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12 Causes Of Lethargy In Baby Bearded Dragons

Does your baby bearded dragon lack energy?

Do they seem more lethargic or sleepy than what would be considered normal behavior for them?

What could cause your bearded dragon to be constantly tired?

Could they be sick, have an infection, or potentially have parasites?

There are many reasons why your new baby bearded dragon could be displaying lethargic behavior, such as mild nervousness in a new and different environment, brumation, and certain severe and even deadly illnesses. 

As a bearded dragon owner, you must learn to recognize lethargy in your baby dragon and pinpoint the underlying causes.

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Why Is My Baby Bearded Dragon Lethargic?

Lethargy, laziness, or a general lack of energy are possible symptoms of many health issues, illnesses, and diseases. Causes for lethargic or lazy behavior in baby bearded dragons include:

  • General Poor Animal Husbandry
  • Incorrect Enclosure Temperature
  • Parasites
  • Various Diseases
  • Dehydration
  • Impaction
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Stress From Improper Handling
  • Calcium Deficiency
  • Incorrect Lighting
  • Brumation
  • Poor Diet

Your baby dragon could simply be experiencing some mild stress upon suddenly being transported to an entirely new habitat and having a strange new person handling them excessively. 

Perhaps you are not feeding them a proper diet, or maybe you have not been providing them with enough clean, fresh water in their water bowl. 

 In some cases, your dragon could be ill, have an infection, or even have a deadly disease.

In any case, being able to discern causes of lethargy and immediately address them accordingly is a crucial part of owning a bearded dragon. 

There are many different causes of lethargy in bearded dragons as their care needs are particular. 

The first year or so of their development is critical to their health as they mature into adult bearded dragons. 

Maintaining your lizard’s habitat and monitoring their growth is a huge responsibility. 

Keeping them as healthy and full of energy as possible is vital to making sure they live a long and happy life. 

And I’d like to share our post on how to tell if your bearded dragon is happy for a side reference for you to check out.

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Could My Baby Bearded Dragon Be Sick?

One of the primary reasons your baby dragon could be acting lethargic is an illness. 

Bearded dragons are somewhat lazy by nature, preferring to simply bask under their lamp for hours on end. 

Still, if your lizard is displaying particularly weak or shaky behavior, is unresponsive to most external stimuli, or is laying in one spot for days at a time, they could be seriously ill.

It is essential to closely monitor your baby dragon’s behavior and activity level to get a general idea of what should be considered normal for them. 

Your beardie’s energy levels will vary slightly from day to day, and on some days, they may simply be less energetic than others. 

Still, do not ignore the warning signs when your lizard’s activity levels are consistently low for a prolonged period.

There are many common signs to look for when determining whether or not your lizard is sick, including:

  • Trouble Breathing And Gasping For Air
  • Shaky Behavior And Loss Of Balance
  • Secretions From Or Discoloration In Or Around The Mouth
  • Weak, Rubbery, Thin, Or Bent Limbs
  • Unusual Poop: Smelly, Runny, Or Bloody
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Sudden Weight Loss
  • A Bloated Belly Or A Fat Body In Comparison To Their Limbs
  • Constipation Lasting Several Days Or Even Weeks
  • Swollen Eyes Or Habitually Closed Eyes
  • Discolored Spots On Their Skin

Also, suppose you notice your baby dragon is not basking or is hiding from their heat lamp in the corners of their tank. 

In this case, this is usually a sign of illness or at the very least significant discomfort as they need to bask daily to regulate their body temperature, digest food, and produce energy.

If your pet stops basking we have a dedicated post on why bearded dragons won’t bask to give you guidance on the topic.

The most common diseases and illnesses in bearded dragons include metabolic bone disease, respiratory infection, adenovirus, and infectious stomatitis, also known as mouth rot. 

Always contact a qualified reptile vet in cases of severe lethargy and weakness in your bearded dragon to get an accurate diagnosis and to develop a plan of action going further.

Does My Baby Beardie Have Parasites?

The most common internal parasites bearded dragons can contract are pinworms and coccidia. 

In addition to lethargic behavior, other common symptoms include sudden or drastic weight loss, unusually smelly poop, and diarrhea or runny stool.

The only guaranteed way to determine if your baby bearded dragon has parasites is to test a stool sample. 

Contact an experienced reptile veterinarian, collect a fecal sample, and have them test it for parasites.

If the test does confirm the presence of parasites, the vet will most likely give your lizard a dewormer to clear the parasites from their body. 

After your dragon has been dewormed, make sure you clean their enclosure and any items in their tank thoroughly to prevent reinfection.

Is My Baby Dragon Impacted?

Impaction occurs when your bearded dragon’s digestive tract is blocked by a solid mass of food, substrate, or other organic or inorganic material. 

An impacted lizard cannot produce regular bowel movements, and the issue will quickly worsen over time as more food builds up in their digestive tract.

Besides lethargic behavior, impaction symptoms include:

  • A swollen, hard belly
  • A sudden decrease in or total loss of appetite
  • Weak or paralyzed back limbs

When treating impaction in your bearded dragon, one possible solution is soaking your dragon in warm water and gently massaging the skin around its belly. 

Do this for around 30 minutes a day until they have a bowel movement.

There are measures you should take to avoid impaction, primarily avoiding loose substrates and making sure any food you give to your bearded dragon is smaller than the size of the space between their eyes. 

This is especially important with baby bearded dragons, as they are tiny and more fragile than adults during this stage of development.

Is My Baby Bearded Dragon Malnourished?

A common cause of lethargic behavior is poor diet due to bearded dragon owners not correctly researching the right foods to give to their dragon. 

Baby bearded dragons and adult bearded dragons have slightly different dietary needs. 

Babies grow a lot very quickly, so their metabolisms are extremely high, meaning they need to eat frequently.

For the first year of their life, a baby bearded dragon’s diet should be composed of roughly 80% protein, primarily insects, and around 20% greens. 

As your dragon grows older, this ratio will gradually need to shift to 80% greens and 20% protein.

The best insects for a baby bearded dragon’s diet are small Dubia roaches and crickets, as they contain lots of protein. 

For the greens portion of their diet, any dark, leafy greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and turnip greens are perfect for a nutritious, healthy diet. 

Remember to always lightly dust your dragon’s food items with calcium powder to prevent calcium deficiencies and MBD, metabolic bone disease.

Is My Dragon Brumating?

Brumation is essentially a reptile version of hibernation. 

Since many reptile species are cold-blooded, in the cooler months, their activity decreases significantly to help them slow their metabolism and conserve as much energy as possible. 

Similar to a hibernating mammal, your bearded dragon will eat very little, sleep most of the time, and rarely seek their heat bulb or sunlight until the weather begins to warm back up in the spring. 

They are hardy animals, so they have evolved to withstand the brumation process.

However, it is essential to note your baby bearded dragon will not begin the process of brumation until they are large enough to put their bodies in such a state. 

Typically, the age at which bearded dragons begin brumating is around 10 to 12 months old, and brumation is extremely rare in babies as they are too small and fragile. 

Their metabolisms are too high for them to stop eating and moving for such a prolonged period.

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Temperature and Lighting For a Healthy Baby Bearded Dragon

Another frequent cause of lethargy in baby bearded dragons is improper lighting and tank temperature

Your lizard requires both UVB, ultraviolet-B light, and a heat or basking light.

Adequate UV lighting is necessary for proper calcium absorption and bone development and the prevention of metabolic bone disease, which causes weak and brittle bones.

A basking bulb or overhead heat source is required so your baby bearded dragon can absorb heat, maintain its body temperature, and digest food properly. 

Their basking area should be somewhere between 105 and 110° degrees Fahrenheit (43° C), while the cooler end of their enclosure should be around 80 to 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C). 

Purchase a quality thermometer for each end of their tank to monitor the temperature.

If your baby bearded dragon seems lethargic and you have ruled out any other possible options, you may need to replace either your UVB or basking bulb or adjust the temperature in their tank.

Final Thoughts

There are many causes of lethargy in baby bearded dragons as they have particular housing and dietary requirements and are particularly vulnerable for the first year of their lives.

Some causes of lethargy are more difficult to treat than others, while some instances of lethargic behavior are typical. 

Prevention is key to ensuring your lizard’s lethargic symptoms do not become more severe health conditions. 

As a new bearded dragon owner, it is crucial to ensure all of your lizard’s needs are met throughout their development. 

Monitoring their activity levels closely for any unusual behavior will keep your dragon alert and full of energy.

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