Need help, Dragon only eats things that are moving a lot

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Idean12

Member
So I've had Lizzie for about 4 months now and she's really improved since coming into my care, however, her previous owners weren't providing her with any UVB light at all, and the only things they fed her were superworms. I've since switched her diet to dubias and she'll eat them no problem. She won't eat any vegetables, or baby food, or fruits, or even the stuff that's been formulated to attract and increase her appetite. Lately she's been barely touching her roaches as well. What I've noticed is that she doesn't seem to be able to associate non moving objects as food. She hasn't been eating much at all lately, she went 3 days without food and then only ate about 8 small dubias on the fourth day, which is nothing for her. My only successful attempts at getting her to eat the dubias are when I'm actively poking the dubias to get them to run and when they run she'll perk up and look at it likes it's food but if it stops moving she loses interest.

I need help, please. I'm spending 20 minutes every day at least just poking dubias and it's driving me crazy. I changed her bowl recently to try and improve her eating habits (the previous bowl was too small and dubias would escape) but my luck has only slightly improved.
 

KeyBlu422

Juvie Member
First off, how old is she? Secondly, you might want to try not giving her protein for a while and she might just dig into the salad. Also, possibly shaking the vegetables in a steady but noticeable motion may result in a feeding response from her. If she's a late juvenile, adult, I wouldn't be too worried.
 

Idean12

Member
Original Poster
Thanks so much KeyBlu! She's about a year and a half old now, she's very big (never had a bearded before but she's currently 20 inches total). I managed to get her to eat today, not much, maybe 12 roaches total if I'm being optimistic (not large roaches either, maybe 2 were the size of the distance between her eyes). Do you think it'd be alright if I don't feed her for a couple days after today to make it more likely for her to eat the veggies? I feel bad not at least providing her with roaches in her bowl but she just doesn't seem to be able to notice them, she also doesn't go after them if it's just sitting on my finger and I'm shaking them, both slightly and with more movement. The roach itself has to be moving, and often it has to be moving considerably.
 

PodunkKhaleesi

Hatchling Member
Have you tried BSFL/calciworms? Many beardie owners have found that the wiggly nature of these worms can entice a beardie that’s grown bored of crickets or dubias. And because your beardie is an adult, hornworms are another good protein option when beardies go through a picky period. I’ve never owned a bearded dragon that didn’t lose their mind when they realized a hornworm was on the menu. Hornworms are low-fat and have a high moisture content, the latter of which can be particularly beneficial if your beardie isn’t showing much interest in her salads. Sometimes mixing up the feeder insects is all it takes to ignite a beardie’s waning appetite, so I highly recommend going the worm route to see if that sparks her interest.
 

KeyBlu422

Juvie Member
I'd recommend dropping a worm of some sort in her salad if you feel bad for her as she'll probably try and eat the worm and accidentally eat veggies or she might just eat the salad to get to the worm. ( ex : hornworm, waxworm, Phoenix/Repti worms, etc).

You can give Calci worms but if she really likes it and she wants and you give her more BSFL, I'd recommend getting reptiworms and Phoenix worms as to not risk calcium overdose, you should also not dust the Phoenix/Repti worms as they're calcium is just shy of ideal while calciworms are slightly higher than ideal.
 

KeyBlu422

Juvie Member
Also, she may be feeling picky as beardies often do after getting the taste of superworms and they refuse other prey items. Once she stops shedding every couple weeks/months though, and instead only sheds 1-3 times a year, you can give her superworms as the staple feeder as by then she'll need 80% veggies and 20% protein.
 

Idean12

Member
Original Poster
She's had BSFL, waxworms, crickets, superworms, and dubias before. She showed very little interest in the BSFL (the 200 I bought went to waste, maybe 170 of them died of old age or became flies). I've also tried putting different types of worms on her salad hoping they would grab her attention but the worms would simply start eating the salad or burrowing into it and she would immediately lose any interest she had in them. I've decided to buy 25 hornworms given their size and hope that she'll be able to recognize them as food. I haven't fed her today and probably not tomorrow in the hopes that she'll be more willing to eat the salad I give her in 2 days. I've added fruits (strawberry) to her salads and she's only once actually eaten a piece of the strawberry, she seemed like she enjoyed it but then never touched the rest of them, even when they weren't a part of the salad. I'm considering buying some silkworms too but I'm unsure if it's even a good idea since worms don't seem to move enough to attract her attention. She also seems to get distracted by any noise or movement, the only time she ate out of her new bowl was when I was "sleeping" (I was just not moving to encourage her to keep eating). She seems to be very alert, she looks around constantly, however, when I let her walk around the room she is constantly bumping into things, relatively hard too, no attempt to slow down before impact whatsoever.

She also doesn't drink anything. Like at all. I try to mist her occasionally and give her baths once a week or two, she doesn't drink the drops on her snout or the water in the bath at all. I've never actually seen her drink any water at all and assume all the liquid she gets is from the dubias. Before, she was eating 10-20 small dubias a day and I wasn't very concerned about her water intake but now she's not eating for 2-3 days at a time and I'm starting to get really worried about her becoming dehydrated. Thank you guys for taking the time to help me, it's my first time owning a beardie and I'm trying my absolute best to give her the best life possible but she's making my life so hard with her refusal to eat.

It's also probably worth mentioning that when I first gave her dubias (for the first month or so) she would immediately run over when I put the bowl down and eat them all, even the ones on my fingers. Now she doesn't move at all when the dubias arrive and she rarely if ever eats them off my fingers.
 

ebarlo14

New member
Well since we are late into winter, it could be that s/he is going through Brumation, that's a bearded dragons way of hibernating. Essentially all they do is what they absolutely need they usually sleep a few hours more, and they eat less, they're a lot less active. It's nothing to worry about, however if you don't want this to happen it's ok they don't need to go through this phase, they just do. Mainly because of the colder temps. even if you have the same lighting/heat in the same places, it's just colder try moving his/her viv away from any windows or walls that head outside. You could even move it to a closet that has no to little use in your house, however if you do, do this you will need to make sure your lighting heat and everything is set up the same way as when it was wherever it is now. Or if you don't want to do that/ can't do that. you can get a heating bulb or a heater and slowly bring him/her out of brumation by starting with the heat source about a foot and a half away from it's basking spot then every week move 2-5 inches closer until it is in the same position as all of your bulbs. And you have to make sure you keep it on all day, every day, until temps start going back up. However while you are trying one, both, or none of these, try feeding the horn worms a salad, and feeding it to him/her. Basically just change up his/her diet every now and then, and when you get these feeder worms and insects try feeding leaving a salad in their container so that they eat it and esentially your beardie eats it.
 

Idean12

Member
Original Poster
I'm in southern California so really, our winter is the same temperature as most places' spring. It has been raining the last two days and she's now actually basking directly under the lamp. Normally she'll stay in the spot that's the farthest away from the heat lamp. I think the lamp is 100 watt, I got it from her previous owners so I'm unsure of how hot it actually is. She doesn't move around at all, unless it's to get under the heat lamp and that's only been in the last 2 days when I have both the windows open. She's also in a tank that's probably too small for her, it's a 45 gallon tank I believe, I spent about a month searching for a 75 gallon tank and ended up buying one but it was for fish and was way too narrow for her to live in comfortably so I opted for letting her stay in her old one. She used to wall run a lot but we bought wallpaper that looks like grass and it cut her running down from several times a day to once or twice a week at most.

Should I try feeding the dubias a salad and then feeding them to her, would that work the same as with the hornworms? the dubias have been a lot less likely to eat the food I give them (repashys bug burger and occasionally dog food and fish food). Normally it would be gone in a day or two but now it's lasting a week or two easy!

I have a 150 watt bulb I bought thinking that her current one was too weak but I haven't actually taken it out of the box yet since she seems to avoid the heat as much as possible (hangs out in the farthest end of the tank away from the bulb). I'm not sure I'll be able to move the bulb from where it is as it barely just reaches a power outlet and the stand I have it resting on only extends a set distance.
 

PodunkKhaleesi

Hatchling Member
Quick side note: never feed any feeder insects dog food, cat food, or fish food. The general rule is that if you’re not supposed to feed it to your bearded dragon, don’t feed it to the insects they eat. Feeding dubias dog food not only means the insects are now full of ingredients you don’t want in your bearded dragon, but the protein content of dog food is so high that dubias can quickly develop an unnatural build up of uric acid, which over time can lead to gout in reptiles. Gout in bearded dragons has been on the rise because many people don’t give a second thought to what chemicals are in the insect’s stomach when they feed it to their lizard, but you don’t want to feed your beardie the equivalent of dog food turduckens. If you go to Alan Repashy’s website there was a great article on why he developed Bug Burger (the lower protein content means dubias won’t be protein-overdosed, which is what happens when you feed insects dog food). Stick with Repashy Bug Burger/food formulated especially for insects and the types of vegetables you’d feed to your bearded dragon and you’ll have nutrient-rich feeders that won’t pose a risk to a beardie.
 

Idean12

Member
Original Poster
Good to know, I've only been feeding them dog food when they ignore the bug burger, and recently fish food because they've been ignoring both the bug burger and the dog food :? ! I don't want her to get gout but thankfully the dubias really haven't been munching down on the dog food very much, they're barely touching it!
 

PodunkKhaleesi

Hatchling Member
It’s something a dubia breeder told me when I purchased my first batch and it was later confirmed by other vets I spoke to so I always give a heads up to anyone else that goes the dubia/cricket route. ☺️ And if you’ve never tried hornworms that may be the golden ticket to get Lizzie to break the hunger strike. Rainbow Mealworms has really good prices on hornworms right now ($8 for 25 small, which grow to full size very quickly). They tend to throw in an overcount which makes it an even better deal. The company is in L.A., which I mention because you’re a fellow SoCal resident. I live in Orange County, so whenever I order from Rainnbow Mealworms I usually get my order the next day, no overnight shipping rate required. They have a worm sampler pack, which could be a good option for your lizard as an experiment to see what worms peak her interest. I’ve also heard great feedback from people who’ve ordered feeders through Great Lakes Hornworms. I’ve had beardies that have gone through exasperating picky phases so I can empathize with your current plight. Fingers crossed that the hornworms break the spell! My guys will attempt to jump out of their cages and onto the container the moment they catch a glimpse of a hornworm inside, so hornworms also increase the entertainment value of your beardie. ?
 

KeyBlu422

Juvie Member
I agree about the horn and silkworms. Also, if you're concerned about hydration, you can lightly mist the wall that's accessible to her, just don't spray a ton, only a few squirts. But she probably is getting all the hydration necessary. Also, khaleesi, I've used veggies and commercial cricket diet for the longest time on my feeder insects but some have said its not the best yet they fail to provide a source as to why it's junk or bad. I was wondering what your take on it is.
 

PodunkKhaleesi

Hatchling Member
There’s nothing wrong with commercial cricket diets, provided they’re used on crickets. But dubias have different protein requirements, so while the protein content of a commercial cricket diet works with the biology of crickets, giving a cricket diet supplement to dubias means that the roaches may be getting a protein level that is much too high for their species, the outcome of which can affect a reptile’s health. I originally first heard about this issue when I made my first dubia roach purchase years ago at a reptile expo. Someone was asking the roach breeder if they could gutload the roaches with dog/cat food and the dubia breeder panicked and said “never ever give these bugs pet food designed for animals with high protein intakes. They’re extremely sensitive to high protein diets and that can have consequences for lizards.” She then talked about how some of her reptiles developed gout after feeding them dubia roaches. Her vet asked her about the roaches’ diet, which she explained was dog food and cricket food. He told her to immediately stop the dog food and cricket food, as the protein level was way too high for dubias (and their uric acid build up, as a result, had given some of her reptiles gout). He directed her to research showing that dubias should have a protein intake on the low side (crickets can handle more protein, and will apparently actually cannabilize each other if they are denied protein). My herp vet also confirmed that one of the contributors to the rise in gout in bearded dragons is insects that have been fed an improper diet. But the issue isn’t that commercial diets for crickets are bad; on the contrary many are formulated with the perfect ratio of protein/nutrients for them. The problem can occur when a high protein cricket diet is consistently fed to insects that need a lower protein diet. That’s why Bug Burger, while definitely not the only option for dubias, is much better than feeding them a lot of the commercial cricket diets. While Bug Burger works for both crickets and roaches, I like the Mazuri cricket food as well.

I thought this was an interesting read regarding insect diets/ why Bug Burger was developed with a lower protein ratio: https://www.store.repashy.com/can-feeder-insect-diets-contribute-to-gout-in-reptiles.html
 

kingofnobbys

BD.org Sicko
Idean12":v00iv6rc said:
Thanks so much KeyBlu! She's about a year and a half old now, she's very big (never had a bearded before but she's currently 20 inches total). I managed to get her to eat today, not much, maybe 12 roaches total if I'm being optimistic (not large roaches either, maybe 2 were the size of the distance between her eyes). Do you think it'd be alright if I don't feed her for a couple days after today to make it more likely for her to eat the veggies? I feel bad not at least providing her with roaches in her bowl but she just doesn't seem to be able to notice them, she also doesn't go after them if it's just sitting on my finger and I'm shaking them, both slightly and with more movement. The roach itself has to be moving, and often it has to be moving considerably.

if she's 18months old she's a juvenile still, though some call larger juveniles who are still growing subadults.She still has 6 months growth in her and may gain another 100g and 2 -3 more inches length.

Please don't hold back the bugs , she needs the protein and fats and dietary calcium for growth , and these are much better for her at her age and size than vegs are .
She will come around to the salad when she's ready.

At 18 months old , she needs as many suitable sized high quality live insects as she will eat ONCE PER DAY
options for feeders are
>>> BSF lavae
>>> silkworms (medium size (1.5 - 2 inches long) or large
+
>>> crickets (I'd recommend 2/3 size to adult) , gut loaded and dusted with calcium powder daily
>>> roaches
>>> locusts

Treats include
>>> superworms ( no more than 2 - 3 per sitting , maybe once or twice per week ) , the pupae are great treats too.
>>> mealworms ( no more than 6 per sitting , maybe once or twice per week ) , the pupae and beatles are great treats too , my gang love the crunchy beatles which are great to help them clean their teeth.
>>> horn worms (USA) as a treat as not real nutritious

Offer fresh greens and chopped / grated veg daily for the beardie to nibble on after it's had it's bugs.
 
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