The 7 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Isn’t Growing!

Are you worried that your bearded dragon isn’t growing as it should? As a responsible pet owner, it is essential to monitor your beardie’s growth and development regularly. However, several factors could affect your reptile’s growth rate. In this article, we’ll explore the ten potential reasons why your bearded dragon isn’t growing as expected.

Firstly, improper diet ranks among the top reasons for slow or stunted growth in beardies. These omnivores require a balanced diet of greens, vegetables, fruits, and insects to thrive. Secondly, inadequate lighting and heat can significantly impact your beardie’s metabolism and overall health. It is crucial to provide proper UVB lighting and basking temperatures to facilitate digestion and nutrient absorption in these cold-blooded creatures. Let’s delve deeper into these factors and other potential causes of poor growth in bearded dragons below!

Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon Isn’t Growing!

Improper Diet

Improper Diet

You’re not feeding your bearded dragon a balanced diet, are you? That could be why it’s not growing properly. Bearded dragons require a specific combination of nutrients to thrive, including protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Feeding them only one type of food or neglecting certain nutritional needs can lead to deficiencies that stunt their growth.

Feeding habits play an important role in the growth and health of your bearded dragon. It is recommended to feed them a variety of insects such as crickets, mealworms, and roaches along with fresh vegetables like leafy greens, carrots, and squash. Avoid feeding them too much fruit or high-fat foods as this can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Nutritional deficiencies can also hinder your bearded dragon’s growth. Common deficiencies include calcium, vitamin D3 and phosphorus which can cause metabolic bone disease if left untreated. Make sure to provide proper supplements like calcium powder on their food or UVB lighting for adequate vitamin D3 production. In addition, regular visits to the veterinarian can help identify any nutritional imbalances and provide necessary treatment options.

Inadequate Lighting and Heat

Proper lighting and heat are key factors in helping your bearded dragon thrive and reach its full potential. Without adequate lighting maintenance, your pet may not receive the right amount of UVB rays it needs to grow properly. This can lead to various health problems, including metabolic bone disease and stunted growth.

Additionally, heating adjustments must also be made to ensure that your bearded dragon is receiving the appropriate basking temperatures. Providing a basking spot that is too cold or too hot can disrupt their body’s ability to absorb nutrients from their food, which can hinder their growth. It’s important to monitor the temperature regularly and make any necessary changes.

UVB supplementation is another critical aspect of ensuring proper growth for your bearded dragon. Without enough UVB rays, they won’t be able to absorb calcium effectively, leading to weak bones and other health issues. Make sure you’re using high-quality bulbs that emit sufficient levels of UVB rays for an extended period of time every day. By taking these steps towards proper lighting and heating adjustments, you’ll give your pet the best chance at reaching its full potential for size and overall health.

Health Issues

If your bearded dragon is suffering from health issues, it may show signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal behavior. These symptoms can indicate a variety of underlying problems such as infections, parasites, or nutritional deficiencies. To prevent these issues from occurring in the first place, it is important to maintain a clean and hygienic environment for your bearded dragon. This includes regular cleaning of their enclosure and providing fresh water and food.

In addition to preventative measures, there are also various treatment options available if your bearded dragon does develop health issues. It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles to properly diagnose and treat any health problems that arise. Depending on the issue at hand, treatments may range from antibiotics or anti-parasitic medication to changes in diet or environmental conditions.

Overall, keeping an eye on your bearded dragon’s behavior and overall health is key in ensuring they continue to grow properly. By taking preventative measures and seeking appropriate treatment when necessary, you can help keep your beloved pet healthy and thriving for years to come.


If your bearded dragon seems stressed, it may not grow as expected. There are several environmental stressors that could be affecting your pet, such as temperature fluctuations and lack of hiding places. Additionally, handling and socialization can also contribute to stress levels, as can territorial aggression towards other dragons or pets in the household. It is important to identify sources of stress and address them promptly to promote healthy growth in your bearded dragon.

Environmental Stressors

Stressed out beardies might not grow as much, so it’s important to make sure their environment is comfortable and calming. One of the biggest environmental stressors for bearded dragons is temperature regulation. These reptiles are cold-blooded creatures that rely on external heat sources to stay warm, so it’s crucial to provide them with a basking spot that reaches around 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit and a cooler area that stays around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dragon’s enclosure is too hot or too cold, they may become stressed and stop growing.

Another factor that can cause environmental stress in bearded dragons is handling frequency. While these lizards can be socialized and enjoy interaction with their owners, excessive handling can lead to stress and hinder growth. It’s recommended to handle your dragon no more than once a day for short periods of time, allowing them plenty of time to rest and relax in their enclosure. By providing your bearded dragon with a comfortable environment and limiting handling frequency, you can help reduce environmental stressors and promote healthy growth.

Handling and Socialization

Proper handling and socialization, like nurturing a delicate flower, is essential for the mental health of bearded dragons. It is important to know that these reptiles might seem tough on the outside but they are quite sensitive creatures. When handling your bearded dragon, it’s crucial to have a gentle touch and avoid any sudden movements or loud noises that may cause them stress. Training techniques such as positive reinforcement can also be used to help build trust between you and your pet.

Playtime activities are another great way to bond with your bearded dragon while providing them with much-needed exercise. These activities could include supervised exploration time in an enclosed area, playing with toys specifically designed for reptiles, or even teaching them simple tricks like coming when called or climbing onto your hand. However, it’s important to remember that playtime should always be supervised and limited in duration as too much activity can tire out these cold-blooded creatures quickly. Through proper handling and socialization techniques, you can ensure that your beardy thrives both physically and mentally!

Territorial Aggression

Beware of territorial aggression in your bearded dragon, as it can lead to harmful and potentially dangerous behavior towards both other pets and owners. It is not uncommon for bearded dragons to become territorial over their living space or food sources. Signs of territorial aggression include puffing up the beard, hissing, head bobbing, and biting.

To prevent or manage this behavior, behavioral modification techniques can be employed such as providing plenty of hiding places in their enclosure or rearranging decor frequently to prevent them from becoming too attached to a certain spot. Socialization techniques such as handling and interaction with other pets can also help reduce the likelihood of aggressive behavior. It is important to note that while some level of territorial behavior is normal for bearded dragons, excessive aggression should always be monitored and addressed by a veterinarian or experienced reptile handler.


When it comes to the growth of your bearded dragon, age is a crucial factor that determines their size and development. Understanding their growth rates during different life stages is important in monitoring their health and ensuring they are receiving adequate nutrition. Additionally, sexual dimorphism plays a role in their growth patterns, as males tend to be larger than females. Finally, it’s essential to consider other species differences when comparing the growth of your bearded dragon to others within its species or even different reptile species altogether.

Growth Rates and Life Stages

As your bearded dragon goes through different life stages, their growth rate may vary and it’s important to keep this in mind. Don’t freak out if they hit a growth spurt later than expected – remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! It’s normal for bearded dragons to have periods of slow or inconsistent growth throughout their lives. Factors such as reproduction behavior and seasonal changes can also affect the growth rate of your dragon.

To better understand the growth patterns of bearded dragons, let’s take a look at this table:

Life StageAge RangeAverage Growth Rate
Hatchling0-4 months1/2 inch per month
Juvenile4-12 months3/4 inch per month
Sub-adult12-18 months1/2 inch per month
Adult>18 monthsnegligible

It’s important to note that genetic factors and inbreeding effects can also play a role in the growth of your bearded dragon. If you suspect that there may be an issue with your beardie’s development, consult with a veterinarian who has experience working with reptiles. With proper care and attention, you can ensure that your bearded dragon reaches their full potential and lives a happy and healthy life.

Sexual Dimorphism

Now that you have learned about growth rates and life stages, it is time to discuss another factor that can affect your bearded dragon’s size: sexual dimorphism. This refers to the physical differences between male and female dragons. Most notably, males are usually larger than females and have more prominent femoral pores (small holes on their thighs used for scent marking).

But size isn’t the only thing affected by sexual dimorphism – reproductive maturity is also a factor. Male bearded dragons reach sexual maturity around 8-18 months of age, while females take longer at 12-24 months. Breeding behavior in males includes head bobbing, arm waving, and chasing the female. Meanwhile, females will often display a black beard or become more aggressive when they are ready to mate. Understanding these behaviors can help you determine if your bearded dragon has reached reproductive maturity and is ready for breeding.

To help you better understand this subtopic, here are three key points to remember:

  1. Sexual dimorphism refers to the physical differences between male and female bearded dragons.
  2. Males are typically larger than females and reach sexual maturity earlier.
  3. Breeding behavior in males involves head bobbing, arm waving, and chasing while females may display a black beard or aggression when ready to mate.

Knowing these facts can guide your care for your bearded dragon as they grow into adulthood and become ready for breeding. Keep an eye out for signs of reproductive maturity so that you can provide them with the proper environment for healthy mating habits!

Other Species Differences

One interesting aspect of caring for bearded dragons is learning about the differences between their species. While all bearded dragons share some similarities, such as their diet and habitat requirements, there are also notable differences that can affect their growth rate. One significant factor is inter species compatibility – not all bearded dragons will thrive in the same environment with others of their kind.

Additionally, genetic factors play a role in how quickly a bearded dragon grows. Some species are naturally smaller or slower-growing than others, which means they may require different care or feeding schedules to ensure they reach their full potential. Understanding these differences can help you provide the best possible care for your pet and ensure they grow to be healthy and happy adults.

Read Also: How Often Do Bearded Dragons Poop?


When it comes to your bearded dragon’s habitat, there are a few key factors that can greatly affect their growth and overall health. First and foremost, the size and layout of the enclosure is crucial for providing enough space and proper temperature gradients. Secondly, choosing the right substrate and decor can help maintain cleanliness and hygiene while also providing opportunities for physical activity and mental stimulation. Finally, maintaining appropriate levels of humidity in the enclosure can prevent respiratory issues and aid in shedding. Paying close attention to these aspects will ensure a comfortable living environment for your bearded dragon.

Enclosure Size and Layout

To give your bearded dragon the best chance at healthy growth, you need to make sure their enclosure is large enough and designed in a way that meets their needs. A small enclosure can hinder your pet’s growth and development, so it’s important to provide them with ample space for exercise and roaming. The minimum size for an adult bearded dragon enclosure should be 4 feet long by 2 feet wide, with a height of at least 18 inches. For younger dragons, smaller enclosures are acceptable but they will eventually require larger homes as they grow.

In addition to size, the layout of the enclosure is also crucial for promoting healthy growth. Bearded dragons need a basking area where they can regulate their body temperature and absorb UVB light from a lamp. This area should be situated under a heat lamp or ceramic heater, with a temperature range of 95-110 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also important to have hiding spots or caves where your pet can retreat when they feel stressed or threatened. Finally, hygiene is essential for maintaining good health in your pet. Clean the enclosure regularly and ensure that substrate depth is adequate for absorbing waste properly. By providing an appropriate sized and well-designed environment, you’ll help support your bearded dragon’s growth into happy adulthood!

Substrate and Decor

Hey, let’s face it – if you want your scaly friend to live their best life, you gotta step up and choose the right substrate and decorations for their enclosure. Substrate options are abundant in the market, but not all of them are suitable for your bearded dragon. The goal is to provide a substrate that mimics their natural habitat while also being safe and easy to clean. Some popular substrate options include reptile carpet, paper towels, ceramic tiles, and slate.

Reptile carpet is a great option because it’s both comfortable for your pet to walk on and easy to clean. Paper towels are an inexpensive alternative that can be changed daily or as needed. Ceramic tiles and slate also make excellent substrates as they retain heat well without causing any harm to your pet. As for decor ideas, adding rocks and branches can provide additional hiding places for your bearded dragon while creating a more natural-looking environment. Just make sure any items you add are cleaned thoroughly before placing them in the enclosure!

Humidity Levels

Now that you have made sure that your bearded dragon’s substrate and decor are suitable, it’s time to focus on another important aspect of their growth – humidity levels. Bearded dragons require specific humidity regulation in their enclosures to maintain optimal health and growth. Improper humidity levels can lead to a multitude of issues, including respiratory infections and shedding problems.

The ideal humidity range for bearded dragons is between 30-40%. Maintaining this level of humidity can prevent the skin from becoming too dry, which may result in difficult or incomplete shedding. Shedding is an essential part of a bearded dragon’s growth as it allows them to replace old skin cells with new ones. If shedding frequency decreases or becomes problematic, it may be due to low humidity levels leading to poor hydration. Therefore, monitoring and regulating the enclosure’s moisture content should become a regular routine in caring for your beardie.

Owner Care and Responsibility

You may not be aware of the proper care and responsibility required to raise a healthy bearded dragon. Lack of knowledge or education can lead to unintentional harm and stunted growth in your pet. Neglect or inadequate care, such as failure to provide enough food, water, and appropriate lighting, can also hinder their growth and health. Additionally, improper breeding practices may result in genetic defects that affect their development. It is crucial to educate yourself on these key factors before becoming a bearded dragon owner.

Lack of Knowledge or Education

If you’re not seeing any growth in your bearded dragon, it might be due to a lack of knowledge or education on their proper care and feeding habits. Bearded dragons require specific temperatures, lighting, and substrate in their enclosure. Without the correct set up, they can become stressed and refuse to eat, leading to stunted growth. It’s essential to do your research before getting a bearded dragon and regularly update your knowledge on their care requirements.

  1. Lack of understanding nutrition: Providing your bearded dragon with the right nutrition is crucial for their growth and overall health. Feeding them a diet that lacks essential nutrients can lead to malnourishment, which can stunt their growth.
  2. Overfeeding: Although it may seem like more food equals more growth, overfeeding can harm your bearded dragon’s health and limit their potential for growth.
  3. Inadequate hydration: Dehydration can also contribute to poor growth in bearded dragons as it affects their digestion and metabolism.
  4. Incorrect temperature control: Temperature plays a vital role in the metabolic rate of reptiles like bearded dragons; if temperatures are too low or high, it could slow down or speed up digestion processes necessary for proper growth. Understanding these factors is crucial in helping your pet thrive under your watchful eye!

Neglect or Inadequate Care

Neglecting the proper care of your bearded dragon is like neglecting a garden; without regular attention and maintenance, it will not thrive. Preventing neglect starts with understanding the basic care requirements for bearded dragons. These include providing a spacious enclosure with proper lighting, temperature, and humidity levels, as well as a nutritious diet consisting of live insects and vegetables.

Recognizing neglect is crucial in preventing potential health issues that can stunt growth or even lead to death. Signs of neglect may include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, respiratory infections, metabolic bone disease (MBD), or impaction due to substrate ingestion. Neglected bearded dragons are also more prone to stress-related illnesses such as tail rot or fungal infections. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles can help identify any potential health concerns early on and ensure proper treatment. In order to promote growth and overall health in your bearded dragon, it’s important to provide consistent care and attention while recognizing any signs of neglect promptly.

Improper Breeding Practices

Improper breeding practices can lead to serious health issues and suffering for bearded dragons. Breeding ethics should always be considered when it comes to the reproduction of these animals. Here are three ways that improper breeding practices can negatively affect your bearded dragon’s growth:

  • Inbreeding: If two closely related bearded dragons are bred, their offspring may have a higher risk of genetic defects and health problems.
  • Lack of genetic diversity: If breeders continuously use the same bloodlines or do not allow for new genetics to enter their breeding programs, this can result in weaker and less resilient offspring.
  • Overbreeding: When breeders prioritize quantity over quality, they may produce more offspring than they can properly care for or find homes for. This leads to overcrowding and neglect, which can cause stunted growth and other health issues.

To ensure that you are supporting ethical breeding practices, do your research on potential breeders before purchasing a bearded dragon. Look for breeders who prioritize genetic diversity and limit inbreeding practices. By doing so, you will help promote healthy growth in your pet and support responsible animal husbandry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I bathe my bearded dragon?

Did you know, a bearded dragon should be bathed once or twice a week? Use recommended products and make sure water temperature is between 90-100°F. Dry thoroughly to avoid respiratory infections.

Can bearded dragons live with other reptiles or animals?

If you’re considering housing your bearded dragon with other reptiles or animals, compatibility concerns and behavioral observations are essential. Different species have different needs, so research and observation can help prevent aggression and potential harm.

How much space does a bearded dragon need in its enclosure?

Your bearded dragon needs an enclosure size of at least 40 gallons for optimal growth rate. A larger enclosure will allow for more exercise and better temperature regulation. Ensure proper lighting, heating, and substrate as well.

Can bearded dragons get too much UVB exposure?

Yes, bearded dragons can suffer from UVB exposure effects if they are exposed to too much or too little. It’s important to follow a proper lighting routine that mimics their natural habitat and provides adequate UVB levels for their health.

How long does it take for a bearded dragon to reach full size?

Bearded dragons can take 12-24 months to reach full size, depending on factors affecting growth such as diet, temperature, and lighting. Common mistakes in bearded dragon care can also slow down their growth rate.

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