Bearded Dragon Fat Belly – What Should You Do?

bearded dragon fat belly

The beardie is one of the largest reptiles you can keep indoors, it looks majestic and pretty hardy to nourish. However, bearded dragon fat belly is a concern of many owners. Is it bad, how does it influence your pet health? Keep reading and you’ll find out the answer!


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What is A Bearded Dragon Fat Belly?

Bearded dragon fat belly is excess abdominal fat surrounding the organs in the BD stomach.

That is noticeable, you can see it easily from the top, there are fat pockets just kind of gathered over there even if the dragon is perking up, all that fat is still sagging and dragging across the table because too much fat really just weighs him down.

And when you hold your BD upright in your hand, the stomach flap of the healthy one will lean down, and squish a little bit as you touch it with your finger.

But is it really a BD fat belly or just a big stomach after a full meal?

Because the truth is, a beardie’s belly gets much bigger, bloated, and round after eating.

It is a normal behavior of BD since they live in the wild, to adapt to the lack of food, a meal that can sustain the BD’s life for up to weeks.

The stomach will return to normal after pooped.

Furthermore, a big belly can oftentimes be a sign for a gravid female ( pregnant).

Why Does a Bearded Dragon Have a Fat Belly?

In most cases, a BD fat belly is synonymous with overweight. Every owner wants the best for their pet, they feed their beardie as much as they can eat.

Unfortunately, it is a problem with the BD because they are one of the reptiles that don’t necessarily show self-control with their dietary habitat.

They will naturally eat everything you give and become overweight. Now you know “why is my beardie so fat”.

Beardie gets fat pretty quick. You may be wondering, my BD eats vegetables but it has a fat belly and as my BD just looks fat but it is not fat at all.

bearded dragon growth chart

Beardie varies in weight depending on their type, age, and gender, so it’s hard to tell if your BD is too fat or not. Baby BD are born at 2-3 grams, 3.5-4 inches long, and grow 2-3 inches every month after birth.

They reach their maximum size, which is around 19-24 inches long at 18-24 months. 

Baby BD is getting fat quickly by the age of 6 months, they can gain 20% of their body weight every month.

250 grams is a minimum weight for a healthy adult BD, and 700-850 grams is big.

If your BD is above 900 grams, then that is when you can suspect that it is super overweight/fat. Even over 800 grams can be too much if your BD is shorter than 22-24 inches.

5 Signs You Should Consider

There are five little details determining if your BD might be overweight.

1. Abdominal Fat

As mentioned above, you can easily see the difference between healthy beardies and obese beardies.

2. Bearded Dragon Fat Tail

You can look at your BD tail, if the base of its tail is thick, beefy, and squishes, this means there is a thin layer of excess fat surrounding the entire surface of the tail, which should just be the compact structure used for balance.

3. Axillary Fat Pocket

it is a fat pad behind your BD forearms.

Normally, a beardie actually doesn’t have any fat pads back there, it is essentially just a storage site for surplus fat in the wild if the beardie was going through a period of time with the abundance of food.

4. Bearded Dragon Fat Jowls

You usually notice that as a beardie fat chin, it is a loose hanging skin underneath the chin, right below the section, which is often known as a bearded that creating the beardie name we use today.

You may notice the similarity between beardie fat jowl and human fat chin.

5. Cranial Fat Pads

They are two little squishes pads right behind the beardie eyes.

You do not need to tough it to identify the difference, you can see it on your beardie head from the side.

Beardie fat pads have the same size as BD eyeball, it is soft and elastic.

How Beardie Is Impacted?

bearded dragon fat

Beardie is famous for its excellent adaptability, they can eat a large range of wide food, from worms, fruits to vegetables.

They are typically hardy and easy to feed. However, that isn’t to say that beardie never gets sick or can’t develop serious health problems. There are up to 15 must-know BD health issues, disease including:

– Metabolic Bone Disease occurs when BD either aren’t absorbing calcium properly or aren’t receiving enough, to begin with;

–  Yellow Fungus which discolors a BD’s scales, making them appear yellow, as the scales become discolored, they can actually break off and reveal raw and extremely sensitive tissue;

– Parasites;

– Cancer;

– Beardie sunken eyes….

Those above are the common health problems of beardie, which every BD can get. Back to the question “How beardie were affected by being overweight?”.

Nobody should be overweight, including BD. Many owners know BD through the fat beardie meme and love that cute fat beardie.

But being fatty means that your BD has to carry more weight, all of that extra fat puts pressure on their bodies, especially the bones. As a result, the skeleton will be weakened.

Furthermore, it interferes with everyday activities like moving, climbing, jumping. You may notice your beardie moving more slowly, staying in one place all day, and breathing hard, making wheezing and difficult sounds after being fat.

Nevertheless, the beardie with a fat belly has a much higher risk of fatty liver disease (about 67% higher than the normal one).

You can search the term “Beardie fatty liver disease” on the internet to know more about the harmful and negative effects of it on beardie health.

Other serious reasons that BD should not be obese are prone to prolapses and Dystocia. Female BD might have hormonal disorders and difficult birth.

Don’t stop there, misfortunes never come alone, overweight BD has a high potential to get organ dysfunction where an organ does not perform its expected function.

Organ failure is organ dysfunction to such a degree that normal homeostasis cannot be maintained without external clinical intervention.

All of these problems lead to a single consequence-shortened beardie lifespan.

What Should You Do To Make Your Beardie Lose Weight?

Like many reptiles, beardie is omnivores and eat almost anything they can put in their mouths.

In the wild beardie mainly eat animals, they make up about 75% of their diet and can include crickets, cockroaches, worms, and even small creatures such as mice. Greens, vegetables, and fruit make up the other 20% to 25% of their diet. 

bearded dragon food chart

Generally, beardie can eat meat in the form of insects, an adult beardie can eat around 15-20 crickets per feeding which should last around 15 minutes. Crickets can be replaced by king worms, waxworms, earthworms, cockroaches, locusts, butter worms, silkworms, phoenix worms, dubia roaches, mealworms, redworms…

Make sure you get your BD’s meal from a reliable feeder insect supplier. Never feed your BD bugs you find outside of the house because it may infect your pet with parasites.

Don’t forget that your BD is being overweight, change the ratio of vegetables and meat in its diet.

Beardie can eat more green vegetables than you might think: peas, green beans, courgette, butternut squash, sweet potato, bell pepper, broccoli, acorn squash, cabbage, kohlrabi, parsnip, yellow squash, asparagus, celery, okra, kale, collards, parsley, clover, dandelion greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, endive, rocket, coriander, sprouts, tomatoes, blueberries, peas, grated carrots, banana, grapes, and cucumber.

Remember to add fruits in a fat belly BD: figs, melon, apples, mango, papaya, dates, peaches, plums, kiwi, strawberries, guava, pears, grapes, raisins, apricots…

A balanced diet with plenty of green vegetables is necessary but not enough for fat belly beardie. There are five easy tips to helps your obese beardie regain a fit and healthy physique.

  • Let your BD eat early in the early morning so that it can burn its “bearded dragon fat belly” throughout the day.
  • Do not let your BD eat too much and too many times a day. Once a day for an adult BD and 2-3 times a day for a cute baby BD is enough.
  • Remove high-calorie food like fatty worms in their daily diet.
  • Let your BD move around the tank at least 1 hour a day.
  • Add the necessary nutrients for BD such as capsules and milk thistle.

Conclusion

There is no way to keep your beardie always healthy and lovely, but we can minimize the risk by checking your pet’s weight and expression regularly.

Bearded dragon fat belly looks cute, however, that cuteness must be exchanged by your beardie’s health, so, be considerate! Anyway, if you still want a cute fat bearded dragon, you should properly turn your attention to the beardie’s brother: bearded dragon fat-tailed gecko.

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