6 Weight Loss Tips for a Fat Bearded Dragon


Allowing a bearded dragon to become fat or obese can have serious health implications. There are a number of reasons why obesity can occur, keep reading to find out what these are.

Causes of Obesity in a Bearded Dragon

There could be inadequate heating systems in your pet’s habitat. Or perhaps the tank is not large enough to allow your beardie to maneuver between hot and cold areas within the terrarium.

Poor Diet

Another common cause of obesity in a bearded dragon is their diet. Diets that are high in fat are often a common cause. Although, it could simply be that your beardie is eating too much food in general.

Brumation Prevention

Lastly, there could be a factor that is preventing it from brumating, which is a natural process that allows your bearded dragon to lose weight over a longer period of time through lower metabolism levels.

Keep reading to find out how you can maintain a healthy weight for your bearded dragon.

Is My Bearded Dragon Too Fat?

You can assess whether or not your beardie is overweight through a number of tests.

First of all, looking at your bearded dragon will uncover a number of clues about your pet’s obesity levels.

If there is additional fat along the base of your beardie’s tail, it is likely overweight.

Are there Squishy Bits?

A large belly (larger than usual) indicates that it is too fat. If there is a lump of fat on its head (you can feel it and see if it is “squishy”) then that is a sign that your bearded dragon is storing too much fat.

If the spine cannot be felt, then it is likely covered in excess fat and this is also a sign of obesity in your bearded dragon.

Check the Jawline

Finally, if a distended jowl (sagging skin below the jawline) is quite noticeable then your lizard is probably overweight.

Ways for a Bearded Dragon to Lose Weight

Allowing a bearded dragon to become fat or obese can have serious health implications. There are a number of reasons why obesity can occur, keep reading to find out what these are.

1. Reduce Food Intake

Reducing food intake is the first step in achieving a healthy weight for your beardie. As you begin to decrease your beardies food intake, keep in mind that their metabolism is a lot lower than most other animals.

Because of this, the process of weight loss will be hardly noticeable. If your beardie loses weight rapidly at a rate of 10% per weighing or more, then you are reducing food intake too quickly.

A quick tip: Avoiding using food bowls, instead place small portions of food stacked in various areas of the tank.

Your bearded dragon will then have to move and burn calories when eating.

2. Avoid Fatty Worms and Insects

Feeding your bearded dragon healthy greens instead of fatty insects and worms will mean your beardie consumes fewer calories.

Healthy foods are a good first step in ensuring your lizard loses weight in a reliable and steady manner.

Cutting vegetables in chunks that require a little more effort to eat, will also help motivate your lizard to eat in a way that also burns calories.

3. Gut Load Feeder Insects

Gut loading is a technique where you fill the feeder insects with highly nutritious food. When consumed, these feeder insects will then provide the nutrition to your beardie.

The process is actually very simple. You simply keep the insects in a separate container (faunarium) and follow the step by step guide below:

Step 1: Purchase your insects (crickets or dubia roaches are a great option).

Step 2: Line the base of the container with paper towels. The larger the container the better, a purpose-designed faunarium is the best option, although a 2-liter ice cream tub will suffice (just remember to punch holes in the lid for ventilation).

Kriter Keeper

Step 3: Create some hiding spaces in the bottom of the container, make use of egg cartons or other similar objects.

Step 4: Maintain the right humidity and temperature for the insects, aim for (85-95 F for crickets) and avoid a damp container as this could encourage the growth of unhealthy bacteria.

Step 5: Provide healthy food to the insects, remembering that the aim is to provide a healthy source of nutrients to your bearded dragon. You can get high-quality feed for the insects or you can use fresh fruit and veggies.

You can use anything such as:

Nutrient Dense Feed

Step 6: Immediately before feeding the insects to your bearded dragon, dust the crickets with calcium powder.

Note: Only feed your bearded dragon healthy-looking insects and remove any dead ones as soon as possible to prevent the spread of bacteria. 

4. Regularly Track the Weight of the Dragon

Tracking your bearded dragon’s weight is key in assessing whether or not your strategies for weight-loss are working.

Making a chart of where your bearded dragon’s weight is going will show, over time, whether or not your pet is losing weight. You will want a reliable set of scales for this with a weighing bowl.

bearded dragon weight scales

Note: Never use cooking equipment to weigh your dragon, this can cause cross-contamination and lead to illness such as salmonella. 

5. Provide More Exercise

Go for Walks

Walks may seem something for mammals, but the truth is, taking your beardie for a walk around your home will encourage movement and burn more calories.

Make sure to be patient, as your bearded dragon is a reptile and will find the area outside of its habitat to be a new and potentially dangerous environment.

Purchasing a leash and harness will be money well-spent and will accelerate the process of weight-loss.

Bearded Dragon Leash

Note: Toys are also a great way of encouraging exercise. You can find some fun and exciting bearded dragon toys here. 

Fast Moving Prey

Fast-moving prey will also be a core component of your beardie’s weight-loss regime. Any type of insect, for example, crickets or roaches, that move around, will encourage calorie-burning during the feeding process.


And these types of animals will also prove to be quite delicious for your beardie, offering them a healthy and delicious reward.

Handle More Frequently

Increasing the amount of handling will provide further exercise for your bearded dragon. This offers opportunities for your beardie to move around and burn calories.

Playing with your beardie is fun, so this allows the weight-loss process to provide further enjoyment and a chance for bonding between you and your pet.

6. Provide Supplements

Supplements are a staple for any animal (including us) who are on a diet. They provide the essential nutrients for keeping us healthy, allowing our metabolic system to function properly.

Many beardie owners are turning to milk thistle powder as a supplement to help an overworked liver. With excessive amounts of fatty foods come high levels of toxins and waste which the liver must remove from the body.

Milk Thistle Powder

Milk thistle powder assists in the detoxification of harmful toxins and waste and will help to sustain a healthy liver and gall bladder.

Just ensure that you purchase a powder that has no harmful additives.

Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Weight

We have a natural tendency to avoid putting our beardies on a “diet”. Some may see it as depriving them of food or forcing exercise upon them. We sometimes think that in doing so, we are being cruel.

The truth is, your animal will be much happier if it is a proper weight, suitable for its size.

In the wild, a bearded dragon has to travel long distances to find food. Therefore maintaining a healthy weight is much easier.

When in captivity, finding food isn’t too difficult, you (their owner) brings it to them every day. So it is quite easy for your beardie to start piling on the pounds.

So if you are experiencing this then check out the 6 best ways to help your bearded dragon shed the fat and reduce their weight.


Putting your bearded dragon on a “diet” may seem like punishment for your lizard, but helping your pet to achieve weight-loss goals will improve its happiness in the long-term.

Don’t feel bad if you have been too indulgent with your lizard. Following the above principles will send you and your pet on your way to the perfect weight.

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fat bearded dragon

Written by Matthew Cantell

Contact: [email protected]