Bearded Dragons are beautiful creatures, and many people don’t realize that they’ve got their own personalities. You get to know them over time, and it’s easy to notice when they aren’t feeling their best. This begs the question; can Bearded Dragons get depressed?
Bearded Dragons can get depressed, though it doesn’t happen often, and it’s easy to fix. The primary 3 reasons when they do get depressed are the death of a cage mate, too little stimulation, or if their home is smaller than the recommended minimums.
Today, we’ll tell you how to recognize if your Bearded Dragon is feeling under the weather. We’ll go into the most common reasons that they get depressed and let you know what you can do to get your Bearded Dragon back to being happy healthy. Let’s start with the signs that you need to look for.
How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon Is Depressed?
Bearded Dragons appear quite stoic if you aren’t familiar with these beautiful creatures. However, once you get to know them, they definitely have their own quirky little personalities. There are definite signs that can tell you if something is amiss.
Common signs that your Bearded Dragon might be depressed include the following:
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Drinking less water
- Slow and lethargic
Now, these aren’t definite signs that your Dragon is depressed, as they can also come with various illnesses that your Bearded Dragon is prone to. To that effect, consider the following reasons that Bearded Dragons can get depressed. If you rule all of these out, a vet visit is recommended.
Your Bearded Dragons’ health can decline quickly, so if you aren’t sure, it’s always a good practice to err on the safe side with a quick checkup at the Vet to rule out any health issues. That said, let’s go into the most common 3 causes of depression with Bearded Dragons.
Your Bearded Dragon Can Get Depressed If A Cage Buddy Dies
Beardies usually don’t get along with other Bearded Dragons. Still, occasionally owners have housed them together, and the Dragons have become friends. Unfortunately, some people think that reptiles don’t get emotional, which is simply not the case.
If your Bearded Dragon just lost a buddy, they can get depressed and mourn in their own way. We’ve even heard of Bearded Dragons housed in tanks next to each other. When one Dragon died, the other became lethargic and ate less for a period to follow.
There is not much that you can do when this occurs because you definitely don’t want to simply get another Beardie and put them in the same tank. Bearded Dragons are territorial, and this could cause fighting. One Bearded Dragon could be badly injured or even die from this.
In the case of a separate tank, another Bearded Dragon might help, but otherwise, you will likely have to wait it out. In the meantime, a vet visit can rule out any other potential issues (such as if a possibly infectious illness killed the other Dragon). In addition, your Vet can give you a little advice on stimulating your Dragon’s appetite in the meantime.
Bearded Dragons Can Get Depressed From Lack Of Stimulation
Bearded Dragons can get bored in captivity, though you can help minimize this by ensuring that inside and outside stimulation is available for your Beardie. Inside your Bearded Dragon’s tank, this will consist of making the environment as natural and as enjoyable as possible.
This means you want little caves to crawl into and climb, some plants to provide a little ecosystem and fresh air, branches for climbing and scratching the occasional itch, and a nice rock or two to perch on when getting a little warmth and nourishing light from the sun lamp.
Outside stimulation is also key to keeping your Beardie happy and healthy. This entails taking them out for a little playtime. If you have a busy schedule, you can also make a playpen that gives your Beardie a new environment to explore and new toys to investigate and play with.
To do this, you can get a separate tank or if you are supervising, even a baby pool, and place within it things that your Beardie can climb, as well as some toys, and some snacks and water for your Dragon to enjoy when they are feeling puckish (if you are using a tank, toss in some crickets and you’ll have a very happy Dragon!).
Bearded Dragons Get Depressed If Their Environments Are Too Small
Your Bearded Dragon can outgrow their current environment and require an upgrade in order to stay perky and content. However, there are some basic guidelines when it comes to what size enclosure your Bearded Dragon is going to require.
The rules are based on your Dragon’s age and length. However, we recommend always going with the largest enclosure whenever possible, as this really makes a lot of difference when it comes to keeping your Beardie happy and healthy. Here are the general guidelines that you should follow when it comes to enclosure size:
- Baby Beardies (up to 5 months of age) – If your baby Beardie is less than up to 11 inches long, then it will need a 20 – 40-gallon tank at a minimum. If it is 12 – 16 inches long, you should go with a 40 – 75-gallon tank size or more for best results.
- Juveniles (6 to 12 months of age) – Juvenile Beardies will require a tank of 50-gallon size at a minimum, but 75 gallons is preferred.
- Adult Dragons (12 months or older) – Adult Bearded Dragons should have a minimum 75-gallon enclosure, but 120-gallons is the recommended size so that they have plenty of roaming room.
While it is uncommon, Bearded Dragons can and sometimes do become depressed. You can minimize the chances of this by ensuring that your Beardies have stimulation inside and outside of their enclosure, as well as a proper size for a said enclosure, and by watching your Dragon closely for any behavioral changes that might be an indication that your Dragon is feeling poorly.
If you follow the tips that we have laid out today and your Dragon still seems a bit lethargic, don’t hesitate to bring them in for a checkup with the Vet. This will help to cover all of your corners and should ensure that your Bearded Dragon stays happy and healthy for a long, long time!