Are you going on a short trip and wondering if someone should feed your lizard?
Have you noticed your lizard has not eaten for a couple of days?
Are you worried something may be wrong?
If you’ve been considering any previous questions, you may have found yourself asking:
How long can lizards go without water and eating?
Depending on the lizard’s age, size, and species, they can go without food for anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months. However, lizards generally cannot survive without water for longer than a few days.
As written above, there are many factors to consider in determining the answer to this question.
If you want a deeper understanding of these concepts, you will find more information and details in the remainder of this article.
How Long Can Lizards Go Without Water?
Most animals cannot survive for very long without water.
Lizards are no exception.
In general, lizards should not go without water for longer than a few days.
Some lizards, such as bearded dragons, are accustomed to a dryer habitat and are generally better adapted to dehydration than lizards from tropical climates.
However, we don’t advise you to let your lizard go too long without water.
You need to check your lizard for dehydration signs if you notice it has not been drinking water.
These signs include sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, lack of appetite, or decreased movement.
Lightly pinch the skin of your lizard.
If the skin pops back right away, it’s okay.
When the skin slowly goes back, it’s dehydrated.
If you notice any of these signs, take your lizard to the vet for evaluation.
How Long Can Lizards Go Without Eating?
The amount of time a lizard can go without eating depends on several factors, including age, size, species, and overall health.
Age and Size
In general, younger lizards need to eat on a more regular basis.
They are still growing and adapting to their environment, which requires a lot of energy.
Going too long without sustenance will hinder this growth.
As a general rule, young or baby lizards should not go without food for longer than one week.
In terms of size, larger lizards can usually survive for longer without food than smaller ones.
When a lizard isn’t actively eating, it breaks down its existing fat stores to create new energy to survive through the day.
This fat, as well as water, is usually stored in a lizard’s tail.
The more giant the lizard, the more fat stores it has at its disposal.
The type of species is also an important consideration.
For example, adult leopard geckos can go without food for over a month, while adult bearded dragons can only survive for about three weeks.
Lastly, the overall health of your lizard is another factor to take into account.
Healthier lizards can usually survive for more extended periods without food, but lizards with certain conditions or illnesses require more frequent feedings to sustain themselves.
Continue reading into the next section if your lizard has not been eating because this can sometimes indicate something is wrong.
Why Is My Lizard Not Eating?
If you’ve been offering your lizard food but it doesn’t want to eat, there are several possibilities to consider.
Remember, while we as humans enjoy eating food for enjoyment occasionally, lizards only eat for survival.
While not eating could be completely normal, it could also indicate something else is going on, and you need to act.
Identifying any potential issues and correcting them is essential to make sure your lizard eats.
Here are some reasons your pet may be avoiding food:
Your Lizard Is Sick
Do you ever get sick and find you’ve lost your appetite?
Lizards react the same when they are sick.
If you are worried your lizard may be ill, take it to the vet.
Many signs can indicate potential illnesses.
Check for changes in appearance, such as changes in color or increased wrinkling.
Ensure there are no changes in their shedding schedule or appearance.
Examine their feces and urine, including how often they defecate or urinate and changes in thickness or color.
Monitor for any indications of physical injuries, such as limping, bleeding, or bruising.
Watch your pet’s behavior.
You should be more concerned if your lizard acts lethargic, spends more time on the cooler end of the enclosure or the basking area, soaks in its bowl for prolonged periods, or becomes more aggressive outside of breeding season.
Any of these concerns should urge you to consult your vet.
Your Lizard Is Stressed Out
Any sudden changes can stress out your lizard.
This could be anything from rearranging things in their enclosure to moving them to a new location.
If you’ve recently added another lizard to the cage, monitor the situation for a few days to ensure the new lizard does not prevent your old one from reaching its food.
Make any changes as slowly as possible, and give your lizard a few days to adjust.
If your lizard still isn’t eating after a few days of change, return to the older situation and attempt again at another time.
A change in diet could also be the culprit.
Lizards often reject new types of food and usually do not eat until they return to their old diet.
Something Is Wrong With The Environment
Sometimes a new lizard may not eat as frequently when it is initially adjusting to its environment.
However, if the problem persists after a couple of weeks, something could be wrong.
Check the temperature and humidity to make sure they are within the desired range.
Make sure the cage is the appropriate size for your lizard.
There may not be enough hiding places for your lizard to feel comfortable.
Making the necessary adjustments to its home may encourage your lizard to feed appropriately.
Your Lizard Is Entering Brumation
Brumation is the lizard equivalent of hibernation.
Many lizards, including bearded dragons and leopard geckos, go into a period of brumation every year.
In the wild, this is when temperatures drop and days become shorter.
If your lizard is hiding more, moving less, and eating less, it may be going into brumation.
What Should I Feed My Lizard?
The dietary habits of lizards depend primarily on their species.
Make sure you do some research to find out which type of diet you need for your pet.
Lizards fit into the category of insectivores, herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores.
In general, the food offered should not be larger than the width of the lizard’s head.
This type of lizard, like leopard geckos, only eats insects.
Insects include roaches, crickets, or insects caught out in the wild.
When you prepare insects for feeding, you will generally need to dust them with a vitamin supplement containing calcium and vitamin D.
Both crickets and vitamin supplements are available at most pet stores.
To add some variety to the mix, include larvae like mealworms and waxworms.
If you’re maintaining live insects at home, make sure to feed them a nutritious diet so your lizard can absorb these same nutrients with feeding.
Check out our article on raising mealworms at home.
Think of herbivorous lizards as vegetarians.
The most nutritious vegetables for them are greens, like broccoli, celery, okra, and Swiss chard.
You have a lot of freedom to experiment with vegetables to see which ones your lizard enjoys most.
Meat-eating lizards, like large monitor lizards, should be fed dead lean rodents, defrosted, and warmed.
Baby and young lizards require feeding every 1-3 days, while adults only need to be fed every 3-7 days.
Omnivorous lizards can eat a combination of insects, meat, and plants.
If they are omnivorous, you should offer a diet supplemented with any of the options above.
The proportion of each is dependent on your specific species of lizard.
How Often Should I Feed My Lizard?
Even though lizards can survive for long periods without food, you should not deprive your lizard for extended periods.
In general, feed adult lizards every 2-3 days, and feed a baby or younger lizards daily.
Water for drinking and bathing should always be available in your lizard’s enclosure, even if it doesn’t seem to be interested in it.
Learning about your lizard’s dietary habits is the first step in understanding their eating and drinking needs.
This is why it’s so important to learn how long they can go without drinking and eating.
Remember, lizards are not like humans, so they don’t necessarily need to eat every day.
Food for them is all about survival and nutrition intake when required.
If your lizard hasn’t been eating for a few days, it could be perfectly normal.
However, if you are concerned at all about sickness, please take your lizard to the vet!
Your lizard counts on you to survive, and educating yourself is vital to taking proper of it.
If you enjoyed this article, check out why lizards do push-ups.