The bearded dragon 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 bearded dragon health? Keep reading and you’ll find out the answer!
What is a bearded dragon fat belly?
Bearded dragon belly fat is excess abdominal fat surrounding the organs in the bearded dragon stomach. Bearded dragon fat belly 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 bearded dragon 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 bearded dragon fat belly or just a big stomach after a full meal? Because the truth is, a bearded dragon’s belly gets much bigger, bloated, and round after eating.
It is a normal behavior of bearded dragons since they live in the wild, to adapt to the lack of food, a meal that can sustain the bearded dragon’s life for up to weeks. The bearded dragon’s 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 bearded dragon fat belly is synonymous with overweight. Every owner wants the best for their pet, they feed their bearded dragon as much as they can eat.
Unfortunately, it is a problem with the bearded dragons 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 bearded dragon so fat”.
Bearded dragons get fat pretty quick. You may be wondering, my bearded dragon eats vegetables but it has a bearded dragon fat belly and as my bearded dragon just looks fat but it is not fat at all.
Bearded dragons vary in weight depending on their type, age, and gender, so it’s hard to tell if your bearded dragon is too fat or not. Baby bearded dragons 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 bearded dragons are 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 bearded dragon, and 700-850 grams is a big fat bearded dragon.
If your bearded dragon 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 bearded dragon is shorter than 22-24 inches.
5 Signs Of A Big Fat Bearded Dragon
There are five little details determining if your bearded dragon might be overweight.
- Abdominal fat or bearded dragon fat belly: as mentioned above, you can easily see the difference between healthy beardies and obese beardies.
- Bearded dragon fat tail: you can look at your bearded dragon 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.
- Axillary fat pocket or bearded dragon fat armpits: it is a fat pad behind your bearded dragon forearms. Normally, a bearded dragon actually doesn’t have any fat pads back there, it is essentially just a storage site for surplus fat in the wild if the bearded dragon was going through a period of time with the abundance of food.
- Bearded dragon fat jowls: you usually notice that as a bearded dragon 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 bearded dragon name we use today. You may notice the similarity between bearded dragons fat jowl and human fat chin.
- Cranial fat pads or bearded dragon fat pads: they are two little squishes pads right behind the bearded dragon eyes. You do not need to tough it to identify the difference, you can see it on your bearded dragon head from the side. Bearded dragon fat pads have the same size as bearded dragon eyeball, it is soft and elastic.
How Fat Bearded Dragon Is Impacted?
Bearded dragons are famous for their 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 bearded dragons never get sick or can’t develop serious health problems. There are up to 15 must-know bearded dragon health issues, disease including:
– Metabolic Bone Disease occurs when bearded dragons either aren’t absorbing calcium properly or aren’t receiving enough, to begin with;
– Yellow Fungus which discolors a bearded dragon’s scales, making them appear yellow, as the scales become discolored, they can actually break off and reveal raw and extremely sensitive tissue;
– Bearded dragon sunken fat pads;
– Bearded dragon sunken eyes….
Those above are the common health problems of bearded dragons, which every beardie can get. Back to the question “How bearded dragons were affected by being overweight?”.
Nobody should be overweight, including the bearded dragon. Many owners know bearded dragons through the fat bearded dragon meme and love that cute fat bearded dragon.
But being fatty means that your bearded dragons have 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 bearded dragon moving more slowly, staying in one place all day and breathing hard, making wheezing and difficult sounds after being fat.
Nevertheless, the bearded dragon 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 “bearded dragon fatty liver disease” on the internet to know more about the harmful and negative effects of it on bearded dragon health.
Other serious reasons that bearded dragons should not be obese are prone to prolapses and Dystocia. Female bearded dragons might have hormonal disorders and difficult birth.
Don’t stop there, misfortunes never come alone, overweight bearded dragons have 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 bearded dragon lifespan.
What Should You Do To Make Your Fat Bearded Dragon Lose Weight?
Like many reptiles, bearded dragons are omnivores and eat almost anything they can put in their mouths.
In the wild Bearded Dragons 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.
Generally, bearded dragons can eat meat in the form of insects, an adult bearded dragon 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 bearded dragon’s meal from a reliable feeder insect supplier. Never feed your bearded dragon bugs you find outside of the house because it may infect your pet with parasites.
Don’t forget that your bearded dragon is being overweight, change the ratio of vegetables and meat in its diet. Bearded dragons 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 bearded dragon: 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 bearded dragons. There are five easy tips to helps your obese bearded dragon regain a fit and healthy physique.
- Let your beardie eat early in the early morning so that it can burn its “bearded dragon fat belly” throughout the day.
- Do not let your beardie eat too much and too many times a day. Once a day for an adult bearded dragon and 2-3 times a day for a cute baby bearded dragon is enough.
- Remove high-calorie food like fatty worms in their daily diet.
- Let your beardie move around the tank at least 1 hour a day.
- Add the necessary nutrients for bearded dragons such as capsules and milk thistle.
There is no way to keep your bearded dragon 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 bearded dragon’s health, so, be considerate!
Anyway, if you still want a cute fat bearded dragon, you should properly turn your attention to the bearded dragon’s brother: bearded dragon fat-tailed gecko.