Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are among the many hottest of all reptile pets and an incredible selection for each new and skilled lizard lovers. However apparently-healthy specimens generally refuse to feed, or shed extra pounds regardless of feeding, and there’s nonetheless a lot confusion as to why this happens. My work with Bearded Dragons and a whole lot of different lizards in zoos and at dwelling has (I hope!) offered me with some helpful insights into this drawback. When offered with a non-feeding Bearded Dragon, we should test our husbandry protocol (UVB, temperature, and so on.) and examine the opportunity of a illness or damage. Different potential issues, comparable to the results of circadian rhythms (“inside clocks”), could also be much less apparent, but essential.
Is My Lizard Hibernating?
Hibernation (or brumation) is just not the neat, tidy course of I discovered about as a toddler – there are various levels of dormancy. Relying upon the place they reside throughout the pure vary, wild Bearded Dragons could expertise extreme winters, and can turn into dormant for a number of months every year. Nevertheless, these in milder areas could stay energetic (please see the article linked beneath to learn extra about their pure historical past).
Pets generally stop feeding within the fall, regardless of being supplied with 12-14 hours of daylight and excessive temperatures. Though all Bearded Dragons within the US pet commerce are a number of generations faraway from the wild, the tendency to hibernate could persist. “Inner clocks”, or circadian rhythms, may cause pets to turn into torpid and refuse meals throughout the winter. To confuse issues additional, some reptiles enter dormancy when winter arrives of their native habitats…even when it occurs to be summertime of their current dwelling! I’ve seen this amongst captive Indian Gharials (fish-eating crocodiles) and different reptiles.
The Bearded Dragon Habitat
Bearded Dragons fluctuate of their response to crowding. Transferring your pet to a bigger terrarium could assist, and this can even make it simpler so that you can set up a thermal gradient. Thermal gradients, which permit reptiles to maneuver from sizzling to chill areas, are essential to good well being. A 30 gallon long-style aquarium is the minimal measurement that ought to be thought-about for an grownup…a 55 or bigger is preferable.
Inappropriate temperatures will trigger your lizard to decelerate its feeding, and can impair digestion. An incandescent spotlight bulb ought to be used to create a basking web site of 100-110 F. The remainder of the terrarium ought to be saved at a temperature vary of 72-85 F.
Like all desert-dwelling diurnal lizards, Bearded Dragons require excessive UVB ranges. If a florescent bulb is used (Zoo Med’s models are glorious), make sure that your pet can bask throughout the distance really helpful by the producer. Mercury vapor bulbs broadcast UVB over larger distances, and supply helpful UVA radiation as properly.
Weight loss program
Wild Bearded Dragons feed upon an enormous array of crops, invertebrates, and the occasional small lizard, snake or rodent. A weight loss program comprised solely of crickets, mealworms and a easy salad won’t help good well being long run. Providing various kinds of bugs may incite new curiosity in feeding. We see this mostly in chameleons, however the enthusiasm your Bearded Dragons will present for novel meals will depart you with little question as to their worth.
Please see the articles linked beneath to learn extra about including silkworms, home flies, sow bugs, wild-caught bugs and different essential meals to your pet’s weight loss program. Research have proven that some lizards will alter their weight loss program in accordance with altering dietary wants…your pet’s poor urge for food could point out that extra selection is required.
Whereas feminine Bearded Dragons normally co-exist, males are illiberal of different males and can’t be saved collectively. In case you preserve your lizards in a gaggle, make sure that every is ready to bask and to acquire sufficient to eat. Dominant animals can frighten others even with out direct aggression…merely seeing a “bully” in one other terrarium could also be sufficient to inhibit an animal from feeding. Urge for food-suppressing aggression can be widespread amongst younger lizards which can be being raised in teams.
Finding the terrarium in a loud a part of the home, or the place there are vibrations from equipment, can also depress appetites and contribute to different well being considerations.
An impaction from substrate (swallowed with meals) is among the extra widespread causes that Bearded Dragons stop feeding. Whereas many have been efficiently saved on sand, others appear to have issues virtually instantly. The precise kind of substrate used, composition of the weight loss program, calcium consumption, hydration ranges and plenty of different elements doubtless play a task in explaining the variations we see. Washable terrarium liners are the most secure substrate possibility.
Sadly, highly-contagious Atadenoviruses are well-established in US Bearded Dragon populations. These viruses are unfold through physique contact and improperly cleaned instruments; females can also move infections alongside to their younger. A number of the diseases they trigger, together with Losing Illness and “Star Gazing”, are accompanied by a lack of urge for food and/or weight. Please see the article linked beneath for additional data.
Inner or exterior parasites, and a number of different much less widespread illnesses, must also be investigated in case your pet stops consuming, or if it feeds however continues to shed extra pounds. Please submit beneath for those who want assist in finding a reptile skilled veterinarian.