Bearded Dragons

How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Eating? – From Brumation, To Damn Right Fussiness

So you’re here because you’re wondering how long can bearded dragons go without eating. And what are the reasons for not eating for long periods. Luckily for you, this article will provide all the information you need in relation to “How long can a bearded dragon go without eating?”.

Your bearded dragon may go up to 2 months without any food. Yes, that’s right, 2 months, sometimes even longer. There are other reasons why bearded dragons may not be eating, other than being ill. Bearded dragons are stubborn reptiles and in some cases you may need to force feed them so they keep a healthy weight.

(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).


Mature adult bearded dragons store reserve fats, and it’s for this reason that they may decide to refuse food. Adults will store fat reserves for the winter months, when they become less active. We call the the Bruation process.

Brumation is very similar to hibernation, however it’s a reptiles version. Reptiles do not actually sleep like many other animals who hibernate. Brumation is a process which slows the metabolism of a reptile, which means they become less active and less likely to need food. The brumation process can easily last 2 months, so this may be the reason why your bearded dragon is not eating.

Food should always be available to your bearded dragon throughout this process as they might want a little bit to eat every so often. It’s never recommended to stop offering them food. A bearded dragon will obviously stay its healthiest if some food is available at all times.

If your bearded dragon is not eating and also not brumating, then it could be a number of other factors that could be causing this. Please click on this link for further information on this.

How to make your bearded dragon eat…

First of all I have to start by saying before you start this process to seek professional advice for a veterinarian. They may have other solutions for you before you attempt to force feed your bearded dragon. 

The veterinarian may suggest not to force feed them at all. However some may give you the go ahead, if all else fails. The process is very simple, but can be tricky. This process will no doubt stress your bearded dragon out slightly, but this is a risk you have to take to ensure they are feeding.

The Process

1) First of all, make sure you have a good grip on your bearded dragon, but remain gentle. Just enough to they can’t wriggle and get away, but soft enough so you aren’t hurting them in any way.

2) Ensure your bearded dragon is comfortable and relaxed as much as possible. Maybe stay in this position for 5 mins before attempting to feed, just so they can relax a little further more.

3) With your other hand picking some food with your thumb and index finger. Ideally you’d want this to be either crickets or mealworms, something high in protein. 

4) With your middle finger, slowly and gently start to pull down on the lower jaw. This should cause your dragon to open its mouth slightly. However this may not be for long, so you have to act quickly.

5) When the opportunity rises, and your dragon has opened its mouth, insert the food. You may find they just hold it in their mouths for a while before consuming, but this is normal.

Sometimes bearded dragons will be stubborn, so I would recommend only trying this process for a maximum of 5 minutes. They may even spit the food out and if this is the case, then I would recommend putting them back into their enclosure and trying again in a few hours time. 

Hopefully after a few tries they will start to eat the food which is being offered to them. More times than not this will activate their instincts to start eating again. If this carries on then it could be that your bearded dragon is ill and in need of veterinarian support.

So what about water, is this this same…

This is definitely a more serious question than how long can bearded dragons go without eating. In the wild, bearded dragons can go anywhere between 3 day to 14 days without water. Of course this all depends of the environment they are in, and their exposure to every day elements. 

Bearded dragons natural habitat is very dry and very hot. So they are used to the extremes that us humans aren’t so well equipped for. They are sued to being slightly dehydrated quite often and can reserve water for this exact reason.

Pet bearded dragons should never be left without water. Like all animals, in the wild they have to fend for themselves and will usually find a source of water. However, pet dragons do not have this luxury and have to rely on their owners to constantly refill their water bowl. 

If you realise that your bearded dragon is not drinking the water you have provided, and it uses it for bathing purposes, then there are other options you can try to keep your dragon hydrated. Bathing in water will naturally keep your dragon cooler and slightly hydrated through its skin, but there is a better way to reinsure this. 

The answer is in it diet. Vegetables to be precise. Vegetables and plantations contain a lot of water and is on of the main ways bearded dragons stay hydrated in the wild. Water can be hard to come by, so leaves and vegetables which all contain water, is a primary source for staying hydrated. 

The bad bits…

A real catch 22 situation with offering your bearded dragon too much water and vegetables, is that it can commonly cause diarrhea. Diarrhea will cause your dragon to become more dehydrated than it was before, so keep this in mind and be cautious about feeding them too many vegetables at any one time. 

As a rough guide you should feed your bearded dragon a mixed diets of 80% with protein sources such as crickets and mealworms. Then 20% vegetables and plantations. This should keep Diarrhea to a very minimum.

We hope this has informed you further on “how long can bearded dragons go without eating?”. Head back to the main page to find out more on this amazing reptile.

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