that it will pass on to your Leopard Gecko as they feed on them.
If you have a Gecko, you may be curious to understand if they can swim. Obviously making sure they are feed and looked after comes first (Click here to see my best Gecko food Cup, on Amazon). But let me clarify if they can or not…
Can geckos swim? Yes, geckos can swim. However, they do not really love swimming. In reality, this is something they do by necessity rather than enjoyment. It is a basic survival skill that they have that is used sparingly.
Now that you know that Geckos can swim, let me reveal if they can run on water. Also, if you should be bathing them, the benefits of soaking them and much more. Keep reading…
Yes, they can run on water. In fact, according to atlasobscura.com, a biophysicist reported witnessing a house gecko running over a puddle. Not through it or swimming in it, but, actually running over the puddle! This was in an effort to get away from its predators.
It is probably hard to articulate how spectacular this really is. Unless you actually see it happen, words probably cannot do it real justice.
As crazy as this sounds, this is definitely possible. And in fact, geckos are not the only lizards that can run on water (Click here to see if the Common Basilisk Lizard can run on water too).
It has been observed that these geckos can run up to a few feet per second. And in fact, they can typically move faster than a duck can swim, while they run across these water verges.
Firstly they utilize surface tension. Secondly, they have the ability to slap the surface of the water with all four of their limbs simultaneously.
This creates an air trap allowing them to defy the laws of gravity. This is similar to Common Basilisk lizard, who can also run across water.
Their third technique is undulating their bodies. Which is a similar method used by butterflies to take flight. Finally, the Geckos skin is water-resistant, which is a very final part of their secret to run across water.
The combination of all of these four techniques gives them the ability to skip over the water effortlessly.
You may be thinking to yourself, OK, now that you understand that geckos can actually swim. Does this mean that you should actually be providing swimming facilities for them as an activity?
The short answer is, no. As mentioned previously, they can swim but it is something that they do not enjoy. They definitely will not like to have this as a day-to-day activity. Think of this as more of a defensive or lifesaving skill.
As a general rule for Geckos, you do not really need to bathe them. The reason for this is, they have natural abilities to keep themselves clean.
For example, they will regularly shed their skin, assuming they’re in good health, which helps to keep their skin clean.
Also, general maintenance on your behalf such as clearing up old feces and old uneaten food will help to keep them from infection and keep them clean.
In fact, you should have a cleaning schedule in place (Click here to see how often you should clean a Leopard Gecko’s Cage). This is based on a daily quick clean, weekly deeper clean. And, a periodic deep clean. This may sound a bit much, but do you love your Gecko? Then, this is part of the deal.
With all this talk about water and swimming, you may be wondering is it a good idea to soak your lizard.
Yes, you now understand that they don’t necessarily like swimming. But, you may have heard that soaking is a good thing.
Generally speaking, it is a good idea for most lizards to have a bowl of water for them to soak at their leisure.
One of the benefits of this bowl of water is, that during shedding, in particular, they can use this to help remove the unwanted skin.
There are certain lizards, for example, the Bearded Dragon (Click here to see if Bearded Dragons like to be handled), that typically have leftover skin sheds on their toes or in other difficult areas. This leftover skin can cause the lizard some severe pain and discomfort. So, it is important to help your lizard through this.
This water bowl can help by soaking their skin and letting the skin shed more evenly, are you with me?
Obviously, if this doesn’t work it is not a good idea to try and manually shed the skin and pull at it. Because this will cause damage and injuries to your lizard. Also, you could actually tear skin tissue that was not due to be removed, are you with me? Which, as you can imagine is not a good idea.
If that is the case you need to consult your vet to clarify what the next step is.
You may be thinking, if this is the case, in their natural habitat, in the wild, how do they deal with natural weather conditions such as rain? Good question.
When it comes to natural rain, lizards are not necessarily scared of it. Why? because they know how to deal with it.
If the rain causes the temperature to drop significantly, they can simply hide away until the warmer weather comes back. Some lizards look forward to the rain. Why? Because this is their natural source of water. And, they look forward to drinking it as it comes down.
In fact, there are some lizards that will flat out reject any other form of drinking water, unless it is rainwater. Or simulated to look like rain. Such as the Green Anole (Click here to see what can live with Green Anoles).
In this section, I will be answering some related questions, based on Geckos and swimming. If you feel that you have an unanswered question in your head. Please, feel free to drop a comment below.
Yes, it is possible for lizards to drown. The reason for this is their breathing is very similar to us humans. Lizards have lungs and consume oxygen much the same way we do.
Therefore, any animal that has lungs and consumes air, the way we do, has the ability to drown.
If you watch a lizard breathe you will see their chest expand and contract as they inhale and exhale. This is visual evidence of it actually consuming the oxygen.
Yes, they cannot breathe underwater for the said reason discussed above. Only fish (or other related creatures) are able to breathe underwater.
No, once a lizard loses any of its limbs, apart from its tail (Click here to see how many times a lizard can regrow its tail), it won’t be able to regrow it back.
As I just mentioned briefly, their tail is a different matter. This can grow back. However, when it grows back it’s never the same.
Yes, lizards can cry. However, it is very different from human tears. Why? Because the chances are they’re not crying because they’re feeling emotional or unhappy. It is more of a practical reason, such as clearing and cleaning their eyes. Therefore it is not the same as we humans do.
Ever heard of the term “Crocodile tears”? Well, for lizards, this is a similar concept. Their tears are not at all linked to feeling or emotion.
If you have seen a Read-Headed lizard before (also known as a Broad-headed skink), you may have been alarmed by its Red looking head (With a hint of Orange) and share size. The question is, will it poison you?
Are red-headed lizards poisonous? No, they are not poisonous or venomous for that reason. They have a redhead to help to scare away any potential predators that may believe they are dangerous. This is taking advantage of Natures natural warning color of red.
Now that you know these Lizards are not poisonous, even though they look scary. Wouldn’t you think twice about attacking this lizard if you were a bird, and you saw its scary red-head?
Well, let me explain if there are any real venous lizards, some background about this broad-headed skink, how they defend themselves and more. Keep reading…
In reality, there are only a few really venomous Lizards (Click here to see more details these Lizards). In summary, it comes down to the Gila Monster and the Mexican Beaded Lizard.
Many people debate if Komodo Dragons (Click here for more info on Komodo Dragon) are venomous or not. My understanding is, they are not. But they are still dangerous and can cause fatal injuries.
The Red-Headed Lizard is commonly known as the Broad-Headed Skink. And, its scientific name is Plestiodon Laticeps. They are easily spotted, with the males having the distinctive Red & Orange head.
Their natural habitat is in the South-Eastern region of the United States. Including, Kansas, Texas and the Gulf Coast.
If you have other pets around the house, such as a cat, hamster, rabbit, etc. You may be concerned/anxious about mixing them. The reality is, you are correct to be concerned because you need to tread with caution.
Although they are not venomous, there have been reports of illness in pets that have attempted to eat these lizards. So, you will need to think twice about mixing one of these red-headed bad boys around your prized kitties.
Now that you know that these Lizards are not a serious threat. You may wonder how they actually defend themselves. Good question…
Firstly, let’s understand what animals are considered their predators. This includes Birds, larger reptiles (Including bigger lizards).
Like a few other lizards, they can detach their tail, if required (Click here to see how many times a lizard can regrow its tail). If this is the first you have heard of this, it sounds gruesome, but its not a major problem for lizards. Why? Because they can grow it back.
Once their tail is detached, it will wriggle like a snake to confuse and distract its predator. This is just enough distraction for them to get away (hopefully).
Apart from this, they can actually swim to get away. Failing that they can scramble up a tree, climbing to safety. Finally, if possible, they can hide under any available debris.
Clearly, the biggest defense is their bright red head color. It is quite amazing how this color deters any potential predators.
The Read-head lizard (Broad-headed skink) gets its name from its big swollen looking Jowls. It develops these as it gets older, turning to an Adult.
What are Jowls?
This is a term used to describe the sagging skin below the chin/Jawline of humans. Its the same concept for lizards.
Like any lizard species, breeding is a key part of their existence. They tend to breed once a year in the summer. In particular June or July.
The female is naturally attracted to the largest red-headed lizard with a lovely bright red/orange head. As you can imagine there is always competition to get a females attention.
In this world, its survival of the fittest. Therefore, you can expect the males to be very protective and territorial during this time. Once a male has won over his female, he will guard her (I call this man-marking) for at least a week after.
His objective is to block any other lizard from mating with her during this time. And, he will protect her by any means. Meaning, fighting and general displays of aggression is commonplace at this time.
The typical amount of legs laid can be anything from 8 up to a dozen. Typically they are hidden in a nest made of leaves, branches and forest debris.
The interesting thing about skinks is how their hatchlings are treated. Once they hatch out, they are left to fend for themselves. No long, drawn-out parenting from their mother. They are left to deal with the big, wild world on their own.
Skinks eat a wide variety of food. This includes Insects, mice, spiders, etc. They are also known to eat their own kind. Yes, I did say that. They have been known to eat young juvenile skinks.
As crazy as this sounds, the reality is they are not the only lizard to do this. It seems to be a very different mentality to us humans. I can only assume they do not have a conscious as we do.
In this section, I am going to answer some related questions to red-headed lizards. If you have any specific questions in your head, that you feel has not been answered, drop me a comment below.
Can lizards harm humans? Yes, some can do. In fact, the Komodo Dragon is capable of inflicting fatal damage. However, the chances of you bumping into one of these is quite low.
The common house lizard (Click here to see where House Geckos hide), on the other hand, will not do any real harm. The only danger it presents is the pathogens it has, that can contaminate food if they mix with it. But they are not venomous.
Is a Skink a Lizard? Yes, as you have probably gathered from this article. Skinks are part of the Scincidae family of lizards. It is quite vast, with over fifteen hundred species.
Are Skinks Good to have around? Yes, they are actually quite good because they attack/prey on common house pests such as mice and cockroaches. If you have a problem with these pests, they can help.
However, although they can help, they won’t completely clean up an infestation. In reality, they can only consume so much, before they are full. Also, if you plan on keeping these skinks as a pet, then allowing them to eat random house pests is not ideal.
Why? Simple, it is not possible to know what potential diseases these pests may be carrying. Which, could harm your Skink.
Do Skinks like Water? Yes, most definitely. Like any animal, this is one of their most important requirements after oxygen. However, in captivity, you need to make sure you stay on top of their water needs.
They should have a fresh supply of water, in a bowl, on a regular basis. As they have a tenancy to get debris in their water, you should get a bowl that does not easily get knocked over. This will help to prevent it from getting this debris in it.
Do Skinks Sleep? Yes, they do. In fact, recent research has proven that they have sleep cycles like us humans do. However, the big difference is the actual sleeping pattern.
If they sleep through the night, they will have much faster sleep cycles. Meaning, they will dip in and out of REM sleep much faster than we do.
If you have heard people talk about green bearded dragons you may wonder if this is a myth or they really do exist (Click here to see one of my best Bearded Dragon accessories, on Amazon). In this article, I’m going to explain if this is true and a bit more about them.
Can you get a green bearded dragon? Yes, you can but they are quite rare. Some people believe they are a rare Bearded Dragon Morphs. But, that is not the case. They are like albinos, they exist but, you won’t see them on a regular basis.
Now that you know that they do exist, let me explain how these bad boys even came into existence. Also, what a “Morph” is, and how that is relevant to the Green Beardies, other colored Beardies you may not have heard of and more. Keep reading.
You may be wondering, if they are so rare, where did they suddenly appear from? Good question.
They are either a freakish natural occurrence or the products of selective breeding (more about selective breeding later on).
Furthermore, It is also quite rare to even get a completely solid color bearded dragon. The standard colors for bearded dragons is usually a mix of green and yellow and hints of brown. A blended color, rather than solid, that’s my point.
Typically, if you see a solid colored bearded dragon, it’s likely to be because of selective breeding.
As briefly discussed in the last section, morphs are a type of bearded dragon which has a different appearance to its parents.
This is typically achieved by either a natural mutation, which results in the Beardie having a different look to its parents. Alternatively, they are selectively bred to make it happen (more on this later).
For your info, a true morph does not only mean a specific color, but it can also have different behavioral traits, spikes on its body, or other vidual differences that make it different from the norm.
Many people are under the misconception that it describes the color of their skin. But, in reality, there are a number of things that could classify it as a morph.
Other features could include:
The key factor is, they have distinctly different features to the standard Bearded Dragon.
Selective breeding is an organized way to create a very specific type of bearded dragon. If nature is left to its own devices the color of the bearded dragon has a lot to do with its actual environment and habitat.
However, with selective breeding, a breeder will purposely get two specific types of bearded dragon together to form baby lizard with desired colors or features.
They purposely do this so that they can sell them. And, they can usually charge more for this, hence the reason why most of them do this.
These rare morphs I usually expensive. Why? Because of the classic economics of supply and demand. They are sought after due to the fact that there is a lack of supply.
For example, if a breeder wanted to get a red-bearded dragon (more about this morph later). He will get a male and a female that have distinctive red coloration. In an effort to selectively breed a deep red Beardie for re-sell.
Apart from Green Beardies, there are other color variations. Let’s look at these variations now…
As briefly discussed in the last section you can get red-bearded dragons. It’s obvious that they are red, that goes without saying. The process to get them here is based on combining two Beardies that have distinctive red coloration.
Going forward, the hope is, further generations of breeding can deepen their distinctive red color. This typically the key factor drive up their resale value.
Other variations of the red-bearded dragon include a “Ruby Red” or “Blood Red”.
Yellow bearded dragons, as you can imagine, are the products of combining two predominantly yellow bearded dragons.
However, when you mix a yellow bearded dragon with a red-bearded dragon you typically get a gold bearded dragon variation.
Other yellow-based bearded dragons include the:
The white-bearded dragon is typically identified by either having a distinct white coloration or having an almost clear looking skin.
As you can imagine, they are bred by combining two lightly colored Beardedies. An example of two of these morphs is:
With all this talk about green bearded dragons, there are certain instances where you may have a different colored bearded dragon but for some unknown reason, it starts to change color, in particular, to a green color.
This is different from a Green Bearded Dragon because it’s actually changing color. so, why could this be happening?
According to this forum, this is likely to do with skin shedding…
Usually, this is nothing to worry about and is a natural part of the process. However, if this is the case, you should look out for other known shedding related issues.
Like what? Known issues with skin shedding typically revolve around the shed not finishing completely. Meaning, your lizard is left with some old skin left behind.
This can lead to discomfort and potential infection. If there are any issues or concerns about this, it’s better to consult your vet.
In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to Green Bearded Dragons. If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to drop a comment below.
We briefly discussed issues with your bearded dragon changing green. However, recent studies mentioned here concluded that some color change, in particular, specific body parts of the bearded dragon, could be linked to temperature regulation and social signals.
For example, the change of coloration on the lizard’s neck is deemed as a social signal to other lizards. However, if there’s color change on their back, in particular, dark coloration and the temperature is pretty cool. This could be to reduce their required basking time in the sun.
You may be wondering if Beardies have the ability to change their color. The reality is, they can. They have the ability to change the pigment in their skin. This is typically triggered by their mood or reactions to their environment.
For example, in the wild, you may notice that a Beardies skin will change color at different times in the day. In particular, in the morning while they are basking, they are likely to have slightly darker coloration.
Why? Because this will help them to absorb more sunlight. Which, in turn, will help to reduce their basking time. Are you with me?
Yes. But, to be honest, this is a subjective answer. The reality is, nobody can really say yes 100%. However, there are some logical conclusions that can be drawn here, bare with me…
If you have a Beardie you will notice that they do show signs of affection. In addition, they also have a friendly and approachable demeanor. Especially around their owners. This, in my opinion, suggests they can understand love, in their own way.
Yes. I would say so. Put it this way, it is commonplace to see a Bearded Dragon owner handling and cuddling their Beardie. This is one of the reasons they are so popular.
The reality is, we really do not know what goes on in their head, but the signs look positive, are you with me?
If you are considering what you can feed your Crested Gecko (Click here to see why I love this Gecko feeder, on Amazon) you may have wondered about Strawberries. But, is a good idea or not? Let me explain…
Can crested geckos eat strawberries? Yes, crested geckos can definitely eat strawberries. They can be consumed on their own or you can mix them with other fruits. However, due to their lack of nutritional value, in particular, their Calcium to Phosphorus ratio, best to mix them with other fruits.
Now that you know that they can be consumed, let me go on to explain where strawberries come from, their calcium to phosphorus level, why this is something you should be looking out for and so much more. Keep reading.
Before we delve into crested geckos consuming strawberries, let’s do a bit of background on strawberries themselves. According to Wikipedia, Strawberries were first introduced, in particular, the garden strawberries, in Brittany, France.
This was a long time ago way back in the 1750s. This was originally done by cross-pollination of two other variations (one from North America, the other from Chile).
Now strawberries are a well-known part of our day-to-day diet and consumed by us as well as lizards.
If you are familiar with the science of strawberries, I am going to explain their Calcium to phosphorus ratio. If not, don’t worry, I’m going to explain what this is in detail later in this article.
To cut a long story short, strawberries have an “OK” Calcium to phosphorus ratio. But, not great.
For your info, the ideal ratio is 2:1.
However, strawberries have an even ratio (1:1). This is not really bad. But, to put this into perspective, let’s compare this to a tomato. This has an inverse ratio of 1:2. Meaning it has more phosphorus than calcium. Basically, in contrast, they are not ideal for a Crested Geckos.
With all this talk of calcium and phosphorus, you may be wondering what is it and why is this even relevant to Cresties eating strawberries, right?
Don’t worry, in this section, I’m going to break down what it is so you know what to look out for. This is not only relevant for strawberries. But, also for other fruit that you may consider for your Crested Gecko.
Phosphate is is a mineral which bonds with calcium. Together they are very important. Why? because, together, they are the lifeblood your bones and teeth. This is a key component to keeping them strong.
For this to be effective, you need the ideal balance. Meaning, there has to be a certain ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus. And, this is where this ratio comes from.
Hence the reason why it is important to look out for this ideal balance in the foods that you give to our Crestie. They consume this stuff through the food they eat.
As discussed briefly earlier the ideal ratio is 2:1. And, the important things to consider here is, even if a fruit or vegetable has a low ratio, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not possible to be given to a Crested Gecko. It depends.
In some cases, you can still give him the fruit or vegetable. You will just have to mix it with other fruit to balance is more evenly, are you with me?
There is often a misconception about strawberries being citric. The reality is, they are not citric. Even though they may have a weird acidic taste.
For those that do not know, it is not a good idea to feed citrus-based fruit to your lizard. Why? because they can upset their stomach and cause too much acidic balance.
Example of fruits to avoid includes:
Because strawberries are not citrus you can safely give them to your crested gecko.
In the last section, we already discussed the dangers of citrus fruit, such as lemon and lime. However, there are other foods to consider. Here are a few more:
Avocado is a strange one. It contains “Persin”. According to Wikipedia it is a fungicidal toxin which is based inside the Avacado. It goes on to describe it as an oil-soluble compound which seeps into the body of the Avacado from the seeds.
This food pyramid, according to CompleteCritter.com, is a guide for the required macronutrients for your Crested Gecko. This is based on experiences from crested gecko keepers and other relevant sources.
In this section, I will answer some related question, related to Cresties and Strawberries. If there is a burning question in your mind that you need to be answered, feel free to drop a comment below.
You may be thinking about what is so great about Strawberries. They are just like any other fruit, right. Well, yes and no. There are some interesting facts about them. Hence the reason I will highlight a few facts about them now.
Strawberries are quite unique. Why? because they have their seeds on the outside. You can expect to have approximately 200+ seeds within each strawberry. That’s a lot!
And this is one of the major reasons why you will get a mouthful of seeds every time you bite into these bad boys.
Even though strawberries have the word, “berries” in their name, this doesn’t mean that they are technically a berry. As confusing as this is, I will help to explain…
Basically, to be considered as a true Berry, the seeds need to be on the inside of the fruit. Obviously, for strawberries, this is not the case. Therefore they are not technically berries.
You may or may not know that strawberries are actually part of the Rose family. Maybe this is one of the reasons why they smell so sweet when they are growing naturally, right?
If you are considering growing your family of Cresties, it’s important to understand how far you can go with it. Meaning, what they can and can’t mix with.
Can you mix Cresties? Yes, you can. But, you have to be very careful with it. The reality is they can be aggressive depending on what you’re mixing them with, are you with me?
Another point to add, to put things into perspective, they are known to eat their own young. So it just shows you the type of temperament you are dealing with.
If you have a Crested Gecko which is smaller than the other one, then do not consider mixing them. Why? Simple, because the bigger one will not hesitate to beat him up and serve him up for lunch.
If you have a slightly smaller crested gecko and you would like to pair them up. It is a good idea to wait until the smaller one gets bigger and stronger, so they are roughly equal.
Mixing two male crested geckos is not worth the hassle. Why? Because there is typically more aggression in males and they are quite territorial. Meaning, they will fight to establish who is the alpha male (sounds like a typical Friday night in a night club, right?).
If you have two females that you’re considering mixing together. Rather than throwing them together right away, it is better to have one in a separate cage and see how they respond when they are in close proximity first.
If you have ever been licked by your Bearded Dragon, you may be confused (Click here for my favorite way to decode Bearded Dragons and see the Price, on Amazon). For that reason, I will explain the real reason why they are doing this.
What does it mean when a bearded dragon licks you? It typically means he is using his tongue to check you out. He uses his tongue to smell and get a feel for his surrounding environment. In reality, he is not really licking you, he is flicking his tongue to gather microscopic particles.
Now that you know why they are licking you, let me go on to explain the weird science of their tongues, other things they lick to lick, why some people misunderstand its true meaning and much more. Keep reading…
If you have been freaked out, wondering why your Beardie is licking you, don’t be, I have the reasons why he is doing this. The good news is, he is not planning on eating you. And, no, he doesn’t fancy you 😉
Firstly, it may seem like your Beardie is licking you like you are a strawberry lollypop, but in reality, it is not really licking. What? Let me explain.
The reality is, it’s more of a way for your Beardie to smell and get a feel for its surroundings. And, unfortunately, this includes your physical body.
Ever heard of that rap song, “Look at da flick a da wris’!”, well, this is kinda similar, ha! Your Beardie is actually flicking its tongue to take in its surroundings.
Maybe this fact of “not really licking” is a bit too much to digest, right? Well, good news. I am going to explain this in a more scientific way, to make you understand it more.
When your Beardie flicks his tongue, there are really small (micro size) particles that collect on its tongue. Its tongue is then pushed into an upper part of its mouth.
This upper part is actually connected to an important sensor, its called the Jacobson’s (or vomeronasal) Organ. This organ is critical because it decodes this information from its tongue into an understanding of its surroundings. All of this is done in milliseconds, so its way too fast to see in action.
Maybe you are wondering why they are so curious about their environment. Or, wondering what is the desire to keep licking and understanding its environment. Let me help to explain.
Understand this, in captivity Bearded Dragons (Click here to see how smart a Bearded Dragon is) are far from their natural habitat. Which is typically deserts or even woodlands.
Therefore, they are always curious to see what’s around them. Wouldn’t you if you just arrived in a strange, unknown town?
You will notice this behavior of licking, is even more prominent in Baby Beardies. They will be licking and decoding their environment on a regular basis.
Apart from their familiarity with their environment, they use their tongues to work out temperature. You know, how hot or cold is this item or place. You with me?
And, in addition to this, they will always be curious to understand the texture of an item. Their tongue will tell them how rough or smooth an item is for example.
Apart from licking on you. You may find that your Beardie will like to lick on other members of your family.
Apart from people, they also like to lick on items. Especially items in their habitat. This may be if you recently added some item such as a hideaway spot or a basking area, for instance.
You may also notice that they lick food items. This is not really because they can’t wait to eat it. It is more of a pre-requisite to eating it. To get an idea of its smell, texture, etc. The human equivalent of this is smelling something before you eat it, have you ever done that?
There is a myth in circulation that Beardies lick in this manner due to fear. I am not sure where this rumor came from. But the reality is, its not correct.
As you have read here, they are licking for familiarization with their environment, understanding textures, etc. Not, due to fear.
Have you ever noticed your Beardie just sitting there with its tongue hanging out? I am not talking about licking, just hanging out. If yes, you may be curious or concerned. Let me help to explain why this is happening.
Essentially there are 3 main reasons for this:
Let me unpack each of these potential issues, for your understanding.
If you see your Beardie with its tongue out, sitting in its enclosure. The chances are its hot. Especially if he is panting at the same time. If this is the case you need to check the temperature in the enclosure.
Especially in the basking area. This is a common area to overlook. If you see the temperature is over 110F, you definitely have an issue here.
If its tongue is out and he is also making weird sounds. Especially if he is also puffing his beard. The chances are he is getting aggressive. He is likely trying to fend off a perceived predator. Or, feels stressed by something.
But, what could be stressing him? Good question, it could be as simple as new people, that he is not familiar with. Another animal (your pet cat maybe?).
In this section, I will answer some related questions to Bearded Dragons. If you feel there are some questions that are not covered, feel free to drop a comment below.
If you have noticed that your Beardie is licking his lips and looking rampant. There is a good reason for this. The chances are, he is feeling thirsty.
This could be an indication that you are not providing enough water for him. However, providing water for your Beardie is not that straight forward. Why?
Simple, they will not just drink from a bowl of still water. They prefer water that simulates their natural habitat. Basically, flowing like rainwater.
The best way to simulate this is to use a dropper, for the short term. But on a longer-term basis, you should consider a water dispenser (Click here to see this great dispenser on Amazon).
If you have ever seen a Bearded Dragon flatten his stomach, you may be confused, and, wondering why this is happening. There are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, this could be a defensive mechanism. If he feels threatened, he will flatten his stomach. Why? Because he feels that, in this state, he feels bigger and more of a challenge to his predator.
The objective, in this instance, is to avoid confrontation. He is hoping that his enlarged physical appearance will make his predator think twice and leave him be.
Another reason for this could be due to illness. Hopefully, it’s not because of this. But if he feels ill or lacks energy, he may do this. The best thing is to check in with your vet to check on him if you think this could be the case.
This behaviour of flattening its stomach can also be a ploy to regulate its body temperature. If you see your Beardie sprawled out on your basking rock, then the chances are this is the case.
Lizards are cold-blooded, so they have to switch between hot and cool climates to keep their temperature at the optimum level.